HL Deb 18 June 1866 vol 184 cc525-9

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


suggested that the name of Thomas Dyke Acland, esquire, should be omitted from the Commission, as he had committed himself to definite opinions in a public document upon the matters which would come before the Commission.


said, the opinions expressed by the hon. Gentleman were not sufficient to exclude him, but he would yield to the suggestion.

Bill read 3a (according to Order).


moved to omit the name of Thomas Dyke Acland, esquire, from the List of Commissioners in Clause 15.

Motion agreed to.


took exception to the powers given to the Commissioners. He had great confidence in the Members of the Commission, and did not object to their passing statutes in the event of the Governing Body not passing them; but be did not approve of the power under which the Commissioners, by their own ipse dixit, could alter the Constitution of the Governing Bodies themselves. If any alteration of the Governing Bodies were needed, such alteration ought to have been made by Parliament, and, indeed, although alterations were proposed they had been rejected by the Select Committee to whom the subject had been referred. The whole principle of the Bill was to secure the action in friendly concert of two independent bodies, but how could they secure the independent or amicable action of the Governing Body with the Commissioners, when the former knew that in case of disagreement the Commissioners were able to alter their whole Constitution? The power proposed to be conferred by the clause was not one which the Commissioners would be desirous of possessing. He would not at that late hour trespass further upon their Lordships' patience, and he would therefore conclude by moving the insertion in the clause under consideration of the words which would except from the provisions of the statute that the Commissioners might possess the power of altering the Governing Body.

Amendment moved, after ("applies") to insert ("save and except the Power of altering by Statute the Constitution of the Governing Body").—(The Earl of Derby).


said, it did not follow that the Commissioners would abuse the powers created by the clause simply because they were conferred upon them. Besides, the noble Earl could scarcely have forgotten that the subject was fully discussed in the Select Committee, and that he there agreed to the clause he now objected to. The real foundation of the noble Earl's objection was the fear that the unhallowed hand of Reformers should touch Eton. Their Lordships would, however, recollect that this Bill was not framed exclusively for the benefit of Eton. and it was not only the case of Eton that had to be heard. In the case of Shrewsbury there were the three trustees, who were self-elected — that was to say, they selected three persons, of whom the Corporation chose one, to fill any vacancy that might arise. The trustees of Rugby consisted of a certain number of gentlemen belonging to Warwickshire, and no body of gentlemen could have acted with more good sense than they had done, because they had selected the best master for the school, and had then left it alone. It did not, however, follow that Warwickshire would always be fruitful in sensible men, yet the noble Earl would take away the power of introducing a new element into the Governing Body. Harrow, again, was governed by six honest and substantial inhabitants of the town, and he (the Earl of Clarendon) was one of them. They had nothing on earth to do, and remarkably well they did it. He thought, however, that it would be better if they could contrive to import into them a little degree of vitality. He should scarcely suppose that any Commissioners would dare to suggest that any reform could be effected in the government of Charter House; still, it was impossible to deny that some small improvements might be introduced even into that body. Perhaps it was owing to this Bill being brought forward that it had been determined to remove that establishment into the country. Westminster School was an appendage of the Collegiate Church of Westminster, and was under the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The Dean and Chapter were not likely to part with their patronage, and Westminster School without a change in the constitution of the Governing Body was likely to remain in the same state it was at present. If the Amendment proposed by the noble Earl were carried, no change whatever could be effected in the government of these Schools, and the Bill would be rendered practically nugatory. Winchester was governed in the same manner as Eton. He now came to the sanctum sanctorum, Eton. He had no wish to be considered at enmity with that School, and therefore he would not bring forward the evidence that had been given before the Committee in relation to it; but if there was a corporate body in England that required reforming, it was the Governing Body of Eton. Any one, however, who read the evidence before the Royal Commission would see that Eton would not reform itself; and yet that Eton should remain intact all reform in the Governing Bodies of other schools was to remain un-attempted. All these bodies required reforming, and not one of them was likely to commit the corporate suicide of reforming themselves, and therefore it was necessary that some steps should be taken by Parliament to effect some change in their present constitution. The noble Earl said that the Commissioners would have power under the clause before the House to make what alterations they pleased in the Governing Bodies of the various schools; but by the 19th section of the Bill it was provided that the assent of Her Majesty should not be given to any change in the statutes proposed by the Commissioners until after the scheme had been laid before Parliament for not less than forty days. He trusted that he had shown that the interests of Eton should not be upheld to the disadvantage of all the other schools; and, further, that the interests of Eton itself required that there should be some change in the constitution of its Governing Body. Under these circumstances, he hoped that their Lordships would not assent to the Amendment proposed by the noble Earl.


thought that every word that had been uttered by the noble Earl who had just sat down proved that any alterations to be made in the constitution of Governing Bodies of the Public Schools should be effected by Parliament and not by Commissioners. He should support the Amendment.


also approved the Amendment.


said, he was afraid that as the noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon) had condemned every one of the existing Governing Bodies, he intended, in the event of this Bill passing into law, that a sweeping change should be effected with regard to them.

On Question? their Lordships divided:—Contents 28; Not-Contents 27: Majority 1.

Amendment agreed to.

Rutland, D. Stratford de Redcliffe, V.
Bath, M. [Teller.]
Bristol, M. Bolton, L.
Salisbury, M. Chelmsford, L.
Delamere, L.
Derby, E. Denman, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) De Ros, L.
Monson, L.
Ellenborough, E. Panmure, L. (E. Dalhousie.)
Haddington, E. Polwarth, L.
Nelson, E. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Romney, E. Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)
Verulam, E.
Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
De Vesci, V.
Hawarden, V. [Teller.] Wynford, L.
Sidmouth, V.
Cranworth, L.(L.Chancellor.) Sydney, V.
Camoys, L.
Devonshire, D. Clandeboye, L. (L.Dufferin and Claneboye.)
Somerset, D.
Normanby, M. Dartrey, L. (L. Cremorne.)
Clarendon, E. Foley, L. [Teller.]
De Greys, E. Lyveden, L.
Devon, E. Methuen, L.
Ducie, E. Northbrook, L.
Fitzwilliam, E. Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.) [Teller.]
Minto, E.
Morley, E. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Russell, E. Sundridge, L. (D.Argyll.)
Spencer, E.
Talbot de Malahide, L.
Halifax, V. Wrottesley, L.

Some verbal Amendments proposed by The Earl of DERBY, The Earl of PowIs, and The Lord CHANCELLOR, were agreed to, and the Bill was read a third time and passed.