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Consideration

Volume 203: debated on Tuesday 19 July 1870

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Bill, as amended, considered.

rose to move a now clause. He explained that there were many parishes large enough to maintain one good school but not to maintain two; that in most of them the Church of England school was the largest and best; that conditions imposed by deed upon the managers drove the minority of Dissenters to set up a rival school; and that it was desirable to enable the managers to got rid of these conditions, and so concentrate the pecuniary resources of the place, economize teaching power, and improve the character of the education for all the children. With this object he moved to insert, after Clause 22, the following clause:—

(Alteration of regulations affecting managers, &c.)
"The managers of a public elementary school may, with the sanction of the Education Department, and with the consent of all parties whose consent may be required by the Education Department, alter any regulations to which the management of such school may be subject, attaching any special qualification or disqualification to the office of a manager or teacher of such school, or giving any person not being a teacher any special superintendence or authority in the management or teaching of such school."

Clause brought up, and read the first time.

said, he would like to know what the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President thought of this clause? To him it seemed to be altogether unnecessary, regard being had to the provision contained in the 22nd clause.

said, he could not say that the clause was necessary; but neither did he think it would be injurious. It seemed to him that the 22nd clause, taken in connection with the 24th clause, was sufficient for the purpose. At the same time, he saw no objection to the clause.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 86; Noes 53: Majority 33.

Clause read a second time, and added.

rose to move the following clause:—

(Exemption from rating.)
"In any case where a Public Elementary School exists at the time of the passing of this Act, in any duly constituted ecclesiastical district, and where such school fulfils all the conditions required by this Act as to management and efficiency, and is sufficient for the wants of the district, and where such school has been built and maintained, and continues to be maintained by private and voluntary funds (except the amount derived from the children's pence, and the Government Grant in aid), the person or persons who thus maintain such school in an efficient state by such voluntary funds, shall not be liable to be rated in respect of any land or property within such district to the support of any other school in any other part of the same parish."
He was anxious to make one more appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the vice President of the Council to mitigate the stringency of the power of rating by the adoption of the principle of this clause. If his right hon. Friend would give this subject his full consideration, he would see the clause would not injure the object of the Bill, but would render it more efficient. If it were rejected, the effect would be that a vast number of the voluntary schools now in the kingdom would be extinguished. He would put a case—which he knew to be no imaginary one—of a parish which was divided into three parts, and each of the outlying districts had provided for itself a new church and school. These schools fulfilled all the requirements of this Bill; they were for the education of the children in their district, and were in no sense private schools. What he proposed was that these outlying districts, being thus provided with schools in the full moaning of the Act, should not be called upon to pay the rate necessary for the central part of the parish, in which case they would be called upon to pay the school rates twice over. In that case he was afraid the parties who had hitherto supported the schools in the separated ecclesiastical districts would withdraw their subscriptions and leave those schools to be supported by the rates, when they would have loss to pay than they now did in subscriptions.

Clause brought up, and read the first time.

said, he hoped the hon. Baronet would excuse him if he declined to enter at any length again into the argument why he could not accept this clause. It had been debated over and over again, and they could not renew the argument on its present stage. The question of dividing parishes had been debated, and it had been decided that in this matter of education it was impossible to depart from the ordinary definition of parishes. The question of exempting the subscribers to voluntary schools had been discussed on the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Charles Adderley), and it was found that there was an almost unanimous feeling of the Committee against it. According to the hon. Baronet's proposal a man might escape the rate altogether by giving a mere nominal subscription to a voluntary school.

said, if these subscribers to the voluntary schools were to be exempted from the rates, then the schools would practically become rate-aided schools.

said, that it was unjust to make the subscribers to a voluntary school liable for the rates as well. It had been said that private charity did not exempt a man from the poor rates; but he might remark that poor rates had a tendency to dry up the sources of private charity; and he was satisfied that the tendency of this Bill, as it stood, was to convert all the voluntary schools of the country into rate-aided schools.

said, he thought the operation of this Bill would be the reverse of drying up the streams of private charity. He believed that the power of control which the managers of voluntary schools had over them would always induce wealthy and benevolent persons to support them.

said, he hoped his hon. Friend would press this clause to a Division. He believed that if some such provision as the clause pointed to were not made, the voluntary schools in the kingdom would soon be dried up. As to the statement that this clause would allow those who gave a mere nominal subscription to be exempted from the rates, he did not think that would follow from the clause, which was drawn up in a very stringent manner.

said, that if the district was already provided with the means of education there would be no need for a rate.

explained that his clause referred to a divided parish, where one division had done its duty and the other had not; and the object of his clause was that the division which had done its duty should not be called on to contribute for the division which had not.

supported the clause. Suppose the not very uncommon case of a parish containing two outlying townships, with an agricultural district between the two towns, which had little in common between them except the accident of being included in the same parish—in such a case they ought to be treated separately.

said, he hoped the Government would not consent to the clause. They had heard much of the benevolence and charity of the subscribers to the voluntary schools, and he, for one, was willing to believe in that charity; but it would appear, from the arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite, that that charity was only a pretext to escape the rates.

said, the hon. Gentleman did not understand the clause. It had nothing to do with individual subscriptions. What the clause provided for was this—that where a district was, or was declared by the School Commissioners to be, sufficiently provided with education, that district should not be called to help another district that had not done its duty, simply from the fact that both were included in one parish.

reminded the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council that this was the very difficulty that used to occur in church, rates. It was the constant complaint of an outlying district that when they had provided a church for themselves they were still called upon to provide church rates for the mother church. The same injustice, substituting a school rate for a church rate, was about to be perpetrated under this Bill.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 70; Noes 120: Majority 50.

moved, in Clause 8, page 4, at end of clause, add—

"Provided there shall be in every district one such school which is conducted in accordance with the regulations contained in the 1st and 2nd subsections of Clause 7 of this Act."
The effect would be that if there was one school only in a district it would not come under the operation of the Bill.

Amendment proposed,

In page 4, line 5, after the word "district," to insert the words "Provided there shall be in every district one such school which is conducted in accordance with the regulations contained in the 1st and 2nd sub-sections of Clause 7 of this Act."—(Mr. M'Arthur.)

observed, that the proposal had already been fully discussed. No school would receive any Parliamentary Grant which did not accept the conditions of the 7th clause in reference to the Conscience Clause. The penalty on such a school would be that it would receive no public money, and they might rely on it that there would be very few such schools.

said, there might be but one school in the parish, and that without a Conscience Clause, and he asked where was the justice of requiring the children of Dissenters to attend that school or no school at all? He wanted some security that there should be a public elementary school in every district, with a Conscience Clause.

asked if a child could be compelled to attend a non-efficient school?

replied, that no child could be compelled to attend any but a public elementary school. The responsibility would be on the Education Department to refuse aid to an unsuitable school.

said, he hoped the Government would not accept the Amendment. By doing so they would be practically ignoring 5,000 or 6,000 schools now giving a sound education to the poor children of the country, and which had been so long engaged in that excellent work.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 66; Noes 168: Majority 102.

moved, in Clause 11, line 8, after "board," insert "or with respect to any borough by the Council." As the clause now stood the parties to put the Act in motion by applying to the Education Department were the ratepayers, who were to select the school Board. He proposed that it should be left as it stood originally in the Bill, and that in any borough the Town Council should have power to put the Act in motion.

said, he was quite willing to accept the Amendment as an alternative. It was very desirable to leave the initiative in the hands of the parishioners, and it might be beneficial to give the initiative also to the Town Council in boroughs.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

moved, in Clause 14, page 6, line 4, after "regulations," insert—

"Provided always, That no person whatever except the school teacher shall give religious instruction in the school, and that no clergyman or minister of any religious denomination or member of any religious order shall be eligible to be appointed a school teacher."
The great object of the Bill, as he understood it, was to give unsectarian education in rate-aided schools; but it would be impossible to give that education if those who were in Holy Orders or the ministers of various denominations were allowed to take their rank as teachers in these schools.

Amendment proposed,

In page 6, line 4, after the word "regulations," to insert the words "Provided always, That no person whatever except the school teacher shall give religious instruction in the school, and that no clergyman or minister of any religious denomination or member of any religious order shall be eligible to be appointed a school teacher."—(Mr. M'Arthur.)

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

said, he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not press his Amendment. It related to a point which the Department would have to consider; but if this Amendment were inserted in an Act of Parliament, it might lead to a great deal of inconvenience. The first part of the Amendment must be left to the discretion of the school Boards; and as to the second part it was very difficult indeed to define what was a minister, for Wesleyan local preachers and members of the Society of Friends, who followed secular occupations and also addressed their co-religionists on the Sabbath, might be said to be ministers, and yet could hardly be considered unfit to act as school teachers.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

moved, in Clause 16, line 29, to leave out—

"And every act or omission of any member of the school Board, or manager appointed by them, or any person under the control of the Board, shall be deemed to be permitted by the Board,"
in line 32, inclusive. This would be a final clause, and if the principle contained in these words were admitted into our legislation we should sap the foundations of every Board and Council acting in the nature of a corporate body. Without these words the clause gave absolute power to the Education Department to decide on any question as to whether a school Board had or had not complied with its regulations. If these words remained the school Board would be at the absolute mercy of any manager, teacher, or single member of the Board who chose of his own free will to violate the rules laid down by the Education Department. If the rules were broken by any such person, even against the wishes of the school Board, that Board would be held to be in default, and could be ousted from their place.

Amendment proposed, in page 6, line 29, to leave out from the word "and" to the word "board," in line 32, both inclusive.—( Mr. Cawley.)

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

said, he was informed that the retention of the words referred to was absolutely necessary in order to work the clause. The school Board must be held to be responsible for the acts of their servants; if not, it would be very easy for any school Board to defeat the clause altogether.

said, the clause as it stood went further than merely to make the school Board responsible for the acts of its servants. It made the whole Board responsible for the acts of every single member.

said, this curious state of things might result if the clause remained in its present shape: if a manager did anything in absolute contradiction of the orders and will of the school Board, that Board would be held to have sanctioned and approved it. How, then, could a school Board dismiss a manager for doing that which an Act of Parliament declared they had sanctioned?

said, there was no option in the matter. The word "shall" made the clause imperative, and not optional.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

moved, in Clause 20, page 8, lines 4 and 5, to leave out "in the month of November." As the clause stood no proceedings could be taken under the Act to acquire land compulsorily, except in the month of November. The adoption of his Amendment would enable the preliminary steps to be taken in such a case at any time.

Amendment agreed to.

moved, in Clause 22, page 11, to leave out lines 13, 14, and 15. The objection to the clause was that as it stood it was in the power of the managers of a school to transfer the school to the school Board without the sanction of the trustees in whom the school might be vested. In the great majority of cases the school managers had merely been created by the Revised Code for the purposes of the annual grant, and it was not reasonable to give them the power of overriding the trustees.

Amendment proposed, in page 11, line 13, to leave out from the word "The" to the word "Section," in line 15, both inclusive.—( Mr. Cawley.)

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

said, it would be difficult to work the clause without the retention of the words which were proposed to be left out. He would, however, endeavour to meet the views of the hon. Gentleman in another way by inserting the words—"after the expiration of six months."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment, as amended, agreed, to.

moved to leave out all the words from line 29 to line 34 inclusive, on the ground that they gave to the managers of a voluntary school—whether the legal interest in the school-house or endowment was vested in them or in some person as trustee for them or the school—absolute power to convey to the school Board all such interest in the school-house or endowment as was vested in them or in the trustee. He greatly objected to giving such a power to an undefined body of managers, who might be here to-day and away to-morrow.

Amendment proposed, in page 11, line 29, to leave out from the word "when" to the word "arrangement," in line 34, both inclusive.—( Mr. Cawley.)

said, he regretted he could not agree to the proposal of the hon. Member. If the words were omitted, great obstacles might be thrown in the way of the transfer of the schools; and for all practical purposes he believed that sufficient safeguards had been provided, so as to obviate the evil against which it was sought to guard.

said, the regulations of the Revised Code restricted the choice of managers to a very narrow area, and it was not therefore advisable to give them so much power.

said, the section they were discussing merely supplied the machinery.

said, that in settling the previous clauses, they had conceded the point between his hon. Friend and the Government.

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

moved, in Clause 23, line 4, after "same," to insert—"and to pay fees for teaching blind children to read in such schools," the object being the admission of blind children to schools for a special kind of instruction, and the application of a portion of the rates for that purpose. The practice was adopted in Scotland, where the usual payment was £5 a year, and the blind children had, it was found, been much benefited morally by mixing with other children of their own ago who were not similarly afflicted.

Amendment proposed, in page 12, line 4, after the word "same," to insert the words "and to pay fees for teaching blind children to read in such schools."—( Mr. M'Laren.)

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

supported the Motion, and was anxious to bear his testimony in favour of it. He would suggest that, if possible, the same thing should be done for the deaf and dumb. It had, indeed, been stated that deaf and dumb children could not be taught to read in these schools. But there were signs which might be used by teachers, not themselves specially qualified, as teachers of the deaf and dumb.

advised his hon. Friend (Mr. M'Laren) for the sake of his own clients not to press the Motion. The Bill provided elementary education for all children, which would include the blind and the deaf and dumb. There might be cases where it would be beneficial to the blind to mingle with other children, but there might be cases where it would be disadvantageous; for, if there happened to be a large number of blind children, it would be better to send them to a separate school. If the words were inserted, instead of widening, they would narrow the application of other parts of the Bill, and thus do injury to the interests of the very persons it was the object of his hon. Friend to serve. He trusted, therefore, the Amendment would not be passed.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

moved the insertion of words in Clause 26, which would give "any prison authority in England and Wales" the same power as the clause gave the school Boards of establishing, with the consent of the Education Department, certified industrial schools. In his own county the magistrates found it impossible to carry out the Industrial Schools Acts, because they had not the power of founding schools.

Amendment proposed, in page 12, line 22, after the word "board," to insert the words "or any prison authority in England or Wales."—( Mr. John Talbot.)

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

deprecated dealing with any defects in the Industrial Schools Acts, by means of altering a section of the Bill then before the House, especially as those Acts would be taken into consideration by the Government generally, and especially by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Bruce).

said, it would be very satisfactory if the Home Secretary would promise to do something to remedy what had been the great defects of these Acts — namely, that they did not give the power of founding schools.

said, the Industrial Schools Acts depended for their success on the voluntary machinery which was put in operation. The question was, however, one well worthy of consideration.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

moved, in Clause 27, page 12, line 35, leave out all after "Act," and insert—

  • "1. In boroughs of one hundred thousand inhabitants and upwards by the council, provided that not less than one-third of the number to be elected shall be elected from persons who, at the time of the election, are not members of such council;
  • "2. In all other boroughs by persons whose names are on the burgess roll of such borough for the time being in force;
  • "3. And in a parish not situate in the Metropolis by the ratepayers;—
  • "4. Provided that the School Boards in the Metropolis shall be elected by the parishioners of the parishes therein in manner provided by this Act."
  • The hon. Member observed that the Bill, as it originally stood, gave power to the Town Council in boroughs to elect school Boards. Objection was taken to that by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke); and, although it was rejected on a Division, the Government afterwards adopted it. He believed that the principal objection to vesting in Town Councillors the right of electing the school Boards lay in the fact that. Town Councillors, as a rule, were unpopular. A strong prejudice existed against them; and this prejudice was chiefly cherished by men who kept themselves aloof from municipal politics and refused to enter the Town Councils. His opinion, however, was, if the office of Town Councillor were made more honourable, and if the Legislature gave him higher functions to discharge, those men who now kept apart from municipalities would gladly offer to become members of such bodies. He contended that, as a rule, Town Councils honestly and efficiently discharged the elective duties which Parliament had devolved upon them; and his firm conviction was that if Town Councils were, in this instance, allowed to elect the school Boards, much better representatives would be obtained than if the elections were left in the hands of ratepayers.

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 12, line 35, to leave out all the words from the word "Act," to the end of the Clause, in order to insert the words,—
  • "1. In boroughs of one hundred thousand inhabitants and upwards by the council, provided that not less than one-third of the number to be elected shall be elected from persons who, at the time of the election, are not members of such council;
  • "2. In all other boroughs by persons whose names are on the burgess roll of such borough for the time being in force;
  • "3. And in a parish not situate in the Metropolis by the ratepayers;
  • "4. Provided that the School Boards in the Metropolis shall be elected by the parishioners of the parishes therein in manner provided by this Act,"
  • —(Mr. Dixon,)

    —instead thereof.

    Question proposed, "That the words 'in a borough' stand part of the Bill."

    trusted the Government would yet retrace their steps upon this point while there was still time, and withdraw a concession which might be injurious and possibly fatal to the working of the Bill.

    said, he had no wish to check discussion on this subject; but he would remind the House that it had already been very considerably debated. He admitted that this was one of the most important questions which had come under their notice, and one that was very difficult to deal with. He said that the Government had taken the stop they had been induced to take with very great reluctance. They had full confidence in the integrity and ability of the Town Councils; but the conviction had been forced upon them that in framing an Education Bill they ought to stick either to one principle or the other, and not have two conflicting ones. As the Bill had been originally framed, the principle of indirect representation ran all through it; but latterly the principle of direct representation had been granted in the case of the metropolis, as well as in the rural districts, and that once admitted Government did not see how one ride was to be laid down for London, and another for the large towns in the country. The ratepayers of the latter would in that case naturally complain. Besides, there were large towns where there was no Town Council; and the principle of direct representation would also have to be admitted there. He held that it would have been almost impossible to work the Bill according to the principle of indirect election, and, therefore, the Government had adopted the course they had taken.

    agreed that it would be impossible to draw the line at 100,000 inhabitants. He recommended the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) to withdraw his Amendment, in order that the issue might be taken on the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council.

    said, he was very much surprised to hear objections to popular election proceed from the Liberal ranks. He felt sure that election by the ratepayers would give great satisfaction, not, perhaps, to a few members of Town Councils, but to the mass of the population.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in line 36, to leave out "council," and insert "persons whose names are on the burgess roll of such borough for the time being in force."

    Amendment proposed, in page 12, line 36, to leave out the word "council," in order to insert the words "persons whose names are on the burgess roll of such borough for the time being in force,"—( Mr. William Edward Forster,)—instead thereof.

    said, he was satisfied that no greater mistake could be committed than that of leaving the school Boards to be elected by the popular vote. He contended that the best men would shrink from becoming candidates for a seat at such Boards, owing to the turmoil, abuse, and trouble they would have to endure during the election.

    held that the ratepayers were the persons in whom the power of choosing the school Boards should be vested. He hoped that the Government would persevere with their proposal.

    pointed out that the persons chosen by the Town Councils, as managers of charities for instance, were, as a class, superior to those who were chosen by direct popular suffrage, such as the Boards of Guardians. Gentlemen who would be likely to form the best school Boards would not go to the expense of an election contest.

    remarked, that this expense would fall on the education rates, and it would be very much increased indeed by the introduction of the Ballot. He hoped the Amendment would not be carried.

    Question put, "That the word 'council' stand part of the Bill."

    The House divided:—Ayes 57; Noes 273: Majority 216.

    Question, "That the words 'persons whose names are on the burgess roll of such borough for the time being in force' be inserted instead thereof," put, and agreed to.

    moved, in Clause 36, page 16, sub-section 8, line 42, leave out all after "and," and insert "the chairman of the school Board from among their own number." The best men would be deterred from joining the Board if the chairman were to be nominated by the Department.

    said, he would accept the Amendment. The Education Department would be very glad to be relieved from the responsibility of finding a chairman; and the only idea on which they had proceeded was, that as it was necessary to get to work as soon as possible it would be an advantage that the first chairman should be elected by them. Nothing could be more inconvenient than that the London school Board should commence its operations with any feeling of antagonism towards the Education Department, and, therefore, he at once agreed to the suggestion of his hon. Friend, particularly as he understood that the Amendment was approved of by other metropolitan Members. He thought, however, that the school Board should be allowed discretion as to the source from which its chairman should be selected, and he, therefore, hoped the hon. Member would not press the words "from among their own number" in the latter part of the Amendment.

    Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

    moved, in page 17, line 3, at end of paragraph 8, add—

    "And any subsequent chairman who may afterwards be elected by the Board, may be elected either from the members of the Board or not, and any chairman who is not an elected member of the Board, shall by virtue of his office be a member of the Board, as if he had been so elected."

    Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in Clause 39, line 25, after "subsequently," add—

    "Where a union of districts is proposed the Education Department shall consider whether any public school accommodation is required for the area proposed as the united district instead of for each of the districts constituting such area, and their decision as to the public school accommodation and the notice of such decision shall accordingly refer to such area and not separately to each of the constituent districts."

    Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in Clause 88, page 34, line 3, at end of clause add—

    "If a school Board is formed in the borough of Oxford, one-third of the school Board shall be elected by the University of Oxford, or the Colleges and Halls therein, in such manner as may be directed by the Education Department by an order made under the power contained in the Second Schedule to this Act."
    The University was obliged to be brought in separately, or otherwise it would not be rated; and, if rated, it ought to have a share in the representation.

    said, he was surprised at the Amendment being brought forward without due Notice. He did not know whether his right hon. Colleague in the representation of Oxford assented to the Amendment; but, for his part, he could not give his assent to it, as it would overthrow existing arrangements between the University and the city of Oxford, under which the whole question of rating and expenditure was amicably and satisfactorily settled between the University and city of Oxford. He could not see why the Education Board should have the entire determination of the matter.

    said, he thought, as the University was to contribute to the rate, it was only just that it should have its share of representation upon the school Board.

    stated that the Amendment would place Oxford in precisely the same position as the other towns in the kingdom.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, Clause 92, at end add—

    "Provided also, That no school in which the Holy Scriptures are not daily used shall be entitled to receive any Parliamentary Grant."
    He held it to be of primary importance that religious instruction should be given in all schools. Religious instruction formed an essential part of education, and no education could be considered complete without religion, and Parliament ought not to sanction education which was not complete. The principle of religious instruction had already received the sanction of the great body of the people.

    Amendment proposed,

    In page 35, at the end of Clause 92, to add the words "Provided also. That no school in which the Holy Scriptures are not daily used shall be entitled to receive any Parliamentary grant."—(Lord Augustus Hervey.)

    begged to remind the noble Lord that this question had been already discussed and decided, and the general principle that religious might be combined with secular education, but that their union should not be compelled, had been approved on both sides of the House.

    said, he entirely agreed in the doctrine of his noble Friend; and if he carried the question to a Division, he (Sir John Pakington) should vote with him. From the beginning to the end of the Bill there was not a word said on the subject of religion, except as to the formularies to be taught. He was of opinion that if they did not provide for the teaching and reading of the Holy Scriptures, it would be a great blot on the Bill.

    said, that if this Amendment were carried, it would interfere with rate-created schools and voluntary schools.

    The hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Collins) is, I admit, always anxious to consult what may seem at the moment to be the convenience of the House, whether by counting out the House, or after any other fashion, and, at the present, he seems to think that it would be inconvenient to the House to consider the subject involved in the Motion which has been brought before us by the noble Lord the Member for Suffolk (Lord Augustus Hervey); but I differ from the hon. Member. I agree with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington), who has just spoken; and I shall be curious to hear from the representatives of the Protestant Dissenters their reasons, should they think of rejecting the Motion of the noble Lord. Hitherto we have had some difficulty in defining what is meant by the language of the Bill, which speaks of religious education. It appears to me quite evident that the House does not mean, by the term "religious education," education in the religion of the Tycoon, or in that of Confucius. I do not believe that it means education in any of the Pantheistic or Polytheistic religions of the ancients; and I think there is a distinct object to be attained by ascertaining what the House really does mean by religious education. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon), whom I see opposite to mo, will agree with me in this, although he is opposed to the teaching of any religion. I should be surprised if I were to hear the hon. Member rise in his place, and, as the representative of that great town, declare that his peculiar objection to religious education is because it is founded in the doctrines of the Bible. I do not believe that the hon. Member would make any such declaration as that. What, then, is the object of having this Amendment inserted in the Bill? To my mind that object is to define the religion that we contemplate; and I believe that we mean the religion contained in the Bible, which is common to every section of Christians. This is a distinct religion; a mere belief, which is indistinct, is not religion. Sir, I am quite willing that every denomination should put its own interpretation upon the religion derived from this standard. God forbid that I should support the insertion in the Bill of words which would have the effect of limiting that interpretation. Let the Unitarian, let the Presbyterian—in short, let every sect place its own interpretation on this religion; but let it be distinctly understood that what the Legislature means by the term "religious education," is education in the doctrines of the Bible. Now, there is a great object to be obtained by this; for, if there is any public value in religion, it is that it affords a standard of morals. I hold that the State has no right to intrude into what the Roman Catholic theologians describe as the "Forum interius"—that the State has no right to force conscience; but that it has a right to enforce the observance of the rules of morality, which are embodied in its laws. The House will excuse me for expressing, in distinct terms, the general sense of the great body of Protestant Christians, when they desire that the State should not repudiate in any way the Bible, as containing the religion which the State recognizes, and of which this very Bill is intended to promote the inculcation, as part of the education to be supported out of the public Revenue. ["Divide!"] Why do you shrink from me? You cry "Divide!" because I am distinct; because, in giving my support to this Amendment, I would put my position clearly before the House. I say, that the value of religion to the State, and the only concern which the State, or this House, as part of the State, ought to have with religion, is on account of the morality of which it is the source and the foundation. Well, Sir, I hold that the morality of the Bible is perfectly distinct and admitted; and I have always thought that the denominational system of primary education, as originally established in this country, was established on a wise foundation, because the first grants were made in aid of the voluntary exertions, and in aid of the subscriptions, which were collected by the National Society, and the British and Foreign School Society, both societies being bound by their rules to inculcate a religious, a Scriptural education. That was, and is, the rule; and then came the exceptions. First, the Jews came to Parliament and said—"We can only accept and teach one-half the Bible;" and the State, having considered their claim, said—"Consistently with our abstinence for making inquiries into conscientious objections, provided our standard be not violated by the rejection of the Bible, we will make an exception in your favour." The State, therefore, made a grant in favour of the Jews, but upon the understanding that they did not reject the Bible. Next came the Roman Catholics; the Roman Catholics equally claimed a share in the grant of public money on this ground—that they do not reject the Bible, although the Roman Catholic priesthood claim, according to the present practice of their Church, a monopoly for their own order not only in the teaching, but in the study of the Bible, and refuse it to the laity. This claim gave rise to a great difficulty in this House, but the House was lenient, and again made an exception. ["Question!"] Why this is distinctly the question. I am showing the House that the system which exists in this country is founded on a Scriptural basis, and that there are two great exceptions to it—the first made in deference to the consciences of the Jews; the second in deference to the application of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. ["Divide!"] Hon. Gentlemen will excuse me, but I feel that I am in the performance of my duty as a Member of this House in speaking distinctly of the matter before you. The exception, which was made at the instance of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, was still made only upon the ground that, although the priesthood claimed a monopoly in the study and teaching of the Bible and in teaching from the Bible, they did not reject the Bible; and, Sir, I do trust that the Legislature will not finally depart from the rule to which it has hitherto adhered, that whenever it grants public money in support of an education which it terms "religious," it intends to define the religion which it means by rendering the acceptance of the Bible the foundation of the grant. ["Divide!"] I know there are hon. Members who wish to shirk this question; but now, that it has been distinctly raised, I claim to put it plainly before the House. Allow me to advert for a moment to those who object on the score that children are incapable of understanding the Bible. Sir, the practice of the Christian world for centuries has confuted that assertion, and I put it to every man who recollects his early education, whether the maxims and texts from the Holy Scriptures which he learnt in childhood are not so deeply engraven on his memory that in times of trouble these texts and maxims come up in his mind readily to his relief. Sir, it amounts to the manifestation of a total ignorance of human nature, of an utter inexperience in education; it argues a complete disregard for the fundamental principles on which this commonwealth is regulated, to say that the Bible and its teaching has not been accepted for centuries, not only as the foundation of the education of the children of England, but of the laws which are to regulate their conduct in after-life. I claim this sanction. ["Oh!"] Yes, hon. Members opposite are much afraid of this question. They dislike that which is definite. Yet this has been my strength in public life, that I have always taken up a position which everyone could understand. Whether they approved or whether they disapproved of it, they have clearly understood what I meant; such ought to be the strength of this House, and I trust that the House of Commons will distinctly manifest its intention, proclaiming that its understanding of the term "religious education" is, as it has been, an education consistent with and embodying the religion of the Bible.

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

    The House divided:—Ayes 89; Noes 205: Majority 116.

    moved, Second Schedule, First Part, paragraph 1, lines 9 and 10, leave out "provided that any poll shall be taken by Ballot." He said that neither the arguments which were used in the former debate, nor the Divisions which then were taken, had in the least degree qualified the opinion he then expressed respecting the proposal of the Government; and he asked the House to consider the mode in which it was recommended to their acceptance. In the first place, it was said that there was an Act of Will. IV. which had never come into practical operation, but which gave some kind of legislative sanction for the introduction of the Ballot; and, secondly, it was urged that under the operation of the Local Management Act the Ballot was used in the election of vestrymen in the metropolis. The Government, however, had now withdrawn both those arguments, for it was now provided that the Vice President should have the option of overriding every provision of the Local Management Act as far as the Ballot was concerned; though at that he was not surprised, for he was informed that the Ballot at the election of vestrymen was a nullity. The Government now asked the House to give autocratic power to a Department of the State to cause some undisclosed system to be adopted in every borough and school district. He contended that the proposal was not made either at the right time or in the proper place, for it was now impossible that either this House or the other could fairly discuss so grave and momentous a proposal at the fag-end of the Bill and so late in the Session; and, therefore, in the interest of the Ballot itself, the House ought to object to the proposal. On those grounds he moved the omission of the words.

    Amendment proposed, in the Second Schedule, page 37, lines 9 and 10, to leave out the words "Provided that any poll shall be taken by ballot."—( Lord John Manners.)

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

    The House divided:—Ayes 197; Noes 106: Majority 91.

    moved, Second Schedule, page 37, line 10, after "provided that any poll shall be taken by Ballot," insert "in accordance with the principles upon which a poll is taken under 'The Metropolis Management Act, 1855.'"

    Amendment proposed,

    In the Second Schedule, page 37, line 10, after the words "provided that any poll shall be taken by ballot," to insert the words "in accordance with the principles upon which a poll is taken under The Metropolis Management Act, 1855."—(Mr. William Edward Forster.)

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

    said, he had no wish to detain the House any longer, but he could not possibly allow the addition proposed by his right hon. Friend without a Division. As it was, however, so near 7 o'clock, he should move the adjournment of the debate.

    said, he was in hopes that his hon. Friend would have been contented with the discussion which they had had already on this question, or that he would have taken a Division so as to have allowed the Committee to dispose at once of this stage of the Bill. It was most important that this question should be completed in that House without any further delay. If his hon. Friend, however, insisted upon his Motion for the adjournment of the debate, he (Mr. Forster) should earnestly appeal to hon. Members who had Motions on the Paper for the Evening Sitting to allow this question to be resumed immediately upon their re-assembling at 9 o'clock.

    remarked that they had been 12 hours discussing this question with the hope of securing a real Ballot. The question now with the Liberal party was whether they would assent to accept what everyone knew was but a sham Ballot.

    said, he thought there was no use in wasting any more time by adjourning this debate. It seemed to him that it would facilitate business if the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) would go to a Division at once upon this question.

    reminded the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Council that some of the Members who had Notices on the Paper for the Evening Sitting were not present.

    was appealed to to withdraw his Motion for the adjournment of the debate; but as he refused to do so,

    said, he would put the Bill upon the Paper after the other business, and would take his chance of bringing it on at any time.

    Debate adjourned till this day.