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Lords' Amendments

Volume 203: debated on Thursday 4 August 1870

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Lords' Amendments considered.

said, he would propose that this House do disagree with the Amendment, as it had been carried in the other House by a small majority only, and, as he thought it was only fair, when they were imposing the duty of providing education for the people on the school Boards, that those bodies should have the power of opening free schools where special circumstances rendered them necessary.

Amendment disagreed to.

said, he had to propose to agree to the Amendment, as far as requiring the Minutes to be laid on the Table of both Houses went—a regulation which now existed under the Education Code, and which the Government had no intention of withdrawing; but he would suggest that the period should be limited to one month instead of six weeks.

Lords' Amendment agreed to.

moved that the House do agree with the Lords' Amendments in respect of the Ballot at elections for school Boards.

said, he wished, in perfect good humour, to say that as the House of Commons had sat up till 5 o'clock to insert in the Bill the plan of voting by Ballot, he should have expected that the Government would have insisted on retaining it. He only rose to point out that hon. Members on the Opposition side had been successful. Very little satisfaction had been given by the Government to Members on their own side during the passage of the Bill through the House of Commons. Having first adopted a real Ballot the Government afterwards turned it into a sham Ballot, and subsequently with, as it appeared to him, the acquiescence of the Government, the House of Lords struck out even the sham, and the Ballot was to be buried for this year without one mourner from the Treasury Bench to follow it to the grave. It was the one little concession that had been made to the Gentlemen below the Gangway. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were in a hopeless condition last year when assorting principles which they had now the gratification of seeing embodied in this Bill; but as a minority had been thus successful, those who were in a minority below the Gangway might hope to be successful in their turn. Members on his side of the House had had their little success in reference to the Inclosure Bill, and now Gentlemen opposite had their great success in getting rid of the Ballot; but even with regard to the Ballot he hoped that the good fortune of hon. Gentlemen opposite to-day would be that of hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House at no distant day. As to the Bill itself, adopting words which Scott used in the conclusion of Rob Roy, he would say—"There are many things owre bad for blessing and owre gude for banning, like Rob Roy."

said, he was glad that his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) had treated the matter good-humouredly, and had concluded the long discussion on that subject with such a pleasant quotation. He thought the honours of the battle remained with those who had fought for the Ballot, because the election would be by Ballot in the metropolis, and it was in the metropolis the most important elections would be held between this and the time when it would be necessary to have fresh legislation in respect of the mode of election. The mode of election provided by this Bill would remain in force for only a year. He hoped his hon. and learned Friend would not be able to say after the next elections that the Ballot which would be applied was a sham. He thought that it would not be expedient to fight the question further in the present year. It was not a minority on either side who had succeeded in the case of this Bill. The success was on the part of an enormous majority in that House who were resolved to establish a system of truly national education.

said, that he had sat up till half-past 5 in the morning for the purpose of supporting the Ballot principle when it was proposed in this Bill. His hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) had left the House and gone to his bed at 1 o'clock. He thought that was a fair measure of the degree of zeal which each of them respectively had for the Ballot. He rejoiced to think that the vast majority of the House had shown that they were more anxious about national education than about individual crotchets. He was very grateful for what the House had done for education, and he would express his thanks to his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council for the manner in which he had carried the measure through the House. He did not believe that any other man in England could have done the work so well; and as his hon. and learned Friend had concluded with a prose quotation, he would conclude with a poetical one, and, referring to the Vice President, use words of Tennyson—

"One still strong man in a blatant land,
Who can act, and dare not lie."

said, this matter of the Ballot was one of the greatest consequence, and he protested against its being treated in a humorous manner.

said, he must deny that the advocates of the Ballot had shown any want of interest in the question of national education. He did not regard the measure which was now passing through Parliament as by any means final, for it was not national in its proportions, was eleemosynary in its character, and it was unworthy of a popular and reformed House of Commons.

Lords' Amendments agreed to.

Committee appointed, "to draw up Reasons to be assigned to The Lords for disagreeing to the Amendment to which this House hath disagreed:"—Mr. WILLIAM EDWARD FORSTER, Mr. GLADSTONE, Mr. Secretary BRUCE, Mr. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN, Mr. STANSFELD, Mr. ARTHUR PEEL, Mr. DODSON, Mr. CRAWFORD, Mr. KAY-SHUTTLE-WORTH, and Mr. GLYN:—To withdraw immediately; Three to be the quorum.
Reason for disagreeing to Lords Amendment reported, and agreed to.
To be communicated to The Lords.