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Commons Chamber

Volume 202: debated on Monday 4 July 1870

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House Of Commons

Monday, 4th July, 1870.

MINUTES.]—WAYS AND MEANS— considered in Committee—Consolidated Fund (£9,000,000).

PUBLIC BILLS— Resolution in CommitteeOrderedFirst Reading—Shipping Dues Exemption Act (1867) Amendment * [194].

OrderedFirst Reading—Sheriffs (Scotland) Act (1853) Amendment, &c. * [191]; Paupers Conveyance (Expenses) * [193]; Shannon Navigation * [192].

Second Reading—Dublin City Voters Disfranchisement [184]; Local Government Supplemental (No. 3) * [188]; Benefit Building Societies * [116].

Committee—Elementary Education ( re-comm.) [167]—R.P.

CommitteeReport—Extradition [138]; Magistrates, &c. Election (Scotland) * [177]; Pier and Harbour Orders Confirmation (No. 2) ( re-comm.) * [178]; East India Contracts * [186]; Settled Estates * [110].

Considered as amended—University Tests [103]; Life Assurance Companies * [2].

Considered as amendedThird ReadingCharitable Funds Investment * [168]; Rents and Periodical Payments * [169].

Third Reading—Curragh of Kildare * [175], and passed.

Withdrawn—Inclosure Amendment * [119]; Valuation of Lands and Assessments (Scotland) ( re-comm.) * [179].

Navy—Discharged Portsmouth Dockyard Men—Question

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether a Memorial has been received at the Admiralty from discharged Portsmouth Dockyard men, in which it is stated that the Memorialists have had difficulty in obtaining employment, owing to an impression produced on the minds of employers by certain expressions used by the First Lord, to the effect that the men discharged were either incompetent workmen or of indifferent character; and, whether he has any objection to state publicly that the words used by him did not apply to all the men who have been discharged, and that in fact many of them are able-bodied and skilful workmen of good character?

said, in reply, that a memorial such as that referred to by his hon. Friend had been received at the Admiralty; but, on referring to it, he found that the expressions said to have been used by the First Lord were not quoted. His right hon. Friend was quite unaware of having used words which could be so interpreted, as there could not be a doubt that many able-bodied good workmen had to be discharged on the reduction of the force.

Ireland—Mr George Irwin

Question

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether Mr. George Irwin, whose name appears on the Schedule to the Report of the City of Dublin Election Commission as having been a Freeman guilty of corrupt practices at that Election, is one of the Divisional Superintendents of the General Valuation Office; and, whether he is the same person who was removed some years ago from superintending the revision of the borough of Bandon, in consequence of a representation being made that, in the opinion of a large number of the inhabitants of that borough, his political feelings had interfered with his duties as revisor; and, if so, whether, considering that the elective franchise in Ireland is dependent on the valuation, it is desirable that Mr. Irwin should continue in charge of the revision of the valuation of a large portion of that Country?

, in reply, said, the name of Mr. George Irwin appeared in Schedule M of the Report of the Dublin Election Commission; as having been found guilty of aiding and abetting in the corrupt practices mentioned in Schedule A. That gentleman was the same person who was removed from the local administration, of the revision at Bandon some years ago, in consequence of a report he made as to the valuation of property. These facts formed serious grounds for the consideration of the Government whether it would be possible or justifiable to retain the gentleman in the position he now held. When the materials for forming a judgment on the case came to hand he would acquaint the hon. Member of the circumstance, so that he might repeat the Question.

Riot At Newport Election

Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he is aware that the Returning Officer for the county of the Isle of Wight addressed, on the 4th day of June last, a letter to the Bench of County Magistrates at Newport, stating that he had reason to fear that disturbances would take place at the approaching Election, and praying that the County Police might assist the Borough Police in keeping the peace, and that the letter was immediately forwarded to Captain Forrest, the chief constable of the county of Hants; also that on the same day a letter was sent to the Mayor of Newport by Mr. Secretary Bruce, informing him that at the Election of 1868 there had been disturbance at Newport and ill-usage of persons by the mob, and reminding him that, should the local force of police be insufficient to ensure the protection of electors and candidates at the ensuing Election, it was open to him, under the 22nd and 23rd Vic. c. 32, s. 2, to call in the assistance of the County Police; whether on the 6th day of June last, the Mayor of Newport sent a Copy of the letter to Captain Forrest, and required him to direct a sufficient number of county constables to act within the borough of Newport on the day of nomination and on the day of polling; that Captain Forrest refused to do so, and that the Mayor of Newport attributes the disturbances which took place on the day of polling to such refusal; that ten men have been committed for trial, charged with rioting at Newport on that day; and, whether he is prepared to take any measures likely to prevent such proceedings at future Elections for the County of the Isle of Wight?

said, in reply, that it was true that the returning officer for the county of the Isle of Wight addressed a letter to the county magistrates at Newport, in which, anticipating disturbances at the Newport election, he prayed that the county police might assist the borough police, and the letter was forwarded to Captain Forrest, the chief constable of the county of Hants; that the Home Secretary warned the Mayor of Newport that a riot had occurred at the election in 1868, and that under the 22nd & 23rd Vict. c. 32, s. 2, it was open to him to call in the assistance of the county police; that the Mayor communicated with Captain Forrest, who said he was unable to furnish the required assistance, and did not furnish any further explanation; and that a riot occurred and 10 men had been committed for trial. As the chief constable was responsible to the county justices, he had forwarded the chief constable's letter to them, and they would no doubt take it into their consideration. As to whether he was prepared to take any measures likely to prevent such proceedings at future elections, he must say he thought these disturbances had partly arisen from the fact that some boroughs would insist upon having an independent constabulary force of their own. Newport had a force of only five policemen; at the time of the election the county police were otherwise engaged; and, under the circumstances, it was not to be wondered at that sufficient means were not at hand for preserving the peace in the borough of Newport.

India—The Brothers Islands

Question

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, If his attention has been called to the statement made by Mr. J. C. Parkinson, in his work recently published on the "Ocean Telegraph to India," that the "Brothers' Islands," in the Red Sea, are inaccurately marked on the Admiralty Charts; and, when it is intended to commence the improved survey of the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez, promised by the First Lord of the Admiralty on the 29th April?

Sir, my attention was called to this matter by the hon. Member's Question, and the best answer I can give is to read the memorandum which has been sent to me by the Hydrographer of the Admiralty—

"In regard to the position of the 'Brothers Islands' in the Red Sea a discrepancy was observed and reported by one of Her Majesty's Indian troopships, and this has lately been verified by the Great Eastern. The chart has, therefore, been corrected, and the usual notice made public. The error, however, was not of a serious nature."
On the question of a rectification of the surveys of the Gulf of Suez and Red Sea, Her Majesty's Government has been in communication with the Government of the Emperor of the French with the view to a joint action in the undertaking, and it is hoped that operations will be commenced, as soon as the season will permit, in October or November.

Census Of 1871—Religious Denominations—Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the Bill about to be brought in for taking the Census in 1871 will contain a provision for ascertaining the number of persons professing to belong to the various religious denominations existing in England, Scotland, and Ireland?

said, in reply, that in Ireland there would be what was called a religious Census. As to Scotland, there was great opposition in 1860 to a proposed religious Census; but it appeared that now there was a general desire that there should be such a Census in Scotland, and it would therefore be taken. In England he regretted to say there was the same opposition which was exhibited by various religious bodies in 1860; and, as Her Majesty's Government was of opinion that no such Census could be carried to a successful result without the willing cooperation of all the persons engaged, it was not proposed to attempt it.

King's Lynn Election—Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he is aware that at the late Election at King's Lynn, in December, 1869, the Chief Constable of Norfolk declined to accede to the application of the Magistrates of that borough for a force of County Constabulary on the nomination and polling days, and that the preservation of life and property in a borough of 18,000 inhabitants depended during those days upon 18 borough policemen and a detachment of military; and, whether he will take any steps to remedy this state of affairs on a future occasion?

replied that he had received a full answer from the chief constable of Norfolk as to the reasons why he had not been able to send the required assistance at the election of 1869. He stated that on all previous occasions he had furnished county police to King's Lynn when they were asked; but on the occasion of the election referred to by the noble Lord the police, only 200 in number, were engaged on other duties, and the requisition from King's Lynn was for 75 men. The chief constable added that he hoped his willingness to assist King's Lynn on former occasions would not lead to the belief that the demand was made as a matter of right, and that this was one of the evils of small independent police establishments. He (Mr. Bruce) must confirm the opinion expressed by the chief constable that this was one of the evils of the subdivision of the police force.

Post Office—Postal Weight Of English And Foreign Letters

Question

said, he would beg to ask the Postmaster General, Whether, with the view to prevent the existing losses on our postal transactions with France and other Countries, the time is not arrived to carry out the recommendation of the Standard Commissioners to adopt the French gram as the postal weight both for English and Foreign letters, before the contemplated postal changes are adopted for the carrying of letters, newspapers, and parcels in this Country?

said, in reply, that it was not intended at present to take any steps to carry out the recommendation of the Standard Commissioners that we should adopt it, and, although there was a small loss in our postal transactions with France, it was balanced under the Convention by a favourable rate of exchange, which gave us an advantage in excess of our loss.

India—Nawab Nazim Of Bengal

Question

said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, When an answer may be expected to arrive at the India Office regarding the Memorial from the Nawab Nazim of Bengal, which was received at the India Office on the 29th of July last year, and forwarded to the Governor General, by whom it was received in February last; and, if any reasons can be assigned for the delay which has taken place in arriving at a decision respecting the contents of the said Memorial?

In reply, Sir, to the noble Lord's first Question, I have to say that I have no means of forming any opinion as to when an answer to the Nawab Nazim's memorial may be expected. I know that very elaborate document is engaging the attention of the authorities in India, who are anxious to push on its consideration as much as possible, but I know also that the case is a most intricate one, demanding much historical official research, extending over a century. In reply to the noble Lord's second Question, I know nothing of any avoidable delay having occurred other than the trifling delay arising from an accident in one of the public offices in Calcutta, which I mentioned some time ago in answer to a Question in this House.

Parliamentary Representation—The Metropolis—Question

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, in any allotment of seats resulting from the disfranchisement of certain boroughs, Her Majesty's Government will undertake to consider the claim of the Metropolitan Constituencies to additional representation?

replied, that it would undoubtedly be the duty of the Government to consider the claims of the metropolitan constituencies to additional representation in conjunction with those of other portions of the country; whenever, in consequence of the disfranchisement of boroughs, it might be of public interest to have the matter settled; but, in the judgment of the Government, that time had not yet arrived.

Metropolis Sewage—Question

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether the effect of the Thames Navigation Bill, as amended, will not be to throw upon the same body of Ratepayers who already bear the expense of pumping the sewage of London into the Thames, the further expense of dredging it out; and, whether he will state the reasons, if any, why he does not call upon the Metropolitan Board of Works to enforce the carrying out of the Contract made between the said Board and the Metropolis Sewage and Essex Reclamation Company, for the diversion from the Thames of the sewage of the northern area of the Metropolis, which contract was confirmed by the Act 28 Vic. c. 121, intituled "The Metropolis Sewage and Essex Reclamation Act, 1865?"

replied, that the Bill had not yet been sanctioned, but a Bill had passed through a Committee of that House, and had received the assent of a Committee of the House of Lords, providing that if the Thames navigation was obstructed by reason of any solid deposits from the flow of sewage into the Thames, those obstructions should be removed by the Metropolitan Board at the expense of the ratepayers. If the Metropolitan Board should find it more convenient to prevent solid matter going into the river, instead of removing it, they would be at liberty to do so. With regard to the second Question, he might state that a company was established some few years ago for applying the sewage on the northern side of the Thames for the purpose of irrigation; but the company had not prospered, and had done little or nothing beyond, receiving a great deal of money from the public. In such a state of things no doubt efforts would be made by those interested in the company to transfer the loss from the shareholders to the ratepayers, and it was the duty of that House to take care that the company should be made to bear its own loss. The Metropolitan Board was taking all the steps it could to deal with the subject, and he had no doubt its members would watch over the interests of the public, and compel the company to fulfil its obligations. This was a question which could not be dealt with superficially, because it was generally understood that no town could deal with its sewage unless it had power to take land for the purposes of irrigation. The question, so far as regarded the metropolis, was an enormous one, and no doubt it would have to be dealt with by the local authorities.

Scotland—Sheriffships

Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to fill up the Sheriffships at present vacant in Scotland?

replied, that it was proposed to unite Kincardine with Aberdeen. With respect to Shetland and Orkney it was proposed that they should be united with Caithness, which was united with Sutherland. In that case the sheriff of Sutherland would also be appointed Sheriff of Ross. With regard to Fife, a sheriff would be appointed, and when a vacancy occurred in Clackmannan and Kinross, they would be united with Fife. These arrangements were substantially in consonance with the recommendations of the Scotch Judicature Commission.

Scotland—Scotch Bills

Question

said, he wished to ask the Lord Advocate, Whether he intends to proceed during the Session with any of the various Bills affecting Scotland which he has laid upon the Table of the House; and, if so, whether he will name the measures with which he intends to persevere; and whether he can state that he has a reasonable prospect of obtaining one Government day for the discussion of such measures?

replied, that it was his intention to proceed with the Scotch measures he had laid on the Table with two exceptions—namely, the Feudal Tenures Bill and the Land Valuation Bill, and he had a reasonable prospect of obtaining a Government day for the discussion of the Bills to be proceeded with.

Custom House Clerks

Question

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, On what grounds a decision has been arrived at not to grant the increased rate of pay to the Custom House Clerks which was recommended by a Government Commission in 1868, and which resulted in a Treasury Minute dated 28th November 1868, granting the said increase from the 1st April 1869?

said, in reply, that no such decision had been come to. The matter was postponed for further consideration.

Natural History Museum

Question

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, What steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to erect the new Natural History Museum on the Thames Embankment, as unanimously recommended by a Select Committee of last Session on the suggestion of Mr. Layard, then First Commissioner of Works, and with the approbation of the heads of the Natural History Department of the British Museum?

replied, that the Report of the Select Committee, which was entitled to every respect as far as relates to the merits of the question, could not be carried into effect without taking away a considerable quantity of land which had already been dedicated by Act of Parliament for the purpose of forming gardens and ornamental ground. The Government, after considering the Report and not denying the excellence of the plan suggested, were nevertheless not prepared to come to the House and ask for power for carrying out the arrangements which were recommended in this Report. The Government, therefore, had taken no steps in the direction indicated by the hon. Gentleman.

Parliament—Refreshment Rooms For Members—Question

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether he intends to propose a Vote during the present Session for providing now Refreshment Rooms for the Members of this House; whether he intends to adopt the Plan which is appended to the Report of the Select Committee of the House, dated 25th May last, and which has been altered by Captain Galton from the Plan of Mr. Barry, approved last year by the then First Commissioner of Works and by the Select Committee of the House of Lords; whether he has considered the objections raised by the Select Committee of the House of Lords in their Second Report to the altered Plan, and whether the altered Plan has been submitted to and approved by a competent professional architect; and, whether the preparation and execution of the final Plan will be entrusted to Mr. Barry or to some other competent professional architect?

said, in reply, that it was not for him to propose a Vote on the subject; but last year a Committee was appointed to inquire into the expediency of having new refreshment rooms for both Houses. Plans were laid before the Committee involving an expenditure of not less than £24,000, and the Committee did not recommend those plans. This year he moved for a Committee of a similar kind, and that Committee, having considered the plan laid before them, unanimously approved it. That plan was prepared by the officers of the Board of Works in consequence of his directions in reference to what he considered would be convenient to hon. Members. But while the Committee of that House was proceeding, the Lords' Committee presented a Report, proposing to deal with the matter in a peremptory-manner, and hon. Members who had read it would be able to judge how far it was consistent with the just authority of the Crown and with what was due to the House of Commons. After the Report was presented to the House, approving the plan as relates to the convenience of hon. Members, the Lords' Committee presented a further Report, and hon. Members who had read it might judge how far that Report also was consistent with the just authority of the Crown or with what was due to the House of Commons. These Reports were of such a nature that he felt it his duty to bring them under the consideration of the Government in conjunction with the Report of the Committee of that House. They involved very important questions; and, no doubt, the result would be that an arrangement would be made as regarded the wishes of the other House of Parliament which would enable the plan sanctioned by the Committee of this House to be carried into effect. No Estimate could be laid on the Table till the Government had come to a decision on the subject; but he expected that decision to be agreed to in a very few days, when an Estimate would be submitted for the consideration of the House. The plans had been prepared by officers of the Department of Works, who were perfectly competent to deal with the question. They were competent to perform the function of architects, and they would perform it much better than it had hitherto been performed.

Prison Ministers And Prisons Acts—Question

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, "What are the intentions of the Government with respect to the recommendations in the Report of the Select Committee on the operation of the Prison Ministers and Prisons Acts?

, in reply, said, his hon. Friend could hardly expect that the Government could undertake to legislate on that matter this Session. The Report, however, appeared to offer a very fair solution of a very difficult question, and he hoped next Session to bring in a Bill on the subject.

Assistant Surveyor Of Works

Question

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether it is true that it is in contemplation to create a new office of Assistant Surveyor of Works, and whether he has any objection to lay before the House the conditions of appointment and the qualifications required for the office, and in particular, whether he will state if the new Assistant Surveyor will be required "to design and superintend the execution of new buildings," and "should also be capable of making technical reports properly composed and spelt?"

, in reply, said, he thought the Question of the hon. Member was founded on some misconception. What had occurred was this—In consequence of the increase of duties thrown on the Office of Works it was found necessary to appoint an additional assistant surveyor, precisely on the same footing as the present assistant surveyor. He might have appointed an officer in the exercise of his patronage; but intimation was made to the subordinates in the office that they might compete for the appointment before the Civil Service Commissioners, who did not, however, he was sorry to say, report in favour of any of them. Intimation was then made to the Secretary of the Society of Architects, inviting applications from persons connected with that profession; but the secretary did not think it any part of his duty to make any intimation on the subject. It was, therefore, necessary to put a public notice in the newspapers. A number of applications had been received, and it would be for the Civil Service Commissioners to determine in the usual way what candidate proved himself most fit for the office.

said, he wished to ask whether the new Assistant Surveyor would be called on to design buildings?

said, the Civil Service Commissioners would have to prescribe the proper tests. It would be for them to say how far they should insist on qualifications to design buildings.

Parliament—Public Business

Observations

Sir, I wish to postpone the Order of the Day for the second reading of the Parliamentary Elections Bill from to night till Thursday week. I can confirm what my hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate has stated with regard to Public Business. After questions of first urgency immediately before us have been disposed of, we hope we may be able to apply ourselves to the two Scotch Bills on the Paper—the Law of Entail Bill and the Game Bill. With regard to the Parliamentary Elections Bill, the future movements of the Government must somewhat depend on circumstances; but I am willing to hope as long as I can that we may be able to proceed with it. I cannot say I have any very sanguine hopes; but some hopes I shall continue to cherish till we arrive at the time when progress may prove impossible. I wish also to say that there are several other Bills, in addition to the two Scotch Bills mentioned, which we find it will be necessary to abandon—the Real Estate Bill, the Inclosures Bill, and the Turnpike Roads Bill, in lieu of which a Continuance Bill will be introduced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

asked if the Merchant Shipping Bill would be proceeded with during the present Session?

I think it probable that Bill will not be proceeded with. In reply to Lord JOHN MANNERS,

said, it was the intention of the Government to give a day to the Scotch Bills before proceeding with the Civil Service Estimates.

said, he wished to call the attention of the House to the unsatisfactory state of Public Business, very much, as he thought, from the practice of counting out the House. At this period of the Session it was only right that private Members should be afforded opportunities of clearing the Notice Paper; and hon. Members below the Gangway, being for the most part professional men and men in business, felt acutely the position in which they were placed, and considered that they had a fair claim to assistance in this matter at the hands of the Government. They had no chance of bringing forward their Motions unless the Government would take measures to insure a House in the evening after Morning Sittings. For his own part, he should like to see some alteration made in the present system. This was not the only obstruction of business. No later than the 17th of last month the proceedings in the House resembled a walking match at 2 o'clock in the morning, and he almost felt disposed to wonder that the thing had not got into the sporting papers. To put himself in order, he would conclude by moving that this House do now adjourn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—( Mr. Eykyn.)

said, he was able, in great part, to confirm what his hon. Friend (Mr. Eykyn) had said. He was in this unfortunate position—that he had had a Bill upon the Orders, and had come down to the House on three different occasions when he found that it had been counted out, and these three occasions had occurred since Whitsuntide. But he did not complain so much of the conduct of the Government as he did of the system of Day Sittings. Upon the occasions to which he referred the Government in each case had taken up the earlier hours of the day with Government Business. He thought that, after a Day Sitting occupied with Government Business, private Members who had Motions to bring forward in the evening ought to have the assistance of the Government in keeping a House. But he thought the time had come when the whole system of counting out the House ought to be considered. It struck him that the system was a remnant of barbarous times. ["No, no!"] At all events, it was very little in accordance with the reforms that had lately taken place in the procedure of that House, and the despatch of Public Business. To count out the House was a very proper protection to their constituents when public money was being voted; but that was the only time when the practice ought to be allowed. It was a practice which placed in the hands of a single Member a greater power than 38 others who might be present collectively possessed. The hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins), who was certainly very clever in the art of counting out the House, was here on Friday evening within two minutes after 9 o'clock, and he immediately called attention to the fact that there were not 40 Members present. If counting out were to be allowed at all, at least the Member who proposed it should do so from his place in the House, so that it might be known who it was that counted out the House.

said, as he had a Motion on the Paper on Friday when the House was counted out, he hoped the House would indulge him for one or two minutes. He had no complaint to make against the Government, though he thought the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), and other supporters of the Ministry who had Notices on the Paper, might fairly complain that the other day, when they had had a Morning Sitting for Government purposes, only two Members of the Government were on the Treasury Bench when the count-out took place. ["Five!"] There were only two when attention was called to the fact, though others might have come in afterwards; but he had not the honour of being a supporter of the Government, and, therefore, he could not ask them to keep a House for him. But though he had no right to complain of the Government, he thought he had a right to complain of a personal and political Friend. It was extraordinary, as the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) remarked, that on three occasions the House had been counted out by the hon. Member (Mr. Collins), and that on the occasion of the Bill which had been referred to, and of which his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Collins) professed to be a supporter, he had in the course of two hours made no fewer than 10 Motions for Adjournment, which did no good to anybody—except to those hon. Gentlemen who wished to stand well in the Parliamentary Buff Book, as it gave them an opportunity of making up their score. He was sorry the hon. Member was not present, as he had given him private notice of his intention to allude to his conduct; but it did appear to him that this was an extraordinary method of supporting a Bill. The hon. Member was an old Member of this House, and he (Mr. E. N. Fowler) was a young one; but it did appear to his unsophisticated mind that three counts-out and 10 Motions for Adjournment was a very peculiar mode of supporting a Bill. He did not know what the feelings of the hon. Member for Oldham might be; but were he in his place he should be tempted to apply to this conduct the lines which hon. Members would remember—

"Of all the evils which Heaven's wrath can send, Save me—oh, save me—from a candid friend."

said, as a young Member of the House, he must strongly deprecate the abolition of the practice of counts-out. They afforded the only relief to jaded Cabinet Ministers, and the only safeguard to private Members against the lengthy and wearisome speeches to which it had been his fortune now to listen to for 18 months, which he felt was 18 months too much. Counts-out, moreover, afforded the only protection against the crotchets of wearisome would-be legislators.

said, he did not rise to defend the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins), who was perfectly able to defend himself; but, after what had been said by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), he must recall to the recollection of the House that the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins) invariably made his Motion that the House be counted out from his place in the House.

Sir, I think it only necessary to say that the Government have always acknowledged it to be their duty to make some effort on Friday evening for the purpose of securing a House at 9 o'clock. But it is not quite fair to adopt the doctrine of my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. Eykyn), who appears to think that, after sitting for 41 hours last week, the Government had nothing to do except to come bodily down on Friday evening for the purpose of constituting the necessary 40 Members. [Mr. EYKYN dissented.] The words went to that—that it was the duty of Members of the Government, as contradistinguished from all other Members of the House, to be here in their own persons even after a week of such labour as that. I was obliged to state at the commencement of this Session that not merely on Friday evening, but at all times, from causes connected in some degree with the improvements of locomotive arrangements out-of-doors, there would be increasing difficulty in keeping the House. I can state, on the part of the Government, that there have been a variety of occasions when not Public Business merely, but important Government Business, has been under discussion between the magical hours of half-past 7 and half-past 9 o'clock, when such has been the decrease of power—for there has not been any decrease of exertion on the part of the Government—that they have been indebted to the compassion of hon. Members for keeping a House. Of course, hon. Members will, to a certain extent, exert their own judgment and look at the nature of the Motions that happen to be on the Notice Paper; and if any want of interest happens to be felt in these Motions, or in such portions of these Motions as are likely to occupy a particular interval, that will tell very powerfully on the attendance of Members at the particular moment. I am very much disposed to agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) that the subject deserves some consideration; but it is not quite accurate to say that the House was counted out upon three occasions since Whitsuntide after Morning Sittings; there have been two counts-out after Morning Sittings, and one which had not been so preceded. But my hon. Friend will bear in mind that a count-out of the House, especially on Tuesday, has been a practice that was apt to happen two or three times in the course of every Session. I do not disguise that it is our duty, within reasonable limits, to do what we can for the convenience of private Members. Undoubtedly, the attendance of Members of the Government on Friday night was not large enough to keep the House together; but it is fair to remember that they formed nearly a third of all who were present, and that they had sat the previous night till 2 or 3 in the morning. Considering that the Government is only an 18th or a 20th part of the whole House, I think that is no evidence of their remissness in their duty.

Sir, I think there is one point that ought to be considered, and that is the necessity of some considerable reserve in ascertaining whether there is a quorum or not when the House reassembles at 9 o'clock. I know from my own experience, when sitting at the other side of the Table, that when we had Evening Sittings at 9 o'clock there were several occasions on which there was an attempt to count the House almost before Mr. Speaker had taken his seat; and it was only from the practised tact of the right hon. Gentleman, which was beneficially exercised for the sake of the House, that the House was not counted out at that very moment. I am myself disposed not to change our rules and regulations, but to trust rather to the ability of the right hon. Gentleman who presides over us, and the good sense and good feeling of hon. Members. Still, I think this is a point on which there ought to be some reserve. I do not like to propose that, at the right time, it I should not be in the power of any Member to ascertain whether there is a quorum or not whenever the House assembles; but I think there ought to be an honourable understanding between; both sides of the House not to avail themselves of this privilege the moment that Mr. Speaker takes the Chair. Even if the pending discussion be interesting, I or likely to prove of interest, and even if there be a bonâ fide desire on the part of Gentlemen in considerable numbers on both sides of the House to be present, it is almost impossible to insure a House being made if practice so very sharp is followed. My own feeling is that I would rather leave it to the gentlemanlike instincts of both sides of the House than have any rigid rule upon the subject; but if an understanding were arrived at that a certain period, say a quarter of an hour, of grace was to be allowed—[An hon. MEMBER: Half an hour]—if a quarter of an hour of grace were allowed after Mr. Speaker has taken his seat before it is attempted to ascertain whether there is a quorum, there would be every opportunity of gratifying the legitimate wish for discussion, if such really existed, and any disagreeable incidents might be avoided.

The right hon. Gentleman relies for the success of his proposal on the good feeling of the House itself, a spirit which he has always conspicuously displayed, and against which I certainly have nothing to say. But the objection to the plan is, that Members relying on this quarter of an hour of grace may not come down until it has expired, and when they do arrive may find that the question before the House at the commencement of its sitting, possibly of great importance has, already been disposed of. I think if the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) would say a friendly word in private to the hon. Member (Mr. Collins), who seems to be the chief culprit in this question, it might have a most wholesome influence. But the House must not forget that counts-out upon Friday evenings are a result of our own modern practice. In former times they rarely occurred; because hon. Members knew that if a count-out occurred before the Motion, "That this House at its rising do adjourn to Monday" had been agreed to, it inevitably followed that there must be a meeting of the House upon Saturday; and after it was agreed to the business was Government Business: the result was that counts-out on Friday night very rarely happened. My recollection of the matter is this—Thursday night was an independent Members' night, and they had the advantage of bringing forward their business before the House was exhausted, as it is at present on Fridays, by the labours of the week. Friday night, on the contrary, was a Government night, and there never was such a thing known as a count-out on a Friday. Unfortunately, however, hon. Gentlemen commenced the practice of raising debates on the Question of adjournment to Monday, as they do now on the Motion for going into Committee of Supply. Thus, the Government Business was put off till a late hour in the evening, and sometimes never came on at all—this created dissatisfaction; and the result was that Thursday was made a Government night, Friday being constituted a Supply night, and the Motion for adjournment got rid of; of course it was understood that the Government would make a House and keep a House. All this has been forgotten; and I certainly do not think we can expect hon. Gentlemen who have been sitting here all the week to come down early on Friday evening to keep a House. I am often astonished when I see my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government sitting in his place for so many hours, and when I think of the enormous amount of labour he undergoes. Indeed, one of the evils of the present time is, in my opinion, the tremendous extent to which we tax the physical powers and the intellects of our leading public men. Yet when we see our leading public men prostrated we are surprised to find that the human frame and the human brain will not stand so large an amount of work. If we were less exacting, both with regard to the length of the debates and the demands we are continually making on Ministers to bring in Bills on every conceivable subject, the public service would be greatly benefited, and we should have no more questions about counts-out, which are merely caused by the reaction of a fatigued House.

said, that under the present arrangements it was almost impossible for a private Member to carry an opposed Bill. He himself had introduced a measure at the early period of the Session, and it was read a second time before the end of March; but up to the present time he had failed to get it into Committee.

Sir, I think I ought to say a word in favour of the hon. Member who moved that the House be counted on Friday evening (Mr. Collins). If any hon. Gentleman will take the trouble to look at the Notices which were down for that evening he will not be at all surprised that the Motion was made.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

University Tests Bill—Bill 105

( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Solicitor General, Mr. William Edward Forster.)

Consideration

Order for Consideration read.

Bill, as amended, considered.

said, he rose to move a clause to the effect that nothing in the Bill should open any office to any person not a member of the Church of England, where such office was, by the intention of the founder or donor, confined to a member of that Church, and where the income of such office was payable out of the produce of property or moneys given by private persons out of their own resources since the year 1562. He was glad the question had been postponed to the present time, because in the interval there had been an animated discussion on denominational education. It was not known that the Government were prepared to support denominational education in the public elementary schools, and yet they were averse to maintaining it in the Universities. When the Bill was tinder the consideration of the House last year, the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) proposed to remove its permissive character and to render it compulsory, but his Amendment was rejected and the Government refused to mate any alteration. Indeed, they could not not consistently do so, because, as the endowed schools and the public schools were permitted to retain their denominational character, it was impossible for them to take a different course with regard to the Universities. This year, however, there had been a complete change in the aspect of the question. During the Recess the Government thought fit to throw a sop to hon. Gentlemen below their Gangway, and the Bill was accordingly converted into a compulsory one. It was defended by his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General in as subversive and revolutionary a speech in respect to the rights of property as he had ever heard delivered by a Minister. His hon. and learned Friend expressed himself as follows:—

"Parliament has always asserted its right from the earliest times to deal with property in Mortmain. Every one who gave property in Mortmain, or founded a College, or gave property to a corporation, ecclesiastical or lay, has done so with the knowledge that Parliament could deal with these institutions as they might think fit. The two Universities had been so dealt with by Parliament over and over again, and notably on the occasion when the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity were passed. He denied any different principle of legislation. The broad principle upon which Government proceeded was that from lapse of time these great institutions had in all cases acquired so thoroughly a national character, and were so far in point of opinion separated from those who founded them, that it was only just that they should be thrown open to a wider range."
While upon this point he (Mr. Bentinck) could only express his surprise that his hon. and learned Friend limited the application of this doctrine to property in mortmain; and it was clear that Parliament had the right and power, if it chose, to deal with any property after the same fashion—even the private property of his hon. and learned Friend. But he (Mr. Bentinck) denied the existence of any such principle as that asserted. It was clearly opposed to law. To show this he would cite a short extract, of the highest authority, contained in a judgment delivered by the late Lord Lyndhurst as the joint opinion of himself and of Baron Alderson and Justice Patteson in the celebrated case of "the Lady Hewley Charities." Lord Lyndhurst said—
"I agree entirely in the principle stated by the learned Judges (Baron Alderson and Justice Patteson) upon which this case must be decided. In every case of charity where the object be directed to religious purposes, or to purposes purely civil, it is the duty of the Court to give effect to the intent of the founder, provided this can be done without infringing any known rule of law. If the terms of the deed be clear and precise in language, and clear and precise in the application, the course of the Court is free from difficulty. If, on the other hand, the terms which are made use of are doubtful, it becomes the duty of the Court to ascertain by evidence what was the intent of the founder. It is a question of fact to be determined by evidence, and the moment the fact is ascertained the application of the principle is clear and easy. It can scarcely be necessary to cite authorities in support of these principles, they are founded in common sense and common justice. I look upon it that these principles are clear and established—that they admit of no doubt whatever."
He (Mr. Bentinck) ventured to affirm that these principles of common sense and common justice still existed in full force. Moreover, he denied altogether the soundness of his hon. and learned Friend's argument as to the action of Parliament when the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity were passed. Parliament instead of being as now almost the chief Governing Body in the State, was obliged to do in a great measure whatever the Sovereign desired, and it was idle to say that, because an Act of Supremacy was passed in 1534, and an Act of a similar character on the accession of Queen Elizabeth, the results of such legislation had any application to the present time. He asserted that the doctrine of the Solicitor General was opposed to all Parliamentary legislation of modern times, and he defied him to produce a case where Parliament had deliberately overruled the law and diverted a trust fund which was being beneficially applied according to the intention of the donor from the objects designated. But he (Mr. Bentinck) would now leave the Solicitor General in order to deal with the Prime Minister, who had lately made a declaration entirely contrary to that of his hon. and learned Friend. Last year the right hon. Gentleman broke a silence of four years upon this very question, and then, though admitting a modification of his views, committed himself to the statement that ample liberty should be given to those—
"Who founded Colleges for the maintenance of their own particular religion with whatever restrictions they thought proper, and that these restrictions ought to be respected as the offspring of conscientious convictions," and added," he would accede to no Bill without just and adequate securities for religious education in the Universities and Colleges."
Besides, one of the leading principles of the Bill which he had introduced with regard to the Irish Church was that private endowments were to be respected. It was true that he drew a line at the year 1660, on the ground afterwards demolished by the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire—that this detail did not affect the doctrine clearly stated by the right hon. Gentleman to depend on three conditions, namely—1. The endowment must be from the private resources of a private person. 2. It must be devoted to endowing a particular religious persuasion or system. 3. It must be a gift to the same religious persuasion as that on whose behalf it was to be severed from the mass. He (Mr. Bentinck) could not understand, then, why the same principle should not be applied to the private property of the Church of England in this country. There was no difficulty in fixing a date in the matter, because it must be that of the 39 Articles, and of the Prayer Book as it now stood. He saw no good reason under these circumstances why the right hon. Gentleman should not accept his Amendment. But the right hon. Gentleman, always fertile in expedient, foresaw the difficulty which lay in his path, and consequently had, in his speech on the second reading of the Bill this Session, stated that—
"It was impossible, he thought, that endowments, which were made before the Reformation—or after the Reformation—at the time when the parties wishing to endow had no choice given them between one religious communion and another, could be regarded as having been finally or absolutely appropriated by the wills of the founders, to the purpose of one communion after the policy of the State had been altered and rival communions became entitled to claim equal civil rights …. Certainly until the passing of the Toleration Act, and possibly until a later period, it would be impracticable for his right hon. Friend to urge an argument to show that the founder of a particular endowment had the Church of England in his views, because, until that time, other religions were not recognized or permitted by the law."—[3 Hansard, cci. 1230.]
He (Mr. Bentinck) would accept the challenge and venture to urge an argument which he was quite sure could not be answered. Did the right hon. Gentleman seriously mean to contend that previous to 1688 a man could not know his own mind, and was incapable of making an endowment? Was he prepared to maintain that at the present day it was not possible for any individual in a country in which there was no other religion but one to make to the Church a valid gift? Would the Under Secretary for the Colonies or the Judge Advocate maintain that no Roman Catholic in Rome or Spain was capable of making a gift of that kind? Would be maintain that between 1562–1658 Nonconformists and Roman Catholics were in a frenzy to endow Anglicanism, when many of them preferred death to conformity? Summed up, then, the right hon. Gentleman's argument was this—that a man was debarred from endowing a Church with which he agreed because he was by law prohibited from endowing one with which he disagreed. The only disproof of such a position was by a reductio ad absurdum. But if the conclusion of the right hon. Gentleman was not sufficiently preposterous it was upset by himself—for, fixing the date of 1660 in the Irish Church Bill, he had admitted a space of 28 years, during which these private endowments were to be respected. It was useless to argue with the right hon. Gentleman and the majority at his back, that, now that the country had pronounced, against secularists, he saw no reason why the Amendment should not be adopted and justice done. But then it was said by his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General that the endowments in the case of the Universities ought to confer the largest amount of good on the greatest number. Well, that being so, he believed there was not an instance of a College, either at Oxford or Cambridge, which was not quite full, while as regarded religious teaching he was satisfied, on the best authority, that there existed, no objections on the part of the parents of England, whether they belonged to the Church or to the religious Dissenting Bodies; on the contrary, he knew of many instances where Dissenting parents had declined to avail themselves of the option they possessed of withdrawing their sons from the religious instruction of the Colleges. That compulsion which the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) was pleased to call "clerical bombardment," was a pure fallacy, and he (Mr. Bentinck) was bound to say he thought that term most improper for a young Member of this House to apply to the teachers of religion in the Colleges—a body both revered and respected by all who knew them. The noble Lord's knowledge of history was extensive but not deep, or he would have recollected one historical fact of no little importance to himself—namely, that when the "small, obscure, and illiterate village in Wilts"—as the constituency he now represented was termed by his political leader, the right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright)—was threatened with disfranchisement, it was saved from such a fate by the exertions of the Conservative party; and on the ground that it usually sent to Parliament a Member favourable to the rights of property, and was at the time represented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was then a strong Conservative, but who had now abandoned his principles to take Office with his chief assailants. The real promoters of this measure were avowed secularists and bitter sectarians, such as the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield), who to injure the Church or demolish a Bishop would proceed to any length, and for that purpose ally himself with the Pope of Home, or any earthly power; and he (Mr. Bentinck) held it was a monstrous act of tyranny to deny what the parents of England required, to satisfy a few restless spirits in the University, and a political party who waged war against property in every shape, and were insensible to the principles of common justice and common sense.

COLONEL GRAY seconded the Motion.

Clause (Offices confined to members of the Church of England,)—( Mr. Bentinck,)— brought up, and read the first time.

said, the speech of the hon. Gentleman was, in reality, a carefully prepared reply to what had been said in the debate on the second reading of the Bill. He thought it was rather inconvenient that replies should be made some weeks after the delivery of the speeches to which they referred; it did not tend either to the advantage of the House or to the advantage of Public Business. He did not need to go into a long defence of his "revolutionary and subversive" speech on the second reading, but he adhered to the convictions he then expressed, and he repeated that Parliament had from the earliest times asserted its right to a peculiar and exceptional jurisdiction over property held in mortmain, and that any Englishman who gave land in mortmain did so with the knowledge that Parliament would, from time to time, review the conditions on which that property was held, and might from time to time alter them. If that was a revolutionary opinion he held it, and now asserted it again in the face of the hon. Member. The hon. Member had made a singular mistake in quoting the opinions of Lord Lyndhurst, Mr. Baron Alderson, and Mr. Justice Patteson in support of his arguments, because the duty of the Judges was only to ascertain what was the law, and to apply it to the cases before them whether they approved it or not, and he was the best Judge who adhered most closely to the law and administered it most accurately. Parliament, however, had not to consider what the law was, but what it ought to be, and they sat there to alter and improve the law where they saw it was faulty. The question, therefore, was not what the Judges might have said, but what the House of Commons, from consideration, thought the law ought to be with regard to this matter. It appeared to him that the law might fairly be altered in the sense proposed by this Bill, because, as a broad general principle, and without binding himself to particular cases, he was prepared to repeat that, if a person had given land to religious, ecclesiastical, or educational institutions of any kind, which had had the enjoyment of those endowments for one, two, or three centuries, they had had, according to the principles ordinarily applied to such matters, a very fair share of influence over their fellow-creatures, and if, at the end of that time, the Legislature of the country thought that the property should be applied to other purposes, equally public, but somewhat different in detail from those to which it was originally applied, it would be fair and just that the Legislature should make that application. Nothing could be less to the point than the case of the disestablishment of the Irish Church, because in that case the Church was stripped of all her property, but in this not one sixpence was taken away. All that was done by this Bill was to leave the Church of England equally at liberty to contend for the enjoyment of these possessions with other communities in the country, and it only withdrew an exceptional Parliamentary protection from the holders of particular religious opinions in order to allow persons who held other opinions to compete fairly for honours and emoluments. The Government could not accede to the clause proposed by the hon. Gentleman.

said, the House had been told several times by the hon. and learned Gentleman that Parliament might alter or abolish the trusts on which Church or corporate property was held, because in the days of the Plantagenets laws were enacted restraining the alienation of land in mortmain; but to prevent giving land to religious uses, and to confiscate it after it had been legally given were two very different things; and the hon. and learned Gentleman had entirely omitted to state the reason, which no longer existed, for that early legislation. The Law of Mortmain was enacted when the military defence of the country rested upon the land, and therefore it was necessary to throw impediments in the way of its alienation; but now all that was changed, and from the reign of Queen Elizabeth to George II. land was freely bequeathed. In the latter reign restrictions were revived because of serious abuses which were said to be incident to that form of bequest. He maintained, therefore, that the argument on which the hon. and learned Gentleman relied was wholly without historical foundation. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that no injustice was done by this Bill, because, although it might be true that property, which was bequeathed by a founder for the exclusive use of a College in connection with the Church of England was thrown open to all other religious denominations, the Church of England was not deprived of that property; but he would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman what he would think of a Bill which professed that his property was not taken away from him although everybody else was allowed to enjoy it? That argument savoured too much of legal subtlety and ingenuity, and did not meet the real and substantial case of injustice that was provided for by the Amendment, which he should consequently support.

said, that he could not entirely agree in the opinion of the noble Lord the Member for South Leicestershire (Lord John Manners) with respect to the law of mortmain, That system of law, in fact, originated in, and was traceable during, the Saxon dynasties of this country. The monastic institutions were broken up during the reign of Henry VIII in deference to its principle, and that principle was acted upon during the reign of Edward VI. Queen Mary procured a statute suspending the law against alienations in mortmain, because she desired the restoration of the monastic and conventual orders of the Church of Borne in all the magnitude of their former possessions. Queen Elizabeth did not re-enact the law of mortmain, because she was anxious to establish a national Church, and therefore let that law fall into abeyance; but the purpose of this Bill was to deprive the Established Church of property, and therefore was contrary to the object of Elizabeth. It was at present the law that no corporation should have a right to establish itself in the possession of that vast influence which the unrestricted holding of land was calculated to confer. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to think that House so completely a debating club that speeches were only made there for purposes of the hour, and in order to obtain a majority, and that then they were meant to be forgotten. Now, in his view, past debates were not to be so treated. They were reasons submitted to this Assembly in framing laws intended not for to-day, but for all time, and, however convenient it might be for the Solicitor General to ignore these debates, he could not take that view of them. As to the dicta uttered by Lord Lyndhurst, the case of Lady Hewley's charity was perfectly in point, and the principle on which this Dissenting charity was maintained ought in equity to apply to the maintenance of these possessions of the Church of England. If you took away this property, changing its application and diverting it from the Church of England, you ought in equity to take away and divert the property of every denomination. Hon. Gentlemen might command a majority now, but great principles worked through majorities, and lasted longer than majorities. If this destructive principle were adopted by hon. Gentlemen opposite, their turn would come, and the Roman Catholics, who were now their allies, would certainly turn against them. The doctrine that neither prescription nor length of possession ought to give a title was a novel and a dangerous one, and he saw in it the elements of destruction to all corporate property. Nor would it be limited to all corporate property, but it would tend to the subversion of private property also. He therefore concurred with the hon. Member for Whitehaven, disapproving the Bill as one founded on revolutionary doctrines.

said, he should not have proposed the clause at all if it had not been for the change of policy on the part of the Government in reference to the Elementary Education Bill.

Motion made, and Question, "That the said Clause be now read a second time," put, and negatived.

said, he understood that the Government intended to accede to the clause of which he had given Notice, providing that a copy of every College charter should be laid before Parliament. The granting of a charter by the Crown was a great act of State with reference to an institution like a College, and, therefore, Parliament should co-operate with the Crown on such a subject. This course had been pursued in the case of the statutes of the public schools; and he, therefore, proposed the clause of which he had given Notice.

Clause,—

(Copy of College Charter to be laid before Parliament.)
(That if, after the passing of this Act a Charter shall be granted to any College or other institution in the nature of a College, a copy of such Charter shall be presented to Parliament, and no such Charter shall be of any force or effect until the expiration of thirty days from the time when it shall have been so presented,)—(Mr. Vernon Harcourt,)

brought up, and read the first and second time.

said, the object of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) was to throw impediments in the way of the future foundation of denominational Colleges; but this was not a matter of very great consequence, for, after the vague way in which the Solicitor General had spoken as to the time for which founders' wills were to be allowed to stand, he did not think much property was likely to be left for the foundation of denominational Colleges, and therefore few charters would be applied for. The Solicitor General also hinted broadly that the Liberal Government would be likely to carry out their principles of religious liberty by refusing to grant charters to foundations for the purpose of securing definite religious instruction to those who might wish for it. He would suggest, however, to the hon. and learned Member that it would be unfair and invidious to limit the clause to Colleges in connection with the Church of England. As the clause stood, it applied only to the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, where other denominations would not be likely to establish Colleges. He did not see why the same hindrance to denominational Colleges should not apply to the Universities of London and Dublin, and also to the Scotch Universities. He did not see why, at the University of London, which, in one respect, was more national than either Oxford or Cambridge, being supported by Imperial taxation, any body of Nonconformists should be permitted, without the knowledge of Parliament, to found a denominational College, while at Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham Churchmen were not allowed to do so. Again, as regarded Dublin, he did not see why, looking at the secret working of the Roman Catholics, and the notorious favour with which denominational Colleges in Dublin were regarded by the Government, the Catholics should be able to obtain, without the sanction of Parliament, a charter for a Roman Catholic College there, no would, therefore, suggest the insertion of the words "within the United Kingdom," after the words "in the nature of a College," making the clause general, instead of limiting it to Oxford, Cambridge, or Durham. It might be said that his Amendment was beyond the scope of the Bill; but would not the same objection apply to the clause? And would not the insertion of the clause involve the alteration of the Preamble of the Bill?

said, he wished to explain that he framed his clause as widely as he could, and he had hoped to cover all Colleges, and more particularly the University of Dublin. The hon. Baronet would see that in the clause itself there were no words of limitation. He was afraid, from the title of the Bill, that its operation would be restricted to the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham; but certainly the clause as it was drawn would apply to all Universities.

said, if he was in Order he should be ready to move words to alter the Preamble; but his object was simply to apply a clause, to which he entirely objected, fairly and impartially to every religious denomination.

expressed a hope that the Preamble of the Bill would not be altered. He did not approve of the clause, and it would be an unsafe course of legislation to go into such a broad constitutional question as the Prerogative of the Crown on the Bill before the House.

said, he was obliged to make a double protest against the speech of the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). It was neither just nor in very good taste for the hon. Baronet, without a shadow of evidence, to impute to the Government that they were anxious to promote the establishment of denominational Colleges in Ireland, more especially when the hon. Baronet had been a contented member of a Government which proposed to found and endow out of the Consolidated Fund a denominational College in Ireland. It was perfectly gratuitous on the part of the hon. Baronet to impute what he had imputed to the present Government. The hon. Baronet had expressed himself favourable of denominational education; but regarding the clause as intended to throw impediments in the way of denominational education, the hon. Baronet, while disapproving it, would be satisfied with it if all were made to suffer alike. He (Mr. Gladstone) did not understand the consistency of that process of reasoning; but the hon. Baronet did not fairly describe the clause. As he (Mr. Gladstone) understood it it was not intended to throw impediments in the way of denominational education, but simply to bring any action of the Crown in re- gard to denominational Colleges under the review of Parliament; and so far it had the approval of the Government. They did not, unfortunately, agree on a former occasion with his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) with regard to Colleges hereafter to be founded in our Universities, because they thought it desirable to leave the founders free to make them denominational or not, and in that the House agreed; but now his hon. and learned Friend proposed to bring every action of the Crown with reference to charters under the view and control of Parliament, and the Government coincided with him in that object. He was inclined to believe there was something in the observation of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope) which required consideration. Looking hastily at the clause, he and the learned Solicitor General thought it was framed on the basis of the provisions of various Acts of Parliament, which required that the action of the Crown in the exercise of its prerogative should be brought under the view of Parliament, but his hon. and learned Friend went a little farther and said—"no such Charter shall have any force or effect until the expiration of 30 days from the time when it shall have been so presented." As far as he was aware analogy did not go so far as that. What was sustained by analogy and precedent was this—that when the Crown had done an executive act within its power, it took immediate effect, notwithstanding that it was liable to be cancelled on the intervention of Parliament. That he thought was the proper form to be given to this clause. It was a different thing to say the Act should be null and void ab initio until after a certain time had elapsed. They knew there were proceedings of the Crown that were liable to be cancelled by the intervention of Parliament; but that was a different thing to a matter being cancelled in the manner proposed by the clause. It was a matter of form; but he hoped his hon. and learned Friend would not object to the clause being amended in the manner he had proposed.

said, he had heard with a little alarm the words which had fallen from the First Minister of the Crown. It seemed to him that the change his right hon. Friend had recommended, would practically give either House of Parliament power, by an Address to the Crown, to stop the action of the Crown in granting a charter, which would throw greater difficulties in the foundation of Colleges than the clause as proposed. They ought to pause and consider before they introduced such a limitation as that would be upon the power of the Crown to grant charters. He very much preferred the words of the clause as it stood.

said, they were using obsolete terms, for now the exercise of the Prerogative of the Crown was, in reality, the act of the Ministry; if a charter was granted, it would be granted by the Ministry; and they ought to have regard to the substance of the proceeding rather than to a phrase. It was the act of the Minister for the time being that Parliament was called upon to approve or object to.

said, he could not help thinking that too much force had been attributed to the words of the clause by his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, and he and his right hon. Friend were of opinion that it would be better to leave it as it stood and not attempt to alter it. In the case of colonial Acts reserved for the approval of the Crown, its action did not take effect until they had been submitted to the judgment of both Houses of Parliament for a certain length of time.

said, the hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), if he pressed his Amendment to the clause, would find he had many supporters below the Gangway on that side of the House. He maintained with the hon. Baronet that the same measure ought to be dealt out to the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and Dublin. The London University stood in a somewhat different position to the others, it being in reality simply a Board of examiners. There were no Colleges affiliated to it, and it took no notice where the candidates came from. They had had some reason to be suspicious of the action to be pursued by both sides of the House in reference to education in Ireland. The First Minister had reminded the hon. Baronet that he was a supporter of the party who proposed to grant a charter for a Roman Catholic University in Ireland; but the First Minister and many who sat on the Government Benches with him were mem- bers of a Government who, if they had granted a supplemental charter to Queen's College, would have dealt a fatal blow to united education in Ireland. But for an accident the charter would have been granted without being found out. That narrow escape was the reason why they were so anxious that the question of University education in Ireland should be discussed next Session on its merits, and that nothing should be introduced into this Bill that could be treated as a precedent in favour of denominational or any other particular system of education.

said, he would move, to amend the clause by inserting the words "within the United Kingdom." In reply to the attack that had been made upon him by the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown, he begged to remind him that the Government of which he was a Member, whilst it supported a Vote of money being granted out of the Consolidated Fund for the establishment of a University in Ireland, would also have supported denominational education in our English Universities; but if denominational Colleges were not to be permitted in England he did not see why they should not be prohibited in Ireland. He wanted to see the two things go together.

Amendment proposed, in line 2 of the Clause, after the second word "College," to insert the words "within the United Kingdom."—( Sir Michael Hicks-Beach.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Speaker, whether what was proposed would come within the title of the Bill?

The whole question involved in the subject-matter of the Bill may be raised on the Report. Under these circumstances the hon. Member would have power to move such words, although if adopted they would necessitate an alteration in the title of the Bill.

said, if there was any doubt as to the regularity of the proceeding, the Government would be prepared to relieve the House from that difficulty, by undertaking to bring in a separate Bill, and pass it themselves, on the terms to which they had now agreed.

said, if the Motion of the hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was carried there would be no object in his (Mr. Aytoun's) moving the Amendment which he had on the Paper. He regretted that the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) had not gone to a Division on the question of leaving out the words in Clause 3, "subsisting at the time of the passing of this Act." But as that was not done, and as he felt very strongly against the establishment of denominational Universities in Ireland, and feared that if the present occasion was allowed to pass they would be told next year that they objected to denominational education in Ireland because of their dislike to Roman Catholicism, but that they were silent when the same question in regard to Oxford and Cambridge was before the House, he had given notice to move the omission of the words. For his own part, he could not help fearing that there was a strong desire on the part of the Government now in Office to establish denominational education in Ireland, and for that reason he would vote with the hon. Baronet if he went to a Division.

trusted his hon. Friend would not proceed to a Division, as he (Mr. B. Hope) would certainly have to go into an opposite Lobby. They had a Bill before them which had been printed and brought under the attention of the country, and his hon. Friend proposed at once to deal with a very important constitutional principle by trying to alter the right of private founders of educational institutions throughout the country to get that stability which a Royal charter gave them. Hitherto there had been only two contracting parties, the body applying for a charter and the Crown who granted it; and, whether this proposal was right or wrong, it should be a matter for a specific Bill brought in and properly debated, and not tossed on the floor of the House as on the present occasion. He trusted, therefore, his hon. Friend would not press the question to a Division.

said, he would remind his hon. Friend that there were two parties to withdrawing the Amendment, and a considerable number of Members had no desire whatever that the Amendment should be withdrawn. Since Mr. Speaker had solved his doubt as to whether the question could be raised, he had no hesitation in supporting the Amendment of the hon. Baronet.

said, there was but one opinion in the House, and that was that this was too large a subject to enter upon at that moment. The hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had brought forward the question, which was not in the Preamble of the Bill, in rather a hasty manner, and it was naturally eagerly grasped on the other (the Liberal) side. Under the circumstances, he felt bound to move the adjournment of the debate.

said, he thought the impolicy of proceeding with the Amendment was shown by the course Her Majesty's Government thought fit to take on the present occasion. They had had one interpretation of the Amendment from the First Minister of the Crown, another from the Solicitor General, who, in his turn, differed from the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer). This was a most important question; and though he quite agreed with his hon. Friend (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), that if they were going to limit denominational education in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, they ought to do the same in Dublin, and that they should not subscribe to what seemed to be the doctrine of the Liberal party, that they were only to have liberty on one side, he yet thought there was great force in the point dwelt on by his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope). Had his hon. Friend (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) considered what he might do if he were successful—that he might alter the Prerogative of the Crown in establishing educational institutions? This was a matter which, as the First Minister of the Crown said, should be considered in a separate Bill. The right hon. Gentleman, in order to satisfy his suspicious adherents below the Gangway, said that he would bring in and pass such a Bill. He thought, no doubt, he could pass anything. However that might be, he thought it extremely inconvenient that the House should arrive at a hasty decision for the purpose of establishing the abstract principle which he believed was not in accordance with the opinion of the House, that denominational education was bad for the world at large. If hon. Members would not consent to a withdrawal of the Amendment, he hoped his hon. Friend would persist in his Motion for the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—( Mr. Stopford-Sackville.)

said, he could not help thinking that the Government were rather badly treated in this matter. After the statement of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone), and after having twice divided against a number of their most earnest supporters, not in defence so much of denominational education as of leaving future founders as free as possible, it was rather hard to be accused, of insincerity. What was the position in which they were now placed. Here was a measure which dealt with these Universities—a question of future charters, and of charters to future Colleges in those Universities. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) raised a question which, if not within the principle of the Bill, was cognate to the Bill, and sufficiently connected with it to form part of it. Well, the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), because he thought the Government were not sincere about denominational education, moved an Amendment, extending the whole scope of the Bill far beyond the Universities of Oxford, and Cambridge, and Durham—extending it all over the Kingdom, and limiting the power of the Crown, with a view of producing, as he said, some indirect effect in Ireland. Now, so far as the Government was concerned, they had not the slightest objection to placing on the Table of the House the charter of any College, or intended College, 30 days before it could take effect. They were prepared, as his right hon. Friend had said, to bring in a Bill dealing with the matter in the broadest way, and bringing to bear the control of Parliament on such charters hereafter. Surely, it was; better that a matter of this kind, in which an important Prerogative of the I Crown was concerned, should be properly and directly dealt with, in a separate Bill, and not in the hasty manner in which they must deal with it if the hon. Baronet proceeded to a Division. He trusted that hon. Gentlemen sitting below the Gangway would accept the assurance that there was not the slightest disinclination to bring in a general measure upon this subject, and to enact for the future that charters for Colleges should be laid before Parliament; only there was a bonâ fide objection to put a clause to that effect in this Bill in a hasty manner, without being able, from want of time, to consider what would be the effect of it on the other clauses of the Bill. He, therefore, hoped there would be no objection to the Amendment being withdrawn.

I am not one of those who would object to anything which would settle the Bill. But the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) is one the effect of which we hate not ascertained at the moment, and I think the offer which the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government has made ought to satisfy the Gentlemen who act with him, so far as future charters to Colleges are concerned. I only regret that so much time has been wasted, for there is no intention, I believe, at this moment of granting any charters, and that is a question with which we need not trouble ourselves. I agree entirely that what is law here should be law in Ireland, and that charters of this kind the House may fairly desire to see before they take effect. I find no fault with that. But I do think it is a pity we should waste our time in definitions when we have a distinct pledge from the Government that they will bring in a Bill to place the rest of the United Kingdom in the same position.

said, he considered the assurance which had been given by the First Minister and the Solicitor General quite satisfactory.

said, that after what had fallen from his right hon. Friend (Mr. Hardy) he would withdraw the Amendment.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

said, that he hoped his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) would withdraw the clause, as his (Mr. Gladstone's) proposal was, that they should consider the exact wording of the clause, the object of which they perfectly understood, and which they were prepared to embody in the Bill they intended to introduce.

said, he hoped that the hon. and learned Member would withdraw the Motion.

said, that he did not understand that he was to withdraw the clause; but after what had passed he felt his withdrawal of it would place it in much better hands.

Amendment and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

said, he would beg to move, in Clause 2, line 28, after "Lectureship," to insert "Headship of a College or Hall."

Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 28, after the word "Lectureship," to insert the words "Headship of a College or hall."—( Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice.)

protested against this change, for it vitally altered the character of the Bill, inasmuch as it took away one of the safeguards, that while the College should be fairly and freely opened to the intelligence of the country, yet that the general tone and character of this education should be religious. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) had yielded one way and the other to the Liberal sections at Oxford and Cambridge; that at the former University being presided over by a well-known Fellow of Baliol College. He protested against this method of dealing with great questions. What encouragement had they to co-operate if such alterations were made? If one of the safeguards which were held out to them as an inducement was so easily to be struck out, it took away all hope of a safe and honourable compromise, and untied the hands of all those who came forward to try and find some ground on which they might come to an understanding.

Sir, I think my hon. Friend (Mr. Beresford Hope) can hardly feel any surprise at the conclusion which the Government have come to on this subject. When it was pressed upon us in the winter that we should take up the question and introduce a Bill for the removal of religious tests in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and Durham, primâ facie, of course, this meant the removal of all religious tests, except in the case of offices which directly and necessarily involve the performance of duties specifically connected with the Church of England, such, for instance, as Professorships of Divinity. However, all those who in the Universities had been for a long series of years promoting a measure of this kind, thought it expedient amongst themselves to limit the application, and requested that we should exclude Headships from the operation of the Bill. That was done by gentlemen connected with Oxford not because that was in conformity with their own opinion, but from their desire to meet the views of gentlemen from Cambridge, who thought that the exclusion would tend to promote a speedy settlement of the question. That request was made known to me, and the reservation was made. However, a change has taken place. There is no longer that concurrence of opinion between the Universities, and, under these circumstances, it is plain that the considerations of policy which governed us no longer had existence, and we had to examine the question on its merits; and I must say we do not attach importance to this reservation. The other reservations in the Bill—if they be reservations at all, are completely compatible with the principle of the Bill. Their effect is merely to take care that the operation of the measure shall not be extended by any mere process of interpretation to matters which it is not designed to affect, and that while we secure for individuals free access to the emoluments of the Colleges, we shall not, in other respects, affect the system which, is established in them or the guarantees, whatever they may be, for religious education. But this provision as regards Headships evidently stands on totally different ground. It is a part of the system of religious tests presumptively included within the object of the Bill, and the question we have to answer to ourselves is this, whether it is desirable to make such an exception. A large proportion of the Headships in both Universities are already covered and protected by statutes of the Colleges, which require that the Heads of those Colleges shall be in Holy Orders. It is only about one-third or one-fourth, taking Cambridge and Oxford together, of the whole number of Headships that will be affected by the Motion of my noble Friend. Certainly, it is naturally within the purview of the Bill that we should remove the tests from these offices. I can see no advantage in retaining them; it would be creating an exception which might, in particular cases, operate in a most invidious manner; and, above all, to secure an object extremely small, it would be running the risk of keeping alive a Parliamentary agitation, instead of being able to arrive at a satisfactory settlement. Under these circumstances, the Government have no hesitation in concurring in the Motion of my noble Friend (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice).

said, that those with whom he acted were prepared to join his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope), in resisting this last concession on the part of the Government, who were surrendering the only modicum of compromise which the Bill contained. The right hon. Gentleman had explained to the House the motives which had led to the change he had announced; but he would remark that this was not the first time that the House had had to listen to such explanations lately. This was one, and they had shortly before heard one in relation to the subject of denominational education in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman was a master of many legions, but his legions had run away from him. The hon. Gentleman below the Gangway and the Liberal Committee at Oxford had forced the right hon. Gentleman to surrender the original intention contained in the Bill.

denied that he had expressed any change of intention with regard to the subject of denominational education in Ireland.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The House divided:

The Tellers being come to the Table, Mr. Glyn, one of the Tellers for the Ayes, acquainted Mr. Speaker that Mr. Kinnaird, the Member for Perth, had not voted.

Whereupon Mr. Speaker desired the honourable Member to come to the Table, and asked him if he had heard the Question put.

The honourable Member came to the Table, and having stated that he had heard the Question put and declared himself with the Ayes, Mr. Speaker directed his name to be added to the Ayes.

The Tellers accordingly declared the numbers, Ayes 205; Noes 86: Majority 119.

said, the object of the Motion of which he had given Notice was to extend to all Colleges founded after the passing of the Act the same principle as the Act itself applied to existing Colleges. He begged, accordingly, to move, in Clause 3, page 2, lines 12 and 13, to leave out "subsisting at the time of the passing of this Act."

Amendment proposed, in page 2, lines 12 and 13, to leave out the words "subsisting at the time of the passing of this Act."—( Mr. Sinclair Aytoun.)

said, he did not want to raise a debate on this Motion, having stated his objections to the proposal in Committee. The hon. Member (Mr. Sinclair Aytoun) then thought his argument was a very bad one, so he would not repeat it, and he should content himself on that occasion with simply offering his opposition to the Amendment.

said, he wished to remind the House that there had been, no opportunity of voting on this question in Committee, the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) having unexpectedly withdrawn his Amendment. It was not likely, after the passing of this Bill, that any denominational Colleges would be founded in England; but, in supporting this Motion, he wished to make it perfectly clear why he did so. His object was to reserve to himself entire freedom of action whenever education in Ireland came on for discussion, and he should like to hear from the First Minister of the Crown some assurance that it was not intended to interfere with mixed education in that country. Suspicion, perhaps, was too strong a word to use, but among many Gentlemen on his own side of the House a very strong feeling had been excited by the attitude of the Government on this matter, and they must only thank themselves for the existence of that feeling. For four successive Sessions the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) had brought forward the question of University education in Ireland, and during those four successive years the First Minister and several of his Colleagues, whether in Office or out of Office, had opposed the opening of Trinity College to Roman Catholics and Dissenters. The insertion in the Bill of the words now proposed would have little practical effect as regarded Oxford, for even Keble College was included in its scope. But, to keep his conscience clear with reference to any proposal that might be made with regard to education in Ireland, he should vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. Sinclair Aytoun).

said, that he also should vote for the Motion if pressed to a Division. This was a Bill for abolishing tests; and if tests were objectionable in principle in Colleges at present existing, they must be equally so in Colleges to be founded hereafter.

Sir, I cannot help expressing some doubt whether a Motion of this importance ought not to have been disposed of in Committee on the Bill. It is now raised apparently at a moment when it is unexpected; and though the hon. Member (Mr. Morrison) thinks it a question of small importance, we consider it a question of the greatest importance, for we cannot consent to interfere with the future freedom of persons who may wish to found institutions of this kind. I cannot state too plainly or too strongly why we object to any measure of the kind. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has stated his view with perfect candour, and I will be equally explicit in my reply. Our object is to destroy tests in those institutions which, by their wealth, by their traditions, by their antiquity, by their national privileges, and by the manner in which Parliament has formerly dealt with them, have come into such a position that we are bound in justice to prevent them from being attached to the purposes of any particular denomination or religion. But our desire is to encourage the foundation of Colleges, and we will not inquire whether they are to be denominational Colleges or not; we claim nothing for them less than absolute freedom.

said, he was very glad to hear that there was at last some principle to which Gentlemen opposite were prepared to adhere—["Oh, oh!"]—for certainly nothing hitherto could well have been more inconsistent than their conduct. He could understand the argument on which the defence of the Bill had been rested, that after the lapse of 200 or 300 years the State would take it upon itself to interfere with the trusts of a particular foundation; but to object to foundations which were good and moral in themselves, and which contemplated nothing prejudicial to the Commonwealth, and to say that through the agency of such foundations persons should not be at liberty to devote funds to the education of youth, was one of the most extraordinary propositions he had ever heard, accustomed as he was to extraordinary propositions coming from the other side of the House. He was afraid just then he could not promise any large contingent in support of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government; but, such as it was, Members upon those (the Opposition) Benches would gladly follow him against the Motion proposed, by the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway (Mr. Sinclair Aytoun).

said, the objection was not to the establishment of places for denominational teaching, but to the possession by such places of University privileges. Feeling himself bound to vote on this Motion with the hon. Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs (Mr. Sinclair Aytoun), he yet was deeply grateful to Her Majesty's Government for having made this Bill more efficient and satisfactory.

said, if they were invited to settle this question on its merits, his own views would incline him also to vote with the hon. Member (Mr. Sinclair Aytoun); but after the very strong assurances which they had received from the First Minister of the Crown in the course of this debate he did not think the matter ought to be pressed, and he would suggest that his hon. Friend should withdraw his Motion.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided:—Ayes 132; Noes 22: Majority 110.

said, he would beg to move to insert in Clause 3, page 2, line 23, after "worship" "or to belong to any specified church, sect, or denomination." He had in Committee agreed to exclude similar words; but he had since ascertained that with- out some such words—and he did not wish to make them unnecessarily offensive—the whole object of this measure might be defeated. He, therefore, felt it to be his duty to move their re-insertion, to which he trusted the House would consent.

said, as the Member at whose instance the words were omitted when the Bill was in Committee, he thanked the hon. and learned Gentleman for making the words less offensive than those which originally appeared in the Bill; but he was sorry that the Government could not make up their minds as to the clauses of so short a measure, and state what Amendments they could not accept. He still hoped that the Bill would not pass in its present objectionable form; but he would not challenge the decision of the House as to the Amendment now proposed.

said, he agreed with his hon. and learned Friend (the Solicitor General) that there was good reason for introducing such words as he had proposed, and that they were an improvement upon the original language of the clause, which was not happily expressed. He wished to refer to the opinion which he stated when the Bill was in Committee, as to its being deficient in safeguards against the teaching and dissemination of infidelity in the Universities. It was not without difficulty that he brought himself to vote against the Government on the Amendment in reference to the Headships of Colleges. His reason for doing so was that in the absence of any more distinct provision the omission of Headships from the Bill had some little tendency to act as such a safeguard. He hoped that before the Bill became law there might be introduced some well-considered clause on the subject. Since the Committee on the Bill he had received from Oxford a representation, expressing concurrence in his views, signed by 25 eminent members of that University, of whom five were Heads of Houses, four were Professors, and 16 were Masters of Arts. Nearly all of them had uniformly supported the Liberal cause in the University; and ten of them had been zealous in promoting the abolition of religious tests. They thought that some clear and express safeguard was wanted, and ought to be introduced into the Bill, and some of them, who were uneasy at the omission in the Bill of any distinction between Tutorships and Fellowships, wished for the introduction of some words which might unequivocally show that in the appointment to such offices as Tutorships and Headships the Legislature did not intend religious considerations to be wholly disregarded. They did not believe that religious Nonconformists, any more than religious Churchmen, would be willing to send their children to the University unless they were sure the education would be conducted upon religious principles.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 28, after "layman," to insert "or a person not a member of the Church of England."—( The Solicitor General.)

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed, in Clause 5, page 3, line 10, to insert at end of Clause, as amended—

"And any provision in any Act of Parliament or in any statute or ordinance of the said Universities or Colleges which is inconsistent with this Act, shall be repealed."—(The Solicitor General.)

Amendment agreed to.

Bill to be read the third time Tomorrow, at Two of the clock.

Elementary Education (Re-Committed) Bill—Bill 167

( Mr. W. E. Forster, Mr. Secretary Brace.)

Committee Progress 1St July

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 27 (School Boards.)

said, he would propose to amend the Bill so that school Boards should in all cases be elected by the ratepayers. He believed that the Amendment was not looked on with favour either by the League or the Union; but it had been frequently commended by meetings out-of-doors. The Town Council, which, as the Bill stood, would, in some cases, elect the Board, was by no means fit for the duty, because it would, generally speaking, be composed of a majority of one political opinion, and might even have been elected with a "No Popery" or some other cry. The right hon. Member for South. Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple) pro- posed that at least one-third of the Board should be nominated, a very important provision if cumulative or limited voting were not adopted for these elections. The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Brogden) had also placed an Amendment upon the Paper substituting the "burgesses entitled to vote at municipal elections" in place of the Town Council, as the body to elect the school Boards; in his opinion, it would be better to carry some general words at the present moment, leaving the actual definition of the body which was to form the constituency for the election of the school Boards until they came to the Schedule. He should be glad if the Vice President of the Council—who was now in the Cabinet—would express his opinion upon the subject. He begged to move the following Amendment:—

Amendment proposed, in page 10, line 41, to leave out from the word "Act" to the end of the Clause, in order to insert the words "by the ratepayers of the district for which such school Board is elected."—( Sir Charles Dilke.)

said, he should support the Amendment. He was unable to understand any reason why the Town Council should be selected as the best body to elect to school Boards, except merely to get rid of the noise and disturbance of an election. But the question before them was not how the noise and disturbance of an election might be avoided, but what was the best constituency for electing a school Board. The Bill under consideration was not a Reform Bill, but a Bill for the furtherance of education; hon. Members must, therefore, try to divest themselves of the representative theories in which they had entangled themselves in 1868. The Vice President of the Council—whom he must congratulate upon the recognition of the valuable services he had rendered to the country—had said that the object of the Bill was to increase the interest of the parents in the schools, by giving them the direct management of the schools in which their children were being educated. Under these circumstances, it was naturally to be expected that the right hon. Gentleman would have proposed that the parents themselves should have elected the school Boards, otherwise it was difficult to see what immediate share the parents would have in the matter. It was not the children of the Town Council that would attend these schools, but the children of the poor who were employed by the members of the Town Council. If the clause were carried as it stood at present in the Bill the employers would nave the power of compelling the children of the employed to attend school. It was well known that the children of a working man were a source of considerable income to him; in towns there were many children's trades, and in rural districts there were many farming operations performed by children. Thus, many a working man was, in hard times, kept out of the poor-house. Was it wise, then, to allow the great employers of labour to take this source of income from the working man? This would be the same as permitting the employers of labour to lay a tax on the employed. He entirely agreed with the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) upon the necessity of securing the representation of minorities on the school Boards, in order that those minorities might have confidence in the school Board. Now, if the power of electing the school Board were left in the hands of the Town Council, the members of the school Board would be nominated by those who happened to form the majority in the Town Council, and the minority would be entirely unrepresented. Thus, if out of 12 members forming the Town Council seven were Churchmen and five Dissenters, it was probable that the school Board would be formed entirely of Churchmen, and the Dissenters in the town would be unrepresented. If, on the other hand, the ratepayers elected the school Board in the several wards as the Town Council was elected, then the school Board would consist of seven Churchmen and five Dissenters. Under these circumstances, he thought that the Amendment would remove a striking injustice in the Bill.

said, he was aware that a great objection existed in the minds of many hon. Members to a minority clause; but he wished to point out the difference between the effect of such a clause on the election of a school Board under this Bill and on the election of a Member of that House. Were a minority clause not adopted in relation to the election of a school Board the views of the minority would be entirely unrepresented; whereas, in that House, owing to the variety that existed in the character of the different constituencies, opinions of all shades were adequately represented. By giving facilities for the representation of all parties on the school Board a great part of the religious difficulty might be got rid of, because those who represented them would take care that the children of the minority received equal attention and equal justice with those of the majority. The success of the Bill would depend on the excellence of the schools, and we could not have good schools without efficient school Boards. With a view of securing these we ought to endeavour to take the elections, to a great extent, out of the hands of the old party leaders in the different localities. This object would, probably, be attained by the method of voting proposed in the Amendment, of which he had given Notice. Again, we often saw the members of a vestry or other local Board chosen because they advocated a policy of cheeseparing economy. He was in favour of judicious retrenchment; but it would be bad economy to choose a particular schoolmaster because he offered his services at a low figure and not because of his qualifications. Efficiency should therefore be represented as well as economy. He thought that the best mode of election would be that of cumulative voting. At the election he would give every voter a number of votes equal to the number of the members of the school Board to be elected, and he would allow the voter to give all his votes to one candidate or to distribute them among the candidates as he might think fit. He supported the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke), which would give fuller effect to his own; but even if the former were rejected, he should still feel it to be his duty to press his own. It might be objected that it would tend to the compulsory annual retirement of all the members of small school Boards, and of half the members of large ones; but his own opinion was that no great injury would arise if his Amendment were adopted, from all the members retiring every year, as he was certain that useful members would seldom fail to secure re-election. They had heard a great deal about sectarian bitterness, and he regretted that the discussions on this Bill showed that there must be a considerable amount of it; but he thought it would be diminished by such a system of election as he proposed. If the representatives of every creed and of all opinions were united I together in the great and noble task of providing education for the people, they would learn to know each other and to recognize each other's good qualities; and the result would be that instead of sectarian bitterness we should have an increase of Christian charity and kindly feeling.

said, he did not think the Amendment of the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) an improvement on the Bill as it stood. He feared it would tend still more than the plan of the Government to drag education into the turmoil of ordinary election contests. He thought the plan contained in the Amendment he had placed on the Paper was best, and most likely to prevent those elections from becoming scenes of political excitement. The general population of the locality would not be so much interested in the good results of a school as the parents who paid for their children; while, as disposing of the grants, the Education Department would also have a greater interest in the matter than the ratepayers. It was very desirable to keep all party and political considerations out of view in the elections for the school Boards; but the difficulty was how to accomplish that object. At every election of a school Board which took place after the payment of a Parliamentary Grant to the school fund under the control of that Board he would give the Education Department authority to nominate from among persons resident within the county one-third of the members to be elected to the vacancies in such school Board; another third he would have elected by the men whose names appeared on the register of the fathers of the children attending the elementary schools within the district of such school Board.

said, that if the Amendment had been confined to small towns he might have seen his way to supporting it; but he did not think it would be advisable to adopt it in the case of large towns. It had been urged in favour of the minority clause that, as the school Board would have to decide on the character of the religious teaching, it would be desirable to have the minority represented on that Board. If, however, the duty of the Board was purely administrative, the minority would not require to be represented. On the other hand, if the Board was to discuss and determine religious questions the result would be this—that if elected by the majority only the Board would probably often be all agreed; whereas, if elected under the Minority Clause, the element of religious discord and animosity would be introduced. He thought it better that those religious questions should not be discussed at the school Board at all, and if he voted for the Minority Clause he should be voting for that which assumed and provided for the existence of that to which he entirely objected. With regard to the Amendment before the Committee, he was disposed to vote for the clause as it stood, and thought that if the Amendment was accepted it should be accepted only with reference to the smaller towns.

said, as he understood the argument of the hon. Gentleman who spoke last the view which he took was this—that peace would be better secured in the school Board by excluding altogether the voice of the minority.

explained that he was only replying to the arguments of the noble Lord (Lord Frederick Cavendish).

said, he would suggest to the Committee that what they had to aim at was not merely the creation of a pleasant state of feeling in the school Board, but the obtaining of a body which should fairly represent the feelings of those concerned—namely, the ratepayers generally, and especially the parents of the children. He should prefer to have every shade of opinion and feeling represented in the Board.

said, the men who took the greatest interest in education in the large towns, and whose services it was most important to enlist in that cause, did not generally engage in municipal contests, but kept personally aloof from them. He, however, had the greatest faith in the Town Councils, especially those of large towns or cities. If the Town Councils had this duty cast upon them, he believed they would select the very best men for the management of those schools. He regretted to differ from the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsa (Sir Charles Dilke); but he should join the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) in supporting the clause of the Government as it stood. What they wanted was that the work should be thoroughly well done by the right men to do it, and not that it should be left in the hands of those who, year after year, appealed to the municipal constituencies, asking them, for example, to "Vote for Smith and a two-penny rate." It would be better to have "Thompson and a three-penny rate," if Thompson was the right man to do the work as it ought to be done.

said, speaking from his experience of the borough he represented (Salford) and of the Town Council of that borough, he concurred with the hon. Member who spoke last, that a more efficient school Board would be obtained by the selection of the Town Council than of the entire body of rate-papers. He thought the hon. Baronet (Sir Charles Dilke) could hardly mean that in the large towns the whole of the ratepayers should vote in one mass for the members of the school Board; he took it that his proposal would result in a subdivision of those towns into wards, as was now done. If that were so, the effect would be a double set of contested elections every year; and if religious acrimony was to be brought into the election it would be introduced to a greater extent if the election was direct to the school Board than if the election was through members of the Town Council. But he was of opinion that it was desirable to put some restriction on the election of members of their own body by the Town Council. If it were left to the Town Council to elect whom they pleased, he was afraid the Board would become practically a committee of the Town Council, because it was rarely found that an Alderman was elected from outside the Town Council. On the whole, he thought they were much more likely to get a Board representing various opinions chosen by the Town Council, provided only that a limit were fixed to the number of the members that could be chosen from the Council, the remainder to be elected from outside. If, then, he gave his vote in favour of the clause, it would be with a view of seeing it subsequently amended by the adoption of the proposition, on the Paper, of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), which would limit the Town Council to the election of two-thirds of the Board from its own body.

said, he concurred in the opinion expressed by the hon. Member who spoke last, that Town Councils were decidedly the best constituencies to elect the Boards, and he thought that the effect of imposing this duty on the Town Councils would be to raise the tone and character of these municipal bodies throughout the country; it would give them something more than matters of police to think of. The elections proposed by the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) would become scenes of as great noise, confusion, and party bitterness as those of the municipal bodies themselves. He hoped that the Vice President of the Council would adhere to his clause, amended by the proviso of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert).

said, that all who had to do with municipal elections in large towns must know that however desirable a municipality must be, yet the process of accomplishing it was far from desirable, and to have a school Board elected in the same way would be to double all its evils. But, on the other hand, all the quiet, thoughtful, and respectable people who took an interest in the cause of education would then come forward. It would improve the character of the Town Councils, for men who never before took an interest in municipal elections would now take an interest in the elections and in getting themselves elected. But he would not leave the school Board to be the private patronage of the Town Councils; some limitation of the number of councillors was necessary. With that safeguard he would prefer indirect to direct representation.

said, we had an excellent example in the Free Libraries Act. Under that Act a certain portion of the managers were chosen from the Town Council, but a certain proportion must be elected from outside. Now he knew of three cases of Boards elected under that Act, and in two of them at least they were just the Boards that he would like to see elected for school Boards. His own constituency (Sheffield) consisted of 34,000 ratepayers, and he asked if it was possible to have every year a school Board elected by them, with all the vexed questions and the religious difficulty which had been discussed in that House coming before them? But he would be sorry to see the area of selection confined to the Town Councils; he thought there should be some limitation as to the number to be chosen, and he would like to see some such Amendment adopted as had been suggested by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert).

said, that the Council of the borough, whether dealing with free libraries, baths, and washhouses, or other matters, formed its own committees for these purposes, and if it was determined that for everyone of them the Town Council should be thrown back on their constituents, the effect would be to break up municipal government altogether. Therefore, not only for the purposes of the Bill, but for all other local purposes, they should take one and the same Governing Body, and let them form the necessary Boards.

said, the debate had been one of great interest and usefulness, and he only regretted there were not more Members present to take part in it. For himself, he doubted whether any clause in the Bill was more important than the present. Everything depended on getting good working school Boards; and he must honestly confess that this question was a very difficult one for the Government in framing the Bill. He did not know that the difficulty had been much diminished by the arguments made use of on both sides by men who had studied the question, and who were acquainted with the circumstances of their different localities. The point involved was not one upon which the Government would wish to resist very strenuously any decided view of the Committee. It would probably be expected that he should give the reasons why the Government proposed the present plan. His noble Friend opposite (Lord Frederick Cavendish) had said he would prefer the direct representation of the ratepayers, and that the only plan which was in accordance with the principle of the Bill was that the parents should have a voice in the election of the school Boards. But it should be remembered that the parents did elect the Town Councils, which were chosen by a very popular suffrage; and in electing the Town Councils after the Bill was passed, special reference would be had to the duty they had to perform under the Act. It was true that the Town Councils were not at present elected for this purpose; but, in future, they would be elected for this purpose among others. He was not one of those who had joined in the expression of want of confidence in Town Councillors. He was perfectly aware that they were frequently not all that could be desired; but he had generally found that the performance of their duties had been in proportion to the weight and importance of the duties imposed upon them. And it was only natural that it should be so; because, when the duties became more important, the constitution of the Town Council excited greater interest. When it was shown that a Town Council had to deal with this important subject, many men would take an interest in the election, or would be willing to stand as candidates, who hitherto had held entirely aloof. His own experience bore out the statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), that where these bodies had educational duties intrusted to them those duties had been well performed. Indeed, in the inquiry conducted by the Endowed Schools Commission, they found that the schools under the management of the municipal bodies were less faulty than any others—less faulty even than those managed by the Colleges of the Universities. Now, to the direct vote it had been objected that it was desirable, if possible, to avoid the personal excitement and expense of a separate election; and, certainly, no one would say that it was desirable to add another popular election to those which were held in large towns if it could be avoided. In trying this great experiment, they ought to endeavour, as far as they could, to avail themselves of existing machinery; while he believed, moreover, that through the medium of the Town Council, they would, better than by any other plan, discover the men who were most suitable for appointment upon an Educational Board. In large towns, especially, such stringent criticism would be exercised that it would be exceedingly difficult to get these appointments; and the elections would generally fall upon men of experience in educational matters, and upon men who were known to be fitted for those appointments. The best men, too, were frequently unobtrusive—men who took no part in public controversies; and the existence of such men would be better known, he believed, to the Town Council than to the general body of the ratepayers. On the other hand, it was impossible not to admit that the ratepayers might feel more confidence in those elected by themselves than in those elected by others. It was by no means a clear question; but its very doubt would rather induce them to avail themselves of machinery which already existed, instead of trying plans about which they knew nothing. Now, they had not thought it right that Government nominees should be appointed with a view to secure the proper performance of the duties of the Board. If members were appointed by the Government, even if they were overruled by their colleagues, it would be very difficult for the Government, through its nominees, not to be responsible for the doings, and, possibly, even for the misdoings, of the Board. It had always appeared to him that they could exercise more influence over the Board by trusting them entirely, and by giving them considerable powers; for if the Board did not in that case do its duty they could the more easily interfere and insist upon the performance of what was necessary, saving to them—"We tell you clearly what you have to do, and if you do not do it we will step in and do it ourselves." Now, he did not anticipate that any school Board would not do its duty; but if they did the Government would have much less difficulty in interfering with a Board elected by the Town Council than if it were elected directly by the ratepayers. At the same time, he did not think it necessary they should have the same system of election throughout the country, for what might be necessary in one case might not be necessary in another. When they came to consider the metropolis, they would have to consider a different mode of election, because the circumstances there were different. Following out, too, the principle to which he had referred the Government thought it better to place confidence in the Town Council, and that there should be no restriction on the elections. The Government would not agree to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Cawley) or the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), and restrict their electing members from their own body. They might elect men or women from among their own members or from the outside. He believed that these elections would not be entirely made by the Town Council from their own body. His hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Cawley) had urged that these elections would be confined to Town Councillors, because it was rarely found that an Alderman was selected from outside the Council. But it was quite natural that the election of an Alderman should be confined to the Town Council, because the Councillors might reasonably object to one of the prizes of their career being bestowed upon an outsider. The case, however, would, he believed, be different when it related to a matter which was exceptional, and for which qualifications of a particular character were required. The point, however, was one which was not of vital importance to the Bill. The object which the Government sought to attain was to secure the best body they could for the performance of those duties.

said, he recognized in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the candour with which he had dealt with all the arguments relating to this question, and the justice which he had exhibited towards those who, in their desire to amend this Bill, felt themselves bound to oppose some of the proposals of the Government. He, however, did not think his defence of this part of the Bill was a very perfect one. What was really required was a representation of all parties and of all religions; but it was well known that the municipal representation throughout the country was almost entirely dependent upon politics. Except when a scheme for water supply or something of that kind arose, the members of Town Councils were elected for political considerations only. Consequently, such bodies were wholly unfit to deal with this question of education. In some cases the representation in Town Councils was wholly on one side, and they would not elect persons freely from all parties to constitute the school Boards. In London the elections for district school Boards were extremely fair—men interested in education were elected. But then they were elected by different districts having little connection one with another; if, however, a Town Council were to elect they would send men representing only the majority of their body. In considering this subject the Committee ought to remember that Select Vestries, and other bodies equally as fit as Town Councils to elect the school Boards, were left out of sight altogether. The result of this would be that, in the great majority of parishes and districts, the election would be by the ratepayers. He knew of some Yes-tries in the country which were elected on grounds which, in the opinion of the ratepayers, were far more important than the question of education. The necessity for bringing in an Education Bill was caused by the unwillingness of some parents to send their children to school; but he believed that if the general body of ratepayers in a district were consulted they would elect to the school Boards, irrespective of their religious and political opinions, those clergymen, Nonconformist ministers, and laymen who had devoted themselves specially to education. Again, the question affected the metropolis, for the Select Vestries in London would certainly have as much right to elect as similar bodies in the country. In his opinion Select Vestries would be rather worse bodies than the Town Councils to be intrusted with the election of the school Boards. He wished to say nothing harsh of the Town Councils; but he must express his belief that the greatest misfortune which had befallen this country in regard to local government was the circumstance of the members of the Town Councils being elected for political reasons. Annual political contests had poisoned society in every borough in the country, and it would be most undesirable to make those contests still more bitter by mixing up with them the question of education. That ought to come before the constituencies as a simple, isolated question. All the ratepayers ought to be called upon to elect the persons who were to manage their educational affairs, which should not be mixed up with sanitary questions. He hoped the Committee would treat even the street Arabs not like sewage, as his right hon. Friend wished to treat them, but as human beings with souls. By interesting every ratepayer in the educational wants of the children, the Committee would promote the cause of education far more effectually than by handing over the election of the school Boards to Select Vestries or Town Councils.

said, he thought it would be better to limit the question to the case of boroughs, if the terms of the Amendment would allow of such a course being pursued. The metropolis would, no doubt, have to be dealt with on a different principle. In consequence of alterations which had been introduced into the Bill, the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman opposite respecting Vestries were to a great extent inapplicable to it.

said, he was inclined to act on the suggestion thrown out by his right hon. Friend(Mr. W. E. Forster). In Birmingham, Liverpool, and other very large towns, the election of a school Board would cause great excitement and expense, but in smaller boroughs the same difficulty would not arise. He regretted, however, that the right hon. Gentleman had not been able to assent to the Amendment he had placed on the Notice Paper, for he thought it was right to enact that a Town Council should not elect from among its own body all the members of the school Board.

said, many hon. Members would remember that this question was before the House in the last Session of Parliament when the Bill for Scotland was passed. On that occasion he had the honour to move an Amendment the object of which was to restrict the powers of the Town Councils, and to provide that two-thirds in number of each school Board should be elected outside of the Town Councils. The House was pleased unanimously to approve his proposition, and, with it added, the Bill went up to the House of Lords. Having had considerable experience of Town Councils and of their mode of election and working, he was quite satisfied that by leaving the election to the ratepayers a much more effective school Board would be secured than if the appointments were left in the hands of the Town Councils. There were many men among those best qualified to fill the office of members of school Boards who would not compete for the honour of being Town Councillors, and whose services, therefore, would be lost to the public in the positions they were best qualified to fill. Such men, however, if they could be elected to the school Boards by the ratepayers independently of the strife and turmoil of their local Parliaments, would render great and almost invaluable services. Then the election to positions on the school Boards by Town Councils would often operate as what he might describe as a kind of indirect bribery. The weak side of a man being known, he could be flattered by being appointed to an office outside the Council, such as that of a member of a school Board would be, and a great disadvantage might thereby result to the practical and useful working of the school Board. A, being a member of the Town Council, would say to B—"Here is Mr. C, who takes very little interest in Town Council matters, but would like to be a member of the school Board. Let us use our influence to get him elected, and if elected, he will support us in our Town Council policy." This would take place frequently, and, he doubted not, with the worst results, by preventing the election of men better qualified for school purposes. Then there was this other consideration—that at present the majority of Town Councils were almost overwhelmed with work; and if additional work were placed upon them, depend upon it they would give to the whole amount of business they had to transact no larger amount of time than they gave at present, and therefore the general municipal work devolving upon such bodies would suffer, as well as the new kind of school work that was proposed to be put upon so many of their members as might constitute a school Board. For these reasons he was quite sure the Government would do wisely to concede the point demanded by the Motion of the hon. Member for Chelsea; and, in conclusion, he might say that he should not have troubled the House upon this question had it not been that his experience in regard to the election and working of Town Councils had been very considerable.

said, the important question to be considered was in which way an elective body could be obtained which would elect the best persons for the management of the schools with reference solely to their fitness for that duty. That object could, he believed, be best secured by the adoption of the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. W. E. Forster), and he hoped, therefore, the Government would adhere to their proposal.

said, he thought, as the case of boroughs was different from that of other districts, it would be well if his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) would limit his Amendment to the former—at all events, for the present.

said, he regretted he could not act upon the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman.

said, he doubted whether the House was not rather straining its powers in giving the Town Councils authority to tax the public. Feeling assured that public opinion was in favour of the direct appointment and control of school Boards by the ratepayers themselves, and finding that the Government and the House were in a state of indecision in the matter, he would urge the postponement of the Bill to next Session.

said, he must point out that the discussion hitherto had dealt with the comparative competency of the Town Council or the ratepayers to elect an efficient school Board. But however efficient, and by whatever body elected, the Board would not work well unless it possessed the confidence of the parents of the children. In the borough which he represented (Plymouth), public opinion was decidedly in favour of direct election by the ratepayers.

said, while giving full weight to the arguments on the other side, he must observe that the discussion tended to confirm the Government in the belief that they had taken the right course in the plan they originally proposed. Allusion had been made to the difficulty of the Town Council in performing their present duties. That was a reason why they would be more likely not to elect members from their own body; and his own expectation was that they would not choose members from their own body. Although the Division would be taken on the Motion of the hon. Member for Chelsea, the Committee would bear in mind that the question of the metropolis was open for after consideration, together with that of the country districts. He did not consider the Committee were deciding more than the case of the boroughs upon this Amendment.

said, he was not prepared to accept the Town Council as the elective body without some limitation on their right of election.

said, that point had not been before the Committee; but, no doubt, it would be debated.

said, he held himself perfectly free upon that point; but wishing to see clergymen, Roman Catholic priests, and Dissenting ministers placed upon the school Board, and co-operating for the education of the children, he thought that was a result more likely to be secured by the Municipal Councils than by democratic elections.

said, the effect of the Amendment of the hon. Baronet (Sir Charles Dilke) would be that, if it were carried in the form proposed, the ratepayers in town or country would elect the school Boards; but, as he should put the Amendment, it would be open to the Committee to consider the other Amendments of which Notice had been given upon this clause.

, in reply, said, he submitted his Amendment because the representation of minorities by wards would not be sufficient to secure that adequate" representation upon the school Boards of all those interests which the right hon. Gentleman declared to be a great necessity.

Question put, "That the words 'in a borough' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 150; Noes 145: Majority 5.

said, he rose to move, in line 42, to leave out "in a parish" and insert "for a parish shall be the elected guardians of the union in which such parish is situate." He contended that the guardians, from the mode of their election and the nature of their duties, were peculiarly fitted to elect the school Board, and they would do so without being influenced by political considerations. The guardians also were the proper persons to give the information required under the 8th clause, as well as the information in respect to united school districts and contributory districts.

said, he hoped his hon. Friend would not press the Amendment. The question had been fully considered by the Government, and they found the difficulties in the way of selecting the union were almost insuperable. It was desirable to separate education as much as possible from connection with poor relief. And, besides, the mode of taking the votes in the election for guardians presented a difficulty in the way of adopting the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

said, he would beg to move, in Clause 27, line 42, to leave out the word "Vestry" and insert "ratepayers," with the view of placing the election of the school Board in a parish in the hands of the ratepayers instead of the Vestry.

said, as the feeling of the Committee was in favour of the proposed Amendment, he would accept it. Since the time when the Bill was drawn, he had understood that the cases in which the Vestries could be advantageously used were much fewer than had originally been expected.

Amendment agreed to.

said, that the circumstance that the funds to be disposed of under the Bill would not all come from the Town Councils, but partly from the Consolidated Fund and from school fees, suggested the propriety of dividing the selection of the school Boards among those who represented the different contributors. He, therefore, proposed to add the following Proviso to Clause 27:—

"Provided, That at every election of a school Board which shall take place after the payment of a Parliamentary Grant to the School Fund under the control of such school Board, the Education Department shall have authority to nominate from among persons resident within the county in which such school Board is acting one-third of the members to be elected to the vacancies in such school Board; and one-third of such members shall be elected by the men whose names appear on the register kept as hereinafter provided of the fathers of the children attending the elementary schools within the district of such school Board."
The Inspectors, from their local knowledge of the districts, would prepare a list of qualified persons. This principle was recognized in the London Boards, and in the appointment of ex officio Poor Law Guardians. In that way school Boards would contain considerable diversity of representation, and would not be confined to one party, either political or ecclesiastical. They would be elected not on account of any local feeling, but by competent persons who were directly interested in the promotion of education in the district.

said, he highly appreciated the motives of the right hon. Gentleman in introducing this Amendment, but he thought the Committee would see it was absolutely impracticable. In the first place, it did not follow that the persons named in the first part of the Amendment were resident in the locality, or that those mentioned in either part were ratepayers. Thus two-thirds of the school Boards need not be ratepayers, so that they might be distributing local rates to which none of them contributed. He wished to know how the Education Department in London was to know who were properly resident in the locality. He had a great objection to systems of centralization, and this was one of the most extreme propositions of the kind ever brought before the House. He was sure the Committee would not agree to the Privy Council electing one-third of all the school Boards in the kingdom. Again, it must be remembered that the parents of children in the school formed a very fluctuating body, and under this Amendment they might elect for three years, according to the Schedule, persons who had the greatest antipathy to sending their own children to school. It was well known that in the poorer portions of large towns parents greatly neglected the education of their children, and, therefore, they were the last persons who ought to be entrusted with authority of this kind.

said, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Assheton Cross) had anticipated the answer he must give to this proposal, although he was very sorry to oppose any Amendment moved by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Cowper-Temple), who had given this question so much attention. He could not see how the proposal could possibly work. It was quite beyond the power of the central Department to discover the proper parties in any locality to be appointed members of the school Board. He sympathized in the desire to bring in the parents of the children; but, as had been said, they were a fluctuating body, and in the event of an election it would be easy to send a child to school for the time in order to get a vote. There was also a practical objection to the Amendment in detail, for it would give denominational schools power over those governed by a school Board.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

stated that a precedent existed in the Scotch Act of last year for the restriction of members of the Town Council upon the Board to one-third of the total number. He accordingly moved at the end of the clause to add—

"Provided, That not more than two-thirds of the number to be elected by the Council shall, at the time of their election, be members of such Council."

said, although his own feeling was against the proposal, he was prepared to adopt it in deference to what he believed to be the wish of the Committee. The limitation in the Scotch Act of last year was undoubtedly a precedent, and so was a similar limitation contained in the Free Libraries Act for Scotland.

said, the Scotch precedent was in favour only of one-third of the Council, and he believed a better Board would be secured by fixing that proportion of members of the Town Council as the limit. He accordingly moved, as an Amendment to the proposed. Amendment, to leave out "two-thirds" and insert "one-third."

said, that in all the cases with which he was acquainted, Town Councils exercised a wise discretion as to the choice of trustees, visitors of schools, &c. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster) had yielded so far as to accept the Amendment proposing "two-thirds," and he (Mr. Whitwell) should oppose the suggested limitation.

said, it had recently fallen to his lot to see something of the working of the school system in parts of the United States. In the city of Boston, which afforded probably the best example, the school Board was elected by the Town Council. Formerly the Board was elected by the citizens, but this became, like most other things in that country, a political election; and the choice was accordingly transferred to the Town Council, without, as he believed, the least restriction, and they elected, not their own members, as a rule, but the persons best qualified to fill the position.

said, he approved of having two-thirds from within the Town Council, and he hoped the Government would stand firmly by the proportion of one-third from outside. This would afford facilities for the nomination of the rector, the Dissenting minister, and the Roman Catholic priest, who would not otherwise be elected.

said, the members of the Town Councils were elected by the same suffrage as Members of Parliament. He wished that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) had been carried; but having pressed these functions upon them in many cases against their will, the best thing now for the House to do was to leave them totally unrestricted in the exercise of their discretion.

said, he doubted whether there would be many persons volunteering to go on these Boards, and they had ready to their hand, in the members from the Town Council, the nucleus of a Board, while the proportion of two-thirds gave all needful security.

said, he thought these matters were far too important to be handed over to indirect representation. If direct compulsion was to be carried out it would be of great importance that it should be administered by the Town Council itself.

said, the great object was to secure efficient school Boards, and he doubted whether members of municipal bodies, having drainage, sewerage, police, and a multitude of other duties to attend to, could afford the necessary time and attention for working the school Boards properly.

said, he was quite satisfied as long as full power was given to the Municipal Council to elect members outside its own body.

said, that if any words were inserted expressing distrust of the Town Councils, the House would be undoing the good effected by the conservative decision they had come to upon an earlier portion of the clause. Parliament would actually seem to be taking out of the hands of the trustees and into its own the election of a certain number of the members. ["No, no!"]

said, the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) was mistaken. There was no proposal to take from the Town Councils any of their powers of election, but simply to restrain them from electing more than two-thirds of the Board from among their own members. It was not a mat- ter of much importance; but he thought it would suit the views of the Committee better if it were to be enacted that some portion of those to be elected should be elected from persons outside the Town Council. If the Amendments were withdrawn words might be inserted in the clause to the effect that not more than one-third of the number of persons on the school Board should be elected from persons who at the time of the election were members of the Town Council.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

said, he wished to propose an Amendment in reference to the school Boards of the metropolis, which were excepted from a previous decision by the Committee; one sufficient reason being that in London, with the exception of the City Corporation, there were no municipal bodies properly so called. Ten cities and boroughs were grouped together and called the metropolis; they were governed by Vestries, and there was an increasing feeling that these bodies should not be left to appoint the school Boards, because the Vestrymen were not elected to perform any analogous duties. It was feared that there would be a predominant section, if not sect, in each of those bodies; that the minority would be wholly unrepresented; and that there would be an annual struggle, which would result in the election of persons not the best fitted to discharge the duties which would attach to members of school Boards. A better and the wiser course would be to leave the ratepayers of the metropolis at large to choose the persons who were to superintend education in the various parishes, and the strongest argument in favour of that course was to be found in the fact that although three months had elapsed since he gave notice of his Amendment—which was analyzed and discussed by the Press—not one Petition had been presented against it, while there had been a strong expression of opinion in its favour. Another argument in support of his Amendment was to be found in the growing belief that large areas of educational administration were most likely to secure tolerance, thoughtfulness, and fair play. It might be said that his Amendment would set a precedent, and he did not wish to deny it; but he trusted, that the day was not distant when such a precedent might be found useful. He begged to move, in page 10, line 42, after "Vestry" to insert "and in the metropolis by the parishioners of the parishes therein in manner provided by this Act."

Amendment agreed to.

said, with a view to secure the more perfect representation of all persons concerned in the government of the schools, he would beg to move at the end of the clause to add—

"At every such election every voter shall be entitled to a number of votes equal to the number of the members of the school Board to be elected, and may give all such votes to one candidate, or may distribute them among the candidates as he thinks fit."

said, he thought it would be possible to adopt this form of cumulative voting in the country parishes and in London, presuming the ratepayers would have the election in the latter case, and it would not be impossible to adopt it in the Town Council, who would elect in the case of boroughs. The smallest minority on a Town Council would, in fact, be able to make itself heard if the cumulative vote were adopted.

said, he would support the Amendment, as he thought that in such cases the fullest expression ought to be given to the opinions of the minority.

said, he would vote for the Amendment, which would have the effect of ensuring a spirit of peace and of compromise, especially in the case of the corporations of large towns, and it would largely tend to soften asperities that might otherwise engender fierce and bitter contests.

said, if this new principle were applied to the election of school Boards it would be difficult to limit its application. Why should it not apply also to burial Boards, or other bodies where all kinds of parties might ask to be represented?

said, after the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, that the Government were prepared to shape their policy by the general feeling of the House, he hoped that they would not only accept the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding (Lord Frederick Cavendish), but would see that in order to be consistent they were bound to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke), which had been rejected by a very narrow majority. It had been stated that a minority of one-twelfth on the Town Council would be able to elect their member on the school Boards; but although they might do so on the first occasion, when 12 members were to be elected, the minority would not be able to secure the return of their member on future occasions when only three members of the school Board were to be elected, unless they formed one-fourth of the Town Council. In order to secure a fair representation of all shades of opinion, the school Boards must be elected by the ratepayers. He trusted, therefore, that on the bringing up of the Report the Government would consent to a reversal of the vote that had just been given upon this point.

said, that the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) had spoken as though the Committee were unanimously in favour of cumulative voting; but he, for one, agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire in having no faith in these fantastic methods of attempting to govern England by anything but a majority. People in this country had always been in the habit of looking at every man as a single individual; whereas those who supported cumulative voting appeared to regard him as three or four men rolled into one. To adopt the principle of cumulative voting in the election of school Boards would be a most dangerous experiment—than which he could not conceive one mote likely to wreck the success of the Bill.

said, he thought that if they adopted the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding (Lord Frederick Cavendish), they were bound to reverse their decision upon the proposal of the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke).

said, he did not see how a minority of one-twelfth of the Town Council were to return their member on the school Board, because he had not understood that the two members of whom such a minority would consist would have the power of returning any member they might choose.

said, he thought it objectionable to introduce into the Bill a principle contrary to the old-established rule that questions were to be determined in this country by pure majorities. If the cumulative system were adopted, it was quite possible that there might be combinations such as were well known to the wirepullers at elections entered into as would enable the minority of the Town Council to elect the large majority of the school Board. He trusted that the Committee would maintain the old system, which was intelligible to everybody.

said, that if the Committee were to be four hours discussing two lines and a-half of one clause, there would be but little chance of this Bill becoming law during the present Session of Parliament. The object they had in view was to determine upon the best method of electing school Boards so that parents might place confidence. He thought the Amendment was based upon grounds that were fair and equitable. It was not fair to ignore the rights of a minority. Let them consider an example. In Liverpool they were called upon to establish schools for 20,000 children. These were the children of poor Irish persons. But if there were no provision to secure the rights of a minority, the school Board would consist entirely of persons attached to the English Church. This Board would establish schools not in accordance with the views of the Catholic Church; and the religious teaching in those schools would be contrary to the Catholic doctrines? Would that be just? would it be equitable? If they accepted the Amendment, the voice of the Dissenters and the Roman Catholics would be heard on the local Board.

said, he I hoped the Government would consider this question on its merits, and not be led away by prejudices such as that which his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Jessel) had brought to bear on its consideration. His hon. and learned Friend had shown that he did not understand the proposition of his noble Friend, because all his (Mr. Jessel's) arithmetical illustrations proved was that a similar plan had been effectual In keeping the majority from getting everything. It proved that where there were 10 persons to be elected, and the majority attempted to elect all the 10 from their own party, they did not succeed. He thought that arguments founded on prejudice were not worthy of Members of so much ability, skill, and genius. If this Bill, for which he had no very great affection, was to work, the Boards must have the confidence of the people of the localities; and if even only one member of a minority were elected, his presence on the Board would go far to secure for it an amount of confidence that would prevent much ill-feeling that might otherwise exist.

said, that he thought it advisable to adopt the Amendment, otherwise the Dissenters would not be fairly represented in some localities.

said, there were other interests to be considered besides those of the majority and the minority. The interests of the community as a whole were paramount. He was for throwing on the Council the whole responsibility of electing the school Boards.

said, that the Members of the Government then present had listened to this discussion with strict impartiality. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council and himself had been rather stiff opponents of the minority principle in regard to Parliamentary Elections; but they were compelled in fairness to begin this discussion by recognizing that the main considerations which made that principle inadmissible or inexpedient in Parliamentary Elections were not applicable to the case before the Committee. This was a new and separate question. The Member for South-west Lancashire (Mr. Assheton Cross) had, undoubtedly, pointed to circumstances which ought not to be left out of view in respect of the diversity both of the qualification and the eligibility of the electors, and of the mode of election which already characterized our elections for local purposes; and the House could not entirely put out of view that, whatever the conclusions which might be come to, they were at present engaged in a formal and elaborate inquiry as to these elections for local purposes, which in almost all cases were connected with local taxation. Therefore, whatever they might do in this matter, they must reserve to themselves liberty to deal with the results of that examination. When the Committee, presided over by his right hon. Friend the President of the Poor Law Board, made its Report, it was perfectly possible that the House would have to consider recommendations bearing on the general question of local elections. He thought, therefore, that what they had to do in this case was to adopt the plan which, on the whole, seemed to be the best with regard to the subject of education; and, perhaps, there never was a case in which it was more desirable and more important they should even run some risks in order to give the most complete representation on the Boards. His right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Sir Charles Adderley) had said what was quite true when he pointed out that the whole issue on this question was not one as between majorities and minorities. There were many sections of persons all of whom had interests and feelings which it might be desirable to have represented on the local Boards; and, though he admitted the force of what had been said by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Vernon Harcourt), yet, on the other hand, the representation on the local Board of every shade of opinion would tend to divest the elections of acrimony and animosity. The question was one of great difficulty, and his noble Friend (Lord Frederick Cavendish) had admitted that the system of cumulative voting was less adapted to the election of Town Councillors than to a direct election by the body of the ratepayers. Under these circumstances, he felt there was no conclusion at which the Government could arrive with great clearness of view. They had to make choice amid conflicting difficulties, and they thought they would adopt the best course in agreeing to the Motion of his noble Friend. He could not admit that there was such complete novelty in a plan of this kind as his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Jessel) seemed to suppose; because they must remember Mr. Sturges Bourne's Act. At the same time, there was some novelty in the plan proposed by his noble Friend—something in the character of an experiment; but he thought that, on the whole, the Committee would act wisely in adopting it, and if they did so he hoped it would prove successful.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 28 agreed to.

, in moving that the Chairman now report Progress, said, the next clause would require reconsideration after the conclusion arrived at that evening. He would look carefully over the Schedules, which would also require some alteration. He hoped the Committee would not regard the small amount of progress made that night with the Bill as the measure of their future despatch. The fact was, they had a most difficult and important question before them that evening, and he did not think Government could be blamed for having waited to hear the opinions of the Committee upon it.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.

Extradition Bill—Bill 138

( Mr. Attorney General, Mr. Solicitor General.)

Committee

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 (Restrictions on surrender of criminals).

said, he would beg to move an Amendment to meet the views of the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. W. M. Torrens)—namely, in page 2, line 3, leave out sub-division 1, and insert—

"A fugitive criminal shall not be surrendered if the offence in respect of which his surrender is demanded is one of a political character, or if he prove to the satisfaction of the police magistrate or the Court before whom he is brought on habeas corpus, or to the Secretary of State, that the requisition for his surrender has, in fact, been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

said, that the expediency of including fraudulent bankruptcy in the list of offences in the first Schedule having been questioned, he would consider before the Be-port whether the words "crimes of bank- rupts against the Bankruptcy Law," in line 16, should be retained.

Amendment proposed, in Schedule, page 11, line 27, to leave out "or municipal law."—( Mr. Vernon Harcourt.)

Amendment agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next.

Merchant Shipping Code Bill

( Mr. Bright, Mr. Shaw Lefevre, Mr. Stansfeld.)

Bill 24 Committee

Order for Committee read.

said, he would suggest that the Committee should be postponed to the 1st of August, and that the Bill should be reprinted, with a view to its early introduction next Session.

said, he understood the Bill was to be withdrawn for this Session.

Dublin City Voters Disfranchisement Bill—Bill 184

( Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Mr. Chichester Fortescue)

Second Reading

Order for Second Beading read.

said, he could not allow the second reading of this Bill to pass without saying a word respecting the exaggerated statements made with regard to the voters in Dublin, in consequence of which a Bill was introduced last Session with the object of totally disfranchising the freemen of Dublin, a very small proportion of whom had been proved to be corrupt. The Government had in this matter acted with great fairness, because they had rejected these suggestions of general corruption, and had confined the provisions of the Bill to the cases actually reported upon by the Commissioners. He must, however, in making these observations, guard himself against being supposed to agree with the penalty provided in each individual case. He admitted that the Government were justified in drawing up the Bill in its present form; but trusted he should be able to show in Committee that there were special grounds for exempting particular persons from its operation.

said, that everyone who had read the Report of the Commissioners must have come to the conclusion that the Government ought to take action with regard to the Dublin freemen. The Schedules contained the names of 672 persons who were more or less engaged in corrupt practices, and he was sorry he was only able to ask the House to disfranchise 100 of them.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.

Sheriefs (Scotland) Act (1853) Amendment, &C Bill

On Motion of The LORD ADVOCATE, Bill to amend and extend the Act sixteenth and seventeenth Victoria, chapter ninety-two, to make further provision for Uniting Counties in Scotland, in so far as regards the jurisdiction of the Sheriff; and also to make certain provisions regarding the duties of Sheriffs and Sheriffs Substitute in Scotland, ordered to be brought in by The LORD ADVOCATE and Mr. ADAM.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 191.]

Paupers Conveyance (Expenses) Bill

On Motion of Mr. PEEL, Bill for removing doubts respecting the payment of Expenses incurred in the Conveyance of Paupers in certain cases not expressly provided for by Law, ordered to be brought in by Mr. PEEL and Mr. GOSCHEN.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 193.]

Shannon Navigation Bill

On Motion of Mr. STANSFELD, Bill to amend and enlarge the powers of the Acts relating to the Navigation of the River Shannon; and for other purposes relating thereto, ordered to be brought in by Mr. STANSFELD and Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 192.]

Shipping Dues Exemption Act (1867) Amendment Bill

Act read; considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the Shipping Dues Exemption Act, 1867.

Resolution reported:—Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. RUSSELL GORNEY and Mr. COWPER-TEMFLE.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 191.]

House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock.