§ LORD CARLINGFORD
said, that having so recently addressed their Lordships on the subject of Irish Education, he would not now detain them by any long statement; and having on that occasion placed before them the statistics illustrative of the state of the question, he would not now repeat them. He presumed that it was admitted by Her Majesty's Government that there was a great deficiency of training power in Ireland for keeping up a sufficient number of teachers for the National Schools, and, that being so, he desired to urge the matter on the attention of the Government, and to ascertain whether they were prepared to take at least one step towards a remedy for that evil, by not further insisting on the present rule that all pupils should reside within the walls of the establishment, and for this purpose he was about to put the Question of which he had given Notice. He would ask the Lord President of the Council, Whether it is the intention of the Government to enable the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland to give effect to the recommendation (contained in their Letter of the 10th of December, 1874, addressed to the Chief Secretary for Ireland) that pupils admitted to Marlborough Street Training School 937 should be permitted to reside in private boarding-houses, to be approved of by the Commissioners, and should receive a grant sufficient to defray the cost of their living? He must go back for a moment to the time when, so far as he knew, this question was first brought forward officially. In a letter addressed by himself when Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1866 to the Irish National Commissioners, he stated—Her Majesty's Government, in the next place, strongly recommend a revision of the arrangements for the reception of teachers in training in force in the normal establishment in Dublin, with the view of providing, if possible, an ampler and more practical course of instruction for a larger number of teachers. They desire also to observe that there is a marked distinction between the position of students residing for a considerable time as boarders in a training institute or model school and that of day scholars attending an ordinary school; a distinction which accounts for the fact that objections are often entertained, especially by the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, against sending teachers or pupil-teachers to an institution where their domestic life is not based, like the family life of a home, upon identity of religious belief. It appears to the Government that the double object of meeting such objections and of providing the means of retaining a larger number of teachers for a longer period in training might to a great extent be attained by permitting teachers or pupil-teachers, at their own desire or at that of the managers of schools by whom they are sent up for training, to board and lodge out of the official establishment. In such cases teachers and pupil-teachers should receive an allowance in lieu of board and lodging, and arrangements could readily be made for their reception in private boarding-houses sanctioned by the Commissioners. If a precedent were needed for such an arrangement, I find that in the Scotch Presbyterian training colleges there are no official residences for the teachers in training, who, by means of an allowance from the college, provide board and lodging for themselves.That recommendation was unanimously accepted by the Commissioners of that day. They acted upon it, and formed an estimate to carry it into effect, which estimate was forwarded to the Lord Lieutenant. The proposition of the Commissioners was not, however, accepted by the Government—nothing came of it:—and so, for the time, the matter ended. After that, a most important Royal Commission was appointed by the Government of Lord Derby to inquire into the whole system of Irish Education, and there was a recommendation of the Commission contained in these words— 938That the scholars should be lodged in separate boarding-houses, or with persons approved by the Board, and be under the care of pastors of their own religion.That proposal was more stringent than the one put forward more recently by the present Commissioners; because it was clear that the Royal Commission wished to put an end to the mixed boarding establishment in Marlborough Street. He had also to observe that this was a recommendation adopted by the Royal Commission unanimously—even the members who dissented from other portions of the Report gave their adhesion to it. He now came to the time when the question was again raised by the Letter addressed to the National Commissioners last autumn by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, the present Chief Secretary. In the answer of the National Commissioners to that Letter there was this passage—Hitherto, all the students of the different denominations in training have not only attended in common the secular instruction of the professors, but have also at all other times lived together in the same boarding-houses. The Commissioners do not deem it advisable to depart from this system in the case of students who elect to reside in the Commissioners' boarding-houses; but with a view of meeting the objection as to common domestic life already alluded to, and further with the view of extending the operation of their training establishment, they are of opinion that the system at present in force in the Marlborough Street Training School might advantageously be modified by permitting those who are admitted to the training school to reside in private boarding-houses; these boarding-houses to be approved of by the Commissioners, and to receive a grant sufficient to defray the cost of living of the pupils so resident. These houses might, if desired, be superintended by clergymen of the same denomination with the resident pupils.That particular recommendation was adopted by 14 of the Commissioners against 2. That was the position in which the question at this moment stood. When the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) spoke the other night he did not understand him to express any opinion on the recommendation to which he had just referred, and hence he thought it right to put his Question to the Lord President. He knew it had been said over and over again that the difficulty on the point was caused by the influence of the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland, and that but for that influence the teachers under training would be willing to live within 939 the same establishment. That seemed to be accepted as a reason for not meeting the demand which he wished to now urge upon the Government. He did not think it was a valid one. The fact should be recognized. He did not share in the feelings which brought about the influence in question, but he could not say that he was surprised at it. It prevailed in this country, and under circumstances of much less difficulty, and it was manifested by fathers and mothers agreeing with the clergy that when sending their sons and daughters away from their own family, they should be put to reside with persons of the religious body of which that family were members. He asked the Government to recognize the state of things in Ireland. He thought it would be the very pedantry of administration to refuse this change, by which he believed, without any sacrifice of anything that could be called principle, they could extend the usefulness of the training establishment in Marlborough Street, Dublin.
§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
said, he was not at all surprised, knowing the deep interest which the noble Lord took in the subject of education in Ireland, and who was himself connected with that country, that he should have put the Question to Her Majesty's Government. The importance of having trained teachers must be recognized in the case of Ireland as well as that of this country; but, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, he regretted that it would be his duty to reply in the negative to that inquiry, and that for reasons which he was sure their Lordships would consider valid and sound. It was not the intention of Her Majesty's Government to enable the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland to give effect to the recommendation contained in their Letter of the 10th December, 1874, addressed to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that pupils admitted to Marlborough Street Training School should be permitted to reside in private boarding-houses, to be approved of by the Commissioners, and should receive a grant sufficient to defray the cost of their living. There were three grounds on which the course recommended by the noble Lord might be defended. First, it might be defended if the training establishment in Marlborough Street were full and could not 940 accommodate a larger number of students than at present. But he was informed that it was not now full, and that, did occasion require, arrangements might be made for the accommodation of even a larger number of students than its regular number. Again, the course proposed by the noble Lord might be defended on financial grounds—if, supposing the school were full, it could be shown that it was a more economical arrangement to allow the students to board out rather than enlarge the institution; but nothing of the kind could be shown, because if in addition to the maintenance of the Marlborough establishment students were to be kept in boarding-houses outside, at probably a larger cost than that at which they could be boarded and lodged in that establishment, Parliament must be asked for additional sums for the purposes of Irish national education; so that the arrangement would be the reverse of an economical one. The third ground on which the proposal might be defended was that it would satisfy the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Would it? In anything that he might say he wished to speak with all respect to that body, and he wished to say nothing that might be distasteful to any Roman Catholic Member of that House; but when representations were made that what was proposed by the noble Lord would be an arrangement satisfactory to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and would meet the Education difficulty, he thought he was entitled to say there was the best evidence to show that it would not do so. Had any application been made to either House of Parliament on the matter by those who were competent to speak for them? or had there been any declaration on their behalf that the proposed arrangement would meet the difficulty? There was the best possible evidence that it would not meet the difficulty and that it would not satisfy the Catholics of Ireland. Cardinal Cullen was examined before the Royal Commission to which the noble Lord had referred, and which was presided over by Lord Powis. He begged leave to read a question and answer which would be found in the official Report of Cardinal Cullen's examination—What is your view of the scheme that was sketched out by Mr. C. Fortescue's letter two years ago?—There were some good things in it, 941 I believe, but I do not recollect it very well at present, as I have not read it lately. As far as I remember, he proposed that, in connection with the training schools, there should be separate boarding-houses for Catholics and for Protestants, but that all under training should meet in the same classes; that there should be a Protestant chaplain for Protestants and a Catholic chaplain for Catholics. This part of the project would not be satisfactory.He thought he was justified in saying that the proposal of the noble Lord I would not be satisfactory to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Until he heard that Cardinal Cullen and those who acted with him had altered the opinion expressed by him in that answer to the Commission he must be excused if he declined to believe that the proposal would be satisfactory to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. He now came to the difficulty of adopting such a proposal—one which the noble Lord admitted, and which certainly the Government of which the noble Lord was a Member appeared to have felt. The noble Lord wrote the Letter from which he had quoted on the 18th of May, 1866, and on the 19th the Government of which he was a Member resigned office. The Government of Lord Derby, which succeeded to it, was in office from that time till some time in 1868—about two years. During that time no step such as that indicated by the noble Lord was taken by the Government; but in 1868 the Government in which the noble Lord was for so long a time Chief Secretary for Ireland came in. They had the noble Lord's Letter and the Report of the Royal Commission before them during the years they were in office; but, to use the noble Lord's phrase, "nothing came of it" all that time. It must be assumed, therefore, that the Government of which the noble Lord was a Member felt the difficulty of the question quite as much as did the Government of Lord Derby or the present Government, so that he thought he might ask the noble Lord to apply his reproach of "pedantry of administration" to the course taken by the late Government if the reproach was at all applicable.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
said, the argument of the noble Duke was not conclusive—it would be difficult to find an Irish question that was not beset with difficulties, and the question of Irish Education was certainly not one of them, but he held that whatever Government might 942 be in power ought to undertake considerable labour, and, if necessary, to run considerable risk in order to overcome it. Neither did it follow that because one Government avoided the task, another was justified in abandoning it also. The grievance was confessed, and the subject was not one to be bandied about from one Government to another while the want was allowed to remain. He was not there to defend any Government in the matter—he was there to say that it was a question of duty with any Government. Neither was he there to say that the proposal of his noble Friend would accomplish everything, nor to assert that much more was not required, and that the system of national education in Ireland should not approximate more nearly to the system that prevailed in this country. He did, however, assert that the proposal of his noble Friend would do something, and would enable many young men and women to become trained teachers who would not avail themselves of the establishment in Marlborough Street. Everybody knew that the training system of Ireland was miserably defective, and that without an efficient training efficient teachers could not be produced. The noble Duke had put forward a fiscal objection against the proposal. His reply was that such a question ought not to be determined by cheese-paring considerations. Then the noble Duke quoted an answer made by Cardinal Cullen in reply to a question put to him before the Commission, and relied on that answer as showing that what his noble Friend demanded would not be satisfactory to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. If his Eminence had been asked about the system of Irish national education as a whole, his answer, and not inconsistently, might have been somewhat similar. It amounted to saying that the adoption of his noble Friend's proposition would not make the Irish system fulfil all the conditions of excellence in national education; but it did not amount to saying that the plan would not effect something in that direction. He was not there on that occasion to argue the question of denominationalism in education; but he might observe that the adoption of his noble Friend's proposal would be a step very far short of the adoption of that system. The real objection to the proposed arrangement was based on the idea that 943 we should not have a denominational system of education in Ireland; but it existed in the case of Irish industrial schools, Irish reformatory schools, and to a certain extent also in the case of the Queen's Colleges, so far as the residence of students in licensed houses was concerned, and there was no reason in principle why it should not also be allowed in the case of the Marlborough Street Training School.
§ LORD CARLINGFORD
wished to make a remark or two in reply to something that had been said by the noble Duke.
§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
rose to Order. He submitted that the noble Lord, who had already gone at length—though not at unnecessary length—into the subject of his Question, would be out of Order in making a speech in reply when there was no Motion before their Lordships.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, there could be no doubt that a reply was only usual when a Motion was before the House; but when a Question put on Notice gave rise to a debate or a conversation he thought it was usual by courtesy to allow a reply.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that on this point the practice of their Lordships' House and that of the other House of Parliament were quite in accordance with each other. A Standing Order of their Lordships' House required that Notice should be given of a Question; but that was in order that noble Peers who wished to speak on the subject might do so. There was, however, no right of reply. The Question of which Notice had been given according to the Rule of the House had been answered.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
reminded the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack that the practice of their Lordships' House was not governed by that of the House of Commons.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
assured the noble Earl that he had not said it was. What he said was, that on this particular point the practice of their Lordships' House and that of the other House of Parliament was quite in accord.
§ VISCOUNT CARDWELL
remarked that no debate was allowed on a Question in the other House of Parliament.