Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
moved, after Clause 31, to insert the following clause:—
(Payment of chairman).
The right hon. Gentleman stated that he did not propose that it should be necessary that the chairmen should be paid, but it would be well to give the school Boards the power to so pay them. He had no doubt that in London it would be impossible to work the Bill without having a man of first-rate ability as chairman, and one who would be in a position to give up his whole time to this question. If so, he must be paid."The school Board for London, and the school Board for any other district, the size of which in the opinion of the Education Department justifies the payment of a chairman, may pay to the chairman of such Board such salary as they may from time to time, with the sanction of the Education Department fix."
said, he thought this clause was one of a very doubtful character. If they paid one chairman of a Board they must pay the whole. It ought to be limited to certain defined conditions, for there was no doubt it would add considerably to the expense of the school Board, and would be an additional obstacle to the working of the Bill.
said, he thought it was just as necessary to pay the chairman of a Board of Guardians as the chairman of a school Board. He would suggest that, at any rate, this principle should be limited to London.
said, if there was to be only one school Board for the metropolis the time of the chairman would be so much taken up with his duties that it would be impossible to get anyone to take the office unless he was paid. But he agreed with the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) that the principle should be limited to the metropolis, for if chairmen were paid in the rural districts shopkeepers or retired tradesmen would be candidates for the office. But if the office was not paid the district would be likely to obtain a man of some private means, who would accept the office from the interest he took in the cause of education.
said, he would not press the clause against the will of the House. He was still of opinion that there was some large towns where it might be desirable to pay the chairman of the school Board as well as in London; but if the opinion of the Committee was that it should be limited to the metropolis he would not object.
Words from "London" to "Chairman" struck out.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
said, he thought it desirable, in order to ensure the safe working of the Bill, to give the Education Department the power of dissolving the school Boards, and proposed after Clause 57, to insert the following clause:—
(Dissolution of school Boards).
"Where the Education Department are of opinion that in the case of any school district the school Board for such district are in default, or are not properly performing their duties under this Act, or that for any reason it would be expedient for the interests of education in such district to have a new Board elected, they may by order direct that the then Members of the school Board of such district shall vacate their seats, and that the vacancies shall be filled by a new election; and after the date fixed by any such order the then members of such Board shall be deemed to have vacated their seats, and a new election shall be held in the same manner, and the Education Department shall take the same proceedings for the purpose of such election as if it were the first election; and all the provisions of this Act relating to such first election shall apply accordingly."
objected to the vagueness of the expression—
It would be sufficient to give the Education Department the power to dissolve a Board in case the Board refused to perform their duties or offered any obstruction to the conduct of education."Or that for any reason it would be expedient for the interests of education in such district to have a new Board elected."
said, he thought some means should be taken to provide against the arbitrary exercise of this power by repeated dissolutions of the same Board.
said, he would consent to the omission of the words referred to by the noble Lord (Lord R. Montagu).
said, he objected to the clause because it gave the Educational Department the nomination of the school Boards. There was nothing to prevent it toties quoties from dissolving the Boards. This was a strong power to take, and which would not be tolerated in the guardians of the poor. If the Government had it in their power to dismiss without appeal any school Board, he thought there ought to be good reasons why they should exorcise it.
observed, that the right hon. Gentleman opposite need not fear intrusting the Education Department with those powers as they had already conferred upon them by the 12th clause powers far more extensive.
said, he must press upon the Committee the necessity of conferring this power upon the Department; but to prevent the power being abused would propose the addition of words requiring a report of the cases in which this power had been exercised to be made to Parliament annually.
On Motion of Mr. W. E. FORSTER, the following words were added:—
"The Education Department shall cause to be laid before both Houses of Parliament in every year a special report stating the cases in which they have made any order under this section during the preceding year and their reasons for making such order."
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
moved, after Clause 14, to insert the following new clause:—
(Inquiry into complaint of religious teaching.)
The clause was taken almost verbatim, from the Endowed Schools Act of last year, and he thought it was a necessary consequence of previous legislation."If any teacher in a school provided by a school Board shall, during the ordinary school hours not specially appropriated under Clause 7 for instruction in religious subjects, teach systematically and persistently any particular religious doctrine, or shall otherwise act in violation or disregard of the provisions of this Act, the school Board shall, on complaint made in writing to them by the parent of any scholar hear the complaint, and inquire into the circumstances; and, if the complaint is judged to be reasonable, shall take all necessary steps for preventing the recurrence of the matter complained of; and any parent who shall feel aggrieved by the decision of the school Board on such complaint, shall be at liberty to appeal to the Educational Department by a memorial signed by such parent together with three ratepayers."
said, he did not disagree with the hon. and learned Gentleman in the object he wished to attain; but he did not think by this clause he would attain it. Instead of, strengthening the hands of the Education Department for the purposes aimed at, the clause would weaken them.
said, he thought the clause would facilitate the action of the Education Department, since it would bring the facts to the knowledge of the Department.
said, he had withdrawn a similar Amendment, finding in the Bill as reprinted provisions which effected this object.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
moved to leave out Clause 23, and insert the following clause:—
(Payment for children in receipt of parochial allowance.)
He did not mean to say that the education of pauper children was wholly unprovided for; but the provision for their education was extremely small. The Commissioners in 1866 reported that a very large proportion of them were utterly destitute of education; for though the existing laws gave power to educate them, the law was not complied with, and the Commissioners went on to say that the best remedy would be to make the law compulsory. He believed that that was the state of things at the present time. His objection to the 23rd clause of the Bill was, that it left the matter optional, and not compulsory, with the guardians; but the guardians had never yet acted upon the law, and he feared that they never would do so unless compulsion was brought to bear upon them."The school Board shall pay the whole or any part of the school fees upon behalf of any child whose parents shall be in receipt of any parochial allowance, or for any child left chargeable to any person other than its parents; and such payment shall not be deemed to be parochial relief within the meaning of any Act for the maintenance of the indigent poor, either to the child or its parents in such case."
said, he had put upon the Paper a clause bearing upon this large and important question; but, after the discussion which had already been held, he should withdraw it, and he commended his example to the hon. Member (Mr. Corrance), because he was satisfied that in principle this was a matter which belonged to the administration of the Poor Law and not to education, and it would be better to postpone it until a distinct Bill could be brought forward to deal with it.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
moved the insertion of the following clause after Clause 26:—
(Enforcement by school Boards of the Industrial Schools Act.)
"It shall be the duty of every school Board within whose district there is a certified industrial school to put in force, as far as possible, and, if necessary, by an officer of its own, the fourteenth section of the Industrial Schools Act; and the magistrate before whom neglected children are so brought may, if he think fit, send such as have a living parent or guardian to the industrial school for instruction only during the day; and the school Board may pay fees or grant pecuniary aid for the education of any neglected children whom they may cause to be sent to an industrial school.
He hoped the Government and the Committee would accept a portion, at all events, of the Amendment, and that before long they might have a considerable change introduced in the Industrial Schools Act, so as to make it correspond with this new educational system of the country. He wished it to be provided that where industrial schools existed they should be made use of; and, further, that the magistrates who committed children to them might commit them as day scholars and not as boarders in certain cases where those neglected children had a surviving parent or guardian. He also wished to provide that these schools, like the other schools under the school Board, should be supported by the same rates and under the same Educational Department. This clause was objected to, he knew, by the managers of the industrial schools; but the objection was simply urged against the present conduct of the Education Office by managers who disliked its interference, and wished to retain unchecked control. There could be no material objection to taking publicly aided schools from under the Home Office, and placing them under the control of the Education Department. On the contrary, there was every reason of uniformity, of system, and economy for placing all national schools in the national school Department. If that Department needed altering, alter it."Industrial schools to which a school Board shall contribute, and to which other contributions will, under the foregoing Clause, thereupon cease to be made, and industrial schools established by a school Board, shall be subject to the Education Department; and with respect to them, whenever the Secretary of State is named in the Industrial Schools Act the Education Department shall be understood; and the Inspector of such industrial schools shall be the same Inspector as is appointed to inspect other public elementary schools in the same district."
said, he thought it would be wise to follow the old proverb and "let well alone." The clause was objected to by the managers of the industrial schools, who felt that it would be very unwise to hand over the discretionary powers which they possessed to another set of authorities who knew nothing whatever about the schools, and who would find it exceedingly difficult to carry out those powers with beneficial results.
said, there were great and almost insurmountable difficulties in the way of the Education Department undertaking the care and supervision of those children, and also in the way of allowing children to be sent to industrial schools simply as day scholars. Nor would it be wise to compel the school Boards to put the Industrial Schools Act in force. The Government could not assent to the insertion of any regulation binding or even suggesting to the school Boards the adoption of that course. The question was a very difficult one, and though it might be met in amending the Industrial Schools Act, it had no place in this Bill. It might, however, be of advantage to give the school Boards power to appoint officers to put the Industrial Schools Act into force if they chose to do so, and he therefore proposed the following new clause in lieu of the one proposed by the right hon. Gentleman:—
"Every school Board may, if they think fit, appoint an officer, or officers, to enforce any bye-laws under this Act with reference to the attendance of children at school, and to bring children, who are liable under the Industrial Schools Act (1866) to be sent to a certified industrial school, before two justices in order to their being so sent, and any expenses incurred under this section may be paid out of the school fund."
agreed with his right hon. Friend in endeavouring to make industrial schools more efficient than at present; but he thought it would be wrong not to lay down the principle that detention in such schools was a punishment, for otherwise there would be no answer to those who asked why such an expensive education should be given to the children of dishonest parents. That detention in such schools was penal, or quasi penal, was proved by the way in which discipline was enforced under the Act: insubordination or absconding were punished by consignment to a reformatory, or by imprisonment. Again, it was considered of great importance that children should be kept away from their former associates. But if ordinary day scholars were sent to an industrial school to mix with the children who were detained there, the discipline of the establishment would be interfered with, and the day scholars might be corrupted by their associates. Those schools had no wish to be under the Education Department, their work not being education properly so called, but industrial training; and as the children there were committed by the magistrates, the Home Office seemed to be more appropriate, and it was quite a mistake to suppose that any penal stigma attached to the children after leaving the schools in consequence of that. The expenses of industrial schools were very much heavier than those of other schools, and they could not be saddled upon the rates. Under all the circumstances of the case it would be better to leave well alone, although the proposal of the Vice President would enable school Boards to put the law in motion, and would carry out his right hon. Friend's object to increase the efficiency of industrial schools.
said, he thought that the Amendment of the light hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) would be a serious injury to the industrial schools. The essence of the reformation carried out in these schools depended on the schools becoming the home of the children, and a permanent home influence being exercised in them. If children were admitted as day scholars the result would be contamination, and the spread of evil associations. Besides that, the opinion of the managers of industrial schools was almost universally against the proposal.
said, the children received into industrial schools were not criminals, but only children who had no visible means of subsistence. Criminal children were sent to the reformatories. He was, however, ready to take all he could obtain, and would accept the offer of the Vice President, looking forward with confidence to the operation of the clause.
joined in the protest against the assertion that industrial schools were schools for criminal children. The general rule was, that the children admitted should be destitute children not convicted of crime.
New Clause ( Sir Charles Adderley) negatived.
Now Clause ( Mr. Forster) agreed to.
moved the insertion of the following clause, after Clause 40:—
There was no new principle in the clause, for it had been recognized over and over again by the Government in the course of this Bill. What he proposed was to give the ratepayers in a parish a more powerful voice in the management of their own affairs, particularly before their parish was united to any other parish for the purpose of forming an enlarged school district."The Education Department shall make no order to direct that any parish shall be united to another parish for the purpose of forming a school district if such union be opposed by any number of ratepayers in the parish proposed to be united, being rated to the poor rate upon a rateable value of not less than one-half of the whole rateable value of such parish."
said, he could not, consistently with justice, accept the clause, for they had already provided that union should only take place after inquiry, and after hearing those parties in parishes who made representations against such a step. Following the suggestions of his right hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Sir George Grey), he had on a previous occasion stated that words should be put into Clause 43 for this purpose. If persons who worked land in a parish worked outside of it, would it not be manifestly unfair that such a parish should not pay its proportion to the rate for the instruction of the children of parents whose labour lay naturally within its borders?
said, there might be a town in which there was a great deficiency of education; and near it a strictly agricultural parish, the property of one landlord, in which there had been always school accommodation maintained by the landowner and the clergyman, and it would be a great hardship if the latter had to pay for the education of the former. This would lead to agitation and discontent; and he therefore hoped the right hon. Gentleman would accept the clause of his hon. and gallant Friend.
declared that the adoption of the clause would be fatal to the operation of the Bill in the agricultural districts in the North of England, where there were ecclesiastical parishes for the most part arranged in townships, each occupied by a single farmer. If those townships were not combined for the purposes of the Bill, the measure would be inoperative in that part of the country, for the clause would allow a single farmer to put a veto on the union of the townships.
admitted that certain hardships would arise, but yet he could not support the clause, for there were many townships which were not so in any bonâ fide sense. He hoped the Vice President would see that real townships with sufficient school accommodation should not be subjected to what would clearly be a hardship.
observed that the object in view was not to increase the rate, but merely to spread it more equally over the district. He should be sorry if any feeling was created of town against country; but, for the sake of economy and general convenience, he thought it would be necessary to unite country parishes to a considerable extent. He looked forward to the action of the Department in the union of parishes as one of their greatest responsibilities, and he did not think the Committee would gain in the interests of justice by attempting to prejudge the matter by any general rule. He hoped the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Dyott) would be satisfied with having brought the subject under the consideration of the Committee.
said, he would have been very glad if the right hon. Gentleman had assented to some clause to prevent people being married against their will. They might depend on it that if they joined two parishes of which the inhabitants of one were dissentients they would got up what was called a "very awkward resistance." People very often said—"You do not know how awkward we can be if we like." Now, everybody wished the Bill to work smoothly, and he did not know anything which would induce so many people to go against it as taking one parish and joining it to another against the will of one or the other. It would be a great security if some portion of the Bill would guard against this. It was a great thing that people should go willingly, for unless they had the will of the people with them in this matter they would be able to do nothing. They might do a great deal by leading them; but if they wished to drive them they would find that people were like pigs, and when driven went all manner of ways.
said, he thought it was better to leave the matter to the Education Department, for the union of parishes might conduce to economy by preventing the needless multiplication of schools.
, in reply, asked why should the state of the parishes in the North of England be considered a sufficient ground for such legislation? Because the parishes in the North of England were divided into townships they were asked to legislate as if all parishes were thus divided. [Sir GEORGE GREY: The township is a parish under the Bill.] In that case they would take their place side by side with the other parishes, and be treated in the same way. It was manifestly unjust that a number of parishes should be rated alike, while the school accommodation was quite different.
moved, after Clause 65, to insert the following Clause:—
(Dissolution of school Boards.)
"In case the average attendance of children at school in any school district shall fall ten per cent below the average attendance in other school districts in which the school Board is elected in the same manner as in the district in which such failure in attendance takes place, or in the case of the metropolis or of towns which are not boroughs below the average attendance in boroughs, or in any case below the average attendance in the county in which the district where such failure occurs is situated, the Education Department may dissolve the school Board of the district in which such failure takes place, and order the election of another school Board in its stead; and no member of the board so dissolved shall be eligible to be a member of the new Board unless he shall be expressly exempted from such disability by an order of the said Department."
said, he could not accept the clause. If the power of dissolving school Boards upon such grounds were vested in the Education Department, he did not see how they could exercise it.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
proposed, after Clause 78, to insert the following Clauso:—
(Provision for certain districts under Improvement Commissioners.)
"Where any place not situate in the metropolis, or in a borough, is within the jurisdiction of any Commissioners intrusted by a local Act with the improvement of such place, and has under any general or local Act a separate police establishment, and consists of an entire parish or entire parishes, such place shall be a school district within the moaning of this Act, in like manner as if it were a borough and the said Commissioners were the council; but the local rate and the rating authority in such place shall be respectively the poor rate and the overseers."
said, the proposition was a very natural one for the hon. Gentleman to make; but in its terms it would be impossible for the Government to accept it, for this reason—the constituency of the Commissioners of Birkenhead was a limited constituency—only £10 ratepayers; and to give the election of the school Board to these Commissioners would be contrary to the principle of this Bill, which required that the parents of children should have a voice in the election of the Board. With the leave of the Committee he would state the change in the clause which the Government proposed to make. It would be in the recollection of the Committee that a discussion recently took place upon the question whether the elections should be carried on in the boroughs indirectly through the Town Council, or directly through the ratepayers, as in the country parishes. The Government, on that occasion, did not conceal their opinion from the House that there were strong arguments on both sides, and that they would be willing to be guided by the opinion of the House. He had stated that the Government adhered to the intention originally stated in the Bill, and he still thought that they had done right in proposing to place the elections in the hands of the Town Councils in boroughs, because by so doing they avoided the contention which might attend an annual election by the ratepayers, and because, in the large boroughs, at all events, the Town Councils were likely to be exceedingly good bodies for the election of school Boards. But it was impossible to deny that the strength of the arguments against the indirect election of school Boards had been much increased by the changes which had been made in the Bill. Among other reasons, they had decided that the election in the metropolis should not be conducted through the Common Council, and after hesitating to intrust this duty to so distinguished a body as the Common Council in the City, it was difficult to maintain the elections by the Councils in provincial towns. Again, in many large provincial towns—towns with frequently 10,000, 12,000, or 15,000 inhabitants—there were no Town Councils, and in these places the elections would have to be conducted by the ratepayers. They had, too, admitted into the Bill principles which would make it very difficult to apply the principle of indirect representation. They had, for instance, changed the elections from annual to triennial, and there was no doubt that the body electing the school Board ought to represent the feelings of the ratepayers at the time of the election. In Town Councils, however, though there were fresh elections every year, it was only to the extent of a third of the members. The Government had, though with reluctance, come to the conclusion that, having admitted the principle of direct representation in so large a portion of the country, and especially in the metropolis, they were bound to adopt it generally, and, therefore, on the bringing up of the Report, the Government would be prepared to accept this change.
said, he hoped that if Government adopted such a clause as that proposed, they would except Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham from its operation. The Corporation of the City of London could not be said to represent the whole of the ratepayers of the metropolis; whereas in the large towns to which he had referred the share in the election of Town Councillors was general.
congratulated the Vice President of the Council upon having come to the determination that the school Boards should in all cases be elected directly, as it was not likely that the men best qualified to act on those Boards would be found in such a turbulent body as a Town Council.
said, he would not press his Amendment after what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman.
believed that in the large towns the proposed change in the mode of election would deprive the schools of the services of some of the best men. Clergymen and Dissenting ministers would not stand a contest if they had to appeal to 20,000 or 30,000 ratepayers.
said, he hoped that the election would not be fixed for the month of November, when the elections for Town Councillors was held, but would be fixed at an earlier period of the year, when they would not be mixed up with political elections.
said, that direct elections in large towns would be an act of extreme impolicy. Such elections would be attended with religious acrimony, party bitterness, and enormous expense. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider his determination to throw over the Town Councils.
thanked the Vice President of the Council for his intention to make the change. He could assure him that in the small towns there would be no confidence whatever in the school Boards if they were elected by the Town Council.
deprecated election by the ratepayers.
believed the change contemplated by the Government would be eminently satisfactory to most large towns.
said, these popular elections ran in exactly the same groove, and were managed by the same people. Town Councils would be far more likely to make an honourable compromise between the different parties, political and religious, and would make a more impartial and more intelligent selection than the ratepayers.
suggested that they should reserve the discussion of this question till the Report was brought up. The Committee was going to decide presently a question with regard to the mode of election, which had an important bearing on the subject, and it would be eminently desirable that they should postpone the matter upon which they were now engaged until the Report.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
rose to move the following clause:—
(Schools on board training ships.)
He wished that the same privileges should be enjoyed by the virtuously destitute classes as were enjoyed by the criminal classes, and that some help should be given from the rates to valuable institutions which were struggling to maintain themselves in various ports. He hoped there would be no objection to giving a power which could only be permissive, and which could only be exercised with the sanction of the Privy Council. He, therefore, moved the new clause with the greatest confidence."A school Board may, if they think fit, with the consent of the Education Department, provide, establish, and maintain a school on board of a training ship for boys not liable to be sent to a reformatory or industrial school, and grant pecuniary assistance to any such school not provided by them; but every such school shall be conducted as a public elementary school."
said, the question had been two or three times before the Committee. School Boards had power to establish schools for neglected children, and there was nothing to prevent these schools being on board ships, if they came within the definition of public elementary schools. That would depend upon the regulations of the Revised Code, and he had already promised that the question should be fully considered in the further revision of the Code. The Department had been left perfectly free by the elision of the definitions which would have excluded the schools referred to. They could not, however, give power to Boards to spend money for other than educational purposes.
said, he would be content with the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman.
Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
, on the same assurance, withdrew a new clause for extending to ragged schools and to schools in orphan homes the operations of the Act.
moved the Amendment in the first Schedule rendered necessary by the acceptance of a metropolitan school Board.
Amendment agreed to.
moved, First Schedule, page 27, line 29, after "Oxford." insert "and Wenlock." His reason for doing so was that the borough was so extensive, being 15 miles in length, and that it included 13 parishes, several of them in different Poor Law Unions. On these grounds he thought the borough should be put on the same footing as agricultural boroughs without municipal councils or corporations, such as Shoreham and Aylesbury. As this was an exceptional case he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would accede to the request he made, which had been supported by Petitions not only from Wenlock, but also from most of the parishes in the borough.
seconded the Amendment, and said that the extent of the borough was 30,000 acres, that it contained a population of 25,000 and that it was impossible for a rate levied upon the whole borough to be spent equally for the benefit of the whole borough. He supposed no other place had so strong a claim to consideration.
Amendment proposed, First Schedule, page 27, line 29, after "Oxford," to insert "and Wenlock."—( General Forester.)
said, he was sorry he could not accede to the Amendment. Oxford was put in an exceptional position merely with reference to the rating of the University, and he did not think that the case of Wenlock was so strong or so exceptional as it had been represented to be. It was one of many similar cases, and he did not see how he could depart from the principle of considering a borough a unit. He supposed the place was proud of its position, and it must take the disadvantages as well as the advantages of being a municipal borough. He did not see how they could deviate from the principle he had laid down without sacrificing the borough unit altogether. It must be remembered that they were dealing solely with municipal boroughs and not with Parliamentary boroughs, and it might be that in this case the municipal borough had a large area; but they must take it as they found it.
said, that if the Government had adhered to their original proposal of the election of school Boards by Town Councils, the opposition to the Amendment would have been tenable; but, as they now proposed that the ratepayers should elect the school Boards, he could not see that there was much force in the objection to the proposed Amendment.
said, he could not accept the conclusion that the question of the body which was to elect had anything whatever to do with considering the borough the unit, or with the area over which the rate was to extend.
said, the Government could not accept the Amendment, because he could name a dozen places that were in the same position as Wenlock.
First Schedule agreed to, with Amendments.
On Motion of Mr. W. E. FORSTER, New Second Schedule brought up, and read the first and second time.
To leave out from the word "held," in paragraph 1 of the Rules (Election by a Council), to the end of paragraph 30 of the General Rules, in order to insert the words "at such time and in such manner, and in accordance with such regulations, as the Education Department may from time to time by order prescribe, and the Education Department may appoint or direct the appointment of any officers requisite for the purpose of such election: Provided, That any poll shall be taken by a secret Ballot."—(Sir Charles Dilke.)
admitted the importance of the Amendment of his hon. Friend, and it would be convenient that he should state how the Government proposed to deal with the Schedule and the Amendment. No doubt there was inconvenience in having imparted into this difficult educational question the question of the Ballot. The Government were anxious not to prejudge the question either way as regarded the great principle of the Ballot. But as regarded the question of education, it was thought desirable on the second reading to make it quite clear throughout the country that the votes of parents should be given freely and fairly; and therefore, without prejudging the question of Ballot in the matter of Parliamentary or municipal elections, there were serious reasons for adopting the Ballot in elections of school Boards under this Bill. The Ballot already existed in many bodies similar to those which would have to elect the school Board. Under the Metropolis Management Act the Ballot was part of the machinery, and elections, therefore, were constantly going on in London conducted by Ballot. He had himself gone into the City to see a Ballot for a popular election. It was a contested election for vestrymen, and the Ballot was taken under Sir Benjamin Hall's Act of 1855. There might be objections to the working of the machinery; but it was evident to him that every voter who wished to give his vote secretly might do so. London would probably be the very first place where a school Board would have to be elected, and, therefore, they would have been prejudging the question against Ballot if they had said that it should not be used under this Bill. But then his hon. Friend increased the difficulty by insisting that the Ballot must be secret; meaning thereby that the voter should be obliged to give his vote secretly. He thought they had enough difficulty on their hands without taking on themselves that responsibility. How, then, could they arrange practically for the election of these Boards? They had already agreed to the adoption of the cumulative vote, and they had endeavoured to frame a Schedule containing the necessary regulations. He could not, however, rely on it to meet all the difficulties; and it would be a great convenience if the Committee assented to the proposition of his hon. Friend, giving them the power to make the regulations. On the other hand, he could not expect the House or the Committee to leave this matter with carte blanche in their hands. That would be unreasonable. He, therefore, proposed that the Committee should accept the principle of his hon. Friend's Amendment with this understanding—that the order to be made should be enforced for every election tip to the 1st of September next year, but not afterwards unless confirmed by Parliament. In the mean time, the question of the Ballot generally would not be prejudged, and he hoped that by next year it would be finally settled by Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman then stated the alterations which he intended to propose.
observed that, considering the right hon. Gentleman's desire to get this Bill passed speedily, and, as far as possible, unanimously, through the House, he was astonished at the right hon. Gentleman's audacity in foisting in at the fag-end of the Bill the difficult and perplexed question of the Ballot. This was the more surprising, inasmuch as the Ballot had never yet been a Ministerial question; it had only hitherto been a crotchet of private Members. Such a plan as this was unconstitutional, and he objected to this sort of pilot-balloon measure, which could only have the effect of frustrating legislation on sound and broad principles.
objected to the adoption of so important a principle as the Ballot by a side wind and without a fair and full discussion, without which it was unreasonable to expect hon. Gentlemen opposite to yield up opinions to which they held very strongly. He was one of those who had brought themselves, however unwillingly, to believe that the Ballot was a necessity; but he could not deny that there were many and strong arguments in favour of open voting; and in deference to the opinions of those who were adverse to the Ballot, and in justice to the Ballot itself, he objected to this mode of determining this great and radical change. He would suggest an Amendment, authorizing the Education Board to determine the mode of election for 12 months. By striking out the words providing for secret voting, his hon. Friend would render assistance to the cause of the Ballot much more than by taking advantage of the present state of the House.
said, he wished to know the question really before the Committee. Was it the question of the Ballot?
said, the question was the Amendment of the hon. Member for Chelsea, which involved the omission from the Schedule of certain passages relating to Ballot.
reminded the hon. Gentleman opposite that the principle of the Ballot was not, as he appeared to believe, new in this country, because the principle was embodied in an Act passed in 1831, relating to the election of Boards of Guardians, and which provided that on the requisition of five ratepayers, the poll should be taken by Ballot. Considering that there had been upon the statute book for nearly 40 years an acknowledgment of this principle, he thought the Committee might properly adopt it for a year, until the greater measure was passed.
, in reference to what had fallen from the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. B. Hope), demurred to the remark made by the hon. Gentleman that the Government were "foisting in" this question. The intention of the Government to accept this principle had been before the House for weeks, for it was one of the first alterations which the Government agreed to make in consequence of the discussion on the second reading of the Bill; and the discussions had since been conducted on the understanding that the Government intended to accept it, and hon. Members on his side of the House would have a right to complain if they now departed from the principle. The power was only asked for for one year, and surely that would leave the House uncommitted on the question. Under 18 & 19 Vict. vestry elections were by Ballot; and, therefore, unless the voting for school Boards was by Ballot, the Committee would undo that principle in such districts, and the Government would also be departing from the pledge given by the Prime Minister.
said, that when he used the word complained of, he simply referred to the place which the subject occupied in the Bill. He contended that the Committee were put in a false position by this proposal. It ought not to have been made in a Schedule, but should have formed part of the Bill, and then it would have come under consideration earlier in their proceedings. He did not want to alter the status quo in districts where the Ballot now prevailed.
reminded the hon. Member that large majorities in that House had pronounced in favour of the Ballot, and if the Government abandoned the principle in the Bill, it would be thought that they had given it up altogether. He hoped the Government would stand firm on this question.
said, that the application of the Ballot in the election of school Boards by municipal corporations, so far from having been before the country for weeks, had only just been before the House, and in the case of municipal corporations it had hitherto been understood that the elections were to be by open voting. He wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman meant to resist or accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Chelsea?
said, it had been stated and understood in the discussions weeks ago that the election was to be by Ballot. The Government would accept the Amendment of his hon. Friend with the additional words he had stated, and with the omission of the words "a secret." He asked his hon. Friend to omit these words, because two interpretations were given to them. What he understood the clause to mean was that any election for school Boards held before September 1 of next year should be by Ballot; and it was limited for a year in order that the House should not be pledged upon the general question.
said, that if he had thought the Ballot had been mixed up with this question he should not have been found voting for the second reading of the Bill. Nobody expected that in such a measure vote by Ballot was to be introduced, complicating the education question, and separating, by a strong line of demarcation, one side of the House from the other. He had entertained great hopes that the Bill would have gone quietly through the House with the consent and sanction of all parties, for all were alike deeply interested in the education of the people. But they differed on the Ballot, and he would take every opportunity of opposing it, for he regarded it as a most un-English practice. In whatever position a man might be placed when the responsibility devolved on him of choosing another man to fill any office, he was bound to give his vote in the face of day, showing thereby that he voted conscientiously for the best man. He ventured to hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council would reconsider the question. He had proved himself well worthy of the position he occupied, and he (Colonel Barttelot) hoped the right hon. Gentleman, who had conducted the measure in that House in the most conciliatory manner, would not now at the last moment throw into the discussion this apple of discord, which might endanger the ultimate passing of the Bill. It depended entirely on him and on the Government whether the Bill would soon receive the Royal Assent or not. If they waited for another year, and the Ballot was carried—which, however, he hoped would not be the case—then they could adjust its machinery to all other matters, as well as to Parliamentary elections. Mixing up such a question as that dealt with generally in the Bill with the Ballot was unfair to the country, and was characterized by more unwisdom than any proposal which had hitherto been made by the Government.
said, he thought it unfair that, at the end of the consideration in Committe of this important Bill, the question of the Ballot should have been brought forward. The right hon. Gentleman had said the Ballot would be prejudiced if the Bill was passed without sanctioning that mode of voting. That was an unfortunate declaration, for it challenged the opinion of Parliament on the subject. He did not entertain such strong objections to the Ballot as many persons, his feeling with regard to it depending very much on the way in which it was carried out. If it did not secure secretary and protection for the voter it would become a great nuisance and abomination, and he did not believe that simply by the delivery of voting-papers secretary would be secured among the great mass of the people. In order that the Bill might not be endangered elsewhere, the Ballot should be eliminated from the Bill. In that case the Ballot would be adopted in London and other places where the Ballot at present prevailed, and would be excluded only from places where there was no evidence that it would be acceptable.
said, he could not help feeling that the good vessel Education was now getting into troubled waters. He denied that there was a general and fair impression in the minds of hon. Gentlemen that the question of the Ballot was to be mixed up with education. This was the real question. Hon. Members opposite had contended that the Education Bill should not drown the Ballot; but he (Mr. Scourfield) thought it was just as likely that the Ballot would drown education.
said, that he would so far consent to modify his Amendment that he would omit the word "secret;" but he must remark that what the hon. Member (Mr. Cawley) had said about there being a Ballot in London now must be greatly qualified, because there was no security for protection, and the people did not care about it, so far as the election of the guardians was concerned. It would be a very different thing in the rural districts where the greatest interest would be felt in the election of school Boards.
said, that if he voted on the present occasion against the proposal under consideration, he might be supposed to be altogether opposed to the Ballot; but his vote on the Ballot would very much depend on the nature of the Ballot Bill, when it was introduced in its amended form, for he was of opinion that the Ballot, unless it secured secretary, would do more harm than good. He should not vote for or against the Amendment, but reserve himself on the question of Ballot until he could vote in an independent manner, when the question of the Ballot was brought before the House in its true shape.
said, the Vice President had made a complaint of the hardship of having incidentally in the Education Bill to decide on the constitution of the government of the metropolis, and also to deal with the vexed question of the Ballot. But the Amendment of which he had given Notice would relieve the right hon. Gentleman of the difficulty so far as the Ballot was concerned. Neither in the country nor in that House was there the slightest wish that the Ballot should be insinuated—he would not say foisted, as that word was objected to—into a Schedule of the Education Bill. But the right hon. Gentleman now told them it had been discovered since the second reading of the Bill there were purely educational reasons for establishing a great code of regulations for vote by Ballot. He had listened in vain for those educational reasons. The right hon. Gentleman said it was of great importance that in the country the parents of children should give their votes freely and fairly in the election of school Boards; but why was this distinction made between the parents of children in the rural districts and those of children in the towns? It was a most unworthy imputation against local management in the rural districts, where they exercised their franchise as fully and freely as the ratepayers in the metropolitan boroughs. He altogether denied that the Ballot was necessary to protect the parents of children in the rural districts. At last the Government had come to an agreement with the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke). There was an amicable arrangement between the two champions of the different kinds of Ballot. The Government accepted the major proposal of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, and he, in turn, with many protestations, yielded his favourite word "secret." But what did it all come to? That for the first year— the crucial year, when the Boards were to be set up, the Education Department would, all over the country, have absolute power to dictate in what mode these elections for school Boards should be conducted. But at whose expense was the machinery for this noble mode of voting, prescribed by a public office in Whitehall, to be carried out? Why, it was to be carried out at the expense of the ratepayers; and they were told that if they did not, without discussion, examination, or deliberation adopt this vague mode of voting, the general question of the Ballot would be prejudged. Nothing could be more absurd. His own opinion was, that if anything was calculated to prejudge that question it was the very course now being adopted by the Government. He maintained that great expense must necessarily attend the adoption of the principle of the Ballot in the case of the Education Bill. There must be polling places; there must be Ballot machines, such, he supposed, as those to which their attention had recently been called. Each machine of that sort, he understood, was estimated to cost £150. Then, too, unless the whole thing was a mockery and a sham there must be a whole army of assessors, means and men to secure the secretary of vote by Ballot. All this machinery would have to be provided, and at the expense of the ratepayers—it must actually be paid out of the education rate. Would not this tend to make the rate, which would be sufficiently unpopular, perfectly odious? The Vice President urged them to adopt the Ballot in connection with education, and hoped that the general question would be settled next Session. He did not, however, adduce any argument for adopting such a system in the hasty and unsatisfactory manner that was now proposed. If it was the intention of the Government not to proceed with the Ballot for Parliamentary and municipal elections this year, was not that an argument for not proceeding with it this year in regard to education? Did the right hon. Gentleman mean to tell them that next year he would propose that all Parliamentary elections should be taken by Ballot, but that municipal, Poor Law, and other elections should continue to be carried on as now by open and not by secret voting? If he did not mean that, why introduce the Ballot by this extraordinary side wind, enormously increasing the local taxation of the country? The right hon. Gentleman said that in London, under the Metropolitan Management Act, the election of vestrymen was by Ballot; but the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea said that was a perfectly futile and inoperative mode of Ballot. He would ask why they should follow the analogy presented by the voting in the London Vestries instead of that presented by the voting for Poor Law Guardians. These elections were conducted at an inconceivably small expense and without annoyance or inconvenience to the ratepayers. In the election the other day at St. Pancras, for instance, a parish with 150,000 ratepayers, where 35,000 votes were recorded, and where the excitement was as great as it was at an ordinary Parliamentary election, the whole expenses to the ratepayers was only £213. But, with the plan proposed by the Government, with polling-places, the Ballot-box, and an army of clerks, to secure secretary, such an election would cost 10 or 20 times as much. He had reserved his opinion with respect to the more general measure which the Government had before the House, because it should be remembered that there was this vital distinction, that while the expense of the Ballot in the case of Parliamentary elections was to be thrown upon the candidate, in the election of the school Boards the expense would be borne by the ratepayers. He could not, holding these opinions, therefore help censuring the Government for endeavouring to force the Ballot upon the ratepayers of the country in a manner never anticipated or expected; and in the interests of the ratepayers, in the interests of the great cause of education, and he would add in the interests of the Ballot itself, he entreated the Committee to reject this proposal.
said, he thought that the noble Lord had unduly inflated the magnitude of the question. He had stated that next year would be the crucial year for the formation of school Boards. He (Mr. Forster), however, believed that, with the exception of the metropolis, it was difficult to say whether any school Board would be formed at all next year. The only two cases in which they were sure of such Boards being elected were first in the metropolis, where the Ballot already existed; and secondly, in those districts, which might call at once for them. On the second reading of the Bill the Government, in view of the religious difficulty, felt themselves bound to provide that the election of school Boards in the country should be conducted freely and fairly, and therefore by the Ballot; and accordingly, after Whitsuntide, he gave Notice of Amendments, one of which was the Ballot, and it remained on the Notice Paper from that time to the present. He would remind the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Cawley) that it was impossible to allow the law to remain exactly as it now was, because the House had imposed upon the Government the adoption of a new form of voting, the now principle of cumulative voting, and the Government were pledged to make special regulations for carrying out the principle. They must decide whether it should be done by Ballot or not. For educational reasons they pledged themselves to legislate in favour of the Ballot; and they would certainly be prejudging the question if they adopted any other principle, such as that suggested by the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Manners), and carried out in the elections of the Poor Law Guardians.
said, he did not intend that they should leave the law as it stood, but that they should leave the present mode of voting as it stood by law. He would remind the Committee that the proposal was entirely new, for it had never been proposed that the elections in the large municipal boroughs should be taken by Ballot. It was not until within the last two or three hours he knew that the Government announced their intention on the subject. It was previously understood that the elections should be vested in the Town Councils, and he heard during the dinner hour that the change had been announced by the Government. The Committee should also bear in mind that if only two or three elections were to be held during the next 12 months, there could be no harm in retaining the present mode of voting during that period. This new proposal would introduce an apple of discord which he thought would endanger the passing of the measure.
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman, in his anxiety to avoid the great oppression which he fancied would be exercised in rural districts, was preventing a large number of persons from voting who ought to record their opinions in regard to the election of school Boards. In many districts a great number of ratepayers would be unable to vote unless the polling-places were close to their residences. Consequently, either the ratepayers must be put to enormous expense for providing numerous polling-places, or else a large number of people would be unable to record their votes.
said, he had listened with astonishment and dismay to the present discussion. It had been stated that this proposal for the Ballot had been for a long time on the face of the Bill; and, though he admitted this to be quite true, it was obvious that the Committee could not discuss the question until it was brought under their notice. There were surely enough difficulties in the way of the Education Bill; and, as a friend to education, who was desirous to see this measure pass, he asked why, in the name of common sense, the Government should embarrass its progress by a most unnecessary and extravagant proposal. During the last 20 years Parliament had been considering the difficulties of an Education Bill, and during that period there had been repeated battles on the subject of the Ballot. Why should the present measure be complicated by the introduction of a mode of voting which was strongly objected to by many hon. Members—not on party grounds, but on principle? He had always opposed the Ballot on principle, being of opinion that all public functions ought to be discharged openly and in the face of day. He could not conceive any greater unwisdom than the complication of the Bill by unnecessarily importing into it a mode of voting which formed the subject of differences between different classes in that House.
said, that hon. Members opposite were now doing what they had charged them with doing—namely, throwing impediments in the way of passing the Bill. If the Government were now to recede from the principle of the Ballot, it would render them most unpopular with their party.
said, arguments like those used by the last speaker were not calculated to have much influence with those who sat on the Opposition side of the House. The disputes of the Government with their supporters below the Gangway did not interest that side of the House any more than the quarrels of those with whom they were not in the least connected. They looked upon them with amusement and occasionally with contempt; but they were not led thereby to adopt measures contrary to their own principles. He entertained the greatest respect for his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council, who had acted with reference to this subject of education in a manner which must do him honour in the eyes of the public, and would not make him so unpopular as the Member for Birmingham seemed to suppose. He was astonished, however, that the right hon. Gentleman should ask the Committee to commit to his hands, or to the hands of any other person, the mode of the election of the members of the school Boards. The Committee was asked to allow the Education Department to determine how the voting should be conducted with regard to a question which would not raise animosities, as the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) thought, but which would furnish a number of posts that would not be much coveted by persons engaged in the political arena. These places would, he believed, be given to and sought by educationists, and not by a clique of politicians, as would have been the case if the election had been vested in the Town Councils. The right hon. Gentleman had stated his views as to the mode of election, and of all the comic means of keeping secretary, those adopted by the Government in the matter of the Ballot were the most extraordinary. There were to be two nominators and eight seconders for each candidate, and consequently the Government which desired to secure the secretary of every man's vote insisted on some 500 or 600 porsons—as far as the metropolis alone was concerned—declaring their opinions, for, unless they were the greatest hypocrites, they would vote in accordance with the opinions they had declared. However, they would have an opportunity of going into a secret corner and voting against the persons they had proposed or seconded. The Department intrusted with educating the people in moral principles was to inaugurate this system of hypocrisy, treachery, and baseness. He had reluctantly sacrificed many of his opinions in order that the Bill might be carried; but he warned the Government that the question before the Committee was not one of education at all. Having brought in a Ballot Bill, and finding they could not carry it this year, the Government had determined to throw dust into the eyes of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway by offering them the Ballot in a matter with which comparatively it had no concern whatever. He told the Government that if they thought they were going to carry the measure in its integrity with the Ballot in it, they would find themselves grievously mistaken. He had sat upon a Committee which had investigated that subject, and he was prepared for a discussion on it when the proper occasion arrived. This was an invasion of all the principles by which they ought to be actuated. Bills were introduced, read a second time, and carried into Committee, reported, and read a third time. What was the course adopted by the Government in reference to the present Bill? It was read a second time, with no such principle as the Ballot in it at all; but, on the contrary, containing a totally different principle. The Bill went into Committee in the same condition as it was in at the second reading. At the suggestion of several hon. Members the Bill was amended pro formâ; but nothing was said about the Ballot at the time. An hon. Member with a powerful imagination had an impression it was in the original Bill; but this was not so. But in the Bill as amended pro formâ the Ballot appeared in a Schedule quite different from the one now before the Committee. Thus, the Ballot provision was introduced in Committee, never having been read a first time, and placed in a Bill to which it was wholly inappropriate. If over there was a case in which the arguments against the Ballot were strong, it was in regard to its introduction in a measure of this kind. It was applied, too, in a perfectly new principle, for the Ballot had never yet been adopted for a cumulative system. He asked, was this a reasonable thing to do in an Education Bill? Hon. Members opposite had been very urgent in their recommendations that the House should divest itself of party feeling and discuss the measure with calmness and moderation, and then, by way of promoting calmness, they had introduced a question which had been agitating the political mind for the last 50 years, and which had nothing to do with the subject of the Bill to boot. He could not discover what were the educational reasons for the Ballot referred to by the right hon. Gentleman; but he wished to remind the Committee of the most important arguments brought before it by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) in respect to the unfairness of a rate. The question of expense was no small element in the consideration of this point in the case of a district composed of 40,000 or 50,000 voters. Which was the cheapest way of conducting an election, to carry the poll to the voters or to oblige the voters to go to the poll? The polling of 40,000 or 50,000 voters by the first process would cost £100 or £200; but if the whole machinery of booths, election agents, and canvassers were introduced, the cost would be more like £2,000, and that would be the beginning of the educational charge upon the rates. He wished to know what would be gained by this. Hon. Gentlemen talked of some extraordinary pressure which was to be put upon the electors; but that was a farce and a folly, a sham and a delusion. No doubt, at some contests pressure would be exerted on one side and on the other, from above and from below, pressure which was perfectly legitimate and beneficial, and pressure which he would reprehend as decidedly as any other; but in the case of the election of these school Boards none of those dangers need be anticipated, for nobody could suppose that these offices would be so coveted that there would be partizan candidates such as appeared at municipal or Parliamentary elections. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) had taunted them with turning against the Education Bill. It was no such thing; they objected to the Ballot, which had nothing to do with the measure, and they objected only to that and to foisting secret voting into a Bill in a way which could only educate the people in hypocrisy and fraud. ["Oh!"] He did not expect hon. Members opposite to agree with him; he simply expressed his views, and he trusted no one would desire him to profess any other opinion but his own. If the Government found any difficulty in passing this Bill, they had the satisfaction of knowing they had brought it on themselves; this difficulty would arise not from any want of support from the Opposition with regard to the educational measure itself, but because the Government had thought it necessary to insinuate into the Bill, at the last moment, principles which had no connection with it, and which if they pressed would inevitably result in the rejection of the Bill itself.
said, the right hon. Gentleman had made a somewhat heated speech. ["No, no!"] When he had quoted some passages from it he would leave it to the right hon. Gentleman to judge whether the description was not correct, but for the present he would withdraw that remark. The right hon. Gentleman commenced his speech by saying that the disputes of the Government with their supporters below the Gangway did not interest him. He might be permitted to observe that nobody troubled the right hon. Gentleman with any request to undertake that office. It was not at all necessary. Mr. Mill had spoken of the Liberal party as constituting a sort of Broad Church, in which differences of opinion amongst themselves were tolerated, and he (Mr. Gladstone) thought it would be a long time before they had occasion to appeal to anyone sitting on the opposite Benches to undertake an office which no one had a right to intrude upon them. But if the Liberal party habitually tolerated differences amongst themselves, he must take the liberty of observing that there was another party which, though not perhaps so tolerant of them habitually, was exceedingly tolerant of them upon occasions when they thought subjects material to the public interests were involved. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the differences amongst the Liberal party in terms which in other moments he would probably repent. The right hon. Gentleman said that when he saw the differences of opinion between the different classes of persons on that side they were sometimes the subject of amusement to him. That was perfectly fair, and it was some satisfaction to know that if they could not supply the right hon. Gentleman with anything better, they could at least amuse him. But he went on to say that he sometimes viewed these differences with contempt. He (Mr. Gladstone) was bound to say that he hoped the right hon. Gentleman made use of that expression in a period of momentary warmth; because, if that was not so, he must assert respectfully but firmly that that was not a word which ought to be applied by a Member of that House, and still less by one who had held high Office under the Crown, to differences which he might think erroneous. ["No, no!"] At any rate, if hon. Members on the other side claimed that as a proper style of language, in which to refer to any differences of opinion between different sections of the House, he trusted that the claim would be confined to the other side, and would not extend beyond it. The right hon. Gentleman also said that the Government had introduced a Bill with reference to secret voting when they knew they could not pass it. The Government did not deserve that imputation. He challenged the right hon. Gentleman to name any Government which had worked harder for the purpose of passing through the House the Bills it had introduced. When the Government had filled the days and nights of this year as it had with subjects of the greatest importance, did the right hon. Gentleman suppose that they were so poor in credit that they required to bring in a Bill on the subject of secret voting for the sake of maintaining their reputation, or that they could stoop to bring in such a Bill with the knowledge that they could not pass it?
said, the right hon. Gentleman had misunderstood him. What he said was, that when the Government found they could not pass the Bill they had introduced, they adopted this mode of dealing with the question. He did not say that the Government had introduced the Bill with the view of its not passing.
said, he certainly understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Government brought in that Bill knowing that they could not pass it; but he was glad the right hon. Gentleman had now fully convoyed to him what was his meaning. But he could not help feeling that the right hon. Gentleman also went beyond the limits which were fairly allowable to a Member of that House, when he took upon his own responsibility to assure the Committee that if a majority of this House passed the Education Bill, with a provision as to secret voting, they would find that they were mistaken in expecting the Bill to pass. The right hon. Gentleman might be perfectly entitled to entertain that as his opinion; but he had no title to announce it as a conviction. Therefore, he thought he was justified in stating that warmth of the moment had characterized some portions of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. However, it was much more pleasant to think not of this or that isolated expression, but of the friendly and liberal manner in which the right hon. Gentleman, and those who sat near him, had striven, in all their proceedings hitherto on that Bill, to promote the purpose which they held in common with the Government, even at the expense of many of their individual opinions. He would endeavour to forget the matters of which he had felt it his duty to speak, and address himself to the charges which had been made against the Government by the right hon. Gentleman and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington). These charges were chiefly two. In the first place, it was said they were introducing into the Education Bill a proposal totally inconsistent with education; and, secondly, that the matter which they were thus thrusting into the Education Bill was in the nature of a serious innovation, which hon. Members opposite were entitled and felt themselves called upon to resist to the utmost. He wished to contest both these propositions. There was another point, relating to the amount of discretion to be reserved to the Education Department; but that was a matter which might be easily arranged, and it had nothing to do with the real question at issue. The Government contended that the Ballot was, under present circumstances, closely and logically connected with education. This was a Rating Bill, and it was necessary by it to provide means of election; and thus, by an indissoluble bond, the provisions they were making for promoting national education were interwoven with the absolute necessity of dealing with modes of local election. The Ballot was equally connected with the subject as regarded the history of the case, because it was admitted that in the debate upon the second reading of the Education Bill they declared that they felt it to be absolutely necessary to secure, as far as possible, the personal freedom and independence of the parents in these elections, and to make that consideration paramount in their provisions with regard to the constitutions and the mode of election of the Boards. The pledge contained in that declaration the Government had redeemed by introducing before the month of May had expired the provisions which were now under discussion, and which were intended to give the utmost independence of action to those who elected the Boards. In reply to the allegation that the introduction of the Ballot as the mode of election was an innovation, he would ask, was that statement true? If this was the first occasion on which secret voting was used to carry out a particular purpose, then the objections of the opponents of the measure might be, in a great measure, justified. But this was not the case. There were two laws on the statute book recognizing and justifying secret voting in connection with local and particular purposes. The first was the Metropolitan Local Management Act, where it was compulsory, and the second was the Vestries Act, for the better regulation of vestries, where it was optional, but so optional that it might be demanded by any five ratepayers. Now, when was this Bill passed? Was it a recent innovation—was it the fruit of household suffrage—was it the fruit, even, of the £10 householder suffrage? No; it was in an Act passed in the reign of William IV., but before the introduction of the first Reform Bill, that this innovation which was so greatly condemned by some opponents was introduced. It was impossible, under these circumstances, to look upon the present proposal as an unheard-of innovation, now sought for the first time to be thrust upon Parliament. It was clear that the system of secret voting had already been applied to cases where it was important to secure independence of election for purposes of local government. Here was a now purpose of local government, in which it was most essential that independence of election should be maintained, and, accordingly, Her Majesty's Government had resorted to the method recognized by Parliament before the first Reform Bill as being the best to secure that end. And had there been any extraordinary demand made upon hon. Gentlemen opposite? He confidentially asked them to admit this, that they had reduced to the lowest possible point the claim they made upon them; they felt that with the great question of the mode of taking Parliamentary elections so close impending, they might naturally feel a jealousy which, however, the Parliament of William IV. did not appear to have felt—that they were called upon to give a vote which might afterwards be cited as a precedent against them. But then look at the position of the Government. They must either ask hon. Gentlemen to yield something, or they must make a great, and as they felt, an unnecessary condition themselves. They were dealing with a question in which the independence of the ratepayers was, above all things, the great and paramount object. Was it unnecessary or unreasonable that in such a case they should follow what they believed to be the predominant feeling in the House. They did not object to hon. Gentlemen opposite saying that they were opposed to the Ballot, and that they would resist it in every form. But they did object to much of the language that had been used; to their saying that this was something monstrous—that the House was taken by surprise. Why, the proposition for secret voting was one that had been adopted into the Bill more than two months ago, when he described the mode in which it was proposed that the elections should be taken. When his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council proceeded to carry out the engagements into which they had entered, he naturally adopted without any check the principle of secret voting. But as they came nearer to the point, they felt that it was their duty to make as small a demand as possible upon hon. Gentlemen opposite to reduce their claims to the minimum, and they had therefore introduced that reference to the Privy Council which the right hon. Gentleman opposite described as an additional offence, and they had reduced the limitation as to time. He should not have wondered if a complaint had come from below the Gangway, that the introduction of these provisional regulations was evidence that the Ballot was not to be a permanent measure. The Government asked for the adoption of this principle only in the case of those elections that might emerge in the course of the next 12 months. Then they were told that enormous expense would attend the working of this principle of secret voting. Was it not odd that the unreformed Parliament of 1831 was not terrified by this question of expense? If they were not, why was the present Parliament, that was elected by the free suffrages of the people of England, to be terrified at an expense of which Parliaments less popular and democratic — no, he would not say less popular, were not afraid? The noble Lord opposite (Lord John Manners) talked of the election for the parish of St. Pancras. Had the noble Lord ever heard the dearness of secret voting complained of? The noble Lord said if that election had taken place by secret voting it would have cost £2,000. What was the noble Lord's authority for that statement? There were thousands of vestries that had been elected by secret voting, and who had ever heard of their being more expensive than on the open system? He thought a great deal of matter had been imported into this question that was quite unnecessary. He did not wonder that they should object to secret voting. It was quite right and fair that they should oppose it. But there were other things that were not so—the language that had been used—the prophecies of failure — the allusions to what would be done in the other House. ["No, no!"] Well, he was delighted to hear the disclaimer; he did not wish to catch the right hon. Gentleman in the use of a word, though he must say nothing could be more distinct than the language that was used. ["No, no!"] If not so, then let them look at the question in itself. It was not of large dimensions, for it was only in rare cases; that the power would be used before the time when the definitive judgment of Parliament would be called for. He hoped the House would see that the Government was asking the least concession that would be sufficient for the purpose they had in view, while for that purpose they felt that what they voted for was a paramount necessity. It was in this spirit, whether the sense of the House was to be taken upon it or not, that they viewed it—it was in this sense they voted for it, and they were anxious to show right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side that they appreciated the spirit in which they had striven to deal with this Bill; but if the proposition of the Government was disagreeable to them, it was yet in the mildest form to which they could give it effect consistent with their own pledges.
said, he wished to express his regret for having used the word "contempt." He thought it due to the right hon. Gentleman and the Committee to do so. That word did not convey his meaning. What he meant to convey was that he viewed the quarrels to which he referred with amusement and indifference, but not with contempt.
said, he could quite feel after what had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council and also by the Prime Minister, supplemented as it had been by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon), what were the circumstances of pressure under which this change had been made. It was impossible not to feel for the position the Government was placed in. But what he wished to observe was this—the time of the introduction of this element of discord—he must not call it new, as the right hon. Gentleman had discovered some old statutes that were drawn on the same principle. He was glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman was in any circumstances inclined to look back. But what struck him was the utter misgiving and mistrust with which the Government had introduced this change. As the Bill was first drawn the school Boards were to be elected on the old principle of election, and the Government were then content to trust them, unless there should be some statutory Department to frame the directions laid down for them. But, now that they had introduced secret voting, were they as content to trust them as before? Not a bit of it. Look at the clause passed early in the evening, by which the Government took powers to sweep away the Boards so elected by secret voting, without assigning any reason. They would not trust them; but they took power to sweep them away entirely, subject only to the control of this House. That was what the Government proposed to do with the Boards elected by Ballot—they took arbitrary power to reject them after they were elected. There was not a more arbitrary clause to be found anywhere, and it was only introduced into the Bill at the same time with secret voting. That showed the opinion of the Government itself upon the subject. For himself, he was never fond of secret voting. He hated all secret proceedings; but he thought this showed the mistrust of the Government itself as to the change. If the Government could not trust its own child, with what face could they ask the House to trust it? For that reason alone he should refuse to support this proposition of the Government.
admitted this was a small matter, but it involved a large principle. He wished to ask the Government what was the necessity for introducing this secret principle into the elections of the school Boards? Its introduction would give an impulse to the movement in favour of the Ballot, for which the country was not prepared. He was not going to discuss the question of the Ballot. The people of England had never looked the principle of the Ballot in the face, and they certainty were not prepared to admit it by the back door. The great argument in favour of the adoption of the Ballot was that it produced tranquility at elections; but what reason was there for supposing that the elections of school Boards would be anything but tranquil and commonplace occurrences? His opinion was that they would be both common-place and dull, because the Bill itself was a great compromise. There was no reason for supposing that the freedom of action of the parents would in any way be restrained—that, in fact, it was impossible that any coercion could be practised upon them. To attempt to secure tranquility by secret voting was a pure myth. He hoped the day was distant when the Ballot would be adopted; but if they were to have it let it be discussed openly and upon its merits. If the voice of the country were challenged upon the subject he was certain the majority would be against it.
said, the Opposition had fairly met the Government on the Bill, and they ought not to be called on to admit, on the consideration of an education measure, a principle in no way connected with it, and which they felt to be an evil of the greatest magnitude. If a Parliament of King William IV. was benighted enough to adopt a Bill introducing the Ballot, all he could say was that he much regretted it. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) had lectured the Opposition for what he termed their desire to stop the progress of the Bill. If he (Mr. Greene) represented a borough so dark as Birmingham he should feel he was doing wrong in stopping it for a moment; but he had the happiness of representing a town in which the Bill would not be required, because there they educated every man, from the highest to the lowest. Gentlemen below the opposite Gangway talked when it suited their purpose of raising the working man to the position of an independent member of society, and now they spoke of him as needing the protection of secret voting. He did not want to make a stalking-horse of the working men of England; but he said they gave their votes as independently as any Member in that House. If they wished to lower the moral standard of the country, they would resort to secret voting, which he, for one, hated even in a club, and whenever he adopted it he invariably disclosed afterwards how he had voted. The thing must be checked in the bud; and therefore he hoped that hon. Members on his side of the House would continue that debate and adjourn it. That proposition was, he believed, brought forward merely to please Members below the opposite Gangway. Where the carcase was there the birds of prey gathered together; and he had observed that evening that hon. Gentlemen opposite had been early in their attendance, hoping that there would be a Division, while Gentleman on his side of the House were at dinner. If they were to have the Ballot, let it be put forward fairly and honestly on its own merits.
said, he objected to the introduction of the principle of the Ballot into the Bill, and he complained of the Government, in order to propitiate the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) and those below the Gangway, having acceded to it. The Government were about to render the Bill agreeable to the hon. Member for Birmingham by introducing the Ballot into it. He viewed with interest any manifestation of independence on the Government side of the House, and he was glad the hon. Member for Birmingham felt he was in a position to be able to make a bargain with the Government, because it was a revival in his person of the character for independence which that town had hitherto maintained. The hon. Member for Birmingham, who was opposed to the Bill, was likely to have the best of the bargain; but there was little chance of the principle of secret voting being adopted by the House of Lords. Although the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister professed himself a neophyte with respect to the Ballot, he must remind that right hon. Gentleman that at one time there was no more earnest opponent of it than the right hon. Gentleman, and he was sure the right hon. Gentleman would forgive him for reminding him that it was the non-adoption of the Ballot by the vestries under the Act of Will. IV. that Lord Palmerston relied on showing how distasteful the Ballot was to the people of England. The Ballot was invariably introduced when the once Radical, but now the Liberal, section of the House was short of a cry. He had seen the question wax and wane, but never persevered in in earnest, and, notwithstanding Mr. Berkeley's annual exertions, the principle had never been adopted. He further objected to the introduction of such a principle into the Bill after it had been read a second time. Once provide the machinery in every parish for taking the Ballot in these minor elections, and they would be told every time the question was brought forward with reference to Parliamentary elections that, as the expense had been incurred, they had better try it. When he saw hon. Members examining those neat boxes that had been exhibited in that House for taking the Ballot, and studying how they might conceal how they gave their votes, he wished hon. Members should be compelled to purchase one, and have it in his own house, so that John the footman, Sally the cook, and Jane the housemaid, might one by one every Saturday use it as a means of expressing their choice of precedent for the ensuing week. The Ballot was a principle alien to the purpose of the measure, and they were perfectly justified in using every means to defeat it.
said, he wished to know how the Chairman proposed to put the Question? The Government accepted the Motion down to the end of Paragraph 30.
said, the proposal of the hon. Baronet (Sir Charles Dilke) was to leave out from the word "held," in paragraph 1 of the Rules (Election by a Council), to the end of paragraph 30 of the General Rules, in order to insert the words—
"At such time and in such manner, and in accordance with such regulations, as the Educacation Department may from time to time by order prescribe, and the Education Department may appoint or direct the appointment of any officers requisite for the purpose of such election: Provided, That any poll shall be taken by a secret ballot."
asked for some explanation, as those on that side of the House who wished to vote against the Ballot were in a great difficulty as to how they were to vote.
said, if the words upon which the Question was put were struck out the Committee would be held to have assented to the omission of all the words the hon. Baronet now proposed to omit. The Question would then be put to insert the words which the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea proposed, and it would after that be open to the noble Lord to move the omission of any paragraph down to paragraph 30. On the other hand, if the Committee should refuse to omit any of the words which the hon. Baronet proposed to omit, the Question having been put only on the first words it would be open to the noble Lord or any hon. Member to move the omission of any of the subsequent words.
Question, "That the words 'on the prescribed day' stand part of the Schedule," put, and negatived.
Question proposed, "That the words
'At such time and in such manner, and in accordance with such regulations, as the Education Department may from time to time by order prescribe, and the Education Department may appoint or direct the appointment of any officers requisite for the purpose of such election: Provided, That any poll shall be taken by a secret ballot,'
be there added."
inquired whether it was competent now to move the omission of any portion of the hon. Baronet's Amendment. If so, he would more that the words from "provided" be omitted.
said, the Committee, in assenting to the omission of the words named, had virtually assented to the omission of all the words the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea proposed to omit. It was now proposed to insert the words of the hon. Baronet, and that Amendment was open to Amendment.
said, he wished to make some verbal Amendment in the hon. Baronet's Amendment. He would move to insert before "appoint" in line 3, "by order."
Amendment amended accordingly.
moved, after the word "election," in line 4, to insert "to do all other necessary things preliminary or incidental to such election."
asked for some explanation of the very vague words which it was now proposed to insert.
said, they were intended to give the Education Department power to conduct the few elections that might be necessary between this time and next year.
wanted to know whether that included any arrangement incidental to election by Ballot called "stuffing the books."
said, he could not answer the question, as he had never before heard that expression.
said, that the words showed not only how provisional the arrangement was, but now extremely unwise it was for the Government to force this matter. That was an additional reason, if any were required, for resisting, by every means, in their power, this attempt to force the Ballot.
Amendment amended accordingly.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, after the word "election," in line 4, to leave out the words "Provided, That any poll shall be taken by a secret ballot."—( Mr. Beresford Hope.)
Question proposed, "That the word 'Provided' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
explained, that although the word "secret" still stood in the Amendment, his hon. Friend had assented to its omission.
wanted to know whether they were or were not going to vote on the question that there should be a poll by Ballot?
said, the objection taken to the word "secret" was, that it raised the question of the kind of Ballot. A Ballot might be compulsorily secret, or it might not, and the Government did not wish to raise that point. The question that would be before the Committee was, whether the poll should be taken by Ballot or not?
asked, whether, if the word "secret" were omitted, the right hon. Gentleman would agree to insert the word "public."
said, he thought the discussion which had taken place would suffice to show that the Government had made a great mistake in introducing this question, because up to that moment the Committee were advancing rapidly and happily to a conclusion; very many Members on his side of the House having sacrificed their cherished opinions for the sake of facilitating the progress of the measure and of arriving at an amicable conclusion on a very difficult matter. It would not be denied that many of them did not see the necessity for so great a change, yet, having sacrificed their opinions, they had now to meet a question which sought, by a side wind, to change the constitution of the country. If the Government wished to arrive at a rapid settlement of the subject they should withdraw that change and fall back upon the old mode of voting, for the change had no connection with the Bill, and its introduction by the Government was an element of discord which might well have been avoided. He trusted that his right hon. Friend, who had throughout the progress of the measure shown such a conciliatory disposition, would again consider this question before pressing it to a Division.
said, he wished to see the Bill passed, and having on all occasions voted with the Vice President, he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had wantonly introduced this subject into the debate. It seemed to him that the Government did not altogether like the proposed Ballot, for they had resolved to suggest that the word "secret" should be omitted. He should like to hear from the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) whether the word "secret" was in the Parliamentary Elections Bill, and, if so, whether it was his intention to strike it out of that measure.
said, he fully appreciated the feelings of hon. Members opposite when they desired that the Ballot should not be made part of the law, still more fully did he understand the feelings of those who wished that there should be a complete Ballot, while he was most strongly opposed to that method of Ballot which was not to be secret. Treating the Ballot as a remedy for an evil, he would accept it or entirely discard it; for if he were sick and a physician sent him a potion he might take it, or he might refuse it, but he could not be right in taking only half of it. The Government asked the Committee to give powers to the Education Boards to employ not a secret Ballot, but one in which it might be disclosed how an elector had recorded his vote. It was against such a method that he protested, and it was admitted that the Committee could not now discuss this question. Hon. Members opposite might easily state their objections to the Ballot; but it was difficult to express opposition to a mode of semi-Ballot, because hon. Members might be unable to show how they wished to alter the law in order to render security unnecessary. He should be unwillingly compelled not to vote on the proposition now before the House, and therefore wished to justify that course.
said, he wished to inquire of the Chairman whether, if hon. Members were first asked to vote upon the words "that any poll shall be taken by a secret Ballot," the Government would afterwards be at liberty to propose to omit the word "secret?" That form seemed to him to be exceedingly inconvenient and clumsy, besides which he had a recollection that, when the Committee had once passed any proposition, those who had carried it were apt to say that the House had assented to a principle. He did not wish to hear that said when the right hon. Gentleman proposed to abstract the word "secret," thereby weakening the proposition; and he, therefore, asked whether, if the Committee assented to the proposition now before it, hon. Members would be considered to have pledged themselves on the subject of secret voting?
said, it was not for him to say what interpretation hon. Members should put upon the words of any proposition that was submitted to them. It was now proposed to omit the words "Provided, That any poll shall be taken by a secret Ballot," and the Question he should put was on the first word only. If the Committee negatived that word they would be held to have negatived all the subsequent ones, and to have assented to the Motion of the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope). On the other hand, if the Committee decided that the word "provided" should stand part of the proposed Amendment, they would not have precluded themselves from amending the subsequent words, and it would therefore be open to any hon. Member to propose the omission of the word "secret."
said, he was anxious that the Government should have one night of calm reflection on the subject now before the Committee in order to decide whether they would take half the potion or not. He, therefore, moved that the Chairman should report Progress.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Colonel Barttelot.)
said, he could hardly believe that the hon. and gallant Member was serious in his proposition. The Committee had now arrived at the only point which remained for discussion, and if the hon. and gallant Member thought that the Committee might arrive at a decision which was adverse to him, he would have an opportunity of challenging that decision at another stage of the Bill. The Government proposition, which had been before the House for six weeks, had been modified to-night, but modified in such a way as to bring it nearer to the views of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. Under the circumstances, and at this late period of the Session, he thought it would be the duty of the Committee to utterly resist all Motions intended to consume the remainder of the evening and waste valuable time; and he felt confident that, if the Motion was persevered in, the hon. and gallant Gentleman would fail in obtaining the support even of those among whom he sat.
said, he had also supposed that they were on the eve of passing an Education Bill which, on the whole, enlisted the respectful sympathies of both sides of the House. It was remarkable, however, that Her Majesty's Government had been able to excite passions at the last moment. This, he thought, was quite unnecessary. The right hon. Gentleman truly remarked that this plan had been before the Committee for a considerable time; but the right hon. Gentleman had omitted to mention that it had been greatly modified in some of its most important features, and for himself he was bound to say, in respect of the subject now before them, that it was a most unfortunate determination on the part of the Government to ask them to decide on a great principle of politics by a side wind, by remitting to a question which, of all others, widely enlisted the sympathies of all sections and parties in the country working for a common end, another subject upon which, no doubt, great controversy existed. But this measure of education had even to-night, as he had learned to his surprise—for he had thought it was pretty well safe and settled—received considerable changes and modifications; and, under the circumstances, he could not think the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Sussex (Colonel Barttelot) so ill-timed as the right hon. Gentleman appeared to imagine.
The Committee divided: — Ayes 136; Noes 244: Majority 108.
Question put, "That the word 'Provided' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 234; Noes 155: Majority 79.
|Acland, T. D.||Bentall, E. H.|
|Adam, W. P.||Bolckow, H. W. F.|
|Allen, W. S.||Bowmont, Marquess of|
|Anderson, G.||Bowring, E. A.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Brand, right hon. H.|
|Armitstead, G.||Brassey, H. A.|
|Ayrton, rt. hon. A. S.||Brassey, T.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Brewer, Dr.|
|Backhouse, E.||Bright, J. (Manchester)|
|Baines, E.||Brinckman, Captain|
|Baker, R. B. W.||Brogden, A.|
|Bass, A.||Brown, A. H.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Browne, G. E.|
|Bazley, Sir T.||Bruce, Lord C.|
|Beaumont, Captain F.||Bruce, right hon. H. A.|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Buxton, C.|
|Beaumont, S. A.||Campbell, H.|
|Candlish, J.||Herbert, hon. A. E. W.|
|Cardwell, right hon. E.||Hibbert, J. T.|
|Carnegie, hon. C.||Hoare, Sir H. A.|
|Carter, Mr. Alderman||Hodgkinson, G.|
|Cartwright, W. C.||Hodgson, K. D.|
|Castlerosse, Viscount||Holland, S.|
|Cave, T.||Holms, J.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Hornby, E. K.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Hoskyns, C. Wren-|
|Chadwick, D.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Cholmeley, Captain||Hughes, T.|
|Cholmeley, Sir M.||Hurst, R. H.|
|Clay, J.||Illingworth, A.|
|Coleridge, Sir J. D.||Jardine, R.|
|Collier, Sir R. P.||Johnston, A.|
|Cowen, J.||Kay-Shuttleworth, U. J.|
|Cowper, hon. H. F.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||Knatchbull-Hugessen, E. H.|
|Crawford, R. W.|
|Dalglish, R.||Lambert, N. G.|
|Dalrymple, D.||Lancaster, J.|
|Davies, R.||Lawrence, Sir J. C.|
|Dease, E.||Lawrence, W.|
|Dickinson, S. S.||Lawson, Sir W.|
|Digby, K. T.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Dixon, G.||Lewis, J. D.|
|Dodds, J.||Lewis, J. H.|
|Downing, M'C.||Lloyd, Sir T. D.|
|Dowse, R.||Locke, J.|
|Duff, M. E. G.||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Dundas, F.||Lubbock, Sir J.|
|Edwardes, hon. Col. W.||Lush, Dr.|
|Edwards, H.||Lusk, A.|
|Egerton, Capt. hon. F.||Lyttelton, hon. C. G.|
|Enfield, Viscount||M'Arthur, W.|
|Erskine, Admiral J. E.||M'Clure, T.|
|Esmonde, Sir J.||M'Combie, W.|
|Ewing, H. E. C.||Macfie, R. A.|
|Eykyn, R.||Mackintosh, E. W.|
|Fawcett, H.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Finnie, W.||M'Laren, D.|
|FitzGerald, right hon. Lord O. A.||M'Mahon, P.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord E.||Maguire, J. F.|
|Forster, C.||Marling, S. S.|
|Forster, rt. hon. W. E.||Mellor, T. W.|
|Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P.||Melly, G.|
|Fothergill, R.||Miall, E.|
|Fowler, W.||Miller, J.|
|Gavin, Major||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Monk, C. J.|
|Gladstone, W. H.||Monsell, rt. hon. W.|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.||Morgan, G. O.|
|Gower, hon. E. F. L.||Morley, S.|
|Gower, Lord R.||Morrison, W.|
|Graham, W.||Mundella, A. J.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Muntz, P. H.|
|Greville, hon. Captain||Murphy, N. D.|
|Grieve, J. J.||Nicol, J. D.|
|Grosvenor, hon. N.||Norwood, C. M.|
|Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.||O'Conor, D. M.|
|Grove, T. F.||Ogilvy, Sir J.|
|Hamilton, J. G. C.||O'Loghlen, rt. hon. Sir C. M.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Harcourt, W. G. G. V. V.||O'Reilly, M. W.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Otway, A. J.|
|Harris, J. D.||Palmer, J. H.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Parker, C. S.|
|Haviland-Burke, E.||Pease, J. W.|
|Hay, Lord J.||Peel, A. W.|
|Henderson, J.||Philips, R. N.|
|Pim, J.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|Platt, J.||Stapleton, J.|
|Playfair, L.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Plimsoll, S.||Strutt, hon. H.|
|Potter, E.||Stuart, Colonel|
|Potter, T. B.||Synan, E. J.|
|Power, J. T.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Price, W. P.||Tillett, J. H.|
|Rathbone, W.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Rebow, J. G.||Torrens, R. R.|
|Reed, C.||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|Richard, H.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-|
|Richards, E. M.|
|Robertson, D.||Trelawny, Sir J. S.|
|Roden, W. S.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Russell, A.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Russell, F. W.||Vivian, A. P.|
|Rylands, P.||Vivian, Capt. hon. J. C. W.|
|Salomons, Sir D.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Samuda, J. D'A.||Wedderburn, Sir D.|
|Samuelson, B.||White, J.|
|Samuelson, H. B.||Whitwell, J.|
|Sartoris, E. J.||Whitworth, T.|
|Seely, C. (Lincoln)||Williams, W.|
|Seely, C. (Nottingham)||Wingfield, Sir C.|
|Shaw, R.||Winterbotham, H. S. P.|
|Sheridan, H. B.||Young, A. W.|
|Sherlock, D.||Young, G.|
|Sherriff, A. C.|
|Simon, Mr. Serjeant||TELLERS.|
|Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.||Dilke, Sir C. W.|
|Smith, E.||Glyn, hon. G. G.|
|Allen, Major||Dowdeswell, W. E.|
|Amphlett, R. P.||Duncombe, hon. Col.|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Dyke, W. H.|
|Arkwright, R.||Dyott, Colonel R.|
|Barnett, H.||Eaton, H. W.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Egerton, Sir P. G.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Elliot, G.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Ennis, J. J.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Ewing, A. O.|
|Beresford, Lt.-Col. M.||Feilden, H. M.|
|Bingham, Lord||Fielden, J.|
|Birley, H.||Figgins, J.|
|Bourke, hon. R.||Floyer, J.|
|Bourne, Colonel||Forester, rt. hon. Gen.|
|Bright, R.||Fowler, R. N.|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Galway, Viscount|
|Brodrick, hon. W.||Gilpin, Colonel|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Goldney, G.|
|Cameron, D.||Gore, J. R. O.|
|Cartwright, F.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Cave, right hon. S.||Grant, Col. hon. J.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Graves, S. R.|
|Chaplin, H.||Gray, Lieut.-Colonel|
|Child, Sir S.||Greaves, E.|
|Collins, T.||Greene, E.|
|Colthurst, Sir G. C.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Corbett, Colonel||Guest, A. E.|
|Corrance, F. S.||Gurney, right hon. R.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. T. L.||Hambro, C.|
|Cowper-Temple, rt. hn W.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Crichton, Viscount||Hamilton, Lord G.|
|Cubitt, G.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Hardy, right hon. G.|
|Dimsdale, R.||Hardy, J.|
|Disraeli, right hon. B.||Hardy, J. S.|
|Hay, Sir J. C. D.||North, Colonel|
|Henley, rt. hon. J. W.||Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.|
|Herbert, rt. hon. Gen. Sir P.|
|Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Hervey, Lord A. H. C.||Palk, Sir L.|
|Hesketh, Sir T. G.||Parker, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Heygate, W. U.||Patten, rt. hon. Col. W.|
|Hick, J.||Pell, A.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Percy, Earl|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Phipps, C. P.|
|Holt, J. M.||Powell, W.|
|Hood, Captain hon. A. W. A. N.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Read, C. S.|
|Hutton, J.||Ridley, M. W.|
|Jenkinson, Sir G. S.||Round, J.|
|Jones, J.||Sackville, S. G. S.|
|Kekewich, S. T.||Sandon, Viscount|
|Kennaway, J. H.||Sclater-Booth, G.|
|Knight, F. W.||Scourfield, J. H.|
|Lacon, Sir E. H. K.||Seymour, H. de G.|
|Laird, J.||Smith, R.|
|Langton, W. G.||Smith, S. G.|
|Legh, W. J.||Smith, W. H.|
|Lennox, Lord G. G.||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Lennox, Lord H. G.||Starkie, J. P. C.|
|Liddell, hon. H. G.||Sykes, C.|
|Lindsay, hon. Colonel C.||Taylor, rt. hon. Colonel|
|Lindsay, Colonel R. L.||Tollemache, J.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Turner, C.|
|Lowther, J.||Turnor, E.|
|Lowther, W.||Vance, J.|
|Mahon, Viscount||Waterhouse, S.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Welby, W. E.|
|Meyrick, T.||Wethered, T. O.|
|Milles, hon. G. W.||Wheelhouse, W. S. J.|
|Mills, C. H.||Wilmot, H.|
|Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.||Wise, H. C.|
|Montgomery, Sir G. G.||Winn, R.|
|Morgan, C. O.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Morgan, hon. Major||Wynn, Sir W. W.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Cawley, C. E.|
|Noel, hon. G. J.||Hope, A. J. B. B.|
said, he should move the omission of the word "a" for the purpose of afterwards inserting the words "voting papers." He had voted with his right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster) night after night, and he could not express how deep was his regret that at the eleventh hour such an unfortunate element should have been introduced. He hoped that no person would be found imputing motives to those who felt themselves bound to take up a position of painful hostility to the measure. He could not support secret voting, as it was contrary to the system which had been the honour and glory of England.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "a," in order to insert the words "voting papers."—( Lord Claud Hamilton.)
said, the Government would agree with the noble Lord opposite in omitting the word "a," because for reasons which he had already stated, they proposed to omit the words "a secret." He must be allowed for the sake of his own position, and as having charge of the Bill, to state that while he did not in the slightest degree blame hon. Members opposite in voting against the Ballot, even though limited in its operation to one year, it was hardly fair upon him when they expressed surprise at his now proposing on the part of the Government the Amendment of which he had given Notice six weeks ago, and to which the Government were pledged to such an extent that he should almost have forfeited his personal honour if he had neglected to bring it forward. Seeing that the Committee was now much more full than than it had been at an earlier period of the evening he wished to state that the reason why he proposed to omit the words "a secret," was not because they did not intend to secure secretary, for they intended to secure such a Ballot as would give the fullest protection to the voters from intimidation, but because the hon. Baronet opposite had by a strange construction of the words discovered that they meant a Ballot which must be secret, rather than a Ballot which might be secret. They did not look forward to a sham Ballot, but one that would protect all who needed it in recording their votes. With regard to the particular Amendment under consideration, the Government agreed with the noble Lord's proposal to omit the word "a."
said, that having, in common with others on that side of the House, supported the Education Bill very cordially for some time, giving up many of their own predilections, and laying aside points of difference at some sacrifice of their own feelings, he felt that they had a just right to be greatly grieved on that occasion. He must entirely demur to the justice and wisdom of calling upon the Committee to decide, âpropos of the Education Bill, the great and important question of the Ballot. They were distinct questions, and the former should not have been brought before them in an indirect manner, for they were surprised to a certain extent into that debate. Greatly as he approved of the Education Bill, he yet thought it was so important not to have matters of this weight and character treated incidentally, as had been done in this instance, that he should feel justified in raising any opposition in his power to the progress of the Bill, on account of entirely extraneous matter having been introduced into it.
said, he fully agreed with the views just expressed by his noble Friend. This was not so much a question of the Ballot as of the confusion into which the Bill had been thrown. The Vice President of the Council had been obliged to leave a most despotic power in the hands of the Privy Council. The Committee ought to have time given it for further consideration of the question.
said, on a question of this importance, it was of all things necessary that the Committee should have a clear understanding as to what they were about to vote upon. He therefore called upon the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council to explain to the Committee in a more detailed and distinct manner than he had done what he meant by a Ballot which was not to be secret. He also wished, before he recorded his vote, to have explained to him what possible advantage the Government could expect from a system of Ballot which was not secret. The Ballot was looked upon as a remedy for intimidation, undue influence, and corruption; but how was the desired object to be secured if secretary were not preserved? By leaving out the words "a secret" the right hon. Gentleman certainly laid himself open to the charge that he had repudiated; that the Ballot proposed would be a sham. He could not support the Government in this matter, unless he were assured that the proposed form of Ballot would protect the voters from intimidation, undue influence, and corruption.
, who rose amid cries of "Divide," said, he did not think he could be accused of having trespassed unduly upon the time of the Committee or of the House. He entirely concurred with the observations of the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon). His opinion was that the Government had thrown great obstacles in the way of the passing of the measure by their attempt to introduce a principle into voting, which he believed would never receive the sanction of the people of this country.
Question put, "That the word 'a' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 157; Noes 228: Majority 71.
|Allen, Major||Grant, Colonel hon. J.|
|Amphlett, R. P.||Graves, S. R.|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Gray, Lieut.-Colonel|
|Arkwright, R.||Greene, E.|
|Ball, J. T.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Barnett, H.||Guest, A. E.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Gurney, right hon. R.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Hambro, C.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Hamilton, Lord G.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Hardy, right hon. G.|
|Beresford, Lt.-Col. M.||Hardy, J.|
|Bingham, Lord||Hardy, J. S.|
|Birley, H.||Hay, Sir J. C. D.|
|Bourke, hon. R.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Bourne, Colonel||Herbert, rt. hn. Gen. Sir P.|
|Bright, R.||Hermon, E.|
|Brise, Colonel R.||Hervey, Lord A. H. C.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Heygate, W. U.|
|Brodrick, hon. W.||Hick, J.|
|Brooks, W. C.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. Lord E.||Hodgson, W. N.|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Holt, J. M.|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Hood, Captain hon. A. W. A. N.|
|Cameron, D.||Hope, A. J. B. B.|
|Cartwright, F.||Hutton, J.|
|Cave, right hon. S.||Jenkinson, Sir G. S.|
|Cawley, C. E.||Jones, J.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Knight, F. W.|
|Chaplin, H.||Lacon, Sir E. H. K.|
|Child, Sir S.||Laird, J.|
|Collins, T.||Langton, W. G.|
|Colthurst, Sir G. C.||Legh, W. J.|
|Corbett, Colonel||Lennox, Lord G. G.|
|Corrance, F. S.||Lennox, Lord H. G.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. T. L.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Crichton, Viscount||Lindsay, Col. R. L.|
|Cubitt, G.||Lopes, Sir M.|
|Denison, C. B.||Lowther, J.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Lowther, W.|
|Dimsdale, R.||Mahon, Viscount|
|Disraeli, right hon. B.||Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.|
|Dowdeswell, W. E.||Meyrick, T.|
|Duncombe, hon. Col.||Milles, hon. G. W.|
|Dyke, W. H.||Mills, C. H.|
|Dyott, Colonel R.||Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.|
|Eaton, H. W.||Montgomery, Sir G. G.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||Morgan, C. O.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Morgan, hon. Major|
|Elliot, G.||Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.||Neville-Grenville, R.|
|Feilden, H. M.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Fielden, J.||North, Colonel|
|Figgins, J.||Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.|
|Forester, rt. hon. Gen.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Fowler, R. N.||Palk, Sir L.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Parker, Lt.-Colonel W.|
|Galway, Viscount||Patten, rt. hon. Col. W.|
|Gilpin, Colonel||Pell, A.|
|Goldney, G.||Percy, Earl|
|Gordon, E. S.||Phipps, C. P.|
|Gore, J. R. O.||Powell, W.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Read, C. S.||Tollemache, J.|
|Ridley, M. W.||Turner, C.|
|Round, J.||Turnor, E.|
|Sackville, S. G. S.||Vance, J.|
|Sandon, Viscount||Waterhouse, S.|
|Sclater-Booth, G.||Welby, W. E.|
|Scourfield, J. H.||Wethered, T. O.|
|Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.||Wheelhouse, W. S. J.|
|Seymour, H. de G.||Wise, H. C.|
|Smith, R.||Winn, R.|
|Smith, S. G.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Stone, W. H.||Wynn, Sir W. W.|
|Stanley, hon. F.|
|Starkie, J. P. C.||TELLERS.|
|Sykes, C.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Taylor, rt. hon. Colonel||Lindsay, hon. Colonel C.|
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "secret."—( Mr. William Edward Forster.)
said, it was proposed to amend the proposed Amendment by omitting the word "secret" before "Ballot."
asked what was meant by that Amendment. He understood that the Ballot was intended to protect the voter from the consequences of his vote, and how could it do that unless it was secret?
said, he wished to utter a word as to the term "secret." His hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. R. Torrens) was mistaken if he supposed that by omitting the word "secret" the Government meant to say that the Ballot could not be kept secret. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council had explained several times that evening that the word "secret" was capable of bearing, and in the opinion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) it did bear, the interpretation of limiting the Ballot which was suggested under that clause to a Ballot which was absolutely secret. For himself, he had stated, in bringing in the Bill on Parliamentary Elections, that there were different kinds of Ballot, differing in the degree of secretary attached to them. It would be very easy to adopt a mode of voting that would secure absolute secretary, so that whatever might have been the malpractices connected with an election, it could not be discovered in favour of which candidate the fictitious votes had been given. The Ballot which the Government had proposed for Parliamentary elections was one of a totally different character, and admitted of a scrutiny being applied as easily as in the case of an open system of voting. That was the kind of Ballot which the Government would prefer, and they did not wish by any words in that Bill to pledge the House upon so little discussion as it was possible to give the matter that evening to the adoption, even for that limited purpose, of any particular mode of Ballot. Therefore, they now proposed to omit the word "secret;" and, although it appeared to be now to the House, it did not at all follow from the omission of that word that the Ballot should not be secret.
asked the noble Marquess whether the Ballot was to be open?
Question put, "That the word 'secret' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 47; Noes 288: Majority 241.
|Allen, W. S.||Morgan, G. O.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Ogilvy, Sir J.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Palk, Sir L.|
|Beaumont, S. A.||Plimsoll, S.|
|Brewer, Dr.||Richard, H.|
|Campbell, H.||Samuelson, H. B.|
|Carnegie, hon. C.||Sherriff, A. C.|
|Cave, T.||Simon, Mr. Serjeant|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||Smith, E.|
|Dilke, Sir C. W.||Stuart, Colonel|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Dixon, G.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Downing, M'C.||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|Edwards, H.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Eykyn, R.||Wedderburn, Sir D.|
|Fawcett, H.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Fothergill, R.||White, J.|
|Gavin, Major||Whitworth, T.|
|Grove, T. F.||Williams, W.|
|Hoare, Sir H. A.||Winterbotham, H. S. P.|
|Hurst, R. H.||Young, A. W.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Macfie, R. A.||James, H.|
|Mellor, T. W.||Torrens, R.|
|Monk, C. J.|
said, this was not the period of the night, nor was this the time, for introducing the question of the Ballot. He would, therefore, move to report Progress.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Sir James Elphinstone.)
reminded the hon. Gentleman that they had not only discussed during nearly the whole evening the question of the Ballot, but they had voted upon it by decided majorities; and as the question was now disposed of, he was not aware that any other Motion would arise. He hoped, therefore, the hon. Baronet would not persist.
said, he rose at the same time as the hon. Baronet (Sir Charles Dilke) for the purpose of moving an Amendment, which would really raise the question. The Committee had just eliminated secresy from the Ballot. They had now only to go one step further and eliminate Ballot from the voting. The words by which he proposed to do that was by moving to omit the word "Ballot" for the purpose of inserting "the method now in force for the election of guardians of the poor."
I rise to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister, to consider the position in which the Committee is placed with regard to the proposition before it. In dealing with the education question we had to deal with one of the most difficult of questions—more difficult I believe than the Irish Land Bill, or even the Reform Bill, for all the religious prejudices of every section in the country were enlisted in the discussion. I cannot help feeling that these difficulties were quite enough for even the most ambitious Minister to contend with, and considering the mode in which the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman have been received by the House—that on all sides we have endeavoured to remove obstacles and to facilitate the progress of the Bill, I regret that the right hon. Gentleman should have felt it his duty to introduce another element of difficulty, that one of the most disputed points of controversy of the present day should be brought in at the fag-end of the measure, and that there should be the appearance—I hope it is only the appearance—of obtaining the opinion of Parliament upon it in a manner so objectionable. Acquitting the right hon. Gentleman of any intention of that kind, which, I am sure, is foreign to his nature, we find ourselves in this position—We encountered difficulties with regard to the education question which at one moment appeared insurmountable, and when a successful conclusion appears at hand, owing not merely to the ability of the Government in the conduct of the measure, but also to the excellent temper and discretion of the House on both sides, this new difficulty, which I think very much to be regretted, has been brought before us. The right hon. Gentleman must see that his proposition does not please a majority of the House, and the late Division showed that there is a considerable section of his constant supporters who do not approve it. I think, therefore, that in deference to a feeling which cannot be mistaken; considering the critical state of foreign affairs; and, considering also the state of Public Business, and the great desirability that we should now proceed in a manner to show the unanimity of Parliament—the right hon. Gentleman might, with perfect dignity and in a temper becoming a powerful Minister, refrain from pressing farther a proposition—which, as I may remind the Committee, was not contained in the original measure—which is an unhappy innovation, and which has produced an unfortunate discord at a time when I with many others believed that a considerable measure of national elementary education was, so far as this House is concerned, about to be brought to a conclusion. Again—though it is not a class of considerations upon which I care to dwell, a Cabinet Minister must recollect the spirit in which this measure will be discussed in "another place." When, therefore, we have to offend many prejudices in this House, and have no doubt many difficulties to encounter, and, as I hope, to surmount in "another place," why introduce into a House almost unanimous upon the general question a matter of political controversy, which has already led to much discord, and which may prepare for us difficulties in "another place" at a period of the Session when it is most desirable that all elements of difference between the two Houses should cease. Sir, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will find it consistent with his duty not to press this question, but allow the elections to be conducted as originally proposed, and, as is usual among the ratepayers, by voting papers or more open voting. Let us have the usual custom of the country, that which was contemplated by the Government in their original Bill, and which, under all the circumstances of the case, will meet, more generally than the one proposed, the views and wishes of Parliament.
I acknowledge the mildness of the language in which the right hon. Gentleman has made his demand upon the Government, and if I am unable to accede to the demand I trust I shall have no occasion to say anything which will make a refusal more disagreeable than it must be from its own nature. The case stands thus—During case the discussions on this Bill this is not the first occasion upon which we have had to encounter great difficulties and to give serious offence. When these occasions have arisen we have never been troubled and hindered in our course by any of those more selfish considerations relating to the dignity of the Government which it may be sometimes, unfortunately, necessary to take into view. We have found it unnecessary to fall back upon any considerations of that kind, and we have simply asked what was our duty with regard to the great public interests involved. Upon each of these occasions what we have endeavoured to do has been this—We have striven to reduce to a minimum the cause which was in dispute between ourselves and those who differ from us. That is the manner in which we endeavoured to meet the debates on the second reading and the Amendments subsequently introduced into the Bill. It is not in our power now, or on former occasions, alto-together to remove those causes of difference. We have had to encounter from many valued Friends objections to the course we felt it our duty to adopt similar to those now made by opponents, who, as I fully own, by their conduct on this question have merited every consideration at our hands. But the position we now occupy is precisely that in which we have stood before, only with reference to different persons. We have shown our disposition to meet the views of hon. Members opposite, by reducing to the character of a provisional and temporary regulation the adoption of the principle which we propose to introduce into the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman says we have encumbered the measure with a great political difficulty. I venture to question the justice of that criticism; because the principle of secret voting, with reference to local elections for particular purposes, is a principle which already has its place upon the statute book, and formed no political difficulty when thus enacted. I admit that you may now raise further debates upon the precise terms in which it is proposed to frame this portion of the Bill; but I think I am fully justified in saying that, so far as regards the simple recognition of the principle of secret voting for elections of a local character, it is not true that we have encumbered the Bill with a political difficulty, at least with one which can be reckoned a political innovation. If, then, we are unable to accede to the demand of the right hon. Gentleman, we have not been in the least unwilling that there should have been a full discussion of the question. We shall make no complaint if the discussion is renewed hereafter; but we can only now take the course we have taken during the progress of the Bill—reduce the range of controversy within the narrowest limits, and abide in the last resort by what our public duty seems to demand.
The Committee divided:—Ayes 114; Noes 210: Majority 96.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "ballot," in order to insert the words "the method now in force for the election of guardians of the poor."—( Lord John Manners.)
said, he thought this was substantially the question on which they had already divided when they divided on the Motion with reference to voting papers. He merely wished to recall the fact to the attention of the noble Lord, who could not wish to divide the Committee twice on the same question.
Question put, "That the word 'ballot' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 196; Noes 127: Majority 69.
made an appeal to the Prime Minister, as a steady supporter of his Bill, to support the Amendment he was about to move—that after the word "Ballot" those words should be added—"But the votes given shall be open to the inspection of any ratepayer." As the word secret was given up, there could be no objection to his Amendment.
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, after the word "ballot" to add the words "but the votes given shall be open to the inspection of any ratepayer."—( Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson.)
observed, that the Act of Will, IV., to which the Prime Minister referred, imposed no obligation on the inspectors of the voting papers to make any secret of them after they were delivered.
appealed to the Opposition to accept the proposal in favour of the Ballot as un fait accompli, and to allow the Bill to go to "another place," where they might hope that it would, be deprived of the objectionable feature they so much disliked.
said, that it was now proposed to convert the word "Ballot" into a mockery. With regard to what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Sclater-Booth) he had to say that by the Act of 1831 the inspectors were forbidden to open the voting papers when delivered, which was the only time when they could be identified with the voter.
asked, whether the Vice President could name any parish where the Act of Will. IV. had been put in operation?
said, that they were placing in the hands of the Education Department, by the provision under which a scrutiny was to be made, the extraordinary power to cancel any election.
said, he was not aware of any parish where the Act of Will. IV. had been put in operation; but a subsequent compulsory Act of the 18 & 19 Vict. applied to the whole of the metropolis, and it was probably in the metropolis alone that this election would occur. There was no power given to the inspectors to identify the vote with the voter after the vote was given. It was said that extraordinary powers were now asked for; but the Government only took powers for one year, and not for the purpose of prejudging the Ballot question, but because they were obliged not to let the wheels of the system stop during that year.
said, he hoped, if this Amendment was not carried, another would be moved to make the Ballot permissive.
Question put, "That those words be there added."
The Committee divided: — Ayes 98; Noes 187: Majority 89.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Mr. Arthur Guest.)
The Committee divided:—Ayes 90; Noes 178: Majority 88.
said, he had not until this evening given a vote, because he thought the Bill contained principles which ought not to be extended to Ireland next year. He could, however, no longer restrain himself. He had heard that there was a good deal more business on the Paper, and as he understood that the Dublin City Voters Disfranchisement Bill was to be brought on about 3 o'clock, he thought it would be better that the House should now adjourn. He moved, in conclusion, that the Chairman do now leave the Chair.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."—( Mr. Vance.)
regretted the decision to which Her Majesty's Government had come to mix up the Ballot with the question of education. Still, hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House had fully expressed their opinion on the subject, and he hoped the Bill would now be allowed to proceed. If the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. Vance) pressed his Motion to a Division he should be compelled to vote against it.
said, he hoped the Government would abandon their intention of incorporating the principle of vote by Ballot in the Bill.
said, he thought the Government might compromise the matter by confining the Ballot to the metropolis.
said, he was opposed to treating the metropolis in an exceptional manner.
The Committee divided:—Ayes 82; Noes 171: Majority 89.
suggested that the Ballot should be taken in accordance with the provisions of 18 & 19 Vict. c. 120, the Metropolitan Government Act.
moved to amend the proposed Amendment by inserting the words "in any district in which the ratepayers shall so determine."
Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, to add, after the word "ballot," the words "in any district in which the ratepayers shall so determine."—( Mr. Cawley.)
Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
said, he had already stated that the intention of Government was to introduce the principle of secret voting into the election of local Boards, and he could not accept the proposal of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Cawley). This was the first time since the accession of the present Government to Office that the majority of the House had had to maintain a conflict with a minority. He had before this given way after one Division; but there were cases in which the Public Business was of such importance as made it the duty of the majority to assort its just rights. He was not going to dictate to the House; but his opinion personally was that the present was a case in which the majority should persist, leaving the question of which side was right and which wrong to the intelligent judgment of the country.
said, he was of opinion that the country, when it read to-morrow what had occurred in the House this evening, would unanimously condemn the conduct of Government. If the Bill should be defeated, on the Government would rest the responsibility.
suggested that the Ballot be taken according to the provisions of the Vestries Act.
said, he was perfectly willing to give an unprejudiced consideration to the suggestion of the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert), and would be prepared to discuss it on bringing up the Report to-morrow.
said, he thought the House ought to close with the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. His side of the House had made sufficient protest against the Ballot, and they ought now to look to the passing of the Bill.
moved that the Chairman report Progress.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Mr. James Lowther.)
said, he thought it was not creditable to the House to keep the Prime Minister in such a position. He would suggest, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman should follow the example of the Leaders of the Opposition, and leave his supporters to fight the battle.
said, he could not reconsider the principle of Ballot; but he would promise a careful consideration for any other proposal.
The Committee divided: — Ayes 64; Noes 161: Majority 97.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."—( Mr. Hugh Seymour.)
The Committee divided: — Ayes 56; Noes 161: Majority 105.
Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Mr. F. W. Cartwright.)
The Committee divided: — Ayes 59; Noes 160: Majority 101.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."—( Mr. Cubitt.)
The Committee divided: — Ayes 30; Noes 148: Majority 118.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—( Sir Percy Burrell.)
The Committee divided:—Ayes 19; Noes 144: Majority 125.
Bill, as amended, to be reported.
The Clerk Assistant informed the House, that Mr. Speaker was unable to resume the Chair during the present sitting of the House.
Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.
Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Tuesday next, at Two of the clock, and to be printed. [Bill 218.]