House Of Commons
Tuesday, 16th May, 1876.
Sheriffs (Ireland)—Retention Of Levies—Question
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If he is aware that a practice exists in several counties and towns in Ireland of sheriffs and their deputies over holding for a considerable time, in their own hands, large sums of money belonging to traders, which they (the sheriffs) levied by execution or decree, in place of handing it over to those entitled to same; and, if so, whether the Government will take any steps to prevent these officials from continuing this practice?
In answer to the Question, I have to state that it is possible this practice may exist in some counties, but I have not been able to discover that it prevails to any extent; and, if it did, as the sheriffs and sub-sheriffs are not under the control of the Executive Government, it would not be a matter in which the Executive Government could interfere. If the creditors of persons interested in these funds have any cause to complain they have their remedy by action at law against the sheriffs.
Navy—Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers—Question
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, If he intends to take any steps this Session to increase the number (now only three hundred) of the Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers, who have been so favourably reported upon as thoroughly efficient, and as available, on the shortest notice, in the event of war; and, whether he will afford the members of the London Brigade greater facilities for drill and exercise, in the vicinity of Somerset House, than is offered on board Her Majesty's Gunboat "Rainbow?"
, in reply, said, he should be very glad to see the number of Royal Naval Artillery Volunteers increased, but their increase depended upon the public spirit of those who had leisure and who were qualified to serve in that corps. With regard to facilities for drill, he had not had any application for further facilities in the neighbourhood of Somerset House, nor was he aware, if such application had been made, that a larger ship than the Rainbow could be placed there for the purpose.
Supreme Court Of Judicature Act, 1873—Official Referees
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the inquiries upon the necessity for which he grounded the withdrawal of the Vote for the Salaries of the Official Referees has yet been made; whether the Referee whose appointment was then specially challenged has, in the meantime, entered on the duties of his office; and, if not, whether he will undertake that, before anything further is done, and before the Referees enter on their duties, he will inform the House of the result of his inquiries, and will take the deferred Vote; and, whether he can name an early day for ascertaining the opinion of the House upon this appointment?
, in reply, said, that on the occasion to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred the Vote for the salaries of the official referees was before the Committee of Supply, and that Vote was challenged upon the allegation that one of the gentlemen who had been ap- pointed to the office of official referee was not properly qualified, for his position. There seemed to be some uncertainty as to the circumstances of his appointment, and it was considered most desirable that the Vote should be withdrawn for the time, he undertaking to make inquiry of the Lord Chancellor as to the appointment in question. The Lord Chancellor had written him a letter of considerable length, which he requested him to read to the House, on the subject; but from what he had seen of the matter it was one which would occupy more time than ought properly to be given to it in answering a Question. They would, however, soon be in a position, he hoped, to bring the Vote forward again, and then all explanations would be given. He could not state then when they would go into Supply upon the Civil Service Estimates, but when they did, this Vote would be taken first. He understood that the referees entered upon their duties at the beginning of April, and in that position they stood at present. He thought it was probable that the Vote would be brought forward on Friday week, but he could not say for certain.
Egypt—Ministry Of Finance—The Decree—Question
asked the right honourable Member for Shoreham, Whether he can explain the discrepancies of the items of Revenue assigned in the Khedive's Decree of May 7, for the service of the new "unified debt" (amounting to a Revenue of £6,495,257 per annum), and the corresponding one at page 13 of his Report; whether it be not the fact that the whole Revenue (excluding the item of Moukabala, which is to be "arrested in its operation,") is £8,892,392; while the expenditure (excluding £5,036,675 for interest on the old debts and annuities, but adding the interest on the new "unified debt,") is £9,704,366; and, if so, from what sources the interest on the Suez Canal shares, and on the "anticipatory payments" of Moukabala (viz. £6,124,472) are to be paid; whether the new "unified debt" is still £91,000,000, or has been increased during the last few days; and, whether the item of £990,806 (given in the Decree as the annual income from the railways) is not liable to large deductions by greater expenditure for maintenance and renewal?
It is quite impossible to compare page 13 of my Report with the figures in the Decree, because they are arranged on a totally different principle. My Report gives a total of revenue; but the items in the Decree are fractions of that total set aside for a particular purpose. And I may say that, though I am quite willing to explain anything in my Report, I cannot undertake to reconcile it with schemes for which I am not in the least responsible, and which I have never even seen in extenso, but which are contained in telegrams which have been more than once altered and amended by telegraph. With regard to the second Question, I have, in page 11 of my Report, computed the whole revenue, exclusive of the Moukabala, at £9,158,000, to which, of course, considerable addition must be made by the revival of the land tax on the arrest of the Moukabala. [Lord ROBERT MONTAGU: Deduction, not addition.] No! addition. The noble Lord says that the figures in his Question are exclusive of the Moukabala, and if the operation of the Moukabala be arrested, the land tax revives, and the receipts of revenue I have computed must be increased to a considerable extent. The interest on the Suez Canal shares is included in the sum set apart for the expenses of the administration of Government. Upon the rest of the Question I can give no information. The scheme for the arrest of the Moukabala has not been clearly explained, and seems somewhat obscure. In answer to the third Question, I am not in a position to give any certain information about the present total of the debt. But no doubt all debts bearing interest have a tendency to grow from day to day. With regard to the last Question, I will, with the permission of the House, read the passage which refers to the railways in page 5 of my Report—
I have nothing to alter in or add to that statement."The net revenues of the railways have increased from £750,000 a-year in 1873 to £990,800 in 1875; but this rate of increase cannot be entirely relied upon, as more of the gross receipts will necessarily be required for maintenance and renewal as the permanent way becomes worn, and deficient crops would cause diminished traffic. Still, even after making these allowances, an honest and intelligent administration of the railways would probably produce a larger revenue,"
Army And Navy Surgeons
asked the Secretary of State for War, If it be in contemplation to employ foreign medical men, with foreign diplomas, in the Military or Naval Services of the Country?
, in reply, said, that the medical officers in the Army and Navy had to be natives of the country or naturalized subjects, and no foreign diploma would qualify a man for such a commission. He must be a registered practitioner under the Medical Registration Act.
United States—The Extradition Treaty—The Winslow Case
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Government have come to a final decision on the subject of the extradition of the prisoner demanded by the Government of the United States, and when the Papers relating to the subject will be presented to this House?
, in reply, said, that Winslow, the prisoner alluded to, was still in custody. The application for his release was a second time postponed for 10 days on the 13th instant, in consequence of a representation made to the learned Judge by the Attorney General. That representation was made on the ground that a Note had been written by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the United Chargé ďAffaires in London in answer to the last representation received by Her Majesty's Government from the Government of the United States. The Note of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had not reached Washington on Saturday last when the release of the prisoner was asked for, and on that ground the learned Judge granted the postponement. With regard to the Papers which his hon. and learned Friend had asked for, they were in preparation, and would be presented to the House as soon as the Correspondence had closed.
My hon. Friend has not answered my Ques- tion, which was whether Her Majesty's Government had come to a final decision on the subject?
:I thought the answer might be inferred from what I have said. The Government could not come to a final decision on the matter until they received the answer from the United States Government to the Note addressed to them by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Bankers Deposits—Financial Panics—Resolution
, in rising to call the attention of the House to certain existent causes and conditions which have in the past conduced to the occurrence of Financial Panics, and which tend to their recurrence; to suggest certain legislative remedies; and to move—
said, he would not argue the proposition that if it be possible to prevent the occurrence, or diminish the frequency, or restrict the operation of financial panics, it was desirable to do so. He was content to allow that portion of the case which he was about to submit to rest as an assumption to be accepted or rejected according to the dictates of common sense; but he would undertake to show that there were causes and conditions conducive to the occurrence of panics which might be discovered on investigation, of which cognizance ought to be taken, because they could to a large extent be obviated, and satisfactorily dealt with by law, without inflicting the least injury on any class or interest in the Empire. That hon. Members might not mistake the scope or object of his Resolution, he would observe at starting that he was as much opposed as any hon. Member of that House to what might be termed meddling legislation and to measures which infringed upon or hampered freedom of contract. Having said that, however, he would remark that neither in this, nor in any other country with which he was acquainted, was the law of contract, or ought it to be, in all respects perfectly free. Our system, for instance, although one of the freest, had been frequently, and was at present, designed to encourage one species of contract by immunity from tax, or by a light scale of duties, whilst it discouraged or weighted others by heavier imposts. To obviate the dangers which now existed, and which he intended to point out, he would propose that Parliament should do no more than apply this principle of imposing a moderate but appreciable and carefully-graduated scale of duties, under circumstances which it was his duty to prove to the House were sufficiently important to excuse him for occupying its attention. A few more preliminary words might not be out of place. He would propose no remedy which could cost the State anything; on the contrary, the adoption of the measure which he would suggest would open to the State a new, and in the truest sense a most legitimate, source of revenue. His object, however, was quite apart from the consideration of raising revenue, and the measures he was about to suggest had been devised solely with a view to obviate existing conditions conducive to fitful fluctuations in the value of money, and frequently leading to panic. Few, even of those who were generally well informed and highly educated, understood the precise operation of a financial panic; and still fewer were capable of distinguishing—perhaps he should more correctly express it, tried to distinguish—how far the crisis which had occurred was due to the inexorable nature of things, or to what extent it might be a preventible epidemic. They were all, no doubt, familiar with the external symptoms. They first probably read in the newspapers of a considerable fall in the prices of commodities or stocks. When that happened contemporaneously with cheap money—that was to say, with money cheap on loans from day to day, on Government Stock, or on discount of short bills—it was a bad sign, for it indicated forced sales, and want of confidence somewhere. They next probably heard of the stoppage of large firms previ- ously reputed to be wealthy. Then of advancing rates of interest for money, and of the diminution of the reserves at the Bank of England; then, in quick succession, of factories working only half time—of other factories altogether ceasing to work—of ships laid up in dock, or sold at ruinous prices—of furnaces extinguished—of discount houses ruined—of bankruptcies, liquidations—and so forth; and thus they acquired a forcible but somewhat chaotic notion of the disaster which had befallen the community, but of actual diagnosis they had little or none. They no doubt heard what purported to explain how it had all come to pass. One man said—"It was brought about by the failure of two or three great commercial or financial firms, which all stopped payment about the same time; people got alarmed at the extent of the over-trading and rash speculation which were disclosed by accident and magnified by rumour; and great numbers who had never speculated themselves got frightened, not knowing where the evils might end, and some of them withdrew their money from the strongest and most solvent banks. Then these banks had to limit their most legitimate advances, and to call up others in order to pay, or be prepared to pay, their own way; and so solvent people who held value against every pound they owed were driven on the market to sell their stocks at the very worst season to force sales, and then, as a natural consequence of glutting the markets, there came a fall in prices all round, which, no doubt, first broke those who had overtraded most, but then beggared nearly every one who could not carry on his business without credit." He (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) admitted that that was some account of how a panic was brought about. Another would tell the same tale, only that he would attribute the immediate cause of the panic to the outbreak of war, or the rumour of war, which was sometimes, financially speaking, quite as bad news. In respect to such explanations, he would say that they were generally true enough, but they were insufficient. Over-trading and rash speculation, and wars and rumours of wars had undoubtedly a great deal to do with financial panics. They were the untoward and alarming incidents which, so to speak, acted as depressing nervous alteratives on the public mind; but unfortunately, they were incidents which legislation was for the most part powerless to prevent. His observations would scarcely apply to them, and he would try to explain why they should not. The match which lighted the fuse and exploded the mine was, no doubt, in one sense, the cause of the explosion; but one seldom cared to inquire whether the match were of sulphur or phosphorus. What one would desire to know in such a case was, he would say, nearly the same in terms as what they should inquire into now, if they wished to understand the nature of a financial panic. What were the ingredients of the mine, and how were such ingredients combined so as to render them liable to explosion by accident or design? He would try to answer these questions in respect to financial panics before he sat down; he would, however, refer very shortly, in the first instance, to the panics which had occurred from 1825 to 1866. Each panic for the last half century had a history of its own. The panic of 1825 was instigated by the collapse of the numerous South American mining schemes, by which (when the community was much less able to afford it than at present) several millions were lost. The uneasiness and distrust arising out of these unfortunate speculations gave rise to a general run on the banks of that period, and very many hundreds of them closed their doors, never to open them again. It was, no doubt, the collapse of the mining speculations which alarmed the public; but it was the over-issue of notes by those bankers, often wholly unconnected with the collapsed mining adventures, which obliged them to stop payment. There was no very serious panic in England between 1826 and 1847, although there did occur seasons of considerable pressure—notably 1836—and some local panics. The panic of 1847 was caused by the alarm growing out of the numerous failures of persons who had engaged in railway enterprizes and incurred obligations on shares altogether in excess of their financial resources, and by the failure of several mercantile houses, some of them in the corn trade. The amount of interest-bearing deposits in the London banks in 1847 was comparatively small, scarcely more than a tenth of the sum held in 1866. In no instance that he could remember was there a run on any London bank in 1847. One feature of that panic, was, however, worth bearing in mind, and it was the chief reason why he alluded to 1847. The late Mr. S. Gurney—and he was no mean authority—stated that at least from £4,000,000 to £5,000,000 in bank notes were, during that panic, locked up and inoperative, having been drawn out of the several banks by persons whom no rate of interest could tempt to employ the money, and who preferred to keep bank notes rather than lodge the money to their credit in any bank. The panic of 1847 was the first that occurred subsequently to the passing of the Bank Act of 1844. It was allayed by the Government of the day issuing an Order in Council to suspend the operation of the Bank Act, in order to enable the Bank of England to afford temporary assistance to other financial institutions. Within three weeks from the suspension of the Act confidence was restored, and within a month permission to over-issue was formally withdrawn. In 1857 there was again a panic, caused this time by large failures in America. There was again the same remedy—permission to the Bank of England to over-issue to the extent of £2,000,000. Now, he would ask the House to consider what he was about to tell them. Between 1847 and 1857 the deposits in the three principal joint stock banks in London had increased from £7,215,729 in 1847, to £35,501,241 in 1857. Now, inasmuch as there were several other banks established in London in the meantime, whose operations he (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) had not taken into account, he was fully justified in taking the amount of interest-bearing deposits as having increased five-fold within the 10 years referred to. The figures he had quoted were for deposits, whether bearing interest or not; other data, however, which need not be referred to now, convinced him that the increase in the interest-bearing deposits had been continuously and relatively greater than the increase in balances which did not carry interest. In 1859 another cloud passed over the commercial horizon; it arose from the apprehension of a European war. The scare, however, passed away without producing actual panic. The year 1864 was very remarkable. From spring to autumn it boded very badly. People, however, since 1866 appeared to have forgotten the deep anxieties and vicissitudes of 1864; and yet it was the fact that never since the usury laws were repealed had so great a pressure or so high a rate of interest prevailed for a whole year as in 1864. The average rate of discount for that year, at the Bank of England, was 7½per cent. In the panic year of 1866 it averaged no more than 7. The panic of 1866 was sufficiently recent to be within the recollection of most of the Members of that House; he had, therefore, no intention of going through its details, but would quote the words of Mr. John P. Gassiot, one of the directors of the largest of the great London joint-stock banks, who thus summarized the condition to which the banking and financial community were reduced on the 11th May, 1866, before the issue of the Order in Council suspending the Bank Act. These were Mr. Gassiot's words—"That this House is of opinion that Her Majesty's Government should take into its early consideration whether it would not be for the advantage of the Country that a moderate and graduated stamp or composition Duty should be levied in respect to all interest-bearing deposits with bankers in the United Kingdom, and whether the scale and incidence of such Duty may not be so devised as to encourage the making of such deposits for fixed periods and renewable periods, as for instance from three months to three months, in preference to the system which has grown up and now prevails, whereby the greater number and amount of the interest-bearing deposits in the United Kingdom are held subject to recall at a few days' notice,"
He (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) admitted that he might now be fairly expected to give his own view of those conditions of our financial and commercial system which, he maintained, conduced to the occurrence of financial panics, and to much of the disturbance which sometimes occurred without eventuating in positive panic; and this he would do as briefly as possible. They all knew that the trade of this country was now, and always had been, largely carried on with borrowed money. They did not, however, sufficiently take into consideration this other fact—that it was so carried on with money borrowed twice over. The last-mentioned circumstance was, however, the key to the problem which they had to solve. The banker was the first borrower. He (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) had already shown that between 1847 and 1857 the deposits in three London joint stock banks had increased from £7,000,000 to £35,000,000. Between 1857 and 1866 the deposits in these three banks had increased from £35,000,000 to £57,000,000. Now, they must reflect that what had taken place with these three banks was taking place in almost all the other joint-stock banks in the United Kingdom. These monies were—to the extent, probably, of three-fourths or seven-eighths of the whole—borrowed at varying rates of interest, and were made repayable by the banks in each case at call, or on a few days' notice. They had now to bear in mind that the banker, having himself to pay interest for the money, was obliged by the very nature of things to re-lend it, and at a higher rate, in order to reimburse himself. Now, what he did was this—take an individual case—he lent the money to some one who, in return for the money, gave him some other security which the banker deemed sufficient at the time. When that operation was carried out—that was to say, when the banker had re-lent the depositor's money—so far as the banker and depositor were concerned, the money qua money had ceased to exist. It might have gone to Dantzic or to Odessa to pay for a cargo of corn; or it might have gone to St. Petersburg or Vienna to pay for the stuff which the banker had agreed to take as security; or it might have gone into some other security, good or bad. The banker, however, must be presumed to know what he was about, and, as a general rule, he got good security, and with a sufficient margin to protect him from loss. Now, they might take this as certain, that owing to the influx of deposits the normal condition of a banker in this country was that of one seeking to employ money—to lend it on good security at a remunerative rate. He could not afford to have money to any considerable extent idle for which he had himself contracted to pay interest. At this stage they had also to bear in mind that there were not commercial bills in existence to absorb half the money—or anything like half the money—which the bankers had to lend. The banker was, therefore, as an exigency of his business, constrained to advance money largely on financial securities, Government Stock, if he could get it, and he seldom could, railway debentures, railway stocks, canal stocks, Russian, French, or other Government bonds, or suchlike. He believed, and he was generally right in believing, that he could make himself as safe with some of these financial securities as he could be by discounting ordinary commercial bills if they were forthcoming. As a general rule, he obtained good and sufficient security for the ultimate repayment of his advances in all ordinary times. The one consideration, however, which was, or which should, always be present to the banker's mind was this, that as he had himself undertaken to repay his depositors at call, or on a few days' notice, he must be ever vigilant lest anything should occur, or be likely to occur, which could render his securities unmarketable for even the shortest time. Now, let them suppose that at a time when trade was neither very prosperous nor the reverse, considerable activity in some few branches and depression in others, the banker reads some disquieting intelligence. A report, apparently well founded, reaches him as to some formidable foreign complications, or it might be as to some great impending bankruptcy. Some persons believe the news, and others disbelieve it; his own opinion is that, whether it be true or false, it could have very little ultimate effect on the value of the securities in his bank. But this is not a sufficient assurance for him, if he thinks the report might suffice to render the public sensitive, or to bring down market prices; so, without betraying, or admitting that he sees, the slightest symptom of alarm, he quietly calls up a number of his loans, and declines to renew others as they fall due—which comes to the same thing. But the banker whose action he had described acted on information open to all, and it was therefore highly probable that 50 other bankers all over the country—in town and country—acted similarly, without the least concert one with another. Now, the immediate and natural effect of that was, that the customers of the banks, whose loans were called up, put unusual quantities of their stocks or their produce simultaneously on the market, and then—even supposing the amount of purchases to continue the same as usual—a fall of price ensued which, if it continued long without reaction, tended to produce that sensitiveness in the public mind which the banker had himself anticipated, but had also contributed to provoke. He (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) could not blame the bankers at all in this matter. Each banker knew that all other bankers were likely, or liable, to be influenced as he was himself, and at such a time to adopt a stringent policy. Moreover, he knew from experience that if a real pressure, even one far short of a panic, were to come about, the customer who had been earliest forced on the market came off better than those who had been indulged until later on, when lower prices were sure to prevail. When falling prices continued to be telegraphed day after day to the country, many depositors not as yet in the least degree moved by panic, but looking out for good investments, yet hesitating to invest, gave notice to their banker to place the amount of their deposits on the proper day to their credit on current account. If these monies were shortly after chequed away, the banker congratulated himself, and had good reason for doing so, that he had made timely provision for the demand. Many such pressures as those he (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) had described, after a few days of nervousness, or a few weeks, perhaps, passed away; prices rallied; everyone became re-assured; and credit circulated once more through its usual channels. But, on the other hand, if anything to stimulate the excitement and distrust occurred, the pressure continued until at length the point was reached when sales on the market could no longer be made, even at the low figures which were set down as the market price. Prices, in fact, became nominal. At this point, panic amongst depositors might at any moment become intense. It usually began to operate in this fashion—People who were previously in the habit of lodging their daily receipts with their bankers ceased to do so, and whilst they had funds in the bank they paid off their ordinary engagements by drafts on their bankers. Other people drew out their deposits, equally without the appearance of any nervousness, but they thought it well to hold cash in their safes, in preference to having it at their credit in any bank. This latter was something like what Mr. Samuel Gurney stated as having occurred in 1847, when, to his knowledge, some £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 in bank notes were locked up in the safes of private persons. But there are also many who, under such circumstances, hold gold. Concurrently with this process, mercantile and financial failures are announced from day to day. The strongest bankers find themselves at last in this position—that if things continue to go from bad to worse, it is only a question of a very short time when the best must succumb. Therefore, they think something must be done at once to allay the nervousness which by this time has spread widely through depositors. Thereupon a deputation of bankers is organized, which waits on the right hon. Gentleman who happens to be Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being, and Her Majesty's Government is besought to pass, and does pass, an Order in Council to enable the Bank of England to issue bank notes in excess of its ordinary statutable powers, that it may be able to make advances to banks which are in one sense perfectly solvent, and are yet admittedly under such pressure, or in immediate prospect of it, as would render them liable to stop payment. Now, it was their duty to obviate, if they could, such wide-spread evils as had invariably occurred before this last somewhat empirical expedient—the Order in Council—had become the only resource for the strongest and best managed banks. Why should remedial or preventive action only commence when so much mischief had been already done? He said it was a somewhat empirical expedient, and yet it sufficed, because the affection was mainly a nervous one. There was a general, vague apprehension that no one was likely to have money enough to pay his way, and therefore every creditor, or at any rate a vast number of creditors, said to their debtors—"Pay us off." And then the debtors, in this last resort, being great bankers and influential people, waited on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and got the Order in Council issued; whereupon, all at once, as if by magic, or like a miracle following some sacramental act, confidence was restored, and those creditors who the day before were anxious about their money assumed all at once that everything was set right again, and credit was re-instated by the bare tender, or by a mere morsel of relief. The success which had invariably attended the mere issue of the Order in Council—its immediate sedative effect—showed sufficiently that the evil was mainly attributable to apprehension and distrust, and was not due to the existence of obligations attributable to overtrading and reckless speculation, save and except to this extent—which he freely admitted—that public instances of overtrading and unfortunate speculation originated too often the distrust, which then spreads far and wide. Parliament could do but little to check overtrading, or put an end to reckless speculation; but it could, nevertheless, do a great deal to curtail the area over which panic generated by such practices could propagate itself. Parliament could, by the discriminative application of a moderate system of stamp or composition duties, induce the depositing community—that was to say, all who received interest on their deposits—to adopt a routine for the making and calling up of deposits, which, without the slightest unfairness, would preclude the possibility of vast numbers of depositors simultaneously calling up their deposits under the influence of panic. Now, the process whereby that could be done was essentially simple. It was not merely inexpensive, but it might be made the source of very considerable revenue to the State. Save and except the imposition of a moderate and carefully-devised scale of stamp or composition duties—which ought never to be oppressive—he would leave the right of contract between the banker and his depositor precisely as it was at present. He did not propose to apply any rule to, or levy any duty whatever in respect to, deposits or balances in banks which did not bear interest to the depositor. As the banker received those monies without any obligation to pay interest for them, he was not compelled to make use of them by the nature of the transaction, and therefore he might be fairly looked to to have the full monies forthcoming at all times. In the case of interest-bearing deposits, the principle was quite different, and as the banker must be presumed to make use of them, he would propose that the House should so legislate as to lead the public to cultivate a system of business which would introduce more certainty into the dealings of depositors with their bankers. He proposed that all interest-bearing deposits should be made liable to a certain stamp or composition duty, like that now levied on bank notes and on bank bills in circulation. The composition duty now payable by bankers on their notes and bills in circulation was at the rate of 7s. per cent per annum. He did not propose to apply this precise rate in any case, and merely mentioned it because it was an impost of an analogous nature, if not quite similar to that which he was about to suggest. In the matter of impost he proposed that a very light scale indeed should apply to the classes of deposits which should be made least susceptible of being acted upon by nervous or panic-stricken persons. With this view he proposed that every interest-bearing deposit of money made with a banker in the United Kingdom should, if no stipulation to the contrary were made, stand as payable on the day three months following the day of lodgment, and not be of right payable on an earlier day; and, if not demanded on its first day of maturity, should stand as re-lodged for another three months, and so on from three months to three months. These he would call "common deposits." He would suggest their being made subject to a composition duty, payable by the banker, and not chargeable against his depositor, at the rate of 4s. per cent per annum. Nothing should prevent the banker, if he thought fit, on the request of his customer, from paying any such deposit at an earlier day than the next maturity; but they should not be at liberty to stipulate beforehand that he should do so. In cases where what he called a "common deposit" would not suit the depositor, he might stipulate to lodge the money repayable at shorter intervals than three months, but in each such case, if the period fixed were not less than three weeks, he would subject the deposit to a composition duty at the rate of 1s. per cent for each such period; but in these cases the duty would not be borne by the banker, but would be deducted by him from the accrued interest, and so accounted for to the Commissioners of Stamps and Taxes. If the deposits were made repayable at periods less than three weeks, he would render them liable to a duty of 6d. per cent in respect to each such shorter period—to be charged, collected, and accounted for as in the previous case. If the deposit were made repayable after a certain number of months, weeks, or days' notice had expired, and not at a fixed time, the number of such months, weeks, or days would be treated as a period, and the deposit would be liable to a duty of 6d. or 1s. per cent—as the case might be—for each such period of months, weeks, or days as it remained with the banker—to be charged, collected, and accounted for—as in the two last-mentioned cases. There were some other details and some purely technical matters which would have to be considered; but he would not dwell upon them now. He estimated that more than two-thirds of the deposits in the banks of the United Kingdom would, from mere motives of economy, fall into the three-monthly routine of common deposits. He needed not to dilate on the advantages which would accrue. He had explained, as well as he could in brief terms, the nature of the present dangers and disadvantages, all of which would almost wholly disappear. The trading and financial communities had all felt the hardships and the grievances incidental to the present system; they would be among the first to realize and appreciate the advantage of the organization of credit which he proposed. He spoke from a very intimate acquaintance with the subject; he had not the slightest shadow of personal interest in the matter. Now, as for the depositors, the great majority of them would, he had no doubt, be pleased as well as benefited. They were, for the most part, men who had genuine confidence in their banker, but who were sometimes induced to join in a run after this fashion—A B feared what might be the effect if C D and E F, and all the rest of them, drew out their money before he did so himself. All those quiet people—and they were the great majority—would have the ineffable satisfaction of knowing that the bank in which their monies were lodged could not be imperilled by a simultaneous panic of its depositors. But those who would benefit most of all by the organization of credit were the honest and legitimate traders—whether their trade be manufacture, commerce, or finance—the classes from whom and from whose skill and industry the banker's profits and the depositor's interest were alike derived; for they would no longer be dealing with bankers who had only a fitful and wavering tenure of the funds they dispensed, but with men whose engagements were so marshalled and provided for as to render them reasonably masters of their own actions and policy. He had to thank the House for the patience with which it had listened to him, and to move the Resolution of which he had given Notice."At any time after 12 o'clock on the 11th May, 1866, there was probably no price for which the Bank of England banks or bankers could have obtained Bank of England notes for any amount of Government Stock."
seconded the Motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That this House is of opinion that Her Majesty's Government should take into its early consideration whether it would not be for the advantage of the Country that a moderate and graduated stamp or composition Duty should be levied in respect to all interest-bearing deposits with bankers in the United Kingdom, and whether the scale and incidence of such Duty may not be so devised as to encourage the making of such deposits for fixed periods and renewable periods, as for instance from three months to three months, in preference to the system which has grown up and now prevails, whereby the greater number and amount of the interest-bearing deposits in the United Kingdom are held subject to recall at a few days' notice."—(Sir Joseph M'Kenna.)
:said, that the recommendation made by the hon. Gentleman was one purely for the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The hon. Member had proposed to tax all deposits left with the bankers; but he had not shown that people would continue to deposit as much with the bankers as they did at present. The public left money on deposit with the bankers for two reasons—either for safe custody, or because they got better interest than elsewhere. If, however, notwithstanding a tax on deposits, an equal amount were left with the bankers no one would be so glad as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. A very small tax on these very large deposits would give the Chancellor of the Exchequer more than he wanted, and would enable him to take a penny off the Income Tax. For himself, however, he could not understand how a tax on the profits of the bankers was not to affect the amount of the deposits left with them; and he trusted that some other hon. Gentleman would follow who would remove the doubts he felt as to the practicability of the proposal.
said, he had hoped that the House might have been favoured with some discussion on the part of hon. Members who were practically acquainted with the system of banking in this metropolis, as he hardly felt able to deal adequately with the subject. Undoubtedly the evil at which the hon. Gentleman directed his Resolution was one of the greatest magnitude, and if the House saw its way to putting an end to the panics that occurred at intervals and caused so much injury it would be very desirable to take some action in the matter; and if, moreover, the remedy took the form of putting a considerable sum into the Exchequer, that would be an additional inducement to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to look favourably upon such a scheme. Undoubtedly, however, the suggestion of the hon. Member could not be adopted by the Government without considerable hesitation, and without fuller and more ample discussion than it was likely to receive on the present occasion. It had frequently happened, when pressure and alarm were felt in the Money Market, that the depositors in banks withdrew their funds. The bankers, in turn, finding a certain pressure upon them, and fearing that it might increase, began to realize their securities and call in their money from the Bank of England and other firms, so as to be in a position to meet the demands of those who had deposited money with them. The mischief, therefore, went on growing, and the apprehension of panic itself produced panic. It was most desirable to allay that apprehension; but he could not see that the remedy proposed by the hon. Member would have the effect he contemplated, or that if it succeeded to a slight extent it would counterbalance the inconvenience that would follow its adoption. The House must look at the root of the matter, which was that a large proportion of the business of the country was carried on upon credit. It must have a certain basis, and when credit was shaken, if the loan able capital available were too small, it caused a rush for that capital, and when it was found to be insufficient the panic went on spreading, and the fall of one house caused the fall of others. The real remedy was for those who were concerned with monetary affairs to be on their guard, to be wise in time, and to avoid putting too great a pressure upon the loan able capital when there was a danger of scarcity. It was, therefore, desirable that the public should be supplied with all the information possible as to the amount of capital obtainable, and hence the value of the publication of the Bank of England Returns, &c. The hon. Member proposed, however, that the State should step in and should endeavour to prevent these panics by discouraging the depositing of money with the bankers by means of placing a tax upon those deposits. But was that the way to increase the quantity of loanable capital? He could not see that the hon. Member had made out so clear a case as to justify the House in interfering with the natural operations of trade. The question would arise—"What is a Banker?" Another question would be as to the nature of the inspection of the bankers' accounts on the part of the Government, so that they might get the proper amount of tax in the way of stamp duty or otherwise. It would be necessary also to know what amount of interference with the business of the banker would be requisite. The real difficulty was the competition between the bankers for the unemployed capital of the country, and the question was whether that could be stopped by diminishing the profits of the bankers by the plan of giving the State a proportion of those profits. The hon. Gentleman must, he thought, be conscious of the difficulty and complicated character of a proposal involving so many considerations, and he must feel that it would be premature to ask the House to pronounce an opinion upon it at the present moment. He shrank very much from encouraging the hope that the action of the State was what was required to prevent these panics in the Money Market. He thought it was a dangerous thing for them to encourage the hope that they could put a stop to the mischief or prevent the recurrence of the panics by anything they could do on the part of the State. He did not say it was absolutely impossible that State interference might not be desirable and useful in such matters; but he did say that it would be mischievous to lead the Money Market and business people generally to believe that the Government had devised a penacea that would guard against these panics. The effect would be that the lessons of the past, which it might be hoped had taught a good deal of caution, would be in danger of being neutralized by the idea that some security had been provided, and people who were naturally anxious to make the most of their money would allow little restraint to be imposed by the fear of what might happen from any reckless proceedings. Indeed, they might be encouraged in reckless proceedings by thinking that Parliament had devised a plan that was to be a safeguard against them. Therefore, he was not at all prompt to welcome, or at all events accept proposals of this character. At the same time, it would not be courteous if, after so brief an examination of the subject, they endeavoured to pass any summary verdict against the proposal; and therefore he would suggest to the hon. Gentleman that it would be preferable, having brought his statement forward and drawn public attention to the subject in a way which would probably lead to discussion, to withdraw the Motion and not compel the House to come to a decision upon it.
said, he had great pleasure in falling in with the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He committed the problem, with the solution he had suggested, to the consideration of the public. If it did not find favour with the bankers, it was not likely it would find much favour with himself; because he deferred very much to their judgment in a matter which affected their own interest and that of their customers and clients. He had, however, little doubt of the reception his proposal would meet when its nature became generally understood.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Merchant Service Officers
, in rising to move—
said, that, amid the long debate on the causes of shipwreck in which they had lately been engaged, the efficiency of the officers of the Merchant Service had never been called in question. While it was generally acknowledged that the examinations for masters and mates, conducted under the Board of Trade, had produced excellent results, it was obvious, from the Consular Reports, to which he would shortly refer, that the condition of the Merchant Service as to officers still left much to be desired. It would be his duty to insist chiefly on the defects of the inferior class of shipmasters. He desired, how- ever, not to be misunderstood, as intending to draw a general indictment against our Merchant officers. The state of the profession might still be accurately described in the language of Lord Ellenborough, in the Report of the Committee on Pensions—"That it is expedient that voluntary examinations should be held under the Board of Trade in modern languages and commercial law, and that further inducements should be given to merchant officers to study at the Naval University at Greenwich,"
His object on the present occasion was to induce the Government to make further efforts to raise the standard of professional knowledge among the Merchant officers of the inferior class; and, in order to show how necessary it was that something should be done, he would refer, in the first place, to the Report of the Commission on Unseaworthy Ships, wherein it was stated that while from 1856 to 1872, inclusive, only 60 ships were known to have been lost from defects in the vessels, 711 were lost from neglect and bad navigation. As a commentary on these melancholy statistics, the Mercantile Marine Association of Liverpool had lately re-published the following observations from The Shipping Gazette:—"Masters of merchant vessels differ widely in their qualifications and character, and are of many various grades in society. While some may be little superior to seamen, there are others not only distinguished by the highest acquirements in the practice and science of navigation, but as gentlemen of the best education and manners."
He would now refer to the replies of Her Majesty's Consuls to the letter of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), calling for their opinion as to the condition of the Merchant Service. Similar inquiries had been made in 1843 and 1847, and a comparison of the earlier Reports with those of 1872 showed a marked improvement. As a rule, steamers and first-class sailing ships were well commanded. Good ships generally attracted good crews; but, in inferior ships, many even of the latest Reports indicated a state of things which was far from satisfactory. It would be necessary to give a few quotations, in order to convince the House of the necessity for reform. Mr. Mark, British Consul at Marseilles, had written as follows:—"Great as is the improvement in the status and condition of merchant captains and officers, which has resulted from the Board of Trade examinations, the system has not by any means completed its work, or produced all the results of which, properly administered, it is capable."
In those branches of trade, in which British ships competed with foreign vessels commanded by a superior class of officers, shippers naturally gave a preference to the foreign flag. Sir S. R. Crowe, our Consul General at Christiania, said—"England is not fairly represented by the men who command her ships on the ocean. The grossest ignorance is seen, and drunkenness largely prevails among them."
Mr. Ward, Vice Consul at Memel, had made a similar Report—"In cases of competition between British and Norwegian ships, when the master of the latter accepts the same rate of freight as his British competitor, he will generally be preferred; as the British sailing ships visiting Norway are commanded by third and fourth class masters, who frequently have neither education nor sobriety to recommend them."
We had a similar opinion from Mr. Doyle, Consul at Pernambuco—"It is only too true that the German seamen, and more especially the masters of ships, are, as a rule, a very superior class of men in point of ability, education, and manners, in comparison with British seamen and masters employed in the Baltic trade."
He would next refer to the Report of Mr. Gould, our Secretary of Legation at Stockholm, on the British shipping trade with the Baltic—"The masters of British sailing ships are, as a rule, a proverbial contrast to the masters of ships of most other nations; and it is a wonder, considering the disproportion between the remuneration for which British masters work, and the valuable property entrusted to them, that the navigation of these vessels and the trade through them is carried on with so much honesty and regularity."
The Swedish shipowners had no advantages in the cost of building and sailing their ships. Mr. Gould attributed the success of the Swedish shipowners solely to the superior education of the masters they employed. Our shipmasters were totally ignorant of the Swedish language, while the Swedish and Norwegian masters were as much at home in England as in their own country. It had not been a difficult task to show that, in the inferior class of British merchant vessels, many officers were to be found who were ill-conducted and badly educated. It was not equally easy to provide a legislative remedy for the evils which had been described. As a rule, only the ill-paid were ill-conducted; and it was impracticable for the Legislature to regulate the private bargains between needy shipmasters and parsimonious shipowners. His statement, however, would be incomplete without some reference to this aspect of the question. Mr. Mark, our Consul at Marseilles, said that British shipowners should give better remuneration to their captains, and oblige them to hold a share in their vessels. Captain Toynbee, in a speech delivered last year at the Society of Arts, pointed out that there were masters of ships of 800 tons, in the East Indian trade, whose salaries were only £10 a-month. The institutions set up by the benevolent for the relief of merchant seamen, were chiefly used for the benefit of the officers under whom they serve. Of the 1,200 orphans, who had been inmates of the Merchant Seamen's Orphan Asylum, at Snaresbrook, the children of captains number 637, those of mates 330, while the children of seamen were only 77 in number. There were at present 254 orphans at Snaresbrook; but, of these, only 16 were the children of seamen. While he admitted that the question of remuneration must be left in the hands of the shipowners, he ventured to hope that an expression of opinion in that House might have the effect of establishing a more just view of the responsibilities which belonged, and of the reward which was due, to the masters of merchant ships freighted with cargoes, and often with hundreds of human beings. Turning from the remuneration to the professional education of merchant officers, the examinations already established had done great good; and the Board of Trade would do well to proceed further in the same direction by encouraging a broader education for the Merchant Service. Modern languages, as suggested by Mr. Gould, and the elements of a commercial education, should be added to the subjects included in the present examinations. The new subjects might at first be offered voluntarily by candidates, to whom an honorary certificate might be given, as it was already granted for superior proficiency in mathematics. In the Merchant Service a knowledge of languages was, at least, as essential as a high standard of mathematical attainments. You might make a good landfall without trigonometry; you could not trade with people whose language you did not understand. In offering these suggestions to the Government, he might refer to the long-established regulations of the principal maritime nations. Mr. Lindsay, in his History of Merchant Shipping, said that, in Norway and Sweden, masters of ships had to undergo a general examination in shipping affairs, in the customs and navigation laws, and in the foreign exchanges. In Russia and Prussia, they had to show some knowledge both of French and English. In France, a Professor, paid by the Government, resided at each of the principal ports, and afforded to all, seeking to be masters in the Merchant Service, instruction, free of charge, on the different subjects connected with their profession. He claimed the example of France as an argument which, he hoped, would prevail with the First Lord of the Admiralty, and induce him to consider favourably his second proposal. We had organized a considerable force of seamen as a Naval Reserve; but we had not formed a corresponding body of thoroughly trained officers for that Reserve. In the debate on the Manning of the Navy, in 1860, Sir Charles Napier said truly—"In 1872, 1,714,000 tons of shipping were employed in the direct trade between Sweden and Great Britain. Only 25 per cent of this tonnage was British."
He would not enter, on that occasion, into the question of the general organization of the Naval Reserve; but he would urge the importance of making the University at Greenwich a connecting link between the Royal Navy and the Mercantile Marine. Not until its benefits were extended to officers of the Merchant Service could the College at Greenwich claim to be regarded as a truly national institution. The lectures were already accessible to Merchant officers; but that was not enough. The majority of masters and mates were too poor to be able to give up a year's income for the purposes of study. He would, therefore, propose, that studentships for a certain number of officers of the Naval Reserve should be established at Greenwich. Students should be admitted to residence at the Naval College for 12 months, free of charge, and should receive a sum of not less than £60 a-year. These privileges would enable an officer, who had served in the Merchant Service in the capacity of mate, to study at the College without pecuniary loss. The studentships should be open for competition to all midshipmen of the Naval Reserve, who could show a sufficient length of actual service at sea. The gradual introduction into the Merchant Service of officers of higher attainments, who had had associations with the Royal Navy, must be a mutual benefit to the two Services, and therefore a public advantage. We might look to the Greenwich students as men well qualified to serve in the Navy in time of war, while their example and influence in their own Service, in time of peace, would tend to raise the general tone of their profession."Suppose you have obtained your Naval Reserve, where would you get officers to command them? You would find it absolutely necessary to come to the Merchant Service."
, in seconding the Motion, said, that his hon. Friend having confined himself mainly to the commercial aspect of the question, he should ask the attention of the House to the fact that a majority of the losses occurring in the Mercantile Marine were directly traceable to the want of education in the captains and chief officers, who ought not only to be perfectly competent to navigate the vessels entrusted to them, but should be able to advise the owners as to the state of the vessels, their equipment, stowage, and crew. That a higher education of officers in the Mercantile Marine was necessary was made clear by the Consular Reports sent to the Board of Trade from Lisbon, Bahia, Callao, Montevideo, Portland (Maine), Marseilles, and Para. It was not to be expected that men who were ignorant, drunken, and without character, could be relied upon to discharge their duty to their owners, and to exercise a proper degree of knowledge and skill in the art of navigation, and he thought his hon. Friend had done good service to the country in bringing the subject under the notice of the House. Some disastrous cases had recently occurred, and it was doubtful whether a master was justified in engaging men and going to sea with a crew with whom he could only deal by having a revolver in his hand. Now, what could be done to improve the present state of things. It was said that the Government had nothing to do with providing efficient captains. That was true in the main; but when we were voting such large sums for the education of persons whose engagements kept them on dry land we ought not to turn a deaf ear to the necessity of improving the condition of our Mercantile Marine. One of the best means of so doing was that of diffusing education amongst the young men who were growing up and who were intended to be officers and commanders, and he thought the Board of Trade might exercise considerable influence by promoting examinations in modern languages and commercial law, and trusted the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) would not hesitate to take a step in that direction, the expense of which would be very inconsiderable. The second portion of the Motion of his hon. Friend must recommend itself to the House, as it was to make that great and national institution, the Naval College at Greenwich, still greater and more national, and he (Mr. Reed) thought that means might be found for accomplishing that object. But he would go further and say that it was most remarkable that there was a greater separation between the Royal and Naval Mercantile Marine in this country than in any other nation of the world, vessels abroad being frequently commanded by officers of the Royal Navy. We ought to commence with the younger officers of the Service, and the Admiralty ought to make it a condition with the officers of the Royal Naval Reserve that they should go through a thorough examination in gunnery and other important subjects. He saw nothing to prevent the cadets in the Naval Service from going to sea in merchant ships. Every gun-room in the Royal Navy was crowded with young gentlemen who were receiving a training which was far inferior to that which they would obtain on board a merchant ship. He trusted that before long a Minister would be found who would take a sufficiently large view of the subject to endeavour to bring to an end what he regarded as the utterly indefensible position of the Royal Navy in this respect. We were blaming the increase in the Navy Estimates, which arose entirely from the separation between the Royal Navy and the Mercantile Marine, while there was no way by which the Navy Estimates could be so well reduced as by bringing the two Services into intimate connection. He wished to suggest that the posts of British Consuls at foreign seaports should be given to retired officers of the Mercantile Marine, who were peculiarly fitted to discharge the duties attached to those appointments. There were at the present moment 126 British Consuls at foreign seaports, who were receiving salaries amounting to £81,500, and ranging from £1,000 to £400 a-year, and a considerable advantage might be gained by giving those appointments to men who had distinguished themselves in the Mercantile Marine. He trusted that he should hear from Her Majesty's Government an expression of their intention to adopt the course indicated by the Motion which he had the honour of seconding.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That it is expedient that voluntary examinations should be held under the Board of Trade in modern languages and commercial law, and that further inducements should be given to merchant officers to study at the Naval University at Greenwich."—(Mr. T. Brassey.)
did not see that any serious objection could be taken either to the terms or to the object of the Motion, and expressed his belief that the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Brassey) had done good service to the country by calling attention to the subject now before it. He must, however, remind hon. Members that many of the most efficient officers in the Mercantile Marine had risen from the forecastle, and that it would be exceedingly difficult for them to acquire a competent knowledge of foreign languages at their advanced period of life. He was, however, strongly in favour of giving an early training to our officers of the Mercantile Marine. He had had many opportunities recently of mixing with those officers, and he confessed that he had been perfectly delighted at the attainments, the intelligence, the ability, and the integrity they had displayed, while as far as general culture was concerned they were fit to hold their place in any drawing-room in England. It would be of the greatest benefit to the Royal Navy and to the Merchant Service if training ships common to both could be established in all the chief ports. It would have the effect of uniting the youth of both Services and of breaking down that odious barrier that had too long existed between them.
said, that a considerable improvement in the education of the men of the Merchant Service was introduced by the Board of trade, but it produced "cramming," and the men after they had passed their examinations were found not to be capable of performing their duty. He believed that one-half of the disasters at sea among merchant ships, of which they had heard so much, was entirely owing to the ignorance and incapacity of men placed in command of ships without a proper knowledge of their duties. As to the Reports of foreign Consuls alluded to in the debate, he did not himself place much reliance on them; he believed the source of all the evil was the want of practical judgment in the officers, which could only be learnt by long and continuous service at sea. As a rule, their best seamen were taken from the lowest class of ships, who scarcely ever received more than a scanty education. The pay of the masters in merchant ships was almost equal to that of the pay of lieutenants in the Royal Navy. He should support the Motion with great cordiality, although he did not go so far in his views as his hon. Friend.
:said, he had a respect for anything which fell from the hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Brassey) for the improvement of the Merchant Shipping Service; but it was not very encouraging to the Minister who had the subject in his own charge to find that every one of the Members who had spoken on this Motion differed as to the way in which the hon. Gentleman's proposal should be carried out. He would remind his noble Friend (Lord Eslington) and those who supported the Motion that if the condition of the Merchant Service of the country was to be raised it was not to be done by exaggerating the evils or proposing impracticable measures to remove them. The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. E. J. Reed) cited a recent case, which had given great pain to all who heard of it, as illustrating a want of education on the part of the officers in the Merchant Service. That case in no way reflected on the officers, but it reflected in the greatest degree on the men. It was acknowledged by the Royal Commission, of which the hon. Member for Hastings was a most distinguished and useful Member, that the improvement of the officers in the Merchant Service was in striking contrast with the condition of the men. As to the proposal of the hon. Member for Hastings for improving the officers of the Merchant Service, suppose the higher examination which he suggested was made, and certificates were given to those who passed that examination, would those superior certificates draw higher pay for those who gained them than the lower certificates? If not, the offer would not be met. He was afraid that if the examination proposed by the hon. Member in modern languages and commercial law were established, many candidates for it would not be found, and even if they got candidates to pass such an examination, that there would not be a sufficient demand for their services to command for them higher pay. If the hon. Member suggested that the Board of Trade should stipulate that no master should take the command of ships of a certain tonnage who had not passed an examination in modern languages and commercial law, that would be a more stringent proposition, but it could hardly be carried out. He thought the examinations now provided for officers of the Merchant Service were very good for their purpose. They were of two grades, and he was afraid they were already at a standard beyond either the supply of candidates, or the demand for the services of those who passed them. The Consuls said generally, in their answers to the Circular referred to, that they considered that the present examinations offered in most cases a sufficient guarantee of the efficiency of the officers in the several capacities in which they engaged to serve; and, further, that nothing should be introduced into the test examinations for certificates beyond what was necessary to show that a man was qualified to command and navigate a ship. He rather sympathized with that opinion. As to Norwegian masters mostly now knowing a foreign language, that foreign language generally happened to be English, and it certainly took away much of the inducement to English masters to study other languages, that they found their own was getting current almost all over the maritime world. With regard to commercial law, he had always felt convinced that a little law was a dangerous thing, and to a merchant captain a smattering of commercial law might be a very doubtful advantage to himself or his employer. Under the existing examination 50 per cent of the candidates were plucked, mostly on spelling; and as they were therefore hardly mas- ters of their vernacular tongue, it was premature for them to aspire to a knowledge of foreign languages. In the common pass examination invoices, charter parties, and similar matters were already among the subjects included. There was also an examination for a higher grade. There was a marked improvement compared with 20 years since in the knowledge and acquirements of the Merchant Service. The officers of that Service were drawn in this country from the men; but in foreign countries they were drawn from a class of naval cadets, much in the way in which we drew our officers for the Royal Navy. The experience of the Service abroad and at home could not, therefore, be so easily compared. Whether it was not desirable that our Mercantile Marine should be more assimilated to the Navy was a fair subject for consideration. The hon. Member for Pembroke was mistaken in saying that the use of the Naval College at Greenwich had been practically denied to the Merchant Service. The truth was that its use had been largely offered to them, and had been practically refused. Under the Order in Council of 1873 gratuitous instruction for 10 officers of the Merchant Service at the Naval College, Greenwich, had been held out for three years, and only one had taken advantage of it. But supposing they were willing to accept the offer made to them, where was the money to come from for studentships, for the increased staff, and all the other adjuncts which would be necessary to give the plan full effect? There was certainly no appreciation of the offer likely to furnish the means. In conclusion, he did not at all depreciate the object which the hon. Member (Mr. Brassey) had in view; but he did not see how his specific proposal could be carried out, nor did he think the evil was so great as had been represented. The qualifications of the officers in our Merchant Service were now rapidly improving, the present system of examinations under the Board of Trade was very good, and the Service hardly came up to the standard already required.
said, that after the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman he should withdraw his Motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
University Education (Ireland) Bill
Leave First Reading
In accordance, Sir, with, the Notice I have given, I move for leave to bring in a Bill to make better provision for University Education in Ireland. I do not anticipate that any opposition will be offered to that Motion; but although the Bill which I hold in my hand has been prepared before the Session commenced, I have deferred moving for its introduction until I could have an opportunity of making a statement as to its object and provisions. In doing so I may be permitted to say that I know of no subject of greater importance to the people of Ireland. I know none of greater difficulty. I need scarcely remind the House that three years ago it led to the overthrow of a very powerful Ministry. I feel that in the very announcement which I make I expose myself to the charge of presumption if I entertain—as I do entertain—the hope that I can offer a plan which may meet the difficulties that surround any attempt at a satisfactory settlement of this great question. I believe, Sir, there are few persons who will deny that the present University system of Ireland is unsatisfactory in not providing for the Roman Catholics of Ireland a higher education of which they can avail themselves upon terms of equality with Protestants. I use the words "higher education" advisedly that I may avoid that which has been, I cannot help thinking, the source of exaggeration and mistake. In dealing with the question of University education we are not dealing with the education of the great mass of the people. We have to consider the system which is suitable to those classes who in any country are likely to avail themselves of the benefits of University education. But in this view no one who will fairly consider the question can deny that our present system is defective. It does not deal equally with Protestant and Roman Catholics. Three years ago the then Prime Minister spoke of the present state of things in the following terms:—
I entirely concur in the words which upon that occasion the right hon. Gentleman used, when he said that the settlement of this question was—"Now, I will look at the question in a very simple form. What is the state of the case as to the actual enjoyment of University training by the Roman Catholics of Ireland? I shall not enter into those details of controversy which have been handled with great agility by Gentle- men on one side and the other. There are those who think, and who are bold enough to maintain, that upon the whole, considering who Roman Catholics are, considering how little property they possess, how little it is possible for them to enter upon the higher culture, their state, so far as University education is concerned, is not very bad at this moment. I hold, on the contrary, that it is miserably bad. I go further; and I would almost say, it is scandalously bad."—[3 Hansard, ccxiv. 386.]
At this hour of the evening I must endeavour to compress into a compass as brief as I can the statement with which I must trouble the House. I come at once to that which meets us at the very threshold of this great question. The present arrangements of University education in Ireland are unsatisfactory to the Roman Catholic people. They are so, because they do not offer them a University education in accordance with their religious convictions. Those convictions lead them to believe that all education is imperfect—more than imperfect—is dangerous, which is not based upon religion. There is no escape from this question. You must maintain a University system in antagonism to the convictions of the great mass of the Irish people—a system in perpetual, although it may be in subdued, war, with their deepest and most sacred feelings—or you must mould that system so as to admit within its institutions which will give to the Roman Catholic people an opportunity of sharing in all the benefits, all the advantages, and all the emoluments which you attach to University education upon the terms of perfect equality with Protestants, upon the only terms that can place them upon that equality—that is, upon terms that will recognize their deep, their conscientious conviction that religion must be interwoven with all the teaching and with all the arrangements of collegiate life. I do not stop to argue the reasonableness of that conviction. The statesmanship is a very poor one that refuses to accept the deep-seated convictions of men as facts which it must estimate as real forces with which it has to deal. Institutions are made for men, and not men for institutions, and the man who would build up a system of University education for Ireland from the estimates of which he omitted all calculations of the deep-seated convictions of the people would soon find that no matter with what fair prospects his system was proposed, no matter upon what specious theories it was based, it would fail, and fail as miserably as many of your best devised plans for governing Ireland have failed, from the slight defect that they omitted to take into account the character and the feelings of the people for whom they were intended. But, Sir, I am not ashamed to confess that in the conviction that education ought to be based upon religion I entirely concur. It is, at all events, a principle that has come down to us with great traditions of Christendom, Roman Catholic and Protestant. It has come to us with the authority of the wisest of men, who, even without the light of Christianity, anticipated in the instincts of human conscience its teachings. It has come down to us with the mighty memories of men who, trained under its influence, have done good service to the commonwealth in Church and State. For myself, I would ask for a strict principle of toleration. I will ask it to-night both for Protestant and Roman Catholic. Do not force upon us, in obedience to a small and insignificant sect of secularists, a denial in our University system of a principle which 99 out of every 100 Irishmen, Protestant as well as Catholic, hold dear. But this is not essential to the argument I am addressing to you to-night. It is enough for me to say, as I have said, that if you desire that your University System should embrace those of the Catholic people of Ireland who would naturally look to the benefits of University education, you must provide for them the means of having that education in such a form that their views of the necessity of its being interwoven with religion may be honestly and fairly met. If this be the right conclusion, we have then to look at the existing state of things. I will not stop to go back upon the history of ancient University institutions in Ireland. It is enough for me to say that we find there one institution, founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which up to the present generation has been the only University for Ireland. It has taken its place with the elder Universities of Great Britain and of Europe. Its degrees are recognized, not only in Oxford and Cambridge, but in every academy in Europe. The fame of its men of science is known in all lands where the higher attainments of science are valued. Its history is interwoven with that of the country. Few of the men of whom Ireland is proud have not received their education within its walls. I am old enough to remember hearing O'Connell, in a public meeting, lament that he was sent to the Continent to receive his education; because when he was ready for Trinity College, Trinity College was not ready for him. For one great section of Irish society this institution has fulfilled the functions of a National University. By it Protestant thought and intellect have been trained. But, established as it was in the first ardour of the Reformation, it has not altogether failed in providing education for the Roman Catholic people. More than 70 years ago its statutes were so changed as to admit all creeds to the benefits of education and the privileges of its degrees. Long before your English Universities thought of toleration, Trinity College opened its doors to men of all religious creeds. In 1793 the Irish Parliament repealed all the Acts of Parliament which interposed obstacles to the admission of Roman Catholics to the benefits of degrees. In the lists of our Roman Catholic Judges, of our Roman Catholic Members of Parliament, of the men eminent in Irish public life, you find those who have won distinction in the University. There are in this House a larger number of its graduates representing Catholic than there are Protestant constituencies; and Protestant as has been its character, with almost all its emoluments and offices reserved to Protestants, Trinity College has a hold, and a strong hold, upon the spmpathies and respect of the whole Irish people. I must stop for a moment to inquire upon what endowments it has accomplished all this. In the Report of the Commissioners of 1854 its revenue derived from endowments is stated to be £36,000 a-year. A Return obtained last year by the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly) makes its income from endowments £43,000. I do not stop to account for the discrepancy, I contrast this sum of £36,000 or £43,000 with the revenues of the English Universities. I need not remind the House that Trinity College is a College discharging the functions both of a University and a College. It is the one College of the Irish University, and in both characters it has endowments not much exceeding at the outside estimate £40,000 a-year. It appears by the Report of the Commission on the English Universities that the University of Oxford has endowments amounting to £29,000 a-year; its Colleges and Halls to £307,000. Cambridge has University endowments amounting to £13,000 a-year. Those of its Colleges and Halls amount to £264,000 a-year. So that the University of Dublin has been keeping its place among the Universities of the world upon an endowment not exceeding £40,000, in contrast, and often in rivalry, with the two English Universities, with, revenues of £631,000. Now, Sir, it appears to me that when we come to consider how we are to remedy the injustice that is done to the Roman Catholics of Ireland under the present arrangements, we must consider the existence of our present University in two respects. We have a University made illustrious by great traditions, with a recognized status earned by centuries of work, and commanding for its degree a reception all over the world. It appears to me that it would be very unwise to throw away from our Roman Catholic countrymen all these great advantages, which no power and no endowments could give, to a new institution. We must make the attempt to admit them fully and unreservedly into all the advantages we have acquired—into a complete partnership with all the treasures of memory that Trinity College has inherited from past times, and we must do this while we give them a University education consonant with their own convictions—an education with which religious training and religious teaching shall be inseparably associated. In this view I believe we are led at once to the conclusion that we ought, in re-adjusting our University system, to maintain its identity unbroken, and its status and its memories unimpaired. This is the more important aspect of the question, because it concerns the whole people. But there is another consideration not to be overlooked. Trinity College has provided a University education that meets the wants and wishes of one great section of the people. We ought not lightly and without necessity to destroy this. All considerations, therefore, point to this—that in framing a measure to admit Roman Catholics to perfect equality in our University system we ought to preserve, as far as possible, the main features of that system, and in admitting others to equal advantages, to leave to the Protestant community those which they have so long enjoyed. I believe we can obtain all this by building on the lines of the Act passed by the Irish Parliament in 1793. That Act expressly contemplated the establishment, at a future day, of a second College in the Dublin University—a College of which all the emoluments and offices should be open to Roman Catholics, although not excluding Protestants from its education. The Bill I hold in my hand is an attempt to accomplish the establishment of a second College—one that will be essentially Roman Catholic in its character, and which will give to Roman Catholic parents the opportunity of obtaining for their children a University education, in the form and manner in which they themselves desired it should be given. After 83 years I am asking the Imperial Parliament to perfect the work of liberality and toleration which an Irish Parliament, composed exclusively of Protestants and elected exclusively by Protestants, commenced in 1793. If the House will permit me I will endeavour, in the first instance, to place before them the provisions proposed in the Bill for the establishment of such a College. We might, of course, incorporate a new body of nominees either of the framers of the measure or of the Crown; but I am quite sure that we should act most unwisely if we overlooked the fact that the exigencies of their position have forced the Catholic people of Ireland, out of their own resources, without any Government aid and without any State authority, to frame and form an institution which might discharge for them the functions of a University. The Roman Catholics of Ireland have proved their zeal and earnestness in this matter of education. Under the name of the Catholic University they have formed an institution, to the support of which they have contributed about £200,000. Maintaining itself under great difficulties, met by the rivalry of institutions offering to those who would resort to them great prizes, upon which public money is lavishly expended, it yet has held its ground, and is every year gaining upon public confidence and respect. Among its Professors are men of the highest order of intellect, some of them whose scientific fame is European, and I must add that in which I know I shall be borne out by every one—no matter what opinions he may hold, religious or political—who has been brought in contact with the collegiate life of that institution, that nowhere do we meet with more liberality of statement, more real tolerance of spirit, than among those who have received or are receiving their education within the walls of that institution. In the Bill which I ask leave to introduce I offer to the teaching body of that institution a charter of incorporation as a second College in the University, with a voice in the government, and with suitable endowments. In the provisions of the Bill I have endeavoured to secure three matters which I believe to be essential to any measure of the kind. First, to give to the Roman Catholic people an educational institution adequate to meet their wants, and framed in accordance with their convictions; secondly, to preserve to the Protestant community the same advantages which the Bill gives to the Roman Catholics; and, lastly, to do this without lowering either the status of the Irish University, or the standard of Irish University education. I propose, Sir, that both the new College and Trinity should be independent and self-governing bodies. To each of them the Bill leaves the exclusive superintendence of the education of its own students, subject to this, that certain subjects of study are defined as forming a necessary part of University education. In respect of degrees, the University would have just the same power that it has now, except that I take away the right of conferring degrees of divinity. I propose instead to allow each College to confer a diploma of Doctor or Bachelor of Divinity, carrying with it no University degree. The degree of Bachelor of Arts to be attained after four years' membership of either College, upon the certificate of the College that he has made much proficiency in the prescribed studies. In addition to this, I propose that this proficiency should be tested by two University examinations—one at the end of the first two years; another, the degree examination, whenever, after the end of the four years, he presents himself for admission to his degree. These examinations to be conducted by a Board of Examiners chosen from each College. I need not say, Sir, that this is just the system of teaching and examination pursued both at Oxford and Cambridge. It is followed at Dublin, as far as it is possible to distinguish between University and College examinations where you have only one College. It will be seen that this plan regards teaching as essentially a collegiate matter—examination as a test of fitness for a degree as the business of the University. It is by keeping these two things perfectly distinct that we shall be able to combine two Colleges in one University. If we do, there is no difficulty in having one common course of study. There is no difficulty in having a common examination. Nay, more, I may, perhaps, be thought very bold if I say that there is no real difficulty in introducing into the common course and common examination subjects which it has been sometimes necessary to exclude from a University intended to embrace men of different religious creeds. I propose in a schedule to this Bill the course of study and of examination. I do not wish to weary the House by mentioning the details. It has been framed with care, and in a great degree from the calendars of Trinity College and of the existing Catholic University. Provision is made for changes in that course by competent authority within that University itself, but in the first instance I have thought it necessary that the course should be prescribed; and, I venture to say, that when the Bill is printed, and the schedule prescribing the course of study is read, no one will say that the standard of University education is lowered, or that the man who will pass an examination in that course has not received an education as liberal and as general as any that is given in any University in the Kingdom. But I repeat that in that course and in all studies I recognize the Colleges as the teaching bodies, and the University as the body examining and conferring degrees upon those who had been tested by their examination, and had, upon that examination, been found qualified for their degree. But the Bill contains on the subject of degrees another provision to which I attach very great importance. Both Oxford and Cambridge recently admitted students at the matriculation as members of the University without entering any College. The University of Dublin has long since dispensed with either residence or attendance on lectures as a qualification for a degree, the attention of the students to prescribed studies being tested by frequent attendance at examinations. I propose to continue that system. If any person desired to pass through the University without entering either College he will be allowed to matriculate and proceed to his degree, passing, however, frequent examinations, from which those who are members of either of the Colleges are exempted. There will be thus three classes of students—those who entered in Trinity College, those who have entered in the new College, and those who are University students without belonging to either College. The two first classes will receive their teaching in their respective Colleges, and will be only required to submit to an University examination twice in their course. The third class may receive their teaching when and in what manner they please; but they will be required, by passing periodical examinations, to give satisfactory proof that without any collegiate superintendence they have been taught, or, at all events, have learned. I cannot but think that this provision ought to remove objections that I know will be made to this Bill. It gives, it is true, everyone the opportunity of passing to a degree in a College essentially religious in its character; but the provision I have last mentioned enables anyone to proceed to a degree without submitting himself to any religious teaching whatever. If anyone, from any reason, is unwilling to subject himself to the discipline or rules of either of the new Colleges, he is not, therefore, debarred from a University degree. He may receive his teaching in any seminary he pleases, or he may teach himself. If he learns, and proves by his examination that he has learned, he will be required to do nothing more. I need not point out in how many ways this will have a beneficial effect among others, it will be a species of competition with the Colleges which will stimulate them to provide the best education that they can. If men can obtain degrees without collegiate residence there will be many who will avail themselves of that privilege, unless the Colleges offer them real and substantial advantages. At all events, the power of choice will leave University education free. I have paid, Sir, that I propose to make the new Colleges independent and self-governing. Trinity College is governed by statutes framed by various Sovereigns and by an Act of Parliament which was passed within the last few years. But except when an Act of Parliament intervenes, all the statutes may be altered at the pleasure of the Crown. At present Trinity College is governed by the Provost and Senior Fellows and by a Collegiate Council, in the election of which the Senate of the University have a voice. I propose to substitute for the interference of the Senate that of a congregation of its own graduates. The Collegiate Council would exercise the same powers it does now, and be elected in the same manner, substituting for election by all the Senate, election by those who are its graduates. I propose to confer the powers of passing new statutes on the congregation of graduates, the Collegiate Council, and the Provost and Senior Fellows. No change is to be made in the statutes without the consent of these three bodies, and in some cases with the additional requisite of the consent. But to leave Trinity College free in its power of self-government, I propose to exempt it, as well as the new College, from the operation of the Act prohibiting all religious tests, and to abrogate the College statute, which was, in fact, the necessary consequence of the Act. The effect of this would be to restore the religious character of the College, and to leave it perfectly open to the College authorities themselves to make, with the assent of the Council, any changes with regard to this which they thought fit. And here, Sir, speaking of that College with which I am practically acquainted—I mean, of course, Trinity College—I attach great importance to giving to an assembly representing its graduates a voice, and, to some extent, a share in its government. After all, Trinity College must still continue to bear to the Protestant community the character of the University in many respects. The same may be said as to the Catholic people and the new College; but speaking as I do of the College with which I am acquainted, not only as a student and a graduate, but as a member of that which is virtually its Senate, I see great advantages in bringing something of a popular element to bear upon its government. I think this would be done, and safely done, by the institution of a separate Senate, or, as it is called in the Bill, Congregation of the College. I should be very sorry to entrust absolute legislative powers to such a body; but, under the control of the Provost and Senior Fellows, who have been until recently the absolute masters of the institution, I am sure the discussion in a Senate of graduates of questions relating to the government of the college will infuse energy and power into the life of the institution. I propose to establish, in substance, the same system of government for the new College. The property, and, to a large extent, the control of the Catholic University is vested in an Episcopal Board, consisting of several of the Roman Catholic Prelates. To the Board we must give a larger power in the government; first, because we expect them to give over to the purposes of the new College a considerable amount of property, and, more than property, the good-will of an institution which they have created and fostered; but more, far more than this—unless we yield them that power—we would fail at the very outset in creating an institution suited to the convictions of the Irish Catholic people. I propose to incorporate the present members of the said Board under the title of the Committee of Founders. It is a title which will, perhaps, excite less prejudice than that of Episcopal Board. It will, at all events, express a claim to control over an institution which has always been recognized, and which in this Bill is not carried nearly so far as it was in many of the Cambridge and Oxford Colleges. Vacancies accruing in the Committee will be filled up by the surviving members, and there is no doubt that the Committee of Founders will practically and truly represent the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. In the new College, as in Trinity College, I propose to initiate a Congregation of the graduates of the College itself—a Collegiate Council, partly appointed by the Committee of Founders, partly elected by the Professors, and partly by the Congregation of Graduates. To the Collegiate Council I propose to entrust the election of Professors, subject to the veto of the Committee of Founders. I propose that statutes may be passed for the College in the same manner as for Trinity College, with the assent of these bodies—the Congregation of Graduates, the Collegiate Council, and the Committee of Founders—but I propose to give to the founders that power of making, on their own authority, regulations on matters affecting religious teaching and morality which I am sure the Catholic people of Ireland would desire to see placed in the hands of the Prelates of their Church. I did not say, Sir, that in all that concerned the internal constitution of that which is intended to be a Roman Catholic College I have had difficulties in making any proposal. The questions relating to it are, in my mind, to be determined by Roman Catholics themselves. I have no authority to speak for anyone on the subject. All I could do was to gather opinion from those whom I thought best informed as to the feelings and sentiments of those whose opinions must be consulted. I have carefully studied the past history of the question—the resolutions that have been passed and the correspondence—and all I can say is that I believe and hope that if the House gives me leave to bring in this Bill, it will be found, when submitted in its full form to the judgment of the public, possible to settle this great question upon the principles which I have endeavoured to embody in the Bill. I have explained the proposed constitutions of the new Colleges. As to the University itself, I propose to leave the Senate as it is, re-inforced as it will be by the addition of new Doctors and Masters, who may be created by Her Majesty in the charter incorporating the new College, and from time to time by the new graduates that will be supplied by the new College. The ordinary management of University affairs I propose to leave to an Academical Council, conisting of the Vice Chancellor, the Provost of Trinity College, the Rector of the new College, seven members of the Senate to be nominated by each College, and four to be elected by the Senate upon the principle of cumu- lative vote. Upon some matters the Bill requires the assent of three-fourths of the members present to a resolution. For the University itself I propose a legislative machinery analogous to that of the Colleges. The Bill provides that new statutes may be passed with the assent of both the Academical Council and the Senate; but I add to this a provision that no such statute should be passed if it is negatived either by the Provost and senior Fellows of Trinity College, or by the Committee of Founders of the new College. It is right that security should be taken that no essential change should be made in the University arrangements without the consent of those who, if this Bill comes into effect, will be parties to the arrangement it makes. I have stated to the House the outline of the plan by which I propose to incorporate a new College into the existing system of the University of Dublin. I come now to the question of endowments. I propose to take for the endowment of the University and the new College a considerable sum for a fund which belongs peculiarly to the Irish people, and which I feel strongly ought to be held sacred for purposes like that to which I propose to apply it—I mean the miserable remnant which mismanagement has left of the magnificent revenues which the piety of ancient times had devoted to provide for the religious needs of the Irish people. I use this language not in reference to the strange transactions in which so large a portion of the remaining revenues of the Irish Church were squandered on the cost of disestablishing it. I speak in a larger sense. I remember reading many years ago a statement made by an eminent Prelate of the Protestant Church, Dr. Elrington, who was Provost of Trinity College, and afterwards Bishop of Ferns, that there had been Church property in Ireland, if properly managed, not only to provide for the sustenance of the clergy of all religious denominations, but after doing this to provide for the University and school education of the entire people. The statement was no exaggeration. Of that noble national property all that remains to the Irish people is a contingent interest, at least an interest not yet realized, estimated at something more than £5,000,000. It is in this fund that we should find endowments for the new institution we are creating, and for myself I earnestly hope that no portion of that fund may ever be applied to purposes more foreign to those to which the property of which it is the remnant was consecrated. The University itself as distinguished from the College should be provided with the means of carrying on its own business, of providing for its examinations, and prizes at those examinations. It ought also to be provided with the means of instituting Fellowships and Scholarships open to all students; and, after providing for all those necessary expenses, it ought to have a fund at its disposal sufficient to meet those demands for aid to scientific and literary purposes which may always arise. Following in some respects the Bill introduced by the then Government in 1873, this Bill proposes that there should be 15 University Fellowships, held for life, and endowed each from the University revenues with the sum of £200 a-year. They are to be open to all graduates, and be given away after an examination conducted by the Board of Examiners, appointed as I have already described. Of course all these 15 should not be filled up at once, but gradually until the number is completed. Some of the Fellowships might derive a further income if their holders share and accept the office of tutor to the non-collegiate students; and as to all of them, regulations, either as to University duties or otherwise, might be made which would, as a general rule, insure their resignation. In addition to this the Bill proposes that there should be given away by public examinations among those taking their first degrees, two exhibitions of £100 a-year, tenable for five years. There are in Trinity College 70 Foundation Scholarships, obtainable only by undergraduates, and where, after making small money payments and the advantages of chambers and commons, they are worth probably £70 a-year. But they are sought after with an eagerness far beyond their worth. The roll of the scholars contained the names of most of the men who have been illustrious in our past history. Every man is proud of his having his name inscribed in the book in which he sees before him the names of Edmund Burke, of Curran, of Plunket, and among others with which history has made him familiar. A Scholarship in Trinity College gives the privilege of a vote at the election of members for the University. The privilege continues for life; and at every contested election it is interesting to see the anxiety with which every one who can do it claims his right to vote as an ex-Scholar, and ignores the claim that may be made for him in right of his degree. I propose to open 70 Scholarships to all students of the University. If the successful student is a member of Trinity College, he will receive all the Collegiate advantages which belong to the position, and I propose that Trinity College should pay him an annual stipend equivalent to the value of those advantages. The Royal Commissioners of Education in Ireland have founded in the University 30 Exhibitions for undergraduates, ranging from £50 to £20 a-year. These Exhibitions are at present confined to the pupils of the Royal Schools, out of whose revenues they are endowed. The Bill proposes to open them to all students. There are at present in Trinity College 26 junior Fellows, making with the seven senior Fellows 33 Fellows. The number has been greatly increased within the last 40 years, and I am sure that it far exceeds that which is requisite for the wants of the College. The Bill proposes to transfer 10 of these Fellowships to the University as they fall vacant, Trinity College paying to the elected an annual stipend equivalent to the income and advantage which a Fellow of Trinity College derives from the College revenues. This would not exceed £100 a-year. Whatever was wanting to make up the value of £200 should be paid out of the University funds. The University, therefore, under this plan, would give away Fellowships and prizes open to all its graduates: 25 Fellowships worth £200 a-year, 10 Exhibitions worth £100 a-year each to undergraduates, 70 Scholarships worth £70 a-year each, and 30 Exhibitions ranging from £50 to £20. But the House will remember that all the undergraduates' scholarships are provided out of funds independent of the University, and there is a contribution of one half of the expense of 10 of the Fellowships from Trinity College, so that the charge upon the University Funds would be 15 Fellowships at £200 a-year each—£3,000; half of 10 Fellowships—£1,000; and 10 Exhibitions, £100 each, £1,000—making in all an annual charge of £4,000. But in addition to these prizes, open to those who are actually students in the University, I make a proposal in this Bill, which I am sure will be valued by all who take an interest in intermediate education in Ireland—I propose to place at the disposal of the University authority 50 pensions or Exhibitions of £20 a-year each, tenable for three years, and bestowed under suitable regulations upon young men of merit who may need assistance in preparing themselves for a University examination. This will add a charge of £1,000 a-year to the University revenue, making in all a sum of £5,000 a-year to be spent in the manner I have mentioned. I do not believe anyone will say that I am asking an extravagant endowment for the University, if I ask that the Church Commissioners shall provide out of the surplus at their disposal a sum of £200,000, bearing interest at the rate of 4 per cent until paid. Assuming the money, when paid, to be laid out so as to produce the same income, this would leave to the University an income from endowments of £3,000 for all other purposes. To this, of course, must be added whatever might be received from the students in the form of fees. I propose to leave this fund at the disposal of the Academic Council, guarding its power over it by this, that in any vote for money beyond providing for the ordinary expenditure, the votes of two-thirds must concur. I come now to the Colleges. Trinity College has an endowment: it is of £43,000. A considerable part of this comes from private sources. In the Bill of 1873 the late Ministry proposed that Trinity College should pay to the funds of the University a direct money contribution of £12,000 a-year. I propose a contribution in a different form—a form that will not in the least cripple the resources of the College. The surrender of the 70 Foundation Scholarships to the University, taking the cost of each at £70 annually, is equivalent to a money contribution of £4,900 a-year; but, in other respects, it is a contribution far beyond their money value. In the transfer of the 10 Fellowships there is another contribution of £1,000. Trinity College has at present certain Professorships which may be fairly considered as a portion of her University expenses. The Professors in certain faculties must preside over the granting of degrees in those faculties, and to observe which, I think, is a matter of no little importance established. These Professors are—Regius Professor of Laws, with a salary of £500 a-year; the Regius Professor of Physic, of Surgery, and, last, not least, of Music. All these I propose to make University Professors, to be nominated by the Academic Council, but the salaries still to be paid by the College, and I add to these the Professor of Astronomy, the Royal Astronomer of Ireland. The salaries and emoluments of these different Professors, still continuing charges on the College revenues, will amount to more than £200 a-year. In these various ways the College will contribute, if not to the University, yet to University purposes, an income of about £8,000 a-year. In addition to this, there are some annual prizes and medals, which will be open to all students; they are not very large in amount, but many of them carry with them associations that make them prized. I may be forgiven if I mention the Berkeley gold medals for proficiency in Greek, the result of a bequest by the illustrious philosopher to whom I feel proud that I can trace even a remote relationship. These may be small matters, but they associate the University in its remodelled form with traditions. It is a less sentimental benefit that gives to the University an interest in the magnificent collection of ancient Irish manuscripts, which is now the exclusive property of Trinity College. For the endowment of the new College I propose that on the acceptance of the charter and the vesting of the existing property of the Catholic University to the responsible College, that a sum of £30,000 should be handed over at once to the authorities of the College to erect suitable buildings. It will next be, of course, for the authorities of the College to determine the most convenient site, either on their present situation, or on any other, the distance from the centre of the city of Dublin, which I propose to fix at three miles by my scheme. I much prefer that they should be placed in the immediate vicinity of Trinity College; but this is a matter entirely for the College itself. There are many reasons which make it desirable that substantial proof should be given of the continual interest of the Catholic people in the establishment of the new College, and I therefore think that as soon as a further sum of £20,000 is subscribed, making in all a contribution of £220,000, then, and not till then, double that amount or a sum of £440,000, should be paid out of the Church surplus, bearing interest at 4 per cent until paid. I ought to have stated that in investigating the property of the present institution, the newly-incorporated College, I purpose to exempt a very beautiful church now used as the chapel of the actual property that will continue vested in its present owners. I omitted also to say that a sum of money which I fix at £20,000 will be required to provide new buildings, this would make the entire charge upon the Church surplus to amount to £700,000. I need not say that I omit many details; I only wish to add that the Bill empowers Her Majesty to incorporate any other College in the University of Dublin, provided that it should appear expedient to Her Majesty to do so if its founder fix its site within the distance of three miles from the centre of the city. The mere charter of incorporation will give to such a College all the privileges of other Colleges as to its students proceeding to degrees, but no change is to be made in the University except by a statute in the manner I have mentioned by the University itself. I have now laid before the House at much greater length than I could have wished the general outlines of the plan which is embodied in the Bill I ask leave to bring in. Of course, I have not ventured to detain you by dwelling on minute details. I trust I have said enough to explain its general features. The proposal is expressed briefly:—To institute a second College in the existing University of Dublin; to make that College one in which the Roman Catholic people of Ireland can receive an education in accordance with their own convictions; to Wave Trinity College, retaining its Protestant and religious character, to fulfil to the Protestant people the very functions which it has so long and so usefully discharged; and, at the same time, to permit the national University to extend the benefit of its prizes and its degrees to men who desire to pass through it without submitting to the teaching of either of these Colleges. The plan I propose attains, at all events, these objects:—It gives perfect liberty of religious teaching to both Catholics and Protestants, while it forces that teaching upon none; it does not lower the standard or the status of the University education and it leaves, both to the Colleges and to the University, perfect independence of that State interference which in every country has marred and degraded every system of University education to which it has been employed. Will the House permit me, before I sit down, to refer to some testimonies to show how, by the Irish people, the principle of such a measure is likely to be received? My evidence is taken from a pastoral signed by all the Roman Catholic Prelates of Ireland on the 20th October, 1871. In the pastoral, after asserting the necessity of basing education on religion, and pointing out the conditions requisite in any plan that will meet the convictions of the Roman Catholic people of Ireland, they go on to say—"Vital to the prosperity and welfare of Ireland. For even if we think that University education is a matter less directly connected with the peace and happiness of the country than others on which we have formerly been called upon more than once to proceed, it must be borne in mind that when we look into the far future the well-being of Ireland must in a great degree depend on the moral and intellectual culture of her people; and that in the promotion of that culture the efficiency of her Universities cannot fail to be a powerful and effectual instrument."—[Ibid. 378.]
To show that this assent to a common University is given in no niggardly or illiberal spirit, I will ask you to read an extract from a tract written by Dr. Woodlock, the clergyman who presides as rector over the Catholic University. And let me say that indications are every day showing themselves on the part of the Protestant people of Ireland of a desire to meet such sentiments in a spirit of corresponding liberality. I believe that many, very many, of most distinguished members of the Protestant Church would now gladly preserve religious education for their own people even on the terms of conceding similar privileges to their Roman Catholic countrymen. Many of the best and most distinguished members of the Dublin University are advocates of the plan which I propose. When I mention that Dr. Houghton and Dr. M'Ivor as two who have committed themselves in published essays to its support, I mention names that command the respect of all, and names that are only representative of the moral and intellectual power that desire to see this great question settled, and settled at once and for ever upon the principles of the plan I propose. In the hope that you will give me leave to bring in this Bill, I fearlessly submit the plan to the criticisms of this House, of my countrymen of all creeds and classes, and of the British public. I know and feel that in proposing a system of University education essentially interwoven with religion I am running counter to the prejudices of many of those near me for whose advocacy of equal rights for Ireland I cheerfully and gladly acknowledge our obligations, but surely I may say to them that if their own principles affect this vital question of the education of their children, you must yield to the feelings, the more than feelings, the deep-seated, the conscious convictions of the Irish people themselves. You have felt constrained to give us our own way upon the question of closing public-houses on Sundays. Have we not a better claim to have our own way as to the character of the institutions that regulate the higher culture of our sons? There are in this House those who sympathize with us in the conviction of the necessity of basing education on religion, but in whose minds I must encounter the strong prejudice that is entertained against anything that seems like making a provision for the teaching of the tenets of the faith which is held by the great majority of the Irish people. I have left myself no time to argue the question. This is not, perhaps, the occasion on which I should do so; but yet may I venture to remind you that your choice in Ireland lies between abandoning altogether religious education and providing in the educational institutions for the religion of the people. The days are gone by when you can maintain the Protestant institutions unless you are willing to let Roman Catholic ones grow up by their side. Why, I ask of all Parties in this House, will you not apply to Ireland the principles which have been established in so many of your colonies? I ask of you to mould your institutions to the feelings and the conscience of the people, instead of entering on the vain and odious effort to break or bend the conscience and will of the people to institutions which you force upon a reluctant and a struggling nation. In this matter of education, alone of all others, you can only succeed with the assent and co-operation of the people; and in the belief that the plan I propose will attain that assent and co-operation, I ask your permission to submit that plan to your judgment by asking leave to bring in a Bill to make better provision for University Education in Ireland."All this can, we believe, be attained by modifying the constitution of the Dublin University so as to admit of the establishment of a second College within it in every respect equal to Trinity College, and conducted on purely Catholic principles, in which your Bishops shall have full control in all things regarding faith and morals, securing thereby the spiritual interests of your children, placing at the same time Catholics on a perfect equality with Protestants, as to degrees, emoluments, or other advantages."
, in rising to second the Motion, said, he would not enter into details. Of course it was proper, if the introducer of a Bill wished to state the details of a measure when introducing it, but it was not the practice for others to do so, and his hon. and learned Friend had so lucidly explained the provisions of the Bill that it would be presumption on his (the O'Conor Don's) part to attempt to add anything to what his hon. and learned Friend had said; but in rising to second the Motion and to give his reasons for so doing, and for putting his name on the Bill, he wished to say that he did so on the principle so lucidly laid down by his hon. and learned Friend, that it was desirable, in endeavouring to establish equality in University education in Ireland, that it should be established by incorporating the Catholic College with the national University, rather than by setting up a second University in antagonism, as it were, to the one which had so long existed, and which had so fully gained the confidence of that portion of the Irish people, who heretofore had been admitted to all its honours and prizes, and to which even the Catholic population had always looked with a certain amount of pride. It was because that was the principle of the Bill, that he had placed his name on the back of it, and now seconded the Motion that leave be given to bring it in.
said, he felt sure that all who had been present during the speech just delivered by the hon. and learned Member, whatever their views on this great question, must have listened to that speech with very great interest. He only regretted that that interest did not appear to be shared in, judging from the state of the benches opposite, by those who in previous years had taken an active part in considering the question. He did not now rise for the purpose of expressing any opinion on the speech of the hon. and learned Member, or with the view of entering into any general discussion of the question before the House. He had no objection to offer to the Motion for leave to bring in the Bill. It was not only a matter of ordinary courtesy that he should be allowed to bring it in; but he(Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) thought it was clearly for the public advantage that the hon. and learned Gentleman should be able completely to put before the people his views and proposals. Whether they would be more successful than other proposals which had gone before them he would not now attempt to say; but in assenting to the Motion, of course he must not be taken as expressing, on the part of the Government, acquiescence in the arguments of the hon. and learned Member, in the principle on which his Bill was based, or in the proposals which it contained.
reminded the House that in proposing this secular University—and it would be secular, because the Divinity degrees were to be abolished—the hon. and learned Gentleman had proposed to exclude from it those secular Colleges whose secularity, he said, was an opprobrium in the eyes of a large portion of the Irish people—the Queen's Colleges. The hon. and learned Gentleman recognized the visitorial powers of the Roman Catholic Episcopate over the Catholic College, and proposed to admit this power through the College into the government of the University, although he intended that to be secular, but expressly declared that his object was to exclude the jurisdiction and authority of the Government. His proposal, therefore, involved the importation of Episcopal and the exclusion of Governmental authority. As to the plea of poverty which was urged in defence of this proposal, he thought it came with an ill grace from the representatives of a denomination which had spent such enormous sums upon its religious establishments. If Irish Roman Catholics were really anxious for higher education, why did they not devote some portion of those large funds so liberally contributed for the establishment of various institutions connected with their religion to the purposes of a University? The hon. and learned Gentleman had paid high compliments to Trinity College; but he proposed at the same time to exact severe contributions from it, in position, emolu- ment, and the right of conferring academical honours.
said, he merely wished to answer one remark of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire, and he wished he were there to hear him; but after such a long debate they could not expect the hon. Gentleman to go without his dinner. He (Captain Nolan) wanted to answer the hon. Gentleman's remark about the rich endowments of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The hon. Gentleman said that the Catholic Church in that country, out of its rich endowments, could easily find funds for the endowment of a University. He (Captain Nolan) would take his knowledge of his own county for example, and he was sure the same might be said of any county in Ireland; and he should be glad to know where they were to find, he would not say wealth, but any amount of competence in connection with the religious orders in Ireland. It was true in five or six towns they had spent a good deal of money on schools; but the sums laid out would have been considered small in the rich towns of England to lay out for education, and he would ask the hon. Member for North Warwickshire whether he would propose to take away these sums, paltry in comparison to those so spent in the rich towns of England on primary education, from the poorer classes to devote the money to the establishment of a Catholic University? Even if all such contributions were put together, he (Captain Nolan) did not suppose they would pay more than half the amount necessary to support either a Catholic College or a Catholic University. No matter how good the University might be, he believed it would be the very worst possible course to take away those schools. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire seemed to argue that they were demanding something unreasonable in asking for some share of the money which now remained from the fund of the late Established Church. That was a proposal which, he (Captain Nolan) thought, would be made at all times, and perhaps under very different circumstances by the Irish party—namely, that they should receive an equal share of the surplus funds of the late Established Church. He, for one, maintained—he had stated it before in that House, and each year that passed there would be more Members here from Ireland to maintain it—that the late Established Church was not thoroughly disendowed, and that, further, the sum now in the possession of the Irish Church over and above the value of the life interests at the date of Disestablishment was a relic of the late endowment, and they could only consent to its allotment being considered as a private and indefeasible property when an equal and equivalent sum had been allotted in some way for the religious training of the Catholics in Ireland. Whenever that sum was allotted we would acknowledge any property they had as theirs rightfully as well as legally; but so long as a relic of the endowment remained which was not balanced by a corresponding endowment for the religious education of the Catholics in Ireland, the Catholics would never rest on this question of endowment. There were now nearly 4,000,000 of Catholics in Ireland, and nothing whatever was done by the State for their higher education, or to give them an education which they could conscientiously receive, and which was in accordance with the genius of the nation. It was true the Queen's Colleges were thrown open; but Catholics to avail themselves of their teaching must, to a certain extent, endanger their religious convictions. He did not think the State had any right to take up secularism in a way so as to force children to pass through secular schools to which their parents objected; and he, for one, should be equally sorry to see the children of those who preferred secular training forced through religious schools. As to the scheme of his hon. and learned Friend, he did not say it was perfect; but it was a scheme that would satisfy the Irish people. He would propose some Amendments in Committee; but so far as the second reading was concerned he should support the Bill, and he believed it would be very heartily received by the people of Ireland as a solution of the difficulty. There was only one other point—that was, he hoped the Government would give them a day for the second reading. They had had no real discussion that night. It was true they had had a most ample statement from his hon. and learned Friend; but there had been no reply from the Government, and he very much feared, unless the Government did something for them, they might have no real debate that year. That was a question of which not merely all thinking Catholics of Ireland, but many of the Liberal Protestants, were anxious there should be some solution. Therefore, he sincerely hoped the Government would not put them off by saying they had no time at their disposal; nothing was easier for them than to make time if they chose. With them the responsibility would rest if the second reading was not moved, and if they had not a proper opportunity for discussing the Bill.
Motion agreed to.
Bill to make better provision for University Education in Ireland, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Butt, The O'CONOR Don, Mr. MITCHELL HENRY, Mr. MACCARTHY, and Mr. SULLIVAN.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 150.]
University Of Cambridge Bill
Leave First Reading
, in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to make further provision respecting the University of Cambridge and the Colleges therein, said, that as a Bill had been introduced to reform the University of Oxford, he desired to ask the House what were the objects that ought to be aimed at in proposing fresh legislation for the Universities; what were the circumstances which rendered that legislation necessary; and what was the machinery by means of which the object of the legislation might be attained. The answers to those questions would be found in the Reports of two most valuable Royal Commissions that had been appointed to report on the subject of the Universities. One of these was appointed to inquire into all institutions within the United Kingdom which were connected with the study, the pursuit, and the advancement of science. The other was appointed for the purpose of inquiring into the revenues and property of the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. At the head of the first of these Commissions was the Duke of Devonshire, the present Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. The Commissioners had made no less than eight Reports, and the third of these was addressed to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. They described in the minutest detail the facilities for the study of science afforded by means of the Professoriate, and by means of the inter-Collegiate system of lectures and classes, under which Colleges were combined for educational purposes; and they pointed out, notwithstanding all that had been done, there were yet many requirements to be met in the course of instruction in science. Without entering into details, he might say that the Commissioners recommended an extension of the Professoriate, a completer organization of the inter-Collegiate system of lectures and classes and a larger provision of museums, libraries, and other buildings and of the apparatus necessary for the prosecution of scientific investigation. Perhaps these recommendations went rather far, but there was no doubt that considerable improvements would have to be made before the idea embodied in the Report of the Commissioners could be carried into effect. Science would include organic and in organic subjects, the science of magnitude and numbers, including observations and experiments, but excluding mental and modern science. They would have to look to these departments of study before they could have the studies completed. A Cambridge Syndicate which was appointed last year had made a Report, and it was drawn up by those who had made the theory as well as the practice of teaching the business of their lives. It was a most instructive, elaborate, and well-prepared document. It was founded upon the different branches of study, and the conclusion which was arrived at, and pressed upon the University, was that in all departments of science there were many other requirements that would have to be supplied besides those which he had referred to. It was quite demonstrable to his mind that the Universities only wanted the means to fulfil the great duties that were entrusted to them in this respect. He need not say, with regard to Cambridge University, how lively an interest she took, and had always taken, in this subject; and he need not point out the things she was doing, and had done, to make University teaching as complete and comprehensive as she was able to make it. It was not the want of will but the want of means that stood in her way, and so long as the want of means existed so long would it be impossible to do all that was requisite to do—that which the University desired to do. This led him to consider what were the circumstances that rendered legislation necessary. It was, in plain words, a money question that loomed in the background, and the extreme difficulty of adjusting the proportion that the Colleges should bear in contributing money for the common benefit of the University at large. This brought him, not only to the Report of the second Commission, but also to make a remark as to what the Science Commissioners had said. They had said that the revenues of the University as compared with those of the Colleges were comparatively small, and that they had reason to believe that the Colleges would be willing and anxious to contribute towards supplying the deficiency that was not at the command of the University. They would desire that the appointment should be adjusted equitably between the Colleges, and in a way that would be reasonable for the University. The Report of the second Commission which inquired into the revenues and property of the University and Colleges contained two broad facts. The first one was this—that the immediate property of the University, as distinguished from that of the Colleges at Cambridge, was only about £14,000 a-year, whilst the property of the Colleges derived from the same sources amounted to not less than £265,000 a-year. The second fact was this—that a prospective surplus of property was to be expected in the University from doing away with the system of renewable leases. The estimate was that the property that would accrue to the University might be put down as nil, whilst the property of the Colleges in 1885 would be £30,000 a-year. The University, as distinguished from the Colleges, had not the necessary means, and the Colleges had a right to say that these means could only be apportioned by an equitable adjustment under the direction of somebody who could fairly adjust the proportion which should be contributed by the various Colleges. When the Cambridge Act was passed in 1856 there was an express provision in that Act which enabled the Colleges to surrender such portion of their property or income as might be available for the purposes of the University at large. The difficulty in adjusting the proportion that the Colleges should bear had been so great that virtually that provision had been a dead letter. Putting all these things together he believed that he had established his two propositions—that the object to be aimed at by legislation should be first to enlarge the sphere of the University itself; and, secondly, that the difficulties that lay in the way of enabling the University to effect its object could only be got over by some further legislation based on equitable principles, which would, he believed, meet all the requirements of the University and Colleges, and greatly extend their usefulness. What, then, was the machinery by which those objects were to be accomplished? On that part of the case he could feel no doubt whatever. They must go back to the principle adopted in 1856—namely, an enabling and requiring power vested in Commissioners, who, in conjunction with the Universities and the Colleges, should arrange among themselves what changes would be advisable so that those great academical institutions—those great intellectual centres of science and learning—should be able to meet the wants of the times. The Bill which had come down from the House of Lords with reference to the University of Oxford was based on that principle, and the Bill he had now the honour to propose, in concurrence with and at the request of Her Majesty's Government, was drawn on the same lines, and contemplated the same objects. If it should be adopted, the effect would be this—Parliament would clearly indicate the general direction which would have to be given for making good and supplying the wants and requirements of the University of Cambridge to which he had adverted, while the particular mode in which those requirements would be met should be determined and settled by the Colleges and the University themselves. He laid it down as a universal truth in matters of this description, that whatever was done voluntarily and willingly would be always better done than that which was done under extraneous influences. He knew that there were some who wished to go further than this; some who would like to prescribe in the statute itself the changes that Parliament should specifically require, and which they should enable the Commissioners to enforce. He could not agree with this in the least degree; on the contrary, he thought that it would only add to delay and disappointment, and be a legislative mistake. The question of Fellowships had been very much agitated for the last few months. Some would regulate them now, and prescribe the conditions on which they should be conferred and held, and state distinctly the term that they should continue in the possession of the holders. He believed that these were matters which should be regulated with a due regard to fresh circumstances as could only be known to those who were interested in this question, and that those alone who had this knowledge would be likely to come to a just conclusion. There were those who thought they could specify the precise rewards for Professors; but he thought that if they wished to encourage the same high standard of culture which had been maintained at the Universities of late years, if they wished to secure the highest amount of teaching, lecturing, and tutorial power in the University itself, if they wished to encourage original research and scientific investigation, they could not do better than leave to the University to settle for themselves how these things could best be managed. His belief was that if they had not three classes of Fellowships they would fail to make the most of the opportunities they now had of improving the University. If they did away with prize Fellowships altogether they would not have the same standard which the students at the University now aimed at. They would not have the same means of encouraging, rewarding, and setting out in their career in life some of the ablest and most distinguished men, who not only reflected honour on the University, but conferred great benefit on the country at large. So, if they did not have another class of Fellowships which would properly reward lecturers, tutors, and readers for the time and labour they bestowed on the education of the students at the University, they would lose that resident class of men who, he hoped, would always be resident at the University, and by whom education was more promoted than it could be in any other way. Lastly, if they had not a third class of Fellowships which would give encouragement to those who were willing to remain at the University and pursue scientific investigation, a blank would be left in the University which it would be impossible hereafter to fill up. He had ventured to speak strongly on that part of the subject, because he thought that no compromise was possible upon it. The two Bills for Cambridge and Oxford were drawn on the same lines, and, although the former might deviate in some of its details from the latter, the two Bills in point of principle were substantially the same. Still, it was desirable that the Parliamentary charters of the two great institutions should be kept, as heretofore, distinct. However much they resembled each other in all the main principles of University life, there were distinctions between them that would have to be adverted to and observed in any legislation which Parliament might bring to bear upon them, particularly with reference to the appointment of the Commissioners, so that they might be perfectly familiar with the peculiarities and wants of that University for which they were appointed. With reference to the Noblemen and Gentlemen to be selected as Commissioners, it was usual to give their names just before going into Committee on the Bill; but, to avoid mistake on a matter of so much importance and interest to the University and the country, he would now take the liberty of reading their names. The Commissioners who would be nominated for Cambridge University would be the Bishop of Worcester, Lord Rayleigh, the Lord Chief Justice of England(Sir Alexander Cockburn), the Right Hon. Edward Pleydell Bouverie Professor Stokes, the Rev. Dr. Light foot, and George W. B. Hemming, Q.C The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving for leave to bring in the Bill.
said, that on the whole, he approved of the Bill; but he suggested that, though it was brought in by a private Member, it could not but be regarded, after the language of Her Majesty's Speech, as a Government measure. He hoped, therefore, that in future stages it would be put next on the Paper to the Oxford Bill sent down from the Upper House, so that the two Bills might be discussed together. The Gentlemen whose names had been mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman would, he was sure, command the confidence of the House, of the country, and of the University of Cambridge.
said, he could not agree with the suggestion of the noble Lord. On the contrary, he thought the two Bills should be discussed separately—each upon its own merits. He regretted to hear that the Bill would not deal with the reform of the Senate of Cambridge any more than the other Bill dealt with the reform of the Congregation of Oxford. He regretted, also, that the Bill did not touch clerical Fellowships. If it had dealt with those two points there would have been a settlement of the question, which now would be sure to be re-opened in two or three years. He begged to give Notice that in the event of the right hon. Gentleman obtaining leave to introduce his measure he should on a subsequent occasion move a Resolution to the effect that, in the opinion of that House, no measure of reform affecting Cambridge University would be satisfactory which did not propose the abolition of clerical Headships and clerical Fellowships.
said, that although the proceeding might be justified by the Rules of the House and the practice of Parliament still it was unfortunate that the general principle of the Bill should, on the first reading, be thrown on the floor of the House by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke). He was glad to hear from the speech of his right hon. Colleague that this Bill confined itself to that which the nation was looking for—namely, the development of the University in its teaching, its educational, and its scientific aspect. There was another aspect of the University, also of great importance, which he would call its social one, as an institution ramifying throughout the land and pervading the whole community with a wholesome and elevating influence. The University in this aspect was composed not merely of the teaching residents, but of its whole body of graduates wherever found, or, in other words, of its Senate. This Senate which the hon. Baronet was so anxious to reform was the connecting link between the University in its strictly scientific aspect and the more social and harmonizing elements which made it so great an institution in our complex social and political system. This Bill seemed to be drawn up on practical and reasonable lines. It dealt with the University as a place of education, and as connected with the intellectual system of the country, and expressed by the present system of Scholarships and Fellowships. As to Fellowships, he had heard with peculiar pleasure his right hon. Colleague so clearly defining the distinction which ought to exist between the different uses of Fellowships—a distinction which, so to speak, worked itself out in practice, as the classes into which Fellows parted themselves off came into prominence subsequently to the common examinations from which the choice was made. Educational Fellowships were necessary, with well-defined rules of residence, and there was good reason for re-considering the tenure and emoluments of the non-resident or Prize Fellowships in the future; but any idea of extinguishing or seriously diminishing them would be fatal, for if all Fellowships were made merely educational, then one of the best elements of the University would be lost. Fellowships were now respected from the high proficiency which the acquisition of one implied. But if the temptation of competing for them was to be taken away from all who were not aspirants after the one profession of resident teachers, it was plain that the general standard of competition would be most injuriously affected, while the results would of course re-act upon the quality of the teaching itself. The whole system in its complexity must be jealously maintained, or the teaching, and in consequence the learning, of the University would be lowered. He thought his right hon. Friend had exercised a wise discretion in thus early publishing the names of the Commission, and he believed he might say on behalf of his constituents that they would be contented when they saw that the University would be in the hands of Commissioners who had in their previous careers given such pledges of capacity as made them deserving of the confidence now about to be reposed in them.
observed, that though the Bill was in his charge, it was virtually a Government measure. It would appear in the Orders next to the Oxford Bill, and though the Bills would be practically considered together, it would be open to the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
, in reference to what had fallen from his right hon. Friend, desired to say that the subject was one which ought to be dealt with by Her Majesty's Government, and practically the measure might be considered as one brought in by the Government on their responsibility. The Bill had been placed in the hands of a private Member who was practically acquainted with all details relating to the University; and therefore, considering the connection of his right hon. Friend with the University of Cambridge, the intimate knowledge he must possess from his connection with the University, and of everything regarding its welfare and usefulness for the country, as well as his high character and standing in the House, the House would agree with him (Mr. Cross) that it was a matter that should be brought in by one so competent to explain every detail connected with the subject as his right hon. Friend. It was the intention of the Government that this and the Oxford University Bill should be considered together, except when they had to consider the details.
Motion agreed to.
Bill to make further provision respecting the University of Cambridge and the Colleges therein, ordered to be brought in by Mr. SPENCER WALPOLE, Mr. Secretary CROSS, and Lord John Manners.
Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 151.]
Poor Law Rating (Ireland)
, in rising to move that the system of Poor Law Rating in Ireland should be assimilated to that of England by the adoption of Union Rating, said, that in the Bill which introduced the system of electoral divisions that area was fixed for the purpose of electing Guardians. It was intended that the electoral division should be applied only to these administrative purposes; that it should have no bearing on the incidence of taxation, and that the poor rate should be raised from the Union. The Bill passed this House in its original shape. It was altered in the Lords, and the substitu- tion of the division for the Union as an area of taxation was agreed to by the House as a temporary arrangement, to be abandoned in favour of the old plan at an early opportunity. What he now sought was to have the alteration of the area of taxation from the division to the Union carried out. The present system inflicted considerable hardship, particularly upon large towns and cities. The effect of the present law was that the rural poor were driven into the streets of the towns, which had once been the seats of industry. Thus the burden of maintaining the poor was thrown upon the towns, which could ill afford to bear it. One result of the present law was that at certain seasons the farmers were compelled to resort to the towns for labourers either to till their fields or to reap the crops, and as soon as this work was done the men returned to the towns, whose rates were expended in their maintenance. In the North of Ireland there were some few towns in which the industries carried on afforded employment to the labouring poor when they were not engaged in agriculture, but the number of such towns was small, and, as he had said, they were confined to one part of the country only. The Resolution which he had proposed sought something more than the application of Union rating as between town and country. It would involve an application of the principle as between different rural divisions. A particular district might be taken and an imaginary line might be drawn in it, and on one side it would be found that the rate was 1s. in the pound and on the other side 6d.; on the cheap side would be found few labourers and little poverty, while on the other would be found a good many labourers and a great deal of poverty. In the city of Limerick the rate was 3s. in the pound, while in a district, a short distance outside, the proportionate charge was only 1s. 8d. Whatever could be said in favour of union rating in England could be said with reference to Ireland. It was alleged that the adoption of union rating would throw the rate over such a large surface that the motive in favour of economy would be lost, and that it would be impossible for the Guardians to supervise a large district such as an Irish Union. But it was necessary to take into account not only the extent of the Union, but the value of the property to be taxed. This question was one which had been frequently introduced to the attention of the House, to whose attention it had been submitted by Mr. Barry and by Mr. M'Mahon. The question had been considered by a Select Committee, and all the leading officials, English and Irish, gave their opinions in favour of the change. Whatever course the Secretary for Ireland might take, he (Mr. O'Shaughnessy) hoped he would put before the House some definite scheme; and if that scheme was a wise one, and could be quickly passed, the Session could not be considered barren with reference to Irish interests. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That the system of Poor Law Rating in Ireland should be assimilated to that of England by the adoption of Union Rating."—(Mr. O'Shaughnessy.)
said, they had had considerable experience of Union rating in England, and they discovered that the argument which the country party brought forward against the adoption of that system—namely, that it would throw the rates on so large an area that all motives to economy would be lost—was well founded. Since Union rating had been adopted they had had a period of prosperity so great that pauperism ought to be almost extinct. The wages of labouring men had been raised from 10s. to 15s. and in many cases much higher. The exports and imports of England had increased 70 per cent; employment had increased, and the position of the poor had been greatly ameliorated. But what had been the result of adopting Union rating? In the 10 years before its adoption the annual expenditure for the relief of the poor was just within a fraction of £6,000,000, but since its adoption the annual expenditure had risen to £7,600,000. The increase occurred in this way—Suppose a small English town was in great distress, the burden of supporting its poor was thrown on the Union. But before Union rating was adopted, employers in that town, when the rates rose high, would employ their workpeople for two days in the week to keep them off the rates. The principle of Union charge- ability had been previously tried three times in the history of our Poor Law system, and it had always failed. Now that it was being tried for the fourth time, it would break down again as soon as any real stress was put upon it. They had lately had such a period of prosperity and high wages as to render a Poor Law almost unnecessary; but that state of things could not be expected to last. It would most probably be followed by hard times; and then, under the system of Union chargeability, their expenditure on poor relief would not only increase by £1,600,000, as it had already done, but by thrice that amount. The system had now failed in England again; but in the present instance they did not see the demoralization that would have been witnessed if it had not been for the extraordinary increase of wages and of employment and cheap bread, though, in spite of that, the rates had increased more than 25 per cent. In desperation, the Guardians were now trying to do what had signally failed before—namely, to cut down all out-door relief. The Chartist riots that occurred in 1837 were the result of the attempt to stop out-door relief. The present Prime Minister's beautiful political work called Sybil showed what England was reduced to by four years of a determined effort to stop out-door relief. They should in 1865 have maintained parochial chargeability for ordinary times, and when any particular parish fell into great distress they might have resorted to Union rating for a rate in aid. Under the present system the whole duty which the Guardians used to perform with the greatest care was now thrown on the relieving officer, and nobody paid any attention to the expenditure. He recommended that a Union rate should be granted only when a parish was in great distress and the rates were abnormally high.
opposed the Motion, which, if adopted, would only introduce a theoretical and not a practical assimilation between the areas of rating in Ireland and England. He asserted, moreover, that the system of Union rating had not worked well in England, and the hon. Gentleman who had spoken last had borne out that statement. It had a tendency to encourage a very extravagant administration of out-door relief in England. He objected to destroying in Ireland the interest which the Guardian now had in watching over the expenditure in his electoral division and promoting economy. No doubt there were some towns in Ireland where the existing system operated unfairly; but out of the 3,438 electoral divisions there were only eight cases of distinct hardship. It would be unjust and inexpedient to raise the rating of 2,980 divisions in order to relieve eight of an undue burden. To those places he was willing to afford assistance, and he, with his friends, had devised a plan which he hoped would give satisfaction. Its main principle was a rate in aid for affording relief to those electoral divisions whose taxation for in-door maintenance and clothing of paupers was disproportionately excessive as compared with the rest of the union. They proposed to exclude expenses incurred for out-door relief. He hoped that at the proper time they would have the assistance of the Chief Secretary in putting this scheme before the House. He must oppose the general application of Union rating to the Irish electoral districts.
said, if such terms were to be offered by the Government he should reject them, for they would only give relief to eight towns in Ireland; and such a proposal would be a mockery. He contended that the Union rating system was successful in England, and ought to be applied to Ireland. The hon. Member for Worcestershire (Mr. Knight) had stated that the increased poor rates in England were due to the action of the Union Chargeability Bill, but he could scarcely accept this view of the question. The increase had been caused by the enhanced price of food and clothing, the system of out-door relief, and the additions which had been made to the salaries of the officials whose duty it was to administer the Poor Law. The fact was that the expenditure in England had fallen off considerably during the last 18 months. It was true that in many cases Boards of Guardians in Ireland had petitioned against the adoption of Union chargeability; but these were urban Boards which would be closely affected by the adoption of the principle, and he was not aware that any other public body in the country had taken a similar course. He inferred that two years ago the Chief Secretary for Ireland was in favour of Union rating for in-door relief at least, and he challenged the right hon. Baronet to defend the anomalies of the present system, under which exceptional burdens were unfairly thrown upon some electoral divisions. If they were to have equal laws, why should they not give Ireland the same law of rating as existed in England?
, in supporting the Motion, said, he could not refrain from expressing his opinion that ever since the Famine in Ireland, the boroughs and towns, and even the small towns, had had very much to complain of from the inundation of those towns by paupers from the rural districts. He remembered the time when a neighbouring country gentleman had landed five boatloads of evicted tenants—making, with their families, a total of between 200 and 300 persons—in the town which he represented (Galway), and the greater number, after vainly struggling to live by their industry, were obliged to resort to the workhouse. Similar instances might, he believed, be found in other parts of Ireland. He denied that Sir Thomas Larcom could be regarded as an authority on the Poor Law system of Ireland. The testimony of Sir Alfred Power was of much greater value, and he declared that the Irish Poor Law did not work fairly towards the towns. The Chief Secretary for Ireland could not make a greater mistake than by adopting the plan of the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Kavanagh), while the scheme shadowed forth by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Downing) would be a fair and equitable compromise. He believed that for the welfare of the country districts, as well as of the towns, a wise compromise on this question would be come to if out-door relief were made an electoral division charge, and indoor relief a Union charge.
said, when he addressed the House on this question two years ago he commenced his remarks by observing that hon. Members who had not studied the subject would naturally suppose that Union rating in England and Ireland were the same thing. The question in the two countries was totally different. Unions in England averaged 55,000 acres; in Ireland, 125,000. In Ireland electoral divisions, on which about 40 per cent of the poor rate was now levied, were made for the special purpose not only of the election of Guardians, but of being the ordinary area of rating. The English parishes, on the contrary, handed down from ages long gone by, were areas with every kind of anomaly and variety, and were very much smaller in average extent than the electoral divisions in Ireland, which were, on an average, something like 6,000 acres. Moreover, the complaints against the old parochial rating system of England were not made in Ireland to the same extent against the electoral division rating. The great reason which induced Parliament to adopt Union rating in England was the feeling excited by the removal of the poor from what were called close parishes. The old English Poor Law specially favoured the practice of removal, because under the system of averages, by which the cost of maintaining the irremovable poor was placed on the Common Fund, to which each parish contributed on the average of its poor law expenditure for three years, it was clear that if the landowners could remove the poor altogether from a parish, that parish, ceased to become chargeable with any poor rate at all. No such practice existed in Ireland, and no proof whatever had been shown that the removal of paupers for the sake of relieving the electoral divisions ever prevailed there to any great extent. The hon. Member for Limerick, who had introduced the subject with so much ability, wished to equalize, as far as possible, the charge for the poor in Ireland. But if they were to have Union rating in that country to-morrow, it would not equalize that charge, and the differences of rating would be far greater in various parts of Ireland than in England. He could quote instances of Unions in the four Provinces which would prove it. For instance, under the system of Union rating, one Union in Ulster would have to pay 2s. 2½d., another in the same Province only 6d. In Munster, while one Union would pay 2s. 11¾d., another would pay 9d. In Connaught, one Union would pay 2s. 9d., another 7½d.; and in Leinster, one Union would pay 2s. 3d., another 7d. He mentioned that to show that the object of the hon. Member could not be attained by Union rating, but only by a national rate, which would be the overthrow of the present system of Poor Law, and would never receive the sanction of the House. The Motion of the hon. Member for Limerick was for the adoption of Union rating in Ireland precisely in the same way as in England. But by all who had considered the question, it would be admitted that a small area was almost essential for the proper administration of out-door relief. The adoption of the area of English Unions for out-door relief was, in his opinion, a mistake, and it would be a still greater mistake to adopt the larger area of Irish Unions for the same purpose. In Ireland out-door relief had increased of late years to an extent that bade fair to take away one of the great advantages that had hitherto been attributed to the Irish Poor Law system. On the whole, he thought the House would be agreed that the charge for out-door relief should not be levied upon the basis of a Union charge, and the question to be decided, therefore, was, whether the charge now placed on electoral divisions in order to defray the expense of maintaining and clothing paupers in the workhouses was so to remain, with unequal incidence, or whether it would be better to make it a Union charge. At one time it struck him that the best mode of dealing with the question would be to place all in-door relief upon the Unions and retain out-door relief upon the electoral divisions. But when he came to consider the details of this solution he found this important objection to it, in addition to others that had been urged—namely, that in order to relieve a small number of heavily-rated electoral divisions it would make an important change in the area of rating through the whole country. He had, therefore, to abandon that proposal. So the question rested at the end of last Session. Since then he had been in communication on the subject with hon. Members on both sides of the House, and with noble Lords sitting in the other House, who were greatly interested in the management of Poor Law matters in Ireland. He thought, after all, the question would be met by placing the charge for the deaf and dumb paupers, on the Union at large, and relieving certain electoral divisions of part of the heavy charge now laid on them for the in maintenance and clothing of in-door paupers by a rate in aid. This rate in aid might be so arranged that it would secure economy, even in the cases mentioned by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Downing). He proposed, where the charge on any electoral division for the maintenance and clothing of electoral division in-door paupers exceeded the average rate of charge on the Union for that purpose by more than 50 per cent, that the excess above that 50 per cent should be levied as a Union rate; provided that no electoral division would be so relieved, on which this charge did not exceed 1s. in the pound. The details were difficult to explain; but he would bring in a Bill in which his proposals would be embodied. He thought in this way they might secure what was wanted—namely, relief in a comparatively small number of electoral divisions without interfering with the Poor Law system throughout the country. The provisions of the rate-in-aid would apply to 91 Unions out of 163. In that Bill there would be a provision in regard to the valuation of electoral divisions. It was no doubt the fact that in some of the electoral divisions the apparently high poundage rate now levied was due to a very low valuation. The provision to which he referred would enable the Guardians of any Union where a rate-in-aid was levied to have their Union re-valued in order that the poundage of all the electoral divisions might as far as possible be put on a fair basis. These would be the main provisions of the Bill, which he hoped shortly to lay before the House, and he trusted they would be regarded as a fair attempt to meet the question and to give relief where it was wanted, as well as to secure administrative economy.
said, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman was fair and reasonable.
said, after the statement of the right hon. Baronet, he begged leave to withdraw his Motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Monastic And Conventual Institutions Bill
Notice being taken of the language contained in the Petition from Newark Street, Leicester, in favour of the Monastic and Conventual Institutions Bill:—
The hon. Gentleman said, it was true that considerable liberty was given with reference to the language of Petitions; but when an hon. Member presented a Petition containing charges of an awful nature he ought within a reasonable time—certainly within a month—to found some Motion on that Petition. Six weeks had now elapsed since the presentation of this Petition; but the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had not founded any Motion upon it. The Petition, among other things, stated that in many of the convents the inmates were put to death and that the nuns became the victims of horrors that far surpassed anything that entered into the minds of the public generally. Upon the ground, therefore, that the language of the Petition was unbecoming, he moved that the Order of the Day that the Petition from Newark lie upon the Table be read and discharged."That the Order that the Petition do lie upon the Table, be read, and discharged, on account of the unbecoming language used therein."
trusted the House would pause before accepting this Motion, because it involved a question in respect to the right of petitioning which was entirely novel. He had carefully read this Petition, and although he should have recommended the petitioners to withdraw many of the expressions in the Petition, yet the statements contained in it were strictly and historically true, and could be proved verbatim et literatim by evidence such as hon. Members were in the habit of acting upon.
thought it could not be denied that the expressions used in that Petition were very improper, but, on the other hand, they were bound in every possible way to protect the right of Petition; and as that particular Petition had, he believed, been received and printed by the Committee on Petitions, it would be a virtual censure on them to reject it without first hearing their explanation of the matter.
said, it had been before explained by the Chairman of the Committee on Petitions that that Petition, or one similar to it, had been printed by pure inadvertence, owing to the very great number of Petitions which came in on the same day.
confirmed this statement, and said that what had oc- curred in that case would cause the Committee to observe great caution in future.
observed, that all must feel that the right of petitioning was a very sacred one, and one with which they ought to be careful how they interfered. It, however, must be borne in mind that there were necessary Rules to maintain the proper position of the House, and one of them was that Petitions should be couched in temperate and respectful language. Ordinarily speaking, the House trusted to the judgment of the Committee of Petitions to reject any Petition containing language of a character which ought not to be laid on the Table. But they could understand how, under the circumstances just mentioned by two Members of that Committee, those particular Petitions had escaped notice and been inadvertently received. On the whole, he thought the House had better adopt the Motion for the discharge of the Petition.
Motion agreed, to.
Ordered, That the Order that the Petition do lie upon the Table be read, and discharged, on account of the unbecoming language used therein.—(Mr. Callan.)
Boulogne Sur Mer Petition
Report from the Select Committee, with Minutes of Evidence, brought up.
Report read, as followeth:—
Your Committee, having taken Evidence and having searched for precedents, do not advise the reception of the Petition by the House.
Report, with the Minutes of Evidence, to lie upon the Table, and to be printed. [No. 232.]
House adjourned at One o'clock.