HL Deb 03 August 1874 vol 221 cc1114-41

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


My Lords, in rising to move that the Bill be now read the second time, I trust that nothing will fall from me in any way calculated to provoke that amount of excitement, and I may say warmth of feeling, which seemed to have prevailed in "another place" when this measure was under consideration in that Assembly. It will be my endeavour, in the remarks I am about to make, not to say anything personally offensive to my noble Friend the noble Lord who presided over the Endowed Schools Commission (Lord Lyttelton) or anything inconsistent with the respect I feel for him both in his public and private capacity. I am quite willing to admit the very conscientious manner in which he and his Colleagues applied themselves to a task which was by no means an easy one. I am quite willing to admit that they have displayed in the business before them for the last five or six years great zeal, great energy, and great ability, and that they have in some instances, at all events, conferred benefits on the institutions with which they have had to deal. If, therefore, in the course of my observations, I should make remarks in a somewhat different sense, I wish to guard myself in every way from being supposed to say anything personally offensive to the noble Lord or his Colleagues. When Her Majesty's Government took office, we found it to be necessary for us to deal with the Endowed Schools Commission. Your Lordships are no doubt aware that that Commission was appointed first for three years, that subsequently the powers of the Commission were extended for one year, and that they will altogether expire at the end of the present year. That being so, it became the duty of Her Majesty's Government to consider what was the proper mode of dealing with the Commission. Three courses suggested themselve to us, and the reasons which prevented us from adopting either of two of them it will be for me now to state to your Lordships. First, we might have allowed the present Commission to lapse altogether. In the next place, we might have renewed the powers of the existing Commission. The third alternative was to transfer the powers vested in the Endowed Schools Commission to some other body. With regard to the first course, after duly considering the matter, we felt that it would be inexpedient and unwise to adopt it, because its effect would be to put an end to much useful legislation in respect of endowed schools. The number of grammar schools for which schemes had to be framed was 800, and the income of those schools was £336,000. The Commission had dealt with something like 74 of those schools, and had prepared schemes for 06 more; leaving 660 grammar schools still to be dealt with. In addition to these there are other educational endowments, 370 in number, of which 89 have been dealt with and 42 are in course of being dealt with, leaving 239 of these schools still to be dealt with by some provision or other. Putting the matter in another way, there are 25 or 26 counties, or certainly one half of the counties, yet untouched by the Commission. That being the state of things, we thought it would be very unadvisable to let the powers exercised by the Endowed Schools Commission lapse altogether; and then it became our duty to decide whether they should be continued in the hands of that Commission. I can conscientiously assure the noble Lord (Lord Lyttelton) that so to continue them would have been the course most agreeable to my feelings, because if it had been adopted, I should not have been obliged to show, as I must do now, why it is that the Commission has not acted in a manner which commends itself to the satisfaction of the country. I must for a moment call your Lordships' attention to the condition of matters when the Commission was appointed in 1869, and to the opinions held by the noble Lord who presides over that Commission, and to whoso opinions I attribute very much the feeling of distrust in the Commission which now prevails throughout the country. The noble Lord having beforehand enunciated his opinions, and having conscientiously carried them out to the best of his ability since his appointment to the presidency of the Commission, I think I am right in saying that to those opinions is very much to be attributed the evils complained of in the working of the Commission. At the time the Commission was first appointed, on the occasion of a meeting in the hall of the Society of Arts, when Mr. Hobhouse read a paper "On the limits to be placed to posthumous dispositions to public uses," the noble Lord said, he— was anxious to express his general agreement with the principles and doctrines laid down by Mr. Hobhouse, the more so on account of the peculiar position in which he and that Gentleman stood with respect to one important branch of the subject under review—being two out of the three Commissioners appointed to carry into effect (should it pass into law) the Endowed Schools Bill, under which they would have very large powers indeed of carrying out the principles now affirmed by Mr. Hobhouse. Under these circumstances he felt it incumbent on him to state (dearly and publicly the manner in which he should feel it his duty to use the power committed to him, while, at the same time, he could but repeat a doubt which he had already expressed, whether the Government would act wisely in entrusting such large powers to men who were already publicly committed to the manner in which they would exercise them. For that very reason, he at first declined the Chief Commissionership under the Act, and he still doubted whether the managers of endowed schools had not some cause of complaint in not being placed under the control of men of less pronounced views on this subject than himself—who had taken so prominent a part in the Schools Inquiry Commission—and Mr. Hobhouse. Be that as it might, it was certainly only fair that managers and Governing Bodies, and those who had more respect for founders' wills than either himself or the gentleman who had read the paper, should be fully aware that, if they were to be allowed to do what they certainly would feel it their duty to attempt, in very many cases the 'pious founder' would go to the wall. Well, my Lords, I think those are very startling views to be entertained by the head of the Endowed Schools Commission, and I have no doubt that throughout the country they were felt to be so, though there was not then so much alarm as was subsequently felt in respect of the proceedings of the Commission. The Commission was appointed, the noble Lord and Mr. Hobhouse being two of the Commissioners, and the noble Lord proceeded to carry out the views which he had previously stated he should feel it his duty to carry out. Clause 9 of the Act gives the Commissioners enormous powers. I am far from saying that the noble Lord exceeded those powers—perhaps he acted quite within them—but what I am calling attention to is that it seems to me a pity that the person who had expressed these opinions had those powers confided to him in his capacity as a Commissioner of Endowed Schools. The Commissioners took office and proceeded to work. The mode they adopted was to issue Papers of Instruction, which are well known to those who take an interest in these subjects. One of them, Paper "F," which gave a summary of the principles proposed to he acted on by the Commission, caused extreme alarm to the Governing' Bodies and trustees of schools; and if I am not mistaken, on objection being made by one of the Assistant Commissioners as to its use, it was withdrawn from circulation, though the Commissioners acted on it in the schemes they drew up. There was another Paper which also caused considerable alarm. Noble Lords are familiar with Paper "L," which was intended to explain Section 19 of the Act. That section probably called forth as much debate as any other in the Bill. Paper "L" sot forth that Section 19 was to be construed in as strict a manner as possible—so strictly as to diminish very much the Church of England schools. Another Paper, "S." which was afterwards withdrawn, made known that but a very small portion of the endowments was to be devoted to elementary education. As in almost every parish of the country there is an endowment, larger or smaller, managed by the gentry and the clergy, there was a very widespread apprehension as to what might be the fate of a large number of schools. Governing Bodies and corporations appeared to be threatened with alterations and with dissolution, whether there was any reason or not for such proceedings; and there was one further principle in the action of the Commission which caused great alarm. I allude to the principle of degrading the schools. The noble Lord, who is himself such a master of the Greek language, decided—and it is a matter of surprise to me why he did so—that there should be no Greek taught in the Bradford School; but that ruling excited such opposition, that he and his Colleagues were afterwards obliged to allow Greek to be taught in that school. Again, the Commissioners drew a hard-and-fast line with respect to the age to which any boy might remain at school. They decided that no boy was to remain at school after a particular age, and allowed no power to the Governors or trustees to relax the rule in that respect. All these different regulations made by the Commissioners gave dissatisfaction to the great bulk of the Governors and trustees of the schools, and created such an alarm throughout the country that no later than last Session a Committee was moved for and granted in the other House of Parliament. And here a singular coincidence appears, for it would seem, my Lords, from the evidence of the noble Lord himself, that at the time of his appointment, he said to Mr. Forster, then Vice President of the Council—" You do not imagine that this work can be finished in five years?" To which Mr. Forster replied—"No; there is no chance of that; but at about the end of three years the country will be able to say how it likes the way in which the work is being carried out." That was a prophecy of Mr. Forster; for three years from the appointment of the Commission was about the time when the country began to very strongly manifest its discontent, and the consequence was, the House of Commons agreed to appoint the Committee of last Session, presided over by Mr. Forster himself. The noble Lord and his Colleagues were examined before that Committee, and from the evidence given before it by the noble Lord, it would appear that he had not at all changed his opinion. On the contrary, if I may say so, he entertained it in a still more extravagant form than at the time of his appointment. On the 4th of March, 1873, the noble Lord gave this evidence— I hold in general accordance with the opinion often made public by our late Colleague, Mr. Hobhouse, that no man ought to have the right to direct for more than a limited period after his death, the devotion of his property to public any more than we have by the actual law to private uses. I do not press this view to any logical or theoretical extreme. I am willing that for, say, SO years after the death of a testator his dispositions should be exempted from the operation of such Acts as ours; and I am willing that all property that was left for educational uses should still be so applied. It is impossible to anticipate a time in which such application can be otherwise, if duly regulated, than beneficial to the country; but all further details, in my judgment, should be left to the control of the carefully appointed public bodies, and according to the exigencies of the commonwealth from time to time.' It will be seen from this that, as an abstract opinion, I think that such restrictions as are in Section 19 cannot be defended. It is not a pleasant thing to have to express an opinion which in the judgment of the vast majority of the people of this country is not only wrong, but impious and sacrilegious. After taking a vast amount of evidence the Committee drew up a Report, and I wish to read one short paragraph from that Report, expressive of the feelings of the Committee as to the confidence felt in this Commission:— The published opinions of some of the Commissioners on the subject of endowments have caused alarm, and have, in some cases, seriously impeded the harmonious action which might have otherwise been secured between them and the Governing Bodies of the charities with which they have had to deal. Their own experience, as they state, in attempting to work the Act, has convinced them that the country was hardly prepared for its reception; and it is to be regretted that some of the changes proposed by them, especially in the cases of certain good schools, should have been such as to hinder the hearty cooperation of those who had heretofore worked to render them efficient. That paragraph was carried in the Committee by something like two to one. I mention this, because opinions were so nicely balanced in the Committee that many Resolutions of great importance were carried by only the casting voice of the Chairman. In the face of all this evidence which I have alluded to, in the face of the distrust of the Commission felt by the trustees and throughout the country generally as a consequence of the manner in which they had carried out the Act, in the face of such a statement by the Committee, and of public opinion, expressed in many ways, what were we to do? As I have already said, it would have been a much more agreeable and easy task to renew the powers of the Commission; but I think it must be clear to all impartial persons that such a course would not have been an advisable one to adopt. We therefore had to inquire what line of action it would be best to adopt, and it appeared to us that the Charity Commissioners were the body who might be most aptly charged with such duties as the Endowed Schools Commissioners were appointed to perform. In the first Bill relating to the subject of the Charity Commission it was proposed to appoint it under a Department of the Privy Council, but subsequently the Charity Commission was appointed in its present form. We therefore thought the Commission was one which might be safely entrusted with such duties. The mode in which it has carried out the powers already entrusted to it with regard to Nonconformists is most promising. I find that in the 10 years ending March, 1873, the Charity Commissioners dealt satisfactorily with no fewer than 854 Nonconformist schemes, showing that they have the confidence of the Nonconformist Bodies. I think there is good reason to hope that they will give equal satisfaction to other bodies having the management of educational institutions; and therefore my Lords, I venture to hope that by this Bill, which will transfer to them the power of dealing with the Endowed Schools, a great benefit will be conferred upon the country. I am quite willing to admit that the Bill as now presented to your Lordships is not the Bill introduced in the House of Commons. The Bill as so introduced was one of a much larger character, and embraced other matters than those I have mentioned. It must be admitted by every one who has paid any attention to the subject that one of the difficulties of the Act of 1869 arose from the obscurity of certain of the sections. Mr. Roby, one of the Commissioners, said that he thought there was more obscurity in the 19th and 24th clauses of that Act than in any two clauses he had ever seen. We had then before us that Clause 19 which is so obscure, and we endeavoured to remove the obscurity. I think the noble Lord (Lord Lyttelton) will admit that it was a difficult section on which to have to touch. Having had a good deal to do with this Bill I am bound to say so—I must say that previously I had formed no idea of the difficulty of dealing with that clause in a satisfactory manner, and I am further bound to say that I received the greatest assistance from the draftsman. I attribute no fault to him. The inherent difficulty of the matter is sufficient to free him from any fault in respect of that obscurity which, no doubt, the discussion in the other House of Parliament made apparent in the clause. That discussion showed that it would be useless at this advanced period of the Session to try to go on with that part of the Bill, and as what we thought chiefly necessary was the transfer of the powers of the Commission, which we have secured, we did not deem it advisable or necessary to proceed with the other clauses, which had provoked so much opposition in the House of Commons. The fact that in that House the transfer was agreed to by a majority of 89, sufficiently justified us in the views which we entertain. My Lords, I have gone very nearly through the various points of the Bill as laid before your Lordships; but before I conclude I should like to mention two or three Amendments which, I think, it will be necessary to make in Committee. In the first place, in the Bill as it stands it is provided that the Secretary shall be appointed by the Commissioners. The noble Lord will quite understand what I mean, when I say that such a proposal does not put the Secretary in the position he has a right to expect, because under the Endowed Schools Acts, the Secretary, like the Commissioners, was appointed by Her Majesty. To enact that he should be appointed at the pleasure of the Commissioners would put him in a lower rank. I, therefore, propose to put him in the position which the Secretary of the Commission now occupies. I also propose to insert an Amendment providing that the 31st of December shall be the day on which the Charity Commissioners shall assume their new functions, that being the day on which the Endowed Schools Commission expires. On consideration, we have thought that such an arrangement will be better than two concurrent jurisdictions. There is another point of amendment, though it is one which probably will be bettor discussed in Committee. We have had to consider what is to be done with those schemes which have come from the noble Lord and his Colleagues, but are still in the Privy Council Office. There are 32 of them, and some of them involve matters of considerable interest. Unless some clause be introduced, all these schemes will lapse with the Act of 1873, and all the proceedings connected with them will have to be begun over again. Among them is the Dulwich scheme. Enormous expense and great delay would be the result of allowing them to lapse. I therefore propose to insert a clause to keep alive, if I may use the expression, all schemes framed by the Endowed School Commissioners, but which have not yet been approved, in the Privy Council Office, giving to the parties concerned a month to send in any objections that may be entertained against those schemes being taken up and dealt with by the Privy Council. With those observations, my Lords, I should have been willing to sit down after moving the second reading were it not for a matter of a somewhat personal nature as to my conduct respecting the Bill, both before it was brought into the other House of Parliament and since that time. I allude to a statement which has been made in a most public manner respecting my want of courtesy to the noble Lord and his Colleagues, the members of the Commission. If it had reference to myself alone, I should be disposed to pass it by; but as it reflects on the office I have the honour to hold I think I am bound to repudiate it. In other respects, in all probability, I should have treated it with that contempt which I venture to think it deserves. This is what the hon. Gentleman who makes the statement says— He did think it monstrous that the Duke of Richmond, who called himself the Minister of Education and the Vice President of the Council, should bring in this Bill without any personal or private communication with these Commissioners. They were doomed to destruction, and these Ministers, having made up their minds, no doubt thought it better to keep out of the way. If it had been a case of cattle disease or Southdown sheep or any question affecting landlords and tenants the Duke of Richmond would have spared no pains to communicate with the parties, to get all the information in his power, and to produce an impression on the minds of those with whom he had to act that he had not been behind in courtesy. Now, in the strongest language which the usages of your Lordships' House permit, I repudiate the conduct attributed to me in that language, and deny that I showed any want of courtesy towards the noble Lord and his Colleagues on the Endowed Schools Commission, or that I acted in this matter differently from what I would have done in matters in which the hon. Gentleman who makes the charge, and who is somewhat obscure in his language, assumes me to be so much interested. I find also that I am accused by high authority (Mr. Forster) of want of courtesy in not sending for the noble Lord and his Colleagues and consulting with them. Mr. Forster is reported to have said— He was surprised to find that although the Endowed Schools Commissioners had been working under the Education Department since the present Government came into office, no intimation had been made to the House that there was any intention to get rid of them. There had been no communication on the subject between the Lord President or the Vice President and any one of the Commissioners. Consequently, the noble Viscount had had no means of ascertaining whether the impression he had formed of their general unpopularity was well-founded or not. My Lords, I should like to know what those persons would have had me do. Had I invited the noble Lord and his Colleagues to come to the Privy Council to communicate with them on the subject, the first thing I must have said was—"We have determined on the abolition of you and your Colleagues;" and after that all I could have added by way of courtesy would have been, "In what manner will it be most agree able to you to accept it?" I think the noble Lord would Lave been rather astonished if I had sent for him and his Colleagues to ask them whether it was untrue that they were unpopular in the country; and I think he will agree with me that I showed him and them much more courtesy by not inviting them to the Privy Council Office with any such object. But for what other purpose was I to have acted as those Gentlemen suggested? Was I to say to the noble Lord—" We have determined to abolish the Endowed Schools Commission. What sort of Commission do you think we ought to set up in its stead?" I think it probable that the noble Lord would have replied—"Don't ask me. When we are dead and gone settle it yourselves." My Lords, what we did was this—and the noble Lord will bear me out in it—that the moment Her Majesty's Government came to a decision as to what they proposed to do, and before the Bill was drafted, I sent a confidential letter to him, and the moment the Bill was drafted the noble Lord had a copy. I think your Lordships will think from that explanation that as regards intimation to the noble Lord and his Colleagues, I did all that could have been expected. I have been a long time before the public, and I think I may safely say that I am not open to the charge of want of courtesy towards those with whom I come in contact; while as regards my political opponents, the last thing I should think of would be to exhibit any want of courtesy towards them. First, it is contrary to my feelings; and, secondly, I think it is not the best mode by which to carry on Public Business. I shall not trouble your Lordships further, but will conclude by moving the second reading of the Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord President.)


* My Lords, some few of the few of your Lordships present may remember the end of July last year, when this subject was before the House. The noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond) being then better occupied at Goodwood than in attending to our affairs, the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury), who, I presume, is now better occupied elsewhere, had to speak for both. We were of course then, as we are now, wholly at their mercy; and he told us how they had, for a time, as it were, held the Commission between their finger and thumb, hesitating whether or not, then and there, to pinch us out of existence. They resolved, however, not to do so, but to leave us—as I believe it was expressed by one of the right rev. Bench—"to live for a year with a halter round our nocks, and be hanged at the end of it "—precisely what has happened. I believe the noble Marquess has since then, and especially since the change of Government, rather repented that decision on the ground of humanity. No one doubts the benevolence of the noble Duke and his Colleague, Lord Sandon; though I cannot say that Lord Sandon showed much of it in his speech the other day. But so it is, and nothing is more painful than a lingering death inflicted by benevolent men. Moribundus vos saludo; but I am certainly not about to make any Jeremiad on the subject. I like £1,500 a-year as well as anyone else: I have more cause to like it than most people. But the official work I do not like at all, nor this particular work. As Falstaff says, Rebellion lay in his way, and he took it: so I suppose I must say, Confiscation lay in my way, and I took it—but not from any particular pleasure I have in it. I do not dwell upon that; nor on any of those personal matters on which so much was said in the House of Commons. Yet, speaking in the purely official view, which is the only one I wish to take, I cannot but say I was surprised at the conduct of the noble Duke and Lord Sandon in one respect. Never once, from the day they took office to the time when I had a private note from the noble Duke, informing me that the Commission was to be abolished, was there any direct communication from the heads of the Education Department to the heads of the Commission. Sometimes, when from want of information they could not help themselves, they sent their Secretary to see ours, or instructed him to write a note; but that is all. I doubt whether at this moment the noble Duke knows by sight either of my Colleagues. And yet we are not only their Colleagues in office, but our office is actually a part of theirs. This is the way in which Mr. Forster, when introducing the Bill in 1869, described the position— The procedure is this. It is the Government of the day working by special help. The Commissioners are merely officers assisting the Government I agree with the noble Duke that no communication could have been expected about our own supersession, nor about framing the present Bill: but that there should not have been the slightest intercourse, not even an interview, is, I admit, not according to my notion of official usage and propriety. Neither do I dwell on this; and I pass on to the Bill itself. My object is not, except partially and incidentally, to defend the Commission. For that I am content to refer to the evidence before the House of Commons' Committee, and to our Report of 1872. But, as it is my dying speech and confession, I may be allowed to dwell a little on some important points in the general subject, and with a view to the future. The Bill, in itself, is simply a transfer of functions. And, on the assumption that Parliament saw fit not to renew the present Commission, nor to appoint another separate one, I make no objection to that transfer. It is quite true it has the sanction of the School Inquiry Report; not, however, its full sanction, for that Report accompanied it with other recommendations, to which effect has not yet been given. But the Charity Commission, which has long boon in the habit of framing school schemes, though, perhaps, on a somewhat narrow basis, and too much on the old Chancery model, can undoubtedly discharge this function, when reinforced as proposed: and of the new appointments, I may be allowed to express my great satisfaction at the reappointment of my Colleague, Mr. Robinson, while the selections of Lord Clinton and Mr. Langley are quite unexceptionable. I doubt, however, whether the Government are quite aware of what they are doing in throwing, as is expressly done by the Bill, the charge of personal cognizance of all new schemes on the Chief Commissioner, Sir James Hill, in addition to his existing duties: and I am sure they are aiming at what is impossible if, as I heard Lord Sandon announce, they mean to take the whole of England simultaneously, and to get through the whole work in five years. They do not consider the time and trouble involved in the preparation of even a single scheme; nor do I believe, with reference to the imputations of delay made against us, that much more could have been done. The noble Duke's statement that half the counties of England have been untouched by us, is singularly incorrect in that form. I do not believe—without reckoning Wales—that there is a single county actually untouched. But it is not more than a formal error, for certainly not more than half the work has been done, nor, I believe, could have been done. No doubt, if you appoint a sufficient number of Assistant Commissioners, they will in no long time send in full reports on any number of schools; but what is to be done with them? They will produce a mere block in the head office, unless half-a-dozen central Commissions are appointed. And it will be observed that the present Bill, so far from strengthening the executive power of the Commission, actually weakens it. The existing Charity Commission originally consisted of three Members, nor did I ever hear that that was too many. Since Mr. Hobhouse's appointment to the Endowed Schools Commission that number has been short by one, for the vacancy thus made was never filled up; and I have heard complaints of the inconvenience thus caused. Now Mr. Langley is appointed to that vacant office; and I presume some, at least, of his time will be given to the ordinary duties of the Charity Commission. The proper work, then, of the endowed schools administration will be left to two Commissioners only without other duties, Mr. Robinson and Lord Clinton, instead of three. However, all this may, no doubt, be adjusted; but it is impossible to look at the Bill simply in itself. It leaves the law, except as to the machinery for its execution, wholly unaltered; and that law has always been very elastic, and depending greatly for its real effect on the manner in which it has been applied. For that we must at present look at the declarations made by Ministers on its introduction. The law, I repeat, is unaltered. The Bill has not, though it had, even a new Preamble. Now the main substance of the enacting part of the statute is in its 9th and 10th sections, and I desire to dwell on them especially with reference to the question of which we have heard so much—that of the "Will of the Founder." Those sections direct that educational endowments shall be applied with one single object, the advancement of education; the direction is not qualified in any way whatever, by reference to the will of the founder or to anything else. Nor is there any such qualification in the whole remaining portions of the enacting provisions of the Act, except as to one or two specified exceptions, chiefly concerning religion, on which I shall not now dwell. The Preamble, however, does contain words about founders, which have been perpetually quoted—and, no wonder, misquoted—against us. In the first place, they do not, as is often asserted, lay down for our observance the old legal rule of adherence to the will of a founder. If they had, I would have had nothing to do with administering the Act. That rule is, that in each case of an endowment the particular will of the founder of that endowment, in respect of its destination, is to be ascertained and followed for ever, except in the extreme cases of impossibility, or a flagrant absurdity, of repugnance to public policy; and even then his will is to be departed from as little as possible, and on the principle of cyprés. Now, that is not what this Preamble does. It speaks generally of "the main designs of the founders" of these old endowments; and even if it had stopped there, I should have contended that it meant something different from the old Chancery rule. But it does not stop there, though our opponents continually quote it as if it did. If it had, we should have been just remitted to the old state of things, in so far that we should have had to find out for ourselves, in the best way we could, what the said designs were. But now the Act does this for us, in the all-important words following those I have quoted. It looks on the whole of the founders as one body, and directs us, not to the several intentions of each of them, but to one broad object which it recites as their "main design"—namely, the "placing of a liberal education within the reach of children of all classes." That, we are told, is a "strained construction." So far from that, it is not only the natural one, but the only one which could be adopted to be in harmony with the Schools Inquiry Report, also referred to in the Preamble. That Report concluded, as the result of a wide examination of the ancient deeds, that it may be fairly stated for present practical purposes, and as the basis of legislation, that the object which I have described was on the whole the predominant one to be gathered from them. My object is not to vindicate that statement, but to point it out as that which Parliament adopted, and that it is obviously inconsistent with the established, narrower principle of adherence to the will of each particular founder. Particular founders often enough do not provide for a liberal education, but for another, as an elementary one; and constantly they do not extend their benefaction to "all classes of children," but only to children of one class, of one place, of one family. The practical difference is plain. By the old rule we should have had, in School A, to follow the will of its founder, in School B of its founder, and so on through the whole alphabet. Now, in each case we have to apply one general principle. I contend, then, that the Preamble in no degree limits the breadth of the 9th and 10th sections. It affirms it; for a liberal education is a good education; and, if anything, it even enlarges it in scope, for it expressly includes all classes within it. And I infer that the Government in the execution of the Act will not be able to lay down the received doctrine of the will of the founder, as a first principle. If they can satisfy themselves and Parliament that the best way to promote education generally is to adhere in each case to the will of the founder, in that case, no doubt, they will be at liberty to do so. And I cannot but presume from the speeches of the noble Duke, of Lord Sandon, of the Home Secretary, and others, that they do intend to follow the old rule in this respect. I could not have hoped to have been able to continue long in cooperation, if that were their principle; though I should have been bound to make the attempt, the law being unaltered, and the Education Department liable to change from time to time. The noble Duke has fairly quoted what I said on this subject, whether at the Society of Arts or in this House; and after all the invectives against us, I may be allowed to dwell for a time on the principle in question, that of the supposed sanctity of a founder's will. The principle is, that a man has a natural right and ought to have a legal right if he chooses to leave property to what are called public uses, to secure that it shall be applied to the uses which he specifies, for ever. But first let me say a word on the phrase, "public uses." I was once misunderstood on this subject—no doubt from my own fault—by the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) as if I had said that all charitable property—in the popular sense of property given for eleemosynary, benevolent, purposes—was public property. I meant the converse, and in a narrower and more technical sense: that all "public uses" were in the eye of the law, of the Charitable Trusts Act, charitable uses, or charities. This being a question of law, I did not state it on my own authority; I took it from a pamphlet of my late Colleague Mr. Hobhouse, who quotes the words of the statute of Elizabeth, as showing that all sums left for such purposes as the following come under the head of "public uses "— Some for relief of aged impotent and poor people, some for maintenance of sick and maimed soldiers and mariners, schools of learning, free schools, and scholars in universities, some for repair of bridges, ports, havens, causeways, churches, sea-banks and highways, some for education and preferment of orphans, some for or towards relief, stock or maintenance for houses of correction, some for marriages of poor maids, some for supportation, aid and help of young tradesmen, handicraftsmen, and persons decayed and others for relief or redemption of prisoners or captives, and for aid or ease of any poor inhabitants concerning payments of fifteens, setting out of soldiers, and other taxes."—[43 Eliz. c. 4.] And it is to such uses as these that it is held that a man has a right to dedicate his property for ever—for that is the point. I have been supposed to mean all sorts of follies: that a trust should be respected as long as given trustees are alive; that it is right to respect it for exactly 50 years, &c.; whereas all I have ever said is to deny the perpetual right, or what would be equivalent to it. Whether 50 years, or more or less, be the right limit, is a question of detail. My Lords, people may call me what they like, as they have done—revolutionary, impious, sacrilegious, I know not what—1 cannot depart from what I have maintained—that this supposed right of perpetual bequest has no foundation in right reason, in the principles of law, or in any other sound ground. But I will venture again to quote—though it is not in this House that I have referred to it before—as what at least ought to teach moderation of language to those who uphold the received doctrine, the authority of one, venerable alike as a lawyer and a man—I mean Lord Hatherley. In his evidence before the Public Schools Commissioners he speaks as follows:— 12,855. (Lord Lyttelton.) On the general question of the founder's intentions there has been an analogy, pressed of late years by the late Mr. Senior among others, between the power of specific endowment, as of schools for teaching certain things, for ever, and the power of the disposition of property. It has been said that as no one can tie up property beyond a certain number of years, say 60 years, it would be only reasonable that the same principle should be applied to charitable endowments by will or deed; that after a certain time the intention of the founder might be wholly disregarded by competent authority?—I have written a papelen that subject, which was published some time ago. I entertain very strong opinions about posthumous charities especially, and in truth about the dispositions people are allowed generally to make of their property by way of charity. I think there ought to be a power of revision after the time which has been specified, a power of revision of any disposition a person may choose to make of his property, because you do not allow a man to dispose of his property in favour of his great grandchildren; he cannot do it for more than a life in being and 21 years after that. That reasonable limit he ought to be allowed, of course, for any fancy or whim he may have, but to allow a man to dispose for ever of a mass of property, according to his crude notions of what he thinks best, by way of charity for all time, seems to me most unreasonable. I think, with regard to all such whims and fancies as that, and to others which are more sensible (and if he were a sensible founder, I am sure, if he were alive, he would desire it,) there ought to he the power of absolute gift for the limited time, but after a limited time—the life in being and 21 years afterwards—there should be a power of revising every charity whatever. 12,856. Yon think the analogy is sound and may he carried through?—I think so. 12,857. (Lord Stanley) May I ask you how far you would carry that power of revision? Would you carry it so far as to allow the Courts to make a totally different provision from that which the founder intended, or would you only extend the doctrine of cyprés—I confess I go. the whole length of saying that they should have that power; it should be a public charity. That goes to the full as far as I have gone. The analogy of private property seems to me complete, as stated by Lord Hatherley; and even in Scotland, where it used to be said that entails should hold good as long as trees grow and waters flow, we have now put an end to that principle. No doubt a man may feel sure that he is virtually securing his property in a perpetual descent; but that is because he is confident that successive generations will maintain the desire that it should be so, which is just what I would act upon in the other case. I have not said, as I have been supposed to say, that, after a given time, the State should, as a matter of course, step in, take possession of the endowment, and vary its use: but only that the more will of the founder should be no bar, after a time, to its doing so. As a practical question, and on grounds of high expediency, I adopt the last words I have quoted of Lord Hatherley's, and would allow property bequeathed to public uses, to remain for ever dedicated to public uses, subject only to the intervention of Parliament. It is not that I conceive it is really always right that it should be so, any more than all such foundations always deserve the title of "noble," which seems always given to foundations which are very big ones, often by mere efflux of time and without any credit to anyone. Similarly, it seems, that all such founders must necessarily be "pious founders." Pious founders! Well, surely the notion of piety involves something of self-denial and self-sacrifice; and what denial or sacrifice is there, or any other virtue, in a man who lives all his life on the fat of the land, never touching the corpus of his estate, or doing the least good with it, and then on his death-bed, from spite to his relations, as is known and can be traced in several cases, leaves it away from those who have a natural claim on him, to what he calls, forsooth, a charitable use—often a very pernicious use? My Lords, if we could find out all these cases, we might be disposed to deal with the matter in a different way. But as we cannot—as in an indeterminate number of instances there may have been, as certainly there has been in many, real merit in the founders, who laid by during their lives and left the bequest without injustice to anyone—as we do not wish to discourage endowments, as I do not believe they have been discouraged—and as undoubtedly these gifts to public uses, under due regulation, may be of great public advantage—I, for one, am content that the present law should remain, in the sense above indicated. I would go further yet. I would allow a testator to secure for ever the application of his bequest to certain large specified provinces, so to say, of public use—as, for the good of agriculture, of science, of trade, and so forth; not on any ground of individual right, but because it is impossible to conceive that there ever will be a time when such bequests may not be usefully employed in those ways. And here I may advert to the case of bequests for religious purposes. Religion should be one of the provinces I have suggested. But, just as the details of the continual application of a gift for the good of trade, &c, should be left to be fixed according to the needs and feelings of the district benefited, so it should be in the case of a religious bequest. So we have done in our schemes, subject to the specific exceptions under the Act. When we could not, as in the case of those exceptions, refer to the standards of certain religious bodies, we have simply directed religion to be taught; not only because we could not undertake to lay down details of such teaching, but because those are, as I hold, for the people themselves to fix. And this, I conceive, is illustrated by what might at first sight seem to contravene it—I mean the case of an Established Church. It may be said, if the people of a district are to settle the religion to be taught in their endowed schools, why are they not to settle what shall be taught in the parish church? The answer seems to me complete. In the case of an Established Church, the unit—the one body to be dealt with—is, the people of the whole country. You cannot have an Established Church in one part of it and not in another. But an endowment is a special and exceptional benefit for a certain district, and it is for the people of that district, within reasonable limits, to regulate its application. The above analogy will be admitted by those who, like myself, voted for the disestablishment of the Irish Church. To one further view of the doctrine of founders' wills I will advert, which is a modification of the ordinary one. It seems to me open to all the objections which lie against the ordinary view, and to an additional one of its own. It is this—that we should be guided by what a founder would wish, if now living. The special objection to that is the obvious one, that it is mere guesswork: we cannot possibly tell what the founder would think. And what it really means is, that we should, from among the objects desired by the founder, select that or those to which we should ourselves attach most importance. For instance, a man expressly prescribes Church teaching, among other things: a strong Churchman of these days forthwith concludes that that would be his paramount object still. But how can we tell? He may have had other objects consistent with that in his time, but now no longer so, as, that all the children of a district should be admitted into the school on equal terms. How do we know in what way he would have been affected by the course of intervening events? I now turn to the only other leading part of the question to which I wish to refer. As I could not work on the principle of absolute deference to the will of dead founders, so I could not on that of absolute deference to the wish of living trustees. My Lords, here, too, I must speak plainly. The Schools Inquiry Report says there is now no sign of malversation on the part of trustees. But too often trustees of schools are the enemies—the natural enemies—to the reform of those schools. The most common form of their appointment is that of self-election—the worst of all; and it is notorious that such bodies are the most averse to any intervention from without. We are told that it ought to have been our first object to conciliate, and to work with, existing Governing Bodies. Of course, as far as possible, it is our duty, as it is to our obvious interest and convenience, to do so. But no such principle of action is laid down in the Act, or in the Report. The Report expressly suggests, and without limitation, the reform of Governing Bodies on a three-fold system, which, with some variation of form, we have adopted. Then it is asked, why meddle with Governing Bodies which are working well? My Lords, as I conceive, the question is not whether a given system is at a particular time working well, but how best to in sure that it shall continue to do so. Similar to that is the complaint so constantly made, founded on a supposed saying of Mr. Forster's, that "good schools would not be interfered with." In the first place, what Mr. Forster said was not that, but that such schools had nothing to fear; and of course we do not admit that we have done them any harm. Will anyone say, for instance, that the great school of Sherborne, which we dealt with years ago, and which has had a new scheme, including a new Governing Body and curriculum of studies, has in any degree suffered? But, further, interfering with a Governing Body is not the same thing as interfering with the school. And when, as in the other case, it is said that we should not touch a school that is doing well, it should be remembered that there will almost always be a good school where there is a good master; and the general answer is the same—that our object is to insure, as far as possible, that the schools shall be permanently good. My Lords, the two points on which I have mainly dwelt are, in my judgment, vital. And, to judge from the expressed sentiments of Ministers on both of them, I freely admit that they are so different from mine, that I do not believe we could have gone on together. On the whole, as far as I am concerned—and I would have said the same of my late Colleague, Mr. Hobhouse—I do not think a Conservative Government could have been expected to do otherwise than they have done; and I have no complaint to make. My Lords, I had not intended to say anything more in defence of the Commission; but I may be allowed to advert to some points raised by the noble Luke. He has mentioned certain Papers which we issued at an early period. With regard to Paper F, I do not recollect—though it may be so—that an Assistant Commissioner declined, as the noble Duke says, to use it, as he found it inclined men's minds against our principles. It is true that we have long ceased to issue it, but we have in no way departed from its substance. It was framed as an exposition, to be communicated to local parties, of some main principles, and for the guidance of our Assistants; but they have long been so entirely in our confidence, and so familiar with the course of proceeding, that we have found this particular document superfluous. Instead of sending it to trustees, we prefer to leave the substance of it to be discussed in conversation between them and the Assistant Commissioners. I am disappointed at what the noble Duke said of Paper L. That Paper was framed by Mr. Robinson, and its object was rather to define the bounds within which the operation of the 19th section of the Act would be confined, and to point out that it did not necessarily restrain Church teaching so much as it is often supposed it must. Paper S refers to the most difficult of all the subjects we have had to deal with—the adjustment of endowments with the system of elementary education in the country. I cannot go into it further than to say, that the general way in which we have attempted it would illustrate our construction of the important words in the Preamble of the Act, to which I above referred—the words directing us to have in view the liberal education of children of all classes. It follows from these words, as I conceive, that we should take into account all other existing resources and facilities for education for all classes, besides endowments, so as to promote equality of advantage in this respect without distinction. About "grading" schools I have little to say. It is a principle most conspicuously insisted on in the Schools Inquiry Report; nor can I admit that it has on the whole met with much opposition in the country. It is true that we have advocated the exclusion of Greek from schools below the first grade—that is, for boys who leave school at about 16 or under. I am much obliged to the noble Duke for the compliment he has paid me as not having forgotten the Greek I learnt at school and college. It is because I know Greek—because I know something of its beauty, its value, its difficulty—and I appeal to my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon), who has also kept up his Greek—that I protest against the degradation of the most illustrious language ever spoken on earth, by a wretched smattering of it being pretended to be learnt by boys who have to leave school at that early age. They have in these days many other things which they must learn, more than they used to have; and they have not time for it. In almost every case, I believe, in five years after leaving school they know no more of Greek than of the language spoken in the planet Neptune. For most boys the main advantage of classical learning is that it is the best way of learning grammar; and that they get by learning Latin, which I should like to see taught in every school in the country. It is true we have been partly bullied out of our position. At Bradford, where we held a public inquiry under the Act, and in many other places, we were assured by all sorts of people—I believe it might have included the whole population—that the prospects of their sons in life depended on this miserable pretence of learning Greek. All we can do is to weight it to some extent by the imposition of an extra fee. I agree to all the Amendments suggested by the noble Duke, especially that respecting our Secretary, Mr. Richmond, of whom it is impossible for me to speak too highly. My Lords, I am willing to hope the best from the new administration of the law. The law, I repeat, is unaltered; and, I believe, after the experience the Government have had, they will leave it unaltered. And if so, I do not believe they, or any future Government, will find it possible very materially to depart from the lines on which we have proceeded. I have been wondered at for calling it a "drastic" Act, and that with the 9th and 10th sections remaining in it. I am told we have neglected the great principle of compromise. Compromise! Where, I should like to know, in the Act of 1869, is there any indication of compromise? What I find there is not compromise, but thoroughness. No doubt, we may be driven to it, as we have been partly driven to it during the last two years, our existence being precarious and provisional. But I deny that such was the duty of those who had to initiate the administration of the Act. They had definite objects before them, and it was their duty to try if they could attain them; if they could look in doing so for the support of Parliament and of public feeling, even, if needful, against that of trustees and of those on the spot. And if, in so doing—as we fully expected—we have been as a forlorn hope, and fallen victims to our own exertions, I am content that it should be so. For ourselves and our reputation, if I cared for that, I might venture to indulge in some hopefulness. However ill a savour our doings may have in the nostrils of some of Her Majesty's Ministers, of many newspaper writers, and of many Governing Bodies in the country, I venture to believe that there will be hereafter a change in this respect; and that we may even be reckoned among those just persons, I do not say who need no repentance, but of whom it is said that— the actions of the just Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust.


said, he did not rise for the purpose of opposing—opposition, he knew, would be unavailing—what he might call this unfortunate measure, but of saying a few words in reference to what had fallen from his noble Friend the Lord President. His noble Friend who had just spoken (Lord Lyttelton) had touched with dignity and effect upon what might be called the personal aspect of the question, and to that part of the subject he would not further allude. He would not inquire whether the old Commissioners were unpopular, or, if they were more or less unpopular, whether the fact did not necessarily arise from the due discharge of their duties. He thought it was the worst possible example that could be set, to transfer from men whose character and eminence were beyond question, the duty of improving the endowed schools of the country simply for the reasons which had been alleged. It could not be for one of those reasons—religious teaching, for his noble Friend was one of the soundest Churchmen that he (Earl Granville) knew. He therefore wished to enter his protest against the second reading of the Bill, as he considered the measure totally uncalled for, and admittedly unintelligible. As to those clauses of it, which had been abandoned, he supposed the noble Duke opposite had said all that could be said on their behalf. He had told the House that the subject was a very difficult one to deal with, and that he agreed with the Prime Minister in the opinion, that when the clauses came to be examined they were perfectly unintelligible. Well, if the Bill was unfortunate as regarded those clauses, he was quite sure it was still more unfortunate in causing the loss to the country of such a man as his noble Friend who had just spoken. But perhaps the person connected with it who, of all others, was most unfortunate was his noble Friend and Relative in "another place," to whom was committed the introduction of a measure which was declared to be of a warlike character as against the Nonconformists of the country, and who was charged with the duty of explaining its provisions, because the Prime Minister was anxious to afford the younger Members of the Ministry an opportunity of distinguishing themselves. Now, he could state that no one was ever more encouraged by his chiefs than he (Earl Granville) was, in having business given to him to transact in that House which might, perhaps, have been better performed by another Member of their Lordships' House; indeed, he might say that Lord Aberdeen, Lord Palmerston, Lord Russell, and Mr. Gladstone were always most desirous to give similar opportunities of distinction, but then it was not their custom to entrust to him or to others, with that view, measures which, after the most anxious reflection, they themselves found to be perfectly unintelligible. He should like, he might add, to know whether the draftsman by whom the Bill was drawn was the same who usually discharged the duty for the Government. He asked that question, because his experience was, that when the Cabinet had determined on a measure, Sir Henry Thring was always ready to say that, if its meaning was distinctly explained to him, he would have no difficulty in putting it into clear legal phraseology. There was a singular coincidence between the clauses to which he was particularly referring and a speech made by a Member of the Government; and he was, under those circumstances, the more disposed to think that the unintelligible character of the Bill was scarcely to be attributed to their professional adviser. The fact was, that the Government themselves had no clear idea of what they intended, and were forced under pressure to abandon those clauses. The noble Duke, he might further observe, had entirely omitted to make the pledge which he understood had been given by the Prime Minister, for the reproduction of the clauses in question next year; but it was, at all events, quite evident that the new Commissioners could not depart much from the line and the principles which had been adopted by their predecessors.


said, that as one connected with the Governing Bodies of several endowed schools, he could bear testimony to the great accessibility of the present Commissioners and the great readiness which they had always manifested to discuss in the fairest manner any objections which might be raised on the part of Governing Bodies, and to enter as far as possible into any compromise, with the view of meeting the legitimate wishes of trustees. The system of graded schools was one of the most important, in his opinion, which had been introduced by the Commissioners, and was well calculated to promote the cause of education. As to the system of election in the case of the Governing Bodies, he must also say that he looked upon it as a very material improvement, and as one which was likely to work satisfactorily for the future well-being of the schools. "Without concurring in everything that had been done by the Commissioners, and not, certainly, agreeing with all that had been said, he felt bound to bear this testimony. Under all the circumstances, however, he did not think that there was any option left to the Government with respect to making the proposed change, which had, he believed, been made in the wisest and most simple manner. He knew two of the gentlemen who were to be appointed under the Bill, and there could, in his opinion, be no more judicious selection.


said, that the noble Lord the Chairman of the Commission had referred to the question of the construction of the Act of 1869, and the general doctrine of charitable uses. It was quite natural that the noble Lord should refer to these topics; but at the same time, they did not appear to him (the Lord Chancellor) to be relevant to the subject now before the House. However, he rose rather to make a few remarks on what had fallen from the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with respect to the drafting of the measure, and ho, for one, was quite ready to bear his testimony to the admirable manner in which the duties of the draftsman of the Government had for years been performed, especially when the great pressure which was put upon him towards the close of the Session was taken into account. Nothing should he deprecate so much, and of nothing should he be more ashamed, than that the Government, of which he was a Member should attempt to throw upon the draftsmen the responsibility which rested upon themselves, and he did not believe that his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in any observations he might have made in reference to the Bill, had attempted to shelter the Government at the expense of the draftsmen who drew it. The responsibility for the Bill in its present and also in its original shape rested upon the Government, and upon the Government alone, and he protested against the names of gentlemen who were not there to protect themselves being introduced into the discussion.


said, he had always regarded the Act of 1869 as a very crude measure, and that many of its clauses had been accepted in that House merely because they were not understood. As regarded the Commissioners, he thought they had brought their fate on themselves by forgetting the proverb about giving a judgment without giving reasons, for their acts had given less offence than the principles on which they rested them. He wished to see the notion which the Commissioners had adopted, that these endowments were national property, entirely repudiated, because in the words of a great authority, the State was the supreme guardian but not the proprietor of them. It was neither good policy, nor generous, nor creditable for a great nation to seize on endowments of this character to which the national funds had not contributed a single farthing. He did not doubt that the State had its functions in reference to these schools, and his vote should always be given in furtherance of arrangements calculated to promote purposes of public utility and advantage in their management. He hoped something would be done next Session to modify the operation of the Act of 1869, and particularly of its 19th clause, which the Commissioners themselves admitted to have acted very unequally.


, said, that the noble Duke the Lord President of the Council, had not exaggerated the unpopularity attending the Endowed Schools Commission, but he thought he was wrong in attributing it to the Commissioners and not to the Act. Having voted against every scheme the rejection of which had been moved in that House, he had always heard his noble Friend (Lord Lyttelton) say, and he believed quite correctly, that the fault was the fault of the Act, and not of the Commissioners. If Her Majesty's Government wished the new Commissioners not to fall into the same unpopularity as the last, the Act of 1869 should be amended next Session.

Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.

House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Two o'clock.