House Of Commons
Friday, 22nd July, 1870.
MINUTES.]—SUPPLY— considered in Committee—CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES.
PUBLIC BILLS— Second Reading—Census .
Referred to Select Committee—Shannon Navigation* .
Committee—Report—Pedlars' Certificates* ; Greenwich Hospital* ; Sanitary Act (1866) Amendment* .
Third Reading—Elementary Education ; Army Enlistment ; Gun Licences ; Sheriffs (Scotland) Act (1853) Amendment, &c.* , and passed.
Withdrawn—Horse Racing* .
The House met at Two of the clock.
An Incorrigible Rogue
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a report in the newspapers of a case tried before the Magistrates at Kirton Lindsey Quarter Sessions, where one Joseph Townsend was charged with being "an incorrigible rogue," and was sentenced to three months' imprisonment and to receive thirty-six lashes with the cat; and, if he will state what specific offence was proved against this man, and whether, in his opinion, the Magistrates did or did not exceed their powers?
said, in reply, that the facts of this case were these — Joseph Townsend was 44 years of age, and on the 1st of July he appeared before the quarter sessions at Kirton Lindsey, and received, under 5 Geo. IV. c. 83, the sentence stated by the hon. Member. He had been supplied with a list of the offences of this man as follows: — 18th March, 1865, convicted as an incorrigible vagabond, and sentenced to one month's imprisonment; in July of the same year convicted of vagrancy, and sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment; in March, 1868, again convicted and sentenced to 21 days' imprisonment; in June, 1868, again convicted, and received one month; in 1869 again convicted, and sentenced to 21 days; in November, 1869, again convicted, and received one month; again in December of that year, and received 21 days; again on the 8th January, 1870, and received three months; and, lastly, the conviction in July, and the sentence of three months' imprisonment and 24 (not 36) lashes from the cat of nine-tails. The sentence was inflicted under 5 Geo. IV., s. 10, and under the circumstances he thought that the specific offences had been proved, and that the magistrates had not exceeded the powers conferred upon them by the law.
Licences For Carriages Lent
said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is necessary, under the present law, that a coachmaker, who lends (as a matter of courtesy, not of profit), a carriage to a customer for a few days, during the repairs of another carriage (upon which duty has been paid), should take out a fresh licence for the carriage so lent?
The rule is that a licence must be taken out for every carriage used by the person who makes use of it. The coachmaker keeps it and uses it by lending it to another person, and therefore he must take out a licence for it.
Army—Volunteer Capitation Grant—Question
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, What resolution Her Majesty's Government have come to with respect to the Capitation Grant to the Volunteers for the current year; whether the present distinction as to efficient and extra efficient is to be preserved; and, whether the promised bonus of an additional grant of 10s. per man will be allowed or not, and to which of the two classes it is to be paid? He acknowledged that the matter had been to some extent explained since he put the Question on the Notice Paper.
, in reply, said, the old distinction between efficients and extra efficients was to be preserved: the grant to efficients would be 20s., and that to extra efficients 30s.; and there would be an additional grant, not of 10s., but of 5s., which would be given under regulations that would be framed after consultation with commanding officers, but which would not affect the Estimates for the present year.
Army—Artillery And Engineers
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether any decision has been arrived at as to the retirement of the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers?
said, in reply, that the Report upon the matter was in a very advanced state, and it would be submitted to the Secretary of State for the War Department in the course of the ensuing week.
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether the money for the purchase of Deptford Dockyard has been paid in full?
Sir, in reply to the noble Lord, I beg to say that the purchase-money for the first portion of Deptford Dockyard sold, all of which belonged to the Admiralty, and which was bought by Mr. Evelyn, amounting to upwards of £31,000, has been paid. As to the remainder of the Yard, in which the Office of Woods, on behalf of Her Majesty, has the greater interest, the title thereto has not been completed, and the purchase-money has consequently not been paid. It, however, is quite ready, and the purchaser is pressing the Government for the completion of the matter, which I hope will not be much longer delayed. We are merely waiting for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown as to the questions of title between the Office of Woods and the Admiralty.
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether any Memorials in favour of the abolition of compulsory Pilotage have been received at the Board during the five years previous to 1870; and, if so, the number?
said, he could only repeat the answer he had already given in his evidence before the Select Committee on this question, which was that all the memorials received by the Board of Trade had been referred to the Committee, and were, for the most part, given in the Appendix to its Report.
said, that no memorials were presented to the Committee. He thought they had a right to a distinct answer to the Question whether any memorials had been received or not.
said, his reason for not having answered the Question more distinctly was that a specific answer to the Question in the form in which it was put would be misleading as to the interest taken by the public in this question.
Are there any, or are there not?
To that question I must repeat that there are none beyond those referred to in the Appendix of the Report.
Elementary Education Bill Bill 218
( Mr. W. E. Forster, Mr. Secretary Bruce.)
Order for Third Reading read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."—( Mr. W. E. Forster.)
said, that he had never offered any factious opposition to the measure, or delayed its progress, nor should he now oppose the third reading; but it must not, therefore, be concluded that he was satisfied with it as it now stood. On the contrary, it was his intention, as soon as the Bill became law, to give Notice that early next Session he should move for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the Elementary Education Act of 1870. The objectionable portion of the Bill, which he had pointed out when it was first introduced, had either not been removed at all, or at the best had been very imperfectly remedied. The establishment of school Boards, where-ever they were necessary for the purpose of securing to every child in the kingdom the elements of education, was the leading object of the Bill; but he feared that the Bill in its present form would not realize the good intentions of the Government in this respect, and that school Boards would not be found in many districts that stood greatly in need of them. This, especially, would be the case in the rural districts: where school Boards were established they would have to confront the religious question; and he feared that discussion and dissensions would follow which would be inimical to the efficient working of the Act. He regretted that universal compulsion had not been enforced by the Bill, for in many parts of the country—and, again, especially in the agricultural districts—the objections to the compulsory principle were strong, and it would be found that children would still grow up uneducated, owing to the apathy, the indifference, or the selfishness of their parents. He also regretted that more ample provision had not been made for that class of persons who would be unable to send their children to school, on account of their inability to pay the school fees. He was not so unreasonable, however, as to expect that the Government measure should in all respects have harmonized with his views; he was prepared for shortcomings. But there was one clause introduced by the Government, which was of a totally different character to the others — the clause which provided for an increase in the grants to voluntary schools. He believed that this was a retrograde movement—it was one to which the Nonconformists had strong objections—it continued, and might possibly render permanent a system which they had over and over again expressed their objections to, and it was one which he believed would be condemned by Liberals in all parts of the country. He admired, in common with the whole House, the admirable temper and the great ability with which the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had carried this Bill through the House, but he would remind the Government that, notwithstanding the merits of the right hon. Gentleman, the Bill owed its great success in the House mainly to two causes, which would not be forgotten in the country. The first was the almost constant and earnest support which was given to it by the Opposition; and the other was the statement made over and over again by the Government — a statement amounting almost to a threat—that unless their usual supporters went into the same Lobby with them on this Bill, they would run the risk of losing the Bill, and incur the condemnation of the country. He regretted that the success of the Bill had been purchased at such a heavy price, for he could not hide from himself that it had roused the suspicion, the distrust, and the antagonism of some of the most earnest supporters of the Government. He thought it was a great disadvantage, if not a positive evil, that those who had done so much to place the Government in the position which they now occupied should be accustomed to an attitude of opposition, and to make appeals which would be repeated to the great Liberal party outside the House against the action of a Government which had hitherto received from them the most unvarying, loyal, and enthusiastic support.
said, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dixon) had charged the Government with having acted inconsistently with their Liberal principles, in the manner in which they had framed and conducted this Bill. After the solemn warning which the hon. Member had given, that he and his Friends meant to fight the battle over again next Session, he (Mr. Cowper-Temple) would take the liberty of saying that, so far as he understood the question, the failure of the hon. Member and his Friends had not arisen from any inconsistency with Liberal principles on the part of the Government or of those who supported the Government, but from the very inconsistent and contradictory position which the hon. Member and his Friends had taken up upon this question. They professed to speak the sentiments of the Nonconformists. Now, the Nonconformists took their stand and had always done so on freedom of opinion on matters of religion—on the principle that the Bible was the great standard of religious truth, and that it ought to be open to everyone in the country to read and to teach it. But the hon. Member and his Friends, professing to act in the name of the Nonconformists, had urged the House that measures should be taken to deprive the teachers in the schools created under the Bill, of the right, which everybody else in this country enjoyed, to explain the Bible according to their own views and opinions. While they spoke in the name of persons who had the greatest reverence for the Bible, they had pressed either that the Bible should be excluded from the schools altogether, or that it should be received with a stigma which was placed on no other book—that of being a dangerous and pernicious book, not to be freely handled and interpreted without risk. ["No, no!"] Well, he would recall those expressions; but he said this—that they wished to surround the Bible with restrictions, and to prevent it from being freely explained by the teacher in accordance with his own views and opinions upon it. He did not think that that was a consistent position to take up, or that it would be agreed to by the large body of persons who maintained, as a principle they had always fought for, a free and open Bible. That was an inconsistency which was sufficient to prevent the hon. Member and his Friends from carrying their point. Again, when they urged that something should be put in the Bill for the purpose of making the teaching unsectarian, they could not agree among themselves as to the words, and they at last put forward words so vague and ambiguous that they were not capable of legal interpretation. In the same way, those Gentlemen who had so pertinaciously opposed the Bill were great advocates of economy, and yet they advocated gratuitous school instruction and the suppression of all the existing schools, which would have thrown a heavy additional burden upon the ratepayers and taxpayers of this country. So, again, those Gentlemen who opposed the Bill were members of the great Liberal party, who professed to be anxious for individual freedom, and yet they were driven, by the necessities of their position, to offer more despotic power to the Government and the local Boards, though the Bill already conferred more despotic powers upon the Education Department than were ever conferred on a Department of the State by an Act of Parliament, in order to enforce opinions and views which they confessed were not in accordance with the wishes and feelings of large districts of the country. Their failure did not arise from a want of willingness on the part of the Government to meet their objections, for he must say he had been struck by the extreme willingness of his right hon. Friend at the head of the Department and his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government to listen candidly and fairly to every objection, and to admit any fair Amendment that was founded upon consistency, and that ran upon all-fours with the scheme of the Bill. He had no fear, therefore, that when Parliament met again, after the Prorogation, it would take a different view of the question from that which it did now. There was one body that deserved more credit in these discussions than it had yet received—he meant the Church of England. The Church of England, as far as she had been spoken for by those who represented her views, had shown no desire to press unduly her own particular views or personal objects, but had shown herself willing and anxious to pass this great measure of education without unnecessary delay. Her representatives had not unduly pressed forward in the House any extreme views; they were willing to sacrifice their own special desires in order to facilitate the passing of this measure. And he would say, as far as he could gather the opinions of the Liberal party throughout the country—though the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) might and did represent a large portion who were urgent, ardent, and anxious to carry out his views — yet, generally, throughout the country this Bill was felt by men of all parties to be a measure wisely framed, and a successful attempt to build a new system upon old foundations. The measure would be more acceptable because it rested on what was already in existence instead of starting afresh upon some particular theory. It seemed to hon. Gentlemen that nothing was so easy as to create schools; whereas those who had examined into the subject knew that nothing was more difficult. They would be acting in a rash and reckless manner if they were to drive from the field of education those who had filled it for so many years, and who had borne the burden by their voluntary labours. He had no doubt that when the measure had been tried in the country for some time it would be found admirably adapted to accomplish its purpose; that under it education in primary schools would be widely extended; and that the large majority of the House who had supported the Bill would receive the approbation of the nation.
said, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple) challenged, and he thought not very wisely, those, especially of the Nonconformist Body, who had taken part in opposition to this Bill, for their inconsistency and consequent want of success. They laughed who won. The right hon. Gentleman had had all his desires accomplished, and he might say all the desires of the Church which he represented—["No, no!"]—perhaps not all, but at least all the desires that it was thought could be conveniently put forward by the Church; and he did not, therefore, wonder that the right hon. Gentleman took up rather a jubilant tone on this occasion, and turning round to those who had to pass through the Valley of Humiliation gave them the most discreet advice with regard to the future, and told them that all their misfortunes had proceeded from want of consideration and union as respected the past. Now, it used to be said that those were fortunate people who had friends at Court. He did not know whether Court in that sense could be interpreted as Government; but he did not think it could be said that those were fortunate people who had been allied to the Government on this occasion. He might say, without boasting, that the present Administration occupied the position it did very mainly in consequence of the warm, hearty, en- thusiastic support by the Nonconformist body of the policy announced by the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown two years ago at the last General Election. He did not say that they were the sole agents in putting the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends where they were; but he did say this, that they were the heart, and, he might say, the hands of the liberal cause in this country. He might say that they imparted to it all the enthusiasm it exhibited—that they gave whatever new impulse was given to the Liberal cause for the present time and for years to come; and that the spirit which was exhibited by the Nonconformist electors of the country at the last General Election was the main force that carried the right hon. Gentleman and his policy triumphantly through the obstacles—and they were not slight obstacles—that were opposed to them by the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. They did not, when this question was first brought forward, expect anything that was immoderate or demand anything that he thought was selfish. They knew that this was a question which touched very closely many of their principles; and they did think, perhaps somewhat presumptuously, looking back on the past, that they were entitled to be consulted, in some respects, as to the general principles and drift of legislation which grated harshly on their sympathies. They did think that some consideration would have been paid to their objections; and, certainly, they had no expectation, when their objections had been urged, that remedies would have been applied that rather increased and aggravated those objections than otherwise. But they were very unfortunate. It seemed they were inconsistent too. He admitted to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cowper-Temple) that they had been divided and they had been beaten. That was the moral they had to learn from the lesson of this Session. There had been a separation he would not say in feeling, but of thought and sympathy with regard to this Bill among the Dissenting bodies, especially as represented in that House—far more separation in the House than out of it; for he could aver, of his own personal knowledge that there was scarcely a Dissenting organization in the country that had not pronounced condemnation of this Bill. He thought they had good reason to complain. Considering that they were at all events a fair moiety of the party now in power—considering that they never made any excessive demands even for their own principles of those who held others, and considering the general temper and feeling of the country in regard to questions like this, he did not think that they had been dealt with considerately, and with a fair view to meet the objections that they had candidly urged against the provisions of this Bill. He would not urge this further than was necessary on the Treasury Bench, but "once bit, twice shy." They had almost all the measures in which they were most interested cast out with something like contumoly—not in this House only, but in the other House during the present Session. Their Burials Bill was referred to a Select Committee, which bestowed the utmost care and consideration on its provisions, in order to divest it of anything that could possibly hurt the feelings of Churchmen. He appealed to the hon. Member for Southwest Lancashire (Mr. Cross) whether the general spirit manifested in that Committee was not a spirit of concession on both sides? But the Bill no sooner came down here than a small and compact party determined that it should be "talked" out. It was then they bestowed with the Government great pains upon the University Tests Bill. They sent it up imperfect as it was in character—advisedly imperfect—that it might pass in "another place;" but their Lordships, smitten with excessive caution with regard to religious teaching, had put it in such a position that he believed one Peer had declared within the last 24 hours his opinion that the Bill was done for for the present Session. He might mention one or two other measures which were in the same category. He must say, looking to all these things, if they, representing the Dissenting community, could stand by and see themselves elbowed out of their principles and rights they would deserve such treatment. With regard to the Education Bill, he would say that he hoped its working in this country would be better than its effect on parties in that House. It had produced a very painful impression on Dissenters generally, and on the greater number of Dissenting representatives in that House. It might be said, and had been said, that the Bill, after all, was far more liberal than it looked. He believed it would be found probably to work more smoothly than could be anticipated, for it was an educational measure. But they might be pardoned, he thought, as Nonconformists, for having mistaken—if they had mistaken—the real character and position of that measure. It was the first time that a measure brought in and advocated on the express ground that it embodied the principles of political equality had failed to recommend itself to the sympathies of the Dissenting body. What they might say, with even more distinctness, was that it was the very first time that a measure had gone up to "another place" at that late period of the Session, with regard to which they had the assurance that not a single alteration would be made in it of any importance except that which took away the Ballot. It might be a very liberal measure indeed; it might contain in its provisions all that was necessary to illustrate and carry into effect the doctrines of religious equality; all that he could say was that not such honour had all the measures proceeding from the Liberal party.
Sir, I am very sorry to interfere in the debate at this moment, but I do not think it would be becoming in me, after the speech just delivered by my hon. Friend, if I were to remain altogether silent. My hon. Friend has not been content with discussing the merits of the Bill, but has thought fit to use language concerning the relations between himself and the Government to which it is absolutely necessary I should refer. Speeches somewhat similar we have heard on former nights from my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. H. Richard) and from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Winterbotham); but my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall) appears to think that the Government labours under the infirmity of deafness, and that we have failed to receive in our organs of hearing those expressions used by my hon. Friend. The speech of my hon. Friend amounts to a reproach on the Government for not having fulfilled the expectations under which they were brought into power. To this I say, fearlessly, in the face of my hon. Friend and of those who have made use of similar language, that if in 1868 we made bold professions to the country, professions involving, as we well knew then, and as we know now, the greatest responsibility, we have laboured to the utmost of our power to fulfil them, and the whole of our energies and the whole of our influence have, in no spirit of common calculation, been devoted to the purpose of redeeming those pledges. I am not here, therefore, to be told, with nice analysis, of what elements was made up that large degree of national support to which we owe the position we hold. I am not prepared to admit that my hon. Friend, great as is the weight of his character and the respect to which he is justly entitled, speaks in this matter the sentiments of all those with whom he is connected by religious opinions, because there are others in this House who have sat on these Benches for many years, and who have earned the respect of all who know them, who have not participated in the severe judgment passed upon us by my hon. Friend. My hon. Friend thinks it worthy of him to resort to a proverb, and to say that the time has come when he is entitled to use the significant language—"Once bit, twice shy." But if my hon. Friend has been bitten, by whom is it? If he has been bitten, it is only in consequence of expectations which he has himself chosen to entertain, and which were not justified by the facts. We have been thankful to have the independent and honourable support of my hon. Friend, but that support ceases to be of value when accompanied by reproaches such as these. I hope my hon. Friend will not continue that support to the Government one moment longer than he deems it consistent with his sense of duty and right. For God's sake, Sir, let him withdraw it the moment he thinks it better for the cause which he has at heart that he should do so. So long as my hon. Friend thinks fit to give us his support we will co-operate with my hon. Friend for every purpose we have in common; but when we think his opinions and demands exacting, when we think he looks too much to the section of the community he adorns, and too little to the interests of the people at large, we must then recollect that we are the Government of the Queen, and that those who have assumed the high responsibility of administering the affairs of this Empire, must endeavour to forget the parts in the whole, and must, in the great measures they introduce into the House, propose to themselves no meaner or narrower object—no other object than the welfare of the Empire at large. I hope my hon. Friend will excuse me if I have spoken with feeling on this subject. I have, I trust, employed no language disrespectful to him, but I own I could not help feeling wounded at hearing the language he employed coming from a man for whom I entertain the greatest respect, and whom I have always admired as remarkable for combining strong feelings with a candid and considerate manner of giving them expression. And now, Sir, with regard to the Bill itself, I was very sorry to hear the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) issue a proclamation of war against it the moment it is about to pass. We shall be compelled to put our trust in the good sense of the country. I must own I do not think the threatened blast of the trumpet will really rouse the land in opposition to the imperfections which mar such a measure as this. Far be it from me to say that this is a perfect measure. My right hon. Friend near me (Mr. W. E. Forster) to whom I myself especially—to whom the whole Government—to whom the House and the country owe a debt of gratitude, is the last man who would describe this as a perfect measure. We have had to steer our course amid competing bodies and conflicting difficulties. It was with us an absolute necessity—a necessity of honour and a necessity of policy—to respect and to favour the educational establishments and machinery we found existing in the country. It was impossible for us to join in the language or to adopt the tone which was conscientiously and consistently taken by some Members of the House who look upon these voluntary schools, having generally a denominational character, as admirable passing expedients, fit indeed to be tolerated for a time, deserving all credit on account of the motives which led to their foundation, but wholly unsatisfactory as to their main purpose, and, therefore, to be supplanted by something they think better. That is a perfectly fair and intelligible theory for any Gentleman to entertain, but I am quite sure it will be felt that it has never been the theory of the Government. My right hon. Friend and many others who have taken part in this question hold that when we are approaching this great work, which we desire to make complete, we ought to have a sentiment of thankfulness that so much has been done for us. I am one of those who hold that in the production of material objects it is desirable never to multiply the Establishments of the Government beyond what is necessary, but where it is possible to avail ourselves of private energy and zeal. So, in this matter of education, it is a great mistake and error, in our view, to think that secular education given by a State machinery is per se better and more valuable than the same education given by machinery voluntary in its character. Setting aside that which is abstractedly desirable, I think we are justified in feeling that this enormous power which exists in the country ought to be turned to account. It may be viewed, theoretically and abstractedly, in very different lights. Some may think that this existing machinery is no better than a beast of burden; but even as a beast of burden there is no reason why we should not make it do the work of the State as far as it can be rendered serviceable. Some may think it worse than a beast of burden, having its origin from below; but even if its origin were from below, you may use its energies if you can strain them to the public benefit. Some may regard it as an angel from Heaven, as the spirit of Christianity working in the minds of men and producing a profound and deep desire not only to give religious knowledge, but every element of education of essential value. I own I think that is the truest light in which to view it. I think it is the greatest mistake to suppose that those who have founded these voluntary schools have been exclusively or narrowly actuated by a spirit of attachment to those points on which they differ from their fellow-Christians. I believe that having received Christian conviction in its largeness and fulness, a largeness and fulness with which I hope this House will never attempt to interfere, they have thereby been animated with a spirit of expansive benevolence which has not stopped short of the principle to which it owed its origin, but has spread itself into a general feeling of philanthropy. And as Christianity, since it came into the world, has given a new character to secular philanthropy, so religious zeal has created, in this country especially, an amount of anxiety never before exhibited for the promotion of a sound secular education. Then, with regard to the other great question, my hon. Friend is very much dissatisfied with the plan we have adopted by which catechisms are excluded from the schools, and by which the Scriptures are only to be used as a religious text-book, without any Parliamentary declaration or statutory limitations as to their exposition. I will not say a word as to that plan, but I really cannot see how my hon. Friend can for a moment conceive that we who have adopted and recommended it are liable to the reproach of having thereby done less than justice to the Nonconformists of this country, or of having, as my hon. Friend put it, marched them through the Valley of Humiliation. If that charge had proceeded from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), who has a kind of official representation of a large portion of the Church, or from Gentlemen accustomed to treat public questions from a point of view at all peculiar to the Church of England —if, for instance, the hon. Member for North Devonshire (Sir Stafford Northcote) had complained of having to march through the Valley of Humiliation—the Government, though not in the slightest degree prepared to admit the truth or the justice of that charge, would have received it with less surprise, because, whatever the opinions of my hon. Friend may be, he cannot deny that we have excluded something from the schools, and that what has been so excluded is something particularly characteristic of the Church of England, and objected to by Dissenters. For myself, I believe that it will answer every useful purpose that there should be a free exposition of the Scriptures open to every schoolmaster who may be conscientiously attached to the Nonconformist community, subject, of course, as I hope he will be, to the restraints of common sense, but to no other restraints of a legal kind. Under these circumstances I do hope and very confidently believe that a more kindly and genial view will be taken of this matter than my hon. Friend has for once in his life been content to take. I must own that, though he seemed to make the Government responsible for the failure of the Burials Bill and the anticipated failure of the University Tests Bill, I find that, at least negatively in his speech, he admits that with this we had nothing to do whatever. The only object of that portion of his speech seems to have been to show that my hon. Friend was disappointed, and ought not to have been disappointed. But does he think that the Government ought to have resigned or to have dissolved Parliament?—for I do not know any other point of view from which it is possible to make a charge against them. Sir, we have had great difficulties to contend with, but I do not think we can claim from hon. Gentlemen opposite—we do not claim from my hon. Friend—I do not know that we can claim from any section of the House any other credit than this, which I believe the bulk of the House is dispose to give us, reserving their own judgment of particulars—that we have striven, and, above all, my right hon. Friend near me has striven, to deal for the best with all the circumstances, to smoothe difficulties, to allay passions, to avoid everything that would excite or stimulate, to endeavour to bring men to work together, to eschew all extremes, and not to make our own narrow choice the model of the measure that we were presenting to Parliament, but to admit freely and liberally, as was our duty, into its composition those great influences which we found swaying the community in which we live. That has been the general principle upon which we have acted. We might have taken a more sectional view, but what would have been the result? That this great subject of national education, instead of now being launched with some partial expressions, it is true, of disapproval, yet, upon the whole, with prospects full of hope, would have been launched indeed, but where? Not launched into the country with extended and beneficial operation, but launched into this House amid excitement and angry feelings—set down here on this floor as another standing barrier between those who sit in different portions of the House, full, indeed, of hope and promise, but of what hope and promise? That for years to come it would furnish the materials of bitter controversies in this House, and that when we cast our eyes beyond the walls of Parliament they would fall everywhere upon district after district where we should have to admit with shame the educational destitution of the people. Sir, I admit I have replied with some warmth to the imputations which have touched me nearly from my hon. Friend; but I hope the House will think that in the remarks I have made on the Bill we are now about to read a third time I have endeavoured to make a fair and equitable statement, and I think that any impartial man, whatever may be his judgment on particulars, will acknowledge that the principles upon which we have acted are the true principles upon which this great and difficult question could alone be settled.
said, while they were passing a general measure of education they ought not to forget the claims of the teachers, who had devoted their lives to the work of instruction. He was not in favour of granting them pensions, but he would, suggest the propriety of encouraging them to form some prudential plan of mutual assurance, assisted by the Privy Council, with a view to establishing some provision for themselves in old age and in times of adversity.
said, he wished to endorse everything that had been said, in the House and out of it, as to the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council had carried the Bill through the House. He believed the Bill had passed scarcely so much upon its own merits as because it had been brought in and conducted by the right hon. Gentleman. When the Bill was introduced there was on all sides a great chorus of congratulation; but the measure had passed through three editions. They had had the original Bill, the Easter edition, and the Whitsuntide edition—in point of fact, they had practically had three separate Bills presented to them, each of them having distinctly marked features of its own, which differed from the leading features of the two others. The measure as it now stood represented the compromise which all parties had agreed to make in order to secure a fairly good educational scheme. At the same time, though there had been such large changes in the form of the Bill, there had been few or no concessions made to the party which had given the most consistent and unvarying support to it. Concessions of a most serious character had been made to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, and to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple); and he (Mr. Raikes) only hoped that those concessions would not be so unfortunate in their results as he was afraid they would prove to be. He could not help feeling some misgivings on the part of the Church of England. Although the Education League had not carried all their Amendments, they had a good deal with which to console themselves. It was was very unfortunate that the Government would not allow the school districts formed under the Bill to be subdivided even at the discretion of the Education Department. The refusal of the Government to accept that proposal had, he believed, taken away the most valuable and beneficial results of the Bill, and would strike a severe blow at the denominational system of this country, for it could not fail in course of time to weed out something like half the denominational schools which at present existed in different parts of the agricultural districts. A parish which was supplied with schools, but not to an extent sufficient to meet its educational requirements, would be called upon to build a school and support it by rates, and it was contrary to human nature to expect that poor parents would support denominational schools while at the same time they were called upon to pay rates for the new schools. Belonging to a family which had taken a great interest in education, he rejoiced that we had made a great step towards securing to the people the greatest blessing they could enjoy. He felt, however, that the House had not taken sufficient care to provide for the people the blessing of definite religious teaching, which the Church of England considered it her first duty and her highest privilege to impart.
said, he reprepresented a constituency (Berwick-on-Tweed) in which Nonconformity was very powerful, two-thirds at least of the Liberal party there being Nonconformists; and he admitted that, having given an unvarying support to the Government upon this Bill, he had received some complaints from constituents who were favourable to the view of his hon. Friend below the Gangway. Still those gentlemen were moderate and open to argument; they used no threats as to withdrawing their support either from their Member or from the Government, nor did he believe that such a result was likely to follow from the course he had conscientiously pursued. His feeling was that, while perhaps many Liberal Members would have liked a measure more conformable with their views if the subject had presented a tabula rasa, they could not deny that something was due to those who had been the pioneers in this matter, and of whose exertions in the cause of education they had availed themselves. Even now they were calculating on the continuance of these exertions, without which the financial difficulty would be vastly increased; therefore, the Government had done no more than they might reasonably have been expected to do in giving additional grants to denominational schools. He believed, however, that the Bill would result in the establishment of large numbers of secular schools; but he could not share in the apprehension of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), that religion would suffer if, little by little, those schools should supersede all others until they covered the country. Under a system of secular education, properly administered, religion instead of being attacked, would be strengthened. It was a very common idea, and it had been expressed in that House by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. H. Richard), that secular education meant instruction in literature and science, and that religious instruction, on the other hand, meant instruction in religion and morality. And then it was contended that one day in the week was not enough for religious instruction. But instruction in morality was a part of secular education, and it had this advantage, that it was a mode of education in which all were agreed. All persons, whether Christians or Jews, Roman Catholics or Protestants, Unitarians or Trinitarians, were agreed upon the great principles of morality, all of them condemning murder and adultery, and all of them extolling charity and virtue. If the elements of morality were taught in the week, Sunday would suffice for teaching dogmatic religion. He contended that the fact that the children were receiving secular instruction in the national schools would in no degree de- tract from the beneficial influence which the respective denominational ministers would be able to exercise over them in the Sunday schools. But the Sunday schools would have to be improved to meet the increased intelligence of the pupils. All the new schools ought to be carefully watched, and care should be taken that in every school sound moral instruction was given.
I hope, Sir, the House will allow me, before the close of the last discussion on this great subject, to say a very few words, especially after what has fallen from the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) and the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall). I heard the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham with very great regret, and I heard the speech of the hon. Member for Bradford with still greater regret, for the speech was misleading. The tones of anger in that speech, and the reproach which was levelled against the Government, I, an opponent of the Government, must say were in this instance unjust and undeserved, and they justly called down that rebuke which we have heard from the lips of the First Minister of the Crown. But I have no desire on this occasion to refer to what has passed—let bygones be bygones. My feeling and my hope is, that men of all parties may concur in regarding it as the first duty of the country to give this great measure a fair trial. I cannot now help hoping that the hon. Members for Birmingham and Bradford, and other hon. Gentlemen who have consistently and honourably acted with them in the debates on the question, will, now that this Bill has virtually become the law of the land, combine with those who have been friendly to the Bill and endeavour to insure that it shall answer the great purpose for which it is intended. Having said these few words with reference to the speeches which I have heard with so much regret, I turn with pleasure to the subject of the Bill itself, and I cannot do that without offering my sincere congratulations to Her Majesty's Government, and especially to my right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster), for having conducted to a successful issue this most difficult measure—a measure which, whatever may be its defects and shortcomings, will, I believe, in a very large degree meet those urgent and pressing educational requirements—from year to year and from day to day becoming more pressing and more urgent—which it was intended to meet. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) has said, and I think with truth, that this Bill is not a perfect measure, and that even the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, who has conducted it through all its stages, will not contest that statement. I am quite of that opinion, and I hope that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway will bear in mind that, if they think they have their cause of complaint, so do we on this side of the House think that we have ours. There is one subject upon which I have more than once expressed a strong opinion, and that opinion is not altered. I think it will grate upon many people's minds that in this Bill there is no mention made of religion except in a restrictive sense. I do think that that is a great blot in the Bill. I agree with what the right hon. Member for South Hampshire (Mr. Cowper-Temple) has said to-day, and I think that, after all the Liberal concessions which have been made, it is unfortunate that the Holy Scriptures should not be required to be taught in the schools. It is owing, I think, to a little want of courage on the part of the Government that we have not got that enactment, which is desired by a large proportion of the Nonconformists as much as by Churchmen. It is desired not for the sake of this denomination or of that denomination, but for the sake of religion generally. I regret the condition of the Bill in regard to this point, and I also regret very much the course which the Government have taken in most unnecessarily introducing the Ballot into this Bill. If, as I suppose, they took that course to conciliate hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on their own side of the House, I can only say that it seems to have been very unsuccessful. In my opinion it was an unfortunate step. It was offensive to hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House who had given the Government their fair and honourable support throughout the measure. I regret that the Government thought it right to adopt that course; but notwitstanding all these defects, and notwithstanding other defects, which might be found in the Bill if it were worth while to pause and point them out—notwithstanding all these defects, I, for one, accept this Bill with cordial and heartfelt thankfulness. I should be ungrateful and inconsistent if I did not accept it with pleasure, for my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council, with whom it has been my fortune to confer on many occasions on the subject, knows that the Bill contains almost every one of those provisions for which, humbly but earnestly, I have laboured for the last 15 or 20 years. Those are provisions which, in my opinion, after long thought, are indispensable to anything like a successful measure of national education. I, therefore, say, whatever may be the defects and shortcomings of the Bill—and I do hope that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway will remember that those defects and shortcomings exist in the opinion of both sides of the House—that I accept the measure with thankfulness and with joy. As time passes, in all probability this measure, like all great ones, will need amendment, and correction, and adaptation to altered circumstances; but I believe it will supply a want which has long been a scandal in English legislation; it will tend in a very large degree to promote the welfare of the country; and I cordially agree with the words which have just been spoken by the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown, that the gratitude of the country and of all parties is due to my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council for that happy combination of great ability with fine temper which has enabled my right hon. Friend to bring this measure to a successful conclusion.
said, he had looked forward for years, ever since indeed he had taken any part in politics, to the day when a measure for the primary education of the people would be read a third time in that House, but he could not regard this Bill now before them for the last time with any but mixed feelings. He fully concurred with the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington), who throughout these discussions had shown the most conciliatory disposition, and he wished that the same feeling of conciliation and kindly appreciation of motives had been shown by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, whose speech, in reply to the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall), he deeply regretted. He fully sympathized with his hon. Friend, and it could not but be painful to hear the brilliant invective, the matchless eloquence of the Premier more often used, as had been the case throughout this Bill, in answer to the arguments of his Friends and his party, rather than against his opponents. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite might laugh, as they could not appreciate the affection and trust which they—the Liberals—felt for the Prime Minister, so neither could they measure the pain his speech had caused a portion of his followers. With that passing remark he would say with the right hon. Baronet—"let by-gones be by-gones." He would rather look forward than look backward in regard to this great measure of popular education. He valued the object above the means of attaining; it the education of their children above a "religious difficulty" or party ties. It became the duty of all to accept the Bill, and endeavour to work it with success; especially the duty of those who, living in the great cities, or representing popular constituencies, had necessarily much influence, which, forgetting all the history of the Bill, they were bound to use towards the fulfilment of its object—the education of every child in the land. While he regretted that the clauses of the Bill had in so great a degree been worded to meet the wishes of the opponents, rather than of the friends, of the Government, still he found a bright gleam of hope in those clauses. Hon. Members opposite had continually said that "monstrous and unconstitutional" powers were given to his right hon. Friend (Mr. W. E. Forster). If the Liberal party had accepted that Bill, it was because they believed this power would be used in conformity with the speeches of his right hon. Friend, who had often told them that they misinterpreted the scope of the measure, that it would carry out their views in bringing education to the door of every house in the country. That House had granted him all the powers he asked; upon him rests therefore the responsibility. As to him all credit for carrying the measure through the House, so to him they looked for its fulfilment as law in the country. They said the object could not be attained by voluntary effort, or by the denominational method; his right hon. Friend said it could; upon him lay the responsibility to make good his words. The Bill might be epitomised in two clauses; one providing that education should be brought home to every child in the country, the other that the requisite powers for that purpose should be placed in the hands of Government. He (Mr. Melly) wished it were in the power of the House of Commons to pass a third clause—that the right hon. Gentleman might for long years be spared to bring the same energy, earnestness, tact, temper, and perseverance with which he had defeated the dearest wishes of his best friends, to bear upon recalcitrant Town Councils, apathetic Vestries, hostile school Boards, and parsimonious ratepayers, in furtherance of the great end of elementary national education.
said, he hoped that the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) would act more patriotically than to carry out his threat of agitation, which must necessarily interfere with industry. If he did, he hoped he would pass by Lancashire which, by its own example, might be regarded as suggesting such a course, for though there was no part of the country where the disendowment and disestablishment of the Irish Church was more generally and emphatically condemned, yet, when that measure became law, no steps were taken by politicians in that great county which would lead to anything like animosity or contention.
said, he must deny the right of the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall) to speak against the Bill in the name of the Dissenters of England. He did not believe the hon. Member represented one tenth part of them. A few evenings ago when he (Colonel Beresford) had an opportunity of congratulating the First Minister of the Crown on having so well interpreted the feelings of the country, he held in his pocket Petitions in favour of the course the Government had taken on the point in question signed by 23,000 Primitive Methodists. He also had a letter from Mr. Spurgeon, who could gather under his banner more Nonconformists than any man in that House, urging him to support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cowper-Temple).
Sir, I should ill repay the kindness—very great and most undeserved—with which the House has borne with me and treated me throughout the long discussions on this measure, if I delayed the House beyond a few minutes before, Sir, you put the Question for the Third Reading from the Chair. But I think, perhaps, it is due to the House that having had charge of this Bill, I should take leave of it in a few remarks. My hon. Colleague in the representation of Bradford (Mr. Miall) will, I know, not expect me, if he is in this House, to dwell upon his speech. But I think it right to say this—that it has been a great grief to the Government, and a very great grief to myself, to find, in doing what we conceived to be our duty in promoting a great national system of education by which we shall, as we believe bring education home to every child in the country, that we could not do it without differing in opinion from, and even hurting the feelings of, many persons like my hon. Colleague, with whom we have been in the habit of working, and who are anxious for the same objects. I know his sincerity and the high motives on which he acts in regard to anything in which he thinks principle is involved. I only hope he will allow me to have the same jealousy respecting what I may consider right. But however much we may regret this, it was not an obstacle which we thought should stand in the way of a great national measure of education. And I am confident, notwithstanding what he has said to-day, that the time will come when he will do with regard to this measure of education what he has done in the case of other educational measures—that is, as he now would acknowledge with great candour, that he is glad the opposition which he offered in times past to all national aid to education did not succeed, so I believe the time will come when he will likewise rejoice that his opposition to this measure was unattended by success. But, Sir, I chiefly rose to express my thanks to the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir John Pakington) and to hon. Members on both sides of the House, and in every quarter of the House, for the assistance which has been given to us in getting this Bill through its various stages. When I had the honour of bringing it forward, I stated that I was sure it would be regarded in no party spirit. I did not ask this, for I felt it would be an insult to the House to suppose for a moment that it would be so regarded. My expectation on that point has been entirely justified, and the measure has never been treated or discussed on party grounds by hon. Members on either side. There was, indeed, another question which, unfortunately, we felt compelled—or rather I should say, which we felt bound to introduce into it—and I do not think we could complain that some hon. Members opposite should have objected to the introduction of the Ballot. But with regard to the pure education question, all distinctions such as Tory, Whig, and Radical have been entirety lost in the desire to see a great national measure of education passed. I also expected help. I told the House we were well aware that what we proposed was not perfect; that we did not suppose it could be made perfect at once, and that we expected very great improvements would result from suggestions coming from different sides of the House. I acknowledge the help we have received from all quarters. And now I must state, although I agree with my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) and the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir John Pakington) that a constructive and complicated measure of this kind cannot be made perfect at once—that I cannot assent to a proposition laid down by my hon. Colleague (Mr. Miall) some weeks ago that no measure ought to be passed which would not do for, at least, 20 years. I am, I confess, much more modest in my desires, and am content that we should commence to perform a great national duty, and even though we should have to mend or modify the mode by which this is done within two or three years, I think our time and labour will not have been lost. I think the long and anxious consideration which has been given to the Bill, and the wearying efforts which have been made have not been fruitless. The principle of the Bill has been adhered to, and I think the mode in which it has been decided to carry out that principle is not unworthy of it. The principle was this—a legal enactment that there shall be efficient schools throughout the kingdom, and compulsory provision for the schools where needed, but not unless such need were proved. It was in those words that I described the Bill when I introduced it, and when we send the Bill up to the other House, this principle will still be in it; and I have a sanguine hope that in that Assembly it will receive as patient a consideration as it has received here, and that, with this principle still intact, it will become law. During the passage of the Bill through Committee the machinery was altered, and I think mainly for the better; nor do I know of any change in this respect which I regret. On the contrary, I believe we have simplified the machinery and secured that it shall more freely work, and I am bound to say that for this we have to thank the useful and enlightened suggestions which the practical knowledge of Members on both sides of the House has supplied. The changes in the machinery have, I believe, been advantageous. They are changes which I could hardly have ventured to suggest myself, although several of them I should have been glad to have embodied originally in the Bill had I believed it would have been feasible to carry them. The greatest difficulty we experienced in framing the Bill was that of dealing with the immense part of the kingdom which is within the metropolis—a difficulty which almost filled me with despair when I considered how it was to be met. The difficulty arose from the present position of all governmental and municipal arrangements in the metropolis, and I felt that if on the first introducing the Bill we had fastened on the difficulty, Members on both sides of the House would say we had undertaken too much. Well, Sir, the House took the matter up, and I now look forward not with despair, but with the greatest possible hope—with a well-grounded, sanguine expectation, that London will afford the first example of the success of this measure. I am glad to have an opportunity of stating to the Members of this House connected with London, and through them to the people of the metropolis, that, inasmuch as it has been settled by this Bill that as soon as it becomes law the Metropolitan Board by whom the arrangements will have to be conducted shall be elected, London itself will be in the proud position, befitting its place in the kingdom, of first setting to work to apply and carry out this Education Bill. I believe it will successfully accomplish the work. If it does not the example will be one most dangerous. [Mr. MORLEY: Hear, hear!] I am glad to see my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol evidently taking that remark to himself, because few persons have more influence and can do more to accomplish the great object we have in view in the City of London than he can himself. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Melly), who spoke in words very far too kind about myself, alluded to the great powers which will be possessed by the Education Department and the responsibility which will rest on it. They are indeed, Sir, very great. And nothing but the magnitude of the task and the arduous character of the duty we have to perform would have warranted us in asking the House to intrust us with such powers. My noble Friend the President of the Council and myself, and the Government generally, are perfectly aware of the magnitude of the powers that are intrusted to us and the consequent onerous responsibility that devolves upon us. And, perhaps, here I may be allowed to make one remark, which I feel is due from me in common fairness and justice. I am very glad, and I believe the House has reason to be glad, that, whatever may be the ultimate decision as to whether there shall be a special Educational Minister or not, considering the immense difficulty of the task we have to perform—I say the House has reason to rejoice that two Educational Ministers will be intrusted with the carrying out of this Bill. I have happened to stand before the country rather prominently in this matter, because I had charge of the Bill. But I feel bound to acknowledge the assistance given me by my noble Friend, and I should be very hopeless indeed of being able to get the Bill in work throughout the country if I did not feel I should have his able assistance and superintendence in putting it into operation. But we shall, notwithstanding, want assistance outside the House, as we have had within it. Nor do I fear much those statements that we are to have an agitation—and my reason is this—I know my hon. Friends who make those statements have as earnest desires as ourselves for the advancement of education, and if they find that we are really trying to meet the difficulties of our task, they would be the last to try to frustrate our efforts before we have had a fair opportunity of showing whether we were justified in the hopes we entertained. I will not detain the House any longer except simply to say this. When we brought forward our measure circumstances generally were very different from what they are now, and I am sure even those who desired that the Bill should be postponed for another year will on this ground be glad that they did not obtain their wish; for, looking to the terrible events transpiring around us in Europe, we must all feel how much more difficult it would be to carry through a complicated measure of this kind next Session than it has been this. This terrible war may suggest to us one other thought. We may consider ourselves fortunate that we are preserved from this contest, and we hope and trust we may continue to be so. But we must remember we have enemies around us from which we have not been preserved, and against which even peace and prosperity give us little security. Our very prosperity creates such foes. We have before us the great task of putting down the invading armies of ignorance, misery, and destitution, which swarm in upon us like insects and feed on the trees of our commercial prosperity. It is vain for us to suppose that peace will secure us from great national evils if we do not conquer the swarming hosts of ignorance. Efforts have indeed been made to face this dangerous foe, but this is the first time national machinery has been devised for grappling with those great evils, and that the State has set itself to work and organized itself to put down ignorance. It is the first attempt in favour of national education; and I am confident that the country generally and our constituents will not think we have wasted our time in taking this first step. Some of my hon. Friends who have paid great attention to this measure, and who care as much for religion as any of us—for I am sure I have no right to place myself above or even on an equality in this respect with some of them—have differed from us in their care for religious interests. Yet I believe that they themselves, when they come to reflect, will not regret that we have not by Act of Parliament built a wall around the schools which are to receive the outcast and the destitute, through which a ray of Christian light could not penetrate, and that, in the interests of freedom, we did not get Parliament to declare that parents who desire for their children religious combined with secular instruction should not be allowed to have their wishes gratified.
Motion agreed to.
Bill read the third time, and passed.
Army Enlistment Bill—Bill 106
( Mr. Secretary Cardwell, Captain Vivian.)
Order for Third Reading read.
said, there were two points in the Bill against which he had before protested, and must once more protest. He would, however, hope that the Bill might work better than he anticipated.
Bill read the third time, and passed.
Gun Licences Bill—Bill 134
( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Stansfeld.)
Order for Third Reading read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
said, since this Bill had been printed no opportunity had been offered for discussing its main principles; and he therefore, by the leave of the House, would make a short and final protest before this tyrannical and unnecessary Bill was read a third time. When new taxes were levied it was generally supposed some fresh Revenue was wanted, but this year the Chancellor had an overflowing Exchequer, and, to show the country how little he needed money, in the original Bill the right hon. Gentleman proposed to remit the £150,000 now paid for game certificates. The game certificates had been retained; but a practical exemption from the new tax was granted to some 50,000 sporting gentlemen, for the £3 certificates were in future to include gun licences. They were told that it was to be a register of fire-arms, but it would be a most imperfect one. A man might keep any number of guns in his house, and a rich sportsman who paid for one certificate could use any number in the field, and his servants, who carried them or loaded for him would be exempt. Again, it was said that the Bill was to restrain the increasing use of revolvers; but a man could keep a revolver in his house, could practise with it on his premises, and, as there was no right to search his person, he could carry it about him for years and never pay the tax. Further, this Bill was to repress shooting on the road; but hon. Members were aware that an Act already existed by which anyone firing a gun upon or within 25 yards of a highway was liable to a fine of 40s. And when it was argued that the Bill would prevent accidents by the careless use of fire-arms, it should be remembered that such accidents were much more common in "the house and the curtilage thereof" than they were in the field. It was not for him to criticize the Act of a Liberal Government for placing a tax upon the staple trade of mighty Birmingham, but he did believe it would be as unpopular, as it would be unfair, to impose restrictions upon the honest livelihood and innocent pleasures of the lower middle class. He could not forget the happy days he passed in his school holidays when he shot wood-pigeons, fieldfares, and rabbits; and he knew a farmer would look twice before he paid 10s. each for his sons to carry a gun. But his chief objection to this Bill was that it imposed a new agricultural tax, for it was not to be supposed every able-bodied farmer would turn crow-boy, and if any other hands than his own used a gun for the purpose of scaring birds he must pay the 10s. licence. He contended that a gun was absolutely essential to a farmer; that, as it had been said by his hon. Friend the Member for Bedford, Government might as well impose a tax upon a plough. The only bright spot that he could see in the Bill was that it would discourage poaching. As it originally stood, he had expressed an opinion that it would lead to the destruction of all outlying game; but the retention of the game certificates would prevent that evil. The professional poacher would no doubt pay the gun tax with even more readiness than he did the old game certificate. On the other hand, the pot-hunter and the hedge-poacher would find his occupation more difficult; but, as that was in favour of the preservation of game, it might not commend itself to hon. Members opposite. He thanked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the attention to which he had listened to his suggestions, and for the concessions the right hon. Gentleman had made. He had no fault to find with the Government, for they made no move to rescind his Amendment which would have exempted all occupiers of land from a tax on crow-guns. That Motion, which was carried last night, came from the county Gentlemen who sat around him, and he knew full well that the British farmers when they paid the new tax would think with pain and grief that it was their own friends who voted against exempting them from this fresh burden. He could not understand how it was that so many Conservative Members had made such a mistake; he however feared the truth was this—that although they loved their agricultural constituents much they loved their game ten times more.
said, he regarded this measure as obnoxious on several grounds. First, it was a concession on the part of the Government to the game preservers. Secondly, it was unconstitutional, in that its effect would be to disarm the country to a great extent; and in the present disturbed state of Europe he thought it well that every ploughboy in the land should know how to aim a gun and pull a trigger. Thirdly, the incidence of taxation it proposed was excessively unfair, it being in the nature of a poll tax. And, fourthly, from the frequency and impunity with which its provisions would be evaded, the passing of such a measure as this had a tendency to induce a contempt for the law, and break down the minor morals of the population.
said, as being no preserver of game, he had no such motive in supporting this Bill as that attributed to its supporters by the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Taylor). He believed the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. C. S. Read) had misrepresented the motives of those sitting on his own side of the House who supported the Bill. For his own part he did not believe that the Bill would in any way promote the preservation of game. He supported the Bill on the sole ground that it would prove useful in securing a registration of arms in this country.
said, he regretted that so many hon. Members should have misunderstood the object of the Amendment which he moved on a former occasion, and that some of those who had supported it when first proposed should afterwards have voted against it. He objected to this measure because he believed it would be constantly evaded, and because he believed any system of legislation having that result to be bad.
said, he considered that the measure was uncalled for and not justified on any principle, financial or otherwise. Its provisions were aimed at the most orderly and peaceable portion of the community.
said, he must protest against Norfolk being regarded as England, and he thought it unfair, after the concessions made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that hon. Gentlemen should characterize this as a bad Bill. He voted originally for the Amendment of the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. C. S. Read), which had been reversed; but when he found that it would make a distinction between rich and poor he voted that it should be struck out. He thought the Bill, on the whole, would work fairly, and he therefore should support it.
said, he should oppose the Bill, which he regarded as a Game Law Bill in disguise. He spoke on behalf of a large agricultural county (Aberdeenshire). Should the Bill be passed it would be very disastrous to the Liberalism of Scotland.
said, the 10s. tax would operate unjustly and unequally between the rich man and the poor. He held that in these times that man was the best friend of his country who encouraged every honest man, young and old, to accustom himself to the use of arms. He (Mr. Macfie) had no fear of the people, and he must deprecate the taking away from them of a privilege which from time immemorial they had enjoyed in this free and happy land.
said, that this was a retrograde stop in legislation. Game preserving would be favoured by it. One reason, perhaps, which the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) who differed from many who sat on the same Bench, had for introducing this measure was that he had no confidence in the democracy, and was therefore anxious to promote any legislation which would take away the power of reaction from the lower orders. This was a Bill full of exceptions. Why was not the Volunteer to pay 10s. for his rifle, while his neighbour who might be poorer had got to pay the tax? The Bill was against the unanimous opinion of the best supporters of the Government. In order that a Division might be taken upon it, he would move that the Bill be read the third time upon this day three months.
Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—( Mr. Craufurd.)
said, he thought the Government had been very unjustly attacked on this occasion. He should support the Bill, although he did not agree with all its details. The Bill had lost a great deal of its original character; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer had gone a long way to meet the objections of country gentlemen, had reduced the tax from £1 to 10s., and had made a number of concessions which would improve the working of the measure.
said, that the Bill would fall very hard on the farmers, many of whom made no use of guns themselves, but employed persons to kill vermin on the land. As the Bill had given great dissatisfaction to the Scotch Members, he begged to suggest that Scotland should be omitted from its operation.
said, he must express his regret that this Bill should have been introduced by the Government. There was a very ugly look about it, and although he had no apprehension of any invasion of our liberties by the Liberal Government on that Bench, yet it had always been a distinguishing mark of this country that the people might possess arms, and this Bill was a very grave invasion of what was always meant to be a common right. He recollected having read in his youth, in Aristotle, or some other teacher of the science of politics, that the distinction between a tyranny and a free country was this—that in a free country the citizens were allowed to have the free use of arms; but in a tyranny the use of arms was forbidden. On that account he was very sorry this distinguishing characteristic of our country should be invaded or set at nought. Though not an alarmist, he should be glad if every adult in this country at the present moment possessed a rifle, and knew how to use it. He trusted that it was not too late for the Government to reconsider their position, especially when they took into account the events now imminent on the Continent.
said, that the conduct of the Government with re- gard to the Game Laws, taken in connection with their conduct with respect to this Bill, would excite the greatest possible dissatisfaction.
said, he would suggest that it was not even now too late to withdraw the Bill.
Sir, this Bill must stand or fall by the provisions it contains, and not by the motives of those who introduced it. I can assure my hon. Friends that there is no Gentleman in this House more innocent of any intention of propping up the Game Laws than myself. I do not care a pin for the Game Laws. One reason which I had for imposing an uniform tax of £1 on fire-arms was that I should have been very glad to separate any question of Revenue from the Game Laws. The loss the collection of the Revenue is mixed up with matters that excite difference of opinion the better; and, therefore, I should, have been very glad if I could have removed these questions of taxes on fire-arms to a less passionate arena than now exists. However, the opinion of the House is entirely against that, and I had no choice. The object of the Bill is to check lawless habits. In answer to those who say it is a sign of freedom that the lower classes should go armed, I say it is the greatest proof of the absence of freedom when every man goes armed. What is the use of civilized institutions, of assemblies like this, of law and of Judges, and of all the paraphernalia of justice, if all it comes to is that every man is to be left to be the avenger of his own quarrel? You might as well go and live with the Sioux Indians, who are not embarrassed with all this trouble, and who are not called upon to sit here all day and all night. If every man is to carry a deadly weapon, and is to be a law to himself and to his neighbours, there is no end of confusion. No doubt, at the time of the Plantagenets, when the King ruled by an immense body of troops whom he kept continually about him, as a check upon the encroachments of the King, every man did carry arms, so as to rise in rebellion and coerce the King when he went beyond public opinion; but, happily, in our times, as for the last 100 years, we act upon a better plan; we have allowed the nation to be represented here; and instead of fighting out our quarrels in the open field, we settle them over this Table. Why men should think it a retrograde step to restrict by a moderate licence the indiscriminate carrying of arms I cannot for a moment conceive. I am sorry I cannot tell the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. White) where he read the passage he cited, and if it were not for the high authority I attach to his accuracy, I should have thought he never read it at all. I think, however, I know what he was referring to. Aristotle does call it a sign of tyranny for a King to be defended by strangers, because he cannot trust his own subjects, and a sign of a free country that a King should be guarded by his subjects. That is different from every man being armed. When I introduced this Bill, I quoted a passage from Thucydides, where he speaks of the free Athenians being the first among the Greeks to give up the habit of wearing arms, whereby life became more civilized and humane. I think it is a good object to discourage the lower classes from habitually carrying deadly weapons. Though I care nothing about the Game Laws, on behalf of the morality of this country I wish to keep the poor out of crime. It is a good object to prevent poaching as far as we can, and there is no sentiment more mawkish than that of investing the practice of poaching with any sort of romance. It may do for making pretty stories and idylls; but nobody knows better than I do—for few have seen more desperate criminals than I have—that poaching is the beginning of all wickedness. You begin with the boy in the field; you put a gun in his hand to frighten away the birds; at first he is so frightened that he dares not lift it, and he rests it against a gate and shuts both his eyes when he fires. He soon gets over that, and gradually he becomes a marksman. Sport is a natural taste with almost every Englishman, and the youth goes on from one thing to another until he becomes a poacher. He gets into bad society, makes criminal associates, and goes from bad to worse, until he is happy at finding himself in Botany Bay. I wish to check that kind of demoralization, without reference to the Game Laws, and we cannot do anything more efficient to check it than putting a moderate restraint upon the use of firearms. If a man wants to use fire-arms in the defence of his country he can join a Volunteer Association. This habit of carrying fire-arms has grown inveterate, until in London there are 100 complaints a day of persons shooting everything which comes in their way, such as pigeons, fowls, and cats. It seems to me that the thing has become perfectly intolerable; and, having a due regard to the interests of the Exchequer, I propose to keep people as far as I can out of crime, and to prevent them disturbing the peace of the country.
said, they were not legislating for Greek republics, and there were others besides little boys in the country; therefore, while giving the Chancellor of the Exchequer all possible credit for paternal considerations, he must oppose the Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to limit the provisions of the Bill he introduced to financial objects, and ought not to trespass upon the domain of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. This Bill, he (Mr. Newdegate) believed, was preliminary to an Arms Act for England. Hitherto we had passed Arms Acts for Ireland, because of Fenian outbreaks; but there had been complaints of the restraints imposed upon the Irish people, because there were others besides little boys and Fenians in Ireland. In a financial point of view there was no justification for this Bill, which was a police measure introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It would impose undue restrictions not only upon little boys, but upon grown men, and it would seriously affect the trade of large centres of population.
Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
The House divided:—Ayes 179; Noes 50: Majority 129.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Bill read the third time, and passed.
Order for Committee read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
Statue Of Viscount Gough
Motion For An Address
said, he rose to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to direct that sufficient gun-metal shall be issued for the construction of the statue about to be erected in Dublin to commemorate the services of the late Field Marshal Viscount Gough, K.P., G.C.B., G.C.S.I. The committee for the erection of this memorial statue had applied to the War Office for the necessary gun-metal, which Mr. Foley, the sculptor, estimated at about eight tons, and the answer received was that a free issue could not be given, but that the metal required could be had at £70 per ton. The services of Lord Gough extended over a period of no less than 75 years. Previous to the Peninsula War he had served at the capture of the Cape of Good Hope, at the capture of the Dutch fleet in Saldanha Bay, in the attack on Porto Rico, and at the capture of Surinam. During the Peninsula War he commanded the 87th Regiment, which had since been named the Royal Irish Fusiliers. At Talavera he had a horse shot under him, and was afterwards severely wounded in the side. For his conduct in this action the Duke of Wellington subsequently recommended that his lieutenant-colonelcy should be ante-dated to the date of his despatch, thus making him the first officer who ever received brevet rank for service performed in the field at the head of his regiment. At Barrosa his regiment captured the eagle of the 8th French regiment. At Tarifa he was wounded in the head. At Vittoria his regiment captured the bâton of Marshal Jourdan. At Nivelle he was severely wounded. Lord Gough also was present at Orthes and Toulouse. In 1841 he commanded a land force at Canton, and was made a G.C.B. In 1842 he commanded our land forces during nearly the whole of the operations in China, and was made a Baronet. In 1843 to 1849 he commanded the British troops in India, and after a succession of victories over the Sikhs, he was raised to the Peerage, being made a Viscount after the crowning victory of Gujerat. Only eight tons of gun-metal were asked for, and it was right to state to the House that Lord Gough had on various occasions captured no fewer than 1,415 guns, of which 536 were brass and 879 were iron guns. Mr. Foley, a most eminent Irish sculptor, had undertaken to make the equestrian statue, and he (Colonel North) could not believe that the British House of Com- mons would refuse the eight tons of metal necessary for a purpose which would be most gratifying to the Irish people. He concluded by moving the Address.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to direct that sufficient gun metal shall be issued for the construction of the statue about to be erected in Dublin to commemorate the services of the late Field Marshal Viscount Gough, K.P., G.C.B., G.C.S.I.,"—(Colonel North,)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, he hoped the Government would not refuse to accede to the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend. This was an appeal which should not be made in vain. It was the voice of all Ireland that spoke—Whig and Tory, Protestant and Catholic, all were united to do honour to that gallant old warrior, who, when living, was the pride of his country from his great military exploits, who was the joy of all around him from the simplicity and generosity of his character, and whom no Irish—aye, or English—soldier who had served under him ever passed without touching his hat and saying—"Long life to him—God bless him!" Such men as these their countrymen delight to honour, and now they had all classes and persuasions of Irishmen paying in their contributions for a national monument to Lord Gough. Everyone who had connected himself with the undertaking had acted with generosity and public spirit. The contributions were liberal considering the means of the contributors. The corporation of Dublin had offered any site in Dublin which the committee might select for the erection of the statue. Mr. Foley, the eminent sculptor to whom the work had been intrusted, had offered, in case the statue were to be made equestrian, to charge nothing, save expenses out of pocket, for the construction of the horse. In only one quarter was a niggardly spirit to be traced, and that was in the Government of the country whose Eastern Empire was rescued from the greatest peril by the achievements of Lord Gough. The Treasury had refused to grant four or five guns for the metal work of the statue. If that were not granted the statue could not be equestrian, and the monument would be deprived of the grandeur and dignity which it ought to possess. Were they asking an unprecedented boon? He believed they were not. He was informed that the Government had sanctioned the issue of 40 tons of gun-metal for the statue of the Prince Consort just about to be erected in the Park, and a grant of gun-metal was made also for the statue of Lord Hardinge. And the Government had done right. He contended that the Government of the country would always do well by coming forward on occasions such as this, when a feeling so universal prevailed as to the claims of a great citizen for posthumous honours. It was easy to separate those occasions which were a nation's duty and a nation's will from those cases where affection or vanity or interest proposed a monument. His hon. and gallant Friend and himself were not the mouthpieces of a few devoted friends and admirers, but of the whole of Ireland. Well, indeed, might Lord Gough's services, as detailed by his gallant Friend, seem to warrant this claim. If Vendôme was called the "Tapisseur de Nôtre Dame," the "Upholsterer of Nôtre Dame," from the banners and flags of enemies with which he decorated its walls, so might Lord Gough be called "The Purveyor of Woolwich Artillery Yard," from the number of guns which he captured in war and made over to the arsenal—something approaching 1,400, according to the statement of his gallant Friend. Not one shilling of prize money did Lord Gough receive or ask for on account of these spoils of war, of which the country has had the glory and the benefit; and now he (Mr. Gregory) asked, when it was a question of half-a-dozen useless guns in order to make a worthy national monument, were they going to refuse a nation's request with the reply that they were too poor to do honour to this great old captain, or too pedantic to relax an imaginary rule?
said, he had had the honour of Lord Gough's acquaintance for many years, and he had never seen a man who was more completely the type of a soldier for his frankness, his straightforwardness, and resolution of purpose. Lord Gough had rendered great services, and it would be a disgrace to this country if the paltry amount of a few tons of metal needed for his statue, and which were lying like lumber in the yards at Woolwich, should be refused.
said, he trusted that his reply would not come under the character of being pedantic, but he must observe that the Motion amounted to a demand for public money; and it was his duty to state the conditions and regulations which had been adopted not by the present Government, but by preceding Governments, with respect to demands of this nature. He had not the Papers by him, and he might be wrong as to a year or two; but, if his memory served him aright, the last occasion on which a direct grant of gun-metal was made was in 1858 for a statue of Sir Isaac Newton at Grantham. The matter was considered not in reference to the question whether or not, or in what cases it was desirable to make these contributions, but in reference to what his hon. Friend called technical and pedantic considerations. It was felt not to be advisable that the War Office, whose function was not to make public grants either of money or money's worth, should be permitted, as a matter of departmental discretion, to give away a portion of the stores it held on the part of the nation for a specific purpose; and the Treasury decided that, whenever it should be thought proper to make grants of gun-metal, a Vote should first be taken for the cost of the guns as old metal, and that the War Office should be repaid out of that Vote for the amount of stores taken from its possession. Of late years further change had been adopted. It had been thought advisable to put the thing on a still more distinct ground, and to say—"If you want the metal, you may buy it of the War Department or elsewhere; but if you come to the Government for a grant of what, practically speaking, is money, you must ask for money, and not for the money's worth." If it was thought advisable to ask the Government to aid in the erection of a statue, the request must be addressed to the Government in an explicit shape Government must be asked for a Vote of money, and then they know what responsibility they undertook in that respect. They must propose a Vote to the House of Commons, and the House of Commons would know what amount, if any, should be granted. Without at all entering into the question whether it was advisable that the House of Commons should be asked to grant a sum of money for such a purpose, he must remind them that, in recent times, in a very notable case, a grant of this kind had been refused; no public grant had been made for a statue to the memory of the most eminent scientific man of the day—Mr. Faraday. An application for gun-metal for a statue to Lord Palmerston had also been refused. He hoped the House would not assent to the Motion in its present form, because to do so would go to upset and rescind the resolutions at which successive Governments had arrived on this question during the last ten years.
said, that the two cases to which the Secretary to the Treasury had referred were those of civilians, but the case of Lord Gough was widely different. This was not a mere question of pounds, shillings, and pence; it was intimately connected with the military honour of the country. He had heard appeals even from the Treasury Bench made to the military spirit of the nation, and to refuse this grant to the unanimous desire of the Irish people in memory of the illustrious hero of Gujerat would, in fact, be ignoring that very martial spirit to which they at other times thought it becoming to appeal. If the Treasury were willing to give the money it would not be regarded by those who took an interest in the statue as at all commensurate in value with the gun-metal which was asked, and which would form the most appropriate national contribution.
said, he could not help thinking that the grounds on which the refusal of the Treasury had been put were not only pedantic but penurious. The people of Ireland took great interest in this matter. But Lord Gough was not merely an Irishman; as a soldier he had shed lustre on the arms of England. Where all united in the application it ought not to be met on technical grounds.
said, there was not the least wish to be either penurious or hypertechnical about this matter, but now that very strict methods were adopted in the care of public stores and the audit of public accounts the precedents of old times did not apply, and the old plan with regard to these appeals was quite different from the present practice. The old notion was that the War Office hold these stores as a sort of property of their own, and when a monument was to be erected to any distinguished soldier like Lord Gough, application was made to the War Office for assistance, and a subscription was made out of these stores in the mode recommended by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel North). But now the stores must be accounted for as money, and the Government had no right to take and appropriate them to any purpose other than as directed by a Vote of the House. It would be a proceeding directly in contempt of the House. It was not that they wanted to throw any obstacle in the way of the erection of the proposed statue, or to oppose the wishes of the House; but they could not, consistently with their duty, accede to the present Motion. Lord Gough was distinguished for his devotion to the public service, and he was one of the last men who would wish that any violation of the rules of the public service should occur in any matter relating to himself. Whether it would be right that the country should subscribe to a statue to commemorate the services of a great and illustrious soldier like Lord Gough was a question which it was fair and reasonable for the House to consider; and what he would undertake on the part of the Government was to make an estimate of what was wanted and to bring before the House a Vote on the subject, and let the thing be considered on the question of a money grant. But the Government could not take these stores and give them away. He doubted whether that could be done without an Act of Parliament. If the hon. and gallant Member would be so kind as not to press his Motion the Government would give the House the fullest opportunity of considering the question.
said, he did not see how the accounts could be deranged by giving this grant in gun-metal instead of in specie. He had no doubt the Resolutions alluded to by the Secretary to the Treasury were mere departmental resolutions, and did not bind Parliament at all. It might be for the convenience of the Treasury that a certain form of ac- count should be adopted; but was there any Act of Parliament to preclude then adopting the course which had been followed on former occasions, when gun-metal was given for the statue of Lord Hardinge, again for the statue of the Prince Consort; and, thirdly, when the actual cannon taken in the Peninsula were used for the statue of the Duke of Wellington in Hyde Park. For his part, he believed that a mere gift of money would not be satisfactory. Indeed, he went further, and said that the proper material was the actual cannon taken. With the number of cannon mentioned by his hon. and gallant Friend as having been taken by Lord Gough at this moment in the possession of the nation, were they to be told by the Government that though they were willing to make a money grant, they would not give them that miserable grant of eight tons weight of metal? There was a strong feeling about this matter. There had been a very strong expression of opinion upon the subject throughout Ireland, and in the metropolitan city of Ireland a meeting, to which his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel North) had referred, had been attended by men of the highest station and position in the country, and a demand was made, in the strongest terms, that the metal of some of the guns actually captured by Lord Gough should be applied for this purpose. No doubt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had now promised to assent to the proposal, if it were made in another form and in another way. The right hon. Gentleman had given that assent after a great deal of pressure from Irish Members on his own side of the House; but it should be remembered that not even a hint of that kind was given in the replies to the committee, when they made applications about this statue. On the contrary, the tenour of the reply was—"Buy the metal for yourselves;" or, "We will sell it you, you finding the money, at the rate of £70 a ton." That was the answer given by the Government to the simple demand of the Irish people. What had the Government done with the cannon? They had given cannon to be placed in the different towns in Ireland. He had seen them rotting in the open air, utterly useless for every purpose except to be looked at. Surely they could afford to give guns for a noble purpose like this. Where there was a will there was a way. It was in the power of the House to out through those Resolutions, and to declare that the recognition of the services of this great man should be made in the manner proposed by his hon. and gallant Friend.
said, he was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had not been present throughout the debate, because the right hon. Gentleman had a strong feeling of sympathy with the Irish people, and was always actuated by a generous policy. It was difficult thoroughly to appreciate the peculiar circumstances of the country at this moment. Though every man would pray that we might not be dragged into a frightful and prolonged war, there was no knowing how soon we might be obliged again to resort to that part of the Empire which, in former times, had furnished some of the best of our soldiers. It would be easy, however, to conceive the gratification of the peasants of Tipperary and Connemara, and the readiness with which they would respond to such a call, should they be told that when it was intended to do honour to the memory of the great old Gough, the noble old Irish soldier, there was in the way some wretched cobweb, some piece of red tapeism, over which they not only broke their own noses, but even brought dishonour upon those with whom they acted. They utterly refused a money grant. They were not so poor in Ireland that they could not raise £500 for this object if they required it; but what they wanted was this special mode of honouring a man who had done honour and service to his country and the Empire. If a country did not wish to do honour to its great men the spirit of the nation was gone. He would remind the House that no difficulty was found in the way of supplying gun-metal for the purpose of erecting a statue to the memory of Sir Titus Salt's father, who certainly had done nothing requiring that he should be honoured by the employment of material earned by the blood of British soldiers. In his own city (Cork) there were guns which had been taken from the Russians; and he believed that if these guns were generously given it would be better than 10 recruiting sergeants.
said, he was very sorry to do anything which might put an end to a debate which had led to the exhibition of so much patriotic eloquence. No one who had listened to the earnest and able speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Dr. Ball) would have dreamt that it proceeded from one of his profession or judicial character, while the spirit displayed by the right hon. Gentleman had been equalled, if not surpassed, in the remarks of his hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire). His hon. Friend talked with contempt of money; but still gun-metal was money, and to overlook that fact would be a breach of duty on the part of the Government. There were two distinct questions before the House; but there was really no substantial matter between them over which there need be any quarrel. One question was—was it desirable to make a contribution at the public charge to the statue of Lord Gough? and the other was—if so, was it desirable to make that contribution in the form of gun-metal? Now, he felt sure that hon. Gentlemen would not wish the Government to break down a rule which had been one of the most difficult achievements of financial reform during the last half-century—the rule that none of the public property should be disposed of in kind. The effect of that mode of disposing of public property was that when any tiling was given away, the public had no means of knowing when it was given, or of knowing what was given. If there were a corrupt motive influencing the Government their course would be to rush into the arms of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel North), and thank him for his Motion. They might establish all the miles of account they liked; but if the House once allowed a Government to do what it pleased with public property in kind without making any account, they did all in their power to promote a system by which the plunder of public property could be carried on to any extent. As to the Government making a contribution to Lord Gough's statue, he was sorry that the matter had never been brought before himself, or his right hon. Friend near him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), except in the form of an application for gun-metal, an application which their duty absolutely precluded them from complying with. It had been asked what had become of the old cannon captured in the Russian War, and it was urged that a great mistake had been made in distributing these trophies all over the country. He confessed he himself held that opinion, and was sorry that that plan had been adopted. But he did not think that was a precedent which should be referred to. It was only of late years that the old vicious system of dealing with public property in kind had been scotched; but the rule had now been well established. With reference, however, to his hon. and gallant Friend's Motion, it was not necessary that the Government should be asked to break through any rules. He confessed he saw nothing improper in their making a contribution towards the statue of Lord Gough. He was afraid, however, that, having said that, he should shock his hon. Friend the Member for Cork by saying that that contribution must, in the first instance, be a contribution in money. But there was further not the slightest objection to pursuing a very simple operation in stating that a certain quantity of gun-metal should be given, the grant being accounted for in money. He would suggest that the hon. and gallant Member should either withdraw his Motion or consent to an Amendment, for there would be no objection on the part of the Government to an Address praying for the gun-metal to be issued, and adding—"and that this House will make good the cost of the same," by which means they would avoid breaking through the present system of administration.
assented to the addition of these words.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Another Amendment proposed,
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to direct that sufficient gun metal shall be issued for the construction of the statue about to be erected in Dublin to commemorate the services of the late Field Marshal Viscount Gough, K.P., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., and that this House will make good the cost of the same,"—(Colonel North,)
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to direct that sufficient gun metal shall be issued for the construction of the statue about to be erected in Dublin to commemorate the services of the late Field Marshal Viscount Gough, K.P., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., and that this House will make good the cost of the same.
Resolved, That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee of Supply.
Supply—Civil Service Estimates
SUPPLY— considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £4,072, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer in the Exchequer, Scotland, of certain Officers in Scotland, and other Charges formerly paid from the Hereditary Revenue."
said, he would move the omission of the item of £217 13s. for providing Queen's Plates. Horse-racing led to betting and gambling, against which the House should set its face.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That the Item of £217 13s. for Queen's Plates, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Alderman Lusk.)
said, he should vote for the reduction of the Vote, for there was no doubt that the system of betting upon horse-racing was doing immense mischief in this country.
said, he was told last year that no Queen's Plates were voted in England. Why, then, should money be voted to Scotland and Ireland to provide them?
said, he agreed that the three kingdoms should be put on a footing of equality in this respect, and he should quite approve of the item being struck out of the Vote if the same measure of justice were applied to Ireland. He wished to know whether Government had taken into consideration the recommendations of the Department Commission with regard to this class of expenditure in Scotland?
said, he was opposed to any Vote for horse-racing. The money was originally given to improve the breed of horses; but the modern system of horse-racing had had a contrary effect.
said, he never saw in the newspapers any betting quotations for the races to which objection had been made, and these races tended to improve the cultivation of stamina and endurance in horses. There was now a great desire to revert to long races, and he hoped the efforts of the turf reformers would be successful. At the present moment it would be better not to do away with those Plates, for he did not think equality would be promoted by striking out the Queen's Plates for Scotland and Ireland as long as the Queen's Plates for England were paid for out of the Civil List.
said, he was unable to agree entirely with either side on this question. He did not think these Plates encouraged gambling, and he certainly did not think they could do much to improve the breed of horses in the country. He was not particularly enamoured of this item, and the main reason for retaining it was its antiquity, these Plates having come upon the Estimates from the Hereditary Revenue, and having been given by the Crown or Parliament consecutively, the Edinburgh Plate since 1726, the Caledonia Hunt Plate since 1788, and the Archers' Plate since 1677. What the Government were anxious to do, however, was to collect Scotch opinion on the subject, and be guided mainly by it.
said, that for the last few years the opinion of the Scotch Members had been against the grant. If the Government was to be guided on that occasion by the opinions of Scotch Members alone, they declined the grant altogether.
said, he was for continuing it for another year.
said, he thought there was a clear balance of Scotch opinion against the Vote, and he would, therefore, withdraw it.
begged to say that the balance of Irish opinion was decidedly in favour of the Vote.
Question put, and agreed to.
Original Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
(1.) £3,854 7 s., to complete the sum for Exchequer and other Offices, Scotland.
(2.) £9,312, to complete the sum for Fishery Board, Scotland.
said, he would beg again to ask the Government whether they meant to deal with these Boards in accordance with the recommendations of the departmental Commission that had made its Report some time since?
said, the Government were waiting to consider the Report which had just been, or must soon be, presented by the Committee on the Poor Law Board, when all these subjects would be considered together.
said, he thought the Vote of £3,000 for the repair and enlargement of the Fishery Harbours should be augmented.
said, he disapproved of this Board altogether. There was no more reason for the Government interfering with the fishery trade than there was for interfering with the cotton trade.
Vote agreed to.
(3.) £4,867, to complete the sum for General Register Office, Scotland.
Resolutions to be reported.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £4,046, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland."
said, that he had some time since given Notice that he should move to reduce the Vote by £1,000, on the ground that the Government had taken on itself to fill up a vacancy in the Department without waiting for the Report of the Committee on the Scotch Poor Law, and the non-reporting of which his hon. Friend now alleged as a Reason why Her Majesty's Government had not dealt with this departmental report. It was very extraordinary that one Department of the Government should act in defiance of the recommendation of another Department, without waiting for the Report of the Committee upstairs; and that another Department of Her Majesty's Government should state here as a reason for not taking into consideration the recommendation of their own Commission, the fact that the Committee upstairs had not yet reported. He should not, however, press his Motion; but early next Session, when the Report of the Committee had been in the hands of Members sufficiently long to enable them to carefully consider the evidence, he should call attention to the whole subject, and he thought he should be able to show that it would be expedient to amalgamate this Board with the Board of Supervision. He would not press the subject further, because time would not allow; but when he came to lay before the House the manner in which Scotch Members had been treated by the Government in that House, and by a Cabinet Minister in "another place," and when they reflected on the manner in which Scotch Business had been treated that Session, he thought that he should be able to show strong arguments against similar treatment in the future.
said, the Report of the Departmental Commission had satisfied the Treasury that the Scotch Boards were very well managed, and that there was no reason to make any great change.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next;
Committee also report Progress; to sit again this day.
Order for Committee read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
Salary Of The First Lord Of The Treasury—Observations
, who had given Notice to draw the attention of the House to the salary of the First Lord of the Treasury, and to move that, in the opinion of this House, it is inadequate, and ought to be increased to £8,000 per year, said that nothing had been further from his intention than to withdraw the Motion which he had on the Paper, and nothing should have induced him to do so, from the general support which had been promised to it by Members of this House, and which would have insured its being carried, had he not had a communication from the only quarter which could influence him, which induced him to withdraw it in its present form, which he did with great reluctance. He should not, however, let the subject drop, and now begged to give Notice that he would, at the earliest period next Session, move the following Motion:—
"That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the salary of the First Lord of the Treasury, and other official salaries."
Army — Officers Of Volunteer Corps—Evesham Rifle Corps
said, he rose to call attention to the circumstances under which two tradesmen of Evesham had been refused commissions in the Rifle Corps on account of their social position. About two years ago the Evesham Rifle company was, through unwillingness to serve, left entirely without officers. After a great deal of persuasion, the Mayor consented to be the captain, and Messrs. Cox and Phelps, two of the most respected and respectable tradesmen of the town, were afterwards induced to allow themselves to be proposed as lieutenant and ensign. The commandant of the corps to which the Evesham company belonged, Colonel Scobell, wrote to the Mayor that their names had been placed before the Lord Lieutenant, but that his Lordship did not consider their position such as to justify their appointment to the rank of officers. The Under Secretary of State for War, with whom he (Mr. P. A. Taylor) had communicated on the subject, had informed him that that statement in Colonel Scobell's letter was not strictly accurate, no formal application having been made to the Lord Lieutenant; and Lord Lyttelton was certainly one of the last men whom he should have expected to act in such a manner. As far as he himself (Mr. P. A. Taylor) was concerned, he could only say that he was entirely disconnected with the part of the country in which the gentlemen in question resided. Their political opinions were, he believed, entirely opposed to his own, nor did he know until after he had given Notice on the subject that the Lord Lieutenant who was concerned in the matter was Lord Lyttelton. These gentlemen were absolutely unexceptionable. They were members of the Town Coun- cil, and had been members of the corps ever since its formation in 1860, and their appointment was essential to the well-being of the corps; and nevertheless the commissions were refused simply on account of their social position. At a meeting of the Rifle Corps, resolutions approving of their nomination were passed unanimously, and those resolutions were concurred in by the previous captains of the company. He had, he might add, brought the matter under the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War, who had received him, as he did on all occasions, with a courtesy which was not remarkable in him, but which contrasted very favourably with the receptions of other right hon. Gentlemen who sat on the same Bench. As to the reason why the commissions had not been given there could be no doubt. He was informed by a gentleman resident at Worcester, that all persons resident in that city who were in a similar walk of life with those proposed for commissions were highly indignant at the affront put upon them; and the local Press had emphatically protested. He had heard that the real obstacle in the way of granting the commissions was the objection raised by certain officers of a neighbouring company, which constituted part of the same corps, the 2nd Worcestershire battalion. It seemed to him well-nigh impossible, however, that such a spirit of snobbery should prevail among gentlemen who only met for battalion drill during a few days in the year. Rank and station were regarded less and less every day in the Army and Navy and the Civil Service, and à fortiori they ought not to be taken into account in the appointment of officers to a popular body like the Volunteers. He might mention, also, that the system of exclusiveness, of which he complained, was not in operation in other parts of the country. His Worcester correspondent remarked, however, that "cathedral cities are always, more or less, aristocratic places, and we are no exception to the general ride in this respect." Capacity for usefulness, and not social position, was the proper test of fitness in such cases. In conclusion, he begged to move the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
, in rising to second the Motion, said, he would lay before the House the actual circumstance connected with this unfortunate affair. It was doubly unfortunate, because it happened at a juncture when we knew not what a day might bring forth, and it might tend to prevent a large number of those who took an interest in the Volunteer movement from joining it at the present time. In the first place, however, he might state that the Lord Lieutenant of the county had been somewhat unfairly treated, for, as far as he could learn, he was by no means to blame in regard to this transaction. He might remind the House that although all appointments of Volunteer officers were vested in the Lord Lieutenant, they in reality emanated from the colonels-commandant of the various regiments. Had the names of these gentlemen been properly placed before the Lord Lieutenant, he felt convinced there would have been no objection on his part to sign the commissions. The facts of the case were as follows:—Originally the Evesham corps consisted of about 100 members; but from one cause or another the officers gradually seceded from it. Two of them had held commissions in the Army, one having been a field officer. They found, however, that they could not give the time required for the discharge of their duties as Volunteer officers, and eventually it was found that the corps was dwindling down almost to nothing. Accordingly, a public meeting was called, at which there were present the major, the two late commanding officers, and the adjutant. The names of several persons were suggested for commissions, but they declined the proffered honour, and at last Mr. Phelps and Mr. Cox were induced by the meeting to allow their names to be submitted to the Lord Lieutenant for approval. Both of them, he might remark, were members of the Town Council, and highly-respectable tradesmen. Moreover, they had both served in the Volunteers since the commencement of the movement; both were sergeants, and one of them had acted as secretary of the corps; so that as far as drill was concerned they were highly efficient. It was with great reluctance that they allowed their names to be submitted to the Lord Lieutenant, and they only did so in deference to the wishes of their fellow-townsmen. Consequently, they had, in his opinion, been very hardly dealt with. Having himself been a commanding officer of Volunteers, he might state that these two gentlemen would have conferred credit on any corps, and if they had offered themselves to his regiment he should have been exceedingly pleased. He trusted that on a reconsideration of the facts the Lord Lieutenant would be pleased to reverse the decision he had come to, and would now no longer hesitate to sign their commissions.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "to make the appointment of Commissioned Officers in the Volunteer force dependant upon social position would, in the opinion of this House, be at variance with the principles on which that force has been established, and on the maintenance of which the hope of its permanence mainly depends,"—(Mr. Taylor,)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, he had no complaint to make as regarded the temper with which this question had been introduced, but an omission had been made in the statement of facts. There was no doubt that the Evesham corps had been languishing for a considerable time, owing to the deficiency in the number of its officers, and that, at a certain meeting, these two most respectable tradesmen were pressed to take commissions, and that eventually they consented to do so. The proposal that they should be appointed was, of course, discussed at the time, and Colonel Scobell, commanding the battalion, on hearing a statement of the facts from the adjutant, made a communication to his noble Relative, the Lord Lieutenant, informing him, without making any reflection on their respectability, that the appointment of these men would not be received with satisfaction by the battalion, and that, in fact, their appointment would be unpopular. The Lord Lieutenant, knowing that Colonel Scobell was a competent judge of the feeling in the corps, advised him not to send in their names formally to him, and their names were not sent in. The anticipations of the colonel were justified, as was proved by the fact that when it was known that such appointments were contemplated, dissatisfaction was expressed by the officers. The Lord Lieutenant having received no formal recommendation was technically free from any part of the responsibility in the case; but he had no wish to escape from any responsibility which might be thought to attach to him. It had been the invariable custom for Lords Lieutenant not to send up to the War Office any names for commissions which had not been expressly recommended by the commanding officer of the battalion — and probably the House would not be inclined to disturb that rule—and fearing dissatisfaction would arise not only among the officers, but among the men, if these appointments were made, Lord Lyttelton, for the sake of securing the harmony and efficiency of the corps, did not wish to have the names in question recommended to him. He (Mr. Lyttelton) did not complain of the hon. Member for Leicester for having imputed a feeling of exclusiveness as to the motive which had actuated Lord Lyttelton—
said, he had disclaimed any such belief.
said, those who knew the noble Lord would not suspect him of any aristocratic or exclusive basis in a matter of this kind. The Lord Lieutenant found the battalion had existed for 10 years in a high state of efficiency, and had never been officered from a class below a certain position, and he did not think it his duty to disturb that satisfactory state of things. He acted from no personal motive; and if the Resolution was adopted, as the feeling of the House seemed to be in its favour, the Lord Lieutenant would readily act in accordance with it, immediately the decision come to was convoyed to him through the War Office. For himself, he (Mr. Lyttelton) would add that, in his opinion, the principle of the Motion was in no way objectionable. He would be the last person to prescribe that want of high social position should disqualify a man from a commission in the Volunteer force. The state of affairs on the Continent impressed this upon him no less than the lamentable inadequacy of officers among Volunteers generally. [Colonel LINDSAY: No!] This was at least the case in his district. For these reasons he would be sorry to say "No" to the Motion; but, at the same time, he would deprecate its adoption as far as it might be construed into a censure upon the Lord Lieutenant. He there- fore appealed to the hon. Member to withdraw his Motion, in the assurance that Lord Lyttelton would be the last man to allow want of social position to stand in the way of the real interests of the force, for whose harmony and efficiency he was mainly responsible.
said, as the first Volunteer sworn in in Worcestershire, and the first colonel of the first battalion raised there, he wished to explain that the course adopted in most of the towns of Worcestershire had been to appoint for officers the natural leaders of the men—namely, the merchants, manufacturers, and professional men. All that Lord Lyttelton had to do in the matter was to appoint such officers as the commanding officer of the corps recommended. It was contrary to the principle that regulated Volunteer corps that persons who stood behind the counter should be appointed officers. As far as aristocrats were concerned there was only one in his corps, and that was the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, who was his second major, and an excellent officer he was too. It was absolutely necessary that the officers of the Volunteer corps should be gentlemen who left their offices when the working men who formed the rank and file of the corps left their work, and to whom they were well known.
said, that as a commanding officer of a Volunteer corps, he selected his officers not on account of their social position, but because they were the best fitted to perform the duties to be discharged. When men were serving their country as Volunteers they all stood upon an equal footing, whether they were the sons of Dukes or served behind a counter. The commanding officer in appointing officers must look to the efficiency of the regiment, and not to the social position of the candidates, and were he to appoint a man who had rendered himself unpopular among his comrades, he would be defeating that object. He apprehended that no Lord Lieutenant would refuse to appoint men recommended for commissions by the commanding officer of the corps, unless he had some very good and sufficient reasons for so doing. While fully concurring in the sentiment of the Motion, he trusted that the hon. Member for Leicester would be satisfied with the feeling he had elicited from the House, and would withdraw it; otherwise he should feel bound to vote against it.
said, he cheerfully admitted the temperate tone in which this question had been brought forward, and he thought that after the admirable speech of the hon. Member behind him, the son of the Lord Lieutenant (Mr. Lyttelton), and after the general unanimity of opinion which had been expressed by the House, the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) would not be inclined to press his Motion. He (Mr. Cardwell) was convinced that nothing could be more fatal to the efficiency and value of the Volunteer Force than the notion that commissions in it were to be given away not with the view to promote the efficiency of the service, but on the ground of social position and other accidental circumstances. Among the many advantages that the Volunteer movement had conferred upon the country was the signal one of having tended to obliterate social distinctions, and to remove mischievous and ridiculous feelings of caste among men mutually engaged in the pursuit of an object which conduced to their own recreations and conferred great benefit upon the country. The hon. Member behind him had stated the facts of this particular case, and had shown that his noble father had not, in the slightest degree, been actuated by the ridiculous notions to which he (Mr. Cardwell) had alluded. Indeed, Lord Lyttelton held too distinguished a place in the republic of letters to be encumbered with any such cobwebs of prejudice. He (Mr. Cardwell) was therefore certain that his noble Friend (Lord Lyttelton) had acted in the manner he believed would, on the whole, best conduce to the efficiency of the corps. The Regulations of the Volunteer Force had placed the power of recommending individuals for commissions in the hands of the Lords Lieutenant, whose practice it was to consult the commanding officer of the corps with reference to the character and the fitness of the applicants for the position they sought to obtain. He was sure that the hon. Member for Leicester, however much he might have disapproved the circumstances of the present case, would not desire to take this power of recommending persons for commissions from the Lords Lieutenant, who, by means of the commanding officers, ascertained the local feeling of the dis- trict with respect to the fitness of the applicants much more accurately than the Secretary of State would be able to do. The hon. Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Lyttelton) had said that Lord Lyttelton did not dispute the general bearing of this Resolution, but thought that if it were agreed to its effect might be misapprehended. The House was not under the necessity of expressing any formal opinion upon the Resolution, because the first Motion before them was that they should go into Committee of Supply. He was satisfied that the hon. Member had no desire that any slight should be shown to Lord Lyttelton; and as it was quite clear that Lord Lyttelton was perfectly free from any of those nonsensical notions which might be supposed to be entertained by persons inclined to oppose the Motion, he trusted that the hon. Member would withdraw it.
said, it was impossible for anyone who enjoyed the friendship of Lord Lyttelton to hear that anything like censure was about to be passed upon him without the greatest anxiety. As the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Lyttelton) was the son of the noble Lord, it was possible that some persons might think that the remarks he had made might be open to some suspicion, and therefore he (Sir John Pakington) felt bound to express an opinion upon the matter. He earnestly hoped that the explanation which had been given would be considered satisfactory by the hon. Member for Leicester. He could assure the hon. Member that no gentleman in Worcestershire would be found to join in a censure on Lord Lyttelton.
said, he had stated distinctly that he had not the slightest intention of casting any reflection on Lord Lyttelton. When he gave Notice of his Motion, he did not know that noble Lord was Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire; but the moment he heard that Lord Lyttelton was the Lord Lieutenant, he said he did not believe the mischief could be traced to him (Lord Lyttelton), as he was the last man in the country who would adopt an unworthy course. After the statement of the Secretary of State for War, he should ask leave to withdraw his Motion.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Case Of Mr Mason—Resolution
said, he rose to call attention to the case of Mr. Mason, a candidate in the last competitive examination for employment in the Civil Service of India, and to move a Resolulution thereon. The whole case rested upon the question whether a young man who was 16 years of age in 1864 was not more than 19 in 1870. The main proposition which he had to place before the House was that he must be. Mr. Mason, from whom he presented a Petition a few days ago, was the son of a bookseller; he was the first of the unsuccessful candidates, or, in cricketing language, what was called "the twelfth man." The gentleman before him was Mr. Borooah, and the case now put forward by Mr. Mason was that Mr. Borooah was disqualified by age. He had taken the trouble to go to the India Office, and he had examined The Calcutta Gazette and The Calcutta University Calendar, and he found that The Calcutta University Calendar for 1865 gave the name of Mr. Borooah as that of a gentleman who had taken the preliminary degree in the Calcutta University in the month of December, 1864, and The Calcutta Gazette stated that no one under the age of 16 could be admitted to that degree. One of the conditions of admission to the last examination for Civil Service appointments in India was the production of a certificate to show on the 1st of February, 1870, the candidate was above 17 and under 21 years of age. In the paper giving the result of that examination Mr. Borooah was stated to be 19 years of age. He had heard of a lady who, when interrogated as to her age, said—"Oh, no age in particular; the same age as anybody else." It was said of one eminent personage that—
but Mr. Borooah seemed to be sometimes before Time and sometimes after him. The father of Mr. Mason, seeing the prize thus ship from his son's hands, felt himself aggrieved, and addressed himself to the Civil Service Commissioners; and he was told, in reply, that the matter had been duly considered, and that, as the result, Mr. Borooah appeared on the list as the successful candidate. Members of that House might differ on the subject of the Irish Land Bill, or on that of Elementary Education; but he thought that all of them, of whatever party, must agree that, if Mr. Borooah was 16 in 1864, he must be more than 19 in 1870. There was no medium in competition; it must be perfectly fair, or it became a failure altogether. He was aware that the India Office could not interfere with the Civil Service Commissioners; but one man was as good as another in deciding upon the age of a candidate under such circumstances, and he thought that he was justified in placing the terms of his Resolution before the House."Panting Time toiled after him in vain;"
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the Civil Service Commissioners be instructed to produce the evidence in opposition to that aforded by entries in the Calcutta Gazette and Calcutta University Calendar, on which they considered Mr. Borooah (who was a successful candidate on the occasion of the last competitive examination for employment in the Civil Service of India, to the exclusion of Mr. Mason), duly qualified according to the existing regulations as to age, to become a candidate,"—(Mr. Scourfield,)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, that the Civil Service Commissioners had no representative in that House. If they had, he presumed that representative would begin his speech by telling a story of a remarkable man who was said once to have addressed a young barrister in these words—"Avoid a logical fallacy as you would poison. The facts remain at your disposition." The fact which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Scourfield) had not mentioned to the House—only, he was sure, because he did not know it—was that there was the greatest doubt as to what was meant by a native of India saying that he was 16. Strange as it appeared, they had the most conflicting evidence as to this most simple matter, some of the natives understanding the proposition as was the case in this country, while others thought it meant that he had entered on his 16th year; and he had no doubt the Civil Service Commissioners had had the same before them. However, as he had said, his business was not to answer for them; he answered for the India Office, which was only collaterally interested, and, answering for the India Office, he regretted to say that he had little to add to what he said on that subject some days ago in reply to a Question which the hon. Gentleman put to him. The Civil Service Commissioners were not under the jurisdiction of the India Office. It was the India Office which, so far as the Indian examinations were concerned, were under their jurisdiction. Both this year and last very difficult cases had arisen with regard to the age of natives of India, and the Civil Service Commissioners, after taking the greatest possible trouble, had decided those cases in favour of the eligibility as candidates of the young Indians about whose age there was a doubt; and this, it was to be observed, they had done contrary to their first opinions upon the points raised. He was very glad that it had happened that they had decided that Mr. Borooah was eligible, for he was a young man of great merit, who, born in a very remote part of India, high up the Bramahputra, had distinguished himself at the University of Calcutta, had won a Government Scholarship, and had come over to this country to complete his education. He had no doubt he would make an excellent public servant. The fact which he mentioned the other day, that the Civil Service Commissioners had proposed to ask for certificates of age, signed by the proper local authorities in India, with respect to the age of the young men coming home to compete for our Civil Service and to accept them as final, showed that they had no desire to settle the troublesome and knotty questions which arose about the ages of natives of India, and the India Office, as in duty bound, would help them as much as it could, imitating therein the vast majority of Members of the House of Commons; for it was most remarkable and most creditable, considering what pressure was constantly brought to bear upon Members to get them to interfere in that House on behalf of disappointed candidates, that so few had thought fit to earn the gratitude of friends or constituents by attacking men who were raised by their position out of and above politics, and who could only discharge their duties efficiently if they were supported in their neutral and judicial position by all influential and responsible persons. He need hardly say he had no power to assent to the production of the Papers for which the hon. Member asked, many of which were of a confidential character. If the Civil Service Commissioners were required to give up Papers of this kind, they might as well abdicate the functions which they discharged so much to the satisfaction of the House and the public.
said, he thought it would have been more satisfactory if the hon. Gentleman who spoke last had told them on what evidence the Civil Service Commissioners had decided. The hon. Gentleman had claimed for those Commissioners something like infallibility, and spoken as if neither that House nor any other tribunal was to exercise control over them. The Mover of the Resolution had made out a primâ facie case, and given substantial evidence of the age of that young man. The Civil Service Commissioners had ignored that evidence, and the House had not been told the ground on which they had ignored it.
said, that the method adopted by the Chinese in calculating the age of a child had reference to the date of the accession of the reigning Sovereign. For example, if a child were born on the 31st of December, and that day happened to be the day of the accession of the Sovereign to the throne, the child would be considered one year old on the following day, the 1st January. The practice in India in that matter might very well be equally different from ours. He also thought that if the decisions of the Civil Service Commissioners were to be contested in that House the Commission would be worth nothing.
said, that nobody questioned the decision of those Commissioners in respect to the result of their examination; but this was a question of fact, and the Commissioners could not, any more than other people, make a youth 16 or any other age if he really was not so. It was immaterial what the habits of the Chinese or the Hindoos were in reckoning ago. What had to be considered was the rides and regulations prescribed in this country in respect to the candidates at those examinations. Whether the Civil Service Commissioners were really in the irresponsible position described by the Under Secretary for India he did not know; but he should have thought they were under the control of the Government of the day, or the Treasury, like analogous bodies. The bringing forward of that case was, in his opinion, perfectly justifiable.
held that there was more in that question than the case of a mere individual. The Civil Service of India was now regarded by many young men in England, Scotland, and Ireland as a profession, and when the friends of those young men incurred a large expense in educating and qualifying them for that service, they ought to know that the rules and conditions of the examination were of an inflexible character. If errors were made and the Civil Service Commissioners were asked to correct them, the House ought not to be told that there was not a Department of the Government which could give any information on the subject. This case was not that of an individual, for the faith of all the young men in the country would be rudely shaken if no inquiry was to be made about the operations of the Civil Service Commissioners.
said, the question raised by his hon. Friend was one of very great importance, because it affected that system of competition which the Government proposed to extend. The issues were, whether an unsuccessful candidate should be allowed, after a competition was over, to go into questions relating to the qualifications of those with whom he had competed; whether the Civil Service Commissioners ought to be requested to give information about the facts on which they decided as to a candidate, and whether the House ought to assume the functions of an appellate tribunal from the decision of the Commissioners. The House, he contended, ought not to listen to the complaints of unsuccessful candidates, for although a case of hardship might occasionally happen, owing to a mistake having been made, yet he could not imagine that hon. Members could attend to it or do the justice which the case might require. There would be much less evil if they shut their ears to all complaints than if they allowed an appeal in any case; for as Civil Service appointments were very much sought after and great disappointment was frequently felt, if the House entertained such appeals, the number of cases coming before it would be very great, and he contended that it was not property constituted for dealing with them. It was important that the decision of the Civil Service Commissioners should be final in all cases, and it would be better for the interests of all concerned that they should be so. He happened to know that they took great pains with their decision in the case before the House; they took the opinion of counsel upon the facts, and by that opinion they were wholly guided. It was quite conceivable that they might commit errors, but it would be much better that those errors should remain unredressed than that the House should reopen the cases. One of the Commissioners was Sir Edward Ryan, who had been for many years Chi of Justice of a Court in India, and was therefore most competent to decide in all such cases. One point for the consideration of the House was that the Commissioners had to consider other qualifications besides age—they had to inquire into the moral conduct and health of the candidates, and in the course of their inquiries they received a number of confidential communications which could not possibly be made public; and to insist that the evidence on which they acted should be given to the House would materially cripple them in the discharge of their duties. He, therefore, without pretending to go into the merits of the case, submitted that the wisest course the House could adopt was to lay down a rule that unless some charge amounting to misconduct on the part of the Commissioners was brought before them, they would not review these matters, and to resolve that it would be better for injustice to be done and errors committed than that uncertainty should be allowed to prevail; for nothing could be more injurious to the system of competition than that those who had accepted the terms should have a power of appeal. He, therefore, submitted to his hon. Friend (Mr. Scourfield) that it would be better for a hardship to be done in this case than that the House should assume a jurisdiction which it was not capable of exorcising.
said, he had rarely heard a doctrine so objectionable as that just laid down by his right hon. Friend (the Chancellor of the Exchequer). He dissented in toto from such a doctrine. He saw no reason, if an injustice were known to have been done, that some attempt should not be made by the House to remedy it. The Civil Service Commissioners were not so exceedingly free from giving causes of complaint as the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for India seemed to think. He had had occasion to transmit complaints from a number of gentlemen who had come all the way from India, at a heavy expense, and at the sacrifice of the employment which they had been obliged to give up, to attend an examination which they were informed was to take place in July. On their arrival, however, in this country they were told that that examination had been postponed to another part of the year. If the errors of the Civil Service Commissioners were to be passed over, then the object of getting the highest class of native talent by means of competition would be defeated.
said, he believed that confidence in the fairness of these examinations would be destroyed if it was found that when an error had been committed the Civil Service Commissioners could refuse to give any explanation. The doctrine of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was most dangerous, and would increase the dissatisfaction which now existed.
said, he thought that an incorrect construction had been placed upon the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who sought to show the House that this was not one of the questions on which hon. Members could exercise immediate and authoritative control. As a general rule, such control could not be exercised too sharply or strictly over the Executive Government; but this was a case in which the House ought to modify its views, because the functions of the Civil Service Commissioners were judicial, and those gentlemen would be unfit to hold their office unless they discharged every detail of their duties in a judicial spirit. If the Commissioners were capable of anything like unfairness, they ought to be dismissed and others substituted for them. Another important consideration was that if facility were afforded for the discussion of individual cases, there would always be found hon. Members who, from honourable motives of friendship or commiseration, would be ready to call attention to them under circumstances in which the Commissioners could not be heard. If the Inland Revenue Department or the Customs Department was arraigned before the House upon a questioned exercise of discretion, the authorities of the Treasury would meet the accusation. The Civil Service Commissioners were differently situated, and they could not publish the particulars in every case which might be brought under review; while if the particulars could be furnished, they would be submitted to a tribunal which felt itself to be incompetent to institute a strict and a sufficient investigation. It might be desirable that there should be control over the Civil Service Commissioners; but it would be dangerous if it were to consist in nothing else than the effect of a Motion made in this House. The Civil Service Commissioners were in no way responsible for bringing gentlemen over from India to no purpose; if there had been any error, it was apparently that of the authorities in India who issued the advertisement; and, at any rate, the judgment of the Commissioners gave no support to the supposition that there was any indifference to the interests of the natives of India, whom, on the contrary, it seemed to favour. So far from having, as was assumed, acted with carelessness, they had acted, with the utmost pains, and they had fortified themselves with a legal opinion—that of the hon. Member for the Denbigh Boroughs (Mr. Watkin Williams). He did not deny the title of the House to interfere, it might be its duty to do so in certain cases; but there was nothing to show that this was such a case; and if it were proved to be necessary that there should be a means of reviewing the proceedings of the Commissioners, this was not the proper time to determine in what way it should be done. The Government had lately endeavoured, with the approval and under the pressure of the House, to carry out a great reform, and to get rid of the exercise of patronage in regard to first appointments under the Government. The Commissioners were the body upon whose integrity and efficiency the working of the reform depended; and if they were to be arraigned it was impossible they could exercise the authority necessary to enable them to stand against the pressure of private interests. He hoped his hon. Friend would not be disposed to force the House to a judgment upon the general question upon a Motion such as this.
said, he believed the proceedings of the Civil Service Commissioners gave general satisfaction in the country, and he thought they ought not to be called upon to give any additional evidence in support of a decision, unless a much graver case than the present were adduced.
said, he wished to remark that the dates in the official Paper were irreconcilable on the supposition that the 15th and the 16th years might be confounded. After what had been said on the part of the Government, he thought it unnecessary to occupy time by dividing the House.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Business Of The House—Turnpike Acts Continuance Bill
, in rising to call attention to the state of Public Business, and, especially, the serious inconvenience resulting from the late period of the Session at which the Turnpike Acts Continuance Bill was brought forward, contrary to promises made in the early part of the Session, and the great inconvenience arising from its repeated insertion in the Notice Paper, and its postponement without cause assigned, said, that many contracts had expired, and the public were entitled to pass freely along roads upon which tolls were, nevertheless, exacted, which, under the circumstances, was quite unconstitutional. This Bill had been placed on the Paper no fewer than 15 times, and he had travelled more than 1,000 miles to meet the convenience of the Government. It was clear that no independent Member could efficiently perform his duty if such perfunctory and supercilious conduct on the part of the Government was not to be considered a fair subject for discussion in the House.
said, that there was in connection with all these Turnpike Act Continuance Bills a grievance never felt until this year, because the Committee which used, to consider measures of this description was practically abolished. No one could be more competent to sit on that Committee than the noble Lord the Member for North Derbyshire (Lord George Cavendish), and he regretted they had been deprived of his assistance in considering Bills of this kind. There was a question of great importance connected with the Bill referred to by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley). In regard to trusts about to expire, if the rates were to be saddled with the expense of keeping in repair the original turnpike roads, the burden would be very heavy on the townships through which the roads passed, because in many cases a great length of road passed through a particular township which practically derived no benefit from it. The Bill introduced this year contained a clause which would cast on the Highway Board the burden of repairing the turnpike road; but it should be borne in mind that the Highway Act had not been put in force over anything like the whole of the country. Consequently, in places where turnpike trusts had been abolished, and where the Highway Act was not in force, the burden would be very heavy indeed. He recommended that matters should be left for one year more; and then, at the beginning of another Session, the whole subject should be considered, and the area upon which the cost of maintaining the roads by rates should be once for all determined.
said, he must decline to enter, on the hon. Member's Motion, into the details of the measure that would, in its order, come on for general discussion on Monday next. The clause which the hon. Member proposed to move contained much good; but he could not accept it in the present Bill, for the reason that the turnpike trusts of the country must be dealt with in a great and general measure. It was impossible to postpone his Bill without inflicting great injustice in many cases, because trusts would, but for this Bill, terminate abruptly and without that notice which those concerned had a right to expect, after the course which Parliament had so long pursued.
Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.
Supply—Civil Service Estimates
SUPPLY— considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
(4.) Question again proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £4,046, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland."
said, the Vote represented a gross piece of extravagance. The Vote for England was only £20,000, and for Ireland only £3,800; he could not conceive why Scotland, which in area was but a seventh of England, should want £6,000. If that were a proper sum the expenditure for England should be £42,000, and for Ireland, which had one-and-three-quarters more population than Scotland, £10,500. He moved that the Vote be reduced by £1,500.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £2,546, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland." — (Mr. M'Laren.)
said, he thought the Vote by no means extravagant. To compare usefully the expenditure upon lunatics in England and Ireland with that in Scotland would require a greater knowledge of the details of the subject than either he or the hon. Member possessed. Before the appointment of the Board, 12 years ago, the condition of lunatics in Scotland was worse than that of the same unfortunate class of persons in any other part of the United Kingdom, whereas it was now the best. The present Board had discharged its duties most efficiently in every respect, and to the entire satisfaction of the community. With reference to the conduct of the Government in filling up the vacancy caused by the failure of health of one of the paid Commissioners of Lunacy in Scotland, which had been attacked by the hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Craufurd) at an earlier period of the evening, he could assure the House that the subject had received the most careful consideration at the hands of the Government, and they found that the duties of the paid Com- missioners were so arduous that it was impossible that a single individual could discharge them. The Board visited every asylum in Scotland once a year. There were two Commissioners and two sub-Commissioners. The former had each £2,000 a year, and the latter £600; the secretary had £600, and the salaries of the clerks ranged from £90 to £250 a year each. The travelling expenses of the two Commissioners and the two sub-Commissioners amounted to only £1,100, though they had to visit the lunatics boarded in private houses as well as those in the asylums. The late Sir James Clark, so lately as January last, said that a better working Board than that of the Lunacy Commissioners in Scotland could not be, and that distinguished man hoped that nothing would be done to impair its efficiency.
said, the Lord Advocate had not answered the remarks of the hon. Member for Edinburgh. No one said a word against the efficiency of the Board. What his hon. Friend found fault with was the expense as compared with that incurred for a similar object in England. The fact was that in Scotland there was a much larger staff of officials in proportion to the population than in England.
said, he did not go with his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) in his argument founded on the expense as compared with that in England. Travelling in Scotland was a different tiling from travelling in England as regarded expense. Sometimes it took a Commissioner six weeks to make a visitation when the Orkney Islands were included in his journey. What he found fault with was that the Lord Advocate and the Government did not attend to the recommendations of the Camperdown Commission. The present Lord Justice Clerk stated before the Commission that one Commissioner of Lunacy would be sufficient. If the Lord Advocate did not concur in that opinion why had he not attended before the Commission and stated his reasons for dissenting from it?
said, the services rendered by the Lunacy Commission in Scotland had been very valuable. As to the difference in the cost between England and Scotland the establishment charges of a small institution were necessarily relatively larger than the es- tablishment charges of a large one; and while in England the Assistant Commissioners visited a number of lunatics collected together in asylums, in Scotland there were a large number of lunatics scattered very sparsely over wide districts. He had filled up the vacancy caused by the retirement of Dr. Brown from the Lunacy Board, because on inquiry he was satisfied that it was necessary to do so.
Question put, and negatived.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
(5.) £11,703, to complete the sum for Poor Law Commission, Scotland.
said, he wished to know how it was that a lump sum of £10,000 was granted in the Estimates for medical poor relief in Scotland, while in England and Ireland the amount allowed was half the actual expenditure on that account. In Scotland the medical expenditure was upwards of £30,000 a year, of which only £10,000 was supplied by the Treasury; but in England and in Ireland the moiety of the expenses allowed amounted to no less than £150,000.
Vote agreed to.
Resolutions to be reported.
The Clerk, at the Table, informed the House, That Mr. Speaker was prevented by indisposition from resuming the Chair this evening.
Whereupon Mr. Dodson, the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, took the Chair as Deputy Speaker, pursuant to the Standing Order.
Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next.
Committee to sit again upon Monday next.
Census Bill—Bill 211
( Mr. Secretary Bruce, Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen.)
Order for Second Reading read.
said, he did not know that any objection was entertained on the part of the Nonconformists to a real Census of religion being taken; but in 1861 they felt a reasonable objection to the manner in which a series of questions was proposed to be asked in order to get at the religious opinions of the people. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department would give a distinct assurance that there was no intention to insert in this Bill any clause which might excite apprehension on that subject.
said, he, on the other hand, hoped that before the measure was passed it would contain provisions for obtaining an accurate enumeration of the religious opinions of the country. It was the practice of almost every civilized nation in Europe, with the exception of Spain and Holland, when they took the Census of the population not to confine their Returns to the number of the people, their industrial occupations, and the like, but also to collect proper statistical information on so very important a point as their religious opinions. Of course, a religious Census could not have been taken in Spain, for until recently it was penal for anyone to profess any other religion than that adopted by the State. In Prussia, which was famous for its toleration, so particular were they to obtain accurate information on the subject, that when the last Census was taken they went to the trouble of separating Christians who professed the Greek religion from the Roman Catholics — though they numbered only 300 or 400—with whom they had, up to that time, been enumerated. Again, in Ireland they had complete Returns of all the religious denominations, which were equally concurred in by Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. That being so, how, he would ask, did they stand in England? In England, with the exception of the Returns made in 1851, they had no statistical facts on the point to which he was referring, and the Report of Mr. Horace Mann was founded entirely on the accidental attendance on a particular Sunday at certain churches and chapels. That Return members of the Church of England had always maintained to be fallacious so far as the inferences drawn from it were concerned. The chief strength of the Church lay in the rural districts, while that of the Dissenters lay in the manufacturing towns. Now, on a rainy Sunday large numbers would be absent from the country churches, while that accidental circumstance would have practically no effect on the attendance at the town chapels. In towns, too, the chapels were so close together that it was asserted that in more towns than one the children had been driven from one chapel to another, and counted over and over again. [Cries of "Name!"] He simply said that that had been stated to be a fact. Now, what the members of the Church contended for was that a real test should be applied, and that a person should be called upon to declare to what religion he belonged, as was done in other countries. When the Census Bill for 1861 was introduced by the Government of Lord Palmerston, it contained clauses providing that a religious Census of England and Scotland should be taken as well as of Ireland. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, who was at the time Secretary of State for the Home Department, while defending those clauses, stated that he felt himself obliged to withdraw them; but that he hoped the expiration of another 10 years would bring those hon. Gentlemen who opposed them to reason on the subject. Lord Palmerston also ended his remarks on the occasion to which he was alluding by saying — "We have deferred to their feelings, but we cannot assent to their reasons." Now, however, that another decennial period had elapsed they found themselves almost the only nation in Europe which declined to have a true religious Census of the people. He was sorry the opposition with regard to Scotland had been renewed. As to the remonstrances on the subject which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had a short time since stated he would lay on the Table, he would only observe that he had not seen them, the only statements bearing on the question which had come to his knowledge being those which had been referred to by his hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn), which went in an entirely opposite direction. The Statistical Society recommended that a religious Census of the people should be taken in the plainest possible form. The religious Returns of Mr. Horace Mann had been made the foundation of attacks on the Church of England, and it was not Churchmen who were afraid of having a true Census taken, because, if that were done, they would, they believed, stand in a very different position before the country.
said, he regretted that a subject which was of so much general interest could not be properly discussed owing to the great accumulation of business under the consideration of the House. As to the taking of a religious Census, he must say that the great preponderance of opinion appeared him to to be in favour of such an enumeration. Nor did he think his hon. Friend the Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) objected to a religious Census provided it were accurately taken. That being so, he would suggest to his hon. Friend how much better it would be if he would direct his acute mind to ascertaining the best mode of making such a Census, rather than precluding the country from having information which was of great interest. There were other points, too, he might add, on which the Census, as hitherto taken, was supposed to be altogether unreliable. The occupations of persons, for instance, were directed to be taken; but there was no distinct enumeration of those occupations. As everybody was aware, many persons had several occupations. A man, for example, might be a farmer and a grocer, but it often happened that he was set down in the Returns as a grocer, while as a farmer he was left out. But landed proprietors were, perhaps, more inaccurately dealt with than any other class. The House would scarcely believe that the whole male landed proprietors of England were set down as only 15,000. His conviction was that if that number were multiplied by 10 it would fall short of the real number. He found that in the large county in which he resided the number of landed proprietors was given as 294; whereas there was, he believed, nearly half that number in his own parish. To what false conclusions did not such inaccurate statements lead? Orators went throughout the country proclaiming that the whole of the land was in the possession of 15,000 male proprietors. And it was not a little curious that the female were put down as outnumbering the male proprietors. He trusted, therefore, the Secretary of State would take powers in the Bill to secure more accurate information. As regards himself, he was a landed proprietor, though not a large one. One of his occupations was that of a brewer; he was a large cooper, and had various other occupations, but in the Census they were all sunk in his occupation as brewer. He was there a brewer and nothing more. He was persuaded that he should be supported by the general feeling of the House when he pressed on the Secretary of State for the Home Department to insert clauses in the Bill for the purpose of getting accurate information both for a religious Census and to ascertain the number of landed proprietors.
said, in reply to the hon. Member for Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate), he could state that the Dissenters were quite as ready as Churchmen to have a perfect and true Census of the religious opinions of the people, and he believed that the Government had exercised a wise discretion in not insisting on that mode which was evidently in the mind of the hon. Member. It was impossible to have a true representation of the religious opinions of the people by a house-to-house inquiry. According to the arguments used in the course of the discussion on the Education Bill, a large number of the people had no religion at all. ["Oh!"] It had been one of the strongest arguments for passing the Education Bill, that many of the parents were people who would give their children no religious education, because they had no religion themselves; and what was wanted was that they should be put down in a religious Census as members of the Church of England. ["No, no!"] The inmates of gaols and poor-houses, though very few of them might really be Dissenters or Church of England people, yet would all profess to be members of the Establishment rather than say that they were of no religion at all. Were they, then, to have a fraudulent Census, or a true representation of the opinions of the people? He contended that as things now stood in reference to the Established Church, which legally embraced the whole population, they ought not to attempt to draw any inference from a house-to-house inquiry.
said, he wished to know the intentions of the Government on this subject. It seemed to him to be the imperative duty of the Government to include the religion of the country in the approaching Census, unless they had some really good reason for omitting it. Ten years ago the Scottish people objected to an indication of religious opinions being included in the Census; but now they had withdrawn that objection. [Cries of "No!"] Such he inferred to be the case from what had fallen from the Secretary of State for the Home Department; and the Irish people likewise had no objection to the religious opinions of their country being included in the Census. The Church of England people in this country, and the Roman Catholics likewise, had no objection, and when this was the case there ought to be some very strong reason why, if a few Nonconformists objected, they should overrule the inclinations of all the rest of the country. The hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall) plainly stated that the Nonconformists of England had no objection to a religious Census, provided it was a true one. Then the whole question was at an end, and the Government should so draw the Bill as to make it effect what all parties were in favour of—namely, the taking of the Census in a true and honest manner. When he put some Questions to the Secretary of State for the Home Department the other night on this subject, the right hon. Gentleman failed to give a clear answer to any one of them. The right hon. Gentleman had produced some Papers. [Mr. BRUCE: They were moved for."] Why had not the right hon. Gentleman produced others? [Mr. BRUCE: They were not moved for.] Where were they and what were they? [Mr. BRUCE: Move for them.] He thought that on this public question of importance, when he asked for information, he was entitled to something more than the evasive answer that he should move for Papers. All that the House had got was a Paper from that important body the Statistical Society, and they strongly urged, what 19 out of every 20 of them desired, that a religious Census should be taken. Let it be taken truly, and let the people know what the truth was.
said, he must protest against the statement that he had withheld information, and he was ready to produce any information which the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington) chose to move for. He had already told the right hon. Baronet that the Government had not received memorials against a religious Census, so far as England was concerned, but that 10 years ago objections were urged to it, on the ground—the validity of which was generally admitted—that it was impossible to take a religious Census compulsorily, and that if it was permissive it would be ineffective. He was bound to say that memorials had come to the Home Office, especially from Scotland, urging the Government to have a religious Census. In Scotland there was the same opposition to a religious Census 10 years ago that existed in England. He, therefore, rejoiced to receive memorials from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and also from the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, insisting upon a religious Census; and it was on the strength of these memorials that he stated that the Government would willingly accede to the desire of the people of England and Scotland. But he had since been inundated by memorials from the United Presbyterians, and even from large numbers of the Free Church of Scotland, solemnly protesting against this change, and declaring that the representations received from the General Assemblies of the Established and Free Churches of Scotland did not represent the general feeling of the people. He was bound to act on the same principle in England and Scotland, and not to enforce a religious Census. With regard to a religious Census it was somewhat remarkable that each denomination was anxious for it if each could have it in its own way; but that was impossible. On the other hand, there was much in what had been stated, so clearly and honestly by the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall), that there was every reason to believe the Returns, when made, would not give a real representation. Reference had been made to the case of Ireland; but Ireland was mainly an agricultural population. The large towns, in which the obstacles to a religious Census were greatest, were few. There were but three forms of religion. The numbers not included in those were extremely small; and there was no difficulty in ascertaining what was the religion of the three great bodies. There were not, as in this country, those large numbers in the great towns who hardly felt or professed any religion, and who were left to be reckoned as belonging to the State Church. The owner of a house had to make a return of the religion of the inmates, and when, as frequently occurred in populous towns, the number of these amounted to 40 it would be seen how little reliance could be placed on the accuracy of the return in that respect. The Nonconformists were extremely anxious that a religious Census should be taken with reference to the church or chapel accommodation afforded by particular denominations and the attendance on a particular day; but there were many reasons why such a Census could not be relied on as giving a really fair representation of the state of the religious denominations. The attendance on the day of enumeration would be far more full than on other days, owing to the action of the ministers, and of the congregations themselves acting from honest emulation between different denominations, and where such organization was exerted the advantage would be on the side of the Nonconformists. The Government would be happy to make a compromise, and to adopt both forms of enumeration; but he feared, from the inquiries he had made, that it would not be accepted; and unless there was a willing co-operation in that which could not be made compulsory, the result would not be such as to command confidence. His hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. M. T. Bass) had asked for a much larger and fuller industrial Census; but he did not see that this was practicable. There were in the proposed Census eight different heads, and the number of facts returned were 130,000,000. Every additional fact required to be returned applicable to the whole population would be an increase of 21,000,000. That would require special enumerators, and the whole system under which the Census was taken must be altered. The attempt minutely to define employments frequently caused misconception and led to erroneous conclusions. It had frequently been said, and he had recently seen it stated, on the supposed authority of the Census, by a writer in Révue des deux Mondes, that the number of landowners in England was only 30,066; but the fact was that there was no special heading of landowner, and that description was only resorted to by those who had no other employment. Hence the incompleteness of the Return. The inaccuracy of the number given would be the more manifest when it was considered that, whereas the total owners of land were given at 30,066, the female proprietors of land were given at 15,633—of the palpable absurdity of the number of female proprietors of land exceeding the number of male proprietors. He had no doubt that the number of landowners was at least 10 times as great as it appeared in the Census. Directions would be given by which he hoped that error would in future be prevented. With respect to the Bill itself, it contained exactly the same details as in the Census Bill of 1860. There was always, of course, an advantage in having a complete Census, so that they might have an account of the progress made by the country from time to time. It was from no disinclination on the part of the Government that they declined to undertake a religious Census; but because they felt that unless a general desire for it were expressed by the people there would not be that amount of co-operation which was absolutely necessary to secure any satisfactory result. When the House went into Committee it would be open to any hon. Member to vary or extend the subjects of inquiry; but the Government thought that the multiplication of such subjects would only tend to diminish the accuracy of the Returns.
said, he wished to call the attention of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to the 4th clause, requiring the head of a family to make a return of the blind, deaf, and dumb. He (Mr. Assheton) could see no reason why a column should not be devoted to a return of persons who were idiots, insane, or of unsound mind. If the heads of families felt any objection to making such returns, the enumerators, who had power to correct them, could very easily do so, because the presence of the persons of whom he wished to have a return was generally a matter of notoriety in the districts in which they lived.
said, that when the Census of 1861 was taken, the whole body of the Nonconformists expressed their strong disapprobation of the form in which it was at first proposed that it should be taken—namely, by asking every individual what was his "religious profession." He believed there was no exception to this disapprobation, and perhaps the Wesleyan Methodists were among the most determined, although their own organization and statistics were so complete. Many Churchmen, both in the House, and out of it, also expressed indignation that Government should make such an inquiry. The reasons for the objection were briefly these—It was felt that the inquiry into men's religious faith was beyond the province of the civil Government. It was also believed that in many cases, especially among servants, workpeople, and tradespeople, the avowal of belonging to a different Church from their masters or rich customers might possibly lead to inconvenient consequences. But the great objection of all was that which had been so strongly stated by his hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Miall)—namely, that there was no probability whatever of a correct result. It was a lamentable fact, brought out in the Report which accompanied the Census of Religious Worship in 1851, that a very large number of the people did not attend any place of worship. It was stated that something like 5,000,000 of persons in England and Wales, who were able to attend divine service, were absent on the Census Sunday; and a large proportion of them were inferred to be "habitual neglecters" of public worship. Now if that were so, what would be the use of asking these "neglecters" what was their "religious profession?" What honest, correct, or useful result could be obtained? He assured the House that the Dissenters had no objection whatever to a Census of Religious Worship on the plan of the only religious Census ever made in England—namely, that of 1851. In the year 1860, when the Census Bill for 1861 was brought forward, he himself made this declaration in that House on the part of the Nonconformists, and he even moved that the Census should be taken in that form. But the Church party on the opposite Benches were as strongly hostile to that form of Census as they on the Liberal side were hostile to demanding from every man his "religious profession." Therefore, the Government determined not to take a religious Census in either form. It seemed to him that the only fair way to judge of the real numbers of a religious body was to ascertain the amount of accommodation which they provided for religious worship, and the number of worshippers who actually attended. This was done in 1851 with the utmost care, and with repeated applications during nearly three years to obtain a correct result; and this furnished the only test and index of the strength of the religious bodies, as such. If Gentlemen opposite would consent to such a plan being acted upon, he be- lieved the Church of England would have a great advantage; for he believed—though he could not state the fact with certainty—that within the last 20 years the number of churches had considerably increased, and to a greater extent than the places of worship belonging to other denominations. Such was his impression, and therefore it would place the numbers of the Church of England in a very good position if they would consent to a Census being taken of the places of worship, and the number of persons attending them; and to this the Dissenters would have no objection.
thanked the hon. Member for Leeds for having placed this question before the House in such a candid, truly Christian, and liberal spirit—a spirit, which he must add, was in strong contrast to the angry declamation of the hon. Member for Bradford. The hon. Member for Leeds was willing to have a religious Census; but he denied that it was the duty of the State to enter into the field of conscience. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) took issue with the hon. Gentleman on that point, and called on those who agreed with him to justify that jealous limitation in one respect of the rights of the State in connection with their views upon the political action of Nonconformists in other respects. Almost every day the privileges, the responsibilities, and the political position of various religious communities were a matter of serious discussion, as was shown by the Irish Church Bill of last Session and by one of the two principal Bills of the present one. Almost every day different sects employed their religious organization as a means of their own social and civil advancement. He did not blame them for that. It would show a limited perception of the circumstances of free citizenship if they acted otherwise; but they must take their responsibilities along with their privileges. A sect which considered it unlawful to have any connection with or cognizance of mundane politics was alone justified in refusing to co-operate with the State in such a matter as a Census. Such a sect was, in its original condition, that of the Friends or Quakers; but even the Quakers have now seceded from their ancient non-political position. It was only right that when the different sects came to Parliament claiming all the rights and privileges of sects they should let it be known what their numbers were. The arguments both of the Home Secretary and the hon. Member for Bradford went too far, because they went against any Census at all. They both dwelt upon the invidiousness of statistics, and the false position in which it would put the master of the house in regard to its inmates. But on looking at the proposed Census form, he saw one heading of "age." Was not this just as invidious? Suppose the head of the house had to collect the ages of respectable maiden ladies; suppose that head was herself such a maiden lady. Such arguments were not really appeals to reason. After all, the Census papers were confidential; they were not published to the world. They must depend upon the fidelity and secresy of the collectors, and it was impossible to have any statistics without having a great deal that was disagreeable in them, for it was disagreeable to be brought to book. On such grounds, there ought to be no income tax, and no licences in lieu of the assessed taxes. The Home Secretary personally wanted a religious Census, and had argued strongly in favour of one; but the hon. Member for Bradford and those whom he led were afraid, and therefore we were not to have those valuable statistics which the Government desired. The Government had gone so far as to offer to take the Census both ways—the way of personal persuasion and that of attendance at worship. The hon. Member for Leeds had, with his natural candour, owned that he believed that the latter Census would prove how much the Church had increased upon Dissent. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) also believed it; at the same time, he felt it right to show how this very increase would create a difficulty in the collection of the statistics. In many churches the Sunday services had outrun the old modicum of once or twice per day. In the church he himself went to in London there were six Sunday services. To reckon the attendants at all these services as different persons, would be to allow too much; while, only to count the sittings, and, perhaps, double them, would be to allow too little. Still, with these difficulties, which were only matters of detail, he willingly accepted the offer. They all accepted it. ["No, no!"] Well, then, those who objected were afraid; they were afraid of the Census in one shape, and doubly afraid of in two shapes. They confessed their fear, and the people would take note of their fright, and of the reason why. But if they took the Census in both shapes they would get everything that was wanted; they would have the estimate of the religion of the people out of their own mouths, and also by their works. The Government would accept that, and the great majority of the people, if not acted upon by stump speeches, would accept it too.
said, this was not an ordinary question, as the information required was taken only once every 10 years. The form and extent of that information ought not to be thrown on the Secretary of State to determine, but ought to receive full discussion in the House. He would like on that account to move the adjournment of the debate; but as time was valuable he would not do so, provided he obtained an assurance that on the Motion that the Speaker do leave the Chair an opportunity for full discussion would be given. He considered that a religious Census was not a desirable thing.
said, he would suggest that the number of marriages between cousins should form a part of the information required. It was believed that consanguineous marriages were injurious throughout the whole vegetable and animal kingdoms, and it was desirable to ascertain whether that was not the case with the whole human race. The information in question might be obtained in this country by one simple Census.
said, he hoped hon. Gentlemen opposite would give their assent to the very reasonable proposition which had been made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
said, he thought the Bill should have been brought on earlier. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would adhere to the Bill in the shape in which it stood.
was anxious that the subject should be really and thoroughly discussed. There were other points besides the religious Census that required to be considered. He should like to have an assurance that an opportunity for doing so would be afforded on the Motion for going into Committee. If it was possible to take a religious Census in Ireland he did not see why it could not be done in England.
said, that Churchmen themselves were very much divided, and that if there were a religious Census the numbers of High Churchmen, Broad Churchmen, and Low Churchmen ought to be ascertained.
said, he was favourable to the proposal made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
said, that the objections to a religious Census prevailed chiefly in large towns.
said, he was of opinion that the chief importance of religious statistics was to discover how many practical heathens there were in the country. He objected to political capital being sought to be made out of the members of the several religious bodies.
said, he looked upon such statistics as being most valuable.
said, he did not see how a religious Census could be properly taken by going from house to house.
said, he saw no difficulty whatever in taking a correct religious Census. He trusted the Secretary of State for the Home Department would take into consideration the five recommendations made by the Statistical Society.
said, he would beg hon. Members to allow the Bill to be read a second time, as there had been quite enough talk about it.
Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday next.
House adjourned at a quarter before Three o'clock till Monday next.