HL Deb 15 June 1868 vol 192 cc1538-53

rose to call the Attention of the House to the Report of the Public Schools Commission in 1864, with the View to some further Measures beyond the Bill now pending in Parliament; and to move for Copies of any Petitions or Memorials on the subject of Public Schools which have been received by Her Majesty's Government since the 1st of July, 1866. He had no intention of discussing the Bill now pending in the other House—had he desired to do so he should certainly have waited until it came before their Lordships; but all he had to say about the Bill was that he heartily wished it success, for it was substantially the measure which was framed two years ago by a Select Committee of their Lordships' House, to which the Bill introduced on behalf of the Government by his noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) was referred. As the Bill was received from the Government, it was intended to legislate for a great number of cases; but the Committee adopted a more general and he thought a much sounder principle—that of leaving each case to be decided as it arose by a Commission which commanded confidence. It was on that principle the Bill which had been introduced into the Commons this year was framed, and he trusted it would come to their Lordships without any material alteration. But, important though the Bill was, it gave no power to the Commission it appointed to deal with the question of the course of studies at public schools. Yet the subject occupied much of the time of the Commission of 1864, and no one would deny that it was one of paramount importance. He did not complain, that no power over the course of studies was given to the Commission, for the subject was one which properly belonged to the governing body of a school, and he disclaimed all idea of constraint or compulsion. The question he desired to submit to their Lordships was whether, without any constraint or compulsion, some measures of a practical character might not be introduced which might facilitate the improvements we desired to see effected in the course of studies, and which might enable the governors of public schools to do what he believed many of them were desirous of doing. It did seem most essential, as was well urged by the Commissioners' Report of 1864, that the studies of the public schools should continue to have a classical basis, and that they should still proceed from the languages of Greece and of Rome. A striking testimony to the value of that classical foundation, even where the teaching was of a far less elevated order, was supplied incidentally in that other Report of the Commissioners on Endowed Schools, so ably presided over by his noble Friend opposite (Lord Taunton). In one passage the Commissioners said of such schools—and the words though few are most weighty—"Where Latin is best taught French and mathematics are best taught also. Where Latin is not taught, other subjects are rarely well taught." While concurring in the desire that Greek and Latin studies should be made the foundation of the curriculum of these schools, he would say it did not follow that they should be, as they were fifty years ago the only studies. It was gratifying to find how many other branches of study recommended by the Commission of 1864 were being taught. Until 1836 mathematics were not taught at Eton; it was only provided that the writing master might be permitted to add them to his other teaching. It would appear incredible in the next age that the countrymen of Sir Isaac Newton could be content to leave mathematics at this great public school to be a mere makeweight and appendage to the duties of the writing master. Since then, both at Eton and other public schools, mathematics had become part of the school course. Modern languages had also been introduced at Eton. It was not the least of the many services which the Prince Consort had rendered to the cause of intellectual progress in this country that he had founded prizes at Eton for the study of modern languages. Notwithstanding these prizes, the study of French had been pursued at Eton under, he might say, great discouragement from the school authorities. But at present it was otherwise. Since the subject was last discussed by their Lordships, French had been made a necessary part of the school course. If disparaging terms were to be used of Eton, they could apply only to the past, and not to the present or future; for the system had undergone a most salutary change, and it was probable—nay more, he would say certain—that Eton would henceforth take the lead in all improvements of study. Modern history and geography had been introduced, and natural science had made more progress at Eton and other public schools than he could have ventured to anticipate. When he last addressed their Lordships on this subject he expressed doubts whether natural science could be introduced into the course of studies; but now he found with great pleasure that this object was actually accomplished, Accord- ing to a Return kindly supplied to him by the Provost of Eton— French is taught compulsorily throughout the school" to the top of Division 4. The first three divisions comprise together just 100 boys. Some branch of physical science is taught compulsorily throughout the fifth form to the top of Division 4. The branches now being taught are physical geography, mechanics, hydrostatics, optics, astronomy. These divisions (4 to 11) comprise about 280 boys. In fact, be many new brandies if study had been introduced that it had become absolutely necessary to consider what portions of the present curriculum could be laid aside while retaining the classical foundation—for the conclusion was irresistible, that, with due regard to the health and physical training of the boys, it was impossible to increase materially the time devoted to study. Much might be done by increased application and by improved methods of teaching; but substantially the question was what branches of study were to be given up for the branches which were to be adopted. He could not but think it was desirable with that view to deal with the practice of Greek composition in prose and in verse, which he believed could be wholly set aside, Latin composition might be, not set aside, but restrained within smaller bounds, and especially should it be confined to those who showed an aptitude for it. But he maintained there was no good argument for continuing the practice of composition in Greek verse. To illustrate that point he would take the case of the noble Earl the late Prime Minister (the Earl of Derby), who, it was universally allowed, had gained great credit by his spirited and successful translation of the Iliad into English verse, and who, he might remark in passing, would greatly gratify gentlemen of all political parties if he would employ his present leisure in translating the Odyssey also. Now, supposing that the noble Earl, instead of giving an English version of the Iliad, had been so misled by his school recollections as to have undertaken the translation of Paradise Lost into Greek iambics, he would doubtless have been subjected to very disparaging remarks—and, indeed, he observed that the very idea caused his noble Friend to smile. A very painful impression was in like manner produced on his mind by the description of the ludicrous efforts of a school-boy who, being required to celebrate the inauguration of a neighbouring railway in some prize verses, endeavoured to convey the notion of a railway in pure and classical Greek; and it certainly was a strong condemnation of the system that, whereas other branches of study, if pursued in after-life, brought praise and honour to those who cultivated them, the pursuit of Greek and Latin composition would be productive of ridicule. Then when so many other branches of study demanded our attention, what argument could be adduced in favour of continuing this system of Greek and Latin composition at our public schools? The sole argument which he had heard was that it tended to promote good scholarship. But was that the fact? He would venture to bring forward evidence to the contrary, and he felt sure it would be listened to with respect by their Lordships, There was a very important letter, dated the 8th of November, 1862. from Dr. Whewell, the late Master of Trinity College. It would be found in the second volume of the Commission of 1862. In that letter Dr. Whewell said— The very great amount of time and care which is bestowed on this accomplishment [of writing Latin verses] is disproportioned to the value of it as a condition and element of an exact knowledge of the Latin language. Still more are the writing of Greek prose and Greek verse not necessary to the scholar; and it cannot be doubted that a most exact knowledge of Greek may exist in persons who could not fluently translate Addison into Greek prose or Pope into Greek verse.…. The great amount of time and attention bestowed on these accomplishments in this University has, I think, an unfavourable effect upon the knowledge of classical literature which our scholars acquire. The result of its occupying so much of their time is that they bestow comparatively little of their time and thoughts upon the reading of Greek and Latin authors with a view to their matter. They are much better acquainted with the Greek and Latin written by themselves and their companions than with any Greek or Latin written by ancient mithors."—[p. 43.] He trusted their Lordships would mark well these words. If even Greek and Latin scholarship were to be taken as the sole and entire aim of public schools, see what so high an authority pronounced to be the effect upon that scholarship of the system of Greek and Latin composition. Dr. Whewell declared that it was actually unfavourable. The result of that system was in general to make the scholars mere copyists of copies—to turn them from the study of such writers as Virgil to the study of such writers as Vincent Bourne If he wished to describe our present system of compulsory compositions in Greek and Latin by two words only, he would take the two words in which that great critic Boileau described some bad poets of his time—he bade us to beware of their "sterile abundance." Nothing certainly could be more abundant than the crop of Greek and Latin verses at our Universities and public schools; nothing could be more sterile than the supposed advantages they brought. Why was the existing system maintained? He thought he could clearly show that some of our greatest public schools were themselves disinclined to encourage or extend it. Here, for instance, were some extracts from a circular letter, dated April 10, 1867, and addressed by the very able Head Master of Harrow, Dr. Butler, "to masters and tutors engaged in preparing boys for Harrow." He said— It may be convenient for you to receive early information of an important change which we propose to introduce into our school instruction. Boys in the fourth form will be henceforward exempted from Latin verses altogether. In the shells the great majority will be exempted; instruction in verses being reserved for such young boys in this part of the school as shall appear to their tutors to have a decided talent for them. Dr. Butler then proceeded to show that by some other classes Latin versification might be still pursued; and he said in his final paragraph— You will not, I trust, infer from this circular that I am an opponent of Latin verses. On the contrary, I have a strong sense of their value as a means of imparting and developing a taste for refined scholarship. But experience has convinced me that with a very large proportion of our hoys they are thrown away, and I cannot resist the conclusion that the intellectual interests of this large number demand some modification in our long-established system. The reason why the present system was continued was that the public schools were looking to the Universities, while the Universities were looking to the public schools. Each expected the other to make the first step. Anyone conversant with our public schools, if interrogated as to the reason why the system of Greek composition, which had become the laughing-stock of the best scholars of France and Germany, was still continued in this country, would reply that the public schools were bound to train boys for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where prizes were awarded for Greek composition—as the Poison Prize at Cambridge and the Gaisford Prize at Oxford—and where Fellowships and other posts of dignity and profit were to some extent depend- ent upon such acquirements; and therefore that if such instruction were not given the boys would not learn what they expected, and would be sent elsewhere. If, on the other hand, any one at the Universities were asked why any encouragement was still afforded to Greek verses, the answer might be—"Why, what can we do? Is not this the very accomplishment to which the young men who come to us from public schools have been most carefully trained? Would it be fair to exclude them from the chance of obtaining academical distinction from that branch of classical study to which they have previously given so much of their time and care? There was much force and weight in those arguments urged on both sides; and though both the public schools and the Universities might desire a change of system neither of those bodies could effect it singly. There was, however, a practical suggestion which much reflection had led him to think would meet the difficulty; and he desired to submit it to their Lordships' attention. The Public Schools Commission, as he had reminded their Lordships, had nothing whatever to do with the course of study; and what he desired to submit to the House and to the Government was, that when the Public Schools Bill had been in operation for some time—say after an interval of a year or more—there should be nominated another Commission, consisting solely of persons connected with the governing or teaching bodies of the public schools, and with the governing or teaching bodies of the Universities. He would have no one on the; Commission who was not connected with either the schools or the Colleges, because he thought there ought to be nothing like pressure in the case. If a Commission of able men wholly connected with the public schools and the Colleges were so appointed, and if, assisted by an able secretary, they met from time to time, he thought it highly probable that great improvements would be made in the course of study. He did not mean to suggest that the Report of the Commission should be binding on the governing bodies; but they would have an opportunity of considering it, and he had no doubt that good results would follow. If it was true—and he thought it could not be denied—that those public bodies were desirous of finding time for the more important branches of study, without trenching unduly on the hours of exercise and recreation which it was im- portant to preserve—if it was true that those public bodies were desirous of improvements, and yet could not effect them singly, he asserted that there was no other means by which improvements in the course of study could be brought about than by giving those bodies an opportunity of discussing details with the view of retrenching superfluities in other brandies in order to obtain time for those more important subjects to which he had adverted. He owned there was one reflection which occurred to him with great force on reading passages in the Report recently presented in reference to Endowed Schools. He thought it very striking to observe how very much—and he said it to their honour—the middle class of this country at the endowed schools were striving to obtain intellectual superiority, and to push forward for an intellectual lead. Now, he would desire that the sons of the gentry of this country should maintain, ns heretofore, the leading position in public affairs—that they should be, as they had hitherto been, the leaders in the intellectual and political movements of this country. If they were to do so—and he did not doubt that such was their desire—it must be by honourable competition in those useful courses of study in which the youth of the middle class were striving to excel them. In the endowed schools they found young men studying the principles that regulate the wealth of nations in the admirable work of Adam Smith; discerning the early revolutions of this planet, and the substances that go to compose it in the recent discoveries of Murchison and Lyell; or with Airey and Adams and other eminent astronomers exploring the still sublimer rules which are obeyed in the starry sphere, and which enable us, mere atoms, to calculate with minute precision the slightest movements of the heavenly bodies. When the young men studying these objects at the middle-class seminaries came to compete with those from the public schools, that competition should find the latter engaged in the same course with perhaps still superior advantages of study. Let not that competition find our grandsons as it would have found our grandfathers—toiling merely in the composition of wearisome Greek iambics, or explaining in full detail the five varieties of the Asclepiadean metres! Let it be remembered, also, that those studies of imitative verse and prose were naturally Stationary, while science was progressive. Their Lordships would remember the noble words used by Lord Bacon—Multi pertransibunt et augebitur scientia. Some short time ago he took occasion to explain to his noble Friend the President of the Council the object he had in view. He was very far from expecting his noble Friend on the part of the Government to give him any definite reply at present. He was well aware how numerous and pressing were the subjects which now occupied the attention of the Government; but he hoped he might hear from his noble Friend the assurance that this matter would not hereafter be neglected. He thought, moreover, that he was justified in bringing the question under the consideration of their Lordships, because there could be no place better fitted for its discussion than an assembly in which there were so many Prelates who, so greatly to their honour and credit, had at the outset of their careers been teachers of youth in our public schools and Colleges. The education in those institutions was of immense importance; for there was nothing which conduced, in the long run, more effectually to the object their Lordships all had in view—to maintain unimpaired the greatness of the English nation and of the English name.

Moved, "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for, Copies of any Petitions or Memorials on the Subject of Public Schools which have been received by Her Majesty's Government since the 1st of July, 1866."—(The Earl Stanhope.)


said, that as one who took a great interest in our public schools, he could not help expressing his thanks to his noble Friend for having again brought this question before their Lordships. The noble Earl (Earl Stanhope) had alluded to the Report of the Commission over which he (the Earl of Clarendon) had had the honour to preside. That Report was the result of a very laborious and impartial inquiry, in the course of which evidence was taken of a very remarkable character; but he regretted to say that hitherto the labours of the Commission had been almost barren of results. A Bill was brought in and referred to a Select Committee. He admitted that the measure was much improved by the Committee. Machinery was introduced by which great and important reforms might have been effected; but, to the regret and surprise of those interested in the public schools, valuable clauses were struck out by their Lordships after the Bill came from the Select Committee. It was now two years since that Bill had passed their Lordships' House; and although during the last two Sessions the House of Commons had been almost exclusively engaged in the discussion of questions of Reform, he thought that if the Government had been earnest on the subject, and had attached to the Bill of last year the importance it deserved, there would have been no insurmountable difficulty in passing it. This Session the Bill had been introduced in the House of Commons and had been referred to a Select Committee; but whether, after coming down from the Committee, it would undergo another discussion and reach their Lordships in time for consideration, or whether it would be one of those measures abandoned at the close of the Session, he was of course unable to say. Sure he was, however, that no further delay ought to occur in legislation which was universally admitted to be necessary, and in which the middle classes of this country took a great interest, notwithstanding the strange apathy with which it appeared to be viewed by the country, and particularly by the parents of children who would be affected by the public school system of education. To show how deeply interested parents were in improving that system, he would quote a single passage from the Report of the Public Schools Commission— If a youth, after four or five years spent in school, quits it at nineteen, unable to construe an easy bit of Latin or Greek without the help of a dictionary, or to write Latin grammatically, almost ignorant of geography and of the history of his own country, unacquainted with any modern language but his own, and hardly competent to write English correctly, to do a simple sum, or stumble through an easy proposition of Euclid, a total stranger to the laws which govern the physical world and to its structure, with an eye and hand unpractised in drawing, and without knowing a note of music, with an uncultivated mind and no taste for reading or observation, his intellectual education must certainly be accounted a failure, though there may be no fault to find with his principles, character, or manners. We by no means intend to represent this as a type of the ordinary product of English public school education; but, speaking both from the evidence we have received and from the opportunities of observation open to all, we must say that it is a type much more common than it ought to be, making ample allowance for the difficulties before referred to, and that the proportion of failures is therefore unduly large. He thought he could appeal to many of their Lordships whether there was any exaggeration in this description of the results of our public school education. He would not weary them with any further quotations from the Report or the evidence; but he had quoted enough to show that an education confined to Latin and Geeek was unnatural; that, though these were everywhere professed to be taught, they were not taught thoroughly; and that, in any case, it was a miserable mis-spending of the best years of a boy's life. They were all agreed that the study of Latin and Greek should be the basis of a liberal education. He was convinced that if these were taught upon a better system, there would be abundance of time for them and for studies which were more directly fitted for boys for the practical age in which they lived; and, without overtaxing the brain or encroaching upon the recreation of boys, they might be much better qualified than they now were for the battle of life. He would not follow his noble Friend into the details of Latin and Greek composition and verse-making, because he could not quite agree with his noble Friend that there was any practical utility in such a discussion. Nor could he concur with his noble Friend in thinking that such a Commission as he desired to appoint would be useful at the present moment. Hereafter it might be of use; but just now the whole subject of education had been overloaded by inquiry, and the time had arrived when investigation might safely be suspended, and when legislative action should properly follow. What was really wanted was the passing of this Bill, re-constituting the governing bodies; and by and by the time might arrive when a further number of professional men might be appointed, as his noble Friend suggested. At the present moment he thought there was some risk that the chances of a sounder system of education would be rather retarded than promoted, if men of such eminence and authority as his noble Friend desired to appoint were to commit themselves very strongly in favour of the existing system. A Report by them would have such weight upon the new governing bodies and the executive Commission as rather to hamper than advance the reform of the existing system. It was also quite true that some of the schools had not been inactive or unmindful of public opinion, so far as it had been elicited by the inquiries of the Commission. His noble Friend had alluded to some of these. At Rugby natural science and modern languages were now part of the regular course. At Harrow that cruel infliction of verse-making upon boys, who had about as much aptitude for making verses as they had for flying in the air, was now greatly abated. Modern languages had also been introduced; and he was glad to hear that great changes were in contemplation—he feared, rather than in active operation—at Eton. [Earl STANHOPE: French is now compulsory.] He was glad to hear the fact quoted by his noble Friend, as a triumph of the new system, that 100 boys were now studying French compulsorily at Eton. [Earl STANHOPE: 180.] Such a fact showed that public opinion had operated upon the public schools, and that they could act independently of other bodies. The great point, in his opinion, was to see the governing bodies re-constituted, and the new system brought into action, not in opposition to the Head Masters, but in concert with them, and profiting by their knowledge. When such a system had been brought into operation, the time might arrive for appointing such a Commission as his noble Friend suggested; and he believed that the very men who would now be put upon it would be better fitted a year hence to undertake the task. A great change of opinion was in progress, and the volume of essays upon public education, which no doubt most of their Lordships had seen, would greatly assist in promoting that change. What was wanted was to infuse such new life into our public schools as would be able to deal vigorously with existing prejudices. This could only be done by legislation, and if his noble Friend's speech had the effect of contributing to the passing of the Bill now before the other House this year, he would have done better service than by promoting further inquiry.


was glad that his noble Friend had alluded to the Bill which was the practical result of the inquiry of the Public Schools Commission, over which his noble Friend had himself so ably presided. They must remember that the Bill to carry out the recommendation of the Commission had been introduced into Parliament in three successive Sessions. In 1865 the noble Earl who has just sat down (the Earl of Clarendon) presented the Report of the Commission and a Bill which was the complement of that Report followed upon it. That Bill was referred to a Select Committee and underwent a laborious investigation during the greater part of the Ses- sion; indeed, so much time was consumed in investigation that the Bill could not be further proceeded with. In 1866 the late Government, acting consistently with what they had done in the preceding Session, re-introduced the Bill into this House, and it was passed and sent down to the Commons; but, owing to the change of Government, the further progress of the Bill was stopped. The noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon), however, was hardly fair to the Government of which his noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) was the head, when he said that if they had used a little more exertion they might have secured the passing of the Bill; for in 1867 his noble Friend Introduced the Bill on the 7th of February, immediately after the meeting of Parliament; the third reading passed on the 8th of March; and it was sent down to the other House of Parliament. Anybody who remembered the proceedings of the other House last Session must be fully conscious how the time of the other House was overtasked with the discussion on the Reform Bill, and could not be surprised that a measure of this importance, occupying the whole time of Parliament, precluded the fair consideration of any other measure. Therefore, considering the magnitude of the question, he was bound to say the Government of his noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) used every exertion to pass their measure; and one of the first acts of the present Government this Session was to re-introduce the Bill in the House of Commons, where it was now under consideration. Their Lordships would, of course, listen with the greatest respect to everything which fell from his noble Friend (Earl Stanhope) on the subject of education in public schools; but, at the same time, considering Parliament was already engaged in legislating on the subject, he thought it would have been better if his noble Friend had postponed his observations until the Bill had come from the Commons where it was being considered, and perhaps considerably changed, by a Select Committee. The Commissioners had strongly and wisely urged the modernizing of the studies in public schools; and the mere introduction of a Bill to carry out the Report of the Commissioners in three successive Sessions had already exercised a beneficial influence on the governing bodies. At both Eton and Harrow the course of instruction had been modified; and the result so far induced him to recommend their Lordships not to press the heads of schools too far, but to deal with them very tenderly. The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) had admitted that his original Bill had been improved by the Select Committee to which it was referred; it was, therefore, reasonable to hope the present measure would introduce into the government of public schools those salutary changes so ably advocated by the noble Earl. He was sure his noble Friend would not press him, under the circumstances, to give a reply on behalf of the Government to his statement; and, respecting his request for Papers, he assured him that no memorials whatever on the subject had been received by the Government.


said, he thought that his noble Friend (Earl Stanhope) was wrong on one point, when he said that the Bill now before the Legislature gave the Commissioners no power to deal with the studies of the schools; for one of the clauses expressly gave the Commissioners power to make regulations with respect to the introduction of new classes of studies.


rose to Order. The noble Lord was not in Order in discussing the details of a Bill which was now in the other House of Parliament.


said, he asked leave of the House to point out, as the noble Earl had already referred to the Bill, that the governing bodies and the Commissioners had power to make regulations concerning studies; and, that being so, he contended a measure such as that proposed by the noble Earl was not needed. As regarded the Bill, he desired to express his regret that it had been hitherto dropped, and his hope that it would pass this Session and become law. He believed that it was the necessary and the adequate sequel to the Commission, which could not be said to be a failure till this Bill had been considered on its merits and rejected by Parliament. He thought the chief difference between his noble Friend and the late Commission was as to the time necessary for the different studies. His noble Friend argued that there was not time for the new studies, unless at the expense of the old ones. Now in the Report he would find a carefully prepared scheme with respect to Eton, in which the new studies were introduced, without any unnecessary curtailment of the time given to the old ones. He regretted that the noble Earl had shown himself as inveterate an opponent as ever of Greek and Latin com- position. He disagreed from the opinion—eminent though the person (Dr. Whewell) was who had given it—that the boys in public schools and at the Universities were in the habit of imitating the Latin verses of each other rather than of the ancients. It was admitted on all hands, that too much time was now given to Greek and Latin composition, and he and those who thought with him, were prepared to see allotted to them a diminished portion of time—but not that they should be altogether disregarded. It would no doubt be strange if, as his noble Friend had said, Paradise Lost should be translated into Greek iambics, but a translation of it into Greek hexameters would not be at all absurd; indeed, if time were given him, he would undertake to do it himself, in a manner he hoped his noble Friend should approve. The noble Earl had referred, in ridicule, to the idea of the account of the opening of a railway being rendered into Greek verse. Well, he would say that one of the most beautiful modern Latin compositions ever seen was a minute description of a steam engine, in hexameters, by the present Bishop of Rochester; and if that could be done in Latin verse much more might be accomplished in the more potent and flexible language of Greece. All he desired was that Greek and Latin composition should be treated just the same as physical science, modern languages, &c. No doubt it was lamentable to hear of a grown-up man who, born with a strong natural turn for science, had been compelled, during all the best learning years of his life, to occupy himself only with studies to which he was disinclined, without opportunity of following that natural turn; and therefore he desired that all branches of knowledge should be placed so far on the same footing, that there should be opportunity for all. Such boys as had a taste for classical composition should be able to indulge it; while others whose inclinations were for science, or physics, or modern languages, should receive full encouragement to acquire them. He thought that the chief responsibility for inaugurating a change upon the present system rested with the Universities. Until they awarded not only honours—for that was already done—but a fair proportion of emoluments, to other subjects besides the classics, it was hopeless to expect that the study of Greek and Latin would cease to occupy the almost exclusive attention of schoolmasters. The schools must necessarily devote the greatest attention to those subjects which were in the greatest favour in the Universities.


wished to say in reference to the observations of his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon), that he had not in any case contemplated the immediate appointment of a Commission. He had been careful to explain that he did not wish for its appointment for a year or more after the first Commission to be appointed under the Public School Bill had been at work for some time. His object had been in a great measure attained by the opinions which he had elicited. After the discussion that had been held, and on learning from the noble Duke that no petitions or memorials had been received by Her Majesty's Government since the 1st of July, 1866, he should withdraw his Motion.

Motion (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.