HL Deb 19 July 1916 vol 22 cc782-827

Debate, adjourned from Wednesday last, resumed (according to Order).


My Lords, I should like to join in what was said last week, when this debate began, as to our grateful recognition of the service rendered by the noble and learned Viscount who introduced this subject in bringing forward a discussion which is likely, I hope and believe, to be most profitable. This House seems to me to be in every sense the appropriate place—an appropriate place, at least—for such a discussion, because the members of your Lordships' House are able, from various fields of service and various processes of gaining experience, to contribute from very many sides something that may be worth having to the very large subject covered by the noble Viscount's words, "the training of the nation and the necessity of preparing for the future." Though the discussion last week went largely upon the lines of educational reform, these words cover a great deal more besides, social and industrial, perhaps religious, and possibly naval and military questions as well, coming in, with opportunity for contribution of thought from various sides.

A few years ago most of us were familiar with the words of a group of thinkers and critics who were fond of telling us that as a country we were in a decadent condition, and that the decadence could be paralleled in the history of the past by what had been seen in other parts of the world. We heard of luxurious and pleasure-loving England, and comparisons were made with a luxurious Rome in the days of her decline. Men pointed to a falling birth rate; to lavish expenditure, as they thought, on mere luxuries; to mistakes or unfortunate arrangements as regards tariff and trade; to an Army incommensurate with our needs; to an educational system inferior to the educational systems of other lands—and from all these they deduced the conclusion that England was certainly in a decadent condition. Strange to say—yet is it strange?—we hear a good deal less of these voices now. We have been suffering heavily in many different ways. There is not a home that has not its tale of sorrow or anxiety to tell, and there is no member of the community but is finding his means straitened and his national as well as his individual anxieties at this moment increased; and the expenditure on behalf of the nation has reached undreamed of millions, which cannot by any stretch be called an expenditure that is in any proper sense productive. Yet we hear far less now of any theory that the nation is in a decadent state.

The reason is not far to seek. It is, I suppose, because the Empire has shown, to a degree that no country in history can parallel on such a scale, grip and force and perseverance, enthusiastic and buoyant loyalty, the widest patriotism, and a power of individual sacrifice for the common good very much greater than any one would have anticipated a little while ago. New precedents have been created and new forces of action have come into play, and it seems to me to be proved beyond all possibility of cavil, not only that the country is not at this moment decadent, but that it has a great future before it, worthy of its past. That seems to me to be worth saying at a time like this, when we ought to recall what were, I think, the unworthy fears entertained a little while ago, not without some foundation in degree, because a great many of the accusations that were brought had sound substance in them; but when the conclusion was drawn from them that this meant that we were going downhill and that practically things were going to the bad with regard to our Empire, the conclusion was not justified by the facts.

And then, again, we heard that, supposing the Empire to continue in its vigour and its force, we should find that the centre of its life and work would change, and that people would before many years had passed be talking, not of London and of Manchester, so much as of Toronto, of Edmonton, and of Vancouver. It may be so; but the signs are not quite so obvious as people thought them to be a little while ago. Our own country has been splendidly supported—or rather I should say has been magnificently accompanied—in its effort by that portion of the Empire which lies across the sea. I shrink of speaking of gratitude to them, because it would imply that there was something less than unity. I would rather speak of our Imperial and national pride in the way in which the Empire has held together at such a time, and in which each part has supported the other. None the less, the thought would not, I think, find easy utterance at present that we had evidence before us that the regions far away have done more than the regions nearer home, or that there was any sign that the great offshoots of our tree were exceeding in vigour and power the parent stem. The war has shown, as it seems to me, that our Empire as We have known it can and will go on from strength to strength, growing with the calls that are made upon it.

We were told that our people were slack and apathetic. We admit that they were unprepared for what was coming. They have now shown their power to rise to a great occasion, and this evidence has been something worth while when we are trying to estimate the position of our Empire and nation as a whole. But, my Lords, I want to go further than that. I believe that out of the ordeal that we have been passing through the manhood of England will emerge very much more fit than it was a little while ago for whatever may lie ahead—fitter in discipline, fitter in knowledge, fitter in eagerness for progress and advance, and above all, I believe, in readiness for educational advance. I do not say that without what seems to me to be grounds for it. My contention is that those on whom it devolves to handle our new questions as they arise after the war will find that the manhood and the womanhood of England are prepared for the reconsideration of these large questions to a degree that has not been adequately realised. Hitherto the average man—to whatever class or social grade he belonged—has been apt, at all events, to think of each question or proposal, political or social, from the point of view of how it would affect his position, or his wage, or his status. I am not speaking of the artisan class only, though it has been very marked there, but of men of much better education in the higher grades, from clerks and others upwards. There has been a very limited horizon on the part of all except quite a small section of the population—a limited horizon which has thought mainly of its own section, its own class, its own local life, and there has not been the wider view of Imperial and general, still less of international, responsibility, I believe that all this will be very greatly changed in the years that lie ahead.

Men who return home now return with a totally different view of outside things from that which they had before. The ordinary man, whose range of view had been limited to country towns, or perhaps to a county at the outside, has been spending six months in Egypt, or three months in the Levant, or in Gallipoli, or in Salonika, or has gone to Mesopotamia, and has been latterly in France and Flanders. He comes back a totally different man in his view of the way in which the ordinary facts of life relate to one another, and of the range of human knowledge and human sympathy which each man can attain to if he will; and he has also had a familiarity with the discussion of these subjects in circles drawn from very different sections of the population and from men whose upbringing and surroundings had been quite different from his own. Let any one ask to-day—and which of us but has the opportunity, sometimes at least, of asking?—the men who, in our convalescent homes or elsewhere, are at leisure to talk about what they have learned during these last two years, and the thoughtful men among them will tell you that nothing has been more fruitful in suggesting new thoughts to them than the opportunities they have had of discussion and talk with people different in surroundings and circumstances from themselves. The weeks in the rest billets and such places abroad, or in our camps at home, or in our hospitals and convalescent homes, have brought men into close personal and intimate contact with a great many people of quite different thoughts from those with which they have been familiar; and the men will tell you—they have told me again and again—of how their thoughts and interests have been enlarged by that experience.

Then there has been undoubtedly the breaking down of a great many social barriers and prejudices on either side which were patent before in the keeping of people asunder and preventing the recognition of the good in what other people were doing or trying to do for progress and reform. Men have been in intercourse with people who are of higher culture than their own, both men and women, and whose antecedents have been entirely different. They have become close friends with such; and the share of their own suffering, the share of sympathy that one has with the other, and the share of their own hopes, have brought a totally new force to bear in their lives. As a non-commissioned officer, an intelligent man, said to me a day or two ago, "My life through up to now I have been running in blinkers, and so have most of my mates. The war has knocked the blinkers off." That I believe to be true to a greater extent as regards its ultimate consequences than people are apt to realise.

Again I am quite certain that we have got a great change in the ideals and prospects in ordinary life which men and even boys are entertaining. The best of them have hitherto had in educational years, or in the years that follow, a wholesome and desirable thought about the advance of their own efficiency in work, in knowledge, perhaps in athletics, and the rest, But there has not been much idea of what they were to give out, and what was to be that which they were going to offer for the common good. The whole thing has changed now. Talk to any group of young men to-day and we find the thought to be, not so much what a man can do to equip himself and make himself litter, as what he can give, what he can put out, what contribution he can make to the common good, in a way which I will not say was foreign to his idea before, if suggested to him, but Which was not natural and instinctive to him then as it is now. To a large extent the feeling has been that he wants to render something with a view to the conclusion of the present war; that he may be litter to "smash the Germans." as he would say. But whatever be the immediate impulse which has led him to that thought, I believe that the principle which has now become part of his life is a thing which will not pass away when the immediate occasion for it has come to an end.

If that be so, what are we going to do when the war is over and when we are bound to make, whether we will or not, our new start in a great many ways? You will have, as I believe, in the new manhood of England a public which is appreciative, which is expectant, and which is better qualified than it has ever been before. What are you going to urge upon it? In the debate on this subject last week the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Haldane, among other exceedingly important and suggestive things, laid stress upon two—a better training for our administrators and a better equipment for our scientific folk and their work. I should like to say one word about this. As to administration and the training of administrators, I under stood the noble and learned Viscount to say—I had not the privilege of hearing his speech, to my great loss, but I have read it with great care—that while our old Universities might have been very useful in equipping men for the forum or the senate, they did not train administrators. I confess to having been startled at reading those words. The noble Earl, Lord Cromer, in following the noble Viscount last week, referred to this matter from his own most valuable and important experience. Look where we will at home or abroad, to any of the administrative fields, and we find that a very large number of the men who are to the front there are men who have been trained at our old Universities. The present Cabinet may be said to consist of administrators. I think that seventeen out of twenty-two come from Oxford or Cambridge, some of them men who have lived there for years and had great experience in the life of one or other of those Universities. I should have thought that if there was anything which experience had shown that our older Universities were able to do, it was to turn out administrators—men who, when called upon to do it, would be found fit for administrative work. I have heard again and again the contrast drawn between our own Universities and those of other nations on that very point; and I was a little startled, I feel bound to say, with what the noble and learned Viscount said on this subject with regard to our old Universities.

With regard to science, I suppose that what Lord Haldane said was indisputably true, that we have not anything like the number of men which Germany has, scientifically trained with what would be called German thoroughness; but I do not think, as regards the last few years at least, that this has been from any slackness in effort on our part. A good many of your Lordships are, like myself, governors of public schools, and I ask whether there is in their experience any subject which is so much before us and causes us so much anxiety as the demands which are made on every side for expenditure of money for the equipment of our scientific apparatus and staff. And when we turn to the Universities, I understand that the noble Earl who is Chancellor of the University of Oxford is to speak this evening in this debate. He will be able to tell your Lordships more accurately than I can what has been done; but, if I am not mistaken, the University of Oxford has not merely in the last few months been equipping itself afresh with regard to the scientific experience of the men who are to take degrees in that branch of study, necessitating that they shall have practical experience in experimental work as well as in theoretical work, but in addition has upon the stocks a suggestion that no man should be able to take even a degree in arts unless he has some grounding in chemistry or some kindred branch of science. That is not yet the law, and I own that it startled me a little to find that the University has made this attempt on so thorough a scale. One wonders what the degree of knowledge that will be required from a bachelor of arts on this subject may be; but the noble Earl will, perhaps, be able to give us information on that subject.

It is just a year ago that Mr. Henderson, on behalf of the Board of Education, launched the scheme for the organisation and development of scientific and industrial research. That stimulus may now be needed for our scientific energies and for the completion of our equipment as students of science may be perfectly true; but I think it is only fair to ourselves that we should say that this is not because we are not making a pretty considerable endeavour in that direction already. My own belief is—and this opinion was expressed in the debate last week by Lord Bryce—that as soon as there is an adequate demand shown for scientific men in larger numbers, those scientific men will be rapidly produced. That throws the blame a little wider and a little further back, and I do not quarrel in the slightest degree with the contention of the noble and learned Viscount if that was what he desired to say. I only would repeat, Let the demand be made with sufficient thoroughness, and I believe the supply will be forthcoming in adequate degree.

Lord Haldane the other night, with what I think was absolute truth, referred to the revision which is required in our school administration—in our school curriculum, in our continuation schools, and especially in our secondary schools. All that is true, in my judgment; and some one suggested that with a view to bringing it about there ought to be a Royal Commission on a large scale appointed. I share the grave doubts which have found expression of any gain from the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate these subjects. Should it be thought necessary, I would welcome it. If it meant that we were going to have the matter of our educational system thoroughly overhauled, I should have not only no reason to object to a Commission, but I can imagine that it may be thoroughly desirable; but I do not honestly think that we need at this moment a Royal Commission for doing it, even if that were practicable while our best men are abroad and every one's interest is centred in other things. I always feel that we have awful warnings before us of what a. Royal Commission on a huge subject, with very-wide range of reference, may do. I remember the Commission which many years ago was presided over by Lord Taunton, which produced, I think, fifty volumes of Blue-books on the subject; these are now, I think, entirely forgotten, as if they had never existed at all. And I know the details of the Pour Law Commission, which sat only a few years ago and produced forty-four large volumes, representing an untold amount of work as well as an enormous amount of expense. I believe that to appoint now a Royal Commission to consider the general question of our education would be what the noble and learned Viscount called an opiate rather than a stimulus or a help to us.

None the less, I think we shall want administrative care for bringing together the great mass of knowledge which exists on this subject, and I should like to see two or three small active administrative committees doing that on something like what I understand to be the lines suggested by the Minister for Education in the House of Commons yesterday. I have not yet had the opportunity of seeing the report of his words in detail, and it is most important that they should be weighed. But it seems to me, if I understand it aright, that what is desired is to have departmental or administrative committees which are going to correlate the great mass of knowledge which we have now got, and then produce schemes for, in different ways, helping to reconstruct our educational system where it needs it. That would be the right way to set to work, and I am not the least daunted by being told that the matter is so large and that the thing would be so costly that it would be impossible to do it. We have all heard Royal Commissions and Committees state that things were impossible owing to the financial cost or other reasons; yet before many years have passed those things have been done. I think five committees at different times declared old-age pensions to be quite impossible owing to the financial burden which they would place on the country; but the fact that this opinion was put forth on such high authority did not prevent, when the scheme was taken in hand, its being very rapidly carried into law in the teeth of these warnings.

We are already, as I believe, moving in all our educational matters on the right lines. I have said a word about science. May I say a word about our elementary schools? I do not know that most people at all realise the transformation—it is nothing less—which has in the last decade or two decades taken place in our elementary schools and in their system. The transitoriness of the knowledge acquired in elementary schools used to be the subject of perfectly fair criticism and lament. It has been—I am afraid it still is—one of the great difficulties with lads or girls, but with boys particularly. Boys who have been trained even to reach the higher standards in our elementary schools, and then undertake work which puts them entirely outside literary experience or literary practice of even the most elementary kind, can to a degree that might have been thought almost impossible forget what they had acquired. The fifth and sixth standards represent a considerable degree of knowledge, and I should be very sorry myself to be called upon at a moment's notice to pass the examination required in what used to be called the sixth standard in our schools.

Your Lordships may remember that just twenty years ago Sir John Gorst, when he was at the Board of Education, made an inquiry as to the then capabilities of boys between the years of seventeen and nineteen who had reached the fifth or sixth standard in the elementary schools and had then gone to agricultural work. A paper was put before them; they had to write their names and addresses, what they were doing, and so on, and a simple sum was set them on the back of the paper. The result of this investigation was that, of the boys between sixteen and eighteen years of age who applied for employment, one-fourth could write fairly, one-quarter could write moderately, and quite one-half could only write in the most disgraceful manner, both as to penmanship and spelling. As to the arithmetic, 10 per cent. answered the questions, 15 per cent. were able to do one of the sums set, and 75 per cent. could not answer a single one of the questions. And yet many of these boys had, a few years before, been in village schools, and some of them had attained as high as the sixth standard. That is, to any one who can realise what a high range of elementary knowledge had been reached by these boys, an appalling picture of the way in which the whole thing had entirely passed away.

If we were to imagine that this is true still, I should feel almost in despair. I do not doubt that there are parts of the country where something not unlike it could be found, and some particular school might be discovered to be lacking in the way there described, but I believe this would be exceedingly rare. If anybody will look at the accounts that have been given by competent men of the progress of our schools as a whole within the last fifteen years, and the tests that are now applied to those who some years ago left those schools, he will find the contrast. If I may be allowed to do so, I will refer your Lordships to a particular Paper in the Board of Education Report for last year, in which Mr. Herbert Ward, one of the most competent men in England in his knowledge of elementary schools, describes from a large point of view the fifteen years of progress in the North-west part of England. It is a long Report of some sixty pages, but it is living and interesting from beginning to end. What he brings out is this, that under the wider elasticity that exists in our schools the growth of intelligence, apart from the growth of knowledge of the three R's and the rest, is something that completely startles those familiar with the elementary schools and the teaching of twenty-five years ago. That is due partly to the efficiency of the teachers, and partly to the far larger liberty given to the teachers to do the work in their own way, to consider not merely what the boy and girl want at the particular moment, but what they are likely to want a little while later, and the way in which efforts have been made to teach, not only the reading, writing, and arithmetic to be done in the school, but the power of acquiring knowledge for themselves, taught in a clever and, suggestive way to induce them to keep it up afterwards. The way in which that has been done is brought out in this Report with a vividness which I ask your Lordships to look at if you desire to study the subject.

In talking of this, it is impossible to put on one side what has been done by other movements outside the schools, such as the Boy Scouts along with the Church Lads' Brigades and the Boys' Brigades, which are doing extraordinary service in the development of the intelligence and the manliness of lads after they have left school. Your Lordships probably know that there are two battalions serving in France manned almost entirely by the Church Lads' Brigades, and if the noble and gallant Field-Marshal, Lord Grenfell, were in his place he would be able to give the details. But they are among those who have been specially distinguishing themselves; and what has been remarked by everybody is the extraordinary intelligence and capacity they are showing in other things besides the mere technicalities which they had learned. All of that, I believe, supports my contention that when we try in the coming years to deal with this subject afresh we shall be dealing with a clientèle in the country entirely different from what it was a few years ago, and people will be ready to respond to efforts in a courageous kind of way that would not have been possible, or expected, a little while ago.

In our secondary schools we do undoubtedly want a decided and firm overhauling of the whole system. We want better provision for the teachers. But the difficulty we are faced with there is that the moment we attempt to better their condition we find ourselves tempted to fall into the lines of what I should dread—the Germanising and bureaucratising of the whole system, transforming them into something like a range of civil servants made to pattern. That is what we have to avoid, as I believe it is possible to avoid it; and I desire to see this subject more than any other grappled with if our educational improvement is to take the form which it ought to take. I do not wish to go into the details of that now, but we have the facts, and there was a promise given by the Education Minister last night that this is going to be gone into more thoroughly. I do not believe we want a Royal Commission for it; but we do want a few capable non-professional, non-political, practical men to go into the matter and look at it from the point of view which the people outside seem to be wanting. I have contended for firm, deliberate, far-reaching action, but not in what we may call the German direction.

We heard, and hear still, of the contrast between our non-equipment and the equipment with which the German soldier entered this war. I do not believe that the lesson we have learned from what we have seen is one which should lead us to try and go in that direction. The very opposite. I want to see varied schools. I want to see schools of a different kind. I want to see accuracy and technical efficiency subordinated to the general thought of a growth of fitness of character in the boys and girls who are going out of the schools in the way we are finding possible where the openings for elasticity have been widely used and where people have made experiments of various kinds. What is sometimes spoken of as the Scandinavian principle, of grants being given to almost any private enterprise provided it is shown by central examination and test to be really educationally efficient, seems to rue to be the line on which development is desirable. I believe that uniformity in result would be our bane if we were to try to go forward in the German way.

I do not believe;—and here, perhaps, I shall be a little at variance with my noble and learned friend who introduced this subject—and I think most of your Lordships do not believe, in two different and separate compartments in our educational life, one labelled "education" and the other "moral and religious instruction." These are warp and woof, and cannot be sundered. When I hear education spoken of in this way, "It would be all right were it not for the other thing, religious instruction," it seems to me that the nature of the web which you have to construct is not being realised. What we call the secular instruction and the moral and religious education must be interwoven. I believe that; people are coming to see this much better than they did. I have no doubt at all that if we were to compare a discussion which might arise now with discussions of the same sort in which many of us were taking part fifteen or twenty years ago, we should find a very great change of opinion; and I believe that Germany in these war years has helped us to see the truth better than before.

The kind of new start which I want to see made with more freedom and variety corresponds, after all, to our English ideas. No country in the world has so many alternative types of school as we have in England; no country has attempted in the same degree to subordinate intellectual achievement to the making of fit men and women; and though I think some would dispute it, I should be prepared to say that no country that goes in for education thoroughly is so free in its educational system from State control as we have been in England. We preserve a variety of social ideas, and as we have a variety of social ideas so we have a corresponding complexity in our schools. That is our English way. I believe it is a good way. It is dead contrary to the German way, and it is none the worse for that.

We shall not be able to advance in the educational field without having corresponding problems to handle in other fields of English life. Education is not a subject which stands in isolation by itself. It is coloured by the nation's social, economic, and religious traditions and aims. The returning soldier—that means, after all, the men of England practically to-day—will not be satisfied with some of the old conditions. Ought he to be satisfied with the old conditions as regards housing, and as regards, in some departments of life, wages and the rest, into which I do not enter? But he will not be. The housing question in town and country, intense as is its difficulty, obvious as are the barriers that go across the roads of progress, will have to be met and dealt with at the same time as we are trying to deal with education and other kinds of progress. The wages question cannot be separated from the housing question, and will be necessarily before us in all intensity before many years pass. The diminishing birth-rate and the rest is a question with which we shall have to deal. The fighting of disease on different lines from those on which it has been fought before is ahead of us. These things are astir, not only in the minds of us who are trying from central places to look at them on a large scale, but they are in the minds of the returning soldiers and sailors. I speak from personal knowledge. I have been in touch often and often in the last few months with men with whom I have discussed this subject, and I have found that undoubtedly there will be discontent with existing conditions, accompanied by—and this is very important—a readiness which has not been known before to see and to understand the other side and the difficulties which belong to these problems. The way in which men have learned to discuss with others than their ordinary friends and companions in peace time, men of different antecedents, training, and sympathies, the way in which they have taken advantage of the opportunity to discuss these matters day by day and constantly during the last two years has, I believe, prepared the soil in a different kind of way for dealing with, in a new and reasonable manner, almost all these questions when they arise. At all events, whether we like it or not the things are astir in the minds of men who are coming back with a wider horizon and with new thoughts in their minds.

I believe that we shall find all classes prepared, after the war, to look at these things afresh and fairly. Nobody who thinks of it at all can ignore or belittle the difficulty there must be, especially in the financial condition of the country, in grappling with them, but we shall have to do it whether we like it or not; and I believe that if we trust to the development of thought which has permeated our manhood by means of the intercourse during this war, we shall find it possible to deal with them and have our proposals received with a fairness and intelligence and readiness for give and take in a way with which we have not always been familiar before. The Empire is more closely knit than it ever has been. You cannot meet twelve men in a convalescent home or in rest billets here at home or in France without hearing them say what they have been doing with the men who came from Australia and Canada. We have a knowledge permeating our people now of what is thought by brave and strong men who have come from those countries. The whole Empire is knit more closely than it ever has been, and that will tell for good. The prospect is difficult and certainly not without its elements for anxiety, but I think full of hope; and I believe that discussions like this will be of very real service, and that large results will follow. We older men may not see the fruit of the sorrows, the fruit of the strifes, which are upon us all at this time, but others will see them; and those of us who can hardly expect to see all the results of what is being done, aimed at, and striven for, can at least look forward in the high hope that, if we do not see them, others will, and that we are contributing something by discussions such as this, and others which will follow upon it, to bring about what I believe will be an immensely stronger nation, a body of better men and women for all the work that lies ahead in the Empire, which, instead of being finished, is growing from strength to strength.


My Lords, I venture to agree with the statement which formed the substance of the very comprehensive and stimulating speech to which we have just listened from the most rev. Primate—namely, that educational progress in this country, so far at any rate as I am qualified to speak of any branch of it, is proceeding on right and healthy lines. The speech delivered by the noble and learned Viscount (Lord Haldane) the other day left upon me very much the same impression as it has upon the most rev. Primate. I thought that the noble and learned Viscount painted his picture in somewhat lurid colours. In my opinion he was over-critical of the past, somewhat unduly depreciatory of that which is being done at present, and most unduly pessimistic about the future.

Before I pass on to what the noble and learned Viscount said on one branch of the subject, may I in passing say a word about a single remark that fell from his lips? I thought that he was not quite fair upon my right hon. friend and colleague the Minister for Education, Mr. Arthur Henderson. He alluded to the many activities of that right hon. gentleman—the services that he has been called upon to render in the course of the war in respect of munitions, labour, and so on; and he went so far as to say that there was practically no Minister for Education. On behalf of my right hon. friend I should like to say that there is no single call of the character I have been speaking of to which he has responded that has not been made by the Government itself. He has undertaken these labours as an act of public patriotism and civic duty, and I have no reason to think that the interests of the Department over which he presides, and in whose fortunes he is vitally interested, have in any way suffered from his temporary absorption in the other duties to which my noble and learned friend referred.

I only propose to take part in this debate in reference to that branch of the subject of education on which alone I have any right to speak—namely, the subject of University education, the movement, to which some reference has been made by the most rev. Primate, that is going on in the older Universities from day to day, and the changes that have already been or are in course of being adopted there. And speaking on this subject I do so, not as a member of His Majesty's Government—although I hope that none of my colleagues will dissent from anything I say—but rather as Chancellor of the University of Oxford. During the nine years that I have had the honour of occupying the position of official head of that University. I have, of course, enjoyed opportunities of hearing the views of the leading men of the University, and have come in contact with the best minds there, including, as they do, some of the foremost intellects in the country. Quite early in the day I undertook, in concert with them, the examination of the question of education in Oxford as it stood at that time. I entered into an analysis—which is open to anybody to refer to who cares, because it was published at the time—of the position at the moment, and I submitted to the University certain proposals for change and reform. The subject used to be called "reform from within" in contradistinction to "compulsion from without." Many of those changes have since been adopted; some, I own, have not. In some respects I, who counted myself in the ranks of the reformers, have sustained disappointment; in others I can point to considerable success. But this I will say. Whatever view you may entertain of the results, I doubt if within a single decade any self-governing and almost autonomous educational institution, such as Oxford is, has ever addressed itself in a spirit of greater willingness to the cause of reform than the University of Oxford has done.

Now what is the impression that has been left upon me by this experience? It is this. It is impossible, and it would be in the highest degree unjust, to regard the older Universities, for one of which I speak, as the homes of lost causes or atrophied beliefs. These institutions do not live any longer upon the memories, nor do they repeat the formulas, of an obsolete past. There is in the University with which I am acquainted a movement, a spirit—I might almost say an electrical thrill—which is in touch with all the currents of intellectual feeling of the day and is anxious to keep itself abreast of the most advanced needs of the time. I have never found, and I do not think that any of your Lordships will find, in Oxford any hostility to science as such, or to the modern methods advocated in general terms by the noble and learned Viscount. The changes which have been made during the decade for which I can speak have been in the direction of encouraging scientific studies and widening the field of research; and on the many occasions when I have been called upon to go down to Oxford to take part in some official function, it has never been to assist in work for the strengthening of the fortifications of the classics, but it has always been to open a laboratory or to inaugurate some field of scientific investigation or research. Of the money that has been subscribed by the public to Oxford during the time of which I speak, which has amounted to something like £150,000, the greater part has gone to the development of scientific inquiry, the construction of laboratories, and so on. When the war broke out the University was actively engaged in the attempt to adapt itself to the new conditions of which we hear so much; and nowhere, I can assure your Lordships, will it be more fully recognised when the war is over that the new situation has arisen of which the most rev. Primate spoke, and nowhere will there be a keener desire to find a solution for the new problems that await us.

It would be a mistake to suppose that the progress that has been achieved has been made by a small and eager minority of men struggling against the opposition, either overt or passive, of the mass. That is not so. It has been done with the approval and co-operation of the champions of what are commonly called the Arts. They are as much interested as the most ardent advocates of natural science in opening the doors and widening the scope of the Universities. And in any schemes for reform that lie ahead, I can assure your Lordships that no hostility need be expected from them.

The other afternoon the House listened, I am sure with pleasure, to the powerful defence of the humanities that was offered by my noble and learned friend Lord Cromer—


Not "learned."


The noble Earl disclaims the title "learned," but his speech was ample testimony to the contrary; and I may say, if I may be allowed to do so, of the noble Earl, that I cannot imagine a case in which the studies which he defended and of which I speak have been more fully vindicated in the development of a capacity, an almost unique capacity, for the ruling of men. His defence of the humanities was followed at a later stage in the debate last Wednesday by another flower of Oxford learning, the noble Viscount, Lord Bryce. I do not propose to recapitulate anything that fell from them. But I may be allowed, in passing, to say that I am most strongly of the conviction that you do obtain from humanistic studies that training of the intellect, that formative influence upon character, and that outlook on life which no other system can equally give you.

I may, perhaps, in a very few words, state the claim, as I am speaking for the University, because nowadays people are apt to talk in a light-hearted way of the classics, as though they represented some fancy of the past out of relation with the needs of the day. The student who becomes acquainted with the great thinkers and writers and philosophers of olden times is not merely thereby studying the thoughts and experience of gifted men but is mastering the fundamental principles of morals and of politics which confront us to-day, just as they did the world 2,000 years ago, and which will be just the same for our descendants 2,000 years hence. When he saturates himself with the literature of the ancient world he is not merely studying a difficult language or making himself acquainted with the masterpieces of Greek and Roman writers, but he is acquiring a faculty of literary judgment and taste which will be useful to him, and he is learning to understand and appreciate the literature of our own tongue; and when he explores the history of Greece and Rome, thought by many nowadays to be so futile a study, he is not merely rummaging in the dust heaps of the past, but he is receiving an education in political and constitutional ideas which render him familiar with what are the basic principles of civilisation itself. He gets thereby a training in imagination, in accuracy of thought, in aptitude of expression, and even in scientific method which I doubt if any other system can equally give him.

The most rev. Primate said that he was startled by a particular phrase that fell from the noble and learned Viscount (Lord Haldane) the other evening. If he was startled, I was positively amazed. The phrase was this—it has already been quoted by the most rev. Primate— That training [of the old Universities] is magnificent for the senate and for the forum, for the production of debaters and rulers, but it is no good— the language of the noble and learned Viscount was unqualified— it is no good for administration. My Lords, what is administration? I take it that administration is the management of affairs, public or private. What is a ruler but an administrator? How can a man rule unless he administers? I have had in one way or another some experience of administration, and I desire to endorse the criticism that was passed upon that remark by the most rev. Primate. In India, I suppose, we have the most remarkable system of administrative organisation that has ever been created by the genius of man, certainly by the genius of the Anglo-Saxon race. I served there for nearly seven years, and I have served in other Departments at home. What is the conclusion that I have arrived at? Who are the men whom, for responsible work, we seek to obtain, and whom we invariably employ in the kind of posts that are open in India?—and the same applies to the Colonies and at home. They are the men who have received precisely the education which my noble and learned friend decries. When a foreign country, or a young country—I take for instance America and Japan, as I speak with some knowledge in both cases—endeavours to train a school of administrators for the new responsibilities which, may be devolving upon it in consequence of colonial expansion, to whom does it turn for guidance and advice? It comes to England, and it comes to the old Universities. If new Universities are being set up in any country of the world, connected with our own or not, what is the model upon which they seek to build? It is that of the old Universities.

I go further, my Lords. Even if we interpret administration in the sense which I think the noble and learned Viscount must have had in his mind—namely, in the narrowest sense of the management of business—I should like to tell you of what has seemed to me to be one of the most remarkable phenomena of recent times, viz., that the great banks, the great financial concerns in the City of London, large manufacturing and industrial firms, come every year to the old Universities—at any rate, I can speak for Oxford. They are attracting—I had almost said they are seducing—away the best intellects of that University. They are seriously competing with the Civil Service in their demand upon the youthful intellect of the nation. They transfer the plant, the seeds of which were sown at Eton, Harrow, or Winchester and which were watered at Oxford or Cambridge, to the heart of the City of London, and excellent and admirable is the work which is being clone by these men in the capacities for which, according to the noble and learned Viscount, they ought to be so unfitted. The first class man at a University is picked out as the most effective agent for the purely business concerns of which I am speaking; and even on the narrower field of the interpretation of the word "administration," I can assure the House that the links between business and the older Universities are being forged closer and closer every day, and that at no period of our history has there been the sympathy and the close connection between the two that there is at the present time. Therefore I should be quite ready myself to argue on utilitarian grounds that classical education had justified itself. After all, the great majority of the undergraduates who go to Oxford—and the same applies to Cambridge, perhaps in a slightly less degree—are not destined for technical or scientific professions; they are going to be clergymen, or schoolmasters, or to fill the various professions of the world, or to take an active part in public life, and we have to give the education that will fit them for that purpose.

Here may I pause for one moment to say a word on a not unimportant branch of the subject, namely, the relation of the older Universities—again I speak for Oxford—to labour? It might be thought that the old Universities, trained in the traditions and giving the type of education to which reference has been made, would be divorced from the thoughts, the ideals, and the aspirations of the working classes of this country. You might expect that the working classes would turn away from them as something old-fashioned, aristocratic, and obsolete. The very reverse is the case. There is an ever-growing rapprochement between the working classes and Oxford University. Why do they conic to us? They do not want at Oxford the science which my noble and learned friend desiderates. If they want that they can get it better elsewhere; they can get it at many of the new Universities which are being founded with such splendid fertility in different parts of the country. No. They come to Oxford in order to get from us a training in economics, in political theory, in modern history, to get some acquaintance with their own tongue and with the literature of other nations. Conversely, we in Oxford go out to them with our tutorial classes, to the centres of the great populations in the North. We send some of our best men there to give the same course of teaching to those who have not the time or cannot find the means to go to Oxford itself. And as regards the future, may I say this. Oxford has no ambition more deeply planted in its mind than the desire that this connection between labour and itself shall be strengthened and increased, that it shall be regarded as a University not of one class, but of all classes, and that it may claim to be that which the premier University of this land ought to be—the University of the whole nation.

I will make one observation, if I may, on the subject which is present in all our minds—namely, the war itself. Looking at the splendid records of sacrifice and devotion that have been furnished by every class of the community to the common cause, I do not rate lowest the contributions of the old Universities. Their undergraduates have dwindled from thousands to a few hundreds. Many of their teachers and tutors have temporarily converted themselves into soldiers, and in some eases have laid down their lives. The finances of these old institutions have been seriously, and will very likely be permanently, embarrassed by the changes wrought by the war; but they have been met to a large extent by the voluntary sacrifices self-inflicted by those who have remained behind. The lecture halls and quadrangles of Oxford are deserted, save by a sprinkling of foreigners and wounded men. The sons of the University have glorified the battlefield, not merely by the bravery and suffering which they have displayed and by the glow of spiritual ardour which has animated them, but by the literary output from the trenches which will make this war, I venture to think, memorable in the history not merely of war but of literature itself.

But when I offer this defence of humanistic education and point to its splendid vindication in the camp and in the field, I should be sorry if it were thought that, speaking on behalf of the Universities, I was offering any resistance to the claims of science. I agree entirely with a remark which I think fell from Lord Cramer the other evening, that there is no necessary conflict whatever between science and the humanities, and that it is the business of statesmen to create and forge and fortify the links between the two; and if it be said that this fusion cannot be accomplished without great and far-reaching changes, we in Oxford are not frightened of the word or of the idea of change. Even while the war has been proceeding this depleted and impoverished University has been working out proposals to meet the new conditions which will arise when the war is over, and the period which will elapse between now and the end of the war is being spent in preparation for the tasks of the future.

The most rev. Primate spoke a few words, and invited me to say a few more, about the changes that have been actually accomplished in the time to which he and I have been jointly referring. I do not think that I need trouble your Lordships by saying much about the changes that have been carried out in the last ten years, although they have taken a form of which I am sure the noble and learned Viscount will warmly approve, They have mostly taken the form of the institution of scientific diplomas and degrees, and the opening of laboratories. A good deal of the noble and learned Viscount's remarks the other evening related to chemistry and to the necessity for experts, and I therefore call his attention to the fact that we have at Oxford now, not only, I believe, one of the most distinguished professors, but one of the best equipped chemical laboratories in the whole land. And, further, there has been a very great and widespread organisation of post-graduate research in every branch of study and learning. I need not enlarge upon that.

I will, however, say a word or two about the movement which is now in progress at Oxford, and one feature of which was pointedly alluded to by the most rev. Primate. He told your Lordships that it is now proposed at Oxford—and I have very little doubt it will be carried into effect—that a certain knowledge of natural science shall be an inevitable part of the Arts Degree. This means that nobody can become a B.A. in the future without having satisfied, at the University or at some other place of education, a test in natural science. And observe that the effect of that will not be merely limited to the students themselves, but it must have a great reaction in compelling the headmasters of the public schools, from which they come, to include natural science in the curriculum of those boys whom they aspire to send to the University. The University has also taken in hand the question of research in chemistry, so as to provide persons qualified to take posts of inquiry and research in manufacturing firms. A scheme is also being worked out for a new degree in civil science, as a course for persons who contemplate entry into public life. Perhaps in a few years time we shall see some of the products in your Lordships' House. Finally, a post-graduate course is contemplated in science and literature with the object of attracting students from foreign countries, notably from America, who have been in the habit of going to Germany for this purpose, and whom we want to draw away from those—shall I say?—poisonous surroundings.

All these schemes are far advanced, and it is the desire of the University to set them into operation the moment the war is over. It may be remarked by some that other and greater changes must follow. I dare say that will prove to be the case. The conditions of entry to the University may require reconsideration; the pass courses, which are, after all, the courses taken by the great majority of the students, will have to be revised, and more modern subjects introduced. The noble Earl, Lord Cromer, gave us to understand the other evening that, warmly devoted as he is to the, classics and particularly to Greek literature, he would welcome the abolition of compulsory Greek in responsions at Oxford. I have no hesitation in declaring my agreement with him, because I have already placed it on record in print. This is a question that will be raised and that will have to be settled. Further, the distribution and conditions of tenure of scholarships and exhibitions may very likely have to be revised; and—following another point to which he alluded—the government of the University, historic and picturesque because of its connection with the past but exceedingly antiquated and cumbrous in its operation from day to day, will no doubt call for modification. I believe the University of Oxford is prepared to consider these changes with an open mind, whether they are initiated from within or whether they are suggested from without.

And here let me diverge for one moment to say how warmly I agree with that portion of the speech of the most rev. Primate in which he deprecated at this time or in the near future setting up a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole subject. A Royal Commission means a waste of energy, a waste of intellect, and a waste of time. The ideas of reform which are moving in the air have reached a point at which there can be little difficulty in translating them into action. The period of investigation has passed. When the war is over the hour for action will have struck.

May I, however, in speaking of science, utter one word of caution? Do not let us suppose that more natural science by itself is all that is required to bring the Universities up to the most advanced standards of the present day. I think there was some talk of this description the other night in this House, as though a little more natural science and a few more laboratories would enable us to vanquish the Germans in the future and to acquire and hold the intellectual supremacy of the world. I think the claims of science in this respect are sometimes pitched a little high.

I revert to a point I was making just now. What do we want to do with the generality of men who come to the older Universities? We do not want to turn them into chemists, or men of science, or engineers. For that, they had better go elsewhere. What we want to do is to fit them for what I saw well described in a treatise the other day as "intellectual citizenship"—that is to say, the capacity to satisfy the calls of to-day and to do the duties that are imposed upon them by a share in the active, life of the nation. What we want the undergraduate of Oxford to acquire, on the basis of the grounding to which I have already spoken, is surely this. He ought to have a knowledge of the history, particularly the recent history, and the institutions of his own country and of foreign countries. He ought to have a general familiarity with the social, political, and economic conditions of the modern world. He ought to have a by no means slight acquaintance with geography, which I venture to say is one of the most illuminating of sciences; and he ought to have a certain and practical command of those modern languages which he is likely to require to use in his career, be it a professional one, or otherwise. I venture to say that if that is the kind of education in your schemes of reform that you would give to the majority of men who go up to your older Universities, you will do much better than if you stuff their brains with chemical formulæ which they will forget just as quickly and as gladly as they have, forgotten the Greek declensions in the past.

If an attempt is to be made to reform or even to metamorphose the older Universities, I hope that it will not be undertaken in any destructive or iconoclastic spirit. If you do that, you may find you have pulled down that which was the envy of the whole world and which no reconstruction which is possible will ever enable you to set up again. And further let it be done, if it be undertaken, not as an isolated act, but as a part of a general scheme of reconstruction of the educational resources of the nation. Let us, for instance, consider not Oxford and Cambridge entirely by themselves, but the entire University organisation of the United Kingdom. Let us examine the part that is to be played both by the older and the newer Universities. There is no hostility whatever between the two; there is ample room for both. You must have in a well-ordered system of education a differentiation of functions; otherwise it will never produce any efficiency, and it will never have any adaptability to the varying needs of the day. And, further, when you begin to lay hands upon the old Universities and to discuss and very likely to readjust their relations with the schools, do not examine those relations only with the older public schools, Eton and Harrow, and so on; examine into and readjust their relations with the whole system of secondary education in this country. We all want to build a ladder from the primary school right up through the secondary schools, and not necessarily the older public schools only, to the University; and in our efforts to do that we, want to be quite clear what is the type of man to climb the ladder, what you want him to get from the University when he goes there, what are the means by which you wish to give him what he wants, and what is the type of man you wish to turn out.

In the work of educational reconstruction of which I have been speaking, and which I hope will come at the end of the war, there are two things which I hope we shall emphatically avoid. The first is, do not let us attempt to turn these old institutions into anything like technological institutes; the second is, do not let us sacrifice their positive advantages, which as I have argued nothing can replace, to the unthinking and superficial desire for a purely utilitarian education. And there are two things also which I think we ought to bear in mind. First, let us endeavour to maintain in our older Universities a high quality of education and research; secondly, whatever we do with the pass courses, however widely we develop the scientific openings at the Universities, do not let us rashly modify or abandon the honours course at Oxford, which is the finest instrument of education in the world. Subject to these conditions, I believe the older Universities will gladly co-operate in any well-thought-out and scientific scheme of reorganisation after the war; and I would only say to those who undertake it, speaking for the University of which I am the head, when you contemplate putting forward your proposals, speak to the University, take it into your counsels, ask it to utter its own thoughts, that which is in its own mind, and you will find in it, if you follow the advice which I respectfully give, a most willing and active coadjutor in the cause of educational reform.


My Lords, the subject which the noble and learned Viscount has raised opens out a vast field of thought which is beyond the power of discussion within the limits that are open to us. I agree with much that he said in his extremely interesting speech; but I am doubtful whether he has fully gauged our national needs, and whether the remedies that he urges will effect all that he expects. There are some things which we may still learn from Germany, but we have in her bureaucratic system of State education a warning for all time of what we ought to avoid. It is to the training of the German people, directed by the State during many years to political objects, that mankind mainly owes the most devastating war that has ever set back human progress and civilisation. Education on the technical side was a powerful, though not by any means the only, agent in promoting German prosperity. The growth of that prosperity was so rapid and astonishing that many of us were inclined to regard it as a guarantee that Germany would never deliberately force on a great war which must jeopardise her newly acquired wealth and resources. Those who held that view were wrong, because they overlooked the moral aspects of the training which was being imparted to the youth of Germany. That training had the effect of destroying the earlier and higher ideals of the people of Germany, of obliterating the "sentiment" to which the right rev. Prelate referred, and of substituting a coarse materialism by which truth, honour, chivalry, and ordinary dictates of humanity were sub merged. The exaltation of material prosperity as the principal goal of individual effort, of war as the main object which the State should have in view, and of force as the ultimate good of mankind, led before 1914 to a terrible increase of crime, violence, and brutality in Germany. The opportunities of frightfulness which the war afforded only served to show how far the German character had deteriorated, and that deterioration must be largely attributed to her system of education. The training had conserved the natural bravery of the German race, but it was bravery without mercy to non-combatants or regard for customs of war as understood by civilised nations. So it has happened that the undoubted valour of the German soldier has been darkly stained by deeds at which the world must stand aghast. Surely that is a new and powerful warning of what we must avoid in national training. But we, too, have felt and suffered from the wave of materialism which has arisen in late years. We have now to consider whether we have not too much neglected the moral and spiritual side of national training. We may even be inclined to pause before we weaken or destroy such an agency for upholding the higher law as the Church in Wales.

In our slow awakening to all that the war demanded we may, perhaps, see that we have not quite adequately inculcated the lesson of duty owed to the State and of patriotism in its best and highest sense. Millions of our people have now risen to the very heights of self-sacrifice, and that is the best answer to all who thought that the British nation was decadent before the war. No nation has ever given so many volunteers to war service by land and sea. That is a record of which we may be proud, and it is a gauge of patriotism which cannot be applied to any people born and bred under a system of universal service. But the great awakening of our people was, perhaps, slower than it might have been, and there have been some symptoms that we could not fail to see and which we must deplore. When peace comes we shall have to rebuild our national prosperity on a broader basis than we have yet known. We shall then have the most urgent need of self-denial, of thrift, and, above all, of honest hard work. One of the painful experiences of this war is the fact that in the hour of peril there was some restriction of effort due to the pre-war regulations of our trade unions. Even now in some shops the output is not what it might be, and women are showing what men could do if they would. Surely education in the future can be made to teach the dignity and honour of labour of all kinds, and the disgrace of idleness in all classes.

Then there is the great question of national health, which will become more than ever important when the war is ended. Legislation is quite powerless to remove some of the causes of ill-health and of heavy infant mortality to which the noble and learned Viscount referred. Can education impart some of the knowledge which, if applied, would immensely reduce some patent evils in our midst? The blight of intemperance injures the nation alike in peace and in war. Can education help to remove the tremendous evils which arise from drink?

The noble and learned Viscount laid stress on our neglect of science, and no one can rate the importance of sound scientific training higher than I do, though in my own humble case I think I owe more to classics than to science. We need more real scientific knowledge in every branch of our national life. We want a greater diffusion of scientific habits of thought among all classes of the community. Immense problems await solution and practical application, problems on which our future economic stability largely depends. Research on a great scale is required at once, and as many industries are jointly concerned I do not see from what source the impulse to start it is to come. But I am not sure that we need more means of training experts so much as recognition of the advantages they can confer on the country. A good many years ago the late Sir John Gorst said in the other House "Governments hate and discourage original talent." I do not think that quite the same can be said now, but I think that expert knowledge will never tell sufficiently in national life as long as we ignore the need for it in our great Departments of State. Within less than eighteen months, in the throes of a great war, a single Minister has held three of the highest posts in the State, posts which seemed to require expert knowledge and experience and special qualities of many kinds. This may be quite right and inevitable, but it is the negation of the idea that special knowledge and training are required, and it conflicts violently with some of the views of the noble and learned Viscount.

But already the war has changed many things. The, great Government Departments found—after too great-delay—that they could not get on without outside and expert help, and we now have in Departments men doing invaluable expert work of all kinds, men who before the war would never have had a chance of being even consulted. In this war we have shown great organising power, and the country possesses great organising power. But we owe many of our difficulties and some of our failures to unscientific methods which have led to appalling delays and too frequent mistakes. Even now we have not the kind of machinery which is capable of ensuring the best direction of a gigantic war. Will the reforms which the noble and learned Viscount advocates save us from defects of that kind in the future? I fear that science, using the word in its broadest sense, will never come by its own until the impulse is given from the top. I do not under-rate for a moment what education can accomplish, but I cannot attribute to it all that the noble and learned Viscount has sometimes claimed. I remember a speech of his not many years ago (I think it was at an Academy banquet) in which he indicated that if we spread the education net wide enough and provided a sufficiency of easy ladders from the bottom to the top we should obtain a galaxy of geniuses—painters, musicians, and poets. I cannot believe that. Genius will always remain rare, and where it occurs I think it is seldom that it will fail to reach the distinction it merits. But the easy advancement of the precocious boy may sometimes lead to disappointment and discontent. We must provide what facilities we can so as to give reasonable opportunities to all classes to reach the top, if it is in them to reach it. The nation owes very much to the men who have risen by their outstanding ability, and there is probably no country in the world which can furnish more cases of this kind than we can. It certainly is not so in the United States. The education which leaves the deepest impress is that which is obtained by the exercise of effort and self-denial. I believe that the extraordinary success in past years of Scotsmen who rose from the ranks and played a part in building up the Empire out of all proportion to their numbers, was largely due to the fact that they and their parents made sacrifices to obtain education.

The noble and learned Viscount spoke of a system that was ready and perfected and in a position to be put in force at once. But I do not feel sure that the many difficulties, some of which Dr. Sadler has recently pointed out, have been completely resolved, or that more study is not needed before we embark on any large new measures. Education is valuable, not for the book knowledge that it imparts, but as a means of building character and moral strength. It is at the elementary stage, up to 13 or 14, that character may best be moulded. But books alone will not develop resourcefulness and self-reliance. In a recent article Dr. Garnett says— The Scout problem of lighting a fire in the open air with the use of not more than two matches develops more self-reliance than the mastery of all the facts in a text-book. To my mind one of the most valuable suggestions of the noble and learned Viscount was that we should try to graft some of the principles of Scout training upon our elementary schools, and carry them on by means of a compulsory cadet system through the critical period which lasts from 14 to 18. I have always advocated the cadet system, which I first saw in Australia, where I was immensely impressed by the good results obtained from it. I do not believe with the noble and learned Viscount that we can label our boys from 14 to 18 for particular professions, or force them into secondary schools, but if they were made into cadets we could watch over them and save many from failure in life.

What we need is more schools closely associated with the work in which our boys and youths are employed, and teaching subjects connected with their occupations in an interesting and telling way. Such schools exist in many places, and have proved their great value. I watched one of them at Woolwich for more than seven years, and I was much impressed by its usefulness. After the war, as the noble Earl, Lord Cromer, has pointed out, we shall have to resort to rigid retrenchment. As he also said, we must not stint education; but if both courses are not possible for financial reasons, then I am certain it would be wiser to improve the quality of our existing schools and especially to raise the position of the masters of the elementary schools than to enter on a great extension of teaching institutions.

But national training embraces much more than what we refer to as education. There is the instruction which is constantly flowing from popular leaders of public opinion and from the Press. All classes have been drawn together by common sorrows and common efforts in this war. We must cling to and try to deepen that union when peace comes. There have been faults on both sides, and it will be of vital importance that employers and employed should be drawn together with mutual understanding and mutual respect. Shall we again see heated oratory directed to fomenting class hatred and suspicion? If so, then no system of national training which can be devised will enable us to face the lean and strenuous years that lie before us.

My Lords, I have barely touched the fringes of the great questions raised. I regard our present national system as defective in some respects, though not so backward as the noble and learned Viscount considers. I believe it can be improved if we fearlessly examine the points of weakness, some of which this war has thrown into strong relief. On the other hand, we can see plainly in these times of stress shining examples of the qualities which make a nation great. Those qualities represent the ideals at which our national training should aim, and if we can attain them we may then hope to reach a higher, purer and happier national life in the years to come.


My Lords, I only venture to ask your Lordships to look upon one small corner of the vast and interesting field which has been opened out by this discussion. If I wander for one moment into the more exalted themes, it is only to say that we are, I believe, all agreed upon one point—that it is a great mistake to regard science and the humanities as in any sense opposing elements in education. I venture to hope that we shall be equally agreed upon another point, which I think wants careful watching, and that is that we shall not bring these two together by merely insisting upon those who would naturally have a scientific education cramming a certain modicum of humanity, and those who would naturally have a humanistic education absorbing a certain amount of elementary science. I have not much belief in that method of combining the two great engines or instruments of education. Surely what we have to look forward to is something different; it is the teaching of science in a human, large-minded, spirit, and the teaching of the humanities in something of a scientific spirit. If I might venture to say so, it is on those lines rather than on some which have been indicated ill discussions about University degrees and school curricula that I think the true union of science and education is to be found.

I do not, however, mean to occupy these high levels of discussion, and I almost apologise for the smallness of the corner of the subject to which I ask for a few moments your Lordships' attention. But though the corner is small, it contains, I believe, the real centre of this great problem. It is the corner which is inhabited by the 1,200,000 boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 who are engaged in manufacture and other industrial occupations. I think it was the Bishop of Winchester who, at an earlier stage of this discussion, reminded your Lordships that it is here that we have the greatest educational wastage and also the greatest educational opportunity. Certainly the leakage in these years cannot be exaggerated. It is the period in the industrial life of these boys and girls in which at present they very largely lose all the knowledge and all the admirable discipline they gained in our excellent system of elementary schools, and a period in which, speaking broadly, they gain almost nothing by way of compensation to fit them either for their industrial or for their civic life. I wish this afternoon, and only very shortly, to speak of the working boys.

At the present time—so I gather from the census of 1911—there are 221,000 boys of 14 or 15 engaged in manufactures or in the mines. I do not forget the boys who are engaged in agriculture, representing very special problem of their own, but compared with the industrial boys they are comparatively few—not much more than one-quarter, 58,300. Nor do I forget—how can anybody forget who has attempted at all practically to deal with this problem?—the vast number of boys engaged as messengers and in the various transport services, numbering, between the ages of 14 and 15, 108,000; but it is fair to remember that most of those are afterwards absorbed into other forms of industry. Of occupied boys of 14, 16 per cent. are messengers, whereas of boys of 18 the figure is only 2 per cent. I therefore think that in confining our attention for a few minutes to the industrial boys we are really touching the heart of this problem, for these boys of 14 and 15 at present engaged in our workshops and our mines are the skilled workmen and the citizens of the future.

Consider the position of these boys. At the age of 14, the time at which I suppose most of us were only beginning to respond to the first blessings of education, these boys are suddenly withdrawn from any kind of helpful supervision or discipline. Is it to be wondered at, therefore, that when they reach the age of 18 and are entering upon manhood, both in the works and in civic life, they often, with some noble exceptions, lose all that we have tried to give them in our elementary schools and gain nothing either in the way of strength of body, width of mind, or power of character? And yet at this present time the Battle of the Somme is reminding us what splendid material these boys would be if they received for a short time an adequate training. If only we could take these boys, at present so distressing a problem—the industrial boys between 14 and 18—and give them adequate training, they might prove in industry and in citizenship to have the stuff which they are proving they possess in the service of their country. It is therefore a question of absorbing interest, narrow as the sphere may be, how we are to give the best possible training to the mind, body, and character to the industrial boys of the country.

I am the last to say one word to deprecate the influence of the homes of our working people. But noble as so many of these homes are, necessarily the influence of the home is comparatively lost upon a boy who is thrust into great independence and obliged to make his own way in a very rough manner. There are continuation schools sedulously advertised, but they present no attractions to a boy of 14 or 15, and they draw only a comparatively fringe of them. The real difficulty is that the boy is too physically tired to avail himself, under present conditions, of the, opportunities so bountifully offered. How can a boy who has worked for sixty hours a week have the necessary freedom and physical power of addressing himself to the curriculum of the technical school, and so on? I know that much is done for these boys in the way of those organisations which have elicited applause whenever they have been mentioned in this discussion—the Scouts, the Boys' Brigades, the working boys' clubs, and the like—but the difficulty of them is that they reach only the best and the most easily accessible and the most docile of these boys; and there is the further difficulty that you can only keep just the boys who need most discipline at the cost of the discipline of the brigade, or the corps, or the club itself. It is they who are most troublesome, and if you exercise any pressure of discipline it is just the boys who need it most who immediately escape from it. There are social agencies of an admirable kind of which the noble and learned Viscount who introduced this subject knows—the after-care committees, and the like. But we have to recognise that the human boy of 14 and 15 is an extraordinarily elusive creature, and I am afraid that the great mass of our ordinary industrial boys at present escape all the means with which, with all our resources of imagination and desire, we try to surround them.

And I fear it must be admitted that the difficulty is becoming not less but greater. There seems important evidence that while our men are receiving, as never before, admirable training in body, mind, and character in the Army, their sons are suffering greatly from the absence of discipline at home, from the high wages which they can procure, and from the restlessness of the times. I am told that in many of our works at the present time it is quite usual that from GO to 70 per cent. of the boys leave their work within the year. Could anything be worse just at the time when we have 5,000,000 of our citizens undergoing a special and most remarkable form of training, with all the hopes of the future which the Archbishop of Canterbury held out to us earlier in the evening, that their own boys between 14 and 18 in our works here at home should be suffering from causes which are undermining discipline, stunting the body, and enfeebling the mind?

I think the most hopeful solution lies in the direction which was indicated in one sentence in the speech of the noble Lord who preceded me, Lord Sydenham—namely, that as far as possible we should make the workshop itself the training ground of our industrial boys. It is in the workshop that the influences can be brought to bear on them which are most likely to help. What we should aim at—the noble and learned Viscount will forgive me if, in comparison with some of his more ambitious schemes, this seems a meagre point, but it is one of real importance—what we should aim at is to make the workshop for the boy between the years of 14 and 18 what the school has been to him when he was between 7 and 14. In other words, the workshop, the natural centre of the boy's life, should be the centre of his mental, physical, and moral training. I am sure that continuation and secondary schools and the like will never really be a power in educating and training the nation until our employers, in co-operation with the local education authorities, fit these schools into the actual life of the boys and the real needs of their industries. Nobody knows better than the noble and learned Viscount that there are a large number of firms in this country at the present time doing admirable work in providing schools within their works and in giving facilities to the boys to avail themselves of educational opportunities. But what I think is desirable is that the educational impulse should come from a spirit created within the works themselves.

With regard to the training of the boy's character, which it is a commonplace is at this stage quite as important as, if not more important than, the training of his mind, what we seem to need in our workshops, if they are to be as they ought to be places of immense importance in the training of the nation, is more of the human element, which has been largely lost in these great works. What we desire is that in the large workshops, where anything from 50 to 150 boys are employed, there should be somebody whose business it is to be the boy's friend in the works, a man with special training and qualifications, who will be there to see the boy when he enters, to speak to him about his opportunities for schooling, to keep him up to the mark, to help him through the troubles incidental to a boy at that time of life, to visit his home, to enlist the interest of his parents in his training, and to be his friend at the time when his first apprenticeship is over. I know that between 200 and 300 firms at the present time have these supervisors for boys and girls—most of them are for girls; only about 50 of our large firms have similar helpers for the boys. But I press upon your Lordships that there is a great field of opportunity if our employers would create as it were a new class of trainers of the lads besides the teachers in our secondary and elementary schools—men who will move about among these industrial boys and do what is so important, enlist their own independent minds on the side of their own training and uplifting. We may provide every sort of opportunity for these boys; we may lecture them to our heart's content; but unless the boy himself wants to be trained, most of our efforts will be in vain.

I am sure that, whatever way we are to deal with it, it is in the years from 11 to 18 that we have the crux of the problem. I think it could be largely solved if employers would confer steadily and constantly with one another and with their own leading workpeople, and if the local education authorities would never allow themselves to get out of touch either with the local employers or with the best of the working men. Above all, I believe it could be admirably handled if our education authorities would take more and more into their councils a body of workmen who are gradually being educated in a most admirable manner by the agencies to which Lord Curzon, in his eloquent speech, referred a short time ago—I mean the Workers Educational Association, the members of which attend the tutorial classes of which he spoke. I believe it is there that we shall make more advance than by discussing merely expert ideas and opinions. I hope that in any scheme of educational reconstruction which may be submitted, and in any committees that may be formed, expert educationists alone will not be consulted, but also the employers and the workpeople themselves who are in daily contact with the life of these boys. I apologise to your Lordships for having kept to this corner of the subject, but, after all, in these boys and girls of from 14 to 18 there is the raw material out of which the future citizenship of the country is largely to be made, and all depends upon whether that raw material is marred or moulded aright.


My Lords, I hope I may be forgiven for intervening for a few minutes in this debate. I have never troubled you before, and I do so now with some trepidation after the great authorities who have already spoken on this subject. But I have come across in my life some striking instances where this country has suffered from its want of trained workers, and I should like to put on record some of those instances.

To deal with the subject generally for a moment, I think that the ordinary average boy in this country is rather neglected. Schoolmasters seem to insist upon planting every soil with the same seed, without investigating whether the soil is likely or not to be receptive. We who did not succeed at school are not necessarily slackers, as Lord Bryce described us; it is that we constitute very likely unreceptive soil for the seeds which narrow-minded men insisted on planting. There is not enough consideration. I fear, at our public schools for a boy's aptitude. We are judged, either for promotion or the birch, only by our power of absorbing Latin and Greek. When I was a young man—many years ago now—I could not get into Cambridge unless I passed a certain examination in Latin and Greek, although I never studied those subjects after I was at Cambridge. The teaching of science I shall be told, already exists at the public schools. Yes it does; but science and other studies are taught in a very inferior way to the manner in which Latin and Greek are taught, and very inferior men, as a rule, are chosen to teach them. Lord Cromer spoke of the splendid services he had received from men who had had a University classical education. But Lord Cromer forgets that he is a magnet, and that wherever he goes he is quite sure to collect under him men of the very first ability; and the men who served well under Lord Cromer would probably have done well in whatever way they had been brought up.

Nobody desires—and the noble and learned Viscount did not suggest—that all education should be utilitarian. But I deny that to teach boys natural history, to teach them physiology, to teach them scientific geography, to teach them science, and above all things the accuracy necessary in approaching any problem in a scientific way—I deny altogether that this is a utilitarian mode of education. Lord Cromer also spoke as if the education received from the classics and the humanities was the only education which induced the atmosphere of thought that leads Englishmen to be governors wherever they go. I rather suspect that education in the classics is like the Jock Scott when we fish for salmon—it gets an undeserved reputation because it is always tried first. I plead for trying to see whether boys' minds cannot be developed equally well by studying other things than the classics. Nobody has suggested for a moment that we ought to do away with classical education, but we do want to see—and that is the point I am coming to now—whether we cannot compete in business more successfully with other nations if we have a better teaching of science in this country. And I think we want a little more sympathy for those who are at the other end of the class to that at which Lord Bryce was. We want to study whether we cannot get more out of the boys who do not necessarily succeed in classics. Boys with the ability of Lord Bryce ought to go to school plus one or scratch—there should be a handicap; in competing with them, of course, we are all thrown in the shade.

If I may do so respectfully, I would venture to congratulate the noble and learned Viscount on initiating this debate, for this is the most important moment at which to bring forward this question. There is a great temptation to postpone everything until the end of the war, but, as he has rightly said, this is a question which cannot be postponed. Nobody in this country has done more for education than has Lord Haldane. We owe it to him that the University of London to-day is no longer an examining, but a live teaching, body. We owe it to him that the Universities of Dublin and Belfast are what they are to-day. We owe it to him that all those great provincial Universities have entered into the life and into the teaching of the nation; and I know that he has been doing quite lately just the same in Wales. And almost his greatest work, if I may say so, has been in setting up at South Kensington the Imperial College of Science and Technology, helped by the noble Marquess who leads this House. Therefore he speaks to us, not as an amateur, but as an expert; and I do hope—although he seems to have drawn down upon his head a good number of criticisms and is thought to have abused Oxford and Cambridge much more than he did—that what he has said will have the attention of the whole country.

I note that already there is a Consultative Committee on Scholarships, who have recommended that there should be 250 scholarships yearly for scholars from secondary schools who intend to follow scientific studies at the Universities. That will be a step forward if that is carried. This country grudgingly gives £250,000 to its Universities; Germany gives £1,500,000. If we could ever give anything like that sum to our Universities it would be an enormous help to them. But we suffer in this country a good deal from too often putting at the head of our Ministry of Education a politician. I do not in the least refer to the present Minister for Education. I am speaking generally. And we also suffer very much from a want of scientific knowledge and training amongst our legislators. It is almost impossible to get a Bill through Parliament which needs well-informed consideration and involves scientific judgment. You get every sort of opposition from people who have never considered the subject and know nothing about it. I do not suppose there is another country in the world where it has been necessary to set up a Society for the Defence of Research, a society to see that the truth is known and to defend researchers from calumny and libel. Such a society exists in our country, and it is almost to its shame that it should be needed.

As I said, I have come across rather striking instances of how this country has suffered from want of scientific training amongst its workers, and if we want to remedy this we must begin to train the youth of the country. Let me give your Lordships one instance. Just before the war broke out we passed a Vote in Parliament of £25,000 a year to set up clinical laboratories all over the country to investigate disease. Do you know that in the first year of the war, when these clinical laboratories would have been of enormous value to the War Office for investigating and staying disease in the camps, this wretched Vote of £25,000 a year was stopped, because politicians in what is called "another place" said that if it were not stopped they would not allow legislation to go on. That is a typical example of the way in which scientific matter too often gets treated in this country.

And then take trades. In consequence of the training in this country and the way in which the country has been taught to regard science, rather with a sneer, the scientific man in trades is looked upon more as a consultant than as an integral part of the business, as he is in Germany. Every trade in Germany has its professor and its trained assistants, and every inventor there can have his inventions looked into and all the processes investigated and reported upon. Therefore instead of, as in England, every inventor going over the same ground that somebody else has already covered and going to great expense himself in investigation, all these things are done by a professor and trained assistants, who are at the command of any German inventor. I lay stress on the word "trained" assistants, because it is not enough simply to have a professor; you must have a lot of men with a scientific twist of mind helping him in his work.

I will give a typical instance of the different ways in which the two Governments—those of England and Germany—have behaved to shipbuilders. In great measure the success of our destroyers depends upon their pace, and the only way in which you can test the pace of a destroyer is by having it tested in a resistance tank. There is required a very large tank 55 ft. long, and then the model of the boat is pushed through the water and the resistance tested. Do you know, my Lords, that the shipbuilders in England have had to send the models of their destroyers to Germany to be tested, thereby not only spending a large sum of money in doing this but actually showing to the Germans the models of our destroyers. Sir Alfred Yarrow felt this so intensely that he presented England with a resistance tank costing £20,000, which is now at the Physical Laboratory. I submit that this very important industry should have had at their command, as shipbuilders have in Germany, a Government laboratory for testing resistance, If we had had a Government organisation for testing many things we should never have lost the by-products of coal; we should never have lost the chemical industries; we should never have lost the glass industry, and so on—one could go on for a considerable time enumerating them.

It has been brought home to me lately that for the want of proper Government supervision and of knowledge of the processes underlying the manufacture of drugs, this country has been and is to-day in very considerable danger. This is owing to the fact that a number of essential drugs, which could perfectly well be made in this country, can now only be got from Germany. I am not exaggerating when I say that the hospitals of this country, which are dealing not only with our sick poor but with our wounded and sick soldiers, are carrying on their work under almost impossible conditions because of the difficulty in getting drugs—as your Lordships will know if any of you are, unhappily, ill in the course of the next few months. Almost everything necessary for the recovery of health has gone up tremendously in price. Take a thing like belladonna; none can be got in this country. We are threatened with a very serious increase of one very fell disease, a disease which, if it is not checked, will not only affect the health of the present generation but will seriously affect the health of the future generation. The cure for it is perfectly well known—an injection of a stuff called salvarsan. Do you know that we allowed a German to patent that cure in this country, that we allowed him to keep the manufacture of it in his own hands—which they never did in France—and that to-day there is an absolute famine of salvarsan in this country? That should never have been allowed, and it would never have been brought about had we possessed a Government laboratory. Things would have been worse if the Government had not set up the Medical Research Department, which has done splendid work in gas and in treating diseases of all sorts arising through the war.

I am not attacking any Government. I wish to say of the noble Marquess who leads this House that nobody has shown more sympathy towards science than he has. At the present moment he has set up an advisory committee to deal with research and the application of science, and he is chairman of a committee on the neglect of science. Therefore I am sure the noble Marquess will have heard with sympathy the few words I have said. We all hope that this matter will not be referred to a Royal Commission, which keeps the country quiet for a time but never results in much good. I am afraid I have wandered a little from the subject of this discussion, which is the training of the nation. I am not expert enough to say—indeed, I am not an expert at all—how the matters can be cured, but I have tried to show how the country has suffered in trade and in health from the want of trained workers; I have tried to emphasise, by examples, that to compete successfully against other countries we must, in conjunction with other forms of education, try and foster scientific thought, scientific reflection, and scientific experiment. The only possible way in which to do that is not to discuss what we are to do with the finished article when it is done with at, say, Oxford, but to start a great deal earlier in life to train the youth of the country.


My Lords, I venture to recall your thoughts for a moment or two to the older Universities. As a Cambridge man I must congratulate the sister University on the powerful representation she has enjoyed in the speech of the Chancellor this evening. In speaking for Cambridge, I do not suppose I can speak with an authority comparable to that of the Chancellor of the University of Oxford; yet—if I maybe allowed to mention a fact about myself—I do possess some knowledge of matters at Cambridge. Some few years ago I was Vice-Chancellor there, and I think a Vice-Chancellor may be defined as the Chancellor's "fag," because he fags for his master day after day; he gains a real insight into the daily work of the University, its studies, and its administration; and to some extent I have been able to keep up my knowledge of University affaire.

May I then say a word or two first of all about the studies of the older Universities. I always feel that the term "the ancient" or "the older" Universities is one which is liable to misinterpretation. It supports a popular error; it suggests to the mind of the country a sort of academic Tithonus who lives on and on into decrepitude. This is the very opposite to the real facts of the case. On the one hand, the old Universities are not well endowed; on the other hand, they are to an extraordinary extent modern—that is, the studies have been reformed in the last few years; witness for example, the growth of the historical school, and of the school of economics at Cambridge. And science has made giant strides in the older Universities in the last twenty years. Cambridge, I believe I may truly say, has been the birthplace or the earlier home of many of the new branches of science—such as heredity, psycho-physics, and biochemistry. Nearly £500,000 has been expended on the development of science at Cambridge during this century. But it will be said probably that the science of which the older Universities take account is rather abstract science, and that the applications of science are put aside. It is the fact, and I hope it will always remain so, that the true scientific investigator pursues his work for truth's sake, regardless of the utilitarian results to which he is administering. But I would urge that he is a bold man who would prophesy that research which at first sight seems most abstract will not bear fruit in practical matters. Certainly at Cambridge the applications of science have had a conspicuous place in the last few years in the University—witness the engineering school, with its laboratory and its plant; the school of agriculture, with its farm and its field laboratory; and the Appointments Board, which brings the younger student into contact with the openings of commercial enterprise in the great banks and in the business concerns of the country and of the Colonies.

I listened with extreme sympathy to all that has been so well said in this debate as to the humanities and the need of their being retained in full measure in our education. Were that not the case the intellectual life of the country would sink to a lower level and become impoverished. That will not be the case, however science may advance in the older Universities. My experience there is that the best men of science fully appreciate scholarship, and the best scholars fully appreciate science. Why is this? Partly, at least, because in the common life of the colleges it is a distinctive characteristic of our older Universities that students of different kinds mix together; they learn to respect and to understand each other, and they gain some insight, the one into the methods of the other. Hence there is formed a sound and large-minded public opinion in matters about education. Therefore I earnestly hope that in the future reconstruction of education, which we must face at this times full recognition will be given to the older Universities.

May I turn for a moment to a subject which lies on a lower level? When I was residing at Cambridge and daily in contact with these matters, nothing impressed me more than the conscientiousness of the students of science. Men of great eminence refused most tempting posts elsewhere; and amongst the younger men, men of first-rate ability, there was instance after instance of their remaining content with the miserably paid administrator ships and lectureships because of their love of their pupils and of their University. I am sure that I shall not be contradicted if I venture to assert that scientific men are not avaricious, that they do not love money for money's sake. I know that there is just now a very strong feeling that it; Public Departments the position of scientific men is insufficiently recognised, and especially that the remuneration which they receive is inadequate. I will not trouble your Lordships with detailed evidence on this matter, although a good deal has been put at my disposal. I think very little inquiry will elicit evidence in abundance. A striking passage was put into my hands from Nature of March 23 of the present year, in which the statement is made that the proportional numbers of chemists in Switzerland, Germany, France, and England in comparison with their respective populations are as follows:—Switzerland, 300; Germany, 250; France, 7; England, 6. I cannot, of course, vouch for those figures on my own authority, but if they are anything like accurate, then clearly a very dangerous position is disclosed. This, indeed, was touched upon by the noble and learned Viscount who initiated this debate, and he gave one explanation of this lack of scientific men. Our training machine, he said, is not adequate to produce the supply which we require. I have no doubt that is perfectly true; but I venture to think there is another cause co-operating with the cause of which he spoke. In these matters there does operate an inexorable law. Parents will nor invest their money in the long and expensive education of their children in science unless they are assured that this investment will bring in, not for themselves but for their children, the return of a sufficient livelihood; and I believe that in future far larger sums will have to be spent than have been expended in the past both by the country and by the Government. I venture to prophesy that open-handedness in this matter will in the end prove truly economical.

There is one more subject on which I desire to say a word. It is, I think, admitted on all hands that reforms are needed at the older Universities. How shall they be brought about? I venture to deprecate the appointment of a University Commission, and I think that I am giving expression there to a considerable body of competent opinion. I know quite well what will be said. It will be pleaded that while the majority of residents at the old Universities will agree to promote reasonable and liberal reforms, yet there are the non-residents, and that the non-residents, under the present constitution of the Universities, Hock up in their hundreds, and defeat the proposals of reform. I know by experience the exasperation which one feels when a measure of reform one has at heart is defeated by those who swarm up and who are deficient, one thinks, in information, and, one says in one's haste, perhaps, deficient in intelligence. But I believe there are clear signs that the opposition is not so solid or so stolid as it used to be. Let me give one example. Nine years ago the mathematical authorities at Cambridge suggested a reform by which the order of merit would be abolished, and, with the order of merit, the Senior Wrangler, a very venerable and very historic figure. I thought, and a great many other people thought, that the imperilled Senior Wrangler, reinforced by his much more picturesque antithesis at the other end, the wooden spoon, would be an irresistible battleground. The non-residents, indeed, were summoned to the fray; but there was, if not a triumphant, yet; quite a sufficient majority for the reform—780 to 638; and that was nine years ago.

The truth is that the older generation who always opposed change is now rapidly passing away, and the younger generation, on whom the decisions of the future will depend, have known Cambridge under conditions infinitely different from those under which their fathers and their grandfathers knew the University, and they will take a very different line. And I am sure that the members of the Senate, like other Englishmen, have been profoundly influenced by what has happened during the last two years, that they have taken to heart the lessons of the war, and that they realise, like other Englishmen realise, that in the country and in the Universities there must be great and inevitable changes. The old Universities are, indeed, institutions which have characteristics quite peculiarly their own, and what is generally true is, I believe, specially true of them, that reform which conies from within is the most wholesome, the most intelligent, and therefore in the end the most effective.


My Lords, I move that this debate be adjourned until Wednesday next.

On Question, the further debate adjourned until Wednesday next, the 26th instant.

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