HL Deb 09 July 1885 vol 299 cc86-102

(The Earl of Rosebcry.)


Order of the Day for the Second Heading read.


, in rising to move that the Bill be now read a second time, said: My Lords, it has been so frequently the fate of your Lordships to discuss this measure in one form or another that it 'will not be necessary for me to trouble you with any detailed observations in asking you to give it a second reading. But I should be wanting in duty, I think, if I failed to render my acknowledgments, and not merely my acknowledgments, but the acknowledgments, I believe, of the vast majority of the people of Scotland, to Her Majesty's present Advisers for consenting to leave in their programme this single item, when they were obliged to omit so much. I am quite sure that they will find the good results of having done so, and will know by experience that, in doing so, they have only consulted the wishes of that country. My Lords, as regards this measure, there are only three changes from the time last year at which it was dropped by Her Majesty's late Government, and this leads me to remark on the extraordinarily sinister influence which this measure appears to have exercised on the deliberations of this House. On the first occasion on which it was brought forward, it was brought forward in a very much smaller shape than it is now, and it then arrived too late to be discussed by the majority of this House. On the second occasion it passed through Committee, and was down for third reading on the very day on which Her Majesty's late Government had to announce that they could proceed with no further measures; and this year it came on for second reading on the very day, I think, on which it was the duty of Her Majesty's late Government to announce, in the language which is suitable to the occasion, that they had sent a dutiful communication to Her Majesty. My Lords, a Bill which has survived such difficulties is destined to float, and I do not think that anything can now wreck it. But, in the course of its various vicissitudes, it has undergone certain particular and definite changes. Since the Bill left your Lordships last year one important provision, which was put in at my instigation in Committee of this House, has been left out of it— I mean the addition of the control of matters relating to law and justice, which your Lordships consented to put in charge of the new Secretary. Well, after getting that Amendment carried, it became my fate to be consulted, as one of Her Majesty's Ministers, on the form which the Bill was to assume this year; and, although it would be vain for me to try to pretend that I had in any respect altered my conviction in regard to that important branch of the subject, I cannot altogether disguise that it was not in consonance with the views of many of my Colleagues that the provision should exist, and I thought it wise, under the circumstances, to let it be expunged, rather than run the risk of losing the Bill on account of one particular provision. Then, my Lords, there is another provision which was not in the Bill of last year—I mean that providing that the Keeperehip of the Great Seal should attach to the Secretary for Scotland. Last year that Office was not vacant. It has since become vacant by the lamented death of Lord Selkirk; and it was felt to be only in unison with the opinions expressed both inside the House and out of it, by persons well qualified to judge, that we should add as much as possible to the dignity of the new Office by attaching this post to it. And, my Lords, the third difference between the Bill of last year and the present one is by far the most important—I mean the provision for putting primary education under the control of the new Minister. As regards that provision, I am very unwilling to say very much at this time; because a noble Lord has given Notice that he means to raise the question in Committee, and I think, therefore, that that will be a more fitting opportunity for discussing it. But, in the first place, I do not doubt that the feeling of this House is very strongly in favour of such a provision. I am quite aware that the division of last year does not carry out that contention, for the numbers who voted in that division were exceedingly small, and the minority was strengthened by a single vote; but that vote, I think, was equal to almost all the votes of those in the majority—I mean the vote of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury)—and if the noble Marquess felt that, in the exercise of his discretion as Leader of the Conservative Party, he could so far meet the very prevalent and almost unanimous feeling on this side of the House, we have some claim to consider that this House was largely in favour of that provision. But, my Lords, besides the feeling in this House, we were also aware that the feeling in the House of Commons, though it could not be described by any means as unanimously in favour of this provision, was largely in favour of it. I will take a very curious test in regard to the feeling that exists both inside and outside the House of Commons on this question. I suppose that there is no name which is more honoured in the cause of education than that of Sir Lyon Playfair, the Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities. Sir Lyon Playfair declared himself as being opposed to the insertion of any provision of this kind in the Bill; and almost immediately afterwards he had to write to his constituents and inform them that, in consequence of the feeling that had been evoked by his declaration on this subject and in this sense, it would be perfectly useless for him to seek their suffrages on any future occasion. As regards the feeling in Scotland, I think the evidence is perfectly overwhelming. Her Majesty's late Government waited to introduce this Bill until the elections to the school boards had been over. The elections to the school boards took place some time in the months of March and April; and from them, without agitation, without anxiety, without seeking, 40 Petitions— at least 10—have come up demanding this provision. There are also, from municipal or other Local Authorities, 47 Petitions in favour of this provision for putting education under the Scottish Secretary. There is a Petition which I presented to-day from the Town Council of Edinburgh; another which I have presented to-day from the Town Council of Paisley; and your Lordships will remember that the late Lord Beaconsfield advised his Party to keep their eye on Paisley. Besides these, there have been a considerable number of ecclesiastical Petitions—Petitions from other public Bodies—from the Convention of Royal Burghs, and from political associations which are by no means all Liberal. Well, my Lords, I think that, in these circumstances, Her Majesty's late Government had no choice but to present the Bill with this provision in it; and with regard to it, they were also aware that considerable misapprehension existed which would be removed whenever there was any explanation made in this House. Now, my Lords, the Body—the one public Body—in Scotland which has opposed this provision, but by no means unanimously, for four Petitions from different branches of it have been presented in favour of the Bill—the Body that has opposed this measure in Scotland has been the Educational Institute. I had an interview with some of the gentlemen of the Educational Institute, and I found that they were acting under an entire misapprehension of the nature of the arrangements which would have been proposed by Her Majesty's late Government. I cannot, of course, say what Her Majesty's present Advisers will do as regards the organization of the new Office when it is made. That is a very important point, and one which cannot well lie within the four corners of this Bill. But it was the intention of the late Government to propose that the Educational Office for Scotland should be in London. There was no idea of moving it to Edinburgh; and yet, so far as I could ascertain from the deputations of the Educational Institute, their main objection to the Bill was that it would have a branch Office in Edinburgh. Well, my Lords, we have another point to consider in connection with the supervision of education. We have to consider that the Committee which met under the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Childers) recommended that there should not be this provision in a Minister for Scotland Bill, but that the arrangement should be made that there should be a Minister of Education for England and Scotland, under whom Scottish primary education should be placed. They also recommended that there should be two Departments of Education, each headed by a Permanent Secretary, one for England and one for Scotland, who should be made responsible to the Minister for Education. Her Majesty's late Advisers were prepared to carry out this recom-inendation with one difference, which was, however, an essential difference— namely, that the Educational Department of Scotland should be responsible to the Minister for Scotland. Without bringing forward at this stage the arguments which may be more properly stated in Committee, I think your Lordships will feel that the advantages of placing all the three branches of education in one hand are so great as to balance all other considerations. The dealing with the Universities and the dealing with the schools under Scottish endowments was always given to the Minister for Scotland in the three Bills which have been presented to this House. Surely, therefore, it would be a great advantage that we should add to these two branches that of primary education, and put all the strings of the system of education in Scotland into one hand. I do not at this moment venture into details on this particular branch of the subject; but I did not think it respectful to your Lordships to introduce it with less detail than I have done, and I earnestly recommend your Lordships to give it a second reading.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—{The Earl of Roselery.)


said, that he was entirely in favour of the second reading of the Bill, and saw it, to a very great extent, with the same eyes as the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Rosebery). The only point in which he differed from the noble Earl, so far as he knew at present, was as to the advisability of transferring education from the Privy Council, or the Minister of Education, to the charge of the Secretary for Scotland. No more than the noble Earl opposite should he (Lord Balfour) go into detail at the present time, because the Committee stage of the Bill would be the right time to raise a discussion upon it. But he would like to indicate generally what he thought would be the disadvantages of the proposed transference. It would make the interchange of teachers between England and Scotland more difficult, and there would be a liability in the future of contention arising as to the education grants. Scotland at present earned a higher sum per head than England, and that, he thought, would be submitted to so long as the two systems of education were under one control. But if once the idea gained ground in England that the Secretary for Scotland was relaxing the conditions under which the grant was earned in Scotland unfairly as compared with England, there would be great difficulty in getting sufficient grants from the Treasury to meet the demands of Scotland. But a more important difficulty would be the position of Scotland as regards the Science and Art Department of South Kensington. That Department must remain under the Privy Council; and he was most apprehensive that the interests of Scotland would materially suffer if there were not the same facility of communication between those who had charge of the education of the two countries. He was strengthened in that belief, because the weak part at present in Scottish education in the larger towns was their want of attention to technical branches of education. Such towns as Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds in England were far in advance of Glasgow and Edinburgh as concerned that Department already; and the latter would be placed in a still worse position in the future if this transference were to take place. There was much that each country could learn from the other, and it could easily be shown that there was much that each country had learned from the other in the past. If that statement were challenged, he should endeavour to make it good on a future occasion. He therefore thought that in this respect, at all events, there would be some advantage to the two countries if the control of their education were to be combined under one Minister. It would, moreover, be of great advantage to education that the Minister should be always in the Cabinet; and if the proposal to have a Minister of Education for England and Scotland were carried, the Minister must necessarily be in the Cabinet. Although he hoped that this Secretary who was to be appointed for Scotland would, at least, sometimes be a man of such eminence as to be in the Cabinet, he did not think they could be at all sure that he would be, under all circumstances, a Member of the Cabinet. The noble Earl had made a great deal of the Petitions which the school boards had presented in favour of this transference, and he had said that 40 Petitions had been sent up by school boards. But the noble Earl had omitted to tell their Lordships how many school boards there were in Scotland. There were 972 school boards in Scotland, and he did not think anybody could say that if only 40 of these had taken the trouble to petition in favour of the proposal, there was any great enthusiasm on the subject. The noble Earl had made mention of some important towns which had petitioned in favour of the transference; but he had omitted to tell their Lordships of places like Glasgow, Govan, and Dundee, which had petitioned against it. His (Lord Balfour's) belief was that there was no question at present agitating in Scotland about which there was so much difference of opinion as about the question whether or not it would be advisable to place education under the charge of the Secretary for Scotland. He wished to throw out a suggestion to their Lordships. Those who continued to press for the transference of education were not the real friends of the passing of this measure. They had heard rumours, and he thought it had been announced from the Front Bench here, that no measure about which there was much difference of opinion would have a chance of passing this Session. Now, nobody could deny, whatever their view of the matter might be about this question, that there was a very great deal of difference of opinion in Scotland; and he ventured to say that nothing would be so likely to prevent the passage of the Bill through the other House as sending it down with the charge of education given to the Secretary for Scotland. The suggestion he wished to make was this—whether it would not be desirable to pass the Bill in the present Session without this transference, and to make a suggestion to the Government, to strengthen the Scottish Committee of the Privy Council; to make it, if necessary, more separate than it is from the Department, while still nominally under the control of the same head; that the Committee should be summoned oftener than it had been, and should bemademore a reality than it was at the present time. He ventured to think that would satisfy the legitimate claim at the present time for the separate management of Scottish education. And then, if that arrangement was found not to work, it would be perfectly easy at any future time to transfer the whole of education to the Secretary for Scotland. On the other hand, if they attempted to make the transference at present, they might probably endanger the passage of the Bill, and make it impossible that there should be a Ministry of Education for the two countries. Whether it was desirable that such a Ministry should be formed he would not then say; but he asked that the consideration of the question should not be prejudiced by the transference of Scottish education at the present time. Another advantage of the course he suggested was, that it would be a difficult task to organize a new Scottish Department at the commencement; and if it were over weighted with such an important matter as education there would be very great difficulty in getting it under way at its first start, while it would be comparatively easy to make the change afterwards. There was only one other matter, and it was one to which he asked the very earnest consideration of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Rosebery). He did not know what would be the staff in the new Office, or what place education was to hold in that Office. The 2nd clause of the Bill, providing for the staff, was in exactly the same words as when the Bill was first introduced two or three years ago without the proposal to transfer education. Their Lordships all knew there was no matter which was of so highly technical a character as education. It required a trained man to pay proper attention to it—to exercise the proper control over it. Now, there were a great many matters transferred to the management of the Secretary for Scotland, and he was only to have one Permanent Secretary. What he wanted to know was, would that Permanent Secretary be a man of technical knowledge of what was necessary for education, or would he only have a technical knowledge for things mentioned in the Schedule? For example, would his chief care be to take charge of sewage, and cattle diseases, and such things as these, or would he be able to take an intelligent charge of matters relating to education? He thought that, on the whole, it would be very much better not to press for the transference of education at the present time. He confessed that his own opinion always had been, and still was, that the transference would be a mistake; but he thought the suggestion he had made was the only one which would not prejudice opinions on either side, and by it the question would be dealt with in a satisfactory manner.


said, he would advise their Lordships to give a generous assent to the wishes of the people of Scotland by passing the Bill as it stood. Ho did not see that there was much force in the objections of the noble Lord who had just sat down (Lord Balfour). That noble Lord had spoken of the disadvantages and hindrances to education which would result if this change were effected; but he (the Earl of Aberdeen) confessed he could not see how the fact of the Scottish Minister having charge of the education of the country would interfere with it, as the object of placing it in his care was to promote its interests. In his opinion, the Scottish Minister would be in such a position with reference to access to the Treasury officials that he would be enabled to advance the interests of Scottish education in that way. The noble Lord also spoke about the comparatively small number of school boards petitioning in favour of this provision, having regard to the total number of boards in Scotland; but, certainly, whatever might be said in that respect, there were not many who had petitioned against it. After what his noble Friend (the Earl of Rosebery) had said, however, as to the misapprehension on the part of the Educational Institute, probably it was not too much to say that a similar apprehension prevailed with regard to some Petitions which were sent in some time ago against this proposal. He hoped the noble Earl who had charge of the Bill would not agree to the suggestion of the noble Lord (Lord Balfour) that an intermediate course should be taken to strengthen the Scottish Department of the Committee of Council on Education. He (the Earl of Aberdeen) would rather have the question of education left as it was; because then it would have to be dealt with at some future time, and he had no doubt it would then be included in the functions of the new Minister for Scotland.


said, he wished to express his gratitude to his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Rosebery) for having consented to continue the charge of this Bill under the altered circumstances that had taken place. The fact that he had done so showed that, in his opinion, as well as in the opinion of noble Lords on both sides of the House, there was no question of Party at all involved in the measure. That had been the case in Scotland from the very commencement of the movement, and that was proved by the fact that the promoters of the Bill asked him (the Marquess of Lothian), a Conservative, to preside at what he considered the largest meeting in Scotland, which was held in Edinburgh, in favour of placing Scottish affairs in charge of a Minister for Scotland. He need say very little about what he himself thought —namely, that it was necessary that their Lordships should pass the Bill this Session. The fact not only of his having presided at that meeting, but also of having subsequently had the honour to introduce a representative deputation to the then Prime Minister, requesting him that a Bill to this effect should be passed, gave him, he thought, some title to speak as to what the feelings of the people of Scotland were on this subject. He knew there were some people who said that this movement in favour of a separate administration for Scotland had had no real or solid basis to start with; that it was practically a sham, and that a sham deserved no consideration. He was not concerned with the beginning or the origin of the movement. These things began in a whisper; but the whisper grew into a loud voice, which, he thought, those who were wise would stop to listen to before it developed into a sullen roar. He was perfectly certain that this Bill, having been before their Lordships' House now for three Sessions, the people of Scotland had made up their minds more and more to have a measure of this description; and it would not be right, on the part of Parliament, to refuse to give that which was asked for with ever-increasing strength. On the details of the measure he was not prepared to speak, and he did not wish to detain their Lordships. But he should like to say, with reference to the question of education, that he trusted their Lordships did not agree to cut it out from the control of the proposed Secretary for Scotland. As to the exact details in which education might be placed under the control of that Minister, he did not think this was the time to make any suggestion. In fact, he did not quite understand what the noble Earl who moved the second reading or the late Government proposed. The noble Earl said he thought that they never had in contemplation that there should be a Board of Education sitting in Edinburgh, and in that he (the Marquess of Lothian) heartily concurred. But he did not know how far the late Government intended that the control of Scottish education in London should be placed entirely under the separate management of the proposed Secretary for Scotland—whether it should be an entirely separate control, or, simply, a separate Department of the Board of Education in London. Whatever might be the case, he was very glad to think it was not proposed that the Board of Education should have its seat in Edinburgh, and that the Secretary for Scotland was to have control over it. With reference to the suggestion of the noble Lord (Lord Balfour), he must also confess that he did not quite understand that either. What he gathered generally was, that the noble Lord proposed, as far as possible, that the question of education should be left out of the Bill of this year, with the view of introducing it on some future occasion into the Department of the Minister for Scotland. He did not think that would satisfy the people of Scotland at all. He, for one, was exceedingly anxious that the Bill should pass this Session, and pass as a whole. Let them give to the people of Scotland what they asked. Let them give it generously, and in a manner which would satisfy them; so that they might not be threatened with an agitation which was sure to occur with increasing strength.


, in explanation, said, that what he intended to say was, that there should be a preparatory explanation between the two Departments rather more than there was at the present time; and hereafter, if that arrangement was found not to be possible, the Scottish Department should be transferred to the charge of the Secretary for Scotland.


said, he was glad to hear the explanation; but what he should like to see was, as far as possible, a complete separation at once. With regard to the Petitions, those to which the noble Lord alluded were chiefly from the Educational Bodies of Scotland. He did not wish to undervalue them; but of this he was perfectly certain—that apart from those immediately engaged in education, and those influenced by the Educational Institute, the people of Scotland generally were entirely in favour of the proposal of the noble Earl. He was convinced that was the case, and he hoped their Lordships would bear that in mind in Committee. He had only one thing more to do, and that was to ask their Lordships to pass the second reading of the Bill unanimously, and to deprecate, as far as possible, any interference with the measure in Committee. He thought it would have a very bad effect if the Bill were so altered in Committee as to take away this provision from the proposed Secretary for Scotland. Perhaps ho might be allowed to say that if it had not been for other considerations which would probably make it impossible, he should have been very glad to have seen the noble Earl who had charge of the Bill take the new Office. He hoped the Bill would pass into law this Session. It was not a Party question; but, at the same time, he could not, as a Conservative, but feel glad that after so long a delay this measure, which had been so long asked for by the people of Scotland, should pass under the auspices of a Conservative Administration.


said, he had great pleasure in congratulating his noble Friend (the Earl of Rosebery) that the Bill had now such good prospects of reaching its destination. He did not think it necessary on this occasion to enter into the well-worn arguments in favour of the general principle of the measure. In fact, the only question which seemed to call for any debate was the inclusion of education amongst the functions of the new Secretary for Scotland. With all due deference to the noble Lord who spoke second (Lord Balfour), he might, perhaps, be allowed to say that he had always traced the opposition to that provision to those Bodies who were officially, or semi-officially, connected with the supervision of education, either in London or in Scotland. And if they would only go beyond those special Educational Bodies, either at London or in Edinburgh, and ask the opinion of the general public in Scotland, they would find that there was almost practical unanimity in favour of including education amongst the functions of the new Secretary. If they asked the ordinary average Scotsman what was his opinion on this point, he would answer, as he was afraid his countrymen very often did, by a question—"What on earth is the use of a Minister for Scotland, what is he to do, if he has not included among his functions the most important of Scottish questions?" If any further proof were needed, he (the Earl of Fife) might, perhaps, be allowed to say that he had presented to their Lordships nearly 60 Petitions in favour of placing education under the control of the now Minister, and over 40 of them came from school boards in Scotland. As to the contention that it was desirable that the whole education of the country should be in the hands of one Minister, he inclined to think it would be quite time to deal with that subject when they had the slightest chance of including Irish education under that one head. At present, that contingency seemed very remote; and he was very much inclined to doubt whether it was desirable to mix up in one Administration the educational affairs of the three countries; because, if they added those of a small country to those of a large country, naturally the policy of the large country would prevail; and if, as in Scotland, the smaller country was more advanced than the larger one, the natural tendency would be not to urge on further improvement, but rather to allow matters to stagnate until the larger country had come up to the smaller one. That was what Scotland objected to. He had no desire unduly to laud his countrymen; but ho thought it would be generally allowed that their old Scottish system of education was very superior indeed, and that superiority would be amongst their most cherished of national traditions, and that superiority Scotsmen were anxious not merely to maintain, but to increase. But that result would not be accomplished if they did not include the management of education amongst the functions of the now Minister, and without it he would likely be a more ornamental than useful personage.


said, the only regret he had in connection with this measure was that it had not been seen fit to make the salary attached to the new Office rather larger than it was. He believed, himself, the importance of an office to be gauged far more by the salary attached to it than by the heterogeneous character of the duties to be performed; and for that reason he wished the salary had been £4,000 a-year rather than £2,000. He had only one word to say with regard to the subject of education. The great objection he took to this transfer of education from the Privy Council to the proposed new Secretary for Scotland was that it by no means followed that this Secretary would be a person who would know anything about education, and the result would be that he would have to refer to the permanent officials of the Department. If that were so, this permanent official, who would have to look after sewage and the many other matters transferred to the new Secretary, would eventually become the Education Minister for Scotland. There was a stronger reason than the one he had given, and it was this—What was the need of it? Did anyone allege that the subject of education had not been ably and satisfactorily dealt with by the Department already administering it?




The noble Earl said yes; but the noble Earl himself had told them that he proposed to keep the Department in London, and that the only change, it might be presumed, which it intended to make was this—that besides a big Education Department there would be a little Education Department alongside of it—one representing education in England, and the other representing education in Scotland; and he did not see that any advantage was to be gained by that. With all respect for his countrymen, and the national superiority to which the noble Earl (the Earl of Fife) had referred, he thought that it was to be borne in mind that education was a thing which, if it differed at all, differed not in kind, but in degree. It was very true that in this matter of education they believed that they had progressed further in Scotland than they had in England or Ireland; but, at the same time, the education itself was of the same sort, and it was simply a question of how far it was to go, and how it was to be superintended. He must say for himself that he looked upon a Minister of Education for the whole country as much more likely to exercise an intelligent and beneficial supervision over the subject in the Kingdom generally than if a single portion of the Kingdom were set apart and placed under the charge of a permanent official like this proposed Secretary for Scotland, who would have a variety of duties to attend to, and who need not necessarily know very much on the subject of education. On a former occasion, their Lordships had refused to make this change by a large majority, although the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury) had voted in favour of it. He (the Earl of Cam-perdown) had a great deal of respect for the noble Marquess opposite, and ho had a great respect for his vote; but, at the same time, he could not go quite so far as his noble Friend (the Earl of Rosebery) on that point. His noble Friend had said that the vote of the noble Marquess was equal to the vote of 20 or 30 others; but he (the Earl of Camperdown) was quite certain that the noble Earl, on other occasions, would not be inclined to attach to the noble Marquess's vote so much importance.


My Lords, it would be presumptuous in me, after so many great Scottish authorities have spoken, if I wore to venture to deal at any great length with a matter which concerns Scotland alone; but I do not like to allow the Bill to pass the second reading without saying a word as to the course which the Government have taken with respect to it. Properly, this should be a Government measure; and in the other House, if it passes your Lordships, it will be a Government measure; but we think that, considering the conspicuous and assiduous manner in which the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Rosebery) has been conducting this movement, it would be ungracious on our part if we proposed to take it out of his hands, and I am sure it could not be in better hands. I do not say this out of gratitude for the remarkable compliment which the noble Earl paid me with respect to my vote, which, I rather agree with the last speaker (the Earl of Camperdown), was a compliment of occasion, and would not be repeated under other circumstances. But, my Lords, I think that the arguments with respect to the educational part of the measure, though they are within the scope of our ordinary practice and Rules, are perhaps rather premature, and that the subject must be examined more carefully when it comes before us in the regular way in Committee. As far as my information enables me to go, I believe that those who have represented the general feeling of Scotland as in favour of the larger, rather than the smaller, interpretation of the duties of the new Minister, accurately represent the state of the case and there is a good deal to be said for the consideration advanced by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Fife) that the Scottish people are, chronologically, considerably ahead of the English people in the matter of education, and that there must be something galling in the consideration that, in dealing with educational matters, all questions are decided rather on English than on Scottish principles. I have also heard it said—I do not know whether it is true—that the application of the same rule to the uniformity of education to the whole country has had the effect of imposing on the poorer districts of Scotland a very large expenditure, which those who are best entitled to judge think has been somewhat unfair. But, however that matter may be, we shall be prepared, when the time comes, to enter on the question whether the Education Department should or should not be entirely assigned to this particular officer. I have never concealed my own opinion on the subject, that, on the whole— though I admit that a great deal may be said on the other side—that, on the whole, it is better to localize as far as possible, rather than centralize, a business of this kind; and that those vast administrative mechanisms which we are building up are not without their inconvenience, and even not without their danger; and I should be, therefore, prepared to see them divided into smaller Departments. I have no other remark to make, except to say that our object on this question is not to depart from our view that it should be made as little contentious as possible, and that in giving our general assent on the whole to the inclusion of education we must not be considered as looking upon it as a vital question. I believe it is of great importance that this Bill should pass. I am not sorry at the delay that has taken place; on the contrary, it has, I believe, justified the action of your Lordships; for it has drawn out in a more distinct and unequivocal manner what are the real feelings of the people of Scotland on this question. But I think it would be much to be regretted if differences of opinion as to the inclusion of education should cause the Bill to be put off to another Session. I, therefore, do not conceal from your Lordships that I do not propose to say that the question of education is so vital to it that we should lose the Bill, if it were rejected. Notwithstanding, therefore, the many ominous prophecyings I have heard, that the House of Commons will take a different view from that of your Lordships, I hope the question of education will not be regarded as being so vital as to involve the loss of the measure; but I earnestly trust that the efforts of the noble Earl opposite may be successful.


said, he had been anxious to take this opportunity of expressing his views; but after what had fallen from the noble Marquess he would reserve his remarks for the present, until he could express them in Committee.

Motion agreed to; Bill road 2a accordingly.


I propose, if agreeable to your Lordships, to take this day week for Committee on the Bill. Of course, the Session cannot now be a long one, and I therefore hope that this day week will not be too soon, considering how short a time the Session is expected to last.


said, it might be taken on Tuesday.


said, he was quite agreeable.

Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.