§ THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH
, in moving for returns relating to the Miscellaneous Estimates from 1838 to 1853, said: I believe that there is no objection to the return which I propose to move for, inasmuch as it would not occupy a clerk more than a day to make it out. It is merely a return of the total sums voted under each head in each different class of Miscellaneous Estimates during the period over which the return runs—namely, from 1838 to 1853, which has been on your Lordships' table for a considerable number of weeks. But in moving for that return, I wish to draw your Lordships' attention as shortly as I can to some of the details of the charges in these Miscellaneous Estimates. I think it not undesirable, at the commencement of a war which will require that we should exercise great economy, that we should look back a little at the expenditure under the head of Miscellaneous Estimates in former years, that we should see wherein and how we have exceeded former charges, and that we should consider, also, wherein and how we can diminish as much as possible the charges which have recently been voted. If an individual does not practise this system, he will most infallibly be ruined; and it certainly would be convenient that the State should proceed upon the same principle, should act with the same prudence, and from time to time should look back at former charges, and should consider whether there has not been an unnecessary expense, which for the future can be avoided. I find that the sum voted under various heads as the Miscellaneous Estimates in 1838 was 2,545,000l., and that in 1853 it amounted to 4,802,000l.; so that at first it would appear that the excess of charge last year, over the charge in 1838, was no loss than 2,237,000l.; but, no doubt, that excess is open to various adjustments, and is subject to diminution by the rejection of certain charges from the Estimates of 1853 which did not exist in 1838. Since 1838 the charge for Royal parks and gardens has been thrown upon the Miscellaneous Estimates, having formerly been paid out of the land revenue. The expenses of the Commissioners of Works and Public Buildings and of Woods and Forests were also paid, previous to 1852, out of the land revenue, but are now included in the Miscellaneous Estimates; while the expenses of the auditors of unions and of schoolmasters, as well as 233 those of prosecutions and the maintenance of prisoners, are now transferred from the county rate. There is another charge which should likewise be excluded from our consideration in comparing the expenditure of 1853 with that of 1838—I mean that for harbours of refuge and other harbours; and of the expediency of that expenditure there can be no doubt. There is also a charge for winding up the Merchant Seamen's Fund, which falls on the year 1853, and which it would not be fair to compare with the charges in 1838. All these charges taken together—I will not trouble your Lordships with the details of all of them—amount to 775,925l., which is to be deducted from the sum I stated, 2,256,000l.; so that the total net excess, after discharging from the account all those items to which I have referred, of 1853 over 1838, is 1,480,000l. Now, I do think that the amount of that sum is such as to make it well deserving of your Lordships' consideration, and that it is important that we should see of what this great excess is composed. I find that there is a difference under the head of public works and buildings, after deducting the charge for the Royal parks and gardens, and harbours, of 198,000l., and under the head of salaries of public departments, after deducting those for the Commissioners of Works and for the poor law unions, there is an increase of 179,000l. There is another charge in which the increase since 1838 is very great indeed, and that is the charge for education, the increase in which amounts to 362,000l. Those who are desirous of having the public money expended in the education of the people have held out hopes that the moral condition of the people would by that expenditure be materially improved. I confess that I have always entertained very great doubts upon that subject, and upon this ground, that, as long as we remain under that dispensation of Providence which requires that man should earn his bread by the labour of his hands, it is essential that the children of the poor should, at a very early age, leave their schools and proceed to work for their daily bread. In point of fact, the son of the labourer leaves school in order to maintain himself and his family at about the age at which the son of the gentleman goes to school, and at a somewhat later period the daughter of the labourer leaves school for the purpose of going into service; and I believe it is utterly impossible, during the short time 234 that they can attend school, to give them that moral tuition which can alone be the foundation of any great improvement in their character. Further than that, I cannot but apprehend that we are mistaken in supposing that all the education which is provided through the administration of public funds is in addition to the education that previously existed. I believe, on the contrary, that that education has to a very great extent supplanted the education which was before afforded in private establishments and given through the private charity of individuals, who maintained schools and looked after the condition and the progress of the children taught in those schools; and I cannot but apprehend that, in point of fact, the public establishments so created, in which education is given at the public expense, although the education may be better than that which was before given in private establishments and by private charity, are not accompanied by those great social advantages which resulted under the former system, from the constant presence of those by whom those schools were maintained, and their constant supervision over the conduct and progress of the children. But, whether my apprehensions are well founded or not, it is at least certain that the result which was anticipated has not been accomplished; and I regret to have to state to your Lordships that, while we expended in the last year 362,000l. more than in 1838, for the purpose of making the people better, we have been obliged to expend 629,000l. more for the purpose of coercing them—I mean in defraying the expenses of prisons and transportation. The increase of the expenses of prisons in 1853 over 1838 is not less than 585,000l., and a further increase will be required for this year of not less than 126,000l., so that the total charge on account of the control that is exercised over criminals in prison, and by means of transportation, is greater now by 711,000l. than it was in 1838. Now, I think that this is a subject which deserves the vary serious consideration of the Government and of Parliament. If the state of the law is such that it has led to this enormous increase of expenditure for the purpose of punishing the criminal portion of the population, it surely becomes worth our while to consider whether we have correctly administered the law, and whether we have been successful in our selection of the secondary punishments by which crime is to be punished, and, if pos- 235 sible, repressed. It appears to me that it might be worth our while to consider whether it might not be expedient to make it less desirable, than it appears to have been considered in many cases, to commit offences for the purpose of obtaining in a prison advantages and conveniences which cannot be obtained by the honest man in his own dwelling; but, above all, I should think it would be worth the while of Parliament to consider whether it is not desirable to establish, under the direct management of the Government throughout the country, from one end of it to the other, a uniform and efficient system of police, for the purpose of preventing and deterring from crime by the certainty of punishment. I understand that a measure has been introduced into the other House of Parliament which has, to a certain extent, that object. I have not read the Bill, but I have seen some statement of its provisions, and if that statement be correct—if it be intended to place the police in each county under the management of a committee of magistrates—I fear that the measure will be absolutely inadequate for the object for which it is intended, and that it will lead to no valuable results. What I would venture to suggest is, that, as at different periods various charges have been withdrawn from the county rates in order to afford some illusory advantage or other to the agriculturists, who imagined themselves to be particularly pressed by those rates, that those charges should be thrown back upon the county rates, to which they properly belong, and that, on the other hand, the whole expense of the rural police should be borne, as it ought to be borne, by the public. It is a public object, that there should be throughout the country one uniform system of police, and I think it would be most highly desirable, and that it is quite essential with a view to the efficiency of that police, that the number to be established in each county should be regulated by the opinion of the Secretary of State who is charged with the care of the internal peace of the country, and that it should not be left to the occasional liberality, or, what I fear would be more usual, the parsimony of the magistrates at quarter sessions, to determine what should be the number of police appropriated to their own particular district. I am certain that by this means only will efficiency be obtained. Having offered this suggestion, I will now call your Lordships' attention to another 236 and an almost entirely new charge since 1838, which begins in 1840 with a very small sum, and which has been growing of late years, and more especially within the last two years, to an enormous amount; I allude to the charges for what are called the Museum of Economic Geology and the Department of Practical Art, under the head of the Board of Trade. These two items of charge appeared for the first time in 1839, when the expenses of the Department of Practical Art amounted to 1,300l. and those of the Museum of Economic Geology in the following year amounted to 2,800l. After that Sir Robert Peel came into office. There was never any Minister of this country who more loved art, or had a better taste for it, than Sir Robert Peel; he liked the society of scientific men and of men of art, and, had he not been bound by those just principles of public economy by which he was governed in all things, I am sure there could have been no one more willing to grant public money for the encouragement of arts and sciences; but I apprehend that he was controlled by views of public policy and public duty, and did not therefore, during the whole period of his Government, materially increase the amount of the grant originally proposed. These two establishments were united in 1853, the expense of the school of Practical Art having risen in 1852 to upwards of 17,000l. from 1,300l., and that of the Geological Establishment very nearly to 15,000l. from its original amount of 2,800l. When the two departments were united, the charge for them, instead of amounting, as might have been expected, to 32,000l. or 33,000l., was increased to 44,476l., and in this year, 1854, when it was above all things most essential to practise economy—when there were such large demands for matters actually required for the public safety, an addition of 29,000l. has been made to this charge; so that in the present year we are to pay 73,000l, for that which amounted to only 4,100l. in 1840. This is a subject that really ought to have received the attention of Her Majesty's Ministers. When we talk about it being desirable to encourage art and science, I should like to know whether it is possible for any one, by any administration whatever of public funds, to create genius. You cannot create genius. You can create a large amount of educated mediocrity; you can cover the country with large buildings in bad taste, you can produce had pictures and bad statues; but you 237 cannot have genius for your money. That is a thing which cannot be obtained in such a manner, and you are, therefore, really throwing away a large amount of public money for a purpose which money cannot obtain. The noble Earl the late President of the Council is not present, and I will not, therefore, go into any further details as to what has taken place with regard to these items; but there is one item to which I do think that it is necessary to call the attention of the Government, and that is the enormous increase in the expense of persons employed under the Poor Law Commission. In 1838 the expense of the Commission amounted to 54,000l., while in the last year, although it was then certainly larger than it had been in the other years, it amounted to no less than 88,000l. Now, however desirable it may be that there should be a constant supervision over the action of poor law guardians, it is a matter worthy the consideration of the Government whether that inspection could not be afforded at a somewhat smaller expense than that of 88,000l., which is an increase of 44,000l. on the charge in 1839. With regard to the House in which the House of Commons and ourselves transact public business, I have to state to your Lordships that the sum which has been expended upon this House in the period now under review, from 1838 to 1853, is 1,690,000l., and that expense still continues. The very last portion of the building, and the most beautiful one, which is now in progress of erection near the entrance to the House, is the most expensive one that has yet been erected; more than that, it is so covered with elaborate workmanship that its beauty will remain only for a very short period, probably not more than two or three years after its completion. I confess that I should greatly have preferred a severer and more solid style of architecture—one more in keeping with the purpose for which we meet in this place, and which should have stamped upon it the appearance of that eternity which we desire that our institutions should possess. I cannot quit the subject of the House without calling your Lordships' attention to the last curiosity with which we have been presented—that window which is now before you [namely, a window on the right of the Throne]. We are, it appears, to have ninety-six such panes fitted into the windows of this house. What they may have cost I know not; but I heartily wish, for the credit of art in 238 this country, that no Museum of Practical Art had ever existed to cover us with such deformities; and now we have a specimen before us of a new invention, which I suppose is to be substituted in all the windows for what we have now the misfortune to look upon. But where is the estimate for the expense of the alteration? Who is responsible for it? Who are the authors of its adoption? I really cannot venture to calculate the expense which the public may be called upon to pay, but I really do not think that any individual could alter the windows of the House in the manner proposed for less than 30,000l., and 1 feel satisfied that the expense to the public would undoubtedly be more. I want to know under whose responsibility it was that such heavy and unnecessary expense has been incurred? Where are the estimates for the alteration? Who gave the order for the adoption of the deformity? I trust that the public will thoroughly understand that it is not by the desire of the individuals who sit in this House that these alterations are made; that we do not desire to transact our business in a room disfigured by gilding or ornaments in bad taste and at enormous cost, but that we were satisfied with the plain House in which our ancestors transacted business, and desired nothing more, and, therefore, that we are not responsible for this enormous expenditure and waste of the public money. Who may be responsible I know not. I must also call your Lordships' attention to an item of expenditure which appears very harmless, but, in the course of the period to which I have referred, the expenditure upon the British Museum and the buildings has not been less than 595,000l.; and whereas in former years the expense of management amounted only to 27,469l., it now amounts to 55,840l., so that the expense of the establishment at the present moment exceeds, I believe, the expense of the departments of all but one of the Secretaries of State. I will now pass to another head of expenditure. The expenditure for the repression and punishment of crime presents some curious results. We are told that education is to produce morality—of course, moral people will not commit offences, and we have reason to believe that, of all the portions of the British empire, that in which education has made the greatest progress, and which ought, therefore, to be the most moral country, is that to which the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) belongs. But, 239 in fact, the cost of correcting bad Scotchmen has increased 100 per cent; for whereas in 1838 it was 53,000l., it now amounts to 107,000l. We were also told that on the other side of the Channel crime was a matter of indifference, and yet people there have been improving almost as fast as the Scotch have been deteriorating; for, whereas as the expenses of criminals in Ireland were formerly 68,000l., they are now reduced to 56,000l.—so that the Irish have improved 18 per cent, while the Scotch have deteriorated 100 per cent. I must now call your Lordships' attention to the enormous charge to which I have already adverted, for prisons and transportation. In 1853 that charge amounted to 898,000l.; in this year there is an addition of 126,000l.—so that in the present year, 1854, the charge for the maintenance of prisoners and transportation amounts to as much as 1,024,000l. The total amount of charge under the same head in 1838 was 313,000l., so that the increase under this head amounted to as much as 711,000l. I think it necessary to call attention to the enormous charges connected with the last Census. In 1841 the charge on this account was 23,500l., and then all the information that any reasonable man could desire was given. The charge for the last Census amounted to 170,000l., being an increase of not less than 146,500l. This enormous increase was made in order to gratify the curiosity of about twenty persons, who are desirous of obtaining a mass of statistical information which is of no use to anybody. This is a charge which ought never to have been incurred, and I trust it will not be repeated. I have now gone through the comparison of the years 1838 and 1853, and I will now draw attention to the charges proposed by Ministers for 1854. The present head of the Government was brought up in the school of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, two remarkably economical Ministers. Before him is a great war, of which we have seen the commencement, but may not live to see the end. Under these circumstances, one would have supposed that the noble Earl would have looked with the greatest anxiety at the Estimates in all departments, with the view of reducing the public expenditure wherever he could. This is the result of the examination which, I must presume, the noble Earl prosecuted. I find, under the head of public works and building, an increase of 104,432l.; under the head of salaries in the 240 public departments an increase of 61,371l.; under the head of law and justice an increase of 97,423l.; under the head of education, science, and art, an increase of 124,389l.; under the head of superannuations and charities an increase of 3,351l.; under the head of special and temporary services an increase of 215,626l. These sums amount to 506,000l.; from which I deduct a decrease in the Colonial Department of 13,861l., leaving the total excess 492,731l. From this I also deduct certain sums of the same kind as those which I deducted from the excess of 1853; these sums amount to 110,000l., and then there still remains an increase of 382,000l. on the Miscellaneous Estimates of this first year of war, and a total increase this year, as compared with 1838—after making all the deductions I have before alluded to—of 1,862,000l. I must call attention to some more of the items on which an increase is apparent. Under the head of printing and stationery there is an increase of 29,000l.; under the head of science and art there is an increase, as I have already stated, of 29,000l.; there is an increase of 126,000l. for prisons and transportation; there is an increase on the British Museum which is altogether unnecessary, because it might have been postponed, of 78,442l.; there is 140,000l. for the purchase of Burlington House, and 87,000l. for the purchase of land at Kensington Gore. These charges for the British Museum, Burlington House land at Kensington Gore, and the increase in the department of science and art, which are either utterly unnecessary or might have been postponed, amount to 274,471l. I have made a calculation by which I find that the Government have thus thrown away this year a sum which would have purchased ninety-eight steam gunboats, every one drawing four feet of water, and carrying a 68-pounder, by which, if sent to the carrying Sea, we might have commanded the Sea of Azof, and, if sent to the Baltic, might have taken Sweaborg and destroyed Cronstadt. Economical considerations prevented you from buying or building vessels of this description, by which alone the work of the war can be done, and yet you have, on the items which I have read, thrown away money on trifling or ornamental articles enough to have covered all the expense. The war on which we have entered is one which promises no decisive success at an early period. No man could be more willing 241 than myself that we should embark in the war, because I believe it to be just, necessary, and politic; but its objects are more obvious to statesmen than to the people generally. We have engaged in the war for the purpose of preventing Russia from possessing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and in order to redress the changes in the balance of power in Europe which have taken place during the last forty years. These are our statesmen's objects in the war, but they are not objects visible to the people—they are not the objects which have induced the people to coincide and co-operate with the Government in the war. What the people see is a great wrong done by a powerful State to its unoffending neighbour, and they are willing to assist the Government in carrying on the war for the purpose of redressing the wrong, in the same spirit in which they would endeavour to redress a similar wrong done to an individual. But if the expenditure should increase—as it must, because our present establishments are insufficient to terminate the war with success—if the pressure of taxation should be more severely felt—as it must if the war should last for many years, as it may—and if the contest should not be characterised by brilliant and decisive successes from time to time to animate the people, can we expect that their constancy will be maintained? Is it reasonable to suppose that throughout the war you will have the same support from the people as you have now? I cannot believe it, and for that reason I would impress on the Government the necessity of economy. You must show the people that you do not engage in unnecessary expense—that you are doing everything in your power to promote the efficiency of the public service—and that you save all the money in your power by rejecting matters which are not absolutely necessary, and postponing those which arc not immediately required. Show the people that you call upon them to pay taxes for the sole purpose of enabling the Government to carry on the war with energy and success. Depend upon it the people of this country must be changed indeed if they can see, at the seine time, inefficiency in military operations and waist of economy in the disposal of the public money. The noble Earl concluded by moving—That there be laid before this House. Return of the Total Sum granted for Miscellaneous Services, under each of the following Heads in each 242 Class, from 1838 to 1853, both inclusive:—1. Public Works and Buildings; 2. Salaries, &c., Public Departments; 3. Law and Justice; 4. Education, Science, and Art; 5. Colonial and Consular Services; 6. Superannuations and Charities; 7. Special and Temporary Objects.
§ THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
said, he regretted that his noble Friend at the head of the Government and his noble Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who generally attended to financial business in this House, were unavoidably absent on this occasion, since they would have been able to answer more fully than he could do the statements of the noble Earl; although, looking to the notice which the noble Earl placed upon the paper—which was merely for returns—no one could have anticipated that he meant this evening to make an attack on the Miscellaneous Estimates of successive Governments during the last twenty years. When he saw the noble Earl's notice, he supposed that he was about to move for some returns to complete those which he moved for about seven weeks ago, and that he would enter into no discussion until he had obtained all the information he desired. Even if his noble Friends were present, it would have been utterly impossible for them to give a proper answer to the noble Earl's statement, and he thought, therefore, he had a right to complain of the course adopted by the noble Earl, as calculated to take, not only the Government, but the country, by surprise. Whether the Government would suffer any discredit thereby, he knew not; but he must confess his inability to answer off-hand statements which it had taken the noble Earl six weeks to get up, and they must of necessity remain unanswered; indeed so many alterations had been made since 1838 in the mode of keeping the public accounts, that nothing but the labours of a Select Committee would suffice to place the matter clearly and distinctly before their Lordships. Some of the items of which the noble Earl composed his sum total have been introduced into the Estimates since 1838, and ought not, therefore, to have entered into a comparison with the Estimates of this year. One of these was the charge for the new Houses of Parliament; there was no charge under that head in the Estimates of 1838.
§ THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
The apparent increase in the Estimates could, 243 in some instances, be accounted for by the changes which had taken place in the mode of keeping the public accounts. That was the case as regarded the Royal parks.
§ THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
wished the noble Earl would not interrupt. His task in replying to the noble Earl was sufficiently difficult, even if allowed to make his observations without interruption. One of the items of increase to which special objection had been taken by the noble Earl was that for education, and he did not think that their Lordships would agree with the noble Earl in the disparaging remarks which he made on the propriety of extending education throughout the country.
§ THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE
appealed to their Lordships whether he was not correct, and whether they ever heard any noble Lord make a more studied attack upon education than the noble Earl had done. He not only objected to the increase of the sums expended, but expressed himself as actually adverse to the progress of education. It might be true that the children of persons employed in labour, particularly in the agricultural districts, were removed at an early age from school; he (the Duke of Newcastle) thought that it was far better that they should be educated even up to fourteen years of age, rather than that they should not be educated at all. With respect to the conclusion which the noble Earl had drawn from the sums expended on education and crime respectively, he believed that if they had been fairly dealt with, the result shown would have been just the reverse. There was no doubt that concurrently with the increase of education there had gone on an improvement in the management of our prisons, which had led to a largely increased expenditure. The whole system with respect to prisons and transportation had been greatly improved, and those improvements could certainly not have been effected without considerable increase in the expenditure. He believed that the returns, correctly stated, would show that the increase of crime had nut been in proportion to the increase of population, and the number of offences were not so high as they would money been had they nut expended the money they bad done for the purposes of 244 education. He agreed with the noble Earl that the police of the country was not in a satisfactory state, and that the whole system of the county constabulary required revision. Referring to the expenditure under the head of art and science, the noble Earl said correctly that they could not promote art, properly so called, to any material extent, by a large expenditure of public money. He (the Duke of Newcastle) would never attempt to foster art by any such means. But the institutions to which the noble Earl referred were not for the promotion of art, so called, the object of which was more to please the eye and elevate the mind; but they were institutions of a practical character. The Museum of Practical Geology was one by means of which, he had no hesitation in saying, through the information which it had diffused, the wealth of the country had been greatly increased, and a very large and foolish expenditure of money had been averted. It was known that whilst in other countries industry had been fostered, and good taste promoted, we had been deficient, and our fabrics had failed, because we had neglected to avail ourselves of the advantages within our reach. His noble Friend denied that he meant to cast any reflection as to the construction of the two Houses of Parliament; but he, at any rate, referred to the character of these buildings, and to the large expenditure that had been made upon them. There was no doubt with regard to that fact; but let him ask him whether he might not deduce from that circumstance that those who indulge in the lavish expenditure of the public money of this country are not always Chancellors of the Exchequer or First Lords of the Treasury, but are sometimes the Members of the two Houses of Parliament themselves? These buildings were a most flagrant instance of that truth. Condemn the buildings if you will,—admire them if you like; but, whatever you do, bear in mind that, from the first year up to the present day, the management and control as well as the expenditure connected with the new Houses of Parliament had been taken out of the ordinary channel, and had been assumed by Committees of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. His noble Friend had made some amusing remarks respecting the changes which had taken place in the windows of their Lordships' House, and pointed out the enormities that had been substituted for what was before plain and 245 suitable for the purpose of giving light. He was not inclined to disagree with his noble Friend in that matter, but really he did not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the person who ought to be called to the bar to answer for the expenditure of the public money on account of those windows; but rather, the person who should be answerable was a noble Marquess who was not at present in the House (the Marquess of Clanricarde). For, what did the noble Marquess do last Session? He moved for a Committee last Session to inquire into the lighting and ventilating of the House, in order to see how a little more money could be spent on those objects; and what did he do the other day? Finding, last year, that they would not act upon his suggestion, but were desirous of letting well alone, believing, as they did upon the whole, that the House was a tolerably comfortable one, although there might be ground for some small complaint with regard to ventilation, but not with respect to light—the noble Marquess at the beginning of the present Session moved for the appointment of another Committee upon the subject, and insisted that fresh experiments should be made. When, therefore, his noble Friend complained of the large amount of expenditure, he asked how he could say that the Government or anybody was responsible, except the two Houses of Parliament themselves, by whose Committee that expenditure had been incurred? He admitted that the expenditure upon these Houses had been very enormous, but, if it was made a question of taste, he had no hesitation in saying that, when the present generation of their Lordships had passed away, the name of Sir Charles Barry as a man of genius and as an architect would be classed with those of the greatest ornaments of our country in the kindred branches of art. He confessed he did not like to hear a man of eminence and high character like Sir Charles Barry condemned for what certainly had not been his fault, but for which their Lordships and the House of Commons were alone responsible. The noble Earl then went to another branch of public expenditure, namely, that on account of prisons in Scotland and Ireland, and observed that vice in Scotland must have greatly increased, while in Ireland it must have diminished, seeing that the expenditure for taking care of prisoners in Scotland was greater, by 100 per cent, than at a former period, while less had been expended for a similar purpose in 246 Ireland. But if his noble Friend would deal with this question fairly, he believed he would find that he was in no way justified in drawing such a conclusion, for it was a fact, that, within a few years nearly the whole of the prisons in Scotland had been rebuilt, and large sums expended in the improvement of those that were bad and defective. It was, therefore, most unfair to infer that this expenditure had been caused by an increase of crime. Upon that ground he thought the country had a right to complain of his noble Friend in not giving the Government an opportunity of coming prepared to answer all these questions, instead of creating impressions of a most unfavourable and ungrounded character, without any means being afforded to remove them. But, as regarded this very question of the expense of prisons, his noble Friend had entirely lost sight of and forgotten—for he was sure he would not unfairly suppress the fact—that a very large proportion indeed of the sum of 711,000l., which he stated to be the difference between the expenditure in 1838 and 1854 on account of prisons, had not arisen on account of any increase of crime, but was an apparent increase only by reason of a change in the mode of making out the Estimates—because a great many of the charges which now appear under the head of prisons were previously included in other Estimates. Unless he was greatly mistaken, the Navy Estimates formerly bore the charge, under the head of transportation, which were now placed under the Miscellaneous Estimates. He said, therefore, that it was exceedingly unfair, without stating that fact, to put the whole of this charge down as an additional burden on the country, when the truth was, that one branch of expenditure is relieved while another is increased. But he would not pretend to go into these complicated Estimates in detail. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself were a Member of your Lordships' House, it would be impossible for him to defend the Estimates in a satisfactory manner through the mere medium of a speech, in consequence of the many changes that have been made in them;—for those changes have so far produced a complication in this sheet of paper as to render it perfectly impossible for his noble Friend to deal with it fairly and justly without going into a full investigation of the whole Estimates. The last topic referred to by his noble Friend was the Census of 1851. 247 He said that the Census of 1841 cost 23,000l., whereas the Census of 1851 had enormously increased. But was it not an undeniable fact that the Census of 1851 had furnished considerably more information than the Census of 1841? And yet he believed that so anxious was the public for still further statistical information, that before the year 1861 comes round, the Government would be called upon to make very extended investigations, even though at a considerably increased expenditure. Very possibly it may be my noble Friend's individual opinion that the additional information given by the Census of 1851 was not worth having, and that the expenditure ought not to have been increased; but he (the Duke of Newcastle) was certain that the country would soon say that we ought to have more information than we had yet acquired. He had thus replied to those points of his noble Friend's speech regarding which he happened at the moment to be acquainted, it being impossible for him to go in succession through all the topics, having little anticipated that his noble Friend was about to bring this bill of indictment against the financial policy, not only of the present Government, but of all the Governments that have existed since the year 1838. As regarded the Motion of his noble Friend, of course the Government would not have the slightest objection to give the information he desired, though he believed he had moved for it more as a pivot on which to turn his speech than for the purpose of obtaining information, since it would afford him very little more information than he had already obtained. But, while he protested against the course which his noble Friend had taken, in not having given any notice of his intention to enter upon this subject, he came to the same conclusion with his noble Friend—namely, that it was the bounden duty of the Government, not in time of war only, but at all times, to economise the public money. He was certain, as regarded every item of expenditure in the present Estimates in which there had been any real increase, that increase had been called for by the exigency of the public service. He could assure his noble Friend that while, in the present year, economy with efficiency had been consulted in the Estimates, so, in future Sessions, every attempt would be made to decrease those Estimates. At the same time, he should be misleading their Lordships if he were to state that lie believed, in the present 248 state of the country, with an enlarged commerce, and with an increased expenditure demanded by a war of a most national description and of the greatest possible importance, that there was any great probability of reducing to any large extent the present expenditure of the country. But if ever there was a time when economy should be observed by the Government in every possible department, he agreed with his noble Friend it was at a time of war, when the country was liable to be pressed by still further demands for the purpose of carrying on that war. He must apologise to their Lordships for the very inadequate manner in which he had replied to the speech of the noble Earl. He had by no means pretended to give a complete explanation of all the points adverted to by his noble Friend; but, if he thought fit on any future occasion to give a formal notice of a Motion on the subject, he was perfectly confident that his noble Friend at the head of the Treasury, and his noble Friend who took charge, on behalf of the Government, of financial measures in this House, would both be in their places to supply any information the noble Earl might require, and to justify the whole course of financial policy which the Government had pursued.
said, he believed that there was but one feeling prevailing on all sides of their Lordships' House at the present moment, and that was, how entirely unnecessary was the apology of the noble Duke for the manner in which he had just performed the duty that had devolved upon him. After no very short Parliamentary experience, he did not remember seeing any Minister placed in a position of greater difficulty than that in which his noble Friend had been placed by the very able and not unprepared attack of the noble Earl. He had never seen a Minister placed in a situation of more difficulty, and he had never seen one extricate himself more admirably from the difficulties of that situation. It was not his intention to follow the noble Earl nor the noble Duke through the details of this somewhat complicated and certainly varied branch of finance. He rose to enter his protest against the conclusion drawn—he feared, somewhat rashly drawn—from certain matters of facts in the tables to which he referred, upon a subject of great moment—namely, the subject of national education. According to his noble, Friend, there was nothing more vain than the notion of diffusing instruction among the 249 people with a view to the improvement of their character, because, said he, it only ended in worsening instead of improving the morals of the people. Really, if he wanted an illustration of how dangerous it was to argue upon such statistical facts as formed the basis of his noble Friend's conclusion upon this important subject, he should only have to remind their Lordships of the gross absurdity of the argument which his noble Friend had deduced from the papers before him, and which was neither more nor less than this—that in one part of the United Kingdom there had been a great improvement in the morals of the people, and a diminution of crime; while in another part, Scotland, there had been no improvement, but that the people there had become a great deal worse—worse by 100 per cent—and that the people of Scotland had become twofold degraded in the course of the last three or four years. His noble Friend had left them one item on which to congratulate themselves with respect to the state of things in the sister kingdom, Ireland. He should be sorry to detract in any manner from the praise that might be bestowed upon the improved morality of the people of Ireland; but his noble Friend had forgotten what had happened during the sixteen years that had elapsed since the year 1838, which was the period with which he had compared the Estimates of 1854. There had been since that time what was called the "exodus." He thought that would explain the diminution of crime in that part of the United Kingdom, as well as the diminution in the number of the people. There was another subject on which he differed greatly from his noble Friend—namely, education, both the education of time people and the education of the upper classes. No man, however strongly he might feel the necessity of increasing instruction among the common people, ever believed that it would produce an immediate effect in lessening the number of criminals, more especially if an improved police and an improved system of administration of criminal justice went on concurrently. These two circumstances would necessarily cause an apparent increase in the number of offences. But if any of their Lordships would consult the learned Judges who went the circuits on the subject, they would at once state that the calendars of offenders invariably showed that the great majority of crimes were committed by persons who could neither write nor read. His noble and learned 250 Friend the Lord Chief Justice told him that two-thirds of the whole number of criminals were those who were without any education at all. It had always been his opinion that when they relied upon the benefits of education, they ought to do a great deal more for education than had ever yet been attempted. There was one species of education which went directly to the prevention of offences—he meant infant instruction. It was somewhat too late to think of changing the nature of children by any after-training, if they waited till the children became of the age at which they were generally sent to the primary schools. But if they took infants three or four years old, they could train them to virtuous habits—keep them out of harm's way, and remove them from the contaminating influence of profligate parents. By this course of moral training they might be fitted to become good, innocent, and useful members of society. The criminal population of any country—that was to say, that portion of the people among whom criminals were found—was a comparatively small number. In a town containing 1,500,000 people, there were not more than 30,000 or 40,000 of them among whom criminals would be found. Now, by providing infant schools for training, his belief was that they would do more to eradicate crime and prevent its taking root than by any other expedient. He had said that he differed from his noble Friend also in his views respecting the education of the upper classes. If they wished to promote education among the people at large, and that it should go down even to the humblest classes, the best course to take was to create a taste for knowledge among those who were above the humbler classes. If the middle classes had a taste for the acquirement of knowledge, if they were induced to think that it was essential to their happiness, or even to their comfort, the feeling so created among them would necessarily influence the next grade of society below them, and thus by degrees a taste for knowledge would be propagated and extended throughout every class of the community. If he thought that what had been done in reference to education had had a tendency to slacken individual efforts, he should agree in the observations of the noble Earl; but his impression was, that the grants of public money had been carefully distributed, so as to interfere as little as possible with individual charity or bounty. 251 Any contrary course would have been opposed to the original intention of these grants, as recommended by the Education Committee of 1818. With respect to the Houses of Parliament, he differed less from the noble Earl than he did in regard to other matters to which the noble Earl had directed the attention of their Lordships; but on this head he took no blame to himself for any sins against good taste, for, from the very first, he held it to be barbarous in the extreme that in the middle of the nineteenth century they should erect a Gothic structure for the Houses of Parliament. He gave the fullest praise to the genius of the architect for producing all those peculiar beauties which belonged to Gothic architecture; but, with all his admiration of those beauties, he was of opinion that the architecture of the building ought not to have been Gothic, but the more chaste and severe Doric.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
said, that, so far as he knew, there was no increase in the criminality of Scotland which was not proportionate to the increase of the population. The greatly augmented changes of the Estimates were owing to a new system of prisons which had been introduced in a great measure since 1838; but, if there had been any increase in crime, that circumstance would tell against, and not in favour of, the whole argument of the noble Earl; for unquestionably of late years the population of Scotland had outrun the means of education there. It was too late in the day to argue against the beneficial effects of education; but if the noble Earl wanted statistics on this head, particularly with respect to the juvenile criminal population, he would refer the noble Earl to papers laid before Parliament in recent years in regard to Aberdeen, and to the effect which the establishment of reformatory schools for juvenile offenders had had in decreasing juvenile delinquency 50 or 60 per cent. The noble Earl had referred to the increased expenditure on account of the Geological Museum and Department of Practical Art. The expenditure for art education had been repeatedly shown to be necessary in the present defective state of our manufactures in respect of design; and, to show the great economical advantages of education of this nature, he (the Duke of Argyll) did not know that he could do better than direct attention to that very department. Two or three years ago he went over the largest manufactory in Glasgow, and he 252 was astonished at being informed of the very large sums which were weekly, monthly, and yearly expended for the purchase of the most simple patterns brought from France. The manufacturing towns used to be entirely dependent on patterns imported from foreign countries, and some of them had been constantly urging the Government to establish schools of design. If, by the creation of a skilful class of designers, the money now expended in encouraging the artists of foreign countries were spent at home, could any one doubt that this would tend materially to the increase of our wealth and the development of our manufacturing resources? Wherever those schools had been established the very best results had ensued in an economical point of view, and the money which was before spent abroad was now expended among our artisans at home. With respect to the Geological Museum, the noble Earl would hardly have any doubt about the utility of that establishment if he had only attended some of the lectures delivered there by eminent men to the artisans of London open the practical application of the principles of science to the various arts and manufactures. It was for such objects that the Estimates to which the noble Earl had referred had been increased; and, considering the beneficial results of the institution of the Geological Museum, the Government had thought themselves justified in proposing an outlay of money for the establishment of similar institutions in Edinburgh and Dublin. The Estimates exhibited an increase of 8,000l. for the institution at Edinburgh, and a similar sum for Dublin, and of 9,000l. in aid of local schools of art. The general principle on which this outlay had been sanctioned by the Government was, that it would be attended with the best practical effect upon the manufactures and commerce of the country. No doubt the noble Earl might be right in saying that the Miscellaneous Estimates were capable of some reductions, but he dissented from the whole spirit which governed the noble Earl's remarks. The noble Earl objected to the whole expenditure connected with peace and civilisation as contrasted with the expenditure for war. It was true that the country had entered into a contest with one of the greatest Powers in Europe, and, as it was impossible to say when the contest might close, it behoved them to husband their resources; but still he must express his dissent from any argument 253 tending to recommend the retrenchment of the expenditure connected with the arts of peace, upon which the permanent advantage of the people must depend.
§ THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH
, in reply, stated that the Estimates for the present year having appeared on the 31st of March, he had given notice of the present Motion to the late President of the Council (Earl Granville) on the 19th of May. He could not tell that that noble Earl would not now fill that office, or that he would not be present in the House that evening. He certainly thought it would be sufficient to give notice to one Member of the Cabinet. The noble Duke (the Duke of Newcastle) seemed to think that he had not made a fair comparison between the different items in the Estimates of 1838 and those of 1853. He had, however, carefully deducted from the Estimates of 1853 those items which were either wholly new, or were for the first time charged upon the Miscellaneous Estimates since 1853. On these two accounts he deducted from the Estimates of 1853 no less a sum than 885,000l., and having done that he believed that it was impossible to state the comparison between the two years' expenditure more fairly than he had done. It was a misapprehension of his argument to suppose that he objected to the extension of education. He stated that the good people who were desirous to extend education believed that it would greatly elevate the moral character of the people. He then mentioned the reasons which led him to believe that that result would not be attained, at least not to the extent expected, and he afterwards remarked that it was evident the expected improvement had not taken place, since the expenditure upon the punishment of the wicked had greatly increased. The noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) had congratulated himself on getting a grant of money for the promotion of art and science in Scotland. He (the Earl of Ellenborough) was only surprised that Scotland Lad got so little, although, indeed, it had really received not 8,000l., as the noble Duke had said, but 25,000l. The noble Duke had also boasted of the encouragement which the Government had given to art in Ireland. He found, however, that the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Hibernian Academy—what difference there was between them, except in the name, he did not know—had received only 300l. a year each from 1838 to 1854. He 254 strongly recommended the claims of these institutions to the attention of Government.
§ On Question, agreed to.
§ House adjourned to Monday next.