§ House again in Committee (according to Order).
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
said the object of the new Clause he now proposed to move was not a novel one, and he would therefore refer to it as briefly as he could, consistently with lucidity. It might be said that this Clause was not germane to the object of the Bill. That was a contention which he would venture to traverse before proceeding to explain the objects of the Clause. He would humbly submit that this new Clause was germane to the Bill, for the reason that the Bill dealt not only with educational matters and the teaching of the children in the schools, but it also embodied many regulations with regard to the management of these structures and the employment of these buildings in any manner in which they could be used for any purpose. He might mention incidentally that he thought this new Clause was germane to the Bill because by this Bill for the first time all ratepayers had a direct interest in the schools in which he hoped to persuade their Lordships meetings ought to be permitted to be held. In the past it was admitted, as he would show, by a Conservative Government in 1892, that it was right that meetings should be allowed to be held in schools which were in receipt of a Parliamentary grant, and that being so, the demand surely came with greater force now that the schools were maintained by the ratepayers who were the people who demanded that meetings should be allowed to be held. The subject was a very old one. He had had the honour of bringing it forward seventeen years previously in the other House of Parliament, at a period when the noble Duke opposite was also a Member, and when he (Lord Burghclere) had the pleasure of sitting on the same side with him. He had also brought it forward in 1892, and upon that occasion it was accepted by Mr. Balfour and the Conservative Government of that day. The object of the new Clause was to enable the inhabitants of a district to hold meetings in the school for which they paid. The necessity for it arose in 1885 771 with the introduction of the new Franchise Bill of 1884. Because he would venture to point out that this Clause only affected, or should only affect, schools in rural districts where there was no other building sufficiently commodious to permit of a political meeting being held in it; and it the Clause he now proposed did not meet that condition of things he would be glad to introduce suitable words in it to meet that objection. The object was that in out-of-the-way villages, where there were no other suitable buildings in which candidates might address meetings, they should be able to go down and address meetings in the schools. Before 1884, as ' was well known to noble Lords who had represented county divisions, the electors were fewer, and composed of farmers and others who were able to drive into the market towns to hear the addresses of candidates. In 1884, for the first time, the agricultural labourer, a poor man at the best, was included in the franchise. It was impossible for the agricultural labourer to drive into the market town as the farmers had done, and he certainly thought it was very hard that they should create an electorate of this class and then deny them the opportunity of listening to the politics of the day. Another reason for bringing this proposal forward was this. There was no doubt that these schools had been lent on occasions of this kind, but instances had arisen where the managers had allowed the use of a school to one side and had denied it to the other. There was another reason why it was desirable that the power of giving the use of these schools for meetings should be compulsory rather than permissive. He remembered well, in 1885, when the question of disestablishment was suddenly forced upon the country, and the cry went up that the Church was in danger. At the time of the election, he remembered, in one village, where the clergyman was supreme in the schools, that he allowed one candidate to address a meeting in the school to defend any attacks upon the Church, and when the other candidate came down the rev. gentleman made it a condition of his allowing him to speak in the school that the subject 772 of disestablishment should not be referred to. He ventured to submit that that was hardly a fair way to allow a school to be used for meetings. As he had said, this proposal was accepted in 1892, for the Resolution which he then moved in the House of Commons was practically embodied in this Clause. On that occasion the then Vice-President of the Council, Sir William Hart Dyke, said—That the Government must acknowledge that there is a real grievance to meet as regards the supply of places for political meetings. I wish to state, on behalf of the Government, that we are prepared to fully accept the principle embodied in this Resolution.If the Government in 1892 was prepared to accept the resolution which this Clause practically embodied, at a time when the schools to which the Clause referred were simply in receipt of Parliamentary grants, how much more ready ought the Government of the present day to be to carry out the pledges given by their predecessors of the same political faith, when the use of the schools was wanted by the ratepayers who desired to hold these meetings in item. He had tried to be as brief as possible. He trusted that this Clause, which was a very harmless one, because it related to both sides of politics, and was merely to enable the poor electors to hear both sides of the subject, would receive the acceptance of. their Lordships' House.
After Clause 7 to insert the following new Clause: '(l) The managers of a public elementary school not provided by the local education authority, and in the case of schools provided by that authority the local education authority shall permit the use of any room in the school on such occasions as do not interfere with the educational purposes of the school, for the purpose of the support of any candidate at a Parliamentary, municipal, or local election, subject to regulations made by the local education authority. (2) The local education authority shall, as soon as possible, make regulations for the purpose of this section, and the regulations shall be binding on manager and on persons obtaining the use of the school." —(Lord Burghclere.)
said that as a voluntary school manager he had never known so unfair a thing to be done as to allow one side to speak in a school and not the 773 other. He had always insisted in his schools that both sides should be allowed to speak. He quite agreed that it was necessary for the agricultural labourer to be approached, and that it was impossible for him to go to the towns. But these meetings must of necessity take place in the evening, and this Bill was entirely for the education of England. One of the powers which the local governing body possessed under it was the power to use the school for three evenings every week for carrying on education, and if in addition they were to be used for political meetings as well, he did not see how those to whom the unprovided schools belonged would have a chance of using them.
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
said he was quite aware that under the Bill these schools would be taken for three evenings a week for educational purposes, but he would venture to point out to the noble Lord that the Clause applied to schools in the villages of large agricultural constituencies. Take the constituency which he had had the honour to represent. That contained eighty-two villages. With all the desire to give vent to one's oratorical attainments, he would ask the noble Lord whether the demand upon any particular school would be such as to interfere with the educational duties it was necessary to perform there. It would only be used once or twice a year.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (The Marquess LONDONDERRY)
said he would follow the example of the noble Lord who had just sat down, and comment mi this Amendment as briefly as possible. He did not think this was the moment to introduce a Clause such as this. He believed there were provisions in the Ballot Act of 1872 and the Local Government Acts of 1888 and 1894 which dealt with this question, and therefore, in his opinion, it would not be wise at the present juncture to introduce such a Clause as this. If introduced at all, it should be introduced in a Bill of a separate character. This proposal had been discussed very fully in the House of Commons. The noble Lord might probably say that the debate was 774 confined to the question of unprovided schools, but he did not know that that, on any particular grounds, made it any easier for them, if they wished to do so, to accept this Amendment. The Amendment appiled to all schools. He sympathised with the noble Lord's view, but, as Lord Nelson had pointed out, with perfect justice, at present the schools were taken for three nights for the purposes of education, and if they trespassed still further on their time they would make a great encroachment and take away a great slice of the property of the owners of the schools. He sympathised with the view of the noble Lord that it was somewhat difficult for rural labourers, perhaps, to find opportunities to attend meetings and gather together, unless meetings were conducted in the schools. Speaking as a private individual and as an owner of schools and buildings, he might say he had always placed any buildings he had at the disposal of both political Parties, but that did not justify him in binding a manager to give the use of his schools in that way. He might, therefore, be allowed to hope that the noble Lord would not press this Amendment to a division, as under the present circumstances, and taking into consideration the Acts of Parliament which he had quoted, it would be impossible for their Lordships to accept it.
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
expressed the hope that if his noble friend went to a division he would be supported by noble Lords opposite, because his Clause simply endorsed the practice adopted by the noble Lords to allow members of either Party to make use of the schools. His noble friend opposite had stated that he had always allowed the schools to be used in this way, and he had been in the habit of doing the same, and that being so. why should not this Clause be put in the Bill?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
I spoke in that sense purely as a private individual, and I said I did not think I was justified in binding a manager to do that which I was in the habit of doing as a private individual.
THE 'EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
thought that that would not prevent the noble Lord and others voting for this Amendment as private individuals animated by public spirit. The people who refused to lend their schools were not a large class, but a class of very narrow political opinions. He, when a candidate for Parliament of a large rural constituency, wasrefused the use of a school in one district for the purpose of holding a meeting. What happened then, so far as he was concerned, was that a meeting was held out of doors, at which the clergyman was denounced for his refusal to lend the school in very strong terms, and as a consequence, he (the Earl of Portsmouth) gained a large number of votes which he would not otherwise have secured but for this very intolerant spirit. Surely it was not the desire of this House that that sort of thing should be allowed. Take the case of Wales. In Wales there were as many voluntary schools as board schools. All the rural electors, or a vast majority of them, in Wales were supporters of the Liberal party. The voluntary schools were held by managers or owners who were Conservatives. Public-minded Conservatives like the noble Lord would not think of taking advantage of this state of things, or think of denying the use of the schoolroom to either side, but there were a great many cases where men might be guided by a narrow spirit and do so. To his mind it was a very strong thing to say that the people should not have the use of these schools for political meetings, now that the schools were maintained at the sole cost of the State. His noble friend opposite had condemned his own attitude by saying he spoke as a private individual. Under these circumstances he appealed to their Lordships to say whether it was worth while keeping this grievance alive. He thought this was a justifiable Clause, and he hoped his noble friend would go to a division.
§ EARL SPENCER
My Lords, I only wish to add a few words to what has been said from this side of the House. I wish to support most strongly my noble friend who introduced this Amendment. I feel myself that we do not wish to legislate 776 against all owners and managers of these schools, but we wish to illustrate as clearly as possible the principle laid down by the noble Lord last night. With regard to the call for railroad tickets, we know that most people who travel by rail arc willing to show their tickets, but because a certain minority are not, a great deal of inconvenience is caused to those who are. It is just the same thing with regard to these schools. I have known over and over again, for no reason whatever, managers refuse to allow their schools to be used on political grounds, and it is for that reason we wish this Clause to be introduced. It will lead to no confusion because the matter will be regulated by the local education authority, and therefore, I strongly press the Government to think over what my noble friends have said upon this matter, and to agree to this Clause.
THE LORD BISHOP OF MANCHESTER
Does the noble Lord who moved this Clause object to add words after the word "shall" to this effect, "If no other suitable place is available "?
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
I stated in my speech that if my Clause did not cover it, I was willing to add words to do so.
§ THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM
expressed the hope that the Government would not assent to this proposal, which was to place in the hands of the local education authority the power to hand over buildings which were used for educational purposes and make them available for political purposes. He thought it was a very bad principle; in his opinion, in the interests of the schools themselves, politics should be kept outside altogether. They had no security that one local education authority would not favour one Party and another education authority would not favour another, and thus they would have Party feeling brought into play in a sphere where it ought not to exist. It would be against the interest of the schools, and against the interests of the children attending them, to have these buildings made available for political purposes, and upon that ground he hoped their Lordships would not assent to the proposal of the noble Lord.
§ LORD CLIFFORD OF CHUDLEIGH
asked the noble Lord who moved the Clause whether broken windows and other damage incidental to political meetings, which might be done to these buildings, would be paid for by the local authority.
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
said the local authority, having power to make rules, would necessarily lay it down that the people who hired the school for a particular evening would repair any damage that might be caused.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
I do not wish to trespass any further on the time of your Lordships. I am afraid the noble Duke will not accept the Amendment of the noble Lord. I think all the arguments that can be put for and against this Clause has been put before your Lordships, and you now have the unpleasant duty of deciding whether meetings should or should not be allowed of a political character. I do not think this is the time when we should alter this Bill
|Breadelbane, M.||Bath and Wells, L. Bp.||Kinnaird, L.|
|Bristol, M.||Rochester, L. Bp.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Mendip, L. (V. Clifden.)|
|Carrington, E.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Reay, L.|
|Northbrook, E.||Burghelere, L.||Ribblesdale, L. [Teller.]|
|Portsmouth, E.||Coleridge, L.||Sandhurst, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Denman, L. [Teller.]||Sudley, L. (E.Arran.)|
|Stamford, E.||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Halsbury, E. (L. Chancellor.)||Nelson, E.||Arundell of Wardour, L.|
|York, L. Abp.||Onslow, E.||Ashbourne, L.|
|Devonshire, D. (L. President.)||Radnor, E.||Balfour, L.|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Romney, E.||Belhaven and Stenton, L.|
|Northumberland, D.||Selborne, E.||Belper, L.|
|Wellington, D.||Shaftesbury, E.||Botreaux, L. (E. Loudoun.)|
|Stanhope, E.||Braye, L.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Strafford, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Ailesbury, M.||Tankerville, E.||Chfford of Chudleigh, L.|
|Camden, M.||Vane, E.(M. Londonderry.)||Congleton, L.|
|Hertford, M.||Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.)|
|Winchester, M.||Wharncliffe, E.||De Freyne, L.|
|Churchill, V. [Teller.]||De Mauley, L.|
|Abingdon, E.||Halifax, V.||Dormer, L.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)||Knustord, V.||Douglas, L. (E. Home.)|
|Llandaff, V.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Feversham, E.||Ridley, V.||Erskine, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Gage, L. (V. Gage.)|
|Lauderdale, E.||Ely, L. Bp.||Glenesk, L.|
|Leven and Melville, E.||Lincoln, L. Bp.||Hatherton, L.|
|Lucan, E.||London, L. Bp.||Herries, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Newcastle, L. Bp.||Howard of Glossop, L.|
|Morley, E.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)|
§ in acordance with the views of the noble Lord, and I have called attention to the fact that Acts of Parliament deal at the present moment with this deal at the present moment with this matter; therefore I am afraid I cannot accept it.
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
submitted with all deference that as to the object of the Clause being introduced into this Bill. It was perfectly true that under the Ballot Act these rooms could be used for the purposes of election, but not for political meetings. It was not the ract, therefore, that there was any provision in any Act of Parliament which dealt with the object he had in view in proposing this Clause. He was extremely sorry that the noble Duke and the noble Marquess could not accept this Clause, but as it was a matter upon which there was very great feeling he was compelled to go to a division.
§ On Question, objected to. Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 23; NotContents, 77.779
|Lawrence, L.||Seaton, L||Wenlock, L.|
|Lindley, L.||Shand, L.||Wentworth, L.|
|Macnaghten, L.||Sherborne, L.||Wimborne, L.|
|Redesdale, L.||Stanmore, L.||Zouche of Haryngworth, L.|
|Robertson, L.||Tredegar, L.|
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (The Earl of MORLTCY)
Does the noble Lord move his Amendment after this Clause?
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
The Amendment which stands in my name is practically the same as that to be moved by Lord Lytton on the other side, and I am anxious to save the time of the House, and therefore I do not propose to move my Amendment.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
apologised to their Lordships for not having been in the House to move his Amendment when it was first called. He would not have ventured to ask their indulgence in this matter if it had not been that it was submitted for the consideration of that House. This question had been given notice of in the House of Commons but was never considered, owing, as he understood, to the exigencies of time. He did not know that he had very much to say with regard to the matter, because the Clause seemed to him to be so reasonable as to require no argument. It was a Clause merely for the purpose of giving power to the trustees of the schools to lease the schools to the local authority. If the local authority and the owners could agree together upon such a system as should give the local authority the full power of disposal of the school at certain hours, but should reserve the use of that school to the owners during other hours, it seemed to him that in many cases that would be a very useful provision, and one which would remove much friction and difficulty which might otherwise arise. He did not think it necessary to detain their Lordships longer with regard to this provision, which seemed to him so selfevidently desirable. He should like to know whether the Government accepted it. If they did not he might have to discuss its merits.
After Clause 7, insert the following new Clause, 'The managers of any school not pro
vided by the local education authority may at any time, with the consent of the owners of the school-house, and not with standing any provisions of the trust deed, agree with the local education authority to let the school-house on rent to that authority during such hours and with such reservations as to the giving of religious instruction as may be agreed upon, and thereupon and so long as such agreement shall last the school shall be conducted in accourdance with such agreement, but otherwise be managed and controlled as a school provided by the local education authority.'"—(Duke of Northumberland.)
A NOBLE LORD
Before the noble Duke answers, I wish to ask him whether the arrangement which the noble Duke who last spoke wishes to make cannot now be carried out under the Act of 1870? I know cases where such an arrangement has been carried out with the School Board, and when this act passes the County Council will stand in the same position as the School Board.
§ LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (The Duke of DEVONSHIRE)
I am rather surprised that the noble Duke in moving this Amendment, did not, as suggested by the noble Earl opposite, state, in the necessity for this transfer, why the condition laid down eith regard to the voluntary schools in the Act of 1870 does not meet his view and is not sufficient for his purpose. It is perfectly possible now for a voluntary school to be transferred to the education authority upon certain conditions, one of which may be the use by the voluntary managers of the school during certain hours for the purpose of giving religious instruction. The difference which I conceive would be imported by the adoption of this Clause is that the noble Duke would permit an arrangement to be made between the local authorities and the managers which would admit of denominational religious instruction being carried on during school hours. That is to say, a school managed by the local authority under the supervision of the local authority would not be the local authority under the supervision of the local authority would not be subject ot the Cowper-Temple Clause. if I understand rightly that that is the meaning of the noble Duke's Clause, that is a proposal we cannot agree to. The scheme 781 of the Bill is that denominational religious instruction shall continue to be given in i the schools now called voluntary schools as it is at present, and that in all schools which are under the local education authority, the Cowper-Temple Clause shall continue to be in force. That is a principle we cannot depart from. We I believe that any such provision as the noble Duke asks for would lead to religious difficulties with the local education. authority itself.
§ LORD STANMORE
said he only desired to interpose for a moment. One reason for the Clause which the noble Duke had moved was this. Considerable doubt had arisen in the minds of a great number of persons interested in denominational schools as to whether, under the present existing law, they would or would not effect such relief as was there contemplated. A certain number of learned lawyers told them that, under the existing law, it was perfectly competent for such arrangements to be effected; other lawyers, equally learned, told them that such an arrangement could not be effected; he thought, therefore, that it was desirable that this Clause should be introduced in order to make that matter perfectly clear. Its acceptance would confirm that which was already believed to be the existing law by a very large number of persons. while its rejection, on the other hand, although it would no doubt technically leave the law as it was at present, no doubt would be considered as having changed it. He therefore hoped the Government would see their way to accept this or some similar Amendment.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
said he was much obliged to the noble Lord who had just sat down for saying what he had. If the Government were perfectly clear that Clause 7 of this Act did not over-ride the power given to the local authorities by the Act of 1870, that was a very satisfactory interpretation of the Government position. Unfortunately, Parliamentary utterances, however clear, were not the law of the land, and there were great doubts upon this subject. He was no lawyer, but as he, read Clause 7 he thought there would be a great many more doubts in the future.
§ THE DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND
said he did not know that he could point out at the moment what part of the Clause he referred to, but he should have thought the whole of the Clause. If the noble Duke would kindly amend the Clause in the way he thought best and add it to the Bill, and thus make perfectly clear what the law was, he would be greatly obliged to the noble Duke.
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
said it was perfectly true that the managers of schools were at the present time able to make arrangements to let their schools I to local authorities, but what precluded the owners of schools from making these arrangements was that the lease they made with the local authorities had to be made with the consent of the Board of Education, and to all intents and purposes the conditions imposed by the Board of Education in respect of the lease were such as practically amounted to a transfer of the ownership of the school-house from the hands of the denominational managers to the hands of the local authority. This Clause was proposed really very much in the interest of the local authorities and the ratepayers, because, after what had happened with regard to this Bill, with the very best intentions to make the very best of it, it was quite clear, after what fell from the rev. Prelate, the Bishop of London, on the previous day, that it was extremely probable that a great many schools which had every desire to go on would not be able to continue as denominational schools. It is surely very much to the advantage of the local authorities, and very much to the advantage of the ratepayers themselves, that where such a thing occurred the denominational school owners should be able to make terms with the local authority, and should be able to lease their schools to the local authority, and at the same time to be able to retain these rights with regard to them. This Clause, in such a case, would do away with the necessity of building a second school in the area by enabling the managers to grant a lease of this sort. He believed arrangements of this sort would constantly be made if this Clause were accepted. He quite saw that, as the Clause was drawn.
§ in the last line but two, it would be open to the managers of the school to make conditions as to the religious management, but if this Clause was amended by the Government so that the school leased came under the rule governing the provided schools, that objection would entirely fail, and it would leave the religious instruction to be given by the denominational owners outside the school hours. It seemed to him a Clause which the Government could accept and a Clause that the Opposition could accept. It was really an advantage to the ratepayers. If the Clause were accepted, a query would arise as to whether something should not be brought in to modify Section 23 of the Education Act of 1887.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I submit that the noble Lords supporting this Clause have either been unwilling or have not been able to point out in what respect the existing law of transfer is insufficient. All that the noble Lord who has just sat down has said was that the Clause affecting transfer was under the administration of the Education Department, and that the Education Department makes conditions which prevent this Clause from coming into operation. That is, surely, not a matter for legislation, but one of administration.
On Question, Amendment disagreed to.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
said that the Amendment standing in his name dealt with a subject which had been discussed on the previous Tuesday by their Lordships upon an Amendment moved by the Viscount Goschen. He did not consider it necessary to go over all the ground covered by some of the speeches made in that discussion, because he thought the equitableness and the justification of his Amendment had been admitted by both sides of the House. It had been admitted by the noble Duke, when he accepted the Amendment of the noble Lord Viscount Goschen. Speaking on the Second Reading of this Bill, the noble Lord the Earl of Rosebery had taunted the Government with having done nothing to meet the grievance of the one-school areas, and on the previous 784 Tuesday had asked what steps the Government had taken to elicit the wishes of the parents in this matter. The proposal he now made was one which did much to remedy the grievance of the one-school areas, and a proposal which was directly concerned with the wishes of the parents, and therefore upon principle, at least, he claimed the support of the noble Lord to his Amendment. The only objection taken by Lord Tweedmouth to the Amendment of the noble Lord (Viscount Goschen) was that it interfered with the unity of an existing system, and that they could not do for secondary education that which they did not do for elementary. As that was the only objection of the noble Lord, it was only fair to claim that when the matter had been arranged for secondary education on the ground of the unity of our education system, it should also be arranged for our elementary education. He therefore claimed his support to this Amendment. He admitted that noble Lords opposite had expressed their desire that nothing which they had said on the subject of secondary education should be taken as a precedent when the subject matter of elementary education came up for discussion. He had, therefore, no wish to make any capital out of what had been said by the noble Viscount, and he would not refer to anything that had been said by noble Lords opposite, except to this extent—that they did not deny that their objection to his Amendment was not one of principle but of practice; they did not deny that it was just in principle, they did not deny that if it were put into practice and made to work it would supply the remedy to the grievance felt with regard to the one-school area, and they did not deny that it was in the interest of religious liberty, and was in accordance with their often reiterated principles that denominational teaching in all schools should be carried on at the expense of the denominations. What noble Lords opposite said was that it did not work out in practice. To that objection he would offer two remarks. In the first place, he would ask their Lordships to notice that the form in which he moved this Amendment differed substantially from the form in which it was moved in the other House, inasmuch as the duty of providing these facilities was in this case simply optional and was therefore loft at the discretion of the local authority, which 785 they had been so often asked to trust. In the second place, it would be said that this principle had not up to the present had an opportunity of proving beyond all doubt as to whether it was practicable or otherwise. He might best meet that objection by taking certain concrete instances and trying to prove, as he thought was the case, that in some cases it had been made to work satisfactorily hitherto. He would take the case of Birmingham, a case which was raised in the other House, when these words were used by the Prime Minister, Mr. A. J. Balfour, speaking of the Birmingham plan—He thought that by universal consent the plan did not eassy out either the intentions or the wishes of its trainers, and it had been abandoned.It had been since proved that the statement of the Prime Minister was not strictly correct. It was perfectly true that when this system was introduced at Birmingham it was abandoned as unworkable, but another system had been founded, which had continued very successfully down to the present time, and in order to show what that system was he would refer to clause 8 of the regulations of the Birmingham School Board of the present day, amongst which was one by which the School Board was empowered to let its school at a rent of five shillings a day for half an hour's religious instruction on two mornings in the week, when any denominational teacher could come in and give that instruction. That was the principle he now asked their Lordships to sanction by this Amendment, and in testimony of its success in actual work he, would cite the opinion of the Birmingham and District Council sub-Committee, which thought the school as a whole could not be said to have proved a failure, and that they believed, from reasons given by those in the highest authority, that it was capable of a further and mere satisfactory development. He did not know whether their Lordships were aware that this system was being worked in the Army schools of this country. The Duke of York Royal Military School at Chelsea was working under the same principle, and every scholar in that school might receive definite religious instruction, in his own belief, from a minister of his own denomination. The parents or guardians had to define the denomination of the child 786 on his entrance into the school, and he had to remain in that denomination as long as he was in the school. That was to prevent any proselytism. He was informed that the Roman Catholic members of the school went out every Monday for an hour to receive their instruction, but that the Church of England clergy and the Presbyterian and Wesleyan ministers came into that school to teach their religion, and that in that school they knew no religious difficulties. In the case of New South Wales the principle was also at work. The Act which established the State schools in New South Wales provided two things; first of all it provided that religious teaching as against denominational teaching should be given in those schools, and beyond that it provided that full denominational religious teaching should be given by the recognised teachers of each religion. He submitted that those cases were sufficient to prove that this principle had been made to work in the past, and he challenged noble Lords who differed from him on this subject to produce instances where it had failed. All he asked was that some encouragement should be given to this principle, in order that use might be made of this facility and that it might be proved beyond dispute whether this system was practicable. He did not ask it on behalf of the Church of England, but in common fairness to all denominations. There appeared to him to be two dangers in this Bill which would, in his opinion, be met by this Amendment. The first was a tendency to a large, possibly, but wholly undesirable increase in denominational schools, because it was laid down in this Bill that the managers of any school which contained thirty members could come upon the public rates and become a school supported by the State. He saw in that a danger, where clerical opinion was opposed to the denominational character of the teaching given in a local school, of the increase and multiplication of these schools in order to obtain the denominational teaching that was desired. The second danger was this. He placed himself amongst those who had serious doubts as to whether this Bill would produce the result which they expected it to produce, namely, the preservation of the denominational character of these schools, and he could not but think that when once these 787 schools were made public schools and supported out of the rates their denominational character was very seriously imperilled, and he might say that this was only a question of time. If that was true, and it came to pass that these schools were to lose their denominational character, a provision of this sort would become necessary, if religion was to be preserved in our schools. All he asked was that an opportunity should be given to theological professors to see whether this proviso was possible. In those places where it was thought it was desirable the authorities would put it into effect, and if it were found not to work it would cease to be carried on. No harm whatever could be done by this extremely moderate proposal, and great interest would be taken in testing this experiment and seeing if it would work. It was a principle which was admitted by all parties to be the soundest and truest settlement of the religious difficulty.
Amendment moved—After Clause 7, to insert the following new Clause, 'The managers of all public elementary schools, whether provided by the local education authority or not, may, at the request of parents of children attending such schools, permit religious instruction to be given to such children according to the tenets and faith of their parents, in the school buildings, at hours other than those assigned for secular instruction without making any charge for the use of such buildings, provided that the instruction be under the direction and management of a responsible person or a responsible authority duly accredited on behalf of the religious community to which the parents concerned belong, and provided that such religious instruction, and, if required, extra remuneration of the caretaker of the school buildings, and to make good any damage that may occur.'"—(The Earl of Lytton.)
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
said he just wished to add to the evidence brought the Amendment before the House, the case of the Drury Lane Day Industrial School. That school was an ordinary board school except that industrial training formed part of its curriculum, and in that school there was a certain provision for religious teaching under the control of ministers of different denominations. In that school there had never been any 788 friction in the working. With regard to the jews in the London board schools, there was a separate provision made. There was a provision made for Jewish education in a large school at Kilburn, and there was never any kind of friction there. They had here a great deal of how desirable it was that the education of this country should not be inferior to the education given abroad, and notably by Germany, but in Germany the whole of the education was under public control, and was supported entirely by public money. It was wholly denominational; the children were brought up according to their parents' wishes, and there was on kind of friction in the matter at all. sir J. Fitch, just before this matter was brought before the other House, wrote a long letter to The Times for the purpose of insisting that this plan was un brake and produced friction. His letter was full of assertions, but when he was J. Fitch could not do so. He had thought fit, however, to write a similar letter for the similar purpose of influencing their Lordships' debate this evening. Again, when he was challenge, he had no answer. It could be proved that this principle could be worked, not only without friction, but in the interest of the Church and of all the denominations. It was, he believed, the object of this Bill to provide for denominational education whenever there was a demand for it. As the noble Earl had told their Lordships, the Bill did provide for denominational education under Clauses 8 and 9. He thought hose were very valuable Clauses, but, at the same time, as the noble Lord had pointed out, it was a very expensive way of providing denominational education, and the consequence was that if they insisted that facilities should be granted, such as the Amendment proposed, it would result in a great saving with regard to the rates, and it would do something, and he thought a very great deal, to preserve in the future the denominational character of our schools, without inflicting the slightest hardship.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF ROCHESTER
said he should very much regret if the Amendment, which had been moved in so careful and thoughtful a speech by the noble Earl, whose part in these 789 debates he was sure they all welcomed, did not elicit some of the strong, and, as he thought, widely distributed feeling upon this subject which he believed existed both in this House and in the country at large. The noble in the country at large. The noble Earl was well justified in saying that the great preponderance of argument and reason was in favour of some such plan as he had suggested. For his own part, the reasons which seemed to him to encourage to that one. They were all human, and when anyone took a particular course people were disposed to ask what he was aiming at, and to presume he was aiming at something favourable to himself and to his friends. So in the present case he said friendly that he was aiming at something favourable to the cause for which he was concerned, namely, the giving of denominational teaching to the children of his own denomination. But he felt equally clearly that the proposals of the noble Earl would do every justice to those whom on many of these points he was obliged to treat as opponents, and those two results were about equally balanced. His one claim or right to speak upon this particular matter was that his diocese contained a very large proportion of those great areas which surrounded our growing towns. and which had practically created new cities where before there were fields, and of which the Metropolis had the lion's share. In all those areas, broadly speaking, denominational education had no chance, for all the education was now provided by the School Boards, as it would be in the future by the local authorities. Therefore, those who were anxious, as His Majesty's Government were, to meet the fair claims of the denominationalists would see that there was a very real need—a very real greivance, he might almost call it —to be met. Turning to the other side of the matter, they had defended, as they felt bound to defend, the schools of the Church, but he thought they had never denied, as he certainly himself had never denied the fact that the case where the maintenance of these schools pressed hardly upon the Nonconformists was the case of a district in which the Church school was the only school in the area. What. then, was it necessary and right for them to do in regard to that grievance? It was necessary and right 790 to meet it in every way they could, and if it were possible, in every one of those schools for the noble Lord's Clause to come into effect, it was quite evident that while denominational teaching was carried on there would be an open door to Nonconformist teachers to come in and teach Nonconformisst children. He knew what was said with regard to that; he knew that it was said to be an old snare, and that it was well known that Nonconformists could not take advantage of it. If anyone were inclined to take up that objection, he would ask the objector whether he had considered the new provision in this very Bill which rendered it possible in all schools to have Nonconformist teachers. The acceptance of the noble Lord's Clause, which enabled such teaching to be given combined with the effect of that Clause in the Bill which provided the teachers to give it. It appeared to him a means of alleviating the Nonconformist grievance, which he for one should not only claim as a great concession, but which he cordially desired. Speaking for himself, and, he believed, his brethren upon the Episcopal Benches, they wished to do to their neighbours as they would have their neighbours do to them. The Cowper-Temple Clause was valued for one particular purose, and while it carried out that purpose it had an incidental result which might quite easily be dropped off. The Cowper-Temple Clause provided, as its main purpose, that in schools publicly provided there should be undenominational instruction. Its incidental effect was that it excluded all other kinds of teaching. In this instance, if the Amendment were admitted, nothing would be done to touch the effect of the Cowper-Temple Clause with regard to its main effect. It was his opinion that an Amendment of this kind would long ago have had a great deal more support and gone a great dela further, and would have now been part of the law of the land, had there not been on the part of the teachers opposition to the imposition of a test. He did not think that any fears or anxiety as to the imposition of a test in this matter were in the least likely ot be justified, and there was the less ground under a Bill which would open new posts to Nonconformists.
THE MAKQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
I associate myself with the two speakers who have gone before me in congratulating the noble Earl upon the way in which he has moved this Clause. So plausibly has he moved the Clause that if it were allowed to go to a division now the plausibility of the noble Lord might have persuaded your Lordships to vote in its favour. But, although it was put forward so skilfully, the Clause, as it is at present, has neither practicability nor popularity. I think, my Lords, the practicability of this Clause, or rather the impractica bility of it, is shown by the letter to which the noble Lord opposite alluded, the letter of Sir Joshua Fitch in yesterday's Times. The noble Lord said that Sir Joshua Fitch was somewhat of an opportunist in his opinion.
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
said he did not in the least say that he was an opportunist in regard to his own opinion, but that he had thought it worth while to publish both letters before this debate came on in order to insist on his own views.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
I lay the greatest possible value on the opinion of Sir Joshua Fitch, and the letter he wrote to The Times to my mind puts plainly and clearly what would be the position of the schools of this country if this Clause were allowed to be passed. Therefore, as the question has been raised with regard to Sir Joshua Fitch, I shall ask to be allowed to quote to your Lordships one sentence of his letter with 792 regard to the position in which our schools would be if this Clause is allowed to pass—We shall have, for example, in a town in which there are several places of worship, a few children, at the hour assigned for the religious lesson in the school, going in different directions, some, it may be, to the parish church, where there is an Evangelical rector, some to a Presbyterian or Congregational chapel, and some to a High Anglican 'Mass.' They would all be expected to return and pursue the regular course of school studies at ihe end of the hour.I would ask any one of your Lordships who has had any experience in the education of children in various localities as to whether if this Clause were accepted that would be desirable.
I do not quite see how this letter which the noble Marquess quotes can have any connection with the present Amendment; there is no mention of places of worship in the Clause before your Lordships.
THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY: The interruption of the noble Lord is allowable, and I am quite willing to try and prove the connection. By this Clause it is permissible for all these ministers of religion to educate their children according to their own lights. What would be the result of such a condition of things? In the opinion of Sir Joshua Fitch it would be what I have quoted. I drop that point there with this remark, that I think that that paragraph is very appropriate to that condition of affairs; let me now go on to deal with what would be the condition of affairs from another point of view if this Clause were accepted. I have endeavoured to prove to your Lordships in the first place that it is impracticable. I now say that the Clause if passed would be absolutely unpopular with all those it was intended to benefit. The right rev. Prelate who preceded me dealt with the manner in which this Clause, as amended, would deal with the clergy of this country. He alluded more to the clergy of the large towns than to the country clergyman. What would the country clergyman sayif this Clause were accepted? He would say that his position would be absolutely impossible. He would be having quarrels in the parish if the Nonconformist minister came into his school 793 and interfered with his teachers. And what would be the position of the Nonconformist minister? Surely he would say, "The Church of England, with its large establishment of competent teachers, would flood the board schools; and the provisions would therefore be not in their favour, because the Church of England is better organised." There, once for all, you have the Nonconformist and the Church of England clergyman at sixes and sevens with each other. Then what would the teacher say? He would be in a harder position than either. He would naturally say, "I have the task of disciplining this school, but if I am to be interfered with by each of these ministers, who come down upon me whenever they please, what chance have I of maintaining discipline? My position is absolutely intolerable." Therefore you have all the three whom you desire to benefit set at variance if this Clause is accepted. I do not think my noble friends opposite will say I am out of order if I again quote the letter of Sir Joshua Fitch with regard to the teachers. Sir Joshua. Fitch says—The effect of the adoption of such a plan on the general discipline of flic school, and on the authority of the head teacher, would be disastrous.For these reasons it is impossible for the Government to accept the Clause proposed by the noble Earl.
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
said the Clause moved bv the noble Earl opposite was not a Clause which provided that the children were to go to Church outside the school; on the contrary, it was a Clause to provide that denominational religious instruction should be given in the school; and the letter of Sir Joshua Fitch to The Times had nothing to do with the matter. The noble Marquess had said that the Clause would be unpopular with the country clergy, He knew something of the country clergyman, and in all his schools, and in nearly all the schools he knew of that sort, the clergymen would be all willing and glad that the Dissenting Minister should come into their school and teach his religion to the children of his denomination. It had attained a very large support from all the clergymen of the Church of England, and when it was said by the noble Marquess that the clergy would not like it, he ventured to 794 dispute that statement altogether. Did not the noble Marquess know that this system prevailed in New South Wales without any friction whatever, and that the whole of the statistics brought forward by the noble Earl opposite showed that the system worked well in Birmingham and other schools, with no friction whatever, and did not the noble Marquess know that the teachers were quite as willing as the clergy to give the different denominations this opportunity?
*THE LORDBISHOP OF CHICHESTER
said the noble Lord had never been a country clergyman, whereas he had been in that position, and he knew what the opinion of the country elergyman was on such a matter as this, He believed they would welcome it as a matter of simple justice. He had no doubt that the Government would tell their Lordships that to accept such a Clause as this would destroy the symmetry of the Bill which had been prepared by them. What was that compared to the rights of the parents to say what religion their children should be taught? He stood up for the rights of the parents in this matter. For many long years he had advocated a scheme almost exactly similar, and had advocated that, especially in all our widespread country parishes which had only one school, there should be facilities given for Nonconformist teachers to teach all the children of Nonconformist parents in the schools. He knew there were difficulties in the way of carrying out this scheme, but under this Bill those difficulties would disappear, because upon the teaching staff of the under this Bill there could be one representative Nonconformist who could teach the children of his denomination. The country clergyman had far too much common sense not to welcome this Clause. It was not proposed by this Amendment that children should be drawn to different places of worship. What was suggested by the Clause was that there should be a room in the school during the hours of religious instruction, where the parents might have their children taught in the tenets of the religion which they professed. He believed that this Clause, if accepted, would work perfectly easily.
said he only wished to say a very few words. This Amendment, in his opinion, was not necessary. He believed the managers of schools had the right to dispose of school buildings, when not used for instruction under the Code. All the arguments of the noble Marquess were directed against giving the religious instruction contemplated by the Amendment during school hours. The noble Marquess seemed to think that these facilities were to be given during school hours, but they had nothing whatever to do with the time table. What was intended by the Amendment was that these facilities should be given outside the school hours.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I think the noble Lord is wrong in that. The terms of the Amendment are "at hours other than those assigned for secular instruction," but I think the direct intention is that this religious instruction shall be given during school hours.
said if that was intended it was not what he understood. He had gathered from the speech of the Mover of this Amendment that this instruction was to be given not in substitution, but as a supplement, to the regular religious instruction during the meeting of the school. Of course, if the noble Duke was right, the objections so well put by Sir Joshua Fitch did apply, and he would vote against the Amendment. He had also risen to answer the question put to him on the previous evening by the noble Viscount—:Lord Halifax—who had stated that the Gospel of St. John had been excluded from the syllabus of religious instruction in the London board schools. Since 1891 that Gospel had been included every year, and was now included in the Scripture Syllabus. The information supplied to the noble Viscount had therefore been inaccurate. As regards the noble Viscount's allegation that teachers were prohibited from explaining passages in the Prophecies as alluding to Our Lord, he could find no trace of such prohibition. The only instructions given to the teachers were that they should teach in accordance 796 with the provisions of Sections 7 and 14 of the Act of 1870, in letter and in spirit.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
said so much had been made of the view that was likely to be taken by the clergy in this matter, that it was excusable that more than one member of the Episcopal Bench should intervene in the debate. References had been made to the letter of Sir Joshua Fitch, and any man who had the interest of eduction at heart derived great value from that gentleman's opinion. He had never read a letter of Sir Hoshua Fitch without finding that he had gained something from it, and the matter in question had been laid before them with all the wealth of experience which Sir Joshua possessed, but Sir Joshua Fitch's words had been used tonight as an answer to quite a different proposal from that to which his words had been directed. The proposal against which they had been directed—a proposal which had been frequently made in these debates—was that the managers should be compelled, at the request of a certain number of parents, to make such arrangements as were here described, but the noble Lord's proposal was that the managers should be left a discretion in the matter. He, personally, was prepared to trust the managers, and he entered a respectful protest against words which had been written against the forcing of such an arrangement upon the managers being used against the suggestion that the managers should do as they pleased. He saw great difficulty in such a plan as this working in the great board schools of our large towns, and personally, if he were a manager of one of these schools, he would be very loth to take advantage of this privilege. But it was an entirely different thing in the country districts, and even though the noble Marquess who was responsible for the Board of Education believed the country clergy would not like it, he might safely leave it to those to answer who spoke in a special manner for a few of the clergy in this matter. While it was certain that there would be many men in the country who would view it a little jealously, he was perfectly certain that the majority of the country clergy would welcome 797 the proposal as a matter of fairness, and would follow it out in practice, and they would find that it would work exceedingly well. He ventured to think that attention had not been given to the words of his brother the Bishop of Rochester when he pointed out that the Bill introduced a large number of Nonconformist teachers into our country schools, who would be the very people who would give this instruction if the Nonconformist ministers were not there to do so. At all events, he hoped it would be made perfectly clear to the public that, so far as the Bishops were concerned, they desired that these facilities should be given to their Nonconformist friends, to whom they wished justice to be done, and that if objections came to the proposal they did not come from the Episcopal Bench. Their Lordships would well remember the message of the Primate in which he said, had strength been permitted to him, he would have pleaded specially for such arrangements under this new Bill as would make it impossible for any sense the grievance to remain among the Nonconformists; and as the carrying of this Clause would be exactly the thing to give effect to the wish expressed by the Primate, he earnestly hoped it would be accepted.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
I think this discussion has been sufficiently prolonged, because, so far as I can see, the arguments have pointed entirely to one side, with one exception, and some statements in a letter that has been referred to, which, as has already been pointed out, do not apply to the Amendment in question. The noble Earl who brought forward this question with so much cleverness challenged me so directly to give him my support that I am bound to say that whatever my support may be worth, though I fear it may not be so beneficial as he may think, but rather damaging than otherwise, he is fully entitled to have, and shall have it. But I fear he rather underrated his own case. This is a system which is adopted throughtout the whole of the British Empire with the exception of these islands. In all our self-governing Australian Colonies this system has been adopted, and has worked without friction and with admirable results. I do not anticipate so fortunate a course for it within this kingdom of England, but I am encouraged by the 798 assurance of the right rev. occupants of the Episcopal Bench that if the Government accept it they, at any rate, will endeavour to give it a fair trial, and that therefore we may hope to see this system attempted in our schools, and thus force into them, that which I fear this Bill has not, the germ of a national system of education. My noble friend the Chairman of the London School Board has said this Clause is unnecessary. I do not venture to strive with my noble friend in argument on questions relating to education, but I would venture to point out that even if it should be unnccessary—and with regard to that I have my doubts also—it will be valuable as an indication to the managers. The managers may have willingness in their minds, but, perplexed as to what is and is not in the Bill, they may be doubtful as to their powers to carry this out. Therefore I think that this is a valuable indication, and its value cannot be over-estimated in this country. I believe this Clause would be very valuable in conjunction with the Clause you are able to pass into law. But, though it is likely to be valuable, it will not settle the question. I share the misgivings of the noble Earl who put forward this Amendment as to the effect of the Bill; but at any rate it will be a sign of grace and liberality and of hope for the future which I do not care to minimise.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY
said: This proposal was discussed several times in the Diocesan Synods, a body of clergy and laity, and they had come to the conclusion that in Church schools it was desirable to give these facilities to Nonconformist teaching. That decision was, after a considerable discussion, arrived at almost unanimously. The clergy at first, as the noble Lord who spoke on behalf of the Government suggested, regarded it with suspicion; but, after the question had been before them on several occasions they had seen it was fair, and, as fair-minded men, they were entirely prepared to accept it.
My Lords, I wish to say one of two words upon this question. I rather differ ssfrom what has been said by noble Lords in support of this Clause, and feel great difficulty in going against the decision of the Government in this matter. I understood 799 the noble Marquess who represents the Education Department to say there was great practical difficulty in introducing this Clause into the Bill; the Bishop of Winchester admitted that there would be great difficulty in applying it to the great board schools.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
The difficulty I saw was applying it compulsorily, which was the proposal made before. It makes all the difference in the world when the decision is to be left to the managers.
But is it of much use? If there is much difficulty in applying it in the great School Boards, is it right to apply it elsewhere? A good guide in these matters generally is to see what the authorities have to say upon the subject, and I understand the noble Marquess that it would not be practicable to carry out this Clause if it were accepted.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
What I said was that it would not give satisfaction to all those denominations which it is intended to benefit. I said the Nonconformists would not like it, the elergy would not like it, and the managers would not like it. That is the line I take.
I quite adopt what the noble Marquess says. If the various denominations dislike this Amendment, I am not in favour of introducing it. Why do they dislike it? Because they think it will operate to their disadvantage. For these reasons I am seriously not disposed to vote in favour of the Amendment which has been proposed by the noble Earl extremely ably and very skilfully, and therefore I certainly shall support the Government if, as I understand, they are not ready to adopt the proposal of the noble Earl.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, I am quite willing to admit, and it must be admitted by everyone, that there is a great deal in the principle of this Amendment to which we can all give our assent. The position is rather a complicated position, and I 800 must endeavour, with your Lordships' permission, to explain as well as I can what that position is. This is part of a proposal brought forward in the Other House by Lord Hugh Cecil. This, I admit, is not the whole of that proposal, and it may not be exposed to all the difficulties to which the whole of that proposal is exposed, but it is part of that proposal and embodies the principle proposed by Lord Hugh Cecil in the other House. The Prime Minister, speaking of behalf of the Government, so far admitted the justice of the principle that he said that if it had been embodied in a Bill, and that he had been asked to vote for the Second Reading of such a Bill, he could not refuse to vote for it, and he actually did not vote against it in the division that was taken in the House; but he stated with equal clearness—with perfect and absolute clearness—that the Government were not prepared at this stage of this measure to introduce fresh matter of controversy. My Lords, I think this matter is so important that I dare say the House will forgive me for committing a breach of order and quoting words used by a responsible Minister in charge of a Bill in the other House. He said —He did not see that it was now practical at all. If this were embodied in the Bill, and they were now engaged in a debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, he would go with the noble Lord without scruple; but if any vote of his in favour of reading this Clause a second time was to be taken as a pledge that the Government were going to make themselves responsible for any proposal of that kind, he thought they would be greatly misleading the House by adopting any such suggestion. Under these circumstances he could not vote against the Clause, but he should abstain from recording his vote on the question.And, as a fact, he walked out of the House when the division was called. I think those words fully show how utterly impracticable a measure it would be to send this Clause back for discussion at this period of the session to the other House. This proposal has two sides, but only one of them has been much referred to in the discussion that has taken place; in fact the noble Earl on the Cross Benches whso is going to support the Clause referred exclusively to one side of the proposal. It is a proposal that in denominationl schools Nonconformist religious 801 teaching shall be admitted under certain conditions. We are bound to take the declaration of the Episcopal Bench that this would, generally speaking, be not unwillingly received by the managers of the voluntary schools. I venture to think their acquiescence in it would not be by any means universal, but I am bound to take the opinion of the Episcopal Bench that the clergy would not be against it; but it may be conceived that the prelates who have taken part in this discussion would have considered it to be an inequitable arrangement if it had been a one-sided arrangement. The proposal which they support is that this shall apply not only to the non-provided schools but to the provided schools also. Am I right? [Hear, hear!] Then I am right. It is to admit Church teaching into what are now called board schools.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
That is exactly the point. That is the objection. The local authority has to decide whether this admission of the Church teacher in the schools is to be permitted or not; that is to say, the local authority is to decide whether in certain cases the Cowper-Temple Clause is to be abrogated or maintained as it is now. Well, my Lords, we contend that the possibility of raising such a question will lead to interminable discussion, not only among the members of the local education authority themselves, but also in the election for the appointment of the local authority. It raises the whole question. We have, as I said before on a previous Amendment this evening, adopted a principle in this Bill by which we leave the question of denominational instruction where it was. We leave the denominational instruction to be given in voluntary schools where it was; and we leave it subject to the Cowper-Temple Clause in every case in the provided schools. The question whether denominational instruction is, under certain conditions, to be permitted in the provided schools cannot fail to raise religious discussions in the debates of every local education authority in the country and for that reason the Government cannot consent to the introduction, especially at this stage of the Bill, of this Amendment, knowing the 802 interminable length to which the discussions would be prolonged if such a Clause were sent back to the other House. Therefore we cannot agree to the acceptance of this proposal. I do not think that this point has been quite understood, because some noble Lords appear to be under the impression that this can already be done. I think some reference has been made to what is still going on at Birmingham. At Birmingham it is said that some of the schools are let at a certain rate to denominations for religious instruction within those schools at hours before or after the school hours. Well, my Lords, that, it appears, can be done under the existing law, but what this Amendment will effect depends upon the words in the proposal of the noble Earl, that religious instruction may be given "at hours other than those assigned for secular instruction;" that is to say, at hours within which the attendance of children is compulsory, and religious instruction at hours other than those at which attendance is compulsory can be permitted now by the School Board without, as is done in Birmingham, infringing the Cowper-Temple Clause. But, without abrogating the Cowper-Temple Clause, religious instruction can be given during the hours of compulsory attendance. This proposal does, therefore, amount to giving to the local authority in every county, and in every borough, the power, if it thinks fit, of abrogating to that extent the Cowper-Temple Clause, and our contention is that such a power cannot be given to a local authority without the certainly of raising prolonged, acrimonious, and probably interminable disputes upon the religious question, and it is on these grounds that we must object to this proposal.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
I only want to ask one question of the noble Duke. He thinks the great danger of this Clause will be to introduce the religious question into the election of the local authority.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
Does the noble Duke really suppose that if this 803 Bill passes without this Clause the election of the local authority will be conducted without reference to the religious question?
§ Clause 8:-
Amendment moved —
In page 5, line 19, leave out 'and' and insert 'or' "—(The Lord President.)
§ Agreed to804
§ On Question, objected to. Their Lordships divided:-Contents, 68; Not-contents, 74.
In page 5, line 20, leave out 'and' and insert 'or' "—(The Lord President.)
§ Agreed to.805
*THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
said the Amendment which he desired to move was to insert in line 30, after the word "school," the words "not provided by the local education authority."He did so for this reason. As the Clause now stood, the local authority would be hampered in its operation by the first Section of the Clause. For instance, if the local authority should have come into the possession of a school which required such an enlargement as to practically constitute a new school, then the local authority might be prevented from carrying out this improvement, say, by ten ratepayers, or by any little clique of persons, or by someone who wished to bring in an independent school, a school he would say of this or that denomination not necessarily representing the sentiments of the neighbourhood. He ventured to ask for the insertion of these words because he could not understand why, or on what grounds of public interest, the local authority should be hampered in its operations by exposing itself to local opposition of this kind. They might assume that the local authority represented the spirit of educational progress and efficiency, and to insert all these hampering provisions was really to turn this Education Bill into a measure with a spoke in almost every wheel. Thereofore, without detaining the House further he asked that those words should be inserted.
In page 5, line 30, after "school," insert not provided by the local education authority.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Hereford.)
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
thought the proposal was very hard, because it would allow the possibility of opposition whenever the local authority wished to enlarge one of the schools provided by the County Council. Surely this was a matter in which the County Council might be allowed to form their own opinion, and act according to that opinion, without being hampered in the way they would be if these words were not inserted in the clause.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
The Speeches upon this Amendment seem to me to go a great deal beyond the Amendment. As I understand it, the 806 right rev. Preclate would wish to give the power of providing a locl elementary school whenever they thought fit, and would not give a locus standi to the rate payers to propose any alternative. But he only applies his principle to the last sub-Section which Provides for an enlargement of the public elementary school,Which may amount to the Provision of a new shool. The Wole Clause goes on the Principle that equal facilities are to be give to the local education authority, or to the denominations, to provide a school, and it leaves it to the Board of Education to decide, after hearing the evidence, which proposal is most n the public interest. I cannot see the object of making a departure from the equal treatment of schools of all characters in the last sub-Section.
§ LORd RIBBLESDALE
contended that under the rather elaborate and in some ways hampering provisions of this Clause the education authority which happened to take over a non-provided school which was in such a state that it required enlarging to such an extent that it almost amounted to rebuilding would not, if the Lord Bishop of Hereford's Amendment were accepted, be obliged to go through all these precautionary and elaborate provisions which were set out in the Clause.
§ On Question, Amendment negatived.
said that in big towns it was of the utmost importance that when the necessity arose, or was likely to arise, for a new school, the site should be acquired, without giving public notice, by a private bargain. It was a great advantage to conclude a private bargain and to avoid the procedure of compulsory acquisition. This applied to the area which was already built over; it also applied to areas where no extensive building operations had as yet taken place, but where they foresaw that extensive building operations would occur, and 807 where consequently there would be a considerable rise in the value of property. This Clause prescribed that the local education authority must give public notice of its intention, and the "other persons" mentioned in the Clause would also have to give notice of their intention; but it would obviously be much easier for private individuals such as those "other persons" to acquire sites by private bargain than it would be for the local education authority, who, of course, had to obtain sanction for their expenditure. At the present time School Boards constantly acquired sites by private bargain, and he did not need to indicate that this was a great financial protection to the ratepayers. As this Bill mentioned in the next Clause that they must have regard to the "economy of the rates," he thought he was justified in asking whether under Clause 8 the present situation would be altered, or whether it would be in the power of education authorities to obtain, at all events, the same facilities which undoubtedly these "other persons" would have to acquire sites without proclaiming publicly that it was their intention to acquire them. As regards the building of the school, the Department would, he supposed, have the same power which it exercised now. What he had mentioned only applied to the site and not to the building of the school.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I fail to see how it is possible for the local authority to acquire a site under this provision, in anticipation of the notice which they have to give. The noble Lord wishes the authority to acquire a site, and then he thinks that they may find that permission to build a new school will not be given. For their own protection it seems to me that they must get permission first.
said that at present of the site was not required there was no difficulty in disposing of it. It was obviously in favour of the ratepayer that they should have this power, and that this risk should be run. At the present time the risk could be run and there was nothing to prevent it, but as this Clause was drafted he was afraid that in future it would be especially in populous 808 and growing towns a very serious disadvantage if the local authority had to give public notice before they acquired a, site.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I do not see how the difficulty is to be got over. The point is one which is quite new to me, but I will undertake to consider the matter and give the noble Lord an answer on Report.
§ Clause 8 agreed to.
said he did not intend to move his new Clauses in the form in which they stood on the Paper, and he thought it would not be unfair to ask the noble Duke to deal with the First Clause he had on the Paper on. Report. As to Clause (b) he should not trouble their Lordships with it at all.
§ Clause 9:—
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said that two Amendments stood on the Paper in his name, but, as he wished to be able to save their Lordships one speech, if they would allow him to deal with both those Amendments at the same time, he would be able to put the matter before them more clearly than if he was obliged to take the Amendments one by one, which would necessitate him repeating his arguments. This Clause dealt with schools already recognised as public elementary schools. Clause 8 dealt with new schools, and provided that when it was proposed to build a new school certain persons might appear and might make objections. Either the managers, the local education authority, or any ten ratepayers could object. He wished, first of all, to call their Lordships' attention to the effect of the Clause as it stood.
The Bill provided in Clause 9 that—
The Board of Education shall, without unnecessary delay, determine in case of dispute whether a school is necessary or not.
Then followed words to the effect that in so determining they should be bound by certain considerations. The last words of the Clause go on to provide as follows—
But a school already recognised as a public elementary school shall not be considered unnecessary in which the number of scholars in average attendance, as computed by the Board of Education, is not less than thirty.
He wished to call their Lordships' attention to the way in which this proposal would work. The Clause as it stood left it to their Lordships to draw the inference that the Board of Education was to decide when a dispute might arise, but it did not say between whom and, therefore, it left open a rather important question, but it said that the persons who disputed the necessity of a school might before the Board of Education. Then the Clause proceeded to say that no such schools should be considered unnecessary.That was to say that no question might be raised as to the necessity of a school which had thirty children or more in average attendance. He invited their Lordships to consider for a few moments how this Clause would work. The plan of the Bill was to place all control in the hands of the local authority as representing the ratepayers, and to oblige the ratepayers to pay or to maintain all the schools which were necessary, but at the same time they proceeded to say to the County Council, when they took over these schools, "You have got to pay for them all but you are not to be allowed to raise a question as to whether any of these existing schools are necessary if they have thirty children attending them." It appeared to him that that restriction did away with the whole value of the Clause. What was the good of first telling a local authority that they might raise a question, and then the practically withdrawing that permission? He was under the impression that the Government desired to trust the local authority. If they wished to trust the local authority why should they not allow them to raise questions beffore the Board of Education as to whether any school within their area was necessary or not. He would give their Lordships a few practical illustrations as to how this Clause would work. He had taken the returns of the Board of Education for the year 1901-02, and he would tell the House how this provision would work. He would first take as an example the county of Bedfordshire. In the county of Bedford there were 158 schools, which would all be taken over by the local authority, and which would have to be mainatained by them. They would be allowed to raise this question with regard to seven school only out of those 158
He was bound to say that this happened to be a very extreme case. He would now quote the statistics for the country of Hampshire. There they had 379 schools and they would only be allowed to raise the question with regard to thirty-eight of the total because there were only thirty-eight schools which had under thirty children in average attendance. He also wished to observe that in the country of Hampshire they had twenty-eight schools with between thirty and forty children in average attendance, twenty-two schools with between forty and fifty children, and there were fifity schools with pupils and scholars numbering between thirty and fifty, in regard to which the local authority would not be allowed to raise this question. He did not propose to give the local authority and power to abolish the school upon its own ipse dixit, but what he maintained was that if they carried out the principle of the Bill properly they ought to allow the local authority to raise the question as to the necessity of any school before the Board of Education. In the county of Northumberland there were 306 schools. In that country they had a right to raise the question with regard to thirty-two only. In the country of Northumberland there were thirtyeight schools with scholoars numbering between thirty and forty, and they could not raise the question. There were also twenty-night schools with between forty and fifty children, and they could not raise the question, and yet the ratepayers would have to pay for all those schools, although they would not be allowed to ask this question. In Worcestershire there were 281 schools, and there they could raise questions with regard to twenty schools. In the country of Lancashire, with 1,065 schools, they could only raise this question with regard to twentyseven of them. He submitted that by this Clause they were tying the hands of the local authority in a way in which they ought not to tie them. The local authority consisted of representatives of the ratepayers a very heavy burden under this Bill. Therefore, the least they could do was that if the local education authority, after reviewing the schools handed over to them, thought anu of them were unnecessary, they should be
allowed to place the case before the Board of Education. Surely it was not unreasonable to allow this. He wished to call their Lordships' attenetion to his Amendment, in order to show how he proposed to deal with this matter. If their Lordships would look at his Amendment, they would find that it made the following provision—
A local education authority may inquire as to the necessity of any school already recongnised as a public elementary school, and may, with the consent of the managers, declare any such school to be unnecessary. In the event of the managers dissenting, the local education authority may appeal to the Board of Education, who shall, without unnecessary delay, determine the dispute, and who.
§ And then they were to be governed by those considerations already enumerated in the Bill. Their Lordships would see that he had very carefully limited the right of raising questions to the local authority alone. He did not think it would be right that the ratepayers, or any of the other named bodies, should raise this question, but it seemed to him only simple justice that the local authority, who had got to maintain those schools in the future, should be allowed to consider whether the burden which was being placed upon them was one which ought to be borne by them. He would give an illustration from his own personal experience as to how this Bill would work. It so happened that there was a parish in Warwickshire in which Lord Ribblesdale owned one village, and relatives of his owned the other. Each of those villages had a small and inefficient school, with between thirty and forth children in average attendance. Some years ago they closed the school belonging to his relatives, and required the children to walk about half-a-mile further to Lord Ribblesdale's village school, and now that rural school had been converted into a fairly good one. But suppose this Bill came into operation, and they had not joined those two schools the ratepayers of Warwickshire, without any right to raise any question, would have been obliged to keep up those two schools, and maintain them for all time. The instance he had give was not an isolated case at all. Take the case of a village where there was a small Dissenting school and a Church school, and where the population were about equally divided between them. He knew such a case where the two schools were amalgamated, and where a 812 good thriving school had been the result of such amalgamation. But supposing they had not come to that arranagement, and this Bill had come into force, the ratepayers of Warwickshire would have been compelled, without any means of protecting themselves, to keep up those two schools, and to maintain those two inefficient schools instead of the one good school. He ventured to submit that the sting of the Govenment Clause was contained in the tail. They began by professing to allow the local authority to inquire, but they ended by saying that practically they were not to inquire in regard to any schools at all. Those were the reasons which he ventured to submit why their Lordships should accept his Amendment.
In page 5, line 33, leave out from the beginning of the Clause to the first 'in' in line 35, and insert—'A local education authority may inquire as to the necessity of any school already recognised as a public elementary school, and may, with the consent of the managers, declare any such school to be unnecessary. In the event of the managers dissenting, the local education authority may appeal to the Board of Education, who shall, without unnessary delay, determine the dispute, and who'; line 38, leave out from 'rates' to the end of clause."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I think that the first part of this Amendment is entirely unnecessary, and the effect of the Amendment is entirely contained in the second part. The first part seems to me to be unnecessary, because it is already provided for in the first words of Clause 7. Under Clause 7 it is provided that—The local education authority shall maintain and keep efficient all public elementary schools within their area which are necessary.Of course, in order to decide whether they will acquire them or not, they must first establish that they are necessary.
THE DUKE OF DEVONDHIRE
The noble Lord acknowledges himself that the concluding words are the important words.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
The concluding words of Clause 9 are—But a school already recognised as a public elementary school shall not be considered unnecessary in which the number of scholars in average attendance, as computed by the Board of Education, is not less than thirty.As regards existing schools, I wish to point out that they are all at present necessary, because the Department only gives a grant to schools which in its opinion are necessary. Therefore, as to existing schools, I do not see the difficulty which is anticipated by the noble Lord will arise. In the cases which the noble Earl has quoted it seems to me perfectly easy for the local authority concerned to do away with any school which, in their judgment, is unnecessary by arrangement with the managers. What inducement has any body of managers to keep up the fabric and provide for the repairs of a school which is unnecessary, and which can be equally well provided for by the accommodation in another school. The object of these words in the Clause is to provide an equitable supplement to the provision of Clause 8 in regard to the providing of new schools. We have thought it right to give to the local authority, under certain conditions, the power to provide a new school, even if there is not an actual deficiency of accommodation in the old one; but it is clear that this power might be exercised in such a way as to be inequitable to an existing school. The local authority might build a new school, and in that way deprive the existing school of the greater part of its scholars, and probably this would be a voluntary school. The Government provide by this Clause that so long as the number of thirty children, which is already recognised in the Code, are in average attendance, that school shall not be deemed unnecessary. I do not see in what other way we could give an equitable protection to existing denominational schools.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said the answer which the noble Duke had just made was no answer to the case which he had put to the Committee at all. He asked what was the reason for this proposal. In the first place, he did not admit that Clause 7 in any way directed an inquiry into all the existing schools, and what he pointed out was that 814 these words at the end of Clause 9 made such an inquiry absolutely impossible in many cases. The words said that they should not inquire. Then the noble Duke said that Clause 9 was intended as a supplement to Clause 8. With all due respect, he submitted that that was not the proper way of describing it, because, while Clause 8 dealt with new schools, Clause 9 dealt with all existing schools, and to such new schools as might hereafter be permitted under Clause 8. He would now take the noble Duke's other point. He had said that he must protect the rights of minorities, and that it was possible that a local authority might build a new school in an unfair manner so as to destroy an existing school. But how could that happen? No school could be built which could become a public elementary school without due notice, and without there was every opportunity given for persons, including the managers of any existing school, to object and to be heard by the Board of Education. Those words were retained in the Clause, and so such a school could not become a public elementary school unless the Board of Education had permitted it to do so.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
The Board of Education may consider that there is a case for a new school, but it may also consider that it would not be just to the denominational school that it should be deemed unnecessary, because its average attendance was diminished.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said the noble Duke made two suppositions in favour of the authorities which existed under this Bill. He assumed that the local authority wished, without good reason, to build a second school.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said that in the second place no new school could be built without the permission of the Board of Education, and the noble Duke assumed also that the Board of Education was not able to judge whether it was a right case for building a new school or not.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I have stated that there may be a perfectly good case for a new school, but not for the extinction of the old school.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
asked if the noble Duke would give him any reason why the local authority, which had got to pay for the school, was not to be allowed to raise the question of whether what it had to pay for was necessary and ought to exist. He did not ask for any arbitrary power to extinguish the school, but in common justice to the ratepayers who would have to pay for these schools, their representatives, if they thought fit, ought to be allowed to raise the question before the Board of Education.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
These small denominational schools for years past had been maintained under great difficulties.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
I think that we owe to those gentlemen who have been responsible for the maintenance of those small denominational schools a debt of gratitude, and if we were to allow them to be swept out of existence we should be unfaithful to those who have done so much for education in the past. That is the reason why we propose to maintain the present schools. This is no question of creating new schools, and schools with an average attendance of thirty children have always been considered as existing schools in the past. These schools have been kept up at great deprivation, and it is simply a debt of honour, and we are bound to maintain them.
pointed out that in a case where there were two provided schools, each with thirty children, and where it would obviously promote both efficiency and economy that those schools should be amalgamated, the local authority, by this proposal, would be powerless. He did not see why they could not trust the local education authority in the first instance and the Board of Education in case of a difference of opinion to settle the question. Why should the Board of Education be hampered in the decision it had to give when a dispute arose? If his noble friend went to a division he should certainly vote for his Amendment.
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
said that the provision made by this Bill was a most 816 wasteful arrangement from the point of view of the ratepayers. They were going to maintain all these small schools of thirty children, and yet the Government professed that they had brought in a Bill for improving education. No doubt the new authorities would do their best to make those schools efficient, but he wished to point out that they would have to have a teaching staff just as large for thirty children as for schools with 150 children in order to make it efficient. Therefore, if the schools were to be made efficient, as he supposed was intended in the case of voluntary schools, they would be imposing upon the ratepayers a great and wasteful expense which would not be necessary if they allowed the schools to amalgamate.
§ LORD HERRIES
pointed out that the Roman Catholics had a great number of these small schools which were acknowledged by the Department. He was afraid that the question of the rates might have considerable weight with the local authority, and might decide to put an end to these small denominational schools. There was in a small town in his own neighbourhood a Church of England school, a Wesleyan school, and a Roman Catholic school, and he doubted whether the average attendance was much above thirty children. In such cases there would be a very great inducement on the part of the ratepayers to close one of those schools in order to save the rates. All those schools had been acknowledged for a great number of years, and had been efficiently conducted; and he thought it would be hard upon the denomination to which they belonged that they should be put an end to merely because the local authority thought they were not necessary, without perhaps taking into consideration the question of the religion of the parents who sent their children to those schools. Such schools might be closed simply because the local authority thought that, having regard to the economy of the rates, those schools should no longer exist.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said that he never proposed that the local authorities should have power to close such schools.
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
said that it appeared to him that if anybody 817 objected the whole matter went before the Board of Education, which would have to decide whether a new school was necessary. In coming to that conclusion, there was a distinct indication that the managers of any existing school might object to the establishment of a new school by the County Council. If there was a proposal by the County Council to have a new school, it was quite right that there should be an opportunity of going to the Board of Education to have the case heard, and to decide whether on the whole they thought it was right for the County Council to have a new school or not. When they came to the next Clause, which the noble Duke said was intimately connected with Clause 8, then it came to this—that those words at the end of the ninth Clause would stereotype for ever any school that had not less than thirty children in average attendance. It was not as if the proposal of his noble friend gave power to the County Council to abolish such schools. His proposal was simply that those schools should not be stereotyped, and that it should be possible for the County Council to go to the Board of Education and ask them to consider whether or no a certain school should be kept up. In spite of what had fallen from his noble friend behind him, he thought good grounds had been put forward showing that the circumstances connected with these schools should be weighed by the Board of Education. If their Lordships would look at the words they would see that in determining whether a school should be kept up or not, the Board Education had to have regard to the interests of secular instruction, to the wishes of the parents, and also to the education of the children. That would apply to cases where the minority consisted of any particular denomination. They also had to have regard to the economy of the rates. Surely that was protection enough without stereotyping these schools simply because they happened to have thiry scholars. He hoped that the Government would see that these words would hamper the action of the County Council, and might possibly put a charge upon the rates which the ratepayers ought not to be charged with.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF ROCHESTER
said it had been pointed out that it was desirable that they should give greater liberty in this matter. This was just an instance of the kind of harm that came from the inveterate and unhappy prejudice against denominational schools which prevailed on the other side of the House. If it were possible to regard the Board of Education as being permanently a fair and impartial arbiter between the denominational and undenominational schools, without prejudice against either class of schools, we should then probably be very much more ready to see matters of this kind entrusted to its arbitration. But we know the forces in the country hostile to denominationalism which operate upon some of our public bodies, and they will certainly tell upon the Department which comes under varying political influences. Therefore, having regard to all the circumstances, they were obliged rather to welcome, when it came from the Government, a permanent statutory security for the small denominational schools.
§ LORD TWEEDMOUTH
assured the right rev. Prelate that noble Lords on that Bench were not in the least moved by any question of prejudice against denominational schools. Their view was simply that it was not wise to lay down the limit of thirty as a test of whether a school should be considered efficient or not. The test should be whether the school was efficient and necessary. It seemed to him that to maintain a school that was inefficient, simply because there were thirty children attending it, was doing a very wasteful thing, and was imposing an altogether unfair burden upon the ratepayers.
§ VISCOUNT HALIFAX
was quite sure that the words proposed by the Earl of Camperdown in their working were likely to do great injustice to small denominational schools, and he trusted the Government would not consent to alter the Clause as proposed by the Bill in this respect.
§ VISCOUNT LLANDAFF
said that in his opinion what the noble Lord had pointed out did not seem to represent the effect of the law at the present 819 moment. At the present time, a school which had got thirty scholars, and was efficient, was entitled to claim a grant, and to continue to receive the education grants which were now given. Therefore, they were not stereotyping anything that did not already exist.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ELY
said that every one of these schools must be an efficient school under the general law, and the County Council were bound to keep them up as efficient schools; therefore, the word inefficient introduced just now could not apply to any school kept up by the County Council. He was a little startled when he heard the argument that schools of 150 children did not require any more teaching staff then schools of thirty.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
Do not the right rev. Prelates forget that in future these schools have to be kept up by the public. That fact seems to have been left out of consideration by my noble friend, Lord Herries, who spoke of a small but deserving school of which was cognisant on his estate.
THE EARL OF ROSEBERY
At any rate, it was a school where the total attendance averaged thirty scholars. But surely, if you wish to have a really great national system of education, you do not wish to stereotype for all time these small and petty denominational schools? What you wish to do, I presume, is to strengthen the strong denominational schools, and maintain those that are efficient; but to keep scattered all over the country at the expense of the ratepayers these small schools, seems to me to be something of an injustice. I must say that I think the right rev. Prelate who presides over the See of Rochester rather let the cat out of the bag when he said his object was to stereotype for all time these
|Halsbury, E. (L. Chancellor.)||Wellington, D.||Hertford, M.|
|Devonshire, D. (L. President.)||Lansdowne, M.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Winchester, M.|
|Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.)||Bristol, M. Northumberland, D||Camden, M. Abingdon, E.|
|Rutland, D.||Cholmondeley, M.||Denbigh, E.|
§ small schools at the expense of the public.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
It is quite a mistake to suppose that a small school must necessarily be an inefficient school. A school with an average attendance of thirty is, in some respects, an ideal school, because it can be managed by one teacher. With regard to the noble Lord's point about existing small schools, and never getting rid of them, I should like to make a little further inquiry into the matter. I cannot conceive why under this Bill it should be the object of anyone to maintain two expensive schools when one large school would meet the necessity of the case. This Clause was introduced for the purpose of enabling the previous Clause 8 to work more equitably. We thought it right to give to the local education authority, or to any denominational body, as the case may be, power of providing a new school, even though there might not be a deficiency in school places. We think that the power may be very fairly exercised in a parish where there is now only a denominational school, but where there is a large majority of Nonconformists. As noble Lords are aware, under the present system, if there is not a deficiency in school places a provided school cannot be built. This Bill enables the sanction of the Education Department to be given in order that such a school may be built, and it may be quite right that such a school should be built. But we do not think it would be right at the same time to crush out of existence the denominational school which has been built with the knowledge and approval of the Government, and upon which a certain amount of capital expenditure may have been laid out. We do not think that such a school ought to be crushed out of existence so long as it can maintain an average attendance of thirty children.
§ On Question, their Lordships divided:— Contents, 108; Not-Contents, 22.
|Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)||London, L. Bp.||Ellenborough, L.|
|Manchester, L. Bp.||Elphinstone, L.|
|Feversham, E.||Newcastle, L. Bp.||Hatherton, L.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Rochester, L. Bp.||Herries, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Erskine, L.||Howard of Glossop, L.|
|Leven and Melville, E.||Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.)||James, L.|
|Londesborough, E.||Forester, L||Kenyon, L.|
|Lucan, E.||Gage, L. (V. Gage.)||Kinnaird, L.|
|Mount Edgeumbe, E.||Salisbury, L. Bp.||Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)|
|Nelson, E.||Southwell, L. Bp.||Lawrence, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Winehester, L. Bp.||Lilford, L.|
|Radnor, E.||Lindley, L.|
|Romney, E.||Addington, L.||Ludlow, L.|
|Stamford, E.||Allerton, L.||Macnaghten, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Arundell of Wardour, L.||Manners, L.|
|Strafford, E.||Ashbourne, L.||Mendip, L. (V. Clifden.)|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry.)||Balfour, L.||Middleton, L.|
|Waldegrave, E. [Teller.]||Barrymore, L.||Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)|
|Wharnecliffe, E.||Belhaven and Stenton, L.||North, L.|
|Belper, L.||Oranmore and Browne, L.|
|Churchill, V. [Teller.]||Botreaux, L. (E. Loudoun.)||Redesdale, L.|
|Falkland, V.||Braye, L.||Revelstoke, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Brougham and Vaux, L.||Rothschild, L.|
|Hardinge, V.||Calthorpe, L.||Rowton, L.|
|Knutsford, V.||Chelmsford, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Llandaff, V.||Clifford of Chudleigh, L.||Seaton, L.|
|Congleton, L.||Sherborne, L.|
|Bath and Wells, L. Bp.||Dawnay, L. (V. Downe.)||Suffield, L.|
|Chichester, L. Bp.||De Mauley, L.||Tredegar, L.|
|Ely, L. Bp.||Dormer, L.||Wentworth, L.|
|Lichfield, L. Bp.||Douglas, L. (E. Home.)||Wimborne, L.Lincoln. L. Bp.|
|Dunboyne, L.||Zouche of Haryngworth, L.|
|Camperdown, E. [Teller.]||Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)||Reay, L.|
|Carrington, E.||Ribblesdale, L.|
|Chesterfield, E.||Hereford, L. Bp.||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Morley, E.||Stalbridge, L. [Teller.]|
|Northbrook, E.||Burghelere, L.||Sudley, L. (E. Arran.)|
|Portsmouth, E.||Coleridge, L.||Torphichen, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Denman, L.||Tweedmouth, L.|
|Tankerville, E.||Greville, L.||Welby, L.|
§ Caluses 9 and 10 agreed to.
§ Clause 11:—
In page 6, line 29, leave out the second 'the' and insert 'a.'"—(The Lord President.)
§ Agreed to.
asked whether there would be any public notification as to who would take the place of any foundation managers who retired, or in case vacancies were caused by death, or from any other cause. He wished also to add a few words to his proposed Amendment.
In page 7, line 7, after sub-Section (2) insert as a new sub-Section: '(3) Any future manager shall be chosen from a list prepared by the Trustees and advertised in the usual
public place in the district, any ratepayer shall be eligible to have his name inserted on this list, prepared by the Trustees having been duly proposed and seconded after due notice given.'"—(Lord Kinnaird.)
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
The managers will have to be chosen under the provisions of the trust deeds. The noble Lord's Amendment proposes to override the trust deeds, and suggests that they should be elected from a list of reatepayers.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.
§ LORD HERRIES
moved a new Clause providing an appeal to the Board of Education if the managers of any school or college felt aggrieved by the action of the local education authority. The object of the Clause was to prevent any injustice being done to the 823 managers by the action of the local authority. They might occasionally find cases in which it was possible that the local authority might do some injustice to the managers of the local schools. He must say that the fact that the local authorities in some places exercised their powers over rather restricted areas supported him in the belief that there was some possibility occasionally of some ill - feeling or prejudice, or some act of fanaticism, which would induce the local authority not to be altogether fair and just to all the schools under their control. It was for that reason he thought it would be best to give a general power of appeal to the Board of Education. The Board of Education was situated in a more serene atmosphere than was always to be found in local districts, and, besides that, even the local authorities were subject to the control of the permanent officials, who were able to look at these questions very often without any political bias. For those reasons he begged to move that this general power of appeal should be given to the managers of all schools. There was one particular point which he thought was rather important, and that was the question of books. Under the Bill, as it stood, it would be possible for the local authority to prescribe any text books they might please. Upon questions of history he could quite understand the local authority having very strong feelings on the subject, and they might supply text books on matters of history which might be altogether unsatisfactory to the denomination to which the school might belong. In circumstances of that sort it was quite fair that there should be an appeal to the Board of Education. It was to prevent any possibility of an injustice being done to the managers that he desired to add this Clause, which enabled any managers affected to appeal to the Board of Education.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
The noble Lord has raised a question which, to my mind, is already dealt with by this Bill. He proposes now a Clause which seems to relate more to higher education. I do not think it is necessary for the noble Lord to press the Clause, because already provision is 824 made in Clause 7, Section 3, for the determination of disputes. Therefore it is quite unnecessary to include this general power of appeal, which would do more harm than good. If my noble friend will turn to page 4, and look at Section 3, he will find that that entirely meets the question he has raised.
§ LORD HERRIES
said that in case of small differences arising between the managers of the school and the education authority, under Part II., as well as under Part III., there was no appeal provided for, and one did not see where the difference came in.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause 12 agreed to.
§ Clause 13:—
The EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said that the first part of Clause 13 provided—The local education authority may group under one body of managers any public, elementary schools provided by them, and may also, with the consent of the managers of the schools, group under one body of managers any such schools not so provided.
§ It might happen that the local education authority would think it was to group, say three or four schools, and that the managers of one of those schools could withhold their consent. It seemed to him to be rather hard, if that consent was unreasonably withheld, that this should be allowed to spoil the scheme, and consequently he proposed his Amendment.
In page 8, line 7, after 'provided,' insert ' provided always that if, in the opinion of the local authority, the consent of the managers of one or more of such schools be withheld unreasonably, the local authority may appeal to the Board of Education, who, after due inquiry, shall determine the dispute."—(The Earl of Camperdown.)
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
The grouping of schools would, no doubt, be extremely convenient, but I think it would be inexpedient for schools which were unwilling. The principle of the 825 Bill is to keep denominational schools, as far as we possibly can, in the position in which they are at present, and to group schools, even to others of their own denomination, might deprive the school of its special character. I should object a good deal to the power which it is proposed to thrust upon the. Board of Education to settle these sort of differences, and it seems almost impossible for the Board of Education to undertake such a duty. We think that, on the whole, the best thing to do is to adhere to the provisions of the Bill, which require the consent of the managers. Probably all parties will agree, but in a great majority of cases the grouping will, be to their mutual advantage.
§ Amendment negatived.
THE LORD BISHOP OF MAN-CHESTER
said he would not detain their Lordships very long on the Amendment he now moved. It was provided in the Bill that there might bo groups of schools. It was also provided in those schools that with the consent of all parties concerned, including the managers and the local education authority, the schools might be grouped in certain areas in certain numbers. It seemed to him that the Government had given an indication of their willingness that these schools, by means of the managers of the groups, should receive money, for in the second Schedule, on page 20, line 25, it was provided that a certain surplus of money from the Parliamentary grants which was not needed to pay outstanding liabilities might be paid over for the benefit of any general fund applicable for these purposes; so that the principle was not only that there might be groups of schools, but a certain small sum of money might be paid to them. Therefore they might receive money, but it was nowhere stated that they might receive, if the managers of the several schools in the group were prepared to pay it, the surplus resources of those several schools. It might be said that anybody could receive what another man was willing to pay unless the conditions of the gift and the receipt of it were unlawful, and that therefore, if the managers of any school in the group desired to pay over any of the resources in their hands to be dealt with by the council of the grouped schools, they could do so, 826 and the council might receive what was granted to them. That was the reason why he had proposed the perfectly voluntary power which was contained in the following words to be inserted in the Clause after the word "education:" "And the body of managers of any grouped schools may receive and dispose of the pecuniary resources of any schools within the group" The reason why he put in the words in this form was. that everybody knew that while, no doubt, the associaton of schools would very frequently lead to the more efficient and economical administration of their affairs, that was not the principal purpose for which the schools were grouped. A right rev. Prelate from the Bench: behind him said yesterday that the poor schools must get the rich schools, to help them. That was quite true, and unless the poor schools succeeded in getting the rich schools to help them, they could not be saved from bankruptcy. Therefore their Lordships would see that it was a matter of grave practical importance that every encouragement should be given to those who were rich to overcome their natural selfishness and to join a group of schools with a view of contributing from their abundant resources to supply the needs of the poorer schools. He thought it would contribute greatly to induce them to do. so if he could persuade the Government just to put on the face of the Bill a provision of the kind included in his Amendment, because it would mean that in their view this was the natural consequence of grouping. It would help them greatly, in case a selfish school tried to stand out, to be able to point to this Amendment, and state that it was contemplated by Parliament that such a thing as this was a natural thing to take place. That was the purpose for which he proposed that those words should be introduced. He did not say that these word conferred any new power, but they expressed a purpose, and they showed what Parliament thought was the normal state of things which ought to exist in a set of grouped schools. It was for this purpose alone that he asked the Government to do something which he thought was in entire conformity with the larger design of the Bill, namely, to set on the face of 827 this measure the desire that they would be glad to see that selfish and rich schools had a little pressure brought to bear upon them in order to induce them to contribute out of their abundance to the necessities of their poorer brethren.
In page 8, line 14, after 'education' insert 'and the body of managers of any grouped schools may receive and dispose of the pecuniary resources of any schools within the group.'"—(The Lord Bishop of Manchester.)
said he did not exactly understand what was meant by "pecuniary resources." He imagined that "pecuniary resources" meant endowments. He knew a school which was endowed for the benefit of the parish in which it was situated, and he should be sorry if, under this Clause, any part of the endowment was taken from the parish and given to a group of schools. He thought that one of the most valuable things contained in this Bill was the provision which provided for the grouping of schools.
THE LORD BISHOP OF MANCHESTER
said he wished to answer at once the question which had been put to him. By "pecuniary resources" he did not contemplate the receipt of money coming from endowments, although it was possible, in some cases, that part of an endowment might come to the schools What he contemplated was, certain schools receiving a certain portion of the fees and subscriptions which would be made possible by this Bill. He contemplated that they would have to raise subscriptions, and he thought the Bill would require them to raise larger subscriptions than they had ever raised before. Those were the pecuniary resources to which he referred. He ventured to suggest to the noble Lord that all he asked was not any declaration that it should be the duty of a special set of managers to pay over any of their ordinary resources, but that it should be possible for the managers of a school to do so if it was lawful, for them to do it, and if they were disposed to do it. He would go no further than that. If it was lawful and they were so disposed, he only asked that it might be declared that the managers of a group of schools might 828 receive and dispose of their pecuniary resources. Of course, if a particular school refused to pay its resources into the hands of the managers of the grouped schools, there would be nothing to dispose of; but if they did choose to pay over what belonged to them into the hands of the managers of the grouped schools, they would have that sum to dispose of. It was a purely voluntary arrangement.
§ EARL STANHOPE
said that he knew a district where this system had been pursued with very great success. He was strongly in favour of the proposal of the Government for the grouping of schools in country districts, because he thought that without this principle in many instances the small schools could not be kept up. He was a member of a County Council, and he hoped and trusted that in many rural districts there would be a grouping of the schools. He very much hoped that the Amendment proposed by his right rev. friend would be accepted, because he believed that certainly this Act could not be carried out by a large committee of a County Council. It would have to be largely administered by a delegation of powers as provided for in the Bill. He hoped that any money which might come to grouped schools would be administered by the managers of those schools for the benefit of the group which they had to administer. Hetrusted that His Majesty's Government would accept this Amendment.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
said it appeared to him that the Amendment either carried them a great deal too far, or was entirely unnecessary, if it meant that they were to be at liberty to spend money subscribed distinctly for a particular school for the benefit of a group of schools it would require new legislation. He could not understand why they needed legislation of this kind to enable them to spend money which had been voluntarily subscribed to meet the needs of schools in a particular area according to the wishes of the donors. Did this proposal mean to take money belonging to a particular school in order to use it for the benefit of the whole group?
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
said that if it was intended to apply the money belonging to a particular school he should be inclined to think that such money would have to be devoted to the purposes which the donor intended. Either this Clause went too far, or it was entirely unnecessary.
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
said that if he followed the explanation which had been given correctly, it meant that where money was left for the benefit of a particular school in a particular parish, and the managers of that school felt so disposed, they might make a contribution out of that fund to the new group of schools.
THE LORD BISHOP OF MANCHESTER
said he did not intend that. The noble Duke had evidently pointed to a defect in his Amendment, because he had not included that possibility. He was only talking about such resources as it was lawful for the managers of a particular school to dispose of. If any of the resources had been designated in any deed for a particular body, it would not be in the power of the managers of a group of schools to dispose of them, and they must spend those resources as the trust deed directed; but if there be any part of the school funds available, as contemplated in one of the Clauses of this Bill, which might be diverted legally to any other purpose, then he desired that that part, and that part alone, might be disposed of by the managers. If the Governmeiit would accept his proposal in that way he should be glad to add words to achieve this object. He suggested that his Amendment should be amended as follows:—And the body of managers of any grouped schools may receive and dispose of the pecuniary resources of any school within the group which it may be lawful for such schools to devote to a general purpose.
§ THE DUKE of DEVONSHIRE
As far as I can gather, the Amendment, as amended, is quite unnecessary, and I think the Amendment in its original 830 shape is certainly open to the objections raised by my right rev. friend, the Bishop of Winchester.
THE LORD BISHOP OF MANCHESTER
said he would withdraw the Amendment if the Government could not see their way to accept it. He wished to ask whether he might take it that if there were any funds of the kind he had described which it was lawful for the managers of particular schools to pay into the hands of the general managers of a set of grouped schools, that those managers of the grouped schools might receive such funds and dispose of them? He was asking the Lord Chancellor this question. He was told that it was not necessary to insert the words he had moved in order to achieve the object he had last stated. If that were true he would very much like the Lord Chancellor to tell them so, if he could. If there was the slightest difficulty about the answer he would not press his question, because he knew what a terrible thing it was to ask for a legal opinion at a moment's notice. He only asked for a reply in case the learned and noble Earl had happened to think about it before.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (The Earl of HALSBURY)
I have not the smallest difficulty in answering the question, although I have not had the opportunity of considering the right rev. Prelate's observations before he was good enough to make them. It must be one of two things. Either the funds described as pecuniary resources belong to the grouped schools, or they do not. If they belong to them, they may spend them; if they do not, they cannot.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ Clause 13 agreed to.
§ Clause 14:—
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
said he had put down this Amendment at the desire of the County Councils Association. Under sub-Section 2 of Clause 14 the County Council was bound to pay the money to the parishes concerned in aid of the rate which was to be levied on that parish. He did not want to interfere in any way with that provision, but he wished 831 to add at the end of the Clause the following words:—Provided that the local education authority may apply to the Board of Education for a scheme for the appropriation of any such money to educational purposes, and if a scheme shall be made such money shall be appropriated in accordance therewith.
§ He thought it was exceedingly probable that in many parishes, instead of desiring to have a certain sum, that they would prefer the money being appropriated to the establishment of scholarships in their schools or for some other useful educational purpose. He did not wish to make that a necessity; he only wished to give the County Council the power of applying to the Board of Education for a scheme for the appropriation of any such money for educational purposes, and if such scheme was approved of he desired that such money should be appropriated in the manner laid down in this Clause. He felt certain that His Majesty's Government would not object to the principle of this Clause for a very good reason—namely, that in 1896 they introduced in the Education Bill a Clause which gave the County Councils power to go to the Charity Commissioners for schemes in respect of educational endowments within their county. That Clause the County Councils Association would like introduced into this Bill. The Government did not introduce such a Clause, for reasons which he was not aware of, and he could not expect, in the present condition of the Bill, any large Clause of that kind to be introduced. At the same time a much smaller power in respect of these particular endowments might properly be introduced into the Bill at the end of Clause 14, and the effect of such an Amendment as he had moved, he thought, would be greatly to the advantage of education.
In page 9, line 7, after 'parish,' insert 'Provided that the local education authority may apply to the Board of Education for a cheme for the appropriation of any such money to educational purposes, and if a scheme shall be made such money shall be appropriated in accordance therewith."—(The Earl of Northbrook.)
§ LORD BURGHCLERE
said he` was afraid that under the Bill some injustice might be done to a certain class of endowment relating to apprenticeship.
§ Those endowments, he fancied, in certain schools, had been transferred under Clause 23 of the Act of 1870, and were now in the possession of certain schools. If those endowments originally meant for apprenticeships were turned over to be utilised for structural repairs, they would be perverting the original intentions of the pious founders. Therefore, he ventured to make an appeal in favour of the noble Earl's Amendment.
said that endowments were certainly given, among other things, to pay for a master and mistress in bad times, and there was no doubt that it was part of the original intention to keep the buildings in repair. Now that the parish had got a much better building, surely a part of such an endowment could be taken to keep the building in repair for even then it was benefiting education. In the case of those endowments he had referred to, he thought the most proper way of employing them would be to form them into scholarships for distinguished boys in the parish.
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
said the clause did not touch voluntary schools, but only schools for which provision was made by the Council.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I do not think the Clause can apply to endowments of the kind referred to by the noble Lord opposite. Sub-Section (2) applies to—Any money arising from an endowment and paid to a County Council for those purposes of a public elementary school for which provision is to be made by the Council, shall be credited by the Council in aid of the rate levied for the purposes of Part III. of the Act.That is to say, for the maintenance of the school. I do not see how endowments of the kind referred to by the noble Lord would come under that description. The intention of this sub-Section, as it stands, is to secure that any endowments which go to the local authority, and not to the managers, shall be used to reduce the rates for elementary education in the parish in which the endowments have hitherto been enjoyed. That has been their effect up to now—that is, to relieve the educational expenses of the parish as far as they went; and there does not appear to me to beany sufficient 833 reason for diverting them from the object to which they have hitherto been applied.
§ EARL SPENCER
I should Iike to know if the noble Duke means that this Clause only applies to endowments specially devoted to diminishing the rates of certain parishes. I do not read it in that way. I should like to divide what I am going to say into two parts. With regard to the proposal of my noble friend, Lord Northbrook, I think it is a pity that endowments of this kind, not intended to relieve the rates, but to give help to those who wish to rise on the ladder of education, should be now devoted really to the relief of the rates or of the expenditure of the local education authority. I therefore should heartily sympathise with my noble friend in what he has proposed. but I have a doubt—and I put in a caeathere—as to whether this does not come within privilege. There is a question whether tje rates stand in a different position to money paid out of the Exchequer, but this money fromk endowments would relieve the general funds of the local authority, and the general funds are made up of both local and Imperial grants. So I rather doubt myself, and I put in a careatas to whether this Amendment does not involve a question of privilege. Therefore, I hesitate rather to support this proposal, although upon its merits I approve of it.
§ Amendment negatived.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF HEREFORD
said he felt that he had trespassed a good deal upon their Lorships' attention during the Committee satge of this Bill, and he was afraid that unless he was able to persuade His Majesty's Government to accept this Amendment, it might still be his duty to divide the House If so, he hoped it would be the last time upon this stage that he should have thus to take up their time. This Amendment, to his mind, was a very important one. It was that they should strike out Clause 14 altogether, abd that they should insert the following new Clause:—All educational endwments. which before the passing of this Act were being used for the 834 purposes fo elementary education, shall be reserved for the benefit of meritorious children in the parish or district, and shall be dealt with by scheme to be drawn up by the Board of Education, in consulatation with the laocal education authority, 'and laid before Parliament in the usual way.In his own poor diocese there was no less a sum than something between£2,000 and £3,000 a year, which was being used for these purposes, and those endowments he desired to see reserved. for the purposes he had indicated. He felt very strongly indeed upon this point. He felt that it was a matter of great importance that they should endeavour in this respect to hold on to the intentions of those generous donors and patrons who had given these benefaction. He did not dispute the power of the House to deal with benefactions of this kind but what he did say was that, under the circumstances, to do this would be both ungenerous and unwise. That was his point. He ventured the other day to say that if a Radical Government had introduced into Parliament any such proposal as this, both Houses of Parliament would have rung with denunciations of it. It would have been said on almost all these Benches again and again, that they were laying sacrilegious hands on the gifts of those pious founders, and that they ought to reserve those gifts for the classes of persons for whose benefit they were intended, and not appropriate them for the benefit of an entirely different class of persons. Feeling deeply as he did about this questioh, he was conscious that he might have spoken strongly the other day, and last night, in the very striking speech of the noble Lord Chancellor, he seemed to hear a strong and paerfervid rebuke for having used the strong language which he made the strpmg language which he made use of upon that occasion. That being so, he desired to recall to the House the actual words he used. He said on that occasion that if they appropriated endowments as under this Clause, they would be doing a damage to the reputation of the Church of England. They would be doing it in this way, that they would be exposing themselves to the remark that would certainly be made outside, that 835 they were adopting a policy which might be described as—The good old rule,, the simple plan,That they should take who have the power, And they should keep who can.
§ He went on, perhaps in the heat of the argument, to say that this was a plan which, in the vernacular, in the language of the man in the street in Bethnal Green or anywhere else, was not uncommonly described as a "policy of grab." To that description he understood that the noble and learned Earl took objection. Well, perhaps he ought not to have introduced any of those vernacular phrases, and he apologised, but he could not withdraw the substance of his remarks. He desired, however, to say that he had no intention of attributing, either to the Government or to any portion of the Church which he served, anything like a deliberate and conscious pursuit of this policy which was so described, but he thought that they exposed themselves to such a description of it from the enemy outside, and he thought it was well to think of that.Fas est et ab hoste doceri, and their action was certain to be so described by the ordinary person in ordinary society. If he did not attribute any blame, or wish to indicate that either the Government or the Church had consciously and deliberately pursued this policy of appropriating what, to his mind, should have been reserved for other purposes, he did say that they had drifted into it just as they drifted in public life into a great many things which they did not beforehand, and of set purpose, deliberately intend to do. He might illustrate this point by a very simple and familiar case. Some three or four years ago they all heard the noble Marquess of Salisbury—and it would have been a great pleasure to them if he had been present to join in this discussion—say that with regard to South Africa they desired neither land, nor gold, nor diamonds; but now they had drifted till they had taken the land, and they would be very glad to get more of the gold and diamonds if they could. That was just a case of political drifting, and that was just what had happened, as he understood it, with regard to this appropriation of endowments and some other things in this Bill. That was his point—that they had drifted into this position, and he hoped that by adopting 836 his Amendment in respect of the Clause as it stood, they might drift out of the position in which they found themselves. He most sincerely hoped that this would be the case, because he had a very strong desire in regard to this matter. As he had ventured to refer to the speech of the noble and learned Earl, he should like to be permitted to add one other word, and thank him for another portion of his speech, and that was for that portion which dealt with the zeal and the poverty of our clergy. He thanked the noble and learned Earl very sincerely for that, and he would go back to his own diocese with the feeling that, after listening to that part of his speech, and to some other speeches such as that delivered by the noble Viscount behind him, there was dawning a better day with regard to clerical incomes. He could not help feeling that certain noble Earls in this House, like Earl Egerton, Viscount Cross, and Lord Ashcombe and others, to whom they owed a debt of gratitude in connection with the Queen Victoria Clergy Fund, must have rejoiced to hear those eloquent speeches, and he desired to thank them for helping so far. But with regard to this Amendment, if the Church acquiesced in the Clause as it stood—and he thought it would not, because he had good hopes that a great many of his friends on the Episcopal Bench would vote with him on this point—but if it acquiesced it would do itself harm, because acquiescence in an appropriation of this kind was a direct contradiction of the whole policy of the Church in the past with regard to the poor, because the Church had always been the great friend and benefactor of the poor, and therefore he contended that they would be going against their natural policy if they accepted endowments of this kind which, to such a large extent, were intended for the benefit of the poor. Therefore he trusted and believed that his brethren would stand by him in this matter. Let them look at the Amendment for a moment. The Clause, as it stood in the Bill, took the benefactions of generous and pious founders and used them for an entirely different purpose. He did not dispute the legality of that proceeding, but he ventured to think that the generous and wise method to pursue in this matter was to look upon these benefactions as belonging to those districts 837 from which respectable tradesmen and others had gone out and made their fortunes, and who had been moved to make these benefactions in order to give opportunities to village children which they did not enjoy themselves. A great many of their benefactions had sprung up in that way, and he he'd that the generous and the wisest thing to do would be to reserve these benefactions, so that the class of children ten1 whom they were intended would still continue to enjoy, by virtue of them, benefits which they could not otherwise enjoy. That, he contended, contained the kernel of the whole matter, and so he would like to treat this as a part of the inalienable estate of the poorer classes, which he thought would be for the best interest of the nation at large. Let their Lordships observe the sort of inequality they would be guilty of if they allowed this Clause to stand as it now stood. In two parishes in his own diocese, which were equally poor, they had existing side by side this state of things, namely, that one had got probably endowments amounting to£20,£30,or£50 a year, while the other parish had not got one penny. Under the present circumstances they were bound to do exactly the same thing with regard to public education for both those parishes. Why should they not leave those benefactions for the benefit of those children for whom they were intended in order that those children might have opportunities that they could not otherwise have got? But there was another point. Those poor children would not be the beneficial res under this Bill if the Clause were left standing as it now stood. They would not enjoy the benefits of all those pious gifts which had been handed down to them. Who would enjoy, undcrthisBill, the£2.000 or£3,000 a year in his own diocese which had been left in this way? Why, to a great extent, the richer classes. He ventured to say that there was no body ui men in England who would be to such a large extent the bene-liciaires under these endowments as the Members of their Lordships' House. He knew that there was not a single Member of this House who would like to feel that he was putting into his own private pocket these benefactions of£5,£10,£20.or£70 a year by way relief from his rates which were intended for the meritorious and poor 838 children of his parish and neighbourhood. Therefore he had good hope that a great many of their Lordships would prefer his Amendment to the Clause as it stood. In conclusion, he would venture to add a word of thanks for their Lordships' kind indulgence, but, as he had said already more than once, he felt very 1 deeply and strongly on this subject. He did so because from the circumstances of his life, which had been very different from the circumstances of most of their Lordships' lives, he had been led to think a good deal about this subject for many reasons. Amongst others, he would not have had the privilege of standing in that House at all but for the benefits of endowments like these. Perhaps some of their Lordships would say that that would have been no great loss, but he would go one step further and say that they would never have had the venerable Primate in that House—and how delighted they would have been to have him there that night—but for the benefit of such endowments. He hoped, therefore, that the Amendment would meet with sympathetic and favourable consideration at their Lordships' hands, as he felt sure that it would do so if they realised to the full what a generous and wise act they would be doing.
§ Amendment moved—
To leave out Clause 14, and to insert the following new Clause instead thereof:—
All educational endowments, which beforethe passing of this Act were being- used for the purposes of elementary education, shall liereserved for the benefit of meritorious children in the parish or district, and shall be dealtwith by scheme to be drawn up by the Board of Education in consultation with the local1 education authority and laid before Parliament in the usual way."—(The Lord Bishop of Hereford.)