House Of Commons
Friday, July 17, 1846.
MINUTES.] NEW MEMBERS SWORN. For Edinburgh, William Gibson Craig, Esq.—For Edinburgh, Right Hon. Thomas Babington Macaulay.—For Richmond, Henry Rich, Esq.
PUBLIC BILLS.—1°. Burial Service; Prisons (Ireland); Fisheries (Ireland); District Lunatic Asylums (Ireland); Grand Jury Cess Bonds (Ireland); Mandamus (Ireland); Taxation of Costs (Compensations for Land) (Ireland); Adverse Claims (Ireland).
Reported. Ordnance Survey.
3°. and passed. Western Australia; New Zealand Loan.
PETITIONS PRESENTED. By Viscount Clive, from several places, against the Union of the Sees of Saint Asaph and Bangor, but at the same time providing for the Immediate Appointment of a Bishop to the newly erected See of Manchester.—By Mr. G. Craig, from Royal Burghs of Scotland, against the Abolition of Religious Tests in the Scottish Universities.—By Mr. Byng, from the Medway Union, for the Adoption of a Measure making the Landlords of Cottages where the Rents are under £6 liable to the Poor Rates.—By Mr. Gibson Craig, from Members of the Chamber of Commerce and Manufactures of the City of Edinburgh, and from Royal Burghs of Scotland, for the Adoption of Measures for securing an Adequate Supply of Sugar.—By Mr. William Williams, from Inhabitants of Coventry, praying the House not to sanction, by Votes of Money, or otherwise, any further Embarkation of Troops from the United Kingdom to Foreign or Colonial Countries.—By Mr. Long, from Guardians of the Poor of the Bradford Union, for Repeal or Alteration of the Lunatics Act and Lunatic Asylums and Pauper Lunatics Act.—By Mr. Christie, from Henry Le Messurier, and from Inhabitants and Residents of Guernsey, respecting the Criminal Law of that Island.—By Mr. Gore, from Oswestry, for Establishment of Local Courts.—By Sir R. H. Inglis, from Governors of Bartholomew's Hospital, against the Charitable Trusts Bill.
rose to put a question to the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department. There were at present a great number of cases ready to be inserted in the Supplementary Enclosure Bill; and he wished to know whether the right hon. Baronet intended to bring forward that Bill during the present Session. Those interested in the matter were extremely anxious that such a Bill should be brought forward.
replied, that the General Enclosure Act provided that the Commissioners of Enclosures should present an annual report to Parliament, or rather that they should present an annual report to the Secretary of State, which it would be his duty to lay before Parliament. In that report the Commissioners were to state all cases of enclosure which they were prepared to recommend, and then the authority of Parliament must be taken before those recommendations could be carried into effect; and if Parliament approved of the enclosures recommended, they could be carried out under the general Act. A report had been laid upon the Table of the House two months ago, and an Act was passed to authorize the enclosures recommended in that report. The report, however, included only a few months of the year; the period over which it extended commenced soon after the beginning of the Session of Parliament, and ended with the month of May. A Bill was passed in May, authorizing the seven cases of enclosure which that period embraced. A separate report had not since then been laid upon the Table of the House, but from private information which he received he was enabled to state that fifteen cases had since then come under the notice of the Commissioners; and, doubtless, they might make a special report on the subject. When that report was made, it would be his duty to consider what could advantageously be proposed during the present Session of Parliament. He doubted whether the general Act would allow him to bring in such a Bill as would meet the case. If numerous cases required it, and the Bill was supposed to be necessary, he should have no objection to take charge of it.
said, that he had carried the general Bill through the House, and assured the right hon. Baronet that no such difficulty as he apprehended would be found to exist.
Troops In The Colonies
said, that he had given notice of a Motion, of very great importance to the interests of the army. That Motion was upon the subject of the estimate for provisions for the troops serving in the Colonies. That Motion was to the effect that the estimate for provisions should be so framed that the troops serving in the Colonies should not be deprived of any advantage or allowance in regard to stoppages which might be enjoyed by the forces employed in the home territory of the United Kingdom. He had given notice of that Motion in consequence of a disturbance in one of our regiments in the Colonies, arising from the discontent of the men with regard to the system of provisions. Should the correspondence on that subject be produced, it would be found that the system required alteration; but he would not now press his Motion, as the War Secretary was so new in his office. He trusted, however, that the attention of the Government would be given to the subject.
said, that as he was the colonel of the regiment in which the discontent had shown itself, he felt bound to say that the misconduct of the men had lasted but for a short time, and when fresh arangements had been made, they had returned properly to their duty. But certainly the system of making an aggregate estimate for the provisions in all the Colonies was a most objectionable system. The consequence of it was, that in certain Colonies the men were exposed to bad provisions; and it was no consolation to assure them that, in their turn, they would reach the Colonies which were better supplied.
said, that it was true that some unfortunate circumstance had occurred, as stated by the gallant Officer, but means had been taken to prevent the occurrence of similar discontent. With regard to the correspondence, he had inquired, and found that it could not properly be produced. As to the general system referred to by the gallant Members who had preceded him, he could say nothing but to assure them that the most earnest attention of the Government should be given to it.
Education Of The People
On the Motion that the House go into a Committee of Supply,
rose to bring forward a Motion which he said he had produced in several former years. He had embodied his views in the four subsequent Resolutions:—
The public were much indebted to Mr. Kay, a Travelling Bachelor of the University of Cambridge, for his recent work on Continental Education. In it he (Mr. Ewart) found that in Austria, Bavaria, France, Hanover, Holland, Prussia, and Switzerland, the schoolmasters were honourably and independently supported, while their characters and acquirements were ascertained; but that it was "quite the contrary" in England. Had we no necessity for the schoolmaster? Our poor rates, as Mr. Kay truly stated, had increased. From about four millions in 1837, they were now nearly five millions. The poor would sink into the depths of habitual dependency. Outdoor relief was increasing. Probably, one million of our population was becoming dependent on it. What better resource than to teach them to think, to foresee, and to be independent? How can we do so except by education? Why perpetually adopt palliative, instead of preventive, measures? If we examined the valuable tables of Mr. Baines, and compared the proportion of scholars to the population in our manufacturing districts, we should find them far below the average on the Continent and in the United States. He (Mr. Ewart) feared that in the agricultural districts the state of ignorance was deeper and darker still. The Rev. Mr. Allen, one of the Government Inspectors, in his report for 1844, exhibited the condition of the schools in the counties of Bedford, Cambridge, and Huntingdon. Out of 123 parishes in Bedfordshire, there were 65 parishes "with no daily school, or a very bad one." In Cambridgeshire, out of 164 parishes, there were 57 "with no daily school, or a very bad one." In Huntingdonshire, out of 104 parishes, there were 49 "with no daily school, or a very bad one." But if, turning from the quantity of education to its quality, we interrogated the reports of the Inspectors, we should not find the prospect brighter. Of the teachers themselves, says Mr. Watkins,"Doomed," he says of the teacher, "to see his life flow on in monotonous toil, sometimes even to encounter around him the injustice or the ingratitude of ignorance, he would be often saddened, or perhaps overcome, if he did not draw his strength and his courage from other sources than such as can be seen through the vista of direct and purely personal interest. A deep feeling of the moral importance of his labours should sustain and animate him. ***** It is his glory to pretend to nothing beyond his obscure and laborious condition, to exhaust himself in sacrifices scarcely calculated by those who profit by them; to toil, in short, for man, and only to expect his recompense from God."
The Rev. Mr. Moseley, another Inspector, stated that—"—the spelling is frequently very incorrect—the language is provincial and ungrammatical. They use a species of scholastic slang. I saw violent ebullitions of temper. In three schools there were notorious drunkards; in twenty-two the masters were incompetent."
In a national school described by the Rev. Mr. Bishop, of Oriel, "the question being passed from boy to boy whether any of them had been baptized, they all answered, 'No;' but when it was asked whether they had been christened, they unanimously answered, 'Yes.'" No wonder that, such being the quality of education given, the reports of the Inspectors, Messrs. Allen, Cook, Bellairs, Watkins, and Moseley, coincided in stating the necessity of increasing the numbers and attainments of the "training masters." But why should we not make the teaching of our agricultural masters more practical? In France, fifty-two schools have land attached to them for the purpose of instructing the pupils in practical agriculture."Some hundreds of children, taken from the highest classes of our national schools, were incapable of telling the name of the country in which they lived. Many were ignorant who governs the country. They told me that the Queen of England was also Queen of France; that England was in Africa; and that to reach Scotland, you must cross the sea."
The higher the instruction given him the more important it is deemed to"To the schools in Switzerland," says Mr. Kay, "lands have been attached which are farmed and cultivated by the pupil teachers. On these lands, the pupil teachers and professors may be seen toiling in farmers' frocks, like peasants, rather than of young aspirants for the much-respected profession of a schoolmaster. The teacher is never allowed to forget that he is a peasant."
Alas! could we say that we had yet such large and elevated views in England? Was it deemed that religion did not extend with extended education? Quite the contrary. Must not the enlarged mind fly more willingly towards its Creator? In France, says M.' Guizot, in his already cited letter, "Partout où l'enseignement primaire a prospéré, une pensée religieuse s'est unie, dans ceux qui le répondent, au goût des lumières et de l'instruction." The cultivation of the mind was found, after long experience, by one of our missionaries in India, to be the most effectual means of developing Christianity in the soul. But from none of these systems abroad, so far as he (Mr. Ewart) understood, was religion banished. On the contrary, it was not only connected with, but infused into the system. It was found in the French system. It was found in the Prussian system. Why should it not be found in ours? The public was eminently indebted to Dr. Hook for the treatise he had written on this difficult portion of the subject, as it also had been to the Rev. Baden Powell several years ago. The course recommended by these gentlemen was open to us. The Irish system, practised also successfully at Liverpool, was open to us: or we might combine the systems. At all events, we might approximate, and gradually prove that religion could unite where theology attempted to divide us; that Education was the ally, not the enemy, of Christianity. But he (Mr. Ewart) did not wish to impose, he wished to invite, coalition. It might be the work of time. But let the good, of all sides, not despair of it. At all events, there was one part of their educational system, connected with the past, which required immediate attention. He meant the existing state of those ancient English foundations, our grammar schools. Why might not these schools be made available for modern purposes? The House was acquainted with the results of Lord Brougham's Commission. The property held by what were commonly called the charitable trusts of this country, part of which was attributable to education, was enormous. According to the Report of the Commissioners, these charitable trusts possessed in land more than 442,915 acres; in stock, 5,656,746l.; in mortgages, 1,011,782l.: total, 6,678,528l. The income was—from rent, 874,313l.; rent-charges, 79,930l.; interest, 255,151l.: total, 1,209,394l. Out of these, the income of the grammar schools was, 152,047l.; of schools not classical, 141,385l.; of charities given for, or applied to education, 19,112l.: total, 312,544l. Now, was it a great violation of the intentions of the founders of these schools to divert their funds from legal litigation, and turn them towards the education of the people? In most, if not in nearly all instances, he believed they would by so doing promote, rather than counteract, the intentions of the founders. Looking into the conditions on which these institutions were established, he found many of them susceptible of modern improvement. Some of them were appointed for the "teaching of mathematics and French." Many of the founders are more general in their language, and prescribed, "the teaching of grammar and other good learning;" others, "grammar and other literature," or "grammar and other godly learning;" others, again, "the Latin tongue and other more polite literature and science." Some prescribed, more generally, "virtue, learning, and manners;" and some, more quaintly, "grammar and other virtues." Now, he (Mr. Ewart) thought that, when terms so comprehensive as these were used, these ancient foundations might be extended to meet modern exigencies. Where they could not, the Legislature should interpose, as it had already partly done, and extend the limitations of the founder. A Bill giving powers to that effect had, he believed, been rejected in the Lords; but an amended measure was the early and indispensable duty of the Government. Rescue these institutions at once from the evils of mismanagement, and the perils, or rather plunder, of the law, and devote them to the education of the country. He would next turn to the system of education in Scotland. He directed the attention of the House to the character of the people of Scotland, and asked if some of their most eminent national virtues were not to be traced to the system of parochial schools introduced in 1696? By the memorable Act of 1696, it was provided that there should be a school and a schoolmaster in each parish. Nothing further, he believed, was done till 1803, when a pittance was added to the salary, and some new rules were made. The Statute of 1803 raised the schoolmasters' salaries from a maximum of 11l. 2s. 2d., and a minimum of half that sum, to a maximum of 22l. 4s. 5d., and a minimum of 16l. 13s. 4d. and gave the schoolmaster a house and garden—the house not to contain more than two apartments, including the kitchen—in the native Doric of Scotland, called "a but and a ben." The Statute of 1803 further made a provision for two schoolmasters in a parish; but in this case the salary of both was limited to 33l. 6s. 7d. The second master had no house or garden allowed to him, and commonly received 10l. or 12l. a year. Formerly, the schoolmasters of Scotland were persons of greater consequence than they now are, and were frequently educated at the universities. In 1824, they issued a statement of their grievances, and asked that they might have a power of appealing to the higher church courts, of which they were deprived by the Act of 1803, and also that their houses might not be limited to two rooms if the heritors thought more were required. The heritors with the minister were the judges of qualifications of the schoolmaster. It could not be said that they were always unexceptionable judges. Probably an infusion of other classes, as judges, would be beneficial. But in any extension of the system in Scotland, justice alike and the circumstances of the country, forbade them to show any undue preference either to the Establishment or to any sect whatever. Extend the system, if you like—it required extension and reform—but extend it fairly, and in conformity with the free state of opinion which now prevails in Scotland. From Scotland he turned his attention to Ireland. He rejoiced in being able to say that the national system of education, suggested originally by his hon. Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. Wyse), and adopted by Lord Stanley, had proved most successful. There were, indeed, some demurs to it; but he believed that, by judgment and patience, even these would at length be overcome. The number of schools were, in the year 1833, 789; in 1840, 1,978; in 1845, 3,426. Of scholars the numbers were, in the year 1833, 107,042; in 1840,232,560; in 1845, 432,844. The total number of teachers trained in the year 1845, was 290. Of these the component members were Roman Catholics, Dissenters, Presbyterians, and members of the Established Church. The educational works issued by the Board were admirable for their simplicity and comprehensiveness. Thus they had nearly half a million children well educated, nearly three hundred teachers trained, an excellent system of school-books established. Above all, the members of various religious sects were brought together, and taught by association first to tolerate, and then to love each other. No religious discord disturbed, as he understood, either the dignified Commission which presided over, the masters who conducted, or the children who profited by, this system of education. But he would give the result in better words, as well as from better authority, than his own. These were the words of Mr. Corballis, at the last distribution of prizes at the normal school of the society in Dublin:—"—cherish his sympathies for the humble class among whom he will be called to live. They are thus taught from their childhood to combine a high development of intellect and a great elevation of character, with the simplicity and drudgery of a peasant's occupation."
Such were the results of this system. He believed that, if we did not, by some similar or corresponding means, promote education in England, Ireland would speedily show a superiority over us in the intelligence, attainments, and habits of her people. It behoved us, therefore, no longer to stand still. It was a libel on the labouring classes of this country to say that they did not appreciate the value of education. The National Society, in its Report for 1844, stated—"The poor, as well as the rich, now estimate the value of a sound education, and are found ready to pay for it. All experience tends to establish this truth." In the report of the Rev. Mr. Moseley, one of the Government Inspectors, he found these words:—"The labouring classes appreciate a really good education, and are prepared to make sacrifices to obtain it for their children." If the people were willing, was Parliament, was the Government to do nothing? Mr. Kay, in his excellent work on Education, showed that the poor rates were rising-yearly in amount, and justly argued that education would have the certain effect of correcting that evil, by inspiring the poor with habits of foresight and feelings of independence. Mr. Redgrave, of the Home Office, also showed in his report that the most uninstructed were invariably the most criminal among public offenders. In the earliest arguments which he (Mr. Ewart) had ever used for amending, as he considered it, the criminal law of this country, he had always said—as an attendant on such amendment—"Educate your people. Be not content with giving them a horror of the punishment: give them a horror of the crime." You can only do so by religious, moral, intellectual, social education. The popular power must extend itself. The development of democracy seemed, as De Tocqueville argued, one of the necessities of our social position. People argued as if the progress of democracy depended on political changes alone. There was a far more powerful, though more silent, movement in its favour, in the deep under-currents of the social system. Every thing tended to raise, as it ought to raise, the position of the great mass of the people. For his part, he thought that, in this sense, Railways were a greater revolution than the Reform Bill. The one might give political influence; the other tended to social equalization. If, then, the popular element must advance, was it not wise to inform the people? If they are to have power, enlighten, instruct, refine them; teach them how to reason, and teach them how to use their power. An ignorant and benighted democracy (such as now, thank Heaven, ours can never be!) is the worst of all tyrannies, because the most irresponsible. Had not instruction kept pace, to a certain extent, with democracy in America, the fury of a mob, or the wild instigations of the press, might have recently unchained the demons of hatred and of war. Again, therefore, he said, "Educate your people." But he did not wish either forcibly to interfere, or blindly to theorize. Let us, at all events, feel our way. Let us see if we cannot meet on some central ground. Let us, at least, give an account of what we are doing to the people of this country. In this spirit, with these convictions—believing that eventually his other propositions would be carried—he moved his first:—"In the respectable body of teachers, of various religious denominations, whom I have the gratification to see before me, I find the strongest demonstration I could desire of the practicability, and the blessings of a mixed system of education in Ireland. Protestant, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic teachers, which of you, I ask, has quarrelled with your companions on the subject of religion since you came up here to be trained? Have you not lived together for the last five months on the most amicable footing? Have you not, as I once before remarked on a previous occasion, resided under the same roof, eaten at the same table, slept in the same bedroom, and mingled in the same amusements during the hours of relaxation, without party bickerings or religious strife? Have your religious impressions been weakened by this improving and delightful intercourse with your associates of different political opinions and religious persuasions? I can confidently give a satisfactory answer to these important questions. I can safely affirm that you have not forgotten, or neglected, or ceased to cling firmly to your own religion; because you have been taught to respect the feelings and conscientious opinions of those of another creed. Perhaps, however, you may have learned the folly of feeling dislikes without well knowing why—of cherishing local prejudices, the result of ignorance or limited inquiry—and I should rejoice if you have formed virtuous and lasting friendships amongst your companions from various parts of your native land, which will shed a lustre and diffuse happiness around your future prospects in life."
"That early and comprehensive measures be adopted for extending the Education of the People; and that a statement be made on the state and prospects of Education, every year, by a Minister of the Crown, on going into Committee on the Education Estimates."
proposed to say a few words on a subject upon which he had frequently troubled the House—the state of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, to which they would shortly be called upon to vote a sum of money. He had given notice of a Motion for inquiry, in order to show the importance of the two universities as places of education, and the necessity of making them more accessible to the middle classes. He should be unable to bring the subject before the House at present, but he hoped it would receive the attention of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell). He knew the opinion of the noble Lord on the subject of the exclusion of Dissenters from the two universities; and the House had, besides, in the Members for Waterford and Manchester, ample security that the Government desired the removal of invidious religious distinctions in those places of public education. He had moved for a return of the lectures delivered by the professors, and the attendance upon their lectures; and this return disclosed a system that would show any one that great reform was required in the University of Oxford. Dr. Buckland was not able to command at his lectures more than ten pupils on an average of each course. The professor of chymistry returned his pupils in 1843 as nine; in 1844, four; in 1845, thirteen; in 1846, sixteen. The returns from Cambridge were similar. The professor of natural philosophy, for instance, had now a class of not more than ten or fifteen pupils. He believed the mind of the university was in some degree prepared for the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry, and he believed some of the most eminent and distinguished men in the university would rejoice if such a Commission were issued. The grammar schools were intimately concerned in the state of the universities, because nine out of ten of the grammar schools of England were restricted in their choice of masters to members of one or other of the two universities. There was, therefore, a close connexion between the State and the subject he had now brought before the House, A vote would shortly be required for the University of London; and he wished to take the opportunity of saying, that he trusted the University of London would, by a vote of Parliament, be put in possession of those accredited advantages which would form an inducement to individuals to go to that university and to take their degrees. The University of London might be much benefited by making a degree obtained there a necessary condition to employment in the public service, and also by making a degree in law available in shortening the terms kept at the bar. The London University might thus be made available for the improvement of legal education, which was now in a deplorable state. He cordially supported the Motion of his hon. Friend for an annual return on the subject of education made by a responsible Minister of the Crown. A Minister of Public Education would exercise most useful control over the education of the country and over the universities. A suggestion had been made by Earl Grey, when a Member of that House, that certain lower departments of the public offices, the Post Office for instance, might be made useful in rewarding proficiency in learning in the schools. A minute of the Committee of the Council of Education last year contained a letter from the Rev. Mr. Dawes, in which that rev, gentleman, adopting the suggestion of Earl Grey, said, that the bestowal of offices in the lower departments of the public service upon those youths of sixteen or seventeen who underwent a voluntary examination would greatly encourage education among the lower classes, and would be productive of much good.
could not agree in the whole of the sentiments expressed by the hon. Member (Mr. Ewart); but he agreed that the time had come when something might be done on the subject of education. The experiments of the last few years had freed the subject from some of its difficulties, and enabled the House to see, that although private benevolence had been largely and liberally displayed, they could not and ought not to rely upon such sources alone. But if the State wished to give the people religious hearts, as well as to cultivate their minds, they must not give the go-by to the spiritual instructors of the people, but must take them along with them. The evidence of the success of recent experiments had prepared the minds of men to admit that the question could not be met except by some sacrifice of individual wishes on all sides. The noble Lord at the head of the Government was in a position in which he might effect more good than ever before. The country was disposed to give him the fairest possible trial, and to judge him, not à priori by the abstract wishes of men, but to accept him as a mediator between hostile parties, in which position he might effect a great amount of public benefit. This country was distinguished for its attachment to measures of practical good, and it would appreciate the Minister who should endeavour to carry them. The grammar schools had been alluded to, and no subject more earnestly demanded the attention of Government. At present they were often a positive obstruction to good, for the existence of a grammar school ill administered only prevented the establishment of better schools, which would in many cases be set on foot, if one did not already exist under the protection of an endowment. There was certainly a difficulty about interfering with such foundations. If they adhered too closely to the will of the founders, they would fetter all improvement; and on the other hand, if they neglected the feelings of the founders, they might unsettle the security of property, and prevent the bequeathing of property for such objects. He hoped that the Government would direct their attention to the grammar schools of the country, with a view to enlarge the educational objects to which many of them were now limited. Another question which well deserved attention was the difficulty of remedying any mismanagement of these institutions by means of the ordinary legal tribunals. At present there was, by the mode of administering the law in cases of this kind, a complete denial of justice. The expense of unopposed motions in court was no less than 70l.; and where any opposition took place, the costs were enormous. He believed that no one but a lawyer could remedy this evil; and he feared that there were very few lawyers who would be willing to undertake the task. There was, however, a noble and learned Lord (Lord Campbell) in the present Cabinet, whose official labours were not very onerous, and who might perhaps be able to devote some attention to the subject; and from the praise which that noble Lord had, in a recent work, bestowed upon those who had attempted to effect an amendment of the law, he would probably be the more anxious himself to found a claim to similar credit. He hoped that the experience of the last few years would not be thrown away upon hon. Gentlemen opposite, but that the noble Lord would endeavour to secure some practical and advantageous measure for the country in connexion with this important subject.
did not wish to follow his noble Friend (Lord Sandon) through all the topics upon which he had touched; but he fully concurred with the noble Lord that the present Government had a special claim to the generous confidence of the House. He considered that they were entitled to a fair and liberal trial, and he for one was quite prepared to give them such a trial. The hon. and learned Member for Weymouth (Mr. Christie), who was an advocate of free trade in everything else, proposed, as he understood, to give the University of London a monopoly with regard to education; for that hon. Gentleman suggested to the noble Lord at the head of the Government the propriety of compelling every person who wished to practise in particular courts to show that he was qualified to do so by adorning himself with such a degree as the University of London could confer. Now, if an attempt had been made to compel any person appointed to a clerkship in the Treasury, or to any other similar office, to come prepared with a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, he (Sir R. Inglis) suspected that a cry of monopoly would have been raised most vehemently by the hon. Member for Weymouth, and those with whom he generally acted. He hoped that the noble Lord at the head of the Government would weigh well all the difficulties, as well as all the advantages, which might result from the adoption of the hon. Gentleman's suggestion with respect to the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into the system of university education.
considered that the Government ought not to neglect the suggestion embodied in the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart). Those people in the humbler classes of life who received a better education than others in the same position naturally put this question—"When we have obtained a good education, how are we to apply our knowledge? "Now, the hon. Member for Dumfries very properly suggested, that with the enormous patronage of minor places possessed by the Government, they might lay down such a rule as had formerly been acted upon with reference to clerkships of the Treasury, that no person should receive such minor appointments unless they produced testimonials that they possessed a certain degree of education. He considered that no persons should receive appointments in the Excise, the Customs, or the Post Office, unless they had gone through a certain course of education. There were two public departments which had recently been actually brought to a standstill in consequence of the incompetency of the persons who held office in them. The first was the General Registry Office, established by the former Whig Government. The parties who received appointments as clerks in that establishment were so completely incompetent, that nearly two years elapsed before the office was got into any sort of work. The other establishment to which he referred was one created by the late Government—an office connected with the Court of Bankruptcy, and over which Mr. Montague presided. He had been informed, that in consequence of the incompetency of the young gentlemen who received appointments as clerks in that office, it was found quite impossible to get through the business of the establishment. The plan suggested by his hon. Friend would not only secure competent persons to do the work in the public offices, but it would also afford encouragement to the extension of education in the country. He had been told that the wholesome principle recommended by his hon. Friend had formerly been applied to the clerkships of the Treasury, but that it had been abandoned, and he thought most unwisely, by the late Government. He considered that one of the best practical modes which could be adopted for encouraging education, and he hoped it would receive the attention of Her Majesty's Ministers.
said, that the intention which had been expressed by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) to give special attention to the subject of education, had occasioned great satisfaction throughout the country. Some four months ago he (Mr. Williams) brought forward a Motion on the subject of education in Wales, and his suggestions had been favourably received by the then Home Secretary (Sir J. Graham), who promised to send inspectors into the country to ascertain the extent and progress of education. Notwithstanding the time which had since elapsed, he regretted to say that nothing had been done in the matter. He was informed, however, that the right hon. Baronet to whom he referred, had intended to act up to his promise by appointing a Commission of Inquiry on the subject, but that the uncertainty of the tenure of office by the late Government prevented this intention from being carried out. He regretted the inability of the right hon. Baronet to fulfil his promise; but he hoped that the present Home Secretary (Sir G. Grey) would give his attention to the subject.
was satisfied, from the attention he had paid to this subject, that it was as much the duty of the Government to provide a proper system of education for the people as to maintain a Poor Law for their support. He had regretted to find that a proposal for establishing a system of education to be maintained by the State, had been more strongly opposed by the Dissenters than by the Church of England. He considered that the duty of the State might best be carried out by regarding education as a civil duty, and leaving religious instruction to be communicated separately by the clergymen of the various denominations. Taking a list of the countries of Europe, he observed that in England the proportion of educated people was only as one in eleven; Belgium, one in ten; France, one in ten; Bohemia, one in eight; Friesland and the Tyrol, one in six or seven; and in all the rest, down to one in four, five, and six. Thus, England appeared to stand in the position of having the greatest amount of ignorance amongst her people. He also found that in Austria, Bavaria, France, Belgium, Holland, Prussia, and Switzerland, the children of different sects were educated together, whilst in this country they were separated; and he knew well that in the Church of England schools, they would not allow the child of dissenting parents to enter. If they were in doubt as to the working of the united sytem, then he could understand why they hesitated to adopt it; but there was the example of Ireland. When he was in Dublin, he visited and examined every department of the school of the Irish Board of Education; and in spite of all that had been urged against it by many divines of the Irish Church, to him (Mr. Hume) it appeared to be an excellent institution, conducted in admirable style, and productive of the most satisfactory results. They might take an example nearer home—in Liverpool—where parties who objected to the system of education adopted there subscribed a large sum for the purpose of having an exclusive Church of England system of education established; but in the end, the system which had proved so successful in Ireland also triumphed in Liverpool. But the observations which he particularly wished to make had reference to the estimate which they voted the other night of the expenses of the prosecution and punishment of crime. It amounted to 870,000l., exclusive of the immense expense of keeping up prisons. He was satisfied that if they took for education one-half the amount which was at present applied to the prosecution, punishment, and support of criminals, they should see the benefit of it in a few years, and would have the satisfaction of voting 800,000l. for the education of the people. For the sake of morals, economy, and their character as a Christian people, they ought to adopt a bold measure of that kind. The time was come when the Government ought to adopt the system which had been found so advantageous in Ireland, and so triumphant on the Continent. The country would be prepared to support them in carrying out such a scheme, and he could not for a moment doubt the success of it.
admitted that this was one of the most important subjects that could occupy the attention of the Legislature; but he was not prepared to agree with the hon. Member who had just sat down, that the subject of education was more important than the subject of the Poor Laws; for he conceived that the subsistence and the preservation of the lives of individuals was even more important than the subject of education. He could not see that all the difficulties which em-barrased this subject had been removed; and it appeared that the object of some hon. Members who had now supported the introduction of the subject, was to have a fling at the Established Church. He would not have intruded on the attention of the House but for the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool, who, departing from the subject of education, entered on the question of the administration of justice in the courts in this country, with reference, he presumed, to the subject of education. The noble Lord did not seem to be quite aware of the statute law recently passed on this subject, giving most extensive powers. [Viscount SANDON: I am.] The noble Lord, in the course of his sweeping observation, seemed to confound the schools which were the subject of endowment with those which were supported by the bounty of Parliament. [Viscount SANDON was not aware of any schools endowed by Parliament, though he was of schools endowed by Royal bounty.] He referred to schools aided by the bounty of Parliament, and that bounty descended so low that the University of London was the subject of a grant, and he as a taxpayer contributed his portion towards the course of education carried on in that university. The noble Lord said that lawyers would not, with few exceptions, assist in the amendment of the law. Now, he was not one of those who were ambitious of a seat in that House; but he entered it with the hope, that as an humble individual he might be able, from any knowledge and practice in his profession that he might have, to contribute his mite in assisting towards the amendment of the law. That there were evils in the administration of the law, no one would deny; but the noble Lord had instanced as a denial of justice a case where justice could only be obtained at the cost of 70l. in an unopposed matter; and said, that if the matter had been opposed, the expense would have been enormous. He wished the noble Lord had mentioned the case, and he would have aided the noble Lord in remedying what he considered to be an enormous abuse. His experience, however, had not furnished him with any parallel case. He wished the noble Lord, who made a sweeping accusation against the law, and the courts of justice, and the lawyers, to be a little more specific. He asked the noble Lord how it was that, knowing facts which would be a disgrace to this country, he did not put them into a course of inquiry in that House? Sweeping accusations against courts of justice and lawyers had always been made; and he did not expect that the profession of the law would be a popular profession, or that that court in particular to which he had the honour to belong would ever be popular, or liked by the great body of the vulgar. When a case was brought before that court for the purpose of doing justice against a trust which perhaps for twenty years had been abusing the confidence bestowed on it, complicating accounts, and destroying vouchers, was it to be expected that the administration of justice in such a case could be otherwise than a long and excruciating process? And when the proceeding resulted in the punishment of a party guilty of fraud, was it to be expected that the Court could have the good will of that party? The persons who raised the outcry against the Court were the parties smarting under it; those who had had their frauds disclosed, and were compelled to make amends. From such parties he did not expect compliments towards courts of justice or towards lawyers. He should like to know whether there was any member of the profession whose assistance the noble Lord had invoked towards the amendment of the law, and who had refused it? It was very easy to call for improvements, but not so easy to make them. Why, there was now before the House a Bill, the effort of a society of gentlemen, not merely lawyers, including, as he believed, the hon. Member for Dumfries himself—the Society for the Amendment of the Law—and that Bill, which had passed the other House, was an instance of the enormous difficulty of any proceeding for the more effectual administration of the law. It was a Bill for facilitating the conveyance of Real Property—a subject which seemed simple enough; but that Bill, notwithstanding the labour bestowed upon it, was such a mass of absurdities and nonsense, that he believed no one in that House would stand tip and take charge of it; he had in vain asked Members of the Government whether they acknowledged it; he should like to know whether the hon. Member for Dumfries would take charge of it. It would tend so to invalidate titles, that no man who valued the security of his property ought to take a conveyance under it. With respect to the law as to charitable trusts in particular, his experience led him to say that they could be dealt with very easily, and, as he believed, at a very moderate expense, though he would admit he had never had an opportunity of ascertaining accurately and exactly what that expense was. He was not prepared at present with any suggestion for putting the administration of that branch of the law on a better footing; perhaps it was because he felt more than some the enormous difficulty.
He hoped the quotation might be used without offence, and would leave these few observations to the kind consideration of the noble Lord."But fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
hoped he might explain. He was not aware that he had merited so severe an attack; he knew the poets were irate, but did not before know that the lawyers were equally so. He had not impeached the general purity of the courts of justice; but that they were excruciating in their processes the hon. and learned Member himself allowed. Long habit probably made the hon. and learned Member consider that excruciating process necessary; he had become used to it as inflicting it; but those who were retiring from under it were naturally not so well content with it. It was strange to hear it treated as a mark of a vulgar mind to complain of the process of the Court of Chancery as tedious and expensive, especially on the subject in question, since the very highest authorities of that court but a few days since had confessed that it was so. But with regard to the particular instance to which he had referred, it was a simple case, where it was desirable to make some change in a trust for the advantage of the parties concerned; and, on inquiring of a solicitor what would be the probable expense, the answer certainly was that it would be at least 70l.; and, if opposed, he could not tell what it would be.
suggested that the system of school inspection might be beneficially carried further than at present; not by compulsion, but voluntarily. Those schools which were inspected, and had reports of their condition published from time to time, would attract the greatest share of public confidence, and in that way the system would be extended, and might even be made to include the public schools. Reports might be made to Parliament annually. It was a remark of an eminent and intelligent foreigner, that when he went among the middle classes in England, and into the manufacturing districts, he found the men better educated than the women; but when he went among the aristocracy, he generally found the ladies better educated than the gentlemen.
I think it will be better on this occasion if I confine myself to a very few observations, because there are remarks that I might make upon pai—ticular parts of this subject which would rather impede the progress which I wish this matter to make, than conduce to that end. With regard to the remark which the hon. Member has just made, and which relates to the first proposition of the hon. Member for Dumfries, I certainly can have no hesitation in repeating the assurance given by the late Prime Minister, and declaring that I think it right that in every year in which a vote for education is asked, a statement should be made of the progress of education during the year, and of the state of the people in this respect, so far as it can be ascertained, before that vote is called for. I think it will be the means of furthering education itself; and I think it is due to the House, to enable it to judge what further measures are fit. With respect to other parts of this question, I agree very much with what is stated by the hon. Member for Dumfries; but I own I do not think that there are in this country the facilities which he says are to be found in other countries, and which are found even in parts of the United Kingdom; and I think that one of the most serious obstacles in the way of any general plan with respect to education is the extent to which voluntary effort has already proceeded. When M. Guizot began the improvement of education in France, he had a law, enforced by despotic authority, establishing schools according to a certain organized plan throughout France. When the King of Prussia promulgated certain laws with respect to education, he had full and undisputed authority, with respect to that subject, to promulgate such laws as he thought fit. Those wise persons who sat in the Parliament of Scotland in 1696, and passed a law with respect to education in Scotland, had the full confidence of the people of that country, then united in one religion; and no doubt they acted in conformity to the national will, unequivocally expressed, and unequivocally obeying their law, when they passed the Act establishing parochial schools in Scotland. That is in some degree the case, though not nearly to the same extent, with what was done in Ireland, under the system introduced by Lord Stanley. But with respect to this country, we stand in a very different situation. The efforts of the National School Society have been in a very great degree successful. There is a vast number of children educated in the schools in connexion with that society. The British and Foreign School Society, which began earlier than the National Society, has, in many places, schools in connexion with it; and various denominations of Dissenters, the Wesleyans, the Congregational Dissenters, and others, have shown the greatest zeal and energy in the establishment of schools. Now, each of these bodies is very much attached to the particular model which it has taken for itself. They adhere very closely to the rules and regulations which they have thought the best; they are proud, and naturally proud, of the good which they have been able to accomplish, of the religious light which they have admitted into the cottages of the poor, and of the degree in which they have removed ignorance in the large towns of their country. It is therefore no wonder, and we are not to be at all surprised, that when we come in contact with any of these bodies, and propose an alteration of their schemes and regulations, we should find considerable resistance, and jealousy that some other religious body, or some other society, or the State itself, wishes to interfere with, perhaps to damage or to destroy, the work which it has been the object of their benevolent labour and their voluntary gifts to establish. I only state this as a matter which any Government or any Legislature is bound to consider in dealing with this important subject. But, on the other hand, I must state that I have been for years, and am now still more, impressed with the conviction, that after all these efforts; after really numbers of persons—clergymen belonging to the Church, Dissenting Ministers, persons in high station, and persons in low station—have shown the utmost generosity and zeal on this subject, yet the amount of ignorance in this country, the want of education, the degree to which the Gospel is entirely a sealed and unknown book, is a most lamentable fact—I say a lamentable fact; but, for my own part, I think the disgrace and dishonour of it to this country are light in comparison with the evil itself, and the fact itself, which we have to deplore. With respect to the resolutions which have been proposed to the House, I feel no difficulty in saying that I think additional training schools would be an advantage; and, above all, I think it would be of advantage if the profession of schoolmaster could be made more honourable and more lucrative than it is. I do not know that there is any profession of more importance to the community. At the same time, I do not think that it would be sufficient that measures should be taken on the part of Parliament to give additional endowments for that purpose: I think it requires a change in the opinions of society; and I am very glad when persons like my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries, who has devoted so much time and attention to that subject, call the attention of the public to it, be cause I think the expressions which fall from them tend to lead the public to attach greater importance to the point. My noble Friend opposite (Lord Sandon) has adverted to a very important subject in reference to the endowment of schools. I will carefully avoid any allusion to the course of remark into which he so unfortunately fell; but I will say, that I do think it is of very great importance that we should have some means of making the large sums which have been given to endow schools more useful than they are at present. I own I cannot carry my scruples to the extent to which my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University (Sir R. Inglis) carries his, when he says that if there is a school founded for teaching Greek and Latin, and there is nobody who learns Greek and Latin, and the school is entirely useless to the community, you must yet keep it according to the very letter of that foundation, because the time may come when there may be persons who may wish their children to learn Greek and Latin. We know my hon. Friend's habitual reverence for all that is established and ancient; but I think it is carrying that reverence rather too far, when he says that he would not interfere with a foundation even in that case. I think you have some right to put yourself in the place of a founder of a school of that kind; and to ask, supposing that a person wished to found a school at this time, what would be the terms in which he would make the grant? I can well conceive that a person who was acquainted with the Greek and Latin books, which he was enabled to read in the year 1580, if he were informed what works can be read in the English tongue in the year 1846, would not confine the teaching to Greek and Latin in the school that he founded. It is very useful to read Cicero; but if a child is taught to read Jeremy Taylor, I do not think the substitution would be any very great loss. Sir, I have already said, I do not wish to enter much into this subject now; but I can assure the House that it is a subject to which I shall pay the most constant attention; and I do trust, that when it comes before the House again, I may have some statement to make which will show that the pains I may have taken have not been in vain.
considered that mere reading and writing did not make a good man, nor scientific acquirements a moral man. He wished to know how many Oxford scholars made the science of theology a study. The Member for Montrose, in speaking of the state of education in this country, referred to the amount of crime, and contended that this country was more steeped in crime than other nations. He denied the assertion. In England there was less crime than in France, Spain, or Portugal. A higher tone of morality prevailed in this country than was to be found in continental nations. Education was everywhere encouraged here, and the system of parochial education in particular redeemed such numbers from crime as must be gratifying to those who promoted this system. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had, in a few sentences, disposed of those fallacies which had of late been so prominently thrust on the public; namely, the expediency of introducing the French system into this country. The French system might do for France, as the Prussian system might be of advantage to Prussia; but neither of those systems could be productive of any good, if introduced into England. The true object of education was not to make men learned, but to make them good men and good subjects. Education wrongfully imparted had only the tendency of making the criminal a more clever criminal.
gave his meed of approbation to the noble Lord for the statement of his intentions to the House. He would, however, make one or two observations on that portion of the noble Lord's remarks which appeared to convey his opinion that schools endowed to teach Greek and Latin had no means of altering their system. He would remind the noble Lord of the applicability of the cy-pres principle to this apparent difficulty. He must enter his strong protest against some of the observations addressed to the House by the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart). That hon. Member had drawn a comparison between the systems and state of education in England and France, and had advocated the French system of instruction, in preference to the system in force in this country. Now if any one was desirous of informing himself of the true character and working of the French system, he would recommend him attentively to peruse a work by M. Cormenin, which gave such a full exposure of the system as would deter him from desiring to see it adopted in this country. It was quite impossible, considering circumstances connected with some of the French professorial chairs, to assimilate the French with the English system of instruction. He was well aware of the kind of popular argument that was constructed out of and founded upon statistical returns. The advocates of the French system constantly told them of every commune in France possessing its primary and secondary educational institutions; they were told of schools appointed by the State, and Ministers of Public Instruction responsible for the education of the people. All this doubtless sounded very well on paper; but the real state of educational affairs in France was to be collected from the able book of M. Cormenin. He should deeply regret to see that system on which our Church, and our charitable institutions were mainly founded—the system of private munificence—superseded by the French system. He should be sorry to see those splendid private efforts, which were founded on private virtue and self-denial, give place to the French system; for if that system were adopted, the same results would soon be witnessed here as were now witnessed in France.
was surprised to find that his hon. Friend's remarks had been so misunderstood as to lead other hon. Members to believe, he wished to throw a check on those individual efforts which conferred so much honour on this country. He did not wish to see the despotic system, even in matters of education, enforced in this country; and, indeed, he thought the people of England would never consent to hand over their educational system to that species of despotism wielded by a Minister of Instruction. But he must say, that very little had been done for the education of the people in this country. It was disgraceful to the Government that this was so. In these days of peace, the requirements of the people ought to come prominently forward. The subject of education, in particular, ought to be investigated in all its details. He hoped no attempt would be made to impair the freedom of private munificence, or to restrain private efforts; but, at the same time, he must say, he considered the State was bound to furnish the means of giving the people a better system of instruction than that which was now to be found. These discussions in Parliament would do good. They would tend to elevate the character of the teacher, and to cause him eventually to occupy that position in the public mind which he certainly did not enjoy at present. Nothing could be more satisfactory to him than to find that the Government were about to give their attention to the subject. In the Votes, he saw a sum of 100,000l. was to be asked for the use of the British and Foreign School Society. Now, he did not complain of this vote; but if no other hon. Member took up the subject, he should, at the proper time, ask the House to inquire whether the British and Foreign School Society had kept faith with the public; and to ascertain if a violation on their part of the terms on which they had received the public money had not occurred. He did hope in these establishments that no religious tests would have been introduced. He understood, however, that some of the teachers had been rejected, on the ground that the doctrines they held were not exactly orthodox. The subject was one that ought to be investigated; and he feared, when an investigation did take place, the fact would be as he suspected. He hoped the attention of the House and of Government would be directed to the subject.
, as one of the Members for the University of Oxford, felt it was impossible to allow the Vote to pass without expressing his great satisfaction at the tone which had been observed during the present discussion, by the noble Lord and other hon. Members, who had addressed the House. On former occasions attempts were made to impress the House with the belief that the promotion of public education ought to be the work of Government. But he would remind those who held this opinion, that the most successful and most advantageous national results had been accomplished by private efforts of individuals. He wished to express his anxiety for an increase of the number of establishments for training masters. Certainly, there was a period when ignorance greatly prevailed; but he had lived to see a great improvement in the system, and in particular, he saw his neighbours now enjoying an improved means of education in consequence of having the advantage of a mistress from one of the training schools. He had been peculiarly gratified at hearing the noble Member for Newark and other hon. Members state their views on education. He was one of those who thought that the country would derive no advantage from making men good scholars, without reference to moral character. He agreed in the opinion that it was better to teach that system which made men good men and good subjects, rather than that system which sought only te make good scholars. He entertained a very favourable opinion of the establishments for training masters, and he hoped to see them endowed by Government.
, in explanation, said he never uttered any wish to introduce the French system into this country. He had only said that the French system of training masters and of normal schools was well worthy of consideration. He did not mean to say that religion should be left entirely out of account. Although he did not think it was advisable to have religion taught in the public schools, still he considered that the religion inculcated by the religious teachers ought to form part of the system.
House in Committee of Supply.
On the Question, that 100,000 l. be granted for Public Education in Great Britain,
thought it extremely desirable that, before called upon to vote money for this object, they should have before them an account of the manner in which the Votes of money in previous years had been expended. He regretted to say that, so far, the practice had been to favour the richer and to neglect the poorer districts. He did not object to the amount required; he only hesitated to approve of the mode of application.
could assure the hon. Member that the details which he asked for were to be found, at full and satisfactory length, in the Minutes of the Committee of Council.
considered the system altogether bad of Government, before it advanced money, waiting for proofs of power to co-operate on the part of those who applied. There ought to be an inspection of the means of providing education in every parish throughout England and Wales, and the liberality should be greatest in those districts which were found to be the most destitute.
wished to know what proportion of the money went to the National Society.
could not answer as regarded this year. Last year the National Society made 430 applications, and there were granted 70,554l., the whole of which was accepted. From the British and Foreign Society there were 16 applications, and the grants to that society amounted to 20,500l. It would, therefore, appear that the National Society was most anxious for an extension of education.
thought that the hon. Member had made a somewhat unfair use of the question, and of his information. The hon. Member desired the House, apparently, to understand that, among the Dissenting body of the population, the anxiety for a better and more comprehensive education was exceedingly slight; but it should not be forgotten, that by the principles which they professed, they were precluded almost altogether from availing themselves of the State aid. The Dissenters were strongly of opinion that it was not right and not politic that education should be in the hands of the Government; and for that reason they rejected the assistance which might be derived from the Government, and of which the professors of other religions did not hesitate to avail themselves.
could not see that anything had fallen from the hon. Member (Mr. Acland) to justify the reproach which had been heaped upon him; and he was very sure that the hon. Member was the last man in that House to offer an insult to any body of men. Nothing could be more gratifying than the good feeling which had that evening marked the discussion, on whatever side of the House it had been taken up, on this subject; and he trusted that nothing would occur to vary that characteristic. He agreed entirely with the hon. Member for Montrose in thinking it expedient that before coming to this Vote, they should, in future, have before them that information from which they might learn in what manner and where the money was applied.
Vote agreed to.
On the Question—the sum of 85,000 l. required to enable the Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland to issue money for the advancement of Education,
wished, without seeking to discuss the questions of education in Ireland, to take that opportunity of urging on his noble Friend at the head of the Government the expediency of doing what he would call common justice to their fellow subjects, members of the Established Church in that portion of the kingdom. He believed that no body of men were more entitled to complain of the system which provided for public education; and what they had demanded, as satisfaction and as justice, was that they should be permitted to apply to the Committee of Privy Council, as members of the National Society. This question had been raised eighteen months ago; and the application, though urged by the Lord Primate of Ireland, was by the then Prime Minister rejected. It should always be borne in mind that the members of the Church in Ireland were members of one united Church; and, if it were just to continue in Ireland a system of education from which that Church derived no benefit, yet, at any rate, they ought to be placed, in their applications to the Committee of Council, on the same footing as their brethren in England.
So far as he could judge from observation, the educational system in Ireland was administered in perfect fairness; but he was sorry to observe much bitterness of feeling excited by the Protestant clergy in preventing the children over whom they had control attending the national schools.
had hoped that the contiguity of the hon. Member for Montrose to the protectionist benches would have imparted a little more liberality than he showed on this occasion. All the Church of England sought was equal freedom of educating the children of her communion with that of other religious denominations. As far as the religious teaching of the people was concerned, he believed that the system of Sunday schools might be most profitably and entirely superseded by means of the Church itself.
rose to support the appeal of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford. He did not ask the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government for any pledge on this subject, or for any expression of opinion, but begged him to take into his consideration the very anomalous and unfair state of national education in Ireland. He could not conceive how he could tell the Irish people that they had the same laws as the English, when the very first Votes they were called on to approve of showed that the system of education was quite different in the two countries. In England money was given to support that system which was approved of by the majority of those for whose benefit it was intended, or was distributed to the various religious bodies. In Ireland the fact was quite the reverse. The whole of the money was given to support a system of education against which not only the English Church, but the great bulk of the Roman Catholics protested. The hon. Member for Cork had, in the most distinct and emphatic terms, admitted that the claim of the hon. Member for Oxford was just, fair, and equitable. How could that be called a national system of education which excluded one-fourth of the people from its advantages? It appeared that a great number of the people were educated by a system set up in opposition to the National Board. But the House said to those who did not approve of this system, "We will not educate your children at all, unless you approve of that system which has been established by us in our wisdom within the last few years." When he read of the addresses and deputations which had been presented to the Government by a large portion of the intelligent people of Ireland, he thought their opinions entitled to some consideration. Indeed, he was bound to say that the way in which hon. Gentlemen in that House treated those appeals was one of the most extraordinary phenomena of the present day. Thinking that liberty of conscience should be respected, and that the minds of the Irish people should not be alienated from this country by disregard of their feelings and opinions, he would press on the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government the wisdom and the justice of listening to the appeal which had been made to him.
said, he admired so much the temperate and conciliatory tone of the speeches which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had made, both on the present and on the preceding evening, that although he felt very strongly on the subject of the national system of education in Ireland, he had determined not to offer a single remark on the vote before the Committee which could excite an angry or irritating discussion. He agreed most fully with the noble Lord in the opinion he had expressed last night, that the improvement of the social condition of the people of Ireland was an object of such prominent importance at the present time, that it outweighed every other question affecting that country, however important; and he also agreed with the noble Lord in thinking, that with a view to that improvement, it was most desirable to avoid, as far as possible, the discussion of any topics involving party differences in Ireland. Acting on that principle, he would not even now be tempted by the observations of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, to depart from the course he had prescribed for himself, and would not therefore enter at all into the question of the national system of education. But he must say, in consequence of the remarks of the hon. Gentleman, that if the Protestant Clergy and gentry of Ireland objected to that system, and did not lend their sanction in promoting it, it was because, in their opinion, there was a principle of vital importance involved in it, to which they could not conscientiously subscribe, and which presented an insuperable obstacle to their giving their adhesion to it. He would join in the appeal made to the noble Lord at the head of the Government by his hon. Friend near him, the Member for the University of Oxford, and supported by the noble Lord the Member for Newark; and he confidently believed that if the noble Lord would give his mind to the subject, before the next Session of Parliament he would find that without any infringement upon what might now be considered the settled principles of the national system, this irritating question might be settled in the manner suggested by his hon. Friend to the satisfaction of all parties in Ireland.
had no intention of speaking at any length on the question, and only rose lest his silence should be misinterpreted, and lest any one might suppose that he, as a Member of Her Majesty's Government, entertained the smallest doubt of the duty which was imposed on them of maintaining and supporting that principle on which the national system of education in Ireland had been founded. There were no circumstances connected with that country which inspired him with greater hope and pleasure than the belief that, owing to the instrumentality of that system, the people of Ireland were enjoying the advantages of an education which many other countries, more fortunately situated in other respects, did not participate. He thought it was full of hope for her friends that the youth of that country were being trained up in habits of morality and religion, of which he believed the most incalculable advantages would be found in time. The system had been wisely introduced, had, as he believed, worked excellently well, and was receiving less opposition every day.
declared that it was only doing him justice to say that he had carefully abstained from expressing any opinion as to the national system of education in Ireland. He had urged on his noble Friend at the head of Her Majesty's Government the justice and expediency of giving to those members of the Church of England who lived in Ireland the benefit of a common share in national education on principles on which they could accept it. Whatever might be his feelings on the subject, he did not say anything in reference to the merits of the national system itself, and the hon. Member the Secretary for Ireland misunderstood him if he thought so.
Vote agreed to.
School Of Design
On the Question that 5,381 l. be granted to defray the expenses of the School of Design in London and the other Schools throughout the Kingdom connected with it,
took occasion to point out room for improvement in the existing system. He thought that the provinces should find their own schools of design, receiving whatever assistance might be necessary from the Government.
suggested that the surplus of the sums received for registering designs, which appeared by the report which had been presented to the House to amount to 9,000l. might be applied to the purposes of the schools of design.
thought the Government ought to establish some tribunal to decide on the copyright of designs, and would recommend them to follow the example of France in this respect. He believed the establishment of the councils of prud' hommes had done more than anything else to contribute to their excellence in this branch of art.
hoped there would be some limit to the system of following the laws of France, which was so often urged on them. He could not see why the tribunals which decided all other matters in this country could not decide on the copyright of designs also.
was understood to say that the property of all the designs which had ever been registered would not cover the expenses of one single case in the existing tribunals. As to the Registration Act itself, no one knew how it worked, or what service it was of, and it was therefore evident it could not last very long.
Vote agreed to.
On the Motion for 2,600 l. towards defraying the charge of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution,
wished to know on what ground there had been an increase in this vote of 500l. He wished to know whether any application had been made for this grant for biblical instruction in this institution.
said, that this increased sum was for four professors of divinity in the institution in Belfast, each receiving 125l. When the Irish Colleges Bill passed last year, no provision was made for the religious instruction of the people. In the north of Ireland sufficient provision did not exist for the religious instruction of those who were intended for the priesthood of the Orthodox Presbyterians. A deputation had waited upon him upon the subject, composed of the moderator and four eminent clergymen, members of the Orthodox Synod of Ulster, and strongly urged the necessity of such a grant. It was considered by the Government that it was only fair that something should be done for training the priesthood of such a numerous body as this class of Presbyterians in the north of Ireland, and consequently this small grant was made.
said, he felt considerable difficulty in referring to the subject, as he had not the advantage which was possessed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite of having fully entered into the case, for he (Mr. Labouchere) knew nothing of it except from what he had heard. There was no question of principle involved in it; but he certainly could not help thinking that there would have been an advantage in postponing this arrangement until the Queen's College, which was now founded in the town of Belfast, had been established. However, as those professors were connected with such a body as the Presbyterians of the north of Ireland, he should certainly be very sorry to take any step that could in the slightest degree be deemed hostile to them; and the vote having been brought forward on the responsibility of the late Government, who had evidently gone into the subject, he should feel it to be his duty to support the resolution. This, it should be recollected, was an annual vote. The question would be brought forward again in the Estimates of next year, and the House would then, if it thought proper, have an opportunity of reconsidering the item.
Vote agreed to.
The National Gallery
On the Question that 3,390 l. be granted for the National Gallery,
objected to an item of 630l., being the price of a portrait purchased for the National Gallery as a production of Hans Holbein. No man who knew anything of art would say that it was. The purchase had been made under an erroneous impression, though the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel) was understood to have had a part in the matter.
observed, that in this case a deception had no doubt been successfully practised. Hopes were entertained that the sum might be recovered from the vendor; but it was found impracticable to resist the claim.
wished to know if there had been a recommendation in writing to purchase the picture. If not, he trusted this would be a warning in future that no such purchase should take place without a written recommendation.
stated, that for many years he had been one of the trustees of the National Gallery. It was very easy for the hon. Member for Evesham (Mr. Borthwick), in the absence of the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel), to speak contemptuously, and it was very safe. It was necessary to tell the hon. Member for Evesham that the right hon. Member for Tamworth, though a trustee, had, for the last four or five years, had other avocations, which materially interfered with his attendance. The trustees were in this instance deceived. They employed people in whom they could confide; and the party consulted in the present case had never before been known to be wrong. He was now dead. In this case, beyond all doubt, his judgment was wrong; but, though the picture was not one of Holbein's, it was not generally admitted to be a bad picture. The hon. Member for Newark knew something of the reasons which prevented the trustees from seeking redress. Though not judges of pictures, they were judges of the expense of litigation; and they thought it better to advise Parliament to pay the price rather than seek redress with a clear case in a court of law.
explained. He was called upon to give his assent to a vote of 630l. for a picture which he would venture to say no one could now be got to give 30l. for. He thought he had a right, therefore, to comment on the praise which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had given to the work.
begged to remark, that in consequence of the mistake which had been committed on the occasion alluded to, a regulation had been made, by which there would be placed on record the opinions of accomplished and competent judges on any work of art proposed to be added to the National Gallery before any future purchase was made.
Vote agreed to.
On the Question that 30,000 l. be granted to defray the charge of the Government of the Colony of New Zealand,
called attention to a paper recently printed, giving an account of the conduct of the prisoners sent out to Now Zealand from Parkhurst, from which the House might see what had been the good effects of the large expenditure upon those criminals. The conduct of the boys was described in a letter from a missionary as being of the worst kind. He should like to know to what purpose the Bills to the amount of 21,134l. were to be applied?
said, that although the vote was not framed when he left office, he believed this sum was put down to make up the round sum of 30,000l. This increased expenditure was necessary, to give Governor Grey the chance of retrieving the affairs of the Colony. It was absolutely requisite he should have funds provided on which he could draw in the first instance. The House might safely leave Governor Grey a discretion as to the amount of the draughts he should draw on the credit now given, as from his previous career there was no doubt he would justify the confidence Parliament might place in him.
wished to ask whether, when a colonial Governor committed this country to a large expenditure of money, any inquiry was instituted into his conduct by the Colonial Department. It appeared to him, that any person sent out as the Governor of a Colony might expend what money he pleased without being called to account. He wished to know whether Captain Fitzroy had returned to this country; and, if so, whether his conduct while he was Governor of New Zealand had been inquired into? He considered that, when Captain Fitzroy arrived here, a Court of Inquiry should immediately be appointed to investigate his conduct. He believed that Captain Fitzroy had been influenced by good intentions; but such an inquiry as he suggested might prevent other persons who held similar appointments from acting in the same manner.
said, that when the appointment of Governor of New Zealand was offered to Captain Fitzroy, that gallant officer held a permanent public appointment in this country, and had discharged his duties most satisfactorily. He believed that Captain Fitzroy had been influenced in accepting the government of New Zealand by a desire to benefit the Colony, and that he had acted with the best motives; but he had been placed in a very difficult position, and he had certainly acted in defiance of what might be termed the generally received maxims of colonial government, though he had no doubt from a desire to benefit the public service. He considered that Captain Fitzroy had committed grave errors, and the consequence of his conduct had been most serious; but that gallant officer had himself been the loser by those errors, both in interest and reputation. Captain Fitzroy had been recalled by the Government who had appointed him; and he (Lord J. Russell) really thought that enough had been done in the matter. He was not disposed to institute any further inquiry on the subject.
thanked the noble Lord for having formed so generous, but at the same time so just, an estimate of Captain Fitzroy's motives. Whether that gentleman had exercised a sound discretion in his mode of policy was another question; but that he was actuated by motives the purest and the most honourable could not be doubted for one instant. He had made great sacrifices, and suffered very severely.
said, that Captain Fitzroy abandoned an appointment in this country worth 900l. a year, and a seat in Parliament, in order to accept the governorship of New Zealand at a salary of 1,200l. a year. When the expenses of proceeding to such a distant Colony were considered, there could be no doubt that, in a pecuniary point of view, Captain Fitzroy must have been an actual loser, even if he had continued to hold the appointment for a longer period. He believed that Captain Fitzroy was principally influenced, in his acceptance of the appointment, by a desire to promote the civilization and welfare of the aborigines; and the injury to the high professional reputation he had long maintained, which resulted from his recall, was in itself as heavy a sacrifice as a man in his position could be called upon to bear. He could name other persons who had occupied similar stations, and who had fallen into similar errors, who were still suffering most severely from the consequences of those errors, though they had not been called to any pecuniary account.
observed, that this question seemed to be treated as a mere pecuniary matter; but it must not be forgotten that through the imbecility and total incompetency of Captain Fitzroy, the lives of some of the principal inhabitants of the Colony had been sacrificed. If no inquiry was instituted into his proceedings, they would hold out encouragement to similar misconduct in future.
, in justice to Captain Fitzroy, must state that the loss of life to which the hon. Gentleman referred, took place three months before the gallant Captain arrived in the Colony.
Vote agreed to.
On the Question that 20,000 l. be granted for the expenses of Captured Negroes,
expressed his belief that the expense of keeping up a fleet on the coast of Africa was unnecessary, and the system only led to a waste of human life.
said, that he was decidedly of opinion that the methods used to put down or diminish the Slave Trade had been attended with beneficial effects. From an account of a gentleman, it appeared that during the period, three or four years, which he passed in Brazil, the price of slaves had risen considerably, which was evidently a consequence of the interruption of the slave traffic. The result was not only a great diminution in the number of the victims of the Slave Trade carried over to America; but also the condition of the slaves in the Brazils had been essentially improved, as the owners of slaves, in consequence of their additional value and the increased difficulty of procuring fresh slaves, had begun to treat their slaves with greater kindness. Consequently, the condition of every slave in the Brazilian Empire had essentially improved from the mode adopted by this country to diminish the extent of the Slave Trade. Therefore, from all he had seen and heard, it was his belief that there was a diminution in the number of negroes carried to America, and an improvement in the condition of the slaves in America. [Mr. HUME: What is the opinion of naval officers?] He could inform the hon. Member that a very able officer, who had been some years employed on the African station, had assured him, when out of office, and when therefore there was no motive to say anything flattering to him, that if the system pursued when he was in office had been continued for two years longer, he verily believed that the Slave Trade on the coast of Africa would have been entirely put an end to.
said, that the noble Lord did not seem to be aware that that statement was a compliment to him; and he ought not, therefore, to have given credit to it.
said, that what the officer meant was, that the system of naval interruption, in pursuance of treaties connected with the right of search and operations on shore, would have been so effective that the Slave Trade would have been put down entirely.
said, that while admitting that the number of slaves carried to America might have diminished, he believed that the number taken from Africa had increased, a great proportion of the slaves dying on the passage, in consequence of the horrible treatment to which they were subjected.
was informed that the number of negroes carried from Africa in the last year was considerably less than in former periods. The Portuguese Government were acting in good faith, through their authorities, in preventing the export of negroes from their territories; the Governor of Cuba acted in the same spirit more than formerly; and the operations on the coast of Africa were to a certain degree successful. He had been informed the other day in Paris that the joint efforts of France and England had resulted in the conclusion of about thirty treaties with chiefs on the coast of Africa, by which those chiefs bound themselves to prevent the export of negroes from their territories. If it were possible to make similar agreements with the chiefs all along the coast, it was obvious that that would go a great way to prevent the continuance of the Slave Trade.
House resumed. Committee to sit again.
House adjourned at One o'clock.