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Elementary Education (Re-Committed) Bill—Bill 167

Volume 203: debated on Monday 11 July 1870

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

COMMITTEE. [Progress 8th July.]

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 65 (Attendance of child at school).

said, he had an Amendment to propose, which would raise the question of compulsory education on a complete issue, which he thought it would be convenient for the Committee to decide once for all. His Amendment was, in page 24, line 21, to leave out all after "by laws" to the end of the clause, the effect of which would be to omit all reference to compulsory attendance of children in the schools. He would not go over the arguments against compulsory attendance, which had been so ably expressed on Friday by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leatham), and others, to which no answer had been given, except that given by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council—namely, that no answer was required. For examples of compulsory education they were told to look to the European Continent and to America. But there could be no proper comparison between the inhabitants of these islands and the subjects of either despotic or democratic States. The circumstances were widely different, and therefore if it could be proved that compulsion was perfectly successful in these countries, still his argument would be untouched, because the experiment tried on people brought up under the tyranny of the few, or the still worse tyranny of the many, afforded no argument from which they could reason to a people accustomed to freedom and independence. They might as well say that, because the conscription, which was compulsory enlistment, was successful, and ensured vast levies of troops in France, in Prussia, and in America, therefore it would be successful in England, whereas there was not a single Member in that House who did not know that any attempt to put in force such a system here would drive the patient and long-suffering inhabitants of these islands into open insurrection. And, moreover, he could not bring himself to entertain, so low an opinion of his fellow-countrymen as for one moment to believe that they would ever submit to be dragooned into knowledge, or to have the alphabet crammed down their throats by a policeman's truncheon. Such parallels then could not be drawn. But it appeared from the speech of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) that, instead of the system succeeding on the Continent, it was an acknowledged failure. The hon. Member, indeed, gave them several reasons why it was a failure; but the failure was acknowledged. With these failures staring them in the face, he thought the House would hesitate before they took a step so opposed to the feelings of the people of this country. For a parallel to this legislation they must look a long way back indeed. They on his side of the House were often charged with pursuing a reactionary policy; but for a parallel to this policy of the Government they must look back for three centuries, when the Legislature imposed penalties for non-attendance at religious worship. That was now looked upon as the folly of a past age; he hoped the House would not sanction this attempt to go back upon it. The hon. Member for Sheffield, indeed, said that this was not a question of police or of magistrates—all was to be done by a pacific action and the genial influence of the school Boards. But were these Boards to have the power of levying fines and committing to gaol Her Majesty's subjects? ["No!"] He presumed the whole proceeding would take place according to the ordinary operation of law. Now, what was to take place if a fine were imposed and not paid? The only alternative was imprisonment. Here was a grand scheme for the elevation of the condition of the people commencing by sending the father to gaol, and his wife and family to the workhouse. But the advocates of compulsion always avoided that issue: they said that if the Act were passed there would never be occasion to put it in force. He ventured to say that nothing could be more dangerous than legislation of such an abortive character. Unpopular le- gislation provoked hatred; but abortive legislation engendered contempt. They had seen too many of their laws already turned into ridicule on account of their being due to impulsive legislation. This legislation was, as he believed, opposed to all the instincts and traditions of the people—it was introducing a tyrannical interference with domestic life, which the people of this country would be very slow to approve. It involved a substitution of State in lieu of domestic control. It was, as he ventured to say on Friday, specially directed against one class in the community. ["No, no!"] Why, what but one class in society would be affected by it? They did not mean to say that it was directed against the children of the upper classes; if so, he fancied there would be more heard in opposition to it; and further, it was legislation which, if adopted, they would never dare to enforce. He especially objected to permissive compulsion as an abdication of legislative responsibility; it was an attempt to throw the odium of compulsion upon the wealthy inhabitants of the district, instead of laying it upon the shoulders of those who alone ought to be responsible—namely, the Imperial Parliament. He therefore begged to move his Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 24, line 21, to leave out from the word "by laws" to the end of the Clause.—( Mr. James Lowther.)

said, he had not hitherto taken part in this discussion, because he was reluctant to occupy the time of the House. But the question before the Committee was one which so deeply affected the constituency with which he was connected (Dewsbury), and on which they had formed so strong an opinion, that he felt bound to say a few words. The hon. Member for York (Mr. J. Lowther) had referred to certain analogies. He disliked tyranny as much as the hon. Member did, whether it appeared in the shape of a despotic Government or a democracy; but he could not see any analogy between these forms of Government and the measure before them, any more than there was in his other analogy between compulsory attendance at school and that obsolete law which compelled persons to attend some parish church. It would be a waste of time to attempt to shove that there was a wide difference between coercing the consciences of men on matters of religion and compelling them to train their children as good citizens. He supported the principle of compulsion, and he only regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had not seen it his duty to carry it further, for it seemed to him to be the necessary corollary of such a Bill as the present. He was willing to admit that there was no other ground for this compulsion than that required by the necessities of good government. It was only when parents failed in the duty which they owed both to their children and to the State, to train them up as good citizens, that the State was justified in stepping in and seeing that the duty was done. The principle was not a new one; for the law empowered the Court of Chancery to interfere in the case of orphans where property was concerned; and instances had been known of the State interfering and claiming children from parents who were not of orthodox religious opinions. But the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council dealt tenderly with compulsion; he was reluctant to approach it because of a mistaken idea that the feelings of the working classes were against it. With regard to the ratepayers, out of whose pockets the money for the schools would come, it was clearly their interest to see that when the schools were there the young people should be educated in them and brought up as good citizens and honest men, instead of being left to roam the streets and become criminals or paupers. Compulsory attendance, therefore, was the only guarantee which the taxpayers or the ratepayers could have that the taxes which were imposed or the rates which were levied for the support of the schools, were properly and efficiently applied. With regard to the working classes, as far as his experience went, he believed that, if they were polled, they would almost to a man be in favour of compulsion. ["No, no!"] He said as far as his experience went; and his intercourse with the working classes was not limited, for he had attended meetings where there were thousands of working men assembled; and when he was on his canvass the question was always asked whether he was in favour of compulsory education, and he found there was but one opinion upon the subject. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had not gone further in the way of compulsion, because he regarded it as the duty of the State to enforce its own laws, not to cast it upon the shoulders of of others to do so. Whether he would support the right hon. Gentleman he could not at that moment determine; but, most probably he would support him, because he regarded this as an experiment, and, as the right hon. Gentleman said, he believed that at the end of two years they would all be of one mind on the subject.

said, the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Serjeant Simon) contradicted himself. If the parents of the children were so unanimous in favour of the Bill, what was the use of compulsory clauses? The hon. and learned Gentleman called upon Parliament to compel the very parties whom he asserted to be willing and eager, and to need no compulsion. The hon. Gentleman argued as if the Government were stopping short and were not carrying out an essential principle of the Bill. But the question was this—was compulsion necessary for the whole body of the poorer classes for whom the Bill was intended? He held that it was not. Compulsory clauses if wanted at all were wanted only for a small portion—namely, for the most neglected children, and it was absolutely stigmatizing the working classes to push this obnoxious compulsory principle beyond what was needed, and assert it for the whole population. Now, so much did the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster) feel that this was the case that it seemed as if the compulsory clause was so worded that it might have no effect. There was one plain idea which the right hon. Gentleman appeared to have been possessed with, and that was the creation of school Boards in every district, into which he expected the denominational schools would gradually merge; and accordingly the clauses relating to that subject were clear and complete. But on other points clauses seemed put up as mere shams for discussion. The right hon. Gentleman did not appear to think they would ever come into force, so that he need not care how they were drawn; he had tried this plan with the religious clauses— though he had found out his mistake by this time—and now he was trying it with compulsion. If this clause was to be carried out, how was it to be done? The right hon. Gentleman said that the school Boards would see that the children should attend; but it did not appear that they had any means for doing so until in a subsequent part of the Bill it secured that attendance was to be enforced by the magistrates. Did the right hon. Gentleman intend to give the school Boards not only in the larger towns, but in the smaller towns of the country magisterial powers? If not, by what means were these Boards to lay hold of the children? How were they to come in contact with the parents, and to bring the law to bear upon them? There was no power or provision in the clause for doing all that. If the clause could somehow come into play, still it would only be with regard to a very small portion of the children of towns—those, namely, who were found wandering in the streets without visible means of occupation, and who were, indeed, the most neglected of children. But for those children there was already provision in the existing law; the Industrial Schools Act with very slight alterations might be made to provide for all the class of children for whom this most obnoxious clause was ever, by any possibility, applicable. It was a clause which would throw unpopularity over the whole of the Bill, and discredit the great system of national education which it was sought to bring into operation. The best way to induce the poorer classes to send their children to school was to make it clear to them that to send them there was for their advantage. The increasing demand for skilled labour was doing that, and for the more degraded class running loose about the streets there were already means for compulsion. He admitted that the Industrial Schools Act did not provide for the day education of those children whose parents or guardians were still living; but it would need but slight alteration to make it cover those cases. Such schools were frequently used as day schools, and were meant to be kept distinct from reformatories. Under all the circumstances he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee a little more information as to how the clause was to act—that is, in what way different from the Industrial Schools Act, and whether school Boards were to lay hold of children in the streets, and carry them off to school daily by a police of their own.

said, he hoped the Committee would allow him to appeal to them as to the real necessity which existed that the Bill should be proceeded with without any unnecessary waste of time. They had now arrived at a period of the Session when it was not desirable that the arguments which had been advanced on a point which had already been decided should be repeated. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) would, under those circumstances, he felt sure, excuse him if he did not enter on the present occasion into the particular question which he had raised. The House had declared, by two large majorities, that compulsion should not be made universal throughout the country. But then it was urged by the hon. Member for York (Mr. J. Lowther) that there should be no compulsion at all, while the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) who was in favour of compulsion, was of opinion that it would be better to have none than to introduce compulsory clauses into the Bill which were merely permissive, and which were not to be universal in their application. Well, without going over ground which he had already trodden he would simply observe that the principle of compulsion had been for some time acknowledged, and so far as its interference with the liberty of the subject was concerned, there could be little difference between direct and indirect compulsion. Then arose the question whether it was desirable to have permissive compulsion, and that compulsion applied only in certain districts, or whether it would be preferable to do without it altogether. The hon. Member for York contended that compulsion in any shape was contrary to public opinion and unpopular. But then it should be borne in mind that the clause under discussion contemplated that it should be put in force where the public opinion of a district happened to pronounce itself in its favour through the Town Council, which was amenable to the public voice, or through the ratepayers themselves. The objection that it would make the measure unpopular did not, therefore, apply to the clause as it at present stood. Then came the objection that the principle was to be car- ried out under the Bill in a very partial manner. But he could only repeat what he said on Friday—that one of the great advantages of the clause was that the experiment which would thus be tried would serve as an important guide in dealing with the question in the future. It would enable the Government to form a conclusion as to how compulsion was carried into effect by persons who took a great interest in the matter, and who were practically acquainted with all the circumstances and facts of the case. Hon. Members must decide for themselves whether they would or would not like the experiment to be tried; the Government would be very much guided by the decision of the Committee, and if the proposal were not sanctioned there that would be sufficient evidence of its unpopularity, and it would then be wiser for the Government not to press the clause. For his own part he should be glad to see the clause passed very much as it stood. He could assure the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Charles Adderley) that the clause had not been drawn carelessly, for there was not a single clause in the Bill which had been the subject of more care and attention on the part of the Government. When they reached the details of the clause he would be able to give reasons for every line contained in it. As to the objection that there would be no mode of enforcing the clause, it would be found, by reference to the words at the end of the page, that provision was made in the usual way for the by-laws being summarily carried out by the magistrates.

said, he was of opinion that if compulsion was right and expedient it ought to be applied to the higher and middle as well as to the lower classes. There were many self-taught artizans who were better up in Greek, and even Hebrew, than hon. Members who were educated at the Universities. He did not like the principle of direct compulsion, and he felt convinced that the Government did not like it either. He believed it would tend to fill the gaols rather than the schools. According to the Bill, if their children failed to attend school, "every" parent would be fined—meaning thereby both the father and the mother, and if the fine were not paid they must go to gaol. Although, however, he objected to direct compulsion, he could say that the system of indirect compulsion had worked well in the manufacturing districts, and he would like to see it applied to the agricultural districts also.

said, he should consider it a misfortune if the plan of the Government were not adopted by the House. As to the objection of the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hermon) that direct compulsion would cause many people to go to gaol, he believed that, with a general system of compulsory education, fewer persons would be in gaol than now. A magistrate of Manchester wrote to him that he had before him the other day four prisoners charged with breaking into a warehouse. Their ages were 13, 10, 9, and 9, and though mere children, they were "known thieves." As to the alleged unpopularity of compulsory education, the most popular candidate at the last election for Manchester was the late Mr. Ernest Jones, who made this one of the principal questions at every meeting he attended; and if it had not been for the minority clause, that gentleman would probably have been elected. In Manchester there was a strong desire for compulsion. He thought, however, that a general law would be tried at present under great disadvantages. It would be applied where public opinion was not ripe, and where compulsion had never been discussed or heard of. On the other hand, permissive compulsion would only be applied where a majority of the working classes were in its favour; and it would, therefore, in those instances be tried with success. The hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. E. Potter) said that probably 40 places would adopt the principle of compulsory education. If only 20 places, or five, or if even one place adopted it, the precedent would be of the greatest service. Such places would pioneer the way, would show it was practicable, and would do much to enable Parliament to pass a general law. He had great admiration for the abilities of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett); but if there were not in the House men of more practical minds than his, a long time would elapse before they could hope for measures of useful legislation.

said, he thanked the hon. Member for that compliment, but experience showed that men who were impracticable one day became extremely practicable another day, and that almost every great measure had been advocated at one stage of its existence by men who were called impracticable. The question of general direct compulsion having been decided—for the present Session, at all events, last Friday, the question now before the Committee was whether it would be better to have permissive compulsion, or no compulsion at all. Some hon. Members opposed this part of the Bill because they objected to all compulsion. He opposed the clause because permissive compulsion would cause the experiment to be tried in so unfavourable a manner that it would be difficult to apply a system of general compulsion for a great number of years. So far from affording useful guidance to Parliament, he believed that permissive compulsion would furnish no guidance at all, and would afford no test of the feeling of the country in favour of compulsion. The clause contained no machinery for applying compulsion, yet there was no case in which more delicate, complicated, and difficult machinery was required; and the local authorities received no help from the Legislature in working the system, but were allowed to bungle and confuse it as they pleased. Try the question by this test. With all their shortcomings, the Factory Acts had worked well; but, in all probability, if the clauses in those Acts had been permissive, they would have produced no effect at all. All permissive legislation in this country had proved a disastrous failure; and if the Factory Acts had failed through being permissive there would have been a prejudice against the extension of those Acts to other branches of industry. A county Member of that House, who had set up a school in his own parish, said to him that, though he had been long convinced that nothing could be done without compulsion, he would not vote for permissive compulsion; because it was one thing to go to people and say their children should be sent to school because the Imperial Parliament had laid it down as a matter of State policy, and quite another to worry and harry them with all sorts of vexatious restrictions, the grievance being intensified a hundred-fold by the fact that, if they lived perhaps 100 yards off, outside the parish, they would not be subject to compulsion. He wished to ask the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) whether in the two boroughs with which he was acquainted—Sheffield and Not- tingham—permissive legislation had had any effect? He (Mr. Fawcett) alleged that it had not. Three years ago the Workshops Act was passed, but the local authorities had been paralyzed in their intention to put the law in operation by the knowledge that just outside those boroughs lived thousands of working men who would not be subject to the regulations. Englishmen abhorred nothing more than exceptional legislation; and the thousands who had assembled in the Town Hall of Birmingham, or the Free Trade Hall of Manchester, and had been so enthusiastic in favour of compulsory education, would quickly alter their tone when they found that they were the subjects of such exceptional legislation, and that their towns might still be deluged with ignorance which had been permitted to grow up in the surrounding districts. It was idle for the friends of compulsion to ignore the fact that it could not be applied without, in the first instance, producing considerable hardship upon working men; and it was, therefore, the duty of the Committee to minimize the pecuniary loss which would be inflicted. General direct compulsion would affect the supply of juvenile labour, and, as a consequence, the rate of wages for adults; but, under a system of permissive compulsion, many compensating advantages would come into operation, and wages would not be raised because of the competition of juvenile labour in surrounding districts where compulsion was not applied. The friends of compulsion should carefully weigh the danger of their opponents being able to tell the working classes that they were the victims of exceptional legislation—because they deceived themselves if they thought that those persons opposed to compulsion would not, in many towns, form a powerful party. In places like Liverpool compulsion might be carried at the first election of the school Board, only to lead to agitation against exceptional legislation; and if the anti-compulsion party were strengthened at an ensuing municipal election, and the decision of the present authorities were reversed, it would be ton times more difficult to apply compulsion. It should not be forgotten that individual cases of hardship would be sure to occur, and would be pointed to by the reactionists as justifying them in the course they had taken. It was not dignified for Parliament to leave to the local authorities the decision of a great question. They were told that the people were not prepared for compulsion. If so, was it justifiable to hand the power over to the local authorities? Next Session the Factory Acts would have to be consolidated, the Workshops Act to be amended, and they would have to legislate respecting children employed in agriculture. He appealed to the Government whether all these reforms would not be rendered far more difficult if by the passing of permissive compulsion the Committee sanctioned the extraordinary anomaly that, with regard to children at work, Parliament would decree that they should attend school; while as to those who were not at work, the question whether they should attend school might be left to the shifting and arbitrary caprice of the local authorities?

said, that a difficulty had occurred to him which had not been mentioned; according to the ordinary rule the greatest punishment that could be inflicted on a boy at school was expulsion. Under indirect compulsion expulsion was still the greatest punishment, and it was the interest of a lad and of his parents that he should remain at school and escape expulsion, otherwise he could not obtain a certificate, which would enable him to get employment. Now, under direct compulsion, this power would be lost altogether. If the parent objected to the boy being at school it would be his interest that he should be expelled, and the boy would probably have no objection. How, with the present ideas about other kinds of punishment, could discipline be maintained? no did not know whether it had occurred to the Vice President of the Council to consider whether he could devise some substitute by which discipline would be preserved.

said, he could not on this occasion go into the Lobby with his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). The Vice President of the Council had intimated that this was not a vital point, and that hon. Members on this question ought to be allowed to vote as they liked. Now, nobody in the House had been in more direct or constant communication with the working classes and others outside the House on this question than he (Mr. Dixon), and he wished to state that during the progress of the Bill through Committee he had received no intimation whatever that it was the wish of the working classes that the clause under discussion should be expunged from the Bill, although there had been full opportunity of taking the question into consideration, numerous meetings having been held in London and elsewhere to discuss the subject. The general feeling outside was so strongly in favour of direct compulsion, that they preferred compulsion in a permissive form rather than not to have it at all; and they regarded the clause as a recognition of an important principle.

Question put, "That the words 'for all or any of the following purposes' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 274; Noes 119: Majority 155.

, in moving that the age during which boys should be Liable to be compelled to attend school should be limited to from 5 to 10 years old, said, that as the House had decided that power should be given to compel the attendance of children at school, the question of the limits within which that power was to be exorcised became of the utmost practical importance, and he wished to state why he could not approve of the proposals of the Government in the Bill, or of the various modifications suggested. He took his stand on the broad ground that it was necessary that after 10 years old there should be absolutely no restrictions on the labour of boys, such as would be involved by compulsory attendance at school. He should confine his remarks to the agricultural districts, though he believed as strong a case might be made out for the towns, and he would be most unwilling to ask the House to accept any crude opinions or unsupported assertion of his own. The House, however, had at its command ample means for forming a correct judgment, through the labour of the Agricultural Employment Commissioners, and it was on their Reports that he should found his arguments. His quotations, though very short, would in every case, represent a great body of evidence, and he should show from them—first, the immense inconvenience to fanners; secondly, the grievous hardship to labourers which would be caused by keeping their boys at school after 10 years old; and, thirdly, that such inconvenience and hardship were wholly unnecessary. With regard to the farmers, they deserved the most favourable consideration of the House not only on account of the importance of the due cultivation of the soil, but because of the admirable spirit in which they had everywhere met the inquiries of the Commissioners. The Reports of the present Bishop of Manchester, then one of the Assistant Commissioners, and of Mr. Tremenheere, were conclusive of the desire of the farmers and landowners to promote education, by excluding all children under 10 years of age from work. So that, as far as the farmers were concerned, they were quite ready, though at a considerable sacrifice to themselves, to dispense with the labour of boys up to 10 years old. But after 10 it was a very different story. Then, as the evidence repeatedly showed, a boy became of constant use upon a farm, and was usually employed continuously through the whole year. But the case of hardship to the labourer was stronger still. To estimate this, let the House remember that after 10 a boy could obtain continuous employment; but to insist on his attendance at school up to 12 or 13 years of age, even during the winter months, would be to deprive him of his yearly hiring. The farmers might get bigger boys to do the work; but the earnings of the younger ones would be lost to the families, and this would fall hardest on those large families of young children which wanted the money most. What, then, could a boy of 10 years old earn? There were very few counties in England where such a boy could not earn 6d. a day. Where he could not the rate of wages was low, and the money proportionately valuable. In some places he earned much more; in Berkshire, for instance, a boy of 10 to 12 earned commonly 3s. to 4s. a week, with 20s. to 30s., or even £2 at Michaelmas. In Yorkshire, boys earned 10d. to 1s. a day, and in Cumberland and Westmoreland even as much as 1s. 6d. to 2s. a day turnip thinning. The earnings of a boy of 10 or 12 years might be taken to average one-sixth of the wages of his father; and frequently, if the father was out of work, he was the only bread-winner of the family: and the Commissioner and the Inspectors unanimously stated that such was the poverty of the labouring families that those earnings could not possibly be spared. But, it might be said, this may be all very true and very sad, but educational considerations must be paramount. Was it then necessary, even in that point of view, to keep boys after 10? It would be generally admitted that the amount of education represented by the fourth standard of the Revised Code—that was the power of reading fairly, writing from dictation, and doing sums in the first four rules of arithmetic—was sufficient for a labourer's child. Mr. Tremenheere said—

"It is acknowledged on all hands that when once a child has been able to satisfy the requirements of the fourth standard, it does not readily forget what it has learnt, and that a moderate amount of after application is sufficient to keep up and extend it."
The most valuable evidence on this point was that of the school teachers, who might be expected to lean in an opposite direction. Mr. Culley consulted 16 of them in Bedfordshire and 11 in Buckinghamshire, and said the following might be taken as the answer of them all—"Granted a regular school attendance from five (some say six) years of ago up to 10, a child of ordinary ability would be able to read and write, and use the first four rules of arithmetic with facility;" and the school teachers of Northamptonshire wrote to Mr. Norman that there was "a singular unanimity of opinion" among them that, with such schooling as had been already described, a labourer's child at 10 years old "would fairly reach the fifth standard of the Revised Code." There was plenty of evidence that their knowledge could be easily kept up by night schools and similar means which would not interfere with farm work. If, then, in conclusion, it was not necessary to keep boys after 10, was it wise to do so? The House must recollect that even permissive compulsion went far beyond the principle of the Factory Acts, and was to be extended to districts which were utterly unprepared for it. The certainty of inconvenience to the farmers and hardship to the labourers had been proved; you ran the risk, in addition, of destroying what little independence and providence the agricultural labourer now possessed, because to deprive him of his children's earnings would frequently force him to seek the aid of charity in some shape; you ran the risk, too, of outstripping public opinion, and of causing the hostility of the very classes on whose co-operation the success of your measure depended. For the sake, then, of agriculture, for the sake of struggling poverty, for the sake of the general acceptance and successful working of this measure, let the House proceed cautiously and deal gently in this matter. Send the children to school at five by all means; keep the girls there till 12 if you liked; encourage the boys by every possible inducement to stay as long as they could; but do not prevent them by force, after they were 10 years old, from earning all they could towards the support of themselves and their little brothers and sisters. He would beg to move in page 24, line 22, to leave out "children," and insert "boys above the age of five years and under the ago of ten years, and of girls."

said, it might be convenient to the Committee, as several Amendments stood on the Paper in relation to the age at which children were to be compelled to attend school, if he stated at once the modification which the Government proposed to make in the clause. As the clause at present stood the school Boards were allowed no margin for discretion; if the by-laws were to be enforced at all, they must I embrace all children between the ages of 5 and 12. Perhaps, upon the whole, it would be better to give the districts themselves the discretion of fixing the age at which the attendance should be enforced. He thought, however, it was right that there should be a minimum and a maximum age, and he accordingly would propose, instead of the words "children above the age of five years and under the age of twelve years," to substitute "children not less than five nor more than thirteen years, as may be fixed by the by-laws." Thirteen years would give a greater margin, and in some town districts it might be desirable to have extended limits. He trusted that Amendment would be accepted.

said, he was obliged to his right hon. Friend for having made this Amendment. He thought, however, the minimum should be fixed at six years instead of five years, which was too tender an age for compulsion.

said, he would remind his hon. Friend that the by-laws must be revised by the Education Department.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in page 24, line 22, to leave out the words "above the age of five years and under the age of twelve years," in order to insert, "not less than five nor more than thirteen years of age, as may be fixed by the by-laws"—( Mr. W. E. Forster)—instead thereof.

said, he was inclined to think that the suggestion of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish) was a good one. There were many children of five years of age who, on account of ill-health, ought not to be compelled to attend school.

said, he believed it would be a mistake not to retain five as the minimum age at which compulsion might be enforced under certain circumstances. Many children attended infant schools at three.

said, no doubt many children of three attended school with great advantage; but he agreed with the hon. Member for Sunderland that five was too tender an age for compulsory attendance.

said, he was willing, if the Committee wished it, to make six years the minimum.

said, he hoped that care would be taken not to discourage attendance at night schools, which tended so much to improve the education of the labouring classes in agricultural districts.

said, the House had been told that it was very unlikely that these compulsory clauses would be put in operation in the case of children under the age of 10. Under the Factory Act, however, children were worked as early as they could earn wages. It was right, then, that they should go to school early. But they were told that six ought to be substituted for five. The hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines) was of opinion that it was of great advantage to children to go to infant schools at a still earlier age. They knew that children were often sent to school at three years, and he had heard of cases where the children had only been 20 months old. Any unavoidable cause of absence would be admitted as an excuse. He must express his great disappointment that the Vice President of the Council should have consented to what he (Mr. Dixon) deemed a totally unnecessary alteration.

said, he did not believe that the slightest advantage was produced by the attendance of children at school at too early an age. They were not sent to school to learn, but in order to be kept out of mischief while the mother was at work. He did not think it would be well to allow school Boards to make compulsory laws in such cases. He thought that parents would like to keep their children at home till six years of age.

said, it would be well that children should be sent to school without the intervention of the gutter, and without the risk of the fire at home.

would vote in favour of "five," as his experience was quite different from that of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish). He had seen children of two years old in infant schools, and though they could not be taught much book learning, and certainly dogmatic theology would run off them like water off a duck's back, yet it was not too early to inculcate good habits. It had been said that we paid too much attention to principles, and too little to habits—that though good principles were good things, strong confirmed habits were better. Certainly, it was never too early to inculcate habits of decency, cleanliness, and order. Besides, children thus brought up learned more rapidly than those who had passed their time in the gutter. The difficulty was to obtain time for education without trenching on the time for gaining a living. He believed that a system of beginning early and ending early would present a solution of that difficulty, and that the infant school and night school would well supplement the ordinary school.

said, he hoped the Committee would not divide. He was prepared to support the proposition of the Government, whether it was "five" or "six," as that was the only mode by which they could make real progress with the Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment ( Mr. W. E. Forster) agreed to.

moved in page 24, sub-section 2, line 28, after "subjects," to insert—

"Or shall require any child to attend school on any day or occasion sot apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his parent belongs."

Amendment agreed to.

said, he would suggest an Amendment, to the effect that the number of days on which a child should be required to attend school should be raised from 200 to 300.

said, that the number of days' attendance would be regulated by the by-laws in accordance with the circumstances of a district.

said, he should say nothing further on the subject, as it appeared there was to be permissive compulsion, permissive school aid, and, permissive time.

Amendment proposed in page 24, line 42, to leave out the words "within one mile" and insert "not exceeding three miles" agreed to.

said, he rose to move as an Amendment, in page 24, after line 43, to insert—

"Where there is no school Board in a school district, upon receiving a requisition from the managers of all public elementary schools in their district asking for the same compulsory powers as given to school Boards, together with a copy of a resolution to the same effect carried at a vestry meeting by a majority of at least two-thirds of the ratepayers in the same district, it shall be lawful for the Education Department to allow these bylaws to be put in force, and they shall have the same effect as if they were made by-laws by a school Board exercising powers under this Act."
His object was to give school managers the power of putting the compulsory clauses in operation, under the conditions he had specified; and though the Government had by a recent Amendment to some extent anticipated his views, he yet thought that it would be desirable for the Committee to adopt this Amendment, He was a firm advocate of the principle of compulsion, for his experience had always been that the great impediment to the spread of education was the difficulty of enforcing the children's attendance. He believed that in the rural districts—he had no knowledge of what might be the case in the towns—persons would be elected under the Act who would be animated by an earnest desire to carry out its compulsory provisions not in the mere letter of the law, but in the spirit of love. They would put it in force with discretion and forbearance, and so enforced there would be little need either of the policemen or of the magistrate. Cases, no doubt, would happen where parents neglected the duty they owed to God and man in the matter of the education of their offspring, and where the children would have to be plucked, as brands out of the burning, from passing all their time in houses where little but foul language and vile habits were to be learned. But he was hopeful that in the main the population would take kindly to the measure. The great difficulty to contend with in his own neighbourhood were the "straw-plaiting" schools. He had found that the attendance at some national schools in his district had diminished from 100 to 35 children, and upon inquiry he found that 50 or 60 of them were huddled together in a so-called "industrial" school; where under the charge of one old woman, they were engaged not in learning to read or to write, but in plaiting straw. In another district, out of 300 children, 150 were similarly occupied. Something, however, was to be attributed to the indifference with which Dissenters regarded these national schools in the management of which they had no share. He hoped that a better state of things would prevail under this Bill.

said, while sympathizing with the object of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, he must express a serious doubt whether the proposed Amendment would answer the purpose it was intended for. The Government had already consented to words which enabled every district that wished it to apply the compulsory provisions of the Act; but there would be considerable objections to placing the initiative in the hands of the managers, and any such attempt on their part would be sure to be misunderstood. He would recommend the hon. Gentleman not to press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

said, he would propose an Amendment, Notice of which had been given by the noble Lord the Member for Cambridgeshire (Lord George Manners), in line 43, after "child," to insert—

"4. That the child is ten years of ago, and holds certificates from an Inspector of having passed the fourth standard."

said, the first part was not consistent with the clauses already passed, and he should be loth to insert the latter words.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

proposed as an Amendment, in page 25, line 3, after "five shillings," to insert "including costs." He thought the Act would work better without any uncertainty in that respect. The penalties might otherwise become excessive, and might bring the parents to the verge of distress. He would also like to know how often the penalty could be imposed.

said, he concurred in the spirit of the Amendment. His experience led him to think that the whole question of costs, as regarded conviction for small offences, would require reconsidering. When acting as a magistrate he had often felt the hardship of the present system. He, however, did not think the words suggested by the hon. Member would answer. He would suggest that the limit should be fixed at 10s. instead of 5s., for he was afraid that it would often happen that the costs could not be brought within the limit proposed by the Amendment.

said, he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would accept the Amendment as it stood; otherwise the result would be that the fine would never be less than 5s. It happened only the other day that a girl, 12 years of age, was fined 1s. or 2s. for some trifling offence, and 13s. costs. The latter could not be paid by the father, and the little one was sentenced to go to prison for 10 days. The Committee should be careful to guard against the possibility of such a thing happening under this Bill. He felt sure that with heavy costs in addition to a penalty compulsion would cease in many districts.

said, that even for the most trivial offence the costs were seldom less than 8s. 6d., and the magistrates had no power to remit them unless they had put into operation the Act for the payment of magistrates' clerks by fixed salary. He regretted that that wise and just Act was not more generally adopted. He should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would give them some more definite information as to the probable manner of the operation of this clause, because he saw great difficulties in the way of it.

said, he could not answer the hon. Baronet's question at present, nor until by-laws had been suggested by various districts. Officers would probably be appointed to warn the parents of every child who was absent from school; but magisterial authority would not be brought to bear until warnings were found to be ineffectual. With regard to the particular question before the Committee, he would suggest the words, "not to exceed such amount as with costs will amount to five shillings."

said, he approved of the Amendment. Nothing would more impede the working of the clause than making the penalty too high.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment ( Mr. W. E. Forster) agreed to.

said, he would beg to move, in page 25, line 4, to leave out from "laid" to the end of the clause, and insert "sanctioned by the Education Department." As the clause stood bylaws could not come into operation except during the sitting of Parliament, and consequently a delay of six months might occur. The power of sanctioning those by-laws during the Recess might safely be conferred on the Education Department, which he felt assured would exercise it so discreetly that the subsequent laying of the by-laws on the Table of the House would be a mere matter of form. In Birmingham and other large towns the by-laws probably would not be framed till after the close of next Session, and consequently this part of the Bill would be a dead letter till Parliament met in 1872. It was to remove this inconvenience that he proposed the Amendment.

said, he would support the Amendment. It appeared to him very doubtful whether Parliament ought to be troubled at all with these by-laws. Parliament would be a bad judge while the Education Department would be a competent judge.

said, he thought that after the necessary sanction was given by the Education Department the bylaws should be laid before Parliament in the annual Report. With that condition he supported the Amendment.

said, this Proviso was inserted because it was considered that Parliament might like to keep the control in its own hands. He did not think there would be any educational advantage in retaining the Proviso.

said, he was of opinion some Proviso ought to be made for the improvement of the by-laws.

said, there was no Proviso in the clause for the publication of the by-laws in the locality where they were to operate. He thought each locality ought to have an opportunity of expressing its opinion as to the desirability of adopting the compulsory clauses of the Bill.

said, he would undertake to carry out the noble Lord's suggestion, and would insert words in the clause to carry out the object aimed at by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon).

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

said, he wished to ask if the legal expenses connected with the drawing up of by-laws in each locality could be avoided?

said, he thought it a serious omission, that although the school Boards might force children to attend school, the Bill did not empower them to compel those parents of such children who were able to pay the school fees.

said, he would consider the various suggestions that had been made.

said, he wished to know whether blindness or deafness was to be held as a reasonable excuse for non attendance under this clause? He thought that a clause should be brought up on the Report providing for the education of the blind and the deaf and dumb.

said, he proposed, on the Report, to move words making it clear that the school Boards might devote part of the funds at their disposal to the education of the deaf and blind. He would suggest some such plan as giving the master £2 per annum extra for undertaking the extra duty.

said, he was as anxious as anyone for the education of those persons, but he doubted whether a general Education Bill was the place to make such provision. He would find out whether the power referred to by the hon. Member who spoke last was given to the school Board by the Bill, and if not, he would endeavour to consider favourably the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 66 (Application of small endowments).

in moving in page 25, line 25, to leave out "1868," and insert "1869," said, the Endowed Schools Act of 1869 did not apply to endowed schools in receipt of a Parliamentary Grant, and it was proposed now to give power to the Governing Body of such endowments as did not come within the scope of last year's Act to submit schemes if they thought their endowments should not be applied to the reduction of the rates or taxes.

said, he hoped the Educational Department would have full power to prevent the application of these endowments for relieving the ratepayer.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made, in Clause 66, page 25, line 27, after "Act," to insert as a separate paragraph—

"A certificate of the Education Department that a school was at the commencement of the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, in receipt of an annual Parliamentary Grant shall be conclusive evidence of that fact for all purposes."—(Mr. W. E. Forster.)

said, the Committee was aware that the Education Department at present treated endowments made by persons still living as subscriptions; but in the case of an endowment made by a person deceased the Government Grant was denied to the school when the endowment and the grant resulting from examination amounted to 15s. per head of the average attendance; and in this way the endowment would really be used to relieve the Consolidated Fund. The clause as it stood at present would compel voluntary schools to give up their endowments and to become rate-sup- ported schools, and would prohibit rate-supported schools from accepting the assistance of endowments. The amount of the endowment withdrawn would have to be made up as a charge on real property by means of an education rate. The clause would also prevent the formation of united school districts where any of the schools in the districts held endowments. The subject was a very important one, because in Leicestershire alone the school endowments for educational purposes under £100 per annum were 91 in number, producing an average of £16 per annum for each parish, besides three or four additional endowments given by the Dissenters. Under those circumstances, he begged leave to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.

Amendment proposed,

In page 25, line 27, after the word "Act," to add the words "Provided always, That for all the purposes of this Act and of the Parliamentary Grant, any endowment of a school applied by school managers of a public elementary school to educational purposes contemplated by this Act, shall be treated by the Education Department as subscriptions, and if so applied by a school Board, such endowment shall be treated by the Education Department as funds raised out of rates."—(Mr. Pell.)

said, that the Amendment of the hon. Member ought really to have been brought forward as a clause in place of the clause in the Bill. The clause of the Government proposed to enable the Governing Body of a school to make any suggestions as to what I should be done with its endowments; but if the Amendment of the hon. Member were adopted, and their endowments were to be absolutely applied to the reduction of the rates, the clause might as well be struck out, because no discretion whatever would be left to the Governing Body. He confessed he looked forward to these old endowments being appropriated for the purpose of providing education of a superior character for the more clever boys in the school; but he had no desire at the present moment to anticipate this question, which would have to be discussed in Parliament when the Code came to be considered.

said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster) would accept the Amendment. Its object was to prevent a parish from being deprived of its property. He knew a case where a clergyman in a country parish persuaded his parishioners to have an endowment for giving a dole of bread changed in its application so as to be available for educational purposes. The result was that the Education Board diminished its grant by the amount so realized.

said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not accept the Amendment. It would be most unjust to apply these endowments towards the reduction of the rates.

said, he would point out, as the original founder of the endowment had appropriated that portion of his property for benevolent purposes, it was unfair again to tax the property by means of a rate.

said, he hoped the hon. Member (Mr. Poll) would be content with having raised the question and would not press his Amendment, to which it was impossible that the Government could assent.

said, he wished to know what was to become of these small endowments. He should not be doing his duty if he did not press the matter to a division.

said, the endowments would be dealt with by the Endowed Schools Commissioners if the Amendment of the hon. Member were rejected. He (Mr. Acland) was trustee of two schools which had been struggling for years past to get properly managed.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 23; Noes 103: Majority 80.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 67 to 80, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 81 (Parliamentary Grant to public school only).

said, he would beg to move, in page 27, line 36, after "Act," to insert—

"Nor to any school which is not in receipt of an annual Parliamentary grant at the date of the passing of this Act, unless it is a school provided by a school Board."
So long as religion was taught within secular schools religion was practically being taught by means of Parliamentary Grants. This was contrary to the principle so stoutly and nobly maintained by the Government last year when they re- solved that the funds of the disendowed Irish Church should not be applied by way of concurrent endowment. If further denominational schools were brought into existence by this Bill, Parliament would be adopting this year a principle which last year they repudiated. Besides, to do so was to commit a mistake in policy. The country might very well accept things as they were, and acquiesce in the continuance to existing schools of the grants they now enjoyed. But the grant of public money to new denominational schools would cause irritation both throughout the country and in Parliament. By the 14th clause the Government excluded creeds, catechisms, and formularies, thereby reflecting the mind of Parliament. The Amendment was in harmony with the spirit of that clause, and was made with no hostility to the Bill, though the feelings of the Nonconformists, who were at least a moiety of the people, had not been conciliated—he might almost say they had been outraged—on this question. He hoped even now that the Government would accept his Amendment.

Amendment proposed,—

At the end of the Clause, to add the words "nor to any school which is not in receipt of an annual Parliamentary Grant at the date of the passing of this Act, unless it is a school provided by a school Board."—(Mr. Candlish.)

said, he would support the Amendment. He hoped that his hon. Friend (Mr. Candlish) would go to a Division in order that the country might clearly understand the position which his party occupied in reference to the question. Although there was no hope of the principle embodied in the Amendment being carried, for the Committee had already decided against it, he wished to enter a formal protest against what he considered to be the erroneous and mistaken policy adopted by the Government in this Bill. He objected not merely to giving Parliamentary Grants to now schools to be hereafter erected upon the voluntary or denominational principle, but also to the increase of Parliamentary Grants to existing denominational schools. There existed a wide-spread feeling of disappointment throughout the country on this subject, and it was thought that the result of the adoption of the present policy would be an increase of grants to Roman Catholic schools, and especially to Roman Catholic schools in Ireland. The voice of the country was rising, and he felt it to be his duty to warn the House against the policy they were about to pursue, for it would create religious dissensions which would benefit neither religion nor education.

said, while regretting that he was so frequently compelled to differ from the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish), he could not but acknowledge the desire exhibited both by his hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) to promote the cause of religious education. He hoped the Committee would excuse him if he did not go over the arguments which he had had more than one opportunity of enforcing, and he would refer hon. Members to what he had already said in regard to what was called "concurrent endowment." Now they did not consider they were giving grants to sectarian schools. The money that was continued to schools in which there was sectarian teaching was not given to sectarianism, but for the support of the secular element. If efficiency was not supplied by voluntary action, of course it would be understood that the assistance of the State would be withheld. They had got off the religious question, and, important as it was, he hoped they would not get on to it again. Rates had now come to be looked on as a more serious matter than at first, and there would be a considerable increase in them if they threw up the voluntary assistance. Besides, there were throughout the country many voluntary schools which received no Parliamentary aid, but which gave some kind of education to vast numbers of children. He would be glad to see such schools made places where a really good and efficient secular education would be given, and this would mean an immense saving in the rates. But all hope of this would disappear if the Amendment of his hon. Friend was accepted. He thought that as a matter of justice, persons who preferred schools where what was called sectarian teaching was given as well as secular, ought not on that account to be deprived of their share of the public taxes. It would be a mockery to call for voluntary action to supply the deficiency of education, and yet refuse any assistance from Parliament. As to the remark that the clause was contrary to the principle of the Bill, he might be permitted at once to state what the principle was. It was to bring within reach of every cottage in the kingdom a good secular education. It had never been his principle, or that of the Government, to decide by any regulations of the Ministry or even of that House exactly what kind of education that should be. If they attained an efficient secular education they would have effected the object they had in view whether it was accompanied or not by any specific form of denominational education.

said, it was plain that the country had declared against the denominational system, however his right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) might hesitate to accept that verdict. It had been said that they only paid for secular results. But could these different schools exist without the Parliamentary Grant? If not, then the money was a real payment for religious instruction. They should give children a good secular education in order to enable them to make a wise choice in regard to religion. The country condemned the system of supporting sectarian education by Parliamentary Grants because they perceived that such a system of education created separation where unity ought to exist, because it led to waste in an administrative point of view; because it was willing to pay for all religious systems indifferently, being therein immoral from a religious point of view; and because it was a system which was retrograde from a Liberal point of view. He could not help feeling that the measure they were discussing was not so much a Bill as a bundle of permissions.

said, he regarded it as a somewhat strange circumstance that the country, if holding such opinions as those referred to by the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, should not have given any expression to them during the two or three months that this measure had been before the House. He would remind the hon. Gentleman that at the present moment something like 6,000 denominational schools existed in connection with the Church of England without receiving Parliamentary Grants. When the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish) declared he spoke on behalf of the Dissenters, who numbered one moiety of the population of the country, he begged leave to say he doubted the accuracy of the hon. Gentleman's figures. At all events, the House would, no doubt, be glad if the hon. Member, when they came to discuss the Census Bill, would furnish them with some proof of the statement, and render some aid in solving the question as to the relative numbers of Churchmen and Dissenters. The hon. Member said that the country was against the extension of the denominational system; but that House represented the country, and the great majority of Members were in favour of this system. He would support the Government, in the belief that it was the fixed determination of the country to afford fair play to the maintenance and legitimate extension of voluntary schools.

said, he could not support the Amendment, because he thought that the Bill gave the greatest liberty to all persons in the country to establish what character of school they pleased They might establish a denominational school, or an undenominational school—that was, a school in which no sectarian teaching was given, but in which the Bible was read—or they might, under Clause 82, have a school in which no religious instruction was given.

said, he would vote for the Amendment, but on a practical ground, and not for the reasons which the hon. Member for Sunderland had given, as he should be sorry to see the question of religious instruction again brought under discussion. He was ready to support all voluntary schools now in existence, but he was not prepared to establish new voluntary schools. His firm opinion was that the Bill would never come into proper operation until school Boards were established throughout the country, and he did not wish to see one school pitted against another in the same parish. It was only by a common feeling that they could secure the best system of school education.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 70; Noes 190: Majority 120.

said, he had now to propose the following addition to the clause:—

"No Parliamentary Grant out of such moneys shall be made in aid of building, enlarging, improving, or fitting up any elementary school, except in pursuance of a memorial duly signed and containing the information required by the Education Department for enabling them to decide on the application, and sent to the Education Department on or before the thirty-first day of December, one thousand eight hundred and seventy."
This was in accordance with the intimation made by his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government some weeks ago, and to which much allusion had been made in the debates. He had only, in addition, to say that the remarks made by some hon. Members when the rating clauses were under discussion led them to consider whether any assistance could be given in regard to buildings, not so much in the form of grants as of loans, to meet the case of districts where the rates would be felt more than in other places. He was therefore prepared, on the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Melly), to bring up on the Report an alteration in Clause 49. At present that clause contemplated giving power to the school Board to borrow from the Public Loan Commissioners, and to spread the payment of loans over a series of years not exceeding 30. It was stated that this would involve an annual charge of 6 per cent, but that was rather an exaggeration. It would, however, imply 5½ per cent, and therefore they now proposed to alter that clause so as to increase 30 to 50 years, and to put in the clause that the money might be borrowed at 3½ per cent, which would make an annual charge of about £4 6s., per cent. He believed this would be a greater assistance to school Boards than if the building grants had been continued. The building grants had hitherto been only about one-fifth of the expenses, and in towns where it was difficult to obtain land it was not even so much as one-fifth. At the same time, while making the terms of loan very advantageous, he should think it right to insert in the clause that the building must meet the approval of the Education Dement. He moved, in line 36, after "Act" to insert as a separate paragraph, the words of his Amendment.

said, he approved of the Amendment in substance; but thought it would give an unfair advantage to the rate-paid schools. The great charge which had always been preferred against the present system was, that it only helped those places which helped themselves, while it entirely neglected those districts which were unable to help themselves. That was the very charge which he brought against this Bill. The rich districts of the country, which were already well provided with schools, were to be assisted, whilst Bethnal Green, White-chapel, and the other destitute districts which most needed schools, would have to provide them out of the rates, and thus a heavy burden would be cast upon the ratepayers of those districts. That was, in his opinion, a mistake. The only way in which they could truly bring home education to the doors of every child would be to make the rates light; otherwise the people, in course of time, when they began to groan under their load of taxation, would curse the day upon which the Bill was passed. In order to continue the power, which the Education Board now possessed, of making grants towards the expenses of building, enlarging, repairing, and fitting up schools and teachers' residences, he would move, in the last two lines, to leave out the words "on or before the thirty-first day of December, one thousand eight hundred and seventy."

said, he was glad to find that the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) had at length awoke to the importance of the rating question. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had hitherto displayed such a passion for denominationalism that he at one time thought they were prepared to throw overboard their old love, local taxation. He was glad, however, to find that this was not to be the case. The Vice President of the Council had told them that if they lowered the rates they would ruin the denominational schools — in fact, the issue that had been laid before them by that right hon. Gentleman was, that the rates were to be kept up in the country as a protective duty on denominational schools. ["Oh, oh!" and "No, no!"] The question had undoubtedly been put upon that ground by the Vice President of the Council, and it was a fair issue, which the country would understand. Now, he ventured to say that, although hon. Gentleman opposite might care very much about denominationalism, their constituents, whether in town or country, would care a great deal more about the rates. Would they save anything by the money contributed in voluntary subscriptions? On the contrary, about £500,000 was raised yearly by subscription in aid of denominational schools; but they were going to impose a burden of millions of money upon the country in the shape of rates, which were to form a protective duty on denominational schools. What, in short, was proposed to be done was to purchase this £500,000 at the cost of some £3,000,000 or £4,000,000. That certainly was not a very economical transaction.

said, he wished to state that he had never said, and he was quite sure the Committee never understood him to say, that he was opposed to any reduction of the rate in order to keep up a protective duty in favour of voluntary schools. He was perfectly sure his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) could not find any words of his which ought to give such an impression. What occurred was this—As the Bill stood at present there was a protection in favour of the rated schools, because they would be built out of public money; and as he understood the proposition before the Committee, at the time, to be that assistance should be given to the rated and not to the voluntary schools, he said that would be an increased protection in favour of the rated schools. His hon. and learned Friend nodded assent. Well, then, how could his hon. and learned Friend say that, because he was not in favour of giving increased protection to rated schools he wished to establish protection in favour of voluntary schools? He would leave the Committee to judge of that matter. With regard to the Amendment of the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu), though it was only to strike out two lines, the effect would be to nullify the whole clause.

Amendment negatived.

said, that the reason why he was opposed to the giving up of the building grants, that they gave the Education Department a guarantee that the schools would be well built.

said, he hoped the clause, as amended, would be reprinted before the Report was taken.

said, that he had seen it stated in a newspaper that one person had subscribed £10,000 to the building fund, and another had subscribed £5,000. He had no objection to that. A period of six months should be given to the rate-aided schools for the purpose of securing assistance.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 82 (Conditions of annual Parliamentary Grant).

said, he would propose, in page 27, line 40, after "being," to insert—

"And shall, amongst other matters, provide that after the thirty-first day of March, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one—
  • "(1.) Such grant shall not be made in respect of any instruction in religious subjects;
  • "(2.) Such grant shall not for any year exceed the income of the school for that year which was derived from sources other than the Parliamentary Grant."
  • He would combine that Amendment with other words to be moved at the end of the clause—to the effect that such conditions should not give any preference or advantage to any school on the ground that it was, or was not, provided by a school Board. These three propositions, taken together, were intended to carry out views which had been repeatedly expressed—namely, that they would insert in this clause a Proviso that the Parliamentary Grant should not be given for religious instruction. He should have to explain, in drawing up the Code, how that would be enforced. At present the Parliamentary Grant was given in two forms. One payment was for results, to be ascertained by examination, and these results being secular in their nature the payment was for secular objects. The other mode in which payment was given was for attendance, and that, too, might be said to be for a secular object. But persons looking into the matter very strictly might consider the attendance to be for religious as well as secular instruction, and, therefore, to carry out the sub-section strictly they would be obliged to frame the Code in such a manner as to prevent any misconception on that head. The next sub-section was to show that the grant, notwithstanding any increase which was looked forward to, should not be more than the income of the school from other sources. He should afterwards move words in order to carry out the understanding, that no advantage or preference should be given to schools on the ground that they were, or were not, provided by a school Board.

    said, that he had never hitherto ventured to address the House on any question to which he had not given special recent study; but that this question was intimately connected with the motives that induced every man in the House to choose his faith and his party, and that no one could be considered a fit representative who could not give his reason for the course he was going to take. This was the very first opportunity that the House had enjoyed of declaring itself upon the reason why the Bill was I so much regarded on the other side of the House, and why it was received with such suspicion on his side of the House. When he and his Friends called themselves uncompromising advocates of unsectarian education, they must hold themselves prepared to show that the changes they advocated were not only tenable in theory, but could be put into practice at once. The Government might have thoroughly satisfied the advocates of unsectarian education. They might have brought in a scheme of secular education, or they might have brought in a comprehensive scheme of unsectarian education by means of school Boards throughout the country. He was very sorry that such an opportunity should have been lost of spreading throughout the rural districts of England the sense of responsibility and public duty. The Government should like wise have taken the training Colleges for masters out of the hands of the denominations into the custody of the nation. Another course still remained to the Government. They might have found some satisfactory definition for undenominational schools, and have applied that definition to all rate-founded schools, and then encouraged all schools to make themselves at once rate-supported and undenominational. The Government had taken half that scheme. They decided that undenominational schools should be the schools of the future, and then they offered a premium to denominational schools to assist them in the competition with those places of education which they had just now deliberately recommended to the nation as models. What he wanted to impress upon the Committee was that this extension of the denominational grant was not part of the Bill, but was a parasitical growth, which ought never to have attached to it, and which ought now to be cut off. This principle was attached to the scheme in order to pass the Bill. In pursuing the course which he did he hoped he should not be considered either squeamish or Quixotic. Private Members stood in a much happier position than Members of the Government, for they were justified in voting for the Bill under protest, at a future time opposing the increased grant; but it would be the duty of the Government to press forward the increased grants, for which every Member of the Government would be bound to vote, however much it might be against the Liberal creed. He was not prepared to incur such an obligation. Hon. Members might think that he held these opinions somewhat strongly; but it must be remembered that politicians of his standing formed their beliefs and aspirations during the Irish Church agitation of 1868, and during that period Scotland and Wales, and many of the large towns of England, pronounced against denominational education. That election was, in large portions of the country, a crusade in favour of religious equality. Very great was the responsibility of confusing ideas of right and wrong by repudiating denominational ascendancy in Ireland, and then pouring out the public money like water in favour of denominational education. He wished to know what they would do in Scotland next year, for surely they could not force a denominational education upon the country against the votes of five-sixths of the unofficial Scotch Members. On the other hand, should they sacrifice their consistency, and allow Scotland to be ahead in the race? And then, what were they going to do in Ireland? Large subscriptions had been made by the Catholics to support their system, and if the Government sought to face the most denominational of all religions with a disjointed policy and an utter absence of any leading principle, he trembled for the result. He had not said enough to express the feelings of those who were anxious to see the Liberal party kept together not for the purpose of securing place, but to carry out great Liberal measures on great Liberal principles. He believed, from the experience of last year, that they need not have been afraid of passing this measure through "another place," for they had proved that if they were willing they were able to carry through that place a great Liberal measure sure without infringing Liberal principles. And he must say that they regarded too much the wishes of the Church of England in this matter, on account of what it had done for education. They acknowledged that when the country neglected its duty the Church took up the question. The Dissenters were blamed for not having done as much; but they had first to pay for the education of their ministers and provide houses and chapels, while the Church of England had at the commencement £5,000,000 to help them in the competition. Still, though the Church did great things, that was no reason for deferring to its views so far as to spoil a great system of national education. For these reasons he felt bound to oppose the addition to the clause as proposed by the Vice President of the Council and this was why he had taken the painful step of leaving the Government. He knew that in political circles a subordinate who left the Government was regarded as occupying a very undignified position, and one which would be attended with almost fatal consequences to his future career. But there was something which was stronger than self-interest or fear of ridicule, and it was therefore impossible, when something of value was at stake, to vote straight in the teeth of one's creed. He acknowledged the pure and patriotic intentions of the Government, and respected their intentions, as every Member of the party still did, and as he hoped they would do for many years to come. He felt most acutely the accusations of presumption which would be freely brought against him, and nobody could be aware how deeply he regretted the necessity of putting himself in opposition to the Vice President of the Council except that right hon. Gentleman. But, after all, a man must shape his conduct according to his standard of right and wrong; and at this crisis of principle he felt that he could not rank himself against his own convictions.

    It is impossible not to admire the sincerity of conviction of my hon. Friend the Mem- ber for the Border Burghs. He has given the highest proof of the importance which he attaches to the question before us; nevertheless, he deals with this Bill as if it were one for the political education, instead of for the elementary education of the people. Neither he, nor any advanced Liberal, has ventured to exclude denominational schools from the national system which we are about to establish. It would be impossible to do so, for they form the staple of our educational appliances, on which £20,000,000 have been spent in the last 30 years. He tolerates them as they are, and says if we give them no more aid they will undergo a painless extinction. I could understand their exclusion, but not their acceptance as part of a national system on such terms. To allow them to form part of our school system, with an expiring vitality, or with such want of energy that, like paupers, they would fall on the rates and be absorbed, would be unworthy of the nation. If we take these schools they must be rendered efficient, and this increased secular efficiency is the object of the augmented grants. Allow me to commend denominational schools in another point of view, for their evils should not alone be considered. There is no educational subject on which we on this side of the House are so united, as the necessity for compulsory education. Well, I know of no country in Europe in which compulsion has been effectively carried out, without a large infusion of denominational teaching. Holland is most advanced in her school system, which is practically secular, and for this very reason she has been unable to pass a compulsory law. Compulsion, in its very essence, involves resistance, and that becomes too strong for you, if you fight with men's religious convictions when they believe that religion should be taught at school. Prussia and Switzerland have compulsory laws, because the former has a denominational and the latter a separate confessional system, of teaching. America, which has its religion of that neutral tint that my Friends near me admire so much, has failed in compulsion, because the religious bodies have not co-operated with her common school system. Baden is the only exception which occurs to me; but even there, if I had time, I could bring proofs in favour of my argument. Hence denominational schools, instead of being opponents, are powerful auxiliaries of compulsory education. The Bill as it stands pays only for secular results, takes ample safeguards for conscience, and by securing a proper efficiency, both in rate and denominational schools, commences the new relations of the State to elementary education, in a fair and promising connection, worthy of the practical character of this nation.

    said, that he had not hitherto taken any part in the discussions on the clauses of the Bill in Committee, partly because the cacoethes loquendi was not so strong upon him as it was on some hon. Gentlemen, but principally because the House, having listened to him with great patience and kindness while expounding his views on the subject at considerable length, when moving his Amendment on the Speaker leaving the Chair, he thought he could best testify his gratitude for that indulgence by not obtruding himself too often again upon its attention. But he wished to say a few words on the question of the extension of the denominational system that had been raised in the able speech of his hon. Friend the Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan). On that point he believed the Government had been playing into the hands of their adversaries. Not that he had any fault whatever to find with hon. Gentlemen opposite. They were contending for principles which they had always consistently upheld, and on behalf of which they had done valiant battle in the discussions on the Irish Church during the last Session of Parliament, for he contended with his hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish) that the same principles were involved in this discussion as were involved in those discussions. No one could blame the hon. Gentlemen on the other side for eagerly accepting what was offered them by the Government measure, seeing that it was more, he ventured to say, than they had in their most sanguine moments dared to expect. Perhaps, he ought not to say that they had accepted it eagerly. They were too well versed in party tactics to do that. There was for a time a little make-believe hesitation on the pretence of great sacrifices being required of them. But that did not last long. After a brief interval of "coy, reluctant, amorous delay," they had at length rushed completely into the open arms of the Vice President of the Council, and had been clasped in a fond embrace not without a considerable effusion of tender sentiment on either side, a spectacle which would perhaps have more touched the feelings of some of them on that side of the House if they had not suspected that in that fond embrace their interests were being betrayed. Nor could they much censure hon. Gentlemen opposite for having spoken so much of the concessions they were making, since that also was a boast put in their mouth by the First Minister of the Crown. He had heard of an advocate who had pleaded the cause of his client so eloquently, expatiated with such moving pathos on his virtues and wrongs, that the man himself, being in Court, burst into tears, and declared that he had no conception before how excellent and ill-used a person he was. That was the service which the Prime Minister had rendered to the hon. Gentlemen opposite. He had made them conscious of their own virtues. He had told them of the generous concessions they were making, while, he added, there were no corresponding concessions on the part of the Nonconformists—though what concessions the Nonconformists were expected to make, or indeed could make, seeing they had never enjoyed any exceptional privileges on this or any other subject, he was, he confessed, wholly at a loss to conceive. Be that as it might, hon. Gentlemen opposite were not slow to take the hint of the right hon. Gentleman, and ever since he spoke had shown their determination no longer "to blush unseen." But what were these large concessions? Not the Conscience Clause, for that had been conceded in principle years ago; partly because it was the only condition on which they could receive grants from the Privy Council, and partly also, he admitted, because many of the clergy had become so far liberal as to acknowledge the monstrous absurdity and injustice of compelling the children of Nonconformist parents to learn and recite forms and catechisms which they could not repeat without uttering a flagrant and deliberate falsehood. What other concession was there? Not the exclusion of catechisms and formularies from the rate-founded schools, for they had not conceded that. On the contrary, they had resisted it; had spoken against it and voted against it. The right hon. Baronet the Member for North Devonshire (Sir Stafford Northcote), in moving his Amendment on that subject, adverting to the objections of the Nonconformists to the Bill, had recommended the Vice President of the Council—not in so many words, certainly, but such was the substance and purport of his recommendation—to throw the Nonconformists overboard. A more superfluous piece of advice was never given to any man. That was precisely what the right hon. Gentleman had done. He had thrown the whole body of Nonconformists overboard. ["No, no!"] Why, was there a single Nonconformist body in England and Wales who had not in some form or other pronounced in a most emphatic manner against the Government scheme in its present form? He would first take the powerful and influential body of Wesleyan Methodists, never held to be extreme on matters of this sort. What did his hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth (Mr. M'Arthur) tell them a few days after the Prime Minister had laid the new version of the measure before the House and the country? He told them that three Committees, appointed by the Wesleyan Body to take the matter into consideration, met and strongly condemned the proposed increase of aid to voluntary schools. There was an ancient and important representative body of Nonconformists known as the Deputies of the Three Denominations of Protestant Dissenters, Presbyterian, Independent, and Baptist. They also met under the presidency of his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. Reed), and had condemned the new proposals of the Government because they left the religious teaching to be decided by local Boards, and extended the denominational system. His hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland had presented a Petition from the Baptist Union, representing, as he stated, some 2,000 churches, utterly rejecting the new scheme of the Government. He had himself, little more than a week ago, presented a Petition from the Committee of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, representing between 2,000 and 3,000 churches, in which they objected to the liberty given to teachers to give sectarian teaching, and to the increase of grants to denominational schools. His hon. Friend the Member for Anglesea had presented a Petition from the powerful body of Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, representing, as the Preamble of the Petition stated, 240,000 persons, in which they declared themselves deeply dissatisfied with the Amendments of the Government. He had presented Petitions to the same effect from large associations of Independent and Baptist churches in North and South Wales. There had been two special Nonconformist Committees, representing various bodies of Dissenters, appointed to watch the progress of the measure—one in London, the other in Birmingham. The former passed resolutions declaring that the last Amendments of the Government did not make any concessions to the legitimate demands of Nonconformists; but, on the contrary, aggravated the exceptionable features of the Bill. The Birmingham Committee uttered their condemnation, if possible, in still more emphatic terms. He now came to the Dissenters of Leeds, and ventured to ask the special attention of his hon. Friend the Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines). The account he had before him stated that a meeting of the Protestant Nonconformists of Leeds and the district was held at the Philosophical Hall. There was a large attendance of the ministers and laity, and the mayor (Mr. W. G. Jay) occupied the chair. This meeting passed a resolution to the effect that it found the Amendments of the Government inadequate, and desired to express its conviction that the only thoroughly satisfactory solution of the religious difficulty would be found in the provision of religious instruction by voluntary effort only. He said, then, that this measure was being forced upon the country and through that House in the teeth of the declared wishes and earnest remonstrances of the entire Nonconformist Body of this country; that body, remember, forming one-half of the nation, and much more than one-half of the Liberal party. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council was certainly, as he had threatened or promised, "cantering" over the education difficulty. But how was he doing it? Why, by mounting the good steed "Conservative," and charging into the ranks of his friends and riding them down rough-shod. The right hon. Gentleman would, no doubt, carry the Bill victoriously through Parliament, as a Government might carry any measure by using the votes of its adversaries to defeat the wishes of its friends; but he ventured to tell him, with all respect, that one or two more such victories would be most disastrous in their influence on the future fate of the Liberal party.

    said, he had always thought that the liberty infringed upon in this measure was that of the managers of the schools, who were forbidden to teach creeds and catechisms, even though the parents of the children might all wish it. In that consisted the only intolerant part of the Bill, and it seemed strange to him that the advocates of local self-government, of liberty, and of tolerance, were the very persons who had forced themselves upon an unwilling Government, and had driven the Government to adopt the intolerant prohibition to which he referred. Those on that (the Opposition) side had been obliged to submit to the exclusion of catechisms from the schools, and now hon. Gentlemen opposite began to abuse them on that ground. He maintained that the people of England, as well as of Scotland and Ireland, preferred denominational education. The British and Foreign School Society was a Dissenting institution. For his own part, he believed the only schools that were thriving were not the schools of the secularists. As a member of the Church of England he did not hold that anything sectarian was taught at the National schools, for there the children were taught "the whole truth and nothing but the truth." Still he would say that the Government had acted fairly by all parties; but he should regard it as an act of tyranny if the Government not content with having forbidden the teaching of creeds and catechisms in the rate-aided schools, refused to give any grant to those schools which insisted upon teaching them.

    said, he would not detain the Committee with many observations upon this point, because it must be conceded on all sides that this was merely a repetition of a previous discussion. He could not, however, allow the statement of the hon. Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. G. O. Trevelyan) to pass entirely without comment. In dealing with the speech of his hon. Friend he could not help expressing his regret that he should have felt it to be his duty to take the course he had done, and his admiration at the conscientious manner in which he had discharged what he believed to be his duty, regardless of his own interests. There would be great cause for rejoicing were all disputes conducted in this conscientious manner. He must confess that he was not at all surprised that the hon. Member should have taken the course he had done, after the speech he had made that evening, because it was evident that he had attacked the question most conscientiously, but from a different point of view from that taken by him (Mr. W. E. Forster) and the majority of that House. It was evident that the hon. Members desire was to bring not so much elementary education as unsectarian education withing the reach of every child, whereas his own object was to secure elementary education to every child. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard) found fault with the Government for taking this particular step, and he evidently regarded the Bill as being much worse for the change introduced into it. His best answer to the objection of the hon. Member would be to remind the Committee how it was that he had come to propose those words. The hon. Member for the Border Burghs had stated that the only reason the Government had for introducing them was to enable them to obtain the support of hon. Members sitting on the other side of the House. Now, he had no hesitation in saying that he was most thankful for the support he had so received, because he was anxious that the Bill should meet with the approval of the two great parties in that House. The Government had not made the change to carry out the views of one party more than of another, and the support of the House was given to the proposition by both sides of it; but he rather thought that the support he had received from the opposite side of the House had been much stronger before the change had been introduced into the Bill than after. The Government had introduced this change into the Bill in consequence of another change which they had made. The Government had thought it advisable to strike out from the Bill the principle of voluntary schools receiving aid out of the rates, and thereby to take from those schools that possible and probable great assistance because hon. Members on their own side of the House objected to that principle. Having done that, and because they were anxious to bring education home to every child, the Government had felt it to be but just to give the voluntary schools some assistance in return for the very considerable change that had been introduced into the Bill; but he was quite sure that the Bill as it stood was not more advantageous to the voluntary system than it was when it was first introduced. He (Mr. W. E. Forster) thought the Bill in its present form would meet with the approval of the great body of the tax and ratepayers. He could only trust that the measure would, when it got into operation, be judged by its results, and he should not fear, even from the Nonconformist party, of which the hon. Member was so distinguished a member, any considerable amount of opposition when they found, as they would find, that it brought education within the reach of every child throughout the country. He believed that it was generally wished throughout the country that along with a secular education such religious education should be given as the parents desired; and with the full conviction that the opinion of the country was in favour of the Bill, he should appeal to the hon. Member not to press his opposition to the Amendment.

    said, he thought no good end could be answered by continuing the more general discussion. The protest that he should otherwise have felt it to be his duty to make upon this part of the Government proposal had been made in such manly terms by the hon. Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. G. O. Trevelyan), and by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Richard), that it would be unnecessary for him to repeat it. He objected to the course that the Government had pursued on the matter; but he hoped that the Committee would have the fairness to recognize that both himself and his hon. Friends had not endeavoured to hinder the progress of the measure, although having very strong opinions in reference to it they had felt bound to express them. He did not think the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil had spoken too harshly. He (Mr. Winterbotham) felt strongly that victories like these went far to shake the confidence of the Liberal party. He did not wish to use harsh or extravagant language, because he did not think it likely that any absolute secession from the supporters of the Liberal Government was likely to result from the course taken by the Government upon this question; but he thought that that enthusiasm and utter abandonment of confidence which had maintained them in the proud position they had occupied since they first came into power were not likely to endure—not because the Government had differed in opinion from a large and influential section of their supporters, but because they had treated their objections with something approaching to contempt. Even the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President himself, whose temper had been so unexceptionable throughout these discussions, had said that this was not a difficulty which was felt in the country, but that it was created in Parliament. [Mr. W. E. FORSTER said he had not made use of that expression.] The language used by the right hon. Gentleman had been generally so understood. He was, however glad to hear that such was not his meaning. For himself, he regretted the change that had been made in the measure, because he felt that no more effectual challenge could have been offered to the country to continue the agitation, the prolongation of which he himself should deeply deplore. He thought that the Bill upon this point was unwise, and that it was unnecessarily in conflict with the opinions of a large and influential part of the country. However, the Bill being, as he supposed, shortly about to pass, he thought it their duty as good citizens, as good members of the Liberal party, and as Christian men, to try to falsify their own prophecies, and make the Bill work. That he hoped they would endeavour to do; but he also trusted that the light hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government would boar in mind what were the feelings of a very large section of his supporters throughout the country, many of whom were dissatisfied with the Bill. It was a fact that the party which was united at the commencement of the Session was not united at the present moment; and that, in place of perfect confidence and trust, feelings of distrust and apprehension had sprung up among them. He should say no more upon the general question. With regard to the proposed Amendment, the first part he thought altogether unnecessary and worthless; and upon the second he had to remark that the managers of the schools would be enabled to maintain the schools as private without expending a single sixpence of their money in keeping them up. On the other hand, was Parliament not to be allowed at any time hereafter to raise any question on this subject? Were its hands to be tied; and was the Committee of Council to be forbidden to recognize any distinction between voluntary schools and other schools? Was it to be obliged to give to one sot of schools whatever State aid was given to the other?

    said, he was sure the Committee must be tired of hearing his voice. With regard to the first point to which reference had been made, the limitation was one which had been thought advisable in order to meet the views of those who agreed with his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Winterbotham; but it did not follow that it would represent all the provisions in the Revised Code. When the Code came to be remodelled it would be necessary to consider carefully all the principles on which grants were made at present, and all that related to the proportion in which grants should be given to money raised by voluntary subscriptions and from other sources. Perhaps he might be allowed to say the Government looked forward to very considerable advantage in an educational point of view from the proposed increase of grants. He thought the country would have great reason to complain if the increase were not given in such a way as to greatly stimulate education. That stimulus ought to be more than proportionate to the increase in the grants. He had been asked why he had not accepted the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert). The simple reason was this—they found that some of the best schools got on without voluntary subscriptions, because the parents were willing to pay larger foes. There was a Wesleyan school at the south side of London to which there were no voluntary subscriptions, but while the grant to that school was £205, the school-pence amounted to £372. He found that several of the British schools, some Roman Catholic schools, and some Church schools—but a larger number which were not either Church schools or Roman Catholic schools—were in that position. Were the Government to say that those schools were not to have any grant because the parents were prepared to pay more than parents usually did pay, and there were no voluntary subscriptions? The reason those schools were successful was that cither the parents had a great deal to do with the management or they had great confidence in the managers. He did not suppose his hon. and learned Friend would be prepared to give a pledge that he would never seek to interfere with the system which this Bill would establish; and, of course, it would be always in the power of Parliament to re-open the question if it thought fit. He hoped they would not have the religious question raised again; but under all the circumstances the Government believed that their proposition was in accordance with what seemed to be the wish of the Committee.

    said, he thought the plan of his right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) did not meet the case of the small schools in agricultural districts. He would suggest that with the view of meeting that case the grant should be in larger proportion for the first 100 or 120 children than for those above that number. The rate should be made 6s. instead of 4s. for the first 100 or 120, and then descend in proportion as the number exceeded that. He would also suggest the introduction of the words "voluntary contribution or from any" in that portion of his right hon. Friend's Amendment which referred to the funds in aid of which grants were to be made.

    said, he had no objection to the introduction of the words just suggested by his hon. Friend; and his suggestion as to the mode of making grants in the case of small schools would be considered when the Revised Code was being remodelled.

    Words added.

    said, he thought that if the Amendment were put in portions a Division on the part of it that was objected to could be taken in a more satisfactory manner than if the Committee treated the Amendment as a whole.

    said, that in order to enable the hon. Gentleman to take the sense of the Committee as he wished to do, it would be better that, instead of proposing the whole of his (Mr. W. E. Forster's) Amendment at once, he should propose, as an addition to the end of the clause, the first two lines of his Amendment—namely—

    "And shall not give any preference or advantage to any school on the ground that it is or is not provided by a school Board."

    said, he had given Notice of an Amendment which would precede the Amendment of the right hon. Gentlemen—namely, in line 40, after "conditions shall," to omit "not" and insert "neither forbid nor" before—

    "Require that the school shall be in connection with a religious denomination, or that religious instruction shall be given in the school."
    If anything had been shown in the course of these debates and the discussions out-of-doors, it was that the great majority of the people of England were in favour of religious instruction forming part of the primary education of their children, and it followed from this that they would be doing grievous injustice to the taxpayers if they called upon them to pay for the maintenance of schools conducted in a manner which they believed to be most disadvantageous.

    said, he agreed with the noble Lord in thinking that the general feeling of the taxpayers of this country was in favour of religious instruction; but was at the same time sure that their almost universal feeling was that it would not be just to deny any share of the taxation to those who preferred purely secular schools. He hoped that the noble Lord would not press his Amendment.

    said, he would withdraw his Amendment, but would bring it up on the Report.

    Amendment proposed,

    At the end of the Clause, to add the words "and shall not give any preference or advantage to any school on the ground that it is or is not provided by a school Board."—(Mr. William Edward Forster.)

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

    The Committee divided:—Ayes 317; Noes 86: Majority 231.

    Amendment made—

    "Provided that where the school Board satisfy the Education Department that in any year ending the twenty-ninth of September the sum required for the purpose of the annual expenses of the school Board of any school district, and actually paid to the treasurer of such Board by the rating authority, amounted to a sum which would be raised by a rate of threepence in the pound on the rateable value of such district, and any such rate would have produced less than twenty pounds, or less than seven shillings and sixpence per child of the number of children in average attendance at the public elementary schools provided by such school Board, such school Board shall be entitled, in addition to the annual Parliamentary Grant in aid of the public elementary schools provided by them, to such further sum out of moneys provided by Parliament as, when added to the sum actually so paid by the rating authority, would, as the case may be, make up the sum of twenty pounds, or the sum of seven shillings and sixpence, for each such child, but no attendance shall be reckoned for the purpose of calculating such average attendance unless it is an attendance as defined in the said minutes."

    said, he would beg to move, to add the words—

    "Such conditions may allow of an annual Parliamentary Grant being made to a school on board of a training ship, notwithstanding that the children are boarded and clothed in such ship."
    The boys educated on board those ships were generally taken from the streets; but those ships were not aided, although the reformatory training ships were assisted by Parliament. He thought grants should be given in both cases.

    said, the question was an important one, and it should be carefully considered when the Revised Code was being altered, but he could not accept the Amendment, as the Bill contemplated only the case of day schools, and it was not desirable now to prejudge the question.

    said, he had an Amendment on the Paper to the same effect, but including ragged schools and orphan asylum schools within its provisions. After the statement of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster) he should, however, not press his Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    said, a great hardship was in many instances inflicted on the small rural parishes, owing to the circumstance that they did not receive a grant unless a certificated schoolmaster was employed in the schools. The condition was one which did not insure that which the Education Department required—that the education should be good—and he should like to see it done away with. He begged, with that object, to move the addition of the words—"or that the principal teacher of the school shall be duly certificated." He knew his Amendment could not be accepted in its present form owing to the alterations which had been made in the clause, but he would bring it up again on the Report.

    said, it was impossible to decide off-hand the difficult question raised by the Amendment. One of the most important points in dealing with the Revised Code would be to consider the conditions under which certificates should be granted.

    said, that when the Bill came into operation, the Education Department must do one of two things—either relax very considerably the present ride—and he thought this would be the right plan to adopt—or make it universally compulsory. The merits of the school should not be supposed to depend on the certificate of the schoolmaster, but on the results of examination. He could mention instances in which two schools in neighbouring parishes had been examined in the same week, one which had not a certificated master and in which the children passed a good examination, but which got no grant; the other where the examination was so bad that the certificated master was soon after dismissed, and which yet got a considerable grant. Under the present system many bad schools received State aid, but they would no longer receive it if this restriction were removed.

    said, he would suggest a middle course instead of the alternative presented by the hon. Member for Berkshire. It would be most unfortunate if guarantees were no longer taken by the State that teachers should be duly trained for their duties, and if they went back to the old plan of allowing any teachers whatever. Might not some part of the grant be given temporarily — say for two years — to schools where a certificated teacher was not employed, and the condition that I the teacher should hold a certificate be then enforced? At the end of the two years all that a teacher would have to do would be to pass an examination.

    said, he doubted whether, owing to the large increase in the number required, it would be possible to provide a sufficient number of certificated teachers.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    said, he would propose to add at the end of the clause the following words:—

    "Provided also, That if the total amount which any school Board is required to provide in any year for the purposes of this Act exceeds the amount which can be raised by a rate of threepence in the pound of the rateable value of the district, one half of the excess shall be defrayed by the Education Department out of moneys provided by Parliament, and the other half only shall be provided by rate.
    He proposed this addition because it seemed to be generally admitted that the mode in which rates were levied was not entirely satisfactory, that the incidence of the rate was not equal, and that in order to rectify to some extent this inequality, it was reasonable to devote State funds for the purpose of supplying the deficiency. Another reason for the Amendment was that this measure was not simply of a local, but of a national character, and was proposed for national objects. He did not intend so to relieve the ratepayers as to make it loss their interest than it otherwise would be to manage the school economically and efficiently. Half the excess would still fall upon the ratepayers; but his Amendment would conduce to the more cheerful and ready acceptance of the measure in districts where school Boards would be established and schools provided out of the rates than the plan now proposed. In some agricultural districts the school rate would fall heavily upon the tenants of non-resident landlords, and he thought his proposal was a moderate one in the interest of the ratepayers.

    said, while approving this Amendment, he thought it would be impossible to agree to it, because they had already inserted words that no preference or advantage should be given to any school on the ground that it was or was not provided by a school Board, and it was quite clear that the Amendment would give an advantage to rate-supported schools as compared with voluntary schools.

    said, the Committee had already provided in a better way for the case of exceptionally poor parishes, and it was important to prevent managers losing sight of efficiency of teaching, the motive for which this Amendment would reduce by 50 per cent, while it would offer a temptation to parents not to pay fees.

    said, he thought it important that the maximum of the education rate should be known, and that it should not fluctuate. The union of parishes which had been suggested would, he believed, prove impracticable.

    said, the Amendment was not only different from, but absolutely a contradiction of what the Committee had already done; the two were quite irreconcilable.

    said, he was inclined to support the Amendment, and could not see the Prime Minister's difficulty.

    said, he admitted that the two propositions were different, but denied that they were contradictory. They provided for cases that were wholly distinct. He left the question in the hands of the Committee.

    Amendment negatived.

    proposed that at that hour (20 minutes past 1) they should not proceed further, and he moved that the Chairman report Progress.

    said, that it had been understood that they should go on later that night than usual, and he hoped they would proceed until they arrived at some matter of complication and difficulty.

    Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause, as amended, agreed to.

    Remaining clauses agreed to.

    Clause 84 struck out.

    Postponed Clause 22 (Managers may transfer school to school Board).

    Amendment proposed in page 9, line 20, to leave out the words from the beginning of the Clause to "arrangement," in line 28, inclusive, in order to insert the words—

    "The managers of any elementary school in the district of a school Board may, in manner provided by this Act, make an arrangement with the school Board for transferring their school to such school Board, and the school Board may assent to such arrangement.
    "An arrangement under this section may be made by the managers by a resolution or other act as follows (that is to say);
  • "1. Where there is any instrument declaring the trusts of the school, and such instrument provides any manner in which, or any assent with which a resolution or act binding the managers is to be passed or done, then in accordance with the provisions of such instrument;
  • "2. Where there is no such instrument, or such instrument contains no such provisions, then in the manner and with the assent, if any, in and with which it may be shown to the Education Department to have been usual for a resolution or act binding such managers to be passed or done;
  • "3. If no manner or assent can be shown to have been usual, then by a resolution passed by a majority of those members of their body who are present at a meeting of the body summoned for the purpose, and with the assent of any other person whose assent under the circumstances appears to the Education Department to be requisite.
  • "And in every case such arrangement shall be made only—
  • "1. With the consent of the Education Department; and
  • "2. If there are annual subscribers to such school, with the consent of a majority of those of the annual subscribers who are present at a meeting duly summoned for the purpose.
  • "Provided, That where there is any instrument declaring the trusts of the school, and such instrument contains any provision for the alienation of the school by any persons or in any manner or subject to any consent, any arrangement under this section shall be made by the persons in the manner and with the consent so provided.
    "Where it appears to the Education Department that there is any trustee of the school who is not a manager, they shall cause the managers to serve on such trustee, if his name and address are known, such notice as the Education Department think sufficient; and the Education Department shall consider and have due regard to any objections and representations he may make respecting the proposed transfer.
    "The consent of the Education Department shall be conclusive evidence that the arrangement has been made in conformity with this section."—(Mr. W. E. Forster.)—instead thereof.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Amendment proposed in page 10, line 2, after the word "Board," to insert the words—

    "Any school Board may, with the consent of the Education Department, make an arrangement for transferring their schools, or any of them, to a body of managers, duly constituted and approved by the Education Department, and who may be able and willing to guarantee the maintenance of such school or schools for such time and under such conditions as the Education Department may determine."—(Mr. Birley.)

    said, he did not think the proposed arrangement would work well, and therefore he could not accept the Amendment.

    Amendment negatived.

    Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.

    New Clause, to follow Clause 30 (Determination of disputes as to the election of school Boards), ( Mr. W. E. Forster) agreed to.

    New Clause, to follow Clause 32 (School Board in the metropolis), ( Mr. W. E. Forster).

    proposed, after Section 5, to add—

    "In the City of London the members of the Board shall be elected by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty in Common Council assembled."

    said, he should object to the City of London being excepted from the electoral scheme, contrary to an understanding with hon. Members.

    said, he must protest against the discussion of so important a matter at so late an hour (a quarter to 2 o'clock). What was the meaning of the word, "metropolis?" Was it the metropolis of the Police Act, or of the Metropolitan Board Act, or the Coal and Wine Duty Act?

    said, what was meant by the metropolis was the district of the Metropolitan Board of Works, under the Metropolis Management Act, 1855. The exception with regard to the City of London was introduced because it was thought the most convenient mode of election for the City, and would be found as good in practice as any other.

    said, it was understood that the same kind of direct election should apply equally to all parts of the metropolis.

    said, he thought that objection deserved attention, but doubted whether the question could be properly considered at that hour of the morning.

    said, he believed the understanding was, that there should be one uniform scheme, and he hoped that the clause would be allowed to stand without alteration.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause agreed to, and added to the Bill.

    House resumed.

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