§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Beading read.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
My Lords, I rise to call the attention of the House to the history of this Bill, which I need not point out to your Lordships is a very important Bill. It was introduced into this House on Saturday last, two or three of your Lordships having to sacrifice your holiday, I suppose, in order to give it a First Reading. The Bill has not been circulated at all, and it was not even laid upon the Table of this House until a quarter past five this evening. Your Lordships are now asked to give the Bill a Second Reading, and, moreover, if report speaks truly, it is the intention of the Government to get through the remaining stages during the three Parliamentary days which remain of the present week. I want to know what is the special reason for hurry in connection with this Bill, because, unless very special reason can be given, I submit to your Lordships that it is treating the House with absolute disrespect. Unfortunately, we are getting used to this kind of thing. His Majesty's Government mentioned in the King's Speech a much greater number of subjects than there is any possibility of hoping to treat with anything like deliberation in the course of the session. They then used weapons of their own in another place, and, having done that, they come to your Lordships and thrust Bills down our throat one after another without our having any means of deliberating upon them. Noble Lords and their friends elsewhere are very much given to making attacks on this House and to pointing out how unfavourable this House is to the present Government. So far from that being true, this House has done more for this Government in the way of hasty, helter-skelter legislation than for any Government during the time I have sat in your Lordships' House. I moved for a Return 742 two years ago which proved that in the years 1906 and 1907 your Lordships' House passed for the present Government a larger number of important Bills in less time and with less consideration than they had done in a long preceding series of years. I should like to ask whether the Government really propose to take the remaining stages of this Bill during the next three days. The noble Earl the Leader of the House spoke with grateful memory of the stage of Standing Committee. Not only will it not be possible to take the Standing Committee stage with regard to this Bill, but I do not know how your Lordships are going to pass it through all its stages this week without offending the Standing Orders of the House. I merely utter this as a protest. I am not forgetting that we have to come back on 12th October. In the first place, what shall we have to do when we come back, at any rate for some time? Why should we not be considering this Bill? But, quite apart from that, I have not forgotten, and I do not suppose any of your Lordships have, the proceedings prior to Christmas on the last occasion that we had an autumn session. I hope we are not going to have any renewal of the discreditable scenes—it was not legislation—to which this House was then forced to become a party. I hope o your Lordships will insist that this sort of thing shall not be repeated in the closing weeks of next December. I veuture to place this protest on record, and to ask the Government whether they propose to proceed with all the stages of this Bill during this week, and, if so, for o what reason.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, I think your Lordships will all agree that, under the circumstances, the noble Earl is fully entitled to make the protest which he has just made. It is perfectly true that this Bill was brought up early on Saturday afternoon, and that it has only just been placed in your Lordships' hands. It is by no means the first time that something of this kind has happened. It has happened with other Governments in power. I have never quite understood why it is, when a Bill is brought up here on a Saturday afternoon, it should be found impossible to get anybody to print it. Overtime is not unknown, and I should have thought it would have been conceivable that important measures laid 743 before your Lordships' House would have found someone to print them; but, apparently, that difficulty has arisen, and I confess that when I found the Bill had not been circulated I would have been glad to have postponed the Second Reading, but that would necessarily have involved a prolongation of the session into next week.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
Because all the other days in the week are likely to be filled with other business.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
I will come to that in a moment. The noble Earl asks why we should not be content to put this measure off till October. I think the answer lies in the nature of the measure itself. It is a measure which has come up from another place with a very general amount of agreement arrived at among people of very divergent opinions I do not think it is advisable to allow a measure of that kind to simmer too long. I think it is quite possible that, I do not say noble Lords opposite, but other politicians elsewhere, might, if the measure were postponed, develop some differences of opinion which so far have not occurred to them. In those circumstances I feel that it would be advantageous—I do not speak as a party man, for this is really not a party measure, but in the general interests of getting this very important question decided — if your Lordships would agree to pass it through all its stages before we adjourn for the holiday. The points at issue, as I think will appear when the Bill is debated, are not numerous. There are a number of great principles involved, but upon those agreement has been reached. The points upon which amendment is likely are, I hope and believe, exceedingly few. With regard to the general question, I should merely like to say this, that although I fully agree that it is desirable, both for the proper conduct of business and out of respect for your Lordships' House, that measures should be in the hands of Members for some time before a Bill is asked to be read a second time, yet I think one 744 is bound, as far as possible, to avoid pedantry in the matter and to differentiate between different measures. What I am going to say to my noble friend holds equally good for both Houses, and it is this. When a measure has been very fully discussed in one House and has received but little amendment, I think it is reasonable to assume that those who are interested in the subject have followed those discussions and do not come to the matter in complete ignorance and with an entirely fresh mind; and though, of course, I am very far from saying that that absolves anybody from the necessity of placing the measure in your Lordships' hands, yet I think it is only fair to consider the particular character of the measure and the kind of opposition it has received. If this Bill had been amended in important respects at a late stage in another place, the noble Earl's case would have been a great deal stronger than it is at the moment, though I greatly regret that this should have occurred.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I am glad that the noble Earl commenced his observations by frankly admitting that my noble friend was within his right in protesting against the manner in which this House has boon treated in regard to this Bill. Even to us who are accustomed to treatment of the kind, it is rather a strong order that a Bill of this importance should be read a first time on Saturday and a second time on the following Monday, and that the Bill itself should not be on the Table of the House until within an hour of the time when the discussion will probably begin. The noble Earl gave us certain reasons against the rather obvious course which my noble friend suggested—I mean the course of allowing the Bill to stand over until after the summer adjournment. His reason was, if I may say so, a rather suggestive one. He said the measure was not one of a sort that ought to be allowed to simmer for too long. We are able, perhaps, to infer from that observation what must have been the temperature of this Irish stew which has been simmering during the last few months. We may even divine that members of His Majesty's Government may have already burnt their fingers, and do not particularly wish to burn them again. I rise merely 745 because I do not wish my noble friend behind me to stand alone in his protest. It is one which I have more than once made myself from this Table. With regard to the course which your Lordships should take, I am bound to say that the noble Earl is perhaps right in saying that this Bill comes to us under rather special circumstances. We are, of course, familiar with the general outline of the case, and I hope most of us have followed the discussions which have taken place elsewhere. But I should like to remind the noble Earl that amendments, and, I believe, amendments of some importance, were inserted in the Bill as lately as Friday last. I can only say with my noble friend behind me, that if we are to submit to treatment of this kind at the present period of the session, we hope that no attempt will be made to repeat the performance at the close of the winter session. I really do not think we are using idle words when we say that a moment will come when this House will not only resent, but will resist, the kind of treatment to which we are becoming too much accustomed.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, I do not desire to say anything in reply to the noble Marquess, but I will proceed, if I may be allowed to do so, to make a few observations on the measure, the Second Reading of which I shall shortly move. This question of University education in Ireland is one of the oldest and one of the most difficult that has been before Parliament. My right hon. friend has embarked upon a road which, like some of the caravan roads across the African desert, is strewn with the whitened bones which show the disasters of travellers who have passed that way before. This question, among other experiences, broke up the strongest Government which has probably ever existed in this country—I mean the Government which was formed by Mr. Gladstone in 1868.
Before I proceed to say anything about the measure, perhaps I may be allowed to make a brief historical retrospect with regard to University education in Ireland. For a long time University education in Ireland meant the University and College of Trinity, in Dublin. That college and University was founded in the year 1582 as a sort of younger sister to the famous foundation at Cambridge of the same 746 name; and over since those days it has been in its character a Protestant University. For at least 250 years it has been closely bound up with the Episcopal Church of Ireland. It was not until 1793, when Catholic relief generally was in the air, that Catholics were allowed to obtain degrees at Trinity, and in 1834 a fruitless attempt was made to allow Catholics to enjoy the scholarships and professorships of the University.
The next thing that happened to University education in Ireland was in 1845, when the Queen's University, as it was called, was formed, consisting of the three Queen's Colleges of Belfast, Cork, and Galway. Within five years from their inception these colleges were condemned by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, and also formally condemned from Rome, and ever since then they have not been looked on with great favour by that Church. At this moment there are, I fancy, about 250 Roman Catholic students in the three colleges. In 1854, by private enterprise, what was known as the Catholic University was founded, chiefly remembered now by the famous man who was its first head and who afterwards became Cardinal Newman. That University, for reasons into which it is not necessary to enter, never succeeded as a University, and it now only exists, so far as it can be said to exist at all, as an association of Roman Catholic colleges, of which, of course, the most famous is Maynooth. In 1866 Lord Russell made an unsuccessful attempt to recognise that University, and two years later, in 1868, Mr. Disraeli attempted to take in hand the question of Irish University education. At that time Lord Mayo was Chief Secretary for Ireland, and it was announced that a Catholic University was about to be instituted in Ireland; but between the Government of the day and the Irish Roman Catholic Bishops and the supporters in this country and in Ireland of the right hon. Gentleman who was then Prime Minister the scheme fell to the ground, and the Government of that day, as it appears, were not sorry to find an excuse for withdrawing it.
Then in 1873 came the event to which. I have already alluded, when Mr. Gladstone attempted to found a great national University in Ireland, which was to include all the colleges of the first rank, 747 including Trinity and Maynooth. The fate of that measure, involving as it did that of the Government, is very well-known history, but it should also be remembered that in that same year, 1873, Mr. Fawcett at last succeeded in doing what he had unavailingly tried to do before—that was, to abolish tests at Trinity College. Since then Trinity has been, at any rate in most respects, a testless University. In 1879 a further attempt was made, also by a Conservative Government. The Queen's University was abolished, although the colleges remained, and what is known as the Royal University was instituted. That was a purely examining body, and has remained so down to this time, and its existence, I think, has been almost an unmitigated misfortune for the highest type of education in Ireland.
One thing is worth noting with regard to this Royal University—that its system of professorships acted as an indirect endowment of the Catholic University in Dublin. That was owing to the arrangement under which the different professors of the new University were paid. That is to say, those of the Queen's Colleges only received a small sum in addition to their stipend, while those of St. Stephen's Green received the full payment of professors, and that obviously acted as an endowment towards those particular colleges. Last year, taking entrance examination and degrees together, about 3,600 students entered for the various examinations at the Royal University, of whom nearly 2,400 passed, of whom 486 were women.
That has been the condition of University education in Ireland, and the improvement of that system has been a subject of anxious care and study to many statesmen of both parties. I need not mention the prominent part which Mr. Balfour has takes, greatly to his honour, because it was sometimes, I think, in opposition to his party interests, in declaring in and out of season his determination to assist if he could in the settlemens of this question. But, as a matter of fact, among the public men of both parties who have held office either as Lord-Lieutenant or as Chief Secretary in Ireland, there has been, I think, scarcely one who has returned from Ireland without a conviction of the necessity of establishing in Ireland a University acceptable 748 to Roman Catholics. I remember one singular instance of this. The late Mr. James Lowther was the least vacillating of politicians. Not long before his death he told me that he did not believe that he had modified in the slightest degree any opinion on any subject which he held when he entered the House of Commons in the year 1865, except on one, and that was this question. He was prepared to go almost to any length in assisting the foundation of a Roman Catholic University in Ireland.
The next thing that happened arising out of this general interest in the matter was the establishment in the year 1901 of a Commission over which the noble and learned Lord opposite, Lord Robertson, presided. He was assisted by various distinguished men. The late Lord Ridley the present Archbishop of Tuam, and the Sir Richard Jebb were amongst them. That Commission reported in the year 1903, and the effect of its Report was to condemn, I think, without any qualification, the system of a purely examining University. It also condemned the indirect system of endowing particular professorships, and it as a whole recommended the institution of a new college in Dublin, although I think the noble and learned Lord opposite carefully guarded himself, if I remember right, from being supposed to recommend the establishment of a Roman Catholic University as such in the capital of Ireland.
I stated in my separate Report that the ground of my objection was that I thought it was a political question for Parliament to decide, and not for the Commission.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
I am very glad to have that from the noble and learned Lord. Then in 1906 a further Commission was held. The Commission presided over by the noble and learned Lord had been appointed to inquire into the question of University education outside Trinity College. Trinity did not fall within its purview, but it did fall within the purview of the Commission of 1906. That Commission was also composed of unusually distinguished men. It was presided over by Sir Edward Fry. Chief Baron Palles, Sir Thomas Raleigh, Professor Henry Jackson of Cambridge, Mr. Butcher, whom we all know so well 749 in another place, and who is also equally distinguished on the academic side, Sir Arthur Rücker, so well known as the Principal of London University, and Dr. Douglas Hyde were members of it. All but one of those Commissioners, and the one was not one of those distinguished men that I have mentioned, recommended the establishment of a college in Dublin, but on one point of the first importance their opinions were diametrically split, and that was the question whether Trinity should form part of the new University or not. Four of those gentlemen recommended that Trinity should be included. One, Professor Jackson, thought that the inclusion of Trinity was the best course that could be taken, but believed it to be practically impossible, and three were strongly opposed to the inclusion of Trinity.
In bringing in this measure the Government had to decide whether or not Trinity should be included. When we came to examine the matter at close quarters, it was quite evident that Trinity strongly objected to inclusion. About the position of Trinity College, Dublin, there can be no two opinions. It enjoys the possession of famous traditions of ripe scholarship, and of highly successful schools, both in classics and mathematics and in theology. It has enjoyed, also, a social reputation, for years and centuries, for literature and wit which no University surpasses. It may be said that among all the Universities, the kindly mothers of polite learning and of science, not one in any country has secured deeper devotion or more romantic allegiance from its sons than has Trinity. Under those circumstances it was no doubt a fascinating idea to ask Trinity to bring all its traditions to the service of the new University, and to act, as Trinity must have acted, as leader in the new combination. But Trinity did not see the matter in that light. Trinity was altogether unwilling to join. Whether, in doing so, she made one of those great refusals which are sometimes made by institutions no less than by individuals it is impossible to say; but it was obviously impossible, in view of her opposition, to press the point, and therefore we fell back on the scheme of the Bill.
The problem we had to meet was how to institute a University in Ireland which would be acceptable to the Catholics 750 without endowing a Catholic University, which would be to do something which has never yet been done in the United Kingdom. It might be said, as it often has been said: There are no tests now at Trinity; why do not Catholics who desire the highest form of education attend Trinity College? The one main answer to that is that they will not. The reason, I think, is not altogether far to seek. It is not, of course, that Roman Catholic parents and Roman Catholic clergy believe that if their young men attend Trinity College they would be turned into Protestants, but they do think that they might return from there somewhat less good Catholics. The fact that they hold that opinion, although a certain number of Catholics do go to Trinity, makes a general attendance practically impossible.
In some ways the task of the Government was easier than that of any previous Government. The question of Belfast will settle itself more easily than it ever could have settled itself before. Great towns like Belfast have now not merely become reconciled to the idea of having a University, but a, University has become almost an appanage of first-class towns. If Sheffield, with 400,000 inhabitants, can have an excellent University, there clearly is no reason why Belfast, with some 360,000, should not enjoy a similar advantage. It was found that when Lord Kelvin strongly recommended the institution of a University in Belfast, the idea was received there with infinitely greater favour than it had ever been in former years. Therefore, we leave Trinity alone. We propose to form two Universities, one with its seat in Belfast, and the other with its seat in Dublin, consisting of a new college in Dublin and the old Queen's College at Cork and the old Queen's College at Galway. As to Clause 1, I need only say that for the moment the question of the titles of these two Universities is postponed. It was felt that it would be better that they should, so to speak, christen themselves, rather than be christened by those who might not be in complete sympathy with them. But that is a small matter.
Clause 2 deals with the colleges. I need only draw the attention of the House to subsection 4 of that clause It is one on which a considerable difference of opinion has existed, which 751 was not altogether reconciled when the Bill was discussed in another place. Sub section 4 provides for the recognition — that is the word in the Act—or affiliation, of other colleges by the new University, and although that recognition is carefully guarded, yet it has met with a considerable degree of objection. We should all agree that if this matter could be considered in the abstract the objection would be fatal to the scheme. It is not, as a purely abstract question, a desirable thing that a University degree should be obtainable by anybody who has not shared in the corporate life of the University and has not, as a matter of fact, lived at the University itself. On the other hand we were confronted by the practical necessities of the case.
The two colleges principally concerned in this matter are Maynooth, which will naturally be recognised by Dublin, and Magee, which will naturally be recognised by Belfast. It is only fair to state that, although those colleges are spoken of as theological colleges, they are not purely theological, as anybody will know who has visited them, because there is a faculty of arts at both; and at Maynooth, of which I have the most personal knowledge, that is a side of education which it would be improper to speak of as being neglected. It was suggested in another place that although it might be proper to affiliate Maynooth, yet out of three years arts course—the whole course, I think, is seven years— two ought properly to be spent in the immediate neighbourhood of the University. If that is the ultimate outcome of this Act, nobody would be more glad than myself. One has no right to speak in any critical or advisory tone of the educational arrangement of a Church to which he does not belong; but it is common knowledge, I believe, that among Catholics there are a very considerable number, even in Maynooth itself, who would welcome the possibility of such a course as this. But it is not practicable at this moment.
In the first place we must remember the important point that we are not in a position to found a residential college, and it is not possible to provide in Dublin at this moment hostels for students who, in view of the fact that they are intended for the priesthood, would have to be kept under careful supervision whether 752 they were at Maynooth or Dublin. Under those circumstances it is quite clear that to have insisted on this provision would be fatal to the reception of the Bill in Ireland by those who are responsible for that side of education. To begin by a controversy of that kind, whatever you may think of the merits of the case, would have been a poor start for the measure and would have undone a large part of the good we hope the Bill may do. It is important to bear this in mind, that the terms on which these colleges are to be recognised are susceptible of change from time to time, and therefore it would be open to the senate of either University, whenever it thinks that the time has come when such a provision of this kind ought to be enforced, to make it a condition for the continued recognition of either of the colleges.
Clause 3 deals with the important question of tests, and on that I may say, because it is a kindred though not an identical subject, that it was decided in another place, after some discussion, not to allow the erection of chapels in connection with these Universities. As regards the question of tests, subsection 2 provides for a custom that does not obtain greatly in England, though it is well known in Ireland, and that is the declaration by professors on taking office. No faculty of theology or divinity can be endowed by public money under the Act, though those who desire to found professorships in theology are, of course, at liberty to do so, but those who hold them will not be in all respects in the same position as the other officers of the University, and the religious belief of the students is carefully safeguarded by a conscience clause.
The next point is one over which a degree of controversy has arisen. It is with regard to the statutes of the Universities and the constituent colleges. That has been a matter of some discussion, because the Bill as it stands only provides for the regulation of these statutes by Parliament. The question has arisen whether the practice of the new Universities might not be assimilated to that of the Universities in this country. That is a question that is to some extent still under consideration, but I hope that my right hon. friend may find means of meeting 753 the wishes of those who have raised this point in another place. Then temporary Commissioners are appointed. My right hon. friend has stated they are a distinguished body of men, both English and Irish. They are appointed for the transition stage, to draw up statutes and deal with the property and the obligations of the existing colleges and the Royal University.
As to the finance of the Bill, at present Queen's Colleges each receive £7,000 a year from the Consolidated Fund. This is brought up by votes and allowances to £13,000 in the case of Belfast, £11,250 in that of Cork, and £10,600 in that of Galway. The Royal University gets £20,000 a year from the Irish Church surplus, making a total endowment of £55,456. The new proposal is that the £20,000 of the Irish Church surplus is to be divided between the two Universities, Belfast getting £10,000 and Dublin £10,000. In addition to that, Belfast gets £18,000 a year, Dublin £32,000, Cork £20,000, and Galway £12,000, making altogether a total of £102,000, which is £46,544 more than they have hitherto been receiving. As regards buildings, Dublin University and College receive a building grant of £150,000, Belfast one of £60,000, Cork £14,000, and Galway £6,000. Then to Dublin the site and buildings of the Royal University, which cost £77,000, are handed over, and the Queen's Colleges which form part of the new University and cost originally and with additions altogether £186,000, making a grand total of £493,000. That, I think, cannot be said to be illiberal finance. No building grant, as far as I know, has ever been given to an English University. To Wales very little has been given, for Wales is the good child in these matters, and the amount raised there by private subscriptions has been considerable, and the Principality has not got much from the Treasury. Scotland, on the other hand, is an astute country, and has had at one time or another £380,000 in the shape of building grants.
This is not to be a residential University. It is to be regretted, I think, in any case, and all the more in view of the fact that Trinity is a residential University, and, therefore, comparison between the two is certain to be instituted, although in many respects the new 754 University cannot hope to rival the ancient traditions of Trinity. We hope that some benefactors will come forward from time to time and part with some of their superfluous money by way of gift or legacy for the purpose of instituting a residential University in Dublin. I will give only one other sot of figures—that of the numbers of students at the Queen's Colleges. They show to my mind more than anything else the necessity of instituting this new foundation. They have come down progressively since 1802. Belfast has fallen from 502 in that year to 390 in 1906, Cork from 348 to 261, Galway from 144 to 111. I think it is clear that that is due to the setting up of the Royal University. It cannot, I think, be otherwise explained. If people could get the same degree purely by examination and by living where they pleased, they were less likely than otherwise they would be to attend colleges. Therefore I think we may fairly expect, if the Bill is passed, a very considerable and steady increase in the numbers in these colleges
I pass rapidly over a great many other provisions in the Bill. Clause 10 provides for the institution of scholarships by the Intermediate Education Board of Ireland and by county and borough councils. Clauses 11 and 12 deal with various points connected with professional education. Clause 13 deals with the interests of existing graduates and students, and saves the interests of those who are at present students of the Royal University, because it would be obviously unfair for them if, having entered a University course to pass a certain examination, they were confronted in the middle of it with something quite different. Then follow long and rather complicated clauses upon which I do not think controversy has arisen.
The first schedule gives the constitution of the governing bodies of the Universities, and, in addition, draft charters of both the Universities and colleges have been circulated. The draft charters in the case of the colleges provide a scheme for the governing bodies which is not placed in the Bill, and, therefore, the charter can be altered without the necessity of coming to Parliament. The composition of the proposed governing bodies of those 755 colleges is one of the points which has formed the subject of some discussion. We have been told they are not sufficiently academic in character, that the outside element is somewhat too large. That, of course is a matter for discussion, and one upon which any man is entitled to hold his own opinion. If I may take Dublin as an instance, of the governing body of thirty-four members, sixteen may be taken as being directly academic, ten appointed by the City and county councils, four appointed by the Crown, and four co-opted. That gives a large majority to the academic side. Whether it is large enough may be argued, if an Amendment is moved on the subject. I think it must be borne in mind that it is very important to excite the interest of the locality and all those who represent it. It is our belief that that is best attained by allowing important local authorities to send representatives to the governing bodies.
Such is the character of the measure which I ask your Lordships to read a second time; and, I think, it is pretty clear from the history that I gave earlier that it is a kind of measure which any Government might well be tempted to leave alone. My right hon. friend the Chief Secretary, however, has shown great energy in promoting it, and has earned many handsome and generous compliments, not only from his own side, but from those generally opposed to him in politics. I hope, therefore, that the caravan, if I may use the simile again, is drawing in sight of home. Ireland has waited a long time for some measure of this kind; certainly she has waited for a full hundred years. Every year a new generation of young Roman Catholic students has arrived at manhood without in most cases obtaining the highest class of University education. That has a political side to it. The young student at the time does not always recognise his misfortune, for the average young man does not usually complain that he is being under-educated. But when he gets older and finds various avenues closed to him and various careers thwarted, he must blame somebody; he knows he need not blame himself, and, therefore, he blames the British Parliament, which has failed for so long to deal with this question, and I cannot help thinking that the existence of this real 756 grievance has been one important contributory cause to the ill feeling which, as we know, has existed from time to time between the two countries. Our view is that we are very glad to believe that this measure offers a settlement.
We have been taunted—we may be taunted again—with being untrue to our principles by instituting something in the nature of endowments of denominational education. Those taunts, I confess, do not greatly affect me. I think they can only be made by those who are exceedingly prejudiced, or who take a very shallow view of the facts. The popular education of a country must be what the people of that country demand in view of their beliefs and opinions, whether social or religious. That is exactly the spirit in which we approached our attempted settlement of the question of elementary education in England. We approach this question in precisely the same spirit. What we desire to do is to give to every man, to every boy, freedom of opportunity so far as that is compatible with the establishment of a great national system. In the highest education in Ireland there has existed this great gap in the national system. That gap this measure is intended, if possible, to bridge.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Grewe.)
§ *LORD ASHBOURNE
My Lords, after the full and clear statement of the provisions of the Bill which has just been given by the noble Earl, I will venture to assume that there is no one in your Lordships' House who has not a very good idea of the proposals of this Bill. It would be impossible for any of us, after the discussions that have taken place in Parliament, after the proceedings of the two Royal Commissions, and after the frequent discussions of this matter in. the Press, not to have a very ample knowledge of all that is meant by the words Irish University question. It is one of the most, difficult and thorny of Irish problems. I think the noble Earl, if I may presume to say so, might have left out his closing sentence. Nothing that I know of has been said of a taunting character in reference to the Government in connection with this Bill. But really it is something of a challenge to ask us 757 to recognise that this Bill is conceived on the same lines as the solution of the English primary education question that was presented to your Lordships. The noble Earl waved a gentle flag at the close of his speech, but this is not a time of the evening that lends itself to going out of the way to take up any extraneous topic.
I am obliged to the noble Earl for the way in which he has referred to the University of Dublin, of which I had the honour to be a representative in the House of Commons for many years. That great University, founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was the sole University in Ireland until the foundation of the Queen's Colleges. It has had a great history and a splendid career, and it is worthy of note that in the Report of the last of the Royal Commissions referred to by the noble Earl these gratifying words are to be found—Trinity College as it stands to-day is a noble institution for the advancement of sound learning, not unworthy of its great traditions and of the affection and veneration with which it is regarded by its children.Those are worthy and generous words, and they are founded upon absolute truth. The connection of the University of Dublin with this great question of Catholic education is a worthy one, too. Long before the great Universities of England thought of granting their degrees to Roman Catholics, in the year 1793 Trinity College threw open her degrees to the Roman Catholics of Ireland without stint or hesitation. In the history of this question it should never be forgotten that the first of the great Universities of the Empire that recognised the claims of Roman Catholics to University degrees was the great University of Dublin. Mr. Fawcett's Act, passed within our own memory, threw open every prize, honour, distinction, and office within its control to everybody, and the portals of Dublin University since the passing of Fawcett's Act have been open to all.
As an Irishman, and as a former Member for Dublin University, I would have preferred if my Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen had been satisfied with the opportunities presented by that University, and I much regret that the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church set themselves against that solution of 758 the question. Then came the founding of the Queen's Colleges. The Roman Catholic Bishops declined to accept that solution, and the colleges were put under the ban of being regarded as godless. As we all know, the demand for a Roman Catholic University has grown immensely within the last ten years. It is not for us in this House, or for the other House of Parliament, to say whether we approve or do not approve of the demand of the Roman Catholics. It is not for us to sit in judgment on the opinions and desires of other men. Every one has a right to his own view as to what he desires, and it is not for us to say whether the Roman Catholics are right or wrong in the demand that they have made. They are within their constitutional rights, and we are bound to pay attention to the way in which they have presented their case. Mr. Gladstone, a man of genius and a great University man, thought that he could solve the question. Well, he tried his hand and failed; and he was wise enough never to try it again. Two Royal Commissions have sat, presided over by men of high eminence and composed of men of great distinction, and they have given their views. I will not discuss the proceedings of those Royal Commissions. Then came Mr. Bryce's scheme, and that was the only omission in the speech of the noble Earl. The noble Earl never mentioned the name of Mr. Bryce. That scheme pleased nobody. It touched every point of the greatest resistence, and it is not unnaturally passed by in the solution found in the present Bill.
The noble Earl has told us the way in which the Government approached this question. They appear to have applied their minds to it with an anxious desire to reach a solution that would as far as possible, be acceptable to Roman Catholics and would not hurt the feelings of other people — a very difficult combination to work out. The Chief Secretary is entitled to, and has got, full credit for the ability and the skill with which he framed this measure. He is entitled also to the fullest measure of credit for the diplomacy and the adroitness with which he carried the Bill through the House of Commons. It was passed there by great majorities; some important criticisms were made, but the 759 Chief Secretary always met them most genially and eloquently, and his view was supported by large numbers in the division lobby. All must admit, I think, that the Bill was fairly dealt with on both sides in the House of Commons, and that it was met frankly and not unkindly. It is obvious to anyone who has studied those debates that there was a desire, as far as possible, to reach a settlement of this long fought out question, and, if possible, to find that settlement in the Bill of the Government. The speech of Mr. Balfour on Saturday last was a fine speech, full of generous and cordial sentiment towards the Bill, and of ungrudging praise of the statesman who had carried it.
I myself have no desire to suggest any doubt as to my action in reference to the Bill. I am prepared to support the Second Reading, and to do what I can to assist the progress of the Bill through your Lordships' House, of course, reserving to myself the right, at the next stage, of offering such reasonable and fair criticisms as may be right and just. The noble Earl, naturally enough, hardly mentioned the portion of the Bill that has reference to Belfast. I can quite understand that, because there is little or no question about it. Belfast Queen's College has had a great and successful career, and no one can doubt that, under new conditions as a University, it will grow in fame, utility, and distinction. The real crux of the Bill is to be found in the legislation with reference to the new University in Dublin. The matters that require examination and explanation, the obvious and serious difficulties, are all in connection with the Dublin University. Mr. Birrell was in an enormous difficulty—the noble Earl has skated over it very delicately—in having constantly to meet the charge that this is a denominational measure, and, bearing in mind the composition of the House of Commons, one can well understand that he did not like that charge being made so often. There is, however, no reason for having any hesitation in putting the matter perfectly plainly.
The Bill, so far as the drafting of it goes, is framed on undenominational lines. Anyone who reads the clauses, 760 and particularly those to which the noble Earl has referred, will see that the structure of the Bill is technically undenominational. But when one turns to the charters which are to work out the Bill, when one sees the mechanism to be applied by the charters, and the constitution of the governing bodies to be called into existence by the charters, it is obvious that it is a denominational measure, and intended to be a denominational measure. No one with any desire to be as frank as the circumstances would permit would dream of nesitating to admit, in the most candid way, that the charters must work out a system of education that will be denominational. If they do not do that, the Bill will not satisfy the wishes, the desires, and the ambitions of those at whose demand it has been produced; and it cannot but be a failure if it does not satisfy those demands. That is really the position of the case at the present moment. Take the Senate of Dublin University. There are no end of loopholes by which the atmosphere can come in in a fine, vigorous, and robust way at every second of its existence. It is better to recognise that as an intelligible and obvious result.
Anyone who regards this Bill as an undenominational settlement of the University question in Ireland must indeed be willing to be deceived; but then, there are none so blind as those who will not see. When the senate is in working order there can be no manner of doubt as to the atmosphere which will control its operations. The senate is given great authority as to those whom it will recognise. The Bill says that there should be a power given to recognise students in the colleges; the charter says there is to be power given to recognise the colleges. That shows what advance was made when the promoters applied themselves to the preparation of the charters, and what is the matter that is intended. Power is given to confer privileges and to swell the roll of graduates in a manner which may have considerable result ultimately on the management of the Universities. It may be that as time develops and the matter is further considered the power will be used in a more moderate way, and that efforts will be made to avail 761 themselves of the power to confer some of the advantages of residence on all pupils of the colleges. But at present the whole decision in this matter is given to the senate. Why? The noble Earl said that the Commissioners appointed were distinguished men. I agree. Then why are they not given the power to recognise and affiliate? Why should not the Commissioners have this power while their tenure lasts, and when it ends it could devolve upon the Senate. The Robertson Commission unanimously recommended that the Royal College of Science in Dublin should be affiliated. Why not give the Commissioners power to affiliate that college which has the advantage of now being fully equipped? I do not know why the power of affiliation or recognition is not given by statute. That is a suggestion I venture to throw out.
Then there is the very large civic element in the Senates. That is a matter which has been acutely discussed elsewhere. I will not refer to it now; but the noble Earl must not be surprised if it is mentioned in future discussions in your Lordships' House. To call into existence a civic clement out of all proportion is a very serious thing, and may have considerable effect. It is impossible to make any real contract here with the new English Universities. Then there is the question of chapels. It is impossible not to sympathise with Mr. Birrell in his difficulties in trying to meet the Nonconformist conscience. In Grand Committee on the Bill, Mr. Butcher, a man of great ability whom everyone likes to praise, moved an Amendment that a chapel might be erected by private benefaction within or without the precincts of the University or college in Dublin. Mr. Birrell saw the sense of the Amendment and accepted it. But the working of the human conscience is sometimes strange; and it was intimated to him that the Nonconformist conscience was restive under this proposition, and, accordingly on Friday last the erection of a chapel, even by private benefaction, had to be given up. I quite understand it, but it is one of those things that it is difficult to explain. I should not be in the least surprised, however, if at the 762 Committee stage some of my noble friends presented that question for reexamination. From my knowledge of Dublin I am quite aware that next to the Catholic University College there is a very handsome and fashionable Catholic Church, which will, no doubt, be available while they are waiting for the building of a chapel, but its locality may not be convenient.
We have to consider this question apart from our own wishes, apart from our own University ideas, and apart from our own opinions of scholastic requirements. We have to look at it as practical men. What are we to do with this solution of the Government? The Bill has passed the House of Commons by large majorities and with a great deal of approval; it has commended itself, as far as we can see, to the general approval of the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church. As practical men we must recognise that a settlement is desirable, and that we are nearer a settlement now than at any previous time in the history of this extremely thorny question. I am in favour, as I have said, of granting the Bill a Second Reading, and, subject to fair discussion, placing no obstacle in its progress. Yet it is impossible to look to the future with regard to some important points of the Bill without serious misgivings. But I know that Irishmen are clever, that they love learning and thirst for education. I place reliance upon the general desire of the Roman Catholic body in Ireland to make the new scheme a success; and, therefore, I trust that it will realise the hopes of its authors and in time become a potent agency to assist the spread of learning throughout the land.
LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE
My Lords, it has been the fate of those of your Lordships who have been connected with Ireland during the last forty years to find yourselves on nearly every occasion in active opposition to the wishes of the majority of the people of that country as expressed by their representatives in another place. I think the reason of that is very easy to explain. It is because the subjects which have been dealt with have been nearly always 763 concerning either property or the Government of the country. I think it is universally acknowledged that land legislation, whether good or bad, has seriously reduced the value of the land, not of the whole of the land of Ireland, but of that part of it which belonged to the landlord in contradistinction to that part which belonged to the tenant So far as the measures which have been introduced have related to the Government of Ireland, your Lordships will agree that the opposition which was offered to those measures was actuated by the sincere belief and conviction that those measures would have resulted in a loosening, if not a snapping, of the links which bind the two countries together. But the Bill which is before us to-night is of a very different nature. No one can say that it affects the stability of the Empire, and the only way in which it affects property is so far as the tenth clause is concerned. That clause certainly gives very large powers to county councils to raise funds in aid of this University if they obtain the consent of the Local Government Board, although that consent confines them to a sum not exceeding 1d. in the £. I think, therefore, the people of Ireland will look with much interest to see what attitude your Lordships will take with regard to this measure, and it seems to me that it ought to be regarded by us only from two points of view. In the first place, we have to consider whether another University is needed, and in the second place, if such a University is necessary, whether such a one as it is proposed to establish will satisfy the wishes and the requirements of the Roman Catholics of that country. I do not propose to discuss at all the question of the University of Belfast. So far as I can make out that University is not desired and it is not required, and it is only inserted in this Bill for the purpose of satisfying that extremely valuable, but at the same time, exceedingly liquid asset of the Radical Party, the Nonconformist conscience.
I propose, with your permission, to consider very carefully in detail what are the chief objections which are urged against this Bill. The first is a very old one; it is that Maynooth was originally intended for the education of ecclesiastics and also of the Roman Catholic laity, 764 and that until the Roman Catholic clergy agree to restore it to its original use, no steps should be taken with regard to the higher education of Ireland. As an argument that sounds very well, but as practical men we know that the Roman Catholic clergy will never allow it to be restored to its original use, and consequently those who advocate that higher education should be put off until that is done, really wish to postpone the establishment of a Roman Catholic University until the time of the Greek Kalends. The second objection which is urged is that Trinity College, Dublin, amply satisfies the requirements of the people of Ireland; she has opened her doors wide, as we have heard, to students of all denominations, and she is proud to reckon amongst her most distinguished alumni members of the Roman Catholic Church. I will not give a list of them to your Lordships, but there is one who will be well remembered by you—the late Lord Morris. I think this objection is a serious one, and deserves to be considered. I, for one, wish that on this occasion the Chief Secretary had not chosen the path of least resistance; that, instead of arranging for three watertight compartments, in order that Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Nonconformists might be bottled up for three or four years and then launched on the world filled to the brim with the odium theologicum, he had tried to found a really national University, where Irishmen of all religions, at the age when friendships are made, might have met and foregathered; where the religious convictions of all would have been respected; where they would have learned that good fellows wore to be found in every denomination, and where, above all, they would have been taught that lesson which, more than any other, I think my fellow countrymen need to learn, the lesson of mutual toleration. But in fairness to the Chief Secretary, I think it must be acknowledged that there were lions in the path which he would have to fight, had he chosen what I believe would have been the better and the braver course. I honestly admit that if I were a devout Roman Catholic I should hesitate about sending my son, at a most susceptible age, to a University whose atmosphere is distinctly Anglican, 765 and if I were, what I fear many of my Roman Catholic fellow countrymen are, disloyal, I should certainly not have sent him to a University whose proudest boast is that it is loyal to the Union. And I do not think the whole blame lies on the side of the Roman Catholics, because although Trinity College was perfectly willing to make certain concessions I cannot help believing that a deep sigh of relief was heaved when she found she was allowed to pursue her way along the old paths on which she had been so successful, unhampered by a new and unknown element which might have swamped her.
There is another objection which is urged by many educated Roman Catholics—that the University is absolutely unnecessary. A well-known Irish gentleman, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, said to me the other day, "Why do you give us this University? We do not want it. There is nobody to go to it. There is virtually no middle class in Ireland, and we do not want a University for ploughboys." I said: "If that is your view, and that is what educated Roman Catholics in Ireland think, why do you not express it in public?" He replied: "We cannot do that, it would not do for us to go against the priests; it would make us too unpopular." I for one am not willing to help those who are not willing to help themselves. I say that the case goes by default, and I do not believe any of your Lordships would be willing to take up the cudgels on behalf of those who had not the courage to take them up for themselves. The last objection which is urged against this University is that it will be priest-ridden; in other words, that it will be governed by clerical influence. Of course it will, and if it were not, I do not believe that in the present state of feeling in Ireland it would satisfy the wishes of the Roman Catholics in that country, I know the Chief Secretary thinks it will be an undenominational University, but I am told that the Chief Secretary believes his administration of Ireland has been successful, and a man who believes that will believe anything. I wish myself that it were not necessary for political reasons to continue this farce of calling it an undenominational University. I wish it could 766 be a purely Roman Catholic University, with a whole bench of Roman Catholic bishops as its governing body, for I do not believe, unless the University is governed by the bishops or by their nominees, that Roman Catholics will attend it, and I would like to throw upon them the responsibility of showing that they are able to manage a University so as to satisfy modern requirements.
We live in democratic times, and this is a democratic Bill. We no longer affect to give the people what we believe to be good for them; we give them what they want, and my opinion is that what they want nowadays is generally what is very bad for them. But I believe, at any rate, that if we were to take a plebiscite of Roman Catholics in Ireland at the present time, we should find a large majority in favour of a University to be governed by the clergy. I should like to say a word about the Roman Catholic clergy. I used just now the word, "priest-ridden," and I should not like it to be thought that I said anything inimical or unfriendly towards the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. I have lived amongst them all my life, and amongst their number I can count old and valued friends. It used to be said in old days that the Roman Catholic priest was the centre of every form of political intrigue. I believe that much of that is changed nowadays, and when you find a Roman Catholic priest at the head of a political organisation, it is nearly always more for the purpose of governing and controlling that institution than for the object of urging it politically. I can say that in my part of the world, the West of Ireland, priests are generally occupied in looking after the spiritual and temporal welfare of their flocks, and I must acknowledge that when they look after their temporal welfare, they sometimes wander into political fields where I find myself in acute antagonism to them; but except in those matters and on certain questions of discipline, where they take what I hope they will forgive my calling a rather narrow view of a particular case, I am sure that their object is to live on terms of friendliness with their neighbours be they Roman Catholic or Protestant. Of course, they wish to retain control of education, but I have still to discover the church whose clergy do not wish to do the same, and I have no hesitation in 767 saying that I would far rather that my countrymen were brought up even under the strictest form of ultra Monotheism than that Ireland should follow the example of those nominally Roman Catholic countries where the attendance of a man at Mass is sufficient to bar him from promotion in the Army, Navy, or the Civil Service.
I should like to say one word about an Amendment which was proposed on the Report stage in another place and alluded to by the noble Earl the Leader of the House, by which it was proposed that no one should be able to take his degree without being resident two years at the University. I am very sorry that Amendment was not adopted with qualifications, because, as I am in favour of a national University where Irishmen of all religions might mingle, so, in this Roman Catholic University, I am in favour of the establishment of a hostel where those who are destined to be priests will reside, segregated to a certain extent, but yet not cut off altogether from the laity who are there. It is said that the Roman Catholic hierarchy strongly objected to this, but it is whispered that some younger bishops are not so unfriendly to the idea, and I cannot help thinking that if this Amendment had been adopted, with perhaps a proviso that it was not to take effect for ten years, it would not have been so unfavourably regarded in Episcopal circles as the Chief Secretary seems to have imagined. But whatever chance there may have been of having a hostel for the education of priests in Dublin, it was absolutely done away with by the only Amendment of importance which was accepted by the right hon. Gentleman. I mean the Amendment which forbade the establishment of a Roman Catholic chapel in or without a college. I was extremely sorry to see that Amendment accepted, because I am sure that there are many Roman Catholics who would gladly have contributed towards a chapel which might have vied with Trinity College, Dublin, and I feel perfectly certain that there is no chance of a hostel for Maynooth students if there is not a place where those students may perform their religious duties in common. I hope that when the Committee stage arrives your Lordships will reconsider that point.
768 One word in a lighter vein. Various questions have been asked as to what shall be the name of this University, arid no satisfactory answer has been given. There is one name which would appeal to Irishmen as a suitable name for the University, that of the University of St. Patrick, but I am told that that is impossible because that name has already been taken possession of by St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, which will become no doubt an affiliated college. Therefore I should like to suggest another name, a name which will recall the great Roman bishop who brought Christianity to this island, and will at the same time, commemorate the right hon. Gentleman who is giving an undenominational University to Ireland; I need hardly tell your Lordships that the name I suggest, is The University of St. Augustine. I shall vote for the Second Reading of this Bill, not because I believe it is the best possible University that could have been devised, but because I should like to show Roman Catholics that where the interests aid stability of the Empire are not in danger, where justice is done between man and man, the minority in Ireland are only too anxious, too willing, to do whatever lies in their power to further the wishes and to benefit the majority of their fellow-countrymen.
My Lords, I cannot profess complete satisfaction at the Bill now before us, establishing as it does a new University, nominally undenominational but having a strong denominational character. I should much prefer to see the youth of Ireland of all denominations educated together, and I believe this might be done without danger to their religious faith. In the course of a tolerably long life I have been fortunate enough to count a considerable number of Roman Catholics among my personal, and some among my intimate, friends, many of them earnest and devout men deeply attached to the doctrines of their Church, and I have never known one jarring note struck which might disturb the harmony of our intercourse or friendship or prevent us joining cordially together when opportunity offered for any public object. It may be said that this is the experience of maturer years when a man's convictions are grounded and 769 settled and when his mind is no longer so receptive of new ideas or strange influences. That is no doubt the case to a certain extent, but I believe the same Conditions might obtain in earlier days. I have been assured by friends who have gone through Trinity College that hot only was there no attempt at interference with their religion, but that they did not find themselves in any way debarred from associating in every manner with the rest of the undergraduates of other denominations. I need hardly point out the great advantage it would be in the future if young men as they grew up would no longer stand arrayed against each other in opposite camps, but would be actuated by feelings of friendship towards those around them, and be able to combine together for any object of public advantage.
I would even go further and say, as my noble friend has done, that I should like to see those who are destined to take holy orders educated together with other undergraduates. I firmly believe, and my old University recollections, although dating from a great many years back, confirm it, that it is a great advantage for a society of somewhat thoughtless young men to be leavened by the inclusion among them of those of a more serious character. I also believe it to be a great advantage to those who intend to take holy orders; that they thereby acquire greater knowledge of the world and a keener insight into the various phases of the thoughts, feelings, and aspirations, of those whose course in fife will be different than they possibly could do if they only associated with students of their own character. I believe all this might be done without any danger to the faith of those who would participate in such education. Indeed, if I thought that it was fraught with danger to any young man, that he would be shaken in the faith in which he has been brought up, I should not advocate united education. But unfortunately this feeling of security is not shared in by the great mass of Roman Catholics in Ireland or rather perhaps I should say, of those to whom they naturally look for guidance. They refuse to accept University education Under those terms and I do not think it is right to force upon people an education of 770 which they conscientiously disapprove, or, what comes to the same thing, to force upon them the alternative of accepting this system of education or going without a University education altogether.
Therefore, my Lords, I certainly am not disposed to oppose the Second Reading of this Bill. There are many points that have been raised in discussion in the other House which I trust will be considered in Committee when it comes again before your Lordships' House. There is one great merit, in my idea, in the Bill—that it leaves Trinity College absolutely intact. I think anyone who dispassionately considers the great work that has been done by that venerable institution during three hundred years, the distinguished men who have been educated within its walls, and the high standard it has ever maintained, would think it nothing short of a public calamity if any change were introduced that might impair its efficiency or reduce the value in which its degrees are deservedly held throughout the civilised world. In this respect, therefore, I consider this Bill to be a marked improvement on other schemes that have been brought forward. I can only hope that the educational advantages which it offers will be largely availed of in Ireland, and that they will have the result which must be the result of any system of higher education, of widening the ideas of those who profit by them, of softening asperities of feeling, and of rendering them more ready to combine with others in anything that may advance the interests of their common country.
§ *LORD MACDONNELL OF SWINFORD
My Lords, with your permission. I shall offer a few remarks upon the Bill which it is proposed to read for the second time. I have taken a deep interest in the question of University education in Ireland, and I have paid special attention to the subject whilst still connected with Irish Government. I am not willing, therefore, to give a silent vote or to abstain from defining my position in regard to this Bill, and expressing my views upon the general question. Happily, it is no longer necessary to state the reason or to demonstrate the necessity for the provision of greater facilities 771 for University education in Ireland. All political parties are in practical agreement on that point, and if in recent years any divergence of opinion has existed upon it, that divergence has been composed by the labours of the two Royal Commissions which have recently considered the subject. We in Ireland have been looking forward with hope to the result of that agreement. Whatever may be the particular measure to be adopted for giving it effect it cannot fail to promote intellectual progress in Ireland and the material prosperity of the country. The Bill before your Lordships proposes to carry that general agreement into effect by a multiplication of Universities in Ireland. It establishes two Universities in addition to the University of Dublin, and I think I am correct in saying that by a natural process of evolution a fourth or even a fifth University may eventually come into existence. This, it is argued, proceeds on the analogy of recent academical developments in England and derives support from the actual state of things which prevailed in the Scottish academical world. This method of dealing with the University question in Ireland was very clearly before the minds of those who considered the question before the present Chief Secretary ever addressed himself to the subject. I can only speak for myself, but I may perhaps be permitted to say that in considering the subject there was complete unanimity of view and absolute identity of purpose between the distinguished men who considered the subject and myself. Speaking, therefore, for myself, I confess that I entertained very serious doubt as to whether those Scottish and English models were suitable for the existing state of things in Ireland. In my humble opinion the success of the Scottish University system depended not so much upon the number of Universities as upon the excellent system of primary and secondary education which exists in Scotland, and upon the co-ordination of that system with the higher teaching of the University. But Ireland is lamentably behindhand both in regard to primary and secondary education, whilst no serious attempt has yet been made to co-ordinate the work of the two classes of school. Even if we were sanguine enough to hope that this most necessary co-ordination of 772 primary and secondary education in Ireland would be taken in hand at once, many years must elapse before the new Universities would be able to derive from the schools the assistance which they would want, before they could themselves bring to bear upon the schools the influence necessary to stimulate them to activity. Passing to the English developments, my opinion was that the analogy between the great commercial centres in England which are the seats of the Universities and the state of things in Ireland is extremely remote. The demand for higher and better technical education in England was, I think, the chief factor which led to the establishment of the newer Universities, but that demand can hardly be said to exist at all in Ireland at the present time. Moreover, the population of the districts served by those new Universities is far in excess of the population of the whole of Ireland, and if regard be has to the resources of the two localities the comparison would be still more adverse. These were some of the material considerations which induced myself and others with whom I worked to think that a scheme of multiple Universities was unsuitable for Ireland, and our conclusions upon that point were confirmed by considerations of academical efficiency and political expediency upon which I should like to touch.
It is known to your Lordships that one of the greatest difficulties we experience in the administration of Ireland is due to the religious dissensions which distract the energies of our population and divide it into hostile camps. We may have been over-sanguine, but we believed that that difficulty was not insuperable. The promise of events in recents years had led to some assuagement of those hereditary animosities, and my own experience as a student in Queen's College convinced me that the association, under proper safeguards, of young men of all religious beliefs would powerfully contribute to advance mutual toleration and comprehension, objects which should be dear to the heart of every patriotic Irishman. We thought that by bringing Irish University colleges within the University of Dublin in accordance with what the Charter of the University and extant legislation show to have been the intentions 773 of its founders and supporters, we should be giving a powerful impetus to the cause of religious and political toleration in Ireland. Still more, we believed that the bringing of the new colleges into association with the older University, with its great teaching and its high traditions, offered the best guarantee for the maintenance of a high standard of academical efficiency of a lay, though reverent spirit in University and collegiate administration and of general repute. I have never heard of any objection from an academical point of view to this plan which did not on examination prove either invalid or susceptible of easy removal. The plan was approved by a majority of the last Commission as the best which could have been adopted. It was received with acquiescence and favour by the entire Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, and by the Roman Catholic laity, by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, by distinguished representatives of the Episcopal Church of Ireland, lay and the clerical, and by some of the prominent supporters of Nonconformity in England. I myself will never cease to regret that the plan, which was not only a measure for the advancement of education in Ireland, but for the mutual reconciliation of contending parties, did not commend itself to the authorities of Trinity College. In my opinion the authorities of Trinity College made the great refusal when they declined to place themselves at the head of this great movement, which was a movement not only for the renaissance of learning in Roman Catholic Ireland, but also a movement which would have lead to the reconciliation of contending parties and to the promotion of prosperity throughout the country.
I have heard it urged as an objection to the Bill before your Lordships, that the new Universities will undersell the University of Dublin and starve it to death. If this be the result the responsibility will rest on the authorities of Trinity College, who have, I believe, sacrificed the best interests of their country and University to what I regard as an outworn prejudice. Should this event come to pass I can only hope that the wise aspirations of the senior Member for the University of Dublin 774 will be borne in mind, and that the opportunity of fusion which was rejected in 1907 may be turned to good account at some future time.
Failing the plan of a national University, I should have been glad to have seen another plan adopted in the place of this Bill. I should have liked to have seen a new college situated in Dublin included in the Dublin University in accordance with existing legislation on the point, and the colleges united into a revived University with charters and constitutions somewhat similar to those in the Bill. But as the Government deemed the support of Trinity College necessary to any Bill which could pass through Parliament, and as Trinity College would only give its support on condition of "Hands off Trinity," I admit that the Bill now before your Lordships is as good as any that could be accepted from that unholy alliance.
I am, therefore, not disposed to subject this Bill to any meticulous criticism. I accept it as a whole, but with one reservation. Wherever and whenever in Ireland in recent times the cry of University reform has been raised, that cry always contemplated the creation of not merely teaching but also residential colleges. It is, therefore, to me and to all Irishmen a source of extreme regret to find that the colleges which are now presented to us are to be mere collections of classrooms and laboratories. It has been said in the course of these discussions that the modern idea of a University excludes all that association of students and all those amenities of college life upon which every University man's memory loves to linger. If that be the case, I must only regard this modern idea of a University as a Bæetian; I think I heard from the noble Earl on the front bench that it comes from Sheffield. At all events, I wish to quote to you, in comparison with that idea, the following passage from a great and revered master, the late Cardinal Newman—If I had to choose between a so-called University which dispensed with residence and tutorial superintendence, giving its degrees to any person who passed an examination in a wide range of subjects, and a University which had no professors or examinations at all but merely brought a number of young men together 775 for three or four years, if I must determine which of the two courses was the more successful in training, moulding, enlarging the mind, which sent out men the more fitted for their secular duties, which produced better public men of the world, men whose names would descend to posterity, I have no hesitation in giving the preference to a University which did nothing.My Lords, I commend that extract to your consideration. The subject is not one of detail. It is one of principle, and I think that the Government will not launch this great undertaking in a manner suitable and in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people unless some further grant is made for the purpose of establishing residential colleges. I would also suggest that by this means, by establishing residential colleges, you will bring about that result which so many speakers have desired, the bringing of young students from Maynooth to attend lectures at the University. If it be impossible to obtain a further grant from the Treasury, I would submit to you that there is one place in Dublin which could be utilised for the purpose of the Dublin College. It is a place and a site around which many memories, inspiring memories, of Irish life linger. In ancient Celtic tradition it was a place of learning and of saintliness; in mediæval times, of Norman prowess, of the doings of the Knights Templars and Knights Hospitalers, and later on down the centuries from Tudor times to present days the name of the hospital at Kilmainham frequently occurs in Irish annals. If the Treasury are unable to find the money, let them make over that Institution to the new college, and in that way throw some lustre upon, and attach some dignity to, this new creation.
*THE EARL OF MAYO
My Lords, we have listened with the greatest interest to Lord MacDonnell's speech, but there is one remark I wish to make arising out of it. The noble Lord said that the scheme which we in Ireland know as Mr. Bryce's scheme would have brought about the mutual conciliation of contending parties and that practically the contending party was Trinity College. To that statement of the noble Lord I agree. Then he went on to say that as it was a case of "Hands off Trinity," we had to accept the present Bill. 776 I agree, and what I want to say-to your Lordships to-night is that I, for my part, accept the Bill, because Trinity College is not in any way to be interfered with. Then as to the remarks from the noble Earl who introduced the Bill into this House. The noble Earl said that there was haste in the matter and that it was bad to allow the matter to simmer too long. That was followed by a remark from the noble Marquess who leads us on this side of the House to the effect that it might be an Irish stew that was simmering. Then the noble Earl, in dealing with the Bill, went on to say that it was like a caravan that was marching through the desert with the dry bones of the different preceding schemes lying on each side. Well, I only hope that the dry bones will not prove to be the dry bones of the Irish stew. I assure your Lordships that we are not going to allow this matter to become dry bones; we have the Bill and we are going to work together to try and make it a success. I think it is right that we should congratulate the Chief Secretary that at last he has succeeded in bringing in, and passing, a measure of education, and that that education is to apply to Ireland. But there can be no doubt, no matter what has been said about it; that this is a denominational measure, because the charters and their working must result in there being a denominational University with a college in Dublin. I do not quite understand how the Nonconformist conscience has been got over in this matter. The other day I was speaking to a Nonconformist minister and he said to me—Well, in this matter we consider Ireland to be quite outside the range of our thoughts; in regard to education we have put aside the question of Ireland altogether.It comes, therefore, to this, that in this matter Nonconformists consider Ireland to be absolutely a separate entity.
No doubt the Bill will pass the Second Reading to-night and we shall follow the Leader of the House of Commons in this matter. At this point I must unhesitatingly congratulate the Chief Secretary on having got all parties and all creeds in Ireland to agree on this measure and I am sure the Bill, within its limitations, will be a success. As to its defects, 777 there is first and foremost the fact that this University of Dublin is not residential. That, to the minds of those of us in the south of Ireland, is one of the most important things. The Royal University is swept away, and I noticed that the Chief Secretary, in dealing with this matter on Saturday last, mentioned that Lord Castletown, the present Chancellor of the Royal University, helped him in every way to annihilate himself and to annihilate the University! The University was solely an examining body, and another had been put in its place with the difference that the new University in Dublin is to teach as well as to examine.
As regards the non-residential factor in this Bill, it is a question whether parents will be willing to send their sons to lodgings in Dublin. It will also have this effect, that there will be no kind of discipline. There is a college but no college life, and there are no college friendships formed— friendships of long endurance. Then as to the buildings, which buildings I know very well, and which were the old Exhibition buildings of 1868, I have no hesitation in saying that there is plenty of room in the grounds that exist there for the building of, at all events, a small residential college. A small one would be a commencement. I do not think there is any great hurry in this matter, and small beginnings make great ends, whilst I am sure that there are many who would be willing to help materially out of their own pockets to build a residential college and to meet the Government in the matter. Maynooth would, no doubt be affiliated, and in regard to that I should like to draw attention to a most remarkable passage in the evidence given before the Robertson Commission by Dr. O'Dyer, the Bishop of Limerick, who strongly advocated a residential University. Remembering the criticism that has been poured on this measure by Dr. O'Dyer, it is interesting to note what he said. His words were—We are, in Dublin, within very easy distance of Maynooth, which is our great ecclesiastical college, so that if we had a central institution in Dublin we might hope in a very short time to have in it a very large number of students. I should not be at all surprised if our numbers were well over 1,000, or, perhaps, 2,000 students in a very short time, and then we 778 should have really an immense institution in the country. Then, again, we think it ought to be a residential institution. Trinity College is residential and, while we do not think that residence or attending University lectures ought to be an absolute condition of getting University degrees, yet we think that there ought to be an opportunity for an adequate number of our students getting the education of a residential University, because we believe that residence, by itself, and the mixing of students with one another, and with the fellows and their teachers, has a great educational effect upon them. It is particularly desirable therefore that we should get a residential institution in Dublin, and we consider that it would be rather unfair and unequal treatment to have Trinity College here, in Dublin, for the Episcopal Protestants who can reside there, and to have our Catholic young men without any home knocking about in the lodging-houses of the town.I think that is a very remarkable statement, and one with which many of your Lordships will agree. It would be of incalculable benefit to young men who will be our future priests, and who will take care of the Roman Catholics throughout Ireland, to go up to Dublin for a short time and live in a college away from Maynooth, mixing with the other collegians in their work and in their games.
The noble Earl who leads the House knows Maynooth very well, and I should like, I hope without hurting the feelings of any Roman Catholic, to mention a little incident which occurred. We had a meeting of the Archæological Society of my county at Maynooth and were addressed by Dr. Brown, now a bishop in the South of Ireland, on the antiquities in the neighbourhood, and then we were shown over the place; going into the library I asked the assistant librarian: "How do you teach history, and have you got a History of England in the library?" He replied: "No; history is taught by the lecturer." That shows, therefore, that history is taught not from the books that one would find in any ordinary library but by the lecturer whose ideas about history are communicated to the young men who have charge more or less of the population of Ireland. Then with regard to the finances of this Bill: there were some figures dealt with by the noble Earl about which I was not quite clear—the mention of a sum of £46,555 out of the present endowment. I do not quite understand what that means.
§ *THE EARL OF CREWE
That is the sum total of the additional grant, as compared with the present grants paid to the various Queen's Colleges. It is the difference which comes from the Treasury.
*THE EARL OF MAYO
That is satisfactory. Then there is the £20,000 per annum. That is a fairly generous gift, and I should have thought there would have been enough money to build a residential college. It must be remembered that that £20,000 is part of the monies acquired by the disestablishment of the Irish Church and it is to be divided between Dublin and Belfast. That is all very well, but it is Irish money. In Dublin there is to be a Roman Catholic atmosphere and in the other a Presbyterian atmosphere. The Chief Secretary said on the First Reading of the Bill in another place—Where Ireland would be, or where should I be, without this Church fund, I dare not think; it is indeed a horn of plenty.I am a member of the Irish Church, and I like to have it recalled to my mind that the horn of plenty is being used for a Roman Catholic University in Dublin, and a Presbyterian one in Belfast. It is an interesting fact that has now become almost a historical fact. I make these remarks not in any carping spirit whatsoever. I welcome the measure in every possible way, and say that this Bill has every reason for passing both Houses. We shall all, I think, try to make it a success, and I, with many others, will watch with the greatest interest the progress made by our latest University, and I feel it will depend almost entirely, talking of Dublin, on the way the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Roman Catholic laity work together for the good of this great—I think it will be a great—University. We may criticise details, but one great principle remains: the Roman Catholic population have as much right to a college with an atmosphere of Roman Catholicism as we have to help to hold Trinity College.
§ *LORD KILLANIN
My noble friend Lord Macdonnell is, as far as I know, the only Catholic Member of the House who has as yet spoken, and I think, therefore, that possibly it is only right 780 that some Member from this side of the House who is a Catholic should, however inadequately, endeavour to put before your Lordships some of the views which many of us Catholics hold in connection with this question. I can say myself, honestly, that in so far as I have taken any part in political life either in Ireland or in this country in another place, this question of Irish University education for the Catholic people of Ireland has always deeply interested me, and it has for many years seemed to me to be far and away the most important question in connection with Irish matters. Also, my Lords, the reality of the grievance under that heading, and the urgent and ever growing necessity for dealing with that grievance, has always received, whether in public or in private, whether in sympathetic or in unsympathetic company, my unwavering support. And in later years, inasmuch as I am a Senator of the Royal University, which University is to be dissolved under this Bill, and inasmuch as I am also a Commissioner of National Education in Ireland, it has also more or less teen my duty to give some attention to the state of affairs in connection with this matter, and to the consequences arising therefrom. Accordingly, I should like, with your kind indulgence, to endeavour this evening to give expression to some of the views which I hold on this question, and some of the considerations which influence me in connection with this matter, and also I should like, on this important occasion in the history of Ireland, to give expression for my part, to the great pleasure and the great hopefulness with which I see at last this question apparently about to reach a satisfactory solution. In the first place, and I think it only right, I should like to add my humble tribute of sincere admiration for the courage and perseverance, the tact and patience, to say nothing of course of his well-known abilities and eloquence, which the Chief Secretary for Ireland has shown in tackling this most difficult problem, which had baulked so many great men before him. For my part, I warmly admire the bold, and even chivalrous, determination with 781 which the Chief Secretary for Ireland has insisted upon finding a solution to this problem, and with which he has insisted furthermore in carrying that solution to a successful issue, and that in spite of great difficulties and great and threatening dangers and risks, both to himself personally and to the Party to which he belongs. When I have said that, I think that even he, the triumphant hero in this matter, will generously agree with me that, although nothing can deprive him of the credit of having settled this question, or of the victory, the rough and difficult way which I admit he has trodden to the goal had been, to a large extent, smoothed and paved by the earnest and the powerful advocacy which Mr. Balfour has now for twenty years given to the furtherance of this question. When I recall to mind the many speeches which Mr. Balfour delivered on this question in another place, specially the famous speech delivered nineteen years ago, at Partick in Glasgow, when I recall further a passionate speech of his in response to a hostile deputation of his own constituents that waited on him in Manchester, I cannot but feel that, although Mr. Balfour was denied the satisfaction of adding the settlement of this question to the many other remedial measures which he passed for the benefit of Ireland, the eventual settlement of that question owes a great deal to, and was largely facilitated by, his powerful advocacy and loyalty on this subject. But, my Lords, when I think of that advocacy, when I recall to mind the many eloquent speeches which he delivered on this question, when I recall to mind what I might almost call his pathetic appeals to his own Party to let him, their leader, and above all, their chosen leader in Irish matters, deal with this question, it is painful to me to think of how he was obstructed and successfully prevented from dealing with this question by the intolerance and the selfishness of a small section of his own Party. Many of us in Ireland felt that very much, because we considered that this was one of those Irish grievances that stood out from others as a just complaint of the Irish people which this Parliament, as long as it is responsible for Irish affairs, was bound 782 to listen to and bound to remedy. We considered furthermore that the duty of settling that question devolved especially on that Party in the State whose principal maxim and pledge was, in reference to Irish affairs, that the Imperial Parliament was willing and capable of dealing with any real Irish grievance, which is to my mind the only possible position for any feasible Unionist policy in Ireland. It is, if we come to think of it, but a continuance of that policy known as justice to Ireland which even O'Connell advocated many years ago as an alternative policy to repeal of the Union, and certainly, as far as I am concerned, it is the only Unionist policy that I have ever supported, and the only Unionist policy that I can ever imagine myself supporting. Accordingly, my Lords, it was with dismay, amounting almost to despair, that many of us in Ireland in the later days of Unionist administration saw the weakening of that policy, and saw a great and just complaint of the Irish people such as this shelved and put on one side and actually contemned, and Mr. Balfour beaten in his own Party and in his own Cabinet, on this puestion. Many of us in Ireland winced under what we felt was a true indictment, namely, that the treatment of this question by the official Unionist Party had furnished an unanswerable argument in favour of Home Rule, and had struck a heavier blow at the Union than it had ever received before. However, fortunately sometimes, even in this world, things turn out better than anyone expects, and now, the carrying of this great, measure of justice for the people of Ireland, carried in the Imperial Parliament, in a Protestant Parliament, in what I might call, to make use of a much abused word, a denominational Parliament, with the assistance and co-operation of both the great Parties in the State, is to my mind a redemption and an eloquent exemplification of what I have said must be a fundamental and essential pledge and maxim of any possible Unionist policy in Ireland, namely, that Irishmen can look to the Imperial Parliament for the removal of any real Irish grievance.
The question then arises: Is this a real Irish grievance and has the settlement of 783 this question been urgent? I do not want, to go into the whole history of this question, especially at this late hour of the night, but I think, in order to understand somewhat the genesis and the growth of the demand of the Catholic people in connection with this matter, it is necessary to take a brief glance at Irish history. It is necessary, however shortly, to look to past times in Ireland, when the Catholic people, who were the majority of the people, had all their property confiscated, their churches and their schools destroyed or taken from them, when education was a crime, and their whole social and political position was ruined and destroyed, and when the people lived as serfs or banished from their own country. We see them then living on for generations, and for centuries, without churches, without schools, without property, without education, but still true to and steadfastly holding by the faith of their fathers, in spite of every worldly temptation and inducement to do otherwise. I do not wish to dwell on that part of Anglo-Irish history. I am only too glad to turn my back upon that dark passage of history, but if I do so, I do so on one condition, and that is that we remember that we have left the Catholic Irish people very poor and very uneducated and without any opportunity of being in any other position. But when we turn from that period, and come down to pleasanter times in the history of Ireland, we see down through the decades of the last century the Catholics being gradually emancipated, gradually given means of education, gradually being enfranchised and allowed to take some part in the government of their own country. And as we come to the last decades of the last century what is the position? We then find that, so to speak, a new class has grown up in Ireland, a new generation. They are the same people, but they hold a different position. There is a great body of Catholic people whom this House and Parliament emancipated, whom this House enfranchised, into whose hands Parliament has given all local and political power in Ireland, and in whose hands rests, for good or for bad, absolutely, the future destinies of Ireland, When that is the position, when you have that class in Ireland holding that great 784 position, that great power, and those great responsibilities, it has always passed my comprehension how anyone could hesitate to give them every possible facility far education and refuse to give the democracy, which is going to rule in Ireland as elsewhere, every opportunity of taking an enlightened and broad-minded view of its own powers and responsibilities. My Lords, it is for the purpose of meeting the needs of that new class, of that new generation who are so powerful in Ireland, that a Bill like this has been brought into Parliament. It is for the purpose of meeting the needs of those classes that for the last forty years the Catholics of Ireland have been asking Parliament to assist them in making arrangements for the higher education of the Catholic people of Ireland, and it is on account of that situation that almost every statesman, as the noble Earl the Leader of the House has pointed out, during the last forty years, who has had any connection whatever with the Government of Ireland, has borne testimony to the necessity of settling this question. Those gentlemen have for the most part, my Lords, been Englishmen. They have been Protestants, and their natural prejudices would not have inclined them to take this view. There are such well-known instances as the noble Viscount who sits on the Front Opposition Bench, Lord St. Aldwyn, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, who was for so many years Chief Secretary for Ireland; Viscount Morley, also Chief Secretary; and such statesmen and well-known politicians in connection with Ireland as Mr. Lecky, Sir Edward Carson, Lord Cadogan, and Mr. Wyndham. Also, as has been pointed out, two Royal Commissions composed of the greatest educational experts that could be discovered in these islands, Scotsmen and Englishmen, for the most part Protestants, have also borne testimony to the necessity of settling this question, and the tragedy of the situation is that we should be only now settling it when it is almost too late. I say it is almost too late because, although it is impossible to exaggerate the injury that has already been done in Ireland by the neglect of this question, the whole of the higher and nobler life of three-quarters of the population of Ireland has been thwarted and stunted during that period. 785 A bitterness has been created in the Catholic class in Ireland that did not exist and need not have existed. All the influences of higher education and culture, which do so much for the general good of the community in innumerable ways, have been almost entirely absent during all this period as far as the great body of the Irish people are concerned, and it is because this state of affairs, even though late, is going, I believe, to be remedied, that I have no hesitation in welcoming this Bill.
I believe that under this Bill you will be founded a great national popular University, reflecting public opinion and therefore able to guide public opinion, reflecting popular aspirations and therefore able to guide popular aspirations, reflecting the popular opinions and tastes of the Irish people, and therefore able to guide them. It is for these reasons that I, although like other Members of this House, I do not consider this in all respects an ideal measure. I welcome it. I welcome it as, to my mind, the best under all the circumstances. I welcome it as a practical solution of a practical question, and I say that it should not be judged on rigid principles or on abstract theories or ideals. The case of Ireland is always a concrete, practical one, and to my mind many of the mistakes that are made in the government of Ireland arise from the fact that questions are treated on theoretical lines. Ireland fits in with no theory or ideal or principle that was ever heard of. Its people are too varied, its history has been too checkered, and its Governments are too fickle, and therefore in this matter, as in every other Irish matter, all we should ask for and all we should look for is the best under all the extremely contrary Hibernian circumstances. Although, I welcome this Bill as a practical solution of a practical question, there are, of course, in it some blemishes which I regret to see. I think it is a thousand pities that the Chief Secretary has not been able to make some provision for residential quarters. That fact will disappoint the people of Ireland. They are unanimous on that subject. It will temper, I fear, the enthusiasm and gratitude that this Bill is going to arouse in Ireland, and it will create jealousies of other Universities, and to my mind 786 it will prevent this measure having finality. When I think of how far the Chief Secretary for Ireland has gone, of how successful he has been in carrying this measure so far, I think it is a pity that he should not even now meet the wishes of the Irish people on this subject.
I shall not detain you any farther at this hour of the night by going into many other points, which I could easily do, that have been raised, such as whether the University is denominational or not. To my mind it is not denominational in any proper sense of the word. There are no tests, there are no barriers, there are no means, of excluding anyone, it will not be denominational and only Catholic; because the people of Ireland are Catholic, and if all the people of Ireland went to bed to-night Catholics but woke up tomorrow morning Mahomedans, with turbans on their heads, this Bill could be sent over to Ireland without a single change in its constitution, and it would suit the Mahomedans of Ireland just as well.
I shall not detain your Lordships further, but conclude by again expressing my sincere pleasure and my great hopefulness in connection with the settlement of this question. I consider that the settlement is in the first place a noble work in the cause of the education of the people of a country. I do not see how you could do a greater work. When, furthermore, I consider the difficulties of the situation, I think it is an act of the highest statesmanship. I also look upon it as a great measure of justice, of conciliation, and of reparation to the people of Ireland. This Bill removes the last disability from which the Catholic people of Ireland suffered and which through so many centuries and generations handicapped them so hopelessly in the struggle of life, and late as this measure of relief and justice has come to Ireland, I, nevertheless, think now that it has come that there should be recognised and seen in this settlement of this question a generosity of spirit, a toleration, a liberality of thought, and a friendliness of disposition on the part of the people of England and of Scotland which deserve and ought to receive the grateful appreciation of the people of 787 Ireland. For my part, my Lords, I earnestly trust and pray that this crowning act of conciliation to the Catholic subjects of His Majesty in Ireland may do much to increase that peace, that mutual confidence, and that mutual good-will which we should all desire to see existing and growing between the people of these two islands that God and nature have put so close together.
*THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE
In view of the late hour of the evening, I am unwilling to detain your Lordships for long, but I am also unwilling to give an entirely silent vote in supporting the Bill which is now before us. I am sure it will be admitted by the noble Lord opposite, who, I believe, is to wind up the debate on the part of the Government that whatever criticisms have been made from this side of the House have been friendly criticisms. They have not been criticisms attacking the Bill with the object of destroying it, but have been rather criticisms expressing dissatisfaction that the scheme which is at present before us is not complete enough in certain respects. I do not think that can be said of the criticisms in the speech of the noble Lord opposite, the late Under-Secretary for Ireland. His criticisms I do not think I describe unfairly when I say that they attacked the structure set up by the measure now before your Lordships far more than did the criticisms levelled from this side of the House, and I confess that if I had been blindfolded and had heard the speech without knowing who was delivering it, I should not have been very surprised to hear it finish with a Motion for the rejection of the Bill. I think it will be interesting for the future historian—it is not our business to do so to-night in view of our ignorance of all the facts of the case—to puzzle out how it is, in view of the contrary views which the noble Lord holds, that the Bill is in its present shape. And here, my Lords, I want to disagree a little with the speech of the noble Lord and the noble Lord who introduced the Bill as to some of the history that has been put before your Lordships. The noble Earl, the Leader of the House, gave us a most complete resume of the efforts to supply a University education which 788 would be satisfactory to the wants of our Roman Catholic fellow citizens in Ireland, but I noticed he passed by very lightly what is known familiarly as Mr. Bryce's scheme, whereas on the other hand, the noble Lord opposite devoted the most part of his remarks to pointing out its excellencies. The noble Lord assured us that practically that scheme was received in Ireland with open arms. I did not quite catch, but I think he suggested, that it was so received by the Anglican Church of Ireland.
*THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE
I am much obliged to the noble Lord for his explanation. My Lords, I am a loyal member of the Church of Ireland, and I desire, to remain at all times loyal to its most distinguished men, but I think I can promise the noble Lord that if it had ever been suggested in our synod that we should have approved of Mr. Bryce's scheme, some of my friends in Ireland could have given the proposer of that measure a very lively time. The scheme was undoubtedly received by some people at first acquaintance, with favour, because we were all disposed to receive any attempt to deal with this long delayed question with favour, but on examination I do not think there were many people in Ireland in favour of the scheme, and I am certain there is nobody in favour of it now outside the immediate circle of its authors. It was very soon after its creation damned with extremely faint praise, and surely a justification and a final proof of that fact lies in the fact that it forms no part of the present scheme. I want, if I may—I think I can do it accurately—to amplify a little some of the history which has been put before us this evening. The noble Lord opposite had a great deal to talk about, and, therefore, I am sure it was only an accidental omission on his part, but I think he showed a tendency to attribute the failure of adoption of Mr. Bryce's proposals solely to the attitude of Trinity College. I do not think that is a fair reflection 789 to put upon Trinity College. I do not think it is fair to argue that this scheme is only brought forward because the Opposition of Trinity College made Mr. Bryce's scheme impossible.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
I certainly did not mean to say that, although I may have seemed to imply that that was the only cause, but it undoubtedly was a ruling consideration.
*THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE
I am much obliged to the noble Lord. I quite agree that the opposition of Trinity College was a cause, and an important cause, but it was not the sole cause, and I do not think it was even the most important cause, which, I think, lies in the fact that the scheme would have been absolutely unworkable in practice, in view of the invariable practice of the Roman Catholic Church in dealing with educational matters, because, word it as you like, the Bryce scheme would have set up a system of mixed education, a system of education which Protestants and Roman Catholics were to be asked to share together, a system of education that we Protestants, many of us, approve of, but a system that hardly any Roman Catholic can be found to advocate. I take that from the action of the Roman Catholic bishops. They in times past could have had systems of mixed education on several occasions. Trinity College did their best, by offering them the provision of a divinity school, to bring the Roman Catholics into Trinity College on absolutely equal terms with their Anglican fellow-subjects. The Roman Catholic bishops did not like the proposal. I do not blame them for that. It was a subject on which they, and they alone, were qualified to judge as to whether they would accept it or not. Whether you look at the system of elementary education in Ireland or in England, whether you look at the treatment of the negotiations of Trinity College on this matter, it has been made perfectly clear that the Roman Catholic hierarchy will not countenance any system of mixed education, whether it be, as I say, elementary education or higher education. I do not grumble at this, because they are the 790 proper people to make up their minds on that subject. But I believe that that state of things, which exists to-day just as strongly as ever, would have made the working, although it would not have prevented the passing, of any scheme founded on Mr. Bryce's proposals absolutely impossible. That, my Lords, is all I desire to say beyond this. I have ventured to say several times before that I live in Ireland every day when I am not in London for Parliamentary purposes, and I realise to the full, that, whereas I have had the advantage of a University education, I am surrounded by neighbours in many walks of life who tell me, not in a spirit of complaint, but in a spirit of regret, that they have never had the advantage of a University education, and have never had the opportunity of receiving a University training, the advantages of which they all recognise. My noble friend who has just sat down spoke of the Chief Secretary for Ireland obtaining a victory in bringing the Bill as far as he has brought it. But I think my noble friend was a little sanguine. I do not deny the great work which the Chief Secretary has done, and I do not as an Irishman deny him the fullest gratitude that we find the present Bill to-day placed Upon our table, but victory, my Lords, is not yet. Victory is only in sight. It is in the working out of the proposals and in the administration which is made possible by the Bill before us this evening, that we can hope, and that we must hope, to attain to victory, if victory is to be attained, and I as an Irishman cannot be any less sincere than any who have spoken in saying that I sincerely hope that victory may come to us, and that victory may come to us rapidly, as the result of the passing of this Bill.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I think the Government are to be congratulated on the reception which has been accorded to this Bill in your Lordships' House. There has been criticism, but it has been criticism of the fairest and most temperate description; and I do not think I misinterpret the feelings of noble Lords who sit behind me when I say that it is their desire that this Bill 791 should pass into law, and that without too much delay. We are led to this predisposition in favour of the Bill by various causes. In the first place, I think I am right in saying that in the minds of most of us there is a feeling of great weariness in connection with this subject of University education in Ireland; and that were it only for somewhat ignoble motives of that kind, we should be glad to see the question disposed of.
But apart from motives of that kind, there is a higher motive which points in the same direction. I think most of us feel that it is little short of a calamity not only to the people of Ireland, but to the whole United Kingdom—I will go further and say the whole British Empire—that the Roman Catholics of Ireland, who number a large majority of the people of that country, should during all these years have found themselves unable to avail themselves, at any rate to anything like a sufficient extent, of any of the opportunities which we have been able to afford them for the purpose of acquiring what we usually speak of as higher education. Therefore, most of us are, I think, ready to welcome a settlement of this difficult question without inquiring too scrupulously into the conditions attaching to it. The spirit in which this problem is now approached is much more tolerant than that which prevailed within the recollection of many of us, and there is a general inclination to adapt our theories to the convictions of other people rather than to force the convictions of other people to fit themselves to our theories.
Speaking for myself, I may say frankly that I am deeply convinced, in the first place, that it is highly desirable that this question should be settled; and that, in the next place, it is no manner of use to offer to the people of Ireland a settlement which they are not willing themselves freely and readily to accept. That leads me to two conclusions. In the first place, in regard to Trinity College, Dublin, that we should be extremely careful not to impose upon that distinguished and illustrious body any combination which it is not prepared to accept. When we come to the question of the manner in which we ought to deal with the Roman Catholics of 792 Ireland, then I say do not let us be so foolish as to assume to ourselves credit for generosity when we offer to the Roman Catholics conditions which we know perfectly well the Roman Catholics will not accept or will not be allowed by their advisers to accept.
Holding these views, I share the feeling of my noble friend, Lord Clonbrock, when I find that, in the first place, the Bill leaves Trinity College, Dublin, severely alone. Next I come to the terms which the Bill offers to the Roman Catholics. What are those terms? We offer them a University which is to be something more than a mere examining University. It is a University which, we hope, will have some—I wish I could say all—of the attributes of what we in this country associate with a teaching University. But, at any rate, we hope it will offer the students who resort to it some of those opportunities for contact with their fellow-students and for association in the life and studies of the University, which play so large a part in the Universities of other parts of the United Kingdom. We hope that this new University will have a local colour and produce something which can be described as "local patriotism." I was struck by a statement of the Chief Secretary in the course of the debates which we have followed with so much attention lately, in which he said that, in his view, it was essential that Dublin men or Belfast men should really be Dublin men or Belfast men. I hope that is an object of which we shall not lose sight.
Now what are the conditions under which we are going to offer this University to the Roman Catholics in Ireland? There has been a great deal of playing upon words in connection with this subject. Is it, or is it not, going to be a denominational University? Is it going to be a Roman Catholic University or a University for Roman Catholics? I confess I am not very much moved by these verbal distinctions. What seems to be important is that we are going to establish a University which, from the force of circumstances, must inevitably be a Roman Catholic University. I do not see why we should for an instant be ashamed or reluctant to face that fact.
793 If this scheme stands any chance of being accepted by the Roman Catholics of Ireland it is for the very reason that the scheme in its operation will give the Roman Catholics that kind of University which they desire—a University with a strong Roman Catholic atmosphere, guided, and in fact dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. That fact—and I believe it to be a fact, weighs with me much more than the fact that in the Bill upon the Table tests are specifically excluded. We have learnt, at any rate, this much from these discussions, that the absence of tests is perfectly compatible with the presence of a distinct denominational atmosphere, and that is a point which, I daresay, many of us will bear in mind when we come to consider other educational controversies which are not yet concluded. In this case the whole machinery of the the new University is so constituted that it cannot fail to have eventually a distinctly denominational complexion, and the Roman Catholic hierarchy make no secret of the fact that it is on this account that the scheme finds favour in their eyes. We may say that all this is very retrograde, that other Universities are emancipating themselves from these influences; we may say that these things are injurious to the highest interests of education, but I confess I look upon the matter in this light and in this light only—are these conditions or are they not the only conditions upon which you can obtain a settlement which will be acceptable to our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens in Ireland? I take it that that is a matter which is beyond dispute, and His Majesty's Government have left us in no doubt that that is a condition sine qua non in the understanding which has been arrived at between them and the representatives of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.
But, my Lords, I am afraid I must go on to say that the desire of His Majesty's Government to render this scheme acceptable to the Roman Catholic hierarchy has led them at one or two points to make a somewhat serious departure from what I conceive to be the principles which they had in view, when the scheme of this Bill was first formulated. I desire, in the first place, to refer to those 794 provisions of the Bill which have reference to the recognition of other colleges—that recognition which the noble Earl who leads the House frankly told us was simply another expression for what we commonly describe as affiliation. If your Lordships will look at the fourth section you will find no doubt that it bristles with safeguards as to the manner in which this right of affiliation is to be exercised. The noble Earl told us that the right was carefully safeguarded, and it is quite true that we are told that affiliation can only take place when the Senate are satisfied that students are pursuing a course of a University type—a course approved by the governing body of the University, conducted under teachers recognised by the governing body for the purpose, and subject to conditions or limitations contained in the Charter.
All these safeguards are, I venture to say, safeguards of the very thinnest description. What I think will take place under this clause—and I do not think there can be the slightest doubt about it—is that Maynooth will come in, will be recognised, will be affiliated, and it is perfectly well understood that this is to be the case. If that takes place, then at once the condition of residence in the new University disappears entirely, because we know that the authorities of Maynooth are not content to accept any conditions necessitating residence on the part of their students. What it will come to will be this, that the Dublin degree will become not a Dublin degree, but a Maynooth degree, and that the Dublin man will turn out to be a Dublin man in name, but in fact a student of Maynooth. That seems to me to be a very serious departure from the principles upon which this Bill professes to be founded.
The result, cannot fail to be this, that the influence of Maynooth will swamp the new University and that, to use a very apt expression which fell from a friend of mine who was describing this clause the other day—The centre of academic gravity will tend to shift from Dublin to Maynooth.What I confess somewhat puzzles me is this. Why was it, when you screwed 795 up your courage to the point of contemplating the admission of Maynooth, that you could not screw up your courage a little further and allow the Roman Catholic students of the new University to have a chapel of their own? I understand that a chapel might have been provided at the expense of munificent donors, who were ready to come forward. The proposal providing such a chapel was accepted by the Chief Secretary, and then at the last moment, owing to influences which I need not particularise, the clause was dropped out. I confess that seems to me to have been a very deplorable exhibition of weakness on the part of His Majesty's Government, and I hope attention will be called to the matter when we come to the Committee stage. I am inclined myself to go further still and to say that, if you have made up your minds that there is to be in Dublin a University which is to be a University for Roman Catholics, you might just as well have provided them, not only with opportunities for divine worship in a suitable chapel, but with some kind of opportunities for residence in buildings, call them hostels or what you please, which would have prevented these young men from being scattered over the city of Dublin without that protection of which youths of that age stand so much in need when they are pursuing their University studies. I therefore say that I regard these proposals of affiliation with the utmost suspicion.
On the merits I should have been disposed to support a proposal for diminishing the facilities for such affiliations, but I noted the words of the noble Earl opposite when he told us that in his opinion any attempt to diminish these facilities would have been fatal to the reception of the Bill in Ireland. That is a very serious statement. I take it as meaning nothing less than that if this House were to insert in the Bill clauses which would prevent an operation of this kind from taking place, the Bill, which the Roman Catholic hierarchy are now prepared to accept as a settlement of the question, would not be accepted by them as such a settlement. If that is so—and I do not think that I misunderstood what the noble Earl said— much as I dislike the possibilities which 796 this clause unfolds, I will not take the responsibility of suggesting that it should be materially modified in Committee.
But, although that is my feeling, I cannot help thinking that the clause at other points stands in need of further examination. I cannot, for example, see why this process of affiliation should be rendered as easy as it is under this Bill. I cannot see why it should be in the power of the Senate of the University by simply a resolution to effect a great operation of this kind. I should have thought that the proper machinery to set in motion would be that of statute, and that such statutes should be laid on the Table of the Houses of Parliament, and that there should be an appeal to the Privy Council for any persons who took exception to the terms proposed.
There is one other point at which the provisions of the Bill seem to me to be open to considerable criticism. I refer to the composition of the governing bodies, and particularly the governing bodies of the constituent colleges. These governing bodies contain a very liberal representation of what has been spoken of as the civic element. Now, my Lords, the civic element apparently means the representation of the Irish county councils, and I confess that I have the gravest doubt, knowing what we do of the manner in which these local Irish bodies approach their duties, whether it is desirable that they should have so important a part in managing the affairs of these new Universities. We who have some knowledge of Ireland know perfectly well that these local bodies are conducted on extreme political and partisan lines, and we know that in the case of the most ordinary appointments which fall within the patronage of these bodies regard is had not so much to the fitness of the individual competitors as to their political connection and antecedents; and to my mind it seems altogether wrong that people actuated by feelings of this kind should be given an opportunity of using an influence which may be in some cases a preponderating one in the conduct of the affairs of the Universities, and in the appointment of professors and other 797 officials who will be responsible for their management.
I will not detain your Lordships longer. I am deeply convinced that whatever this Bill may be in theory, the fruit of it will be, so far as Dublin is concerned, a University which will be for all practical purposes a denominational University, and I believe it is because that is to be the result that the Bill has been accepted as it has been by those concerned. I am under the impression that His Majesty's Government were in this position—that they had to agree to a Bill of this kind or else leave matters untouched, and I frankly confess, if that was the choice put before them, I can quite understand that they should have preferred to propose the Bill which lies upon the Table of your Lordships' House. I trust that it may do much good in Ireland, that it will bring some, at all events, of the advantages of higher education within the reach of a large section of the population to whom those advantages have hitherto been denied, and I also trust, therein sharing the feelings of some noble Lords who have spoken from this side of the House, that in a future which may, perhaps, be distant, but to which we nevertheless may look forward, this Bill may lay the foundation for a more liberally conceived arrangement, which may bring within the reach of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland University life and the opportunities of higher education in a manner more closely analogous to what we understand by those words in this country and in Scotland. At any rate, if I criticise this Bill, I do so in no unfriendly spirit, but with a sincere hope that the most favourable anticipations which have been indulged in with regard to it by noble Lords opposite may eventually be realised
*THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE POR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord FITZMAURICE)
My Lords, the Government certainly have no right to complain of the manner in which their effort to deal with the long standing question of Irish University Education has been received by the House. Least of all have we to complain of anything which fell from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ashbourne, earlier in the evening 798 in his able and interesting speech, or from my noble friend who has just summed up the debate for those who sit behind him. Indeed, the only real criticism of the principle which underlies this Bill has come from our own side of the House in the interesting speech, to which we all listened with the deep attention it deserved, of my noble friend who sits behind me (Lord Macdonnell). In the few observations which I shall address to your Lordships I may have a few words to say with regard to that speech.
Dealing for the moment with the speeches of noble Lords opposite, I observe, in the first place, that a very large portion of the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ashbourne, was taken up, quite legitimately, with matters no doubt of importance but nevertheless matters more properly discussed in Committee. Some of these points were dwelt on a few moments ago by my noble friend. First of all there is the question whether the affiliation of these new colleges, to which it is proposed to give a certain position in the University in regard to their students, had better be done, as is proposed in the Bill, by resolution of the Senate, or whether it would be better to do it by a statute. There is a kindred point as to whether, so long as the University Commission is in being, the recognition of the student courses in such colleges, and, indirectly, of the colleges themselves, might not, as the noble Lord seemed himself to prefer, be entrusted to the University Commission. And there is, lastly, the point, upon which both my noble friend who spoke a a moment ago, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ashbourne, dwelt, as to whether or not the civic element, as it has come to be called, should be accorded so large a representation as is accorded to it in the government of the new University and of the constituent colleges. I do not understand that it is disputed that it would be desirable to give some representation to the civic element, but what is disputed is whether we may not have gone too far. I venture to say that all those points, important as they are, are points which are more properly raised in Committee.
I think the answer with regard to the Question of affiliation, as a matter of principle and not of detail, was given by my noble friend when he introduced the 799 Bill. I am not going to conceal—it would be idle to do so, because these facts are publicly known—that the concession which the Government have made to the views of the Roman Catholic body upon the question of affiliation has gone far to strain the allegiance of some of our most sterling supporters in both Houses of Parliament. On the other hand, it is the undoubted fact that we were desirous to lay broad and deep the foundations of an edifice to which time, no doubt, might make some additions, but which in principle would not be altered, and the desirability of which would not be called in question; and we came to the conclusion that unless we made this concession to our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen we should have laboured in vain.
I cannot help saying, in connection with this matter—it was not in the speeches either of Lord Ashbourne or of my noble friend, but in some of the more pronounced speeches elsewhere—that bitter, and, as I think, unjust, taunts have been levelled at the Nonconformist Members of the Liberal Party on account of what has been, as I think, cruelly and unjustly called their hypocrisy, because while they had accepted this concession with regard to the affiliation of Maynooth, for that is what the clause in practice will mean, they at the same time objected to the provision of a University chapel. Both of these are matters which, with perfect consistency, in England, Scotland and Ireland, the Nonconformist body has opposed; and it seems to me to be a curious and unjust thing that when the great body of Nonconformists have accepted the larger concession which was asked of them with regard to the Roman Catholic position, they should be charged with political hypocrisy because they did not make the other concession—that is to say, that when they have made the major concession in regard to the affiliation of the colleges, they should be charged with hypocrisy because they did not make the minor. That is absurd, unjust, and illogical, and even although some appearance of contradictory conduct may be alleged, the world is not governed in these matters by the strict application of logic, and what I believe will be recognised—and recognised outside Nonconformist and Liberal circles—is this, that at a critical moment in the history of Uni- 800 versity education in Ireland the great majority of Nonconformists did come forward and did accept a position most distasteful to them in order to satisfy their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen. If anyone likes to amuse himself by charging Nonconformists and the Nonconformist conscience, at which it is so easy to sneer, with hypocrisy in this matter, I make him with pleasure a present of their merriment. But I venture to say that in this matter the Nonconformists have shown, not only generosity, but the highest statesmanship. If anybody desires to see the Nonconformist position in this matter stated with great clearness, moderation, good feeling, and ability, let him read the letter in the Westminster Gazette of to-night by one of their most trusted leaders, Mr. John Massie, who is so honourably known in the life of the University of Oxford.
We have heard a good deal about the poverty of this Bill in that it does not provide a residential college in the University of Dublin. Far be it from me to say that a residential college in that University might not be a very desirable thing in many ways, but, after all, there must be some limit, especially at starting, in regard to matters of expenditure, and I unhesitatingly say that to set up a residential college in a proper and substantial manner—and it would have been no use to do so unless we did it in a proper and substantial manner—would have added something like £100,000 to the cost of the Bill. Therefore, I say that upon grounds of economy alone we were not in a position to make that great addition to the schedule of expenses. I think the evils caused by the absence of a residential college have been a little exaggerated. It is quite possible to have collegiate life and to have social and athletic clubs and associations in a college which is not a residential college. I was, until the other day, for many years a member of the Council of University College, London—that great building in Gower Street, with the existence of which I find many people in London are not at all acquainted; and I can only say that in that college, which was not, and, I believe, never will be, a residential college, there is most active social life amongst the students, and they have all the athletic, scientific, and 801 artistic clubs and associations which are to be found in any college at Oxford or Cambridge. Therefore, while I think it would have been a desirable thing, if our means had permitted it, to have had a residential college, I do not at all despair of there growing up in the new University at Dublin, nearly, all those movements which are so desirable in the encouragement of good feeling amongst the students themselves.
The noble Lord opposite, Lord Killanin, to whom we listened with great interest and attention, dwelt upon the early history of this question. He showed the House, with unanswerable force, that this is an ancient question, and I have no intention, especially at this late hour of the evening, of following him over the ground, interesting as it is, which he attempted to open up. I took part many years ago in the great debates on the University Bill on which Mr. Gladstone's first Government fell. Those debates, if referred to now, will be found to be mines of information as to the historical origin of this question. Nobody—not even those, and I was one of them, who disagreed with my own party and opposed the Government Bill—would deny for a moment that the speech which Mr. Gladstone made on that occasion, not only in its great eloquence, but also in its historic learning on this great question, was one of the most remarkable monuments of his genius. We are undoubtedly in this matter the inheritors of the difficulties of a remote past. The University question began really as soon as the occupation of Ireland in the reign of Henry II.; but, if we are the inheritors of the difficulties of a remote past, I think it would be ungracious of us if we did not recognise that we are also in recent years the inheritors of the goodwill and of the previous labours of our immediate predecessors.
I agree with my noble friend to whom I have just alluded, that it would be ungracious if we did not recognise that in some of the provisions of this Bill we were anticipated by Mr. Balfour. I make that acknowledgment with perfect sincerity. Those very parts of the Bill upon which we had to make the strongest demand upon the loyalty of our Radical and Nonconformist friends are precisely those parts of the question upon which Mr. Balfour laboured for 802 many years to convert the public. I do not deny that some portions of this Bill, which I support, may not be consistent with some of my own speeches, but, as Emerson says—Too great a belief in consistency is the virtue of weak minds.There are moments when you have to accept unwelcome facts. You have to bear in mind that compromise is the very elixir of political life, and, therefore, it is that, though I am willing to grant that I very largely share on this question, as I always have shared, the views of my Nonconformist friends, I am not ashamed to say that, for the sake of peace, in order that this long chapter may be closed, I am willing to stand and defend things which are not absolutely consistent with what would be my own personal and individual views in the matter. If a man is not prepared to do that upon given occasions, I think he is not fit to take any part in public life at all.
But this much I do venture to say, that there is one essential difference between this Bill, even with its undoubted concessions to denominationalism, covered as these concessions are by the abolition of tests and the prohibition of rules, and other demands in regard to religious belief, and the Bill in regard to which it was the misfortune of very many active Liberals—Professor Fawcett, Dr. Lyon Playfair, Mr. Harcourt, and many others whom I could name, who since those days held high office in Liberal Governments—to differ from Mr. Gladstone in 1873. There were two great objections to Mr. Gladstone's Bill, which were urged in the House of Commons and which destroyed that Bill. The first was one which, perhaps, was in importance rather exaggerated but it seized hold of the public mind and struck the public imagination. There was a prohibition in the Bill against the University teaching either history or mental or moral philosophy. Nor was the prospect improved when somebody discovered that this prohibition was borrowed from a clause in a charter to a Spanish University in the darkest days of Jesuit supremacy in Spain in the early eighteenth century. That however was, comparatively speaking, a matter of detail perhaps, though it caused a great amount of excitement; but the other and really vital point was this, that Mr. Gladstone's 803 Bill would have made one University in Ireland just as in Napoleonic times there was one University only in France. We objected to that, in the first place because we thought it would be bad for University life on educational grounds that there should only be one central University, as in France was still the case at that time, in 1873. I may remind the House that since the days of those debates the whole University system of France has been entirely altered, the great central University having been largely broken up and the old provincial Universities restored.
But there was another reason. Religious and political passion at that time, as my noble friend observed just now, were running higher than at the present day. I never recollect a time when the air throbbed with religious and political passion more strongly than in that great debate which caused the fall of Mr. Gladstone's first Government. It was argued, with almost unanswerable force, that the affiliation clauses relating to new colleges in Mr. Gladstone's Bill within a time easily calculable would so have packed the senate of the only University in Ireland with delegates of small Roman Catholic colleges that the whole control of University education would have passed into the hands of the archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, and a document had been published which told the Prime Minister of 1866, Lord Russell, that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland demanded, and would be contented with nothing less than, the absolute control of all the professors, of all the books, and of all the students, and we accordingly feared even risking to give them under such circumstances an absolute monopoly of power in a not distant future.
There was, in the speech of Lord Donoughmore, almost a challenge as to whether we had any reason to suppose that this Bill would be received in the spirit in which it was intended. That is a perfectly reasonable question to ask. I am quite aware that that criticism has been made, though it has been made, oddly enough, more abroad than here. Naturally, in the position which I hold in connection with foreign affairs, I have to be a student of foreign newspapers, and I have observed this criticism. It has also been made in one or two quarters in England. The 804 Liberal Government are told that they are making this experiment, which depends so largely upon the goodwill and support of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, at a singularly unfortunate moment, because the authorities of the Church of Rome have selected this moment to plunge into a great controversy which has embittered University life all over Europe, known as the Modernist controversy. I am not alarmed by that. I think that we may I not unreasonably hope from what we see that, so far from the Roman Catholic hierarchy being dragged at the heels of an unprogressive clement of their communion on the Continent, it may work out the other way, and that when the Roman Catholic Church sees the desire of this Protestant nation to do justice and to march with the times, the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church generally in Europe may be influenced thereby, and become in the whole assimilated to what I know is her position in America to University education, where practically none of these difficulties about the class of books which students are to read exist at all.
I may be over-hopeful, but there are signs in Ireland that the old passions are dying down with regard to education. There is, I think, a real and genuine wish for conciliation. It is realised that this question must be settled; that, as my noble friend said just now, it has gone on too long; and that the credit of Parliament is involved in a settlement. In the great debate to which I just now alluded, when political passion ran so high, there was one speech which caused an immense effect, and it did so because it struck a rather different note from all the others. It was a speech made by one who afterwards became a distinguished statesman and held high office, by a man who was one of the greatest living scientists in England, and a distinguished University professor, and himself at that time a representative of a Scottish University—I allude to Dr. Lyon Playfair. In a speech which can be perused even to-day with advantage, he asked the House not to look at this question simply and solely as, a political and religious question, but to think of nothing except the educational needs of Ireland. He said—I have endeavoured to look upon Ireland as part of this Kingdom not split into sections 805 by religious differences, but inhabited by our fellow-countrymen, who hare a right to all the advantages which the State can give them in regard to higher education. I have remembered the circumstances of the country, which render it more important that Ireland should enjoy these advantages without stint or hindrance than either England or Scotland. Ireland has had many obstacles to progress, some political, others material. She possesses hardly any of those great raw materials of industry, which give such advantage to other divisions of our country. She has to import the chief part of her coal from England and Scotland, and that is the mainspring of all industries. With small natural resources, except those for agriculture, it is above all things essential that the intellectual resources of Ireland should supplement her deficiency in natural resources. As civilisation progresses science and knowledge, applied to production, become more important factors than the mere possession of raw materials.Not only then as regards industrial development but also to increase the fund of intelligence among the youth of Ireland, so as to give them outlets for employment which the restricted industry of their country does not afford … a case is made out for a juster development of the new system.My Lords, it is for that reason that the Government have brought forward this Bill, in the earnest hope that by it they may abolish and clear away the gloomy distrust bred of the fanatical intolerance in past days of Catholics and Protestants, and as has been well said by a modern author "may restore to Ireland the consoling vision of widening education and disappearing hates."
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.
§ House adjourned at five minutes before Twelve o'clock, till to-morrow, a quarter past Four o'clock.