§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £162,387, to complete the sum for Department of Science and Art.
§ GENERAL DUNNE
said, that he did not wish to object to a liberal outlay for the purposes of science and art. But he complained that the people of Ireland, who had to contribute their proportion to the expenditure, did not receive in return a fair share of the public money for similar establishments in Ireland. In the department of art the people of Ireland would make even more rapid progress than was made in this country, considering the few opportunities afforded. The Irish in this respect, as in all others, were treated with, great jealousy; but he contended that they had claims on the Government for greater liberality. There had been a lavish expenditure in this country. Even during the present Session, for purchases of works of art large sums were demanded of that House. Several collections—the Blacas and Woodhouse Collections—had recently been bought for England; and now a very large 1227 sum was asked, with which it was proposed to make purchases at the Paris Exhibition, but nothing was done for Ireland. Even the Irish antiquities and records were neglected, the building recently erected for their reception being very badly constructed for the purpose. A Report had been made with reference to proposed expenditure in connection with the South Kensington Museum, and other objects in the metropolis. Mr. Cole had staled that £100,000 might well be laid out in Bethnal Green, and he thought that Ireland had at least as much right to a grant as that classic locality. There were also in this Report proposals which seemed most absurd—one was to make collections of clothes—he presumed from fig leaves to long robes; and yet it was not possible to obtain a small grant of £2,300 for the Museum in Dublin attached to the Royal Dublin Society. With respect to works of art proposed to be bought by the department at the Paris Exhibition, he objected to an item for what was called "democratic jewellery;" few people could understand what was meant by "democratic" jewellery; but the name was attractive to ardent reformers, and he supposed as the franchise was to be given to what the highly liberal Gentleman the hon. Member for Birmingham styled the "residuum" of the people, it was thought necessary to improve their tastes by adorning them with "democratic jewellery." When the Government came into office they professed to be animated by a liberal spirit towards Ireland, and he had been almost inclined to trust these professions; but when any requirement involving a grant for the advantage of that country (however essential) was required from the Treasury, he found the present quite as unwilling to assent to it as the last. They proposed spending sums on any absurdity in England, and could not even make up their minds how the new Record Office was to be established, nor to publish the numerous manuscripts now useless, if not mouldering, in the repositories of this country. The manuscripts at Lambeth, now in the Bodleian, were edited at the instance of the last not the present Government. Ireland had never been less liberally dealt with as regards science and art than during the last three years.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he hoped the House would not be misled in regard to the recommendations of the 1228 Committee for making purchases at the Paris Exhibition.
said, he rose to Order. There was no Vote in these Estimates for purchases at the Paris Exhibition. There was a recommendation of the Commission on the subject, but it was altogether improper to introduce the matter at present.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, he wished to refer to the Art Vote for the Museum of Edinburgh, amounting to £5,828. He complained that while the institution in Dublin for the cultivation of science and art was erected and properly established, the Edinburgh institution was not. The whole of the land, except what was given by the corporation gratuitously, had been obtained by the Government. The site was there, and all that was wanted was the building giant. When £5,828 were voted for Edinburgh, and £26,333 proposed to be voted for Dublin, the people of Scotland had good reason to expect that an Estimate would be brought forward next Session to complete the Edinburgh building. He was the more emboldened to make this appeal when he saw that so large a sum as £74,800 was proposed to be voted for public buildings in Ireland in addition to £7,000 for building the Queen's University, making a total of £81,000, besides the £26,000 for the Science and Art Department in Ireland; but only £5,800 was voted for Scotland. Under these circumstances, he hoped the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) would assure the House that, in the next Session of Parliament, something like a measure of justice would be introduced for Scotland in this respect. The object of this institution was to improve the University by giving facilities to the students, the building being contiguous to the University, and joined to it by a covered way. Notwithstanding all the large sums voted for Universities and Science and Art Departments in Ireland, there were more students in the single University of Edinburgh than in all the Queen's Colleges in Inland. Yet the whole sum voted for Edinburgh was about £7,000, while those enormous sums were given to Ireland.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
said, he deprecated any feeling of jealousy on the part of Irish or Scotch Members. It was the earnest desire of the Government to do equal justice to both nations. The sum asked for the Science and Art Institutions in Ireland was £26,000, while for those of England and Scotland only £37,000 1229 was asked. The Science and Art Collection at South Kensington was equally available for Irish students as for those of England and Scotland. Works of art from the Loan Collection at the Museums were sent over to the various art schools of Ireland. Those schools were established by voluntary efforts; if the people of the North of Ireland did not choose to establish these schools, and so put themselves in a position to avail themselves of the advantages offered by the South Kensington Museum, it was their own fault.
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
said, that while Ireland received £34,000 under this head of the Estimates, Scotland only received £18,000. With reference to some remarks that had been made, he was anxious to bear testimony to the excellent taste and judgment of Mr. Cole. He hoped that next Session the Government would see the propriety of asking for a grant to enable them to finish the new permanent buildings at South Kensington. The entire sum necessary was £195,000, and it was proposed to take this year £32,000. He believed it would be—when finished—one of the most admirable things to be found in the city. He was sorry that Parliament would not at once vote the whole sum necessary for its completion. He asked the Secretary of the Treasury to take the matter into consideration, and to complete the building as soon as possible.
said, he did not think Ireland had been neglected, seeing that out of a total sum of £1,500,000, Ireland had £400,000, or upwards of one-fourth, her share being only one-fifth. She would receive upwards of £40,000 of the present Vote. Some efforts should be made to acquire for that country Dr. Petrie's Collection of Antiquities. A sum not exceeding £1,000 might be most usefully expended in acquiring the collections of Dr. Petrie, who had re-constructed the archæological history of Ireland. The hon. Member for Edinburgh had naturally enough contrasted the small demands of Scotland compared with those of Ireland, but the hon. Member omitted to mention the fact that, in the course of the last few years, £40,000 had been expended, under the auspices of the Treasury of the Science and Art Department, in the erection of a Museum at Edinburgh. That Museum, though unfinished, contained collections of the greatest value. It was an admirable institution. With respect to the Vote 1230 for the completion of the building at South Kensington, it was considerably in excess of the sum taken in any previous year. Up to this year the department had been in reality merely feeling its way, and it was difficult to form plans. A recommendation was made by the late Lord President, that money should be voted, in order to complete the building as soon as possible. That proposal, however, was demurred to, and it was eventually determined that the completion of the building should extend over four years. Personally, he was strongly in favour of completing the building within the shorter period. The Estimate of the Government this year, £32,000, was £12,000 in excess of the sum voted in any previous year.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, that altogether we were spending on science and art nearly £500,000 a year, exclusive of the sum spent on the British Museum. Yet throughout the country very little was known of the articles purchased, and the places where they were deposited. Science and art had been appropriated very much by a small body of individuals, who had failed to make widely known the great advantages the country possessed. The Commission of 1864 strongly recommended that the distributions of prizes in connection with schools of art should be discontinued, because they cost a very large sum of money, and were productive of very little good. Notwithstanding this £3,700 was asked for this year for medals. It was a curious circumstance that of the 6,800 persons examined at these schools last year, Plymouth furnished no fewer than 503. That showed that the advantages were not generally known, but that where persons of influence in particular localities exerted themselves, and made applications for grants they did a great deal of good. The President of the Council should endeavour, by circulating catalogues and other means, to diffuse throughout the provinces a knowledge of the great advantages possessed by the country in reference to science and art. In the British Museum, there were 246 attendants; but anybody who visited the Museum was unable to obtain any information from any of them with regard to the various objects collected there. There were no lectures, or anything of that sort, from, which the uninformed public might derive instruction. The same thing was observable at the National Gallery. The Commissioners in 1864 very strongly recommended 1231 also that the collection of works of decorative art at South Kensington should be made more generally useful to the country, especially in connection with the local museums. Works of art and paintings, &c., might be sent occasionally into the country to exhibitions with great benefit and without having any harm done to them.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he must defend the British Museum and the National Gallery against the charges made by the hon. Member (Mr. Goldney) though he was not altogether satisfied with the system of administration in either of those institutions. He thought there might be something like unity in our national collections, and that the Kensington Museum might be in some way placed in connection with the British Museum. Both of them, however, did their work admirably, and rendered their collections very useful. As to the British Museum, on those days which the public generally imagined were closed days, persons who really wanted to study were admitted, and the eminent men, the keepers of the various collections, devoted much of their time to explaining to bonâ fide students the objects exhibited. Then, again, South Kensington could not be fairly charged with neglect in not sending works of art to different parts of the country. In proof of this he might refer to the exhibition at Brighton this year, and that which would be held next year at Leeds. If there was a fault on that point to be alleged against the South Kensington Department, it was that they were sending them in excess to places where they did no good. He ridiculed the idea of a knowledge of art and science being disseminated by a "Professor Pepper" lecturing by the hour to nurserymaids and their infant charges. On the whole he thought the money they were called upon to vote was very well disposed of.
§ MR. POWELL
said he was glad that the Directors of South Kensington Museum had at last formed a plan with regard to their new buildings. The beauty and excellence of the building would not be exceeded by any structure in the metropolis, or surpassed in any part of the United 1232 Kingdom. That the South Kensington Museum was rapidly growing in public estimation was evident from the largely increased number of visitors, as well as of pupils in the schools of science and art. The number of visitors to it last year was 756,000, which was 170,000 in excess of the annual average. There were last year 6,842 pupils at the science schools, and 105,480 pupils at the schools of art. So that the money spent upon them could not be said to be wasted or spent in any exclusive spirit. He wished to ascertain from the noble Lord (Lord Robert Montagu) how far he thought the public appreciated the advantages of the art loans from the South Kensington Museum, and whether he found the applications for them increasing or not? He also wished to know, with regard to the auxiliary museums to be established in other parts of London, who were to be the trustees, whether they were to be under the control of the department, or of people living in the districts in which they were established, and whether they were to be furnished by a sum granted in an annual Vote or by voluntary offerings. Where towns had failed properly to appreciate the loan of art collections it was due chiefly to restrictions imposed locally and not by the department. One new feature he rejoiced to see. That was the removal of the auxiliary museum to the East End of London, where it was calculated to exercise a most beneficial effect. The progress of matters relating to science and art this year he considered as eminently encouraging, and there was now a golden opportunity for the South Kensington Museum. Having been called into existence and having laboured for years in advance of the public taste, the department was now ready to carry on art education upon a large scale just at the moment when the public had begun to cry out for this very education. A debt of gratitude was due to those who had foreseen this demand, and public recognition of their labours. These labours had not always been very handsomely treated or very fully appreciated.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he had to complain that the Papers, which were intricate and inconvenient, had been thrown down upon the table without one word of explanation from the noble Lord at the head of the department. Personally, he had no aptitude for science or art, and living in the centre of a population of 50,000 or 60,000 persons, he could under- 1233 take to say that there was not a single individual in the whole of that population who ever heard of or realized to themselves what large sums of money were expended under this head — £200,000 a year! For half that sum they could get rid of half the turnpike trusts in the country. A large proportion of this outlay went to Ireland; eight or nine times as much as to Scotland. He did not grudge the money; but what were the results of this disproportionate outlay? In that country the liberty of the subject was suspended, and we were threatened with continued disaffection. It was due to the House that the Minister having charge of the Vote should state what effect this munificence had had upon the loyalty or upon the disaffection existing in that country. The House ought to know how far the Vote was calculated to increase the disaffection in Ireland. That seemed to be the result of all that we did to conciliate Ireland. Was the grant calculated to diminish it, and to produce a state of things more creditable and more safe to this country, and more for the benefit of the people of Ireland?
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, that in days before the Flood, when men lived 1,000 years, there was time for discussing everything at length; but, in these days, remarks must necessarily be brief. It appeared to him that the charge for the school of naval architecture at South Kensington Museum was unnecessarily large.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, he had reason to believe that the school of naval architecture was working extremely well, and that the salaries of the professors were very moderate. The facilities afforded by the South Kensington Museum for the promotion of science and art were highly appreciated throughout the country generally. At the recent agricultural meeting of an agricultural society in the West of England, no articles excited so much interest among the great mass of the visitors as those which had been sent from the South Kensington Museum. People must not find fault because the advantages of the Science and Art Department were not spread more through the country, when they neglected that local co-operation by which alone that object could be attained. The time was not far distant when the whole of these questions of elementary education, middle-class education, and science and art, must be dealt with in a more serious and systematic manner than 1234 they were at present. Nothing could exceed the courtesy, intelligence, and sound judgment exhibited by the Lord President of the Council and the Vice President. He hoped their successors would show the same good sense, and receive the same encouragement from the country. He looked forward to a full statement with respect to these matters; and trusted that the whole question of science and art would be considered in company with the question of elementary instruction and middle-class education, which was looming in the future.
§ MR. OSBORNE
said, he had seen this Vote gradually growing up from a small sum till it now reached £260,000. which was an increase of £32,000 over the Vote of last year. This was a project for instilling æsthetic ideas into the minds of the people of this country. Whatever were the merits or virtues of the people of this country, they were essentially a people impalpable to the influences of science and art. Whatever might have been done, and whatever money might have been spent, the great proportion of the money, instead of improving the taste of the people of this country, found its way into the pockets of people who were deriving a very snug income from the scheme. He was against any grant for purposes of science and art. He had never known in the history of the world that any people had ever acquired a taste for science and art through a Government grant. In the ancient Republics, they had no Government grants, nor had they Government grants in Rome; yet look at the Greek and Roman sculptures, and the horrible specimens to be found in London. There was but one decent piece of sculpture in the metropolis, and that was the work, not of a sculptor, but of Sir Edwin Landseer. We could not even build a lodge. Look at the hideous building at Stanhope Gate! We vote these enormous sums, and then go to the Continent for designs. His hon. Friend (Mr. Acland) spoke of the great excitement caused at a show in the West of England by the objects lent from Kensington. Wombwell's Menagerie would have created equal excitement. As to improving the taste of the country, he defied any one to point to a single building or monument of art set up during the past few years not infinitely inferior to the productions of 100 years or so ago. Had he been aware that the Vote was coming on he would have endeavoured 1235 to get some fuller information of the increase for this year. The House could not conceal from itself that the Science and Art Department was a conglomerate of everything, begun by a few bits of china, and ending, as far as we had arrived at present, with a school of shipbuilding. It would not surprise him if the House were to meet there some day, and very fine specimens of science and art would it produce! It was of no use protesting at the end of the Session. The Votes were always brought in when everybody was heartily tired of everything. There was an inspector general with a salary, and occasional inspectors at £3,000; there was a grant for taking the Brompton Boilers to the East End of London, in order to improve the architectural taste of the people of Whitechapel. Then came Ireland's College of Science and Museum of Industry. He would not follow the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley), the Paganini of the House, who had been playing on his one string, — the Irish priest. He found £2,500 set down for professors. From his experience of professors in the House, he had acquired a great horror of them. He wished to ask a question with regard to one of those professors. Not satisfied with £2,500 a year for professors, the department had put down an additional £100 a year for a professor who gave his services as dean. He should like to know what were the services which the dean had to perform? He had only had time to take a bird's-eye view of those items, because, before coming down to the House, he did not know that they would be brought on. He had no hope; that House would vote anything. He spoke to the future and reformed House of Commons; he hoped they would be a little more industrious in looking after Votes, if they did not knock the whole thing on the head; he doubted whether they would not knock a great many things on the head. There were a few men in the present House to whom he would appeal to look a little sharper after these matters. He would ask his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim), who was a man of business, to examine the whole of this Vote. How far was Parliament to go with these enormous grants for implanting taste in people who had no taste? [Colonel SYKES: What? He was not speaking of the Scotch. They had taste;—they showed their good taste by leaving their own 1236 country and not going back. He protested against these Votes, which, instead of promoting science and art, went into the pockets of a set of men who were fattening on taxes paid by the people.
said, he was much surprised to hear that doctrine laid down by the hon. Member for Nottingham. Ever since the time of Louis XIV. France had been cultivating a knowledge of art among the French people by means of museums and schools. The consequence was that an æsthetic taste prevailed among that people. The same course was now being pursued in other countries. Did the hon. Member for Nottingham wish that we should behindhand in such matters, and that the fact should be thrown in our teeth by continental nations that their æsthetic feeling was superior to that of our own population? This very last year the museum at Paris acquired more than 31,000 objects of art, and they distributed more than 5,000 in loans to different museums. There were a vast number of institutions and schools of art in France, which received liberal subventions from the Government, and the Government of that country sent forth expeditions for scientific exploration, one of which was on the point of proceeding to Persia. If we had not those elevated sentiments and tastes which as a nation, we ought to have, we should not grudge the moderate assistance given to a few scientific associations. If the money voted by Parliament for the promotion of science and art were not properly expended that would be good ground for complaint and examination; but if these Votes were applied properly, Parliament ought not to grudge the money.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham was unjust to the institution, unjust to its officers, and unjust to the illustrious Prince Consort, who had originated the scheme. [Mr. OSBORNE: I never said a word about his Royal Highness.] His hon. Friend had objected to the whole expenditure. It was a useful expenditure. His hon. Friend said that the public taste in this country was so bad that one could not raise a public building worth looking at; but, if our taste was so bad, that fact afforded an additional reason why we should endeavour to improve it. The South Kensington Museum was a very valuable institution. The machinery could not be understood at a 1237 glance; but there was not a poor man, nor a poor man's child, who, through the valuable medium of the institution at South Kensington, might not acquire a high standard of education at a low rate. As for the officers, it would be difficult to speak too highly of them. Mr. Norman MacLeod was as talented as accomplished, and as courteous a gentleman as could be found in any department.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, the hon. Member who had just spoken would confer a great favour on him and other persons if he could furnish him with a key to the valuable machinery of which he had spoken, He should like to know where the naval school was, who applied to the school, and how many pupils were in it?
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, in his observation with respect to South Kensington Museum had shown the most complete ignorance of the objects of that institution. The hon. Member for Oldham, if he were in the House, could bear testimony to the value of the services which the Museum rendered to the cause of art and science in this country, and could inform his hon. Friend that through its means thousands of people had been able to obtain at the lowest possible cost a most admirable scientific education, including a knowledge of mechanical drawing, geometry, and chemistry. A vast amount of good was, moreover, done by the drawing schools in connection with the Science and Art Department, there being about 100,000 children at present in attendance upon them. It was a very important thing that every carpenter and mason had it within his reach, through the medium of these schools to acquire the principles of drawing, and thus to lay the foundation of future excellence in their industries. He quite agreed with the suggestion that the money at present voted for this purpose should be considered a nucleus, and that the further extension of the system should be looked forward to. He admitted that there was some difference as regarded the success of the science and art schools in different districts of the country. In some places they were much more successful than in others. In Lancashire, for example, they found between 200 and 300 pupils in attendance upon instruction, whereas in the West Riding of Yorkshire the schools were not nearly so popular. On the slightest hint from any locality persons were sent down to see if a school of science would be use- 1238 ful in the place, and to explain the objects of the institution and the means of obtaining assistance. All that the institution could do was done. The House should remember that a good deal of the money voted to this department was spent in places like Edinburgh and Dublin, where buildings had been erected for the reception of the treasures of art collected in those capitals. The expenditure for these buildings was one that reflected honour upon the judgment and liberality of the country.
§ MR. OSBORNE
said, he wished to explain. The hon. Member for Northumberland had charged him with inconsistency, but it was somewhat difficult to discover how the charge had been substantiated. He (Mr. Osborne) did not mention the respected name of Prince Albert. The Kensington Museum was founded by that Prince to serve a very simple purpose. But since his death it had monopolized everthing, and like a sponge it was gradually sucking up everything in the metropolis. He advised the House to take note of what had fallen from the right hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil. That right hon. Gentleman had let the cat slip out of the bag, by remarking that the sum now asked for was only a nucleus for further extensions. He hoped the House would be on its guard, and see that the public money was not squandered needlessly. It seemed as if every one connected with the department became steeped in the influence which pervaded it. These science and art schools were not so universally popular as many tried to make out. They might be very successful at Oldham, but they were not so at Nottingham. [Lord ROBERT MONTAGU: They are.] If they were he was misinformed. The school building at Nottingham was at present in such a dilapidated state that he had been asked for a subscription to help to restore it, and that subscription, having regard to purity of election he had no intention of giving. He trusted the House would consider how rapidly this Vote was increasing. If he had the honour of a seat in the next Parliament—which was very improbable, considering the constituency he would have under the new Reform Bill—he should always resist these Votes. The greater part of the money was misspent. The public money ought not to be given for these objects.
said, that after the very amusing speeches they had heard from the 1239 hon. Member for Nottingham he must crave leave to make one or two observations. That hon. Gentleman told them that the whole of this money which they were now asked to vote was wasted.
said, the last of the two speeches of the hon. Member was rather singular. The hon. Gentleman seemed to infer that because the people of Nottingham had the bad taste to let their science and art cchool go to pieces, that therefore the whole of the people of the country were so deficient in ability that it was quite needless to strive to improve them by teaching. A proposition must be universal to possess any soundness. The position of the hon. Member for Nottingham was about as sound as saying that because there were a great many people without brains therefore you should not teach one to read or write. [Mr. OSBORNE: Not at the public expense.] They could not tell till they gave people the opportunity of learning whether they possessed taste or not. By teaching, however, they would evoke and cultivate that taste if it were lying latent. The hon. Member for Nottingham complained that much taste was not shown in the public buildings of this country. That hon. Gentletleman evidently expected architectural changes to be effected by the wand of a harlequin. The Science and Art Department, it should be remembered, had only been existence about fifteen years, and it was not to be expected that its influence should in so short a period have created a revolution in public buildings. He agreed with the hon. Member that this Vote had attained great magnitude, and that it required careful consideration. He thought that the Minister who had charge of this department was bound to inform himself thoroughly of the business connected with it, so as to give the public satisfactory information how this large sum of money was spent. He believed part of it was spent in meeting local expenditure. It would, moreover, be well carefully to consider the class of persons who took advantage of the science and art schools. They could not endow men with taste by teaching, but teaching would cause latent taste to blossom. We might be more or less fortunate than other parts of the world with respect to the quality of taste, but he believed that if we gave our people fair play, and afforded them the opportunity 1240 of availing themselves of the best instruction that could be obtained, great benefit would be conferred upon the country, and our industries might be considerably improved. He should be sorry to see any attempt made suddenly to strangle this science and art system, because he did not believe it had been long enough in existence for a correct judgment to be formed with respect to its working. It had already developed a great deal, and he hoped it would be continued.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
said, the hon. Member for Nottingham and others had charged him with introducing this Vote without an explanation, but he must remind the hon. Gentleman that he did offer an explanation when he moved the first Education Vote; he had therefore thought it was not necessary to trouble the House a second time upon the matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) complained that there was a great increase in the Vote for the present year. One clement in that increased expenditure was the additional number of schools established. The greater the success of the system the greater of course would be the expenditure. Another element of the increase was £12,500 for new buildings. It was fair to mention that many were of opinion that a much larger sum should be voted for this purpose, so as to complete the buildings at once, and not spread the expense of their erection over a number of years. Then there was a small increase of £2,200 for the establishment of a college of science in Dublin in accordance with the recommendation of the Commission presided over by Lord Rosse. The hon. Member for Nottingham asked who was the professor who received £100. The professor was Sir Robert Kane, who was made Dean of Faculty, and received that honorarium yearly. With regard to the Brompton Boilers the question of their removal to the East End of London had been before Parliament and fully considered. He believed that the science and art building to be erected in that part of the metropolis would be very useful and instructive to the people living at the East End, who could not go so great a distance as to Kensington. The correspondence had all been, laid before Parliament. The land had been provided by local subscriptions, the largest contributor being, he believed, Mr. Antonio Brady. The museum there contained merely the superfluities of other collec- 1241 tions, and surely it was not too much to contribute to the intellectual amusement of the inhabitants of an extensive and not very opulent district. There was a sum of £7,500 for the completion of the geological survey of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which had been proceeding slowly, and which, on the recommendation of Sir Roderick Murchison, it was thought desirable to hasten forward. The hon. Member for Nottingham had condemned the science and art schools, but in doing so he differed in opinion from the great majority of his constituents, for the school in that town was attended by about 1,800 pupils. If the managers of the school in that place made an application next year for a grant to put their school in proper repair, he had no doubt that, if the necessary conditions were fulfilled, it would be given.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £5,711, to complete the sum for the University of London.
§ (3.) £13,918, to complete the sum for Scottish Universities.
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
said, he wished to ask, if the Government intended to assist Glasgow in the erection of the new University buildings?
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £1,515, to complete the sum for Queen's University in Ireland.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he wished to ask the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland, whether he would give the House some explanation regarding the present state and prospects of that institution?
said, there had already been considerable discussion upon that matter. He had stated the opinion of the Government the other night, as well as the condition in which the University was. He had nothing further to add.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) £2,265, to complete the sum for Queen's Colleges in Ireland.1242
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Osborne) had twitted him with being the Paganini of the House. He accepted the comparison as a great compliment. Paganini played better upon one string than other musicians did upon four, and the inference he supposed was that he (Mr. Whalley) played better upon his one string than other Members upon their many strings. At the risk of again laying himself open to the comments of the hon. Member for Nottingham, he wished to ask the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland, whether he would give the House any information regarding the Colleges mentioned in this Vote?
said, Government did not propose to make any change in these institutions. If any were contemplated the House would receive due notice, so as to have time to discuss the subject fully.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £700, Royal Irish Academy.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that a portion of this sum was devoted to the collecting and indicing of ancient manuscripts, upon which he should like some explanation.
said, that the selection was made by the Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, composed of all parties.
§ MR. OSBORNE
Dr. Graves, the gentleman appointed to make the search, is not a Roman Catholic, but Bishop of Limerick.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £2,183, National Gallery of Ireland.
§ MR. THOMSON HANKEY
said, that the vote of £1,000 granted last year for the purpose of purchasing pictures for this institution had not been expended, but had been returned to the Treasury. It seemed shabby and was unfortunate that when so small a sum was voted for this desirable purpose it had not been expended.
said, that the sums granted for this purpose were only used to meet a corresponding sum raised by private subscription. No sum having been so raised last year, the money voted had been returned to the Treasury.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, there was an explanatory note to this Vote last year, but it seemed to have been omitted this year.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (8.) £1,500 to complete the sum for Belfast Theological Professors, &c.1243
§ (9.) £11,895 to complete the sum for National Gallery.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that in the absence of the hon. Member for "Whitehaven (Mr. Cavendish Bentinck), who had a Notice upon the Paper relating to the subject of this Vote, he wished to remind the House that fourteen years ago he had been instrumental in obtaining the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the subject of cleaning the pictures in the National Gallery. That Committee reported that the pictures were being seriously injured by the mode in which the cleaning process had been conducted. The result of that inquiry was that, until the death of Sir Charles Eastlake, a year or two since, the cleaning process had been discontinued. He regretted to say that since the appointment of the new Director of the institution, the practice had been resumed with a most important result upon the pictures. One very fine landscape by Rubens, (the Beaumont Rubens) which had attracted general admiration, having undergone the process, had been scarified from a glowing Rubens to a cold blue picture, a mere hard outline. A Belgian artist who had seen the picture since this operation told him that he should not have known the picture to have been the work of his countryman. By cleaning a picture, even though no paint were removed, the mellowness that time alone could give was destroyed. He hoped, therefore, that the practice would again be discontinued, and that in 18G7 the Vandalism of a former period would not be renewed. As to the prices that had been given for certain pictures that had been recently purchased for this institution, that was a matter upon which he was always shy of giving an opinion. But he had been informed that a picture called a Rembrandt, for which £7,000 had lately been given, would fetch literally nothing if put up for sale at a public auction.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he hoped that before this Vote was agreed to the Committee would receive some assurance from the Treasury Bench that some steps would be taken towards the erection of a fit building in which these pictures might be placed. The question of the rebuilding or the enlarging of the National Gallery was like the siege of Troy—it was never ending.
§ MR. OSBORNE
said, that an item of £700, which belonged to the "eternal South Kensington," appeared in this Vote.
§ MR. COLERIDGE
said, he did not pre- 1244 tend to be a connoisseur, but he had devoted much time and care to the subject of painting. All the artists with whom he was acquainted, and every one of competent skill whom he met, had but one opinion as to the cleaning of the national pictures, and that opinion was, that the cleaning was thoroughly successful. It seemed, therefore, that he and the noble Lord did not meet the same persons. As to the landscape of Rubens (the Beaumont Rubens) referred to by the noble Lord, Mr. Leslie, in his Handbook for Young Painters, especially noticed how much that particular picture would be improved by cleaning, and what an outcry on the part of ignorant persons the cleaning of it would probably produce. In the days of Sir George Beaumont it was fancied that the trees and grass in a landscape should be of the colour of a Cremona fiddle. He supposed that something of that taste had survived to the present day. He thought that any unbiassed person who carefully studied the works of the Old Masters in the National Gallery would come to the conclusion that they resembled nature much more closely than they did when they were seen through the cloud of linseed oil and varnish which it was formerly the fashion to put upon them. Every one who knew Mr. Boxall, the Director of the National Gallery, must be aware that he was a most conscientious, careful, and reverent worshipper of the works of the Old Masters, and that no one would be more unlikely than he to do anything that would injure them intentionally; and no one, not even excepting the noble Lord himself, knew more thoroughly what would injure them and what would not. His appointment had been in all ways greatly to the benefit of the National Gallery. As to the picture by Rembrandt, to which allusion had been made by the noble Lord, its pedigree was well authenticated, as until it was purchased by the English Government it had remained in the collection formed by the nobleman for whom Rembrandt painted it. There might be a difference of opinion as to its being a good picture, but there could be none as to its being a genuine one: and here again he could not but think that a great and learned artist was as likely as a picture dealer to know whether a work, purporting to be by a great master, was or was not a genuine production. He protested against these random attacks, which crip- 1245 pled, the usefulness of a valuable public servant, and did great and unmixed mischief.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, it had been suggested during a former discussion that the trustees of the National Gallery should put themselves in communication with the Government respecting any new steps they desired to be taken. They had accordingly submitted to the Government a full and detailed Report of their views. When the Government had time to consider it, they would lose no time in taking the steps they should think necessary to enable them to prepare for the consideration of Parliament next Session a scheme for that purpose. It was impossible for him to give any hasty pledge on the subject.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, he only wanted to know that the Report of the Select Committee had not gone to sleep.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, he had to complain of the management of the National Gallery. The pictures were not properly brought before the public, or they would be just as much appreciated as other things were.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, the defence made by the hon. and learned Member for Exeter was identical with that set up before the Committee which sat fourteen years ago. The Committee of that day were not convinced; but recommended that more care should be taken in cleaning the pictures, and that recommendation was attended to. As to pedigrees, pictures stood in a similar position to individuals. It was well known that there were people who would draw up pedigrees showing anybody's descent from William the Conqueror or Alfred the Great, according as a Norman or a Saxon ancestor was required. One of the first auctioneers in London had informed him that the Rembrandt he had referred to would, if put up to sale, fetch scarcely anything at all.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (10.) £1,650, British Historical Portrait Gallery.
§ (11.) £11,215, to complete the sum for Magnetic and Meteorological Observations, &c.
§ (12.) £2,600, to complete the sum for Board of Manufactures, Scotland.
§ (13.) £53,799, British Department, Paris Exhibition.
§ MR. OSBORNE
said, he hoped that we 1246 should never see another Exhibition — at all events, not one conducted on such a principle as this, where the French Government had made us pay for everything.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (14.) £2,300, Learned Societies, Great Britain.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, he found that one item in the Vote was £500 for the Royal Academy of Music in England. There was a similar institution in Ireland, and he hoped the Secretary of the Treasury would give an assurance similar to one he was understood to have given to a deputation that the claim of that institution would be favourably considered by the Government.
§ MR. THOMSON HANKEY
said, he hoped that no such assurance would be given. He could not see what claim either of the institutions in question had upon the public purse. He believed the money included in this grant was entirely thrown away. The matter was discussed some twelve or fourteen years ago, and then there was not an advocate in its favour. The grant to the Academy of Music was perfectly ridiculous.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, there was no part of the kingdom where music was more cultivated than Wales; yet Wales did not participate in the grant. If the hon. Gentleman therefore wished for a reason to refuse a grant to Ireland, he might justify himself under the case of Wales.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £25,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1868, for the Entertainment of Foreign Potentates.
§ MR. OSBORNE
said, he wished to ask whether any precedent existed for such a Vote. Were the Allied Sovereings, or more recently the Emperor of Russia, for instance, entertained at the public expense? If so, that precedent would be sufficient.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, it was necessary that an explanation should be given before the grant was voted. The Committee was aware an arrangement had been made by which the Sovereign's expenditure was to be withdrawn from the notice of the House or the public. No doubt that was a wise arrangement. It was extremely precise in all its details, and he doubted whether, with that arrangement in view, it would be possible in point of law to put the Motion from the Chair, and for this reason the Act of Parliament for the settlement of the Civil List provided that if any excess should fake place in any one year over £385,000, the sum provided by that Act beyond £15,000, which would bring the maximum up to £400,000, a full account of every item of that excessive expenditure should be laid upon the table of the House before the additional sum was granted. The demand made upon the House, however, was for an excessive expenditure of £25,000 within one year, and no explanation accompanied the request showing why it was rendered necessary. It was expressly provided by the same Act of Parliament that the year should begin on the 1st of January, and end on the 31st of December, and the excessive expenditure for any given year could therefore not be made out until the 31st of December The grant to the Sovereign was dispensed by the various Officers of the Household, and it was provided that if the expenditure in one department was excessive, and in another a surplus was found, the one should be balanced by the other, if possible. But it was impossible for the Officers of Her Majesty's Household to say whether they would have a surplus or the reverse on the coming 31st of December in their respective departments. If any of those departments had been put to great expense, say in June, in respect of the Sultan's visit, it might be that skilful management would result in such economy during the remainder of the year, that the accounts of the department would balance completely by the 31st of December. Therefore, until the end of the year had come it would be impossible to say whether any excessive expenditure had arisen, either in one department, or in the establishment as a whole. Consequently, it would not be according to the Act of Parliament for the Civil List that the Committee should be 1248 asked to grant to the Sovereign any supplement to the Civil List for the current year at present. All these remarks were made on the assumption that the grant was asked for on account of the expenditure of the Sovereign. If it were not so—and they had been left entirely in the dark on that point—his remarks would not apply. It was quite possible that the grant was required for the Secretary of State for India. If, however, his remarks did apply, he wished to point out that in cases where special grants were made to the Civil List, a formal message was usually sent to the House by the Sovereign, stating the circumstances which had rendered it necessary to make the request. If this Act of Parliament for the settlement of the Civil List was broken through on one side, it would go forth that it was not considered binding, and then it might be broken through on the other, and the temptation would be held out to some Member of the House having occasional fits of economy to move reductions in the Civil List. For the sake of the dignity of the House and the honour of the Sovereign, he trusted nothing would be done hurriedly in this matter, and that the necessary explanation would be accorded to the Committee before the Vote was proceeded with.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I hope the Committee will hesitate before they accept the views of the hon. and learned Gentleman. There is no doubt this expenditure to a certain extent must have been administered by the different departments of the Household, because there is no other mode in which it could be administered. Therefore, really, that is not a consideration which affects the question. As far as the Sultan is concerned, part of the funds must, as I have said, be administered in this manner. With regard to the other potentate who visited this country, the funds would be administered by the head of the Foreign Department, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The hon. and learned Gentleman laid great stress upon the necessity for a skilful and economical management of the Civil List. I would remind the House that during the long reign of Her Majesty—and I hope it may be lengthened for at least an equal term—the Civil List has been administered with so much efficiency, prudence, and good management that Her Majesty has never, on any occasion, been forced to appeal to 1249 the support and assistance of her subjects in consequence of any want of skill or economy in the administration of that settlement which was agreed upon in a spirit of mutual confidence and satisfaction. Nor can I retrain from adverting to one consideration which ought not to be forgotten by us. Although there has I never for a moment been any wish to appeal for any extraordinary aid of the Civil List as settled by this House, there can be no doubt—though I should not have referred to it had not the subject been mentioned—that the large increase in the cost of establishments, owing to the great rise in prices, has rendered the economical management of these resources still more necessary than in, previous years, or at the period when the scale upon which the Royal expenditure is based was estimated and settled. But what I wish the Committee to understand is that the occasion on which Her Majesty's Government recommend this appeal to the Committee is not an ordinary one. Distinguished personages have heretofore been the guests of the Queen; but Her Majesty has never on these occasions applied to Parliament in consequence of increased expenditure. But the late occasion was one of a very rare and extraordinary character, and the expenditure was of a particular kind. It was not—as has usually happened in the case of other Sovereigns—the reception of a Sovereign accustomed to our ways, and whose life is regulated in accordance with the general arrangements adapted to the habits of the Sovereign of this country, and for whom, therefore, without any extraordinary expenditure, the requisite preparations could be made. It was absolutely necessary that considerable expenditure should be incurred in order that the reception of the Sultan and the Viceroy, but especially the Sultan, should be such as would be satisfactory not merely to that Sovereign, but to the country. The expenditure, no doubt, was unusual, and it was so considered. We felt that the country would be greatly chagrined, and the House of Commons, too, if that reception were not one calculated to sustain the dignity of the country. I wish, therefore, the Committee to feel that this was an extraordinary occasion. It was in a certain sense a national reception; and I think I may say that the country has no reason to be displeased with the reception given to the Sultan.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that some time ago 1250 he put a Notice on the Paper intending to ask a question of the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon this subject. Incidentally, however, his hon. and learned Friend had brought the subject before the House. He was afraid that, from the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman, an impression might go abroad that, having entertained these distinguished foreigners, we were now rather averse to paying the bill. It would be unlike Englishmen to take the credit for, but decline the cost of, a national entertainment. He did not think this was the intention of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but that his intention was rather to point out that although it was quite right to give the entertainment, it ought not to be defrayed by any Vote of this House. This gave the Chancellor of the Exchequer an opportunity of pointing out—which he did very clearly and justly — that Her Majesty, during the many years she had reigned over this country, had never come to Parliament for an extra grant, but had confined her expenses strictly within the Civil List, which was granted for this purpose. So far from objecting to this Vote of £25,000, he should be glad to see this sum annually voted for this purpose. When we saw the intercommunication now going on between different nations, and the way in which distinguished foreigners, including even the Sultan, travelled about, we must feel it to be desirable that these national courtesies should be offered, and that we should have the means and opportunities of entertaining foreigners of distinction when they visited this country. The position of Her Majesty was very different from that of the Emperor of the French, whose Civil List was three or four times as great as that of Her Majesty, and who had a Palace specially set apart for the reception and entertainment of distinguished visitors. Owing to the circumstance of a similar Palace not having been provided by the nation for this purpose, many distinguished foreigners who had visited us had been obliged to go to hotels. He would take the case of a distinguished Mahomedan—a man looked up to by the Mahomedans of the whole world—and we had more Mahomedan subjects than almost any other nation. When Abd-el-Kader came to England he lodged at Claridge's Hotel. He did not know whether the hon. and learned Member saw a letter in The Times signed "An Arab," complaining of 1251 the treatment which Abd-el-Kader received. The writer of the letter stated that Abd-el-Kader was so disgusted at being sent to a "khan," as he called it, that he went away sooner than he otherwise would have done. He made inquiry into the circumstance, and found this to be a genuine letter from an Arab, and that it expressed the feeling of Abd-el-Kader at his treatment. This had been corroborated by a letter which he had received from a Member of the House who had travelled in the East, and visited Abd-el-Kader at Damascus. When the civil war took place in Syria between the Maronites and the Druses, all the Consulates except the English were destroyed. In that Consulate 5,000 Christians took refuge, and were saved by Abd-el-Kader, who sent a guard of 1,200 Algerians for their protection. Many of those 5,000 were English, French, and other Europeans. What was the result? The Emperor of the French, the Queen of Spain, and other potentates, in gratitude for the protection thus afforded to their subjects, conferred marks of honour. The Emperor of the French sent the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honour; the Queen of Spain the chief order of Spain. "But from England," said Abd-el-Kader, "I received nothing." He felt this very much, and expressed himself strongly. Everything, however, was put right, for Lord Russell sent Abd-el-Kader an English rifle, made by an English maker, but which would certainly never gain a prize at Wimbledon. That was the only compensation he received for the services he had rendered to the Christians in Syria. He really thought that when distinguished foreigners came to this country, who had rendered services to this country, they ought not to be rewarded by being sent to an hotel; and when they were to have some token of recognition through the Foreign Minister, they ought not to be rewarded by the present of an English rifle. We boasted, and justly, of being a hospitable nation. Foreigners who came here were hopitably entertained by individuals; and when distinguished potentates visited this country, there ought to be some means of properly entertaining them. Considering the limited amount of the Civil List, it was not for Her Majesty to undertake the duty. So far, therefore, from grudging this charge and cavilling at it, he should like to see a sum annually voted for this kind of international courtesy. The present Vote was to defray the 1252 expense of entertaining the Sultan in Buckingham Palace, and of entertaining the Viceroy of Egypt at Dudley House. Lord Dudley having the honour of the Viceroy's acquaintance, and having, when in Egypt, been received by him with the utmost courtesy, was extremely glad of the opportunity of offering him the hospitality of his house; and when making that offer he was quite prepared to bear the entire expense of entertaining him. The Foreign Secretary, however, naturally thought that would be too much; and made an offer to Lord Dudley that every expense of entertaining the Viceroy should be borne by the Foreign Office. Every Member of the House would feel with him that it was unworthy of a great nation to be in the position of having no Palace where guests could be suitably entertained, and that a private gentleman should be put to the inconvenience of giving up his house, however willing he might be to do so, and even to bear the expense. At Paris there was a Palace, the Elysée Bourbon, set apart for foreign visitors of distinction. They were lodged there at the expense of the State. He was informed by a gentleman who had travelled a good deal that distinguished foreigners had a strong feeling against being sent to an hotel. It would certainly tend to our national credit—nay, more, to our advantage, to have some Palace—a new building, if need be, or an additional wing if need be — in which distinguished foreigners might be entertained in the name of the nation, so as to avoid the necessity of locating them at Claridge's Hotel. They could not expect Her Majesty to be put to the inconvenience and expense of entertaining all these foreign visitors in her own Palace, and he was sure the nation would not grudge an annual Vote for this purpose.
§ MR. THOMSON HANKEY
said, he thought the noble Lord was mistaken in supposing that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Ayrton) had objected to the expense of entertaining the Sultan or the Viceroy. He understood that the objection which the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets took to this Vote was on a point of form, and not of substance—that the House ought not to be even asked apparently to contribute to the augmentation of the Civil List—a form of proceeding objectionable on constitutional grounds, and contrary both to the spirit and to the wording of the Civil List Act. He entirely concurred with the 1253 noble Lord who had just spoken in thinking that an extraordinary expenditure of this kind ought to be borne by the nation. He had in fact called attention on a previous occasion to the impropriety of allowing any part of it to fall upon a private person. The only question was in what form ought the money to be voted? It seemed to him that it would be better if the Vote were taken in connection with the expenditure of some one of the great Departments of the State. Indeed it had been incurred under the control and authority, either of the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Manners), or of some other of the heads of the principal departments of State. Her Majesty might be said to have vacated her Palace of Buckingham, and handed it over to the nation for the occasion, and the expenses of preparing it for the reception and entertainment of the Sultan ought certainly to come out of the public purse. He deprecated altogether the idea that the House grudged the outlay. So far from it, he was sure that if it had been double or treble what it was, the nation would have gladly borne it.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I really do not think there is any difficulty. The question arose just as we were on the point of adjourning, and I had risen to make some explanations with reference to the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton). There is no doubt that if this question is mixed up with the Civil List there are points of difficulty which may arise. But there is nothing in the Vote we ask which connects it in any way with the Civil List. I have not introduced the question of the Civil List. It was introduced by the hon. and learned Member in remarks with that information which always distinguishes his observations in this House. I do not want to enter into any argument as to the provisions of the Civil List. I do not altogether agree with some of the hon. and learned Member's inferences. No doubt if the case were such as was assumed in this discussion, if Her Majesty had, on her invitation, been honoured by the presence of Princes and Emperors, they really would have been, as they have been before, her private guests, however exalted their rank. They would have been under the same roof with Her Majesty, they would have shared her hospitality, and have been her companions, and, under such circumstances, no appeal 1254 has ever been made to the House. I may repeat that for the twenty-eight years of Her Majesty's happy reign there never has been an appeal to this House to add to the expenditure of the Civil List. That list was estimated upon liberal views of what would be the fair and ordinary expenditure for the Sovereign of this great country, but with no reference to the extraordinary circumstances connected with the recent visit. The changing manners and advancing civilization of the age will no doubt frequently give an opportunity for the repetition of such events. This was in every respect a national visit, and it should be a national reception, and a national expense. The House of Commons is an assembly of men of the world, and we can speak of these things without misunderstanding. When Princes and Emperors have been guests of Her Majesty such circumstances have never been discussed in this House. The House of Commons individually may have been gratified that some of the most distinguished personages of the world were the guests of their Sovereign, and that they were received in a manner consonant with the position of so exalted a personage as their Queen, but no observations have been made upon circumstances which, though splendid, were essentially of a social character. But is that the case with respect to the two important and interesting visits we have received from these Eastern potentates? Nobody took so great an interest in those visits as the House of Commons. Those visits were not the result of ordinary invitation. The moment it was known that there had been the expression of a desire on the part of the Sultan and the Pacha of Egypt to visit England, no one waited to hear whether the ordinary form of invitation had been sent. The House of Commons night after night made inquiries whether the rumours were true, expressed a hope that they were true, and showed a nervous anxiety that the reception of these great personages should be in a manner which would express decorously the regard of the country for them. Hon. Gentlemen rose night after night to know what precautions were taken that they should be well housed and well received, and to express the hope that the manner in which they were greeted should be becoming to this great country. When they were informed, as they were informed in one instance, by my noble Friend the Secretary of State (Lord Stan- 1255 ley), that preparations had been made on an extensive scale, but in a place of public entertainment, the House of Commons were disappointed. At the same time they sanctioned the arrangement because they felt its necessity in the great deficiency of places of public reception which unfortunately distinguishes this country. The House of Commons entirely identified itself with these visits. They were national visits, and there was an undertaking on the part of the Government, by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that the reception of these illustrious persons should be worthy of the country—and the House of Commons would properly and justly have called us to account if there had been any meanness or inadequacy in the preparations. Is there, therefore, any analogy in visits from such personages under such circumstances and a casual arrival of a Prince or Emperor of Europe upon a social visit to Her Majesty? The House must feel that there is no analogy between the two cases. When Princes and Emperors of Europe have paid a visit to Her Majesty, Her Majesty has received them in a manner becoming her position. On the present occasion, from unhappy and deplorable causes, these visitors were not received by Her Majesty as would some years ago perhaps have been the case. But the House of Commons expressed a desire that the Sultan, at least, should be the tenant of a Royal Palace. Her Majesty placed her own Palace at his disposal. But the House and the country felt that, in so doing, Her Majesty was only assisting in the general effort of the country to receive the Sultan in a becoming manner. Under these circumstances there is nothing in this Vote connected in any way with the expenditure of the Civil List. The argument which has been raised upon the assumption that this expenditure, to a certain degree, might have been dispensed by Officers of the Household, has really nothing in it. So far as the Pacha of Egypt was concerned, nothing of the kind occurred. The expenditure was managed in a manner as efficient as could be arranged, but the only person immediately responsible for it was the Secretary of State. I hope, therefore, that the House of Commons will take a large view of the question; that we shall not get into a pedantical analysis of the Civil List; that we shall not hear observations about this being made a precedent affecting the expenditure which may be 1256 incurred on the reception of Royal visitors under ordinary circumstances. I trust that we shall mark out this as a remarkable case; that we shall fully recognize that this was a national reception, and that these Princes were national guests. I hope that we shall feel gratitude to Her Majesty for having deigned to place her own roof at the disposal of the nation that the reception might be adequate. I trust the House will have confidence in the Government of the day in the exercise of the discretion confided in them; that they will recognize that, in this instance, there has been no wild extravagance, that everything that has been done was done with judgment and consideration, and that the result has been both gratifying and satisfactory.
§ MR. LAMONT
said, that though he had a Motion upon the subject for that night, he disclaimed any intention of grumbling. If the sum had been £50,000 instead of £25,000 he would not have complained. What he wanted to know was how the money had been spent, and therefore he desired to move for a detailed account of the expenditure.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, that the money ought to be paid freely. Whether they should get the particulars or not was a matter of taste. If a man came to dine with one, and the host immediately began to talk about the price of the things on the table, the guest would not feel as comfortable as he ought to be. While the House could not be too careful in checking the national expenditure there were occasions on which it was well to be generous, and this was one of them. A great country like England ought to be given to hospitality. Somebody must entertain visitors; the House of Commons had undertaken it, and they ought not now to grumble at paying the bill. On the occasion of the late visits the City of London had come out very handsomely and the nation ought to act in the same way.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, he wished to inquire, whether the expense of the India Office entertainment was included in the £25,000?
§ MR. AYRTON
said, it was an old saying that "we live and learn." Certainly the House of Commons had learnt something to night from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had thought that, living under a Constitutional Monarchy the Sovereign always invited foreign Sovereigns to this country and entertained them, and he con- 1257 fessed the observations he had made were founded on the supposition that the old constitutional practice existed in the present case. But it seemed that there was now a new régime. To-night the British republic seemed to be the thing; for had they not been given to understand that the nation had invited those two Eastern Potentates, and that Her Majesty assisted in entertaining them. That was language rather new to the House of Commons. It was the first time they had heard of Her Majesty's Government inviting foreign Princes, and Her Majesty assisting to entertain them, and lending her house for that purpose, just as a nobleman had been good enough to do. They were told, therefore, that the House of Commons, representing the nation, having entertained those foreign Sovereigns, was now called upon to pay for the entertainment. His hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury, thinking that the nation was like the City of London, was of opinion that the House of Commons ought to pay the bill as they had done in the City. But gentlemen in the City were always in this pleasant position—they never paid a bill for one dinner without having another dinner to settle the account. In the City of London when they gave an entertainment it was never known whether they gave it to their guests or to themselves. There was a difference between the two cases. The House had not participated — very much to the chagrin, as it appeared, of some hon. Gentlemen — in the entertainment for which it was called upon to pay. He had always thought that the money was voted to the Sovereign, and that the Sovereign undertook the task of representing the nation, and that whatever was done was done in the name of the nation. This might appear a trivial matter, but, whether trivial or not, it engaged the attention of Parliament when Her Majesty ascended the Throne. The language of the Act then passed was precise. It stated that when the total charge for the year of the several branches of the Civil List should amount to more than £400,000, an account stating the particulars of such excess, and the causes thereof, should be submitted to Parliament. It must not be supposed that they were now discussing a question affecting the Sovereign. It was one affecting certain great Officers in Her Majesty's service. It was said that this was the first time in the present reign that such a demand had 1258 been made on the House. This arose from, the circumstance that Her Majesty had hitherto been well served. It was therefore an unhappy contrast between the present and the previous servants of Her Majesty. It brought back recollections of those unfortunate days when messages not unfrequently came down to explain that there was a deficit in the Civil List, and to ask the House to assist in making it good. There were two questions that Parliament had a right to ask with regard to this Vote. The real question the House had to ask had reference to the manner in which the Officers of Her Majesty had performed their duties—whether this Vote was a real necessity, and whether the House was called upon to grant it? If it was a necessity, the law prescribed the manner in which it was to be brought under the consideration of the House. There was a right and a wrong way of doing things, and he did not think the explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman was satisfactory. He had not told them to whom the money was to be paid, or who was responsible for the expenditure of the money. These particulars ought to be given before the supply was voted.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
I think that of the two matters in question, substance and form, the House will consider substance of more importance than form. We agree that it was to the interest and honour of the country that fitting entertainment should be given to those foreign Potentates who, in a remarkable manner, visited the country. We also agree that the extraordinary charge involved is not a fit one to be thrown upon Her Majesty's Civil List, but ought to be voted by Parliament. We are all satisfied with the manner in which the Government discharged the duty on the part of the nation, of entertaining them. In regard to the reception of the Pasha of Egypt, if I have not been misinformed, the fact is, that a private nobleman (Earl Dudley) placed his house at the disposal, not of the Pasha, but of Her Majesty. I speak on what I can hardly err in regarding as the best authority, when I say that that eminent nobleman, to whom the country is grateful, relieved Her Majesty from the difficulty in which Her Majesty was placed by having simultaneously to entertain two such illustrious guests. As Her Majesty had only one Palace suitable for the entertainment of the Sultan, who was necessarily the occupier of it, Lord Dudley 1259 placed his house at the disposal of Her Majesty, who took charge of it and entertained the Pasha. I believe the country in general is well satisfied with the manner in which the Government discharged its duty and maintained the honour of the country. Under the circumstances, there can be no doubt that this is an extraordinary charge, which ought to be provided for by an extraordinary Vote out of the public revenue, and that it is not one to be met by an ordinary departmental Vote, or thrown upon the Civil List. I feel the importance of observing proper constitutional forms; but I fail to see that there has been, in this case, any deviation from them. It is not customary to ask for Votes for the Secretary of State for this or that department. So much money is asked for the public service under certain heads. This is an extraordinary requirement, and, therefore, properly comes under an extraordinary head. I do not know whether any better form could be devised; even if it could, we shall probably be disposed to condone anything exceptional in this case. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets good-humouredly, and by way of joke, seemed to place an interpretation, which I should not like to be seriously taken, upon what fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to this being an entertainment by the nation and not by the Sovereign. The Vote is for a sum to be "granted to Her Majesty," who, as representative and head of the entire nation, is charged with the duties of public hospitality. I did not understand the Chancellor of the Exchequer to mean anything inconsistent with that. He simply adverted to the question raised, whether this was a charge that ought, to be put upon the Civil List, or ought to be paid out of the national funds by a special Vole of Parliament as a national and public expenditure. It was in that point of view I understood him to speak of national as distinct from ordinary Royal hospitality, and not as meaning that national hospitality was not the hospitality of the Queen dispensed on behalf of the nation. In other words, there are two kinds of Royal hospitality; one national, to be met in an extraordinary manner out of the public funds; the other private—if that term can be applied to the hospitality of such illustrious personages—and to be met out of the funds of the Sovereign. That was the distinction I understood the Chancellor of the Exche- 1260 quer to draw. I should be sorry if the House for a moment misunderstood the language used, or should be disposed to infer that we were inaugurating republican, as distinguished from monarchical, principles in these matters.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ £15,000, Paris Exhibition, Department of Science and Art.
§ MR. POWELL
said, he wished to ask if this was the entire sum that would be called for on account of the Paris Exhibition?
§ MR. HUNT
said, that it was not an addition to the £116,000 voted for the Paris Exhibition expenses. A Committee of the House having recommended that £25,000 should be allowed for purchases, the Government had determined to recommend the expenditure of £15,000 if it could be saved out of the £116,000 with a view to encourage economy in the administration of that fund. The object of the present Vote, therefore, was to authorize a different appropriation of part of a sum already voted.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, he wished for an explanation of the manner in which this Vote was to be allocated. A number of singular purchases had been proposed on a former evening of "democratic jewellery" and other odd matters. The evidence of one of the witnesses examined before the Committee was that an inferior class of French pictures and some cheap French jewellery were to be purchased. He thought the Committee ought to have some information on these points.
said, that if no purchases were to be made except with money saved from the Paris Exhibition Vote, he doubted whether any purchases would be made at all. The House might think itself lucky if it were not called upon to add to the £116,000.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, he put full confidence in the statement of the Secretary to the Treasury that £15,000 would, in all probability, be saved out of the £116,000. With regard to the cheap French pictures, he might say, as a Member of the Commission appointed in connection with the Paris Exhibition, that Mr. Cole recommended the Commission to purchase some pictures of that class, which, he said, would have a very good artistic effect; but the Commission declined to adopt that course. With regard to the recommendation made by Mr. Cole for the 1261 purchase of "democratic jewellery," the Commission were of opinion that some good would result from the purchase of the whole or part of the fine collection exhibited in the Paris Exhibition by Mr. Castellani, which had been collected from the peasantry of Italy. Democratic jewellery was the jewellery worn in most countries but our own by the poorer classes of the people. Hon. Members who were familiar with France, Italy, and all Eastern countries, would be aware that the women of all classes, rich and poor, were in the habit of wearing jewellery, which, although not of great intrinsic value, was of an artistic form, and designed with great taste. There was no reason why the example should not be followed in this country. It was thought desirable by the Commission that they should purchase a collection of those ornaments for the Kensington Museum.
said, that after what he had just heard, he hoped that the Commission would not be able to save £15,000.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, he wished to ask, if these purchases were made, what would be done with them? If objects of science and art were to be put into cellars or garrets they would be of no use or benefit to the public.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he trusted that a list of whatever was purchased would be laid before the House during the next Session of Parliament.
§ LORD ROBERT MONTAGU
said, he wished to correct a wrong impression on the mind of the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Henry Seymour). The Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. Hunt) had not stated that £15,000 would be saved out of the Vote of £116,000 for the Paris Exhibition, but that only so much as was saved from that Vote and no more, would be spent in these purchases, instead of the surplus being surrendered to the Exchequer. Power to do this was asked by proposing the present Vote for the consideration of the House. It was proposed to intrust the duty of choosing these articles to the Chairman of the late Committee (Mr. Layard) and other gentlemen, and no objects would be purchased that were not worthy of being placed in the Exhibition at South Kensington.
said, he did not exactly see why it should be a point of honour with the Commission to spend the whole of the £116,000. If the surplus 1262 which might be saved were surrendered to the Treasury, it would form a very good example, and would, in his opinion, be quite as good as buying "democratic jewellery."
§ Vote agreed to.
Question [August 5] again proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £259,700, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1868, for Public Education in Ireland, under the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
said, Sir: The Vote proposed to be taken is part of a larger sum of £344,000, at which the cost of primary education is estimated by the Board intrusted with the control of education in Ireland. On the part of the Irish people I will frankly admit that the sum annually expended on education, and cheerfully voted by this House, is large and generous; but the sense of gratitude for that generosity would be very much enhanced if the costly system of instruction so provided were framed more in accordance with the wishes and feelings of those for whom it was intended. Unfortunately, however, they are not consulted on a matter so vital to the harmony and wellbeing of the country, and the result is that the generous English public give these large grants from time to time under the impression that they are conferring great favours on the Irish people, whereas the mode of allocation, no matter how much educational advantages are gained by it, produces deep discontent in a very large class, and fails to give satisfaction to any. Under the National Education Board a system has been forced on the Irish people with which they have no sympathy—it is distasteful to the sincere members of the Church Establishment—it is disliked by the Wesleyans — it has been distorted to render it palatable to the Presbyterians; and the great bulk of the population, the Catholic people, use it as best they can, patiently hoping that this House would one day or other investigate the facts, and, ascertaining that they voted the public money for a system that is called "united," but which is the parent of division, remodel the whole plan, and give to Ireland—Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter—that religious and denominational system which has been so long and so successfully applied in England. Surely 1263 if the religious and denominational system be good for Protestants in England, it cannot be bad for Protestants in Ireland. If the separate system be good for Catholics in England, and it has been found to be good for them, it must be good also for Catholics in Ireland. The Protestant and the Catholic in Ireland alike wish for it; but a school of doctrinaire statesmen have inaugurated an idea which has grown into a base superstition to which themselves bow down, and they now expect every person in Ireland to join them in the worship of their idol, the so-called "united" system, which, in fact, has no substantial existence, and is an unreal sham. I will not recur to the history of the education struggles in Ireland, for certain distinguished Members of the House seem to abhor historical reminiscences. I may, however, without being either antiquarian or historical, recall to the recollection of hon. Members that nearly thirty-six years have elapsed since the attempt to force this mixed or "united" system of education was made. It will be remembered that Lord Stanley, in his celebrated letter, in which he announced his desire to have this system adopted, proposed it, not as an original system, but an improvement on an old and vicious system under which the money of the State was openly used for proselytizing purposes, and which itself was an amelioration of a still more and more offensive system. Every person frankly admits that the system as propounded by that letter was a vast improvement on the Kildare Place Society, and it was accordingly received with general approval. What, however, was that system? Lord Derby intended that system to do a combined—a really "united" system, and provided, as the first condition, that the concurrence of the Catholic and Protestant clergy of the district should constitute, where practicable, the basis for the formation of each school. This was the leading idea of the plan, and it was expected that all schools under the new system would be opened by the concurrent action of the two pastors. Failing this, it was provided that one of the pastors and some laymen of another congregation might concur in the application; and failing that, that laymen belonging to each congregation might jointly apply, so as to impart to the school the character of united control and direction. As an additional guarantee it was suggested that a Catholic and Protestant teacher might 1264 be appointed to each school of sufficient magnitude to warrant the expense; but there was one other, and still more vital, element of protection and satisfaction. It was provided that religious instruction to the children of each creed should be given in each school at fixed times, and that the Catholic pastor of the parish should determine the religious instruction to be given to the Catholic youth, and the Protestant pastor of the parish should determine the religious instruction for the Protestant youth; with, however, a stringent proviso that, in order to guard against even the suspicion of tampering with the faith of any child, Catholics should not be allowed to be present during Protestant religious instruction, and Protestants should not be present while Catholic religious instruction had been given. Thus Protestant and Catholic pastoral authority, as well as Catholic and Protestant parental authority, were recognized, and their action invited as an essential and vital portion of the idea on which "united" education was based. But what is the result? It was stated by Mr. Cross, the late Secretary to the Board, before the Lords Committee of 1854, that only forty-eight schools out of 4,000 had joint patrons, either lay or clerical. It is still more noteworthy that the concurrent action of Catholic and Protestant, one of the most essential features of a "united" system, was stated in that inquiry to have been abandoned by the Board in 1840, in order to conciliate the Presbyterian body, who demanded, as a condition of accepting grants, that they be not required to obtain the co-operation of either Catholic clergymen or Catholic laymen. Yet these men are now the great clamourers for "united" education. Before going into the question of how far the existing system was entitled to be called a "united" system, so far as the pupils are concerned, I will call the attention of the House to the model school Estimate, and take a course not usually taken by Irish Members with reference to a Vote for Irish purposes—propose its rejection on the ground that it is useless, not wanted by the Irish people, and is a scandalous waste of the public funds. The Vote moved in bulk by the noble Lord (Lord Naas) consists essentially of two classes of items—one for the general purposes of the primary schools, the other for the central model, the district model, and the minor model schools, with their adjunct training departments. I will at pre- 1265 sent confine my objections to the Vote for the two latter, which are in no way essential to the general system. The central; model and training establishment in Dublin may, in principle, be as objectionable as the others, but a defence for it is palpably to be found in the fact that it exists at head quarters, and is perhaps requisite while the system lasts. But the externs — the district and minor model I schools—are of a totally distinct class, and the Estimate for these I will ask the House to refuse, if I succeed, as I expect I shall, in showing that they are extravagantly costly — amounting to no less than £23,505 yearly—and of no avail, save as a source of irritation and discord. I will ask the House to examine this Vote somewhat in detail, in order that they may understand how it is proposed to expend these £23,000. The thirty-third Report of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland has been just issued, and it brings down the statistics of the system to the 31st of December, 1866. From that Report it will be seen that the cost of the Ballymena school was £742 12s. 9d., while the average attendance was only 143 pupils, including male, female, and infant school departments. Belfast cost for its model school £3,571, and the average attendance, including infants, was 1,052. Clonmel cost £743, as the charge for 143 pupils; for 497 pupils in Cork, £1,572; in Limerick the cost was £1,174 112s., and the result of this large expenditure was 292 pupils, still including one-third infants; for Kilkenny, we were called on to pay for 133 pupils, including infants, the extravagant sum of £827 19s. 1d. Instead of giving other illustrations, it would be more convenient to give the House the gross attendance in all these schools. Sligo, however, having been referred to by the noble Lord, it will be well to have the cost of this "united" school, at which, in a Catholic town, there is but one Catholic on the roll — that cost is £795 3s. 4d. yearly; and yet this is the "united" model school—the model exemplar of "united" or mixed education in Ireland. The real results obtained from this large Vote of £23,000 will be better appreciated by taking the whole attendance at these district and minor model schools. The Commissioners give that as averaging 5,833, and one-third of these are "infants." And to what class do the parents of these chil- 1266 dren belong? No doubt many of them are poor, and many of them belong to the artizan class; but in some of the towns in Ireland many of the children who attend these schools are the children of parents who can as well afford to pay for their education as hon. Members of this House. It is a fact that handsome covered cars and carriages are to be seen outside the model school, where they are habitually sent on wet days, accompanied by liveried servants, in order to take home some of the pupils. I intend, therefore, to conclude with a Motion that the £23,505 for these two classes of model schools be disallowed, on the grounds that the rate-paying public ought not to be called on to pay, for the education of a few children, including the children of the rich men, such an exorbitant sum, and on the ground that they are objected to by the clergy of all denominations. There is no difficulty in opposing this Vote, for these model schools are trebly condemned already, and the only matter of surprise is that the Government should venture to ask the large sum of £23,505 for uses so emphatically repudiated by all parties as these model schools arc—condemned by the ecclesiastical authorities of the people's Church in Ireland, condemned by the late Government, and condemned by the Commissioners of Education themselves. I then only ask the House to give effect to that condomnation by not wasting £23,505 of the public money in sustaining a doomed system, the extravagance of which amounts to a financial scandal. The noble Lord indicated that he would have accepted the Estimate of the Commissioners for separate educational training schools were he not impressed with the belief that it would be the adoption, in fact, of the denominational system. But in England we have denominational training schools, and denominational colleges for training, and why not have them in Ireland also? We have Catholic inspectors of Catholic schools, and Catholic teachers of training schools. We have Protestant inspectors for Protestant schools, and Protestant training schools for Protestant teachers in England—why not in Ireland also? The same is true of Jews and Quakers in England, and the same rule ought to be applied to Ireland. Having said so much in justification of the Amendment asking the House to refuse the Vote for the two classes of model schools, it will be necessary to examine the facts as to the system as a 1267 whole, with a view to ascertain were it, in fact, that success which it was reported, or the utter failure as a "united" system, which I insist it is. The noble Lord the Chief Secretary has stated, as an illustration of the perfect success of what he calls the system of education in Ireland, that there are no less than 4,000 schools under the direct patronage of the Catholic clergy in Ireland. I cannot understand what the meaning or purpose of using these words was if they were not intended to imply that "the system"—that is, the "united" system — had proved a great success—[Lord NAAS interposed a remark]—I am glad to see that I have not misinterpreted the noble Lord's views, and that he was rightly understood by me when I assume that he wished to convey to the House that the system was eminently successful. [Lord NAAS: I do not say so; quite the reverse was what I meant.] Well, if I was pleased at not having misunderstood the language of the noble Lord—though I am at a loss to conceive what the object of the noble Lord was in making that statement if it were not to indicate to the House that there was in existence in Ireland an extensive system of "united" education—I am far more pleased that the noble Lord repudiated it, because his doing so was a repudiation of the statement promulgated by the Resident Commissioner, and, I hope, an assurance that the Government was at length relieved from the superstition about "united" education, and would at once establish the sounder system of denominational education, so desired by all classes in Ireland. I admit that when the noble Lord talked about the extensive adoption of the "system" by Catholic clergymen, I did think he meant to endorse the statement made by thy right hon. Gentleman the Resident Commissioner (Mr. M'Donnell), and adopted by the Education Board as their reply to the letter of the Catholic Bishops to Sir George Grey. In that letter the Bishops asserted that the schools had become extended in proportion as they became "separate," and asked that the large proportion of schools which were, in fact, denominational be not called "united," and subjected to "united" rules, but be dealt with in accordance with truth and fact. That letter was sent to the Commissioners for their reply, and the success of the "united" system was never so elaborately asserted as it is in that reply; and I will 1268 ask leave to read it to the House, just as it was read by the noble Lord, and which will account for the interpretation I put on his statement, which I am glad he now repudiates. In that letter Mr. M'Donnell says—So long as it was generally, though erroneously, believed that "united" education under the National system was a failure, and that it was a plausible but a visionary scheme, it was not surprising that many sensible men were not unwilling that it should be abandoned. The experiment had, however, now proved eminently successful.The Commissioner then went into a series of figures for the purpose of demonstrating the success of the system; and when the noble Lord read that passage, and added confirmatory figures of his own, it was not surprising that his objection was misunderstood. To return to the assertions of the Resident Commissioner, I will demonstrate that, however successful in establishing schools and imparting good secular education, it is a sham and a pretence to call it a "united" system. I will show, from the statistical tables given in the last Report of the Commissioners, that there is practically no such tiling in Ireland as "united" education, and that the money given on the assumption that there is, is given under a gross delusion, propagated by such statements as I read from the letter of the Commissioners. From the Report of the Commissioners for the year ending December, 1866, it appears that there were in operation in Ireland 6,453 schools, and 910,073 pupils on the rolls. Now, in the table showing the number of unmixed schools, the Commissioners report that there were no less than 2,638 totally unmixed in all things—no union of patrons, no union of teachers, no mixing even of pupils. There were amongst these 2,638 schools, 2,454 into which no Protestant pupil enters from year's end to year's end, and 184 into which no Catholic pupil ever enters; and yet this House is told by the reply of the Commissioners that the "united" system is "eminently successful." Let the House now examine the table; they will find that there are no fewer than 373,756 Catholic children, and 18,702 Protestants, or, in all, 392,458 pupils in these schools, all of whom were, according to the signed official Report of the Commissioners, receiving exclusive Catholic or exclusive Protestant education; a number greater than half the whole Church Establishment population of Ire- 1269 land; and yet the "united" system is, in the teeth of these, their own figures, declared to be "eminently successful." These 392,000 must be admitted to be on the separate system, for in this very Report of 1867 the Commissioners tell us that "where there is no attendance of the minority there is no mixed education; and there are 892,000, without any mixture, even on the rolls. Of the so-called "united" schools, the Commissioners say there are 3,720. Of these, however, there are 2,483 under the exclusive control of Catholic patrons and Catholic teachers, and 1,106 under the exclusive directions of Protestants. Thus, of the so-called "united" schools, no less than 3,587 are either exclusively Catholic or exclusively Protestant, as to patronage, teachers, and teaching. The pupils in these schools represent in the aggregate 436,367; which, added to the 392,458, make 828,825, or more than eight-ninths of all the pupils on the roll. But to comprehend fully the position of these schools and the real nature of them as "united" or mixed schools, the House must analyze the details so as to ascertain what amount of union or of mixture there is. This examination will, I feel, justify me in saying that the 436,367 are, having regard to the system laid down in Lord Stanley's letter, almost as well entitled to be classed with those receiving separate education, though the pupils are somewhat mixed, as if there was no mixture of pupils at all in these so-called "united" schools. There are in schools directed by Catholic patrons, taught by Catholic masters, and in which, with an infinitesimal exception, there is no provision made for any religious instruction for Protestants, 321,641 Catholics, with whom 24,381 unprotected Protestants are mingled, and there are mingled with 114,726 Protestants in Protestant schools—in which, as a rule, no religious instruction is provided for them—29,722 Catholics. The true meaning and full force of what I urge will be, however, still more apparent if we examine the schools as a whole by the standard laid down in Lord Stanley's letter—namely, 1st, united patronage, which means united, or, to use Lord Derby's term, concurrent management of Catholic and Protestant; 2nd, joint teaching; and 3rd, provision for religious instruction for both classes. The hon. and gallant Member for Longford (Major O'Reilly) obtained from the House a Return in 1864, giving most 1270 valuable details as to the whole working of this system. From the Return it appears that there were out of the then existing schools (6,153) but 42 under joint patronage. There were only 103, including public establishments, as workhouses and asylums, in which there were joint teachers of both creeds, and more and more damnatory than both, there were but 547, in which provision was made to give religious instruction to both Catholics and Protestants. Is this, I ask, a "united" system? There is no union as to management and control, save in 42 schools—there is no joint teaching, save in 103 — there is no provision for the toleration even of both creeds, by allowing instruction to be given to each, save in 547 out of 6,153 schools, and yet the Commissioners come to this House and ask for public money, with the bold assertion of this paid Commissioner, that the "united" system has been "eminently successful." But what does this mixing of pupils amount to, for it can no longer, I hope, be contended that the mixing after the fashion I have explained means "united" education in any sense of the term? The same Return, that of my Friend the Member for Longford, shows that there were 436 of the so-called "united" schools with 1 of the minority, the meaning of which is that 1 of the minority is on the roll—not attending school, but is on the roll—there are 436 schools in which the minority is represented by 1; there are 416 in which the minority is represented by 2; 312 schools in which it amounts to 3; 216 schools in which it amounts to 4; and in. 188 it amounts to 5, thus showing no less than 1,509 of the united schools in which the minority of the rolls were from 1 to 5, which would give an attendance of about between one and two pupils as the daily average. The absurdity, the fatuity of calling this "united" education, or even mixed education, was ably exposed by the Protest ant Lord Archbishop of Dublin (Dr. Trench) in one of his recent Charges. That divine says very frankly that the people of England are under a great delusion about this so-called mixed or "united" education. He says—But, indeed, mixed education exists already much more in name than in reality, however little this may be recognized in England.Now, this truth is not yet realized in England, and I will, therefore, read 1271 another illustrative passage from this Charge—Step by step the Board have been compelled to modify the system, to give ampler and still ampler scope to the religious convictions of the patrons of schools, or of the great majority of those who attend them; till their schools are more and more becoming denominational schools in fact, though at the same time hampered and embarrassed by inumerable restrictions … In the county of Antrim there were 285 such schools; but if those were subtracted in which one communion has it so entirely its own way that only 5, or fewer than 5, in many cases only 1, of the other communion attended those schools of mixed education will at once be reduced to 149, nearly one-half. The same process will reduce the 144 of the county of Cavan to 71, more than one-half. But the results are far more remarkable when we leave the northern province. Of course, we must not forget how far more numerous are the Roman Catholics than the members of our communion in the three other provinces—how far more numerous, therefore, we may expect to find them in the schools. Still this fact is quite insufficient to explain the remarkable phenomena which present themselves to us. In the county of Louth there are 24 schools of mixed education. Those, under the same process which I have just described, will dwindle to 4. Or take the county of Tipperary. Has the school at Tipperary itself, with 1 Protestant and 256 Roman Catholics; or in the county of Waterford—that at Tallow—with respectively 1 in 200; or at Tramore, with 1 in 458; or that at St. John's Square, city of Limerick, with 1 in 353—any proper right to swell those Returns?I will only read a few of the illustrations to be found in the Appendix. In New Glanmire School the numbers are, 1 Protestant on the roll, 94 Catholics; in Clonpriest, 1 Protestant, 97 Catholics; Lysheen, 1 Protestant. 158 Catholics; Cloyne, 1 Protestant, 200 Catholics; Ballygraddy, 1 Protestant, 114 Catholics; Cullen, 1 Protestant, 170 Catholics; Doneraile, 1 Protestant, 414 Catholics. There are 25 schools in which the Protestant element is 1 on the roll; and the total of 72 schools give 210 Protestants on the roll, or an average attendance of 70, divided amongst 72 schools—not equal to 1 in each school each day, while the Catholics on the roll amount to 9,825, or an average daily attendance of 2,375 for the 72 schools. This is the evidence of Dr. Trench on the system, and I venture ask is this a "united" system "eminently successful?" Take an illustration of the working of this system in my own county—Kilkenny. In 1 union in that county, Castlecomer, there were, according to the evidence of Mr. Cross, the Secretary to the Board, 8 schools in that parochial district. In No. 1 there are 279 Catholics and no Pro- 1272 testants; in No. 2 there are 384 Catholics, no Protestants; in No. 3, 36 Catholics, no Protestants; in No. 4, 41; in No. 5, 54; in No. 6, 45, and no Protestants; while in 7 there were 33 Protestants and no Catholics, and in 8 there were 49 Protestants and no Catholics; and yet this is the mockery of the "united" system in 1 Kilkenny parish. Even in the capital of Ulster, where it is said to exist in perfection according to the Commissioners, the inspector of the Board in his official Report for 1865 says the very reverse. Here is the evidence of the man who is in daily contact with the working points of the "united" system. Mr. Dowling, one of the Northern inspectors, reporting on Belfast, says—The absence of mixed education in Belfast, which is generally supposed to be the centre of the principle, is a remarkable fact, and caused me no little surprise when I came to observe it. The fact is that the great mass of the schools possess no mixed attendance, or possess it in so small a degree that they may, considering the mixture of the population, be regarded as exclusively composed of one denomination.Let me now sum up the results as shown by this official statement. There are but 24,381 Protestant children mixed with the 321,641 Catholics, and but 29,722 Catholics mixed in schools with the 114,726 Protestants in Protestant schools. The whole mixture then amounts to 54,103 out of 910,073 pupils. But, in fact, the only real "united" education is that of the 103 schools which have joint teachers, and there the numbers are remarkable, for instead of the contrast of 321,000 and more to 24,000, the number of Catholics and Protestants in these 103 schools are respectively 13,699 and 13,305. In point of fact, there are but these two latter numbers really under "united" instruction—27,004; and this is the amount of the success of the system. I would now ask permission to refer to the unassisted schools in Ireland. I will first name the Church Education Society, a society deserving the greatest respect as a body. Too much credit cannot be given to the disinterested zeal of its supporters, for the fact that while there are but 1,510 benefices in Ireland, the Church Society maintains 1,498 schools solely by private subscriptions, and without one penny of the Education grant. That Society has no less than 68,856 pupils on its rolls, and of these 47,397 are members of the Church Establishment, while all the members of the Church Establishment who are on the rolls of the National 1273 Board is but 63,338. The Church, then, does nearly as much for its own children as does the State—it does more, for the attendance at its schools is about 50 per cent. while the attendance at the National schools is about 33 per cent. which would give a greater Church pupil attendance at the Church schools in the whole than at the National schools. Then there are the Christian Brothers, who refuse to take aid on the condition of excluding religious teaching. They give instruction to about 50,000 children, and their schools will compare with any in the world for efficiency. The most Rev. Dr. M'Hale, Archbishop of Tuam, has about 15,000 children of the poor at denominational schools in his diocese. The Nuns, who decline the rules of the Board have over 20,000 children in the poor schools, which would give say 85,000 Catholic pupils unaided, and 68,000 at the Church schools unaided, making 153,000 pupils unassisted, because of the existing superstition of statesmen about the "united" myth. These numbers, added to the numbers who are not receiving "united" education under the Board, would give—admitting even for the sake of argument that 29,722 Catholics who are on the rolls of Protestant schools, and the 24,381 Protestants who are on the rolls of the Catholic schools are entitled to rank as pupils receiving "united" education—nearly 1,000,000 children on the one side and 54,103 on the other. Is this myth then to be sustained against true Protestant principles and true Protestant feelings, against genuine Catholic principles and Catholic feelings, against the avowed interests of the 1,000,000 now recipients of separate education, for the imaginary convenience of the 54,000 who have been, for the purpose of the argument, allowed to stand on the muster roll of the mixed system? But I have, I think, shown on the authority of the returns of the Member for Longford, on the authority of the charge of the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Trench, on the figures of the Commissioners themselves, that in 103 schools, only enrolling 27,000 children, is there real "united" education; and this includes the model and public institution schools, and there is no evidence to sustain the assumption that these children and their parents would not, if they could get them, prefer the denominational schools, Why, then, not allow Irish Protestants to have, and give them pecuniary aid to have, Protestant instruct- 1274 tion on the condition of their not taking Catholics into their schools? This is what they say they desire, and this they ought to get. Why not leave the Catholic 828,000 children free to receive religious instruction as their parents desire, as their ecclesiastics ask for, on similar conditions that no Protestant children be seduced into their schools? Why not place Ireland on the same footing, as to free education, as England? It may be asked why are the Catholics so sensitive on this point, and so desirous to have denominational education? The story is too long to tell. I will, however, quote from the memoirs of Archbishop Whately, recently published by his daughter, a painful confession which will do much to explain this feeling of the Catholics. The position of Archbishop Whately in connection with the Education Board is matter of history. He was the life and soul of the system; he compiled its books; was the acting Chairman, was the working man of the Board. The Archbishop, when in Oxford as Mr. Whately, was the tutor of Mr. Senior. He became in time Professor of Political Economy, in which he was succeeded by his former pupil. He was then translated to Dublin. Thus related they had close intimacies, few secrets, and the most open and unbounded confidence in each other. When Dr. Whately was head of the "united" system — the non-interfering system—his friend asked how he accounted for the many reported conversions to Protestantism then said to have taken place in Ireland, espectially in the West of Ireland? The following is the confession of the Archbishop as published by his own daughter:—The great instrument of conversion, however, is the diffusion of Scriptural knowledge. For twenty years large extracts from the New Testament have been read in the majority of the National schools far more diligently than that book is read in ordinary Protestant places of education. But these extracts contain so much that is inconsistent with the whole spirit of Romanism that it is difficult to suppose that a person well acquainted with them can be a thorough-going Roman Catholic. The principle upon which that Church is constructed, the duty of uninquiring submission to its authority, renders any doubt fatal. A man who is commanded not to think for himself, if he finds that he cannot avoid doing so, is unavoidably led to question the reasonableness of the command. And when he finds that the Church which claims a right to think for him has preached doctrines, some of which are inconsistent, and others are opposed to what he has read in the Gospels, his trust in its infallibility—the foundation on which the whole system rests—is at an end. Such I believe to be the process by which 1275 the minds of a large portion of the Roman Catholics have been prepared for the reception of Protestant doctrines. The education supplied by the National Board is gradually undermining the vast fabric of the Irish Catholic Church. Two things only are necessary on the part of the Government. One is that it adheres resolutely not only in its measures, but in its appointments in the selection of bishops, as well as in making Parliamentary grants—to the system of mixed education. I believe, as I said the other day, that mixed education is gradully enlightening the minds of the people, and that if we give it up we give up the only hope of weaning the Irish from the abuses of Propery. But I cannot venture openly to profess this opinion. I cannot openly support the Education Board as an instrument of conversion. I have to fight my battle with one hand, and that, my best, tied behind me.I ask the House to mark the sentiments in the last passage. The great liberal Archbishop was working all the while as the underground agent of a proselytizing policy. His aims were to wean the Irish people from the old faith of their fathers, and he calls on the Government to persevere in the policy—to sustain the "united" system—to prostitute the mitre by conferring it only on advocates of that system—to sustain the public grants, and all to wean the youth of Ireland surreptitiously from the "abuses of Popery." Can you wonder, then, if, with this new revelation of an unexpected treachery in their hands, the Catholic people desire to be freed for ever from this system? Ought you not rather to feel surprised that, after such a gross betrayal, they could ever again give their trust, their affection, their confidence, to any man professing the same faith, lest, perhaps, he, too, should go and do likewise. The hon. Member then moved the reduction of the Vote by £23,515.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £236,195, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending; on the 31st day of Starch 1868, for Public Education in Ireland, under the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland."—(Sir John Gray.)
§ MR. POWELL
said, he could not help regretting the line of argument pursued by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He thought they had had enough of controversy between the two Churches, and enough of antagonism between the two creeds. What was important was to impart such a religious and secular education as might exercise a beneficial and enduring influence in after life. The great difficulty in comparing the system and 1276 effects of education in England with those in Ireland arose from the strange discrepancy in numbers between the two Returns. Of the 910,819 children in the Irish schools, the average attendance was only about 300,000, but if a child attended one day in Ireland he was included in the Returns, whereas in England the Return was made on the day when Her Majesty's Inspector visited the schools, and proceeded on quite a different principle, so that of the 1,200,000 returned for the English schools the average daily attendance was something more than 900,000. In both countries they would find that very much the same difficulties existed in the way of education. There were the same complaints of irregular attendance, of the inarticulate reading, and of the unsatisfactory character of the attainments. In England the great mass of the children left school at ten, eleven, or twelve years of age; but, in Ireland, those at school above twelve years of age were no less than 25 per cent. of the entire number: those at eleven years, 32 per cent; and those at ten years, 42 per cent. These figures referred to the attendance in the 5857 National schools. There was another circumstance which struck him in comparing the English and Irish systems, and that was the absence in Ireland of local contributions. Another point to which he would call attention was the character of the education given to the teachers in Ireland; and he would ask whether those teachers were so trained as to fit them for the education of peasant children? What was the examination to which they were subjected? Why, they were asked such questions as these:—"Show that endowments for charitable purposes are not really burdens, first, on the tenants of trust estates, and, secondly, on the public." "Compare the results of successful and unsuccessful strikes, and point out which are the more injurious to the workmen engaged in them." "Specify some instances in which workmen may legitimately and usefully combine."; Did such questions as those indicate that the teachers are submitted to a process fitting them for the education of peasant children? In Ireland the visits of Inspectors were of a friendly and consultative character, and he should be glad to see the system adopted in England. He feared that these discussions on the religious part of the question withdrew attention from, the more important subject 1277 of combined secular and religious education; but he hoped that, before long, a system of education would be adopted in the interest of all classes of the people.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, that differing from the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, he thought secular education had had a preponderating share of attention, and that Irish education could never be satisfactorily settled until the supremacy of religion in it was fully recognized. If in any country more than another the religious feeling pervaded the population it was in Ireland. The favourite doctrine of the advocates of mixed schools was that if children of different creeds had secular instruction in common, feelings of frendship and fellowship were produced, which lasted during the whole of their lives. He looked upon this as a perfect delusion. Children had their quarrels and amusements together; but this left no influence on their after-life. To suppose that by being taught together and sent out into the playground together permanent friendships were formed was a childish notion. A National system of education, wherever it had full scope, had resulted in denominational education. At Dundalk Roman Catholics and Protestants were educated separately, the National schools being attended exclusively by Protestants, while the Roman Catholic girls went to convent schools, and the boys to schools managed by the clergy. He had compared notes with Members representing Protestant constituencies in the North of Ireland, and he had found the state of affairs there to be the same. The National system had worked itself into a separate system, Protestants going to one school and Roman Catholics to another. It was true that placards were put up implying a distinction between secular and religious education, but this was a mere form. The system pretended to be one thing and was really another. It would be much better to look the difficulties of the matter in the face, and to say that the system of denominational education which had answered so well in England should be extended to Ireland also. If there were reasons in England for denominational education, there were much stronger reasons in regard to Ireland. The proof that the mixed system was not applicable to Ireland was that it had worked itself out. One of the most enthusiastic supporters of the National system was the late Dr. Whately. But when he awoke from his 1278 dream he found that the system did not exist, or where it professed to exist it was a very different system from what he had imagined. Dr. Whately was so disappointed that he resigned his place at the Board and gave up the whole thing. In that Dr. Whately was wrong. What he should have done was to have re-considered the whole question, and then he would have found that the reason the system did not work was because it was founded upon a wrong principle. He hoped the Government would no longer uphold the delusion—for it was a delusion — of a mixed system, but would adopt a system in which religion would be the primary, and secular instruction, the secondary element. It remained for the Government to take a manly and decided course, and if they did they would leave the different denominations in Ireland to educate their children on the religious principle. If they did that they would find in the end that, instead of asperities being produced, peace and harmony would be promoted between the different religious persuasions. The Irish people looked to Her Majesty's Government to consult their wishes in this matter. If they did they would confer a benefit upon the people of that country, and at the same time earn their gratitude. He expected such a course of action from Her Majesty's Government because they were not the authors of the mixed system, and could not have the same reluctance as its authors to give it up. There would be, therefore, the less excuse for them if they shrank from this duty. The Irish people likewise expected that the question of the Roman Catholic University would be dealt with, and dealt with in such a way as to place the Roman Catholics of Ireland on a footing of perfect equality with the Protestants.
§ MR. POLLARD - URQUHART
said, that in one thing he agreed with the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Powell)—namely, in wishing that the means of education might be freely offered to the humblest peasant in Ireland. But that could not be done by attempting to force upon the people a system to which their clergy and themselves were opposed. It might be said that it was only recently that the Roman Catholic clergy had become so hostile to the National system. But great changes had taken place since 1847. In the first place an alteration had been made in one of the clauses which compelled the absence from religious instruction of 1279 children of a different denomination. As the clause stood now it only did not compel them to attend. That alteration had made a great difference both in the working of the system and the manner in which it was regarded. After the candid confession of the late Archbishop Whately it was not surprising that it was viewed as a system of proselytism, and if the revelations in the blue books were true it had, indeed, been worked in that way. He asked why did they attempt to force upon Ireland a system so different from that of England, especially as the denominational system was so well suited to the Irish people? Why force upon the Irish people a policy unsuited to them, and deny them that which was suited to them, and which they desired? At this particular period above all it was most important to conciliate the Irish people, and to consult even their prejudices. The Roman Catholic clergy had been the best friends of this country on a recent occasion. It was to them that the Government must look as the main supporters of law and order. Why not, therefore, win their attachment and gratitude by dealing with this question in a spirit of candour and conciliation in regard both to the clergy and people of Ireland?
THE O'CONOR DON
said, he thought it would be better not to press the Amendment. The existing system had been condemned by both religious parties in Ireland. He had himself on former occasions strenuously opposed this Vote for the model schools; but as the Government had proposed a Commission to inquire into the whole question, it would not be proper to oppose the Vote for the coming year. He could not say that the appointment of a Royal Commission respecting National education in Ireland was necessary, because most of the facts were known, and the question of principle should be decided by the Cabinet rather than by Commissioners. He suggested, however, to the noble Lord (Lord Naas), that the Commission should be appointed as soon as possible, so that it might conclude its labours before the beginning of next Session. The House might then, when the Session began, know the views of Her Majesty's Government. He should like to know what was to be the scope of the Commission. Were they to inquire into National education alone or into Irish education generally? Into the condition of training schools merely or into University 1280 education also? Considering the enormous amount of money spent on education in Ireland, he thought more might have been done, even in a secular point of view. Statistics showed that only 41 per cent. of the population of Ireland could read or write. When it was remembered that from this must be deducted the education due to private efforts, he did not think that the result of the National system was satisfactory, considering that the system had been in operation now for nearly a generation. It would be well that one subject of inquiry for the Commission should be the low salaries—forming a very inadequete remuneration — of the teachers. Another point to which he would call the noble Lord's attention was the proposal that grants should be made for teaching classics and French to the children of labouring peasants in the National schools in Ireland. He must protest against grants out of the national funds for such a purpose. That would be a gigantic step towards entire State education. The National schools would be turned into little colleges which would destroy all the intermediate schools in the country. The teaching of Latin and Greek to the children of poor parents in the National schools would be much more injurious than serviceable. He hoped that before the Government placed the cost of this system on the Estimates, they would bring the system distinctly before the House, and obtain a clear expression of its opinion as to whether it was judicious and adapted to the circumstances of Ireland.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that he represented the feelings and opinions of the people of this country, who were called upon to contribute to this enormous sum, when he declared this to be the most extravagant and improvident Vote that could be possibly presented to the House. It was admitted by all parties that this system of National education in Ireland had deviated from its original purposes, and that the money had been devoted to purposes wholly different to the intentions of the founders of the scheme. The fact that only 41 per cent. of the population of Ireland could read and write, and that emigration was chiefly sustained by those who had received this degree of instruction, seemed to indicate that the Roman Catholic priesthood retarded rather than promoted elementary education, so as to prevent the people reading the Bible and thinking for themselves. He therefore 1281 asked that a Commission, if appointed, should inquire into the doctrines taught by the priesthood. The object of the Roman Catholic priesthood was to keep the people in ignorance. They were supporting, in a country which was in a chronic state, a system of education of which they knew nothing. The Romish priesthood used this money to organize sedition and disaffection in Ireland, and he hoped the Royal Commissioners would inquire into the nature of the doctrines taught, and the influence exercised over the people of Ireland by the Roman Catholic priesthood. In the speech delivered by the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland a few nights ago, he did not tell the House what connection there was between the past education of the Irish people, upon which millions of money had been spent, and the present disaffection which existed in Ireland. That he should wish to hear the noble Lord speak of, and he begged to say that if the education of the people was placed in the hands of the Roman Catholic priests, the latter would go so far as to prevent the people receiving any amount of education—even so far as to keep them from learning to write. ["Oh!" and laughter.] He thought it was a pity that hon. Gentlemen would not listen to extracts from Roman Catholic authorities to show the sort of teaching the people got at their hands, which created disaffection in the country. He felt it his duty as an Englishman to inform the house on these points. One doctrine taught was to consider the priest a sort of divinity, ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, a sort of divinity.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he was not going to enter into that question, but merely to touch the fringe of it. He wished to know whether the House would sanction the teaching, for instance, the doctrine of the Confessional? He wanted to show something of the doctrines and teachings which were carried on, and which cost the country over £300,000. In one of the largest churches in Glasgow he had been asked to take the chair at a lecture on the Confessional. The clergyman of the church gave the lecture, and the result was that the doctrine of the Confessional turned out to be the most abominable and horrible that could be conceived. He could not give utterance to what he had 1282 heard about it. These were the doctrines and these the teachings that were given daily to the people of Ireland. The teaching of the Confessional was in daily practice, not only in the Romish churches, but in those establishments which imitated them.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he was at a loss to know what was involved in the question, if the teaching of the Confessional was not. The money was expended on the teaching of the Church of Rome. What he had to propose to the noble Lord was, that if the Government would take the matter in hand, and inquire whether the doctrines of the Confessional—
said, he had reminded the hon. Member for Peterborough that his remarks were not pertinent to the Vote under discussion. He believed that what he had said was in harmony with the feelings of the Committee, and he trusted that the hon. Member would not trespass beyond the subject of the debate.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he was at all times anxious to adhere to the rules of the Committee, and to defer to the opinion of the Chairman, but he still believed that he had been acting regularly each time he had been called to Order. If the Government would include in their proposed inquiry the doctrines and practices inculcated by the Romish priesthood on those whose education was intrusted by the Government to their charge the sale and circulation of the pamphlet issued by the Protestant Electoral Union would be at once suppressed. He had attempted to refer to these matters in the hope that the noble Lord would sanction an inquiry, on the part of the Commission about to be appointed, into the doctrines and education imparted to the people by the Roman Catholic priesthood, an inquiry which was all the more necessary, inasmuch as the money which we were expending in that direction was constantly increasing, without there being any corresponding diminution in the disaffection existing among the Irish population.
LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
said, he 1283 desired to enter his protest against the discussion of so important a subject being taken at that hour, and at so late a period of the Session. It was impossible on such an occasion to follow hon. Members through the mass of misrepresentations and the absurd mis-statements which had been made that evening. He hoped, therefore, that neither the country nor the public would believe they were acquiesced in because they remained for the present uncontradicted. The hon. and learned Baronet who had addressed the House that evening (Sir George Bowyer)had made a mis-statement of this kind, which he was astonished to hear proceed from one of his extensive knowledge and position in the House. The hon. and learned Baronet had said that Archbishop Whately had given up the system because it had failed. Archbishop Whately withdrew his countenance from the schools because he found that, unknown to himself, a new system had been secretly and surreptitiously introduced, and because his complaints did not receive that attention to which they were entitled.
said, he would not, after the extreme indulgence accorded to him the other evening, have again trespassed on the time of the Committee but for the fact that two or three specific questions had been addressed to him by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Nothing could have afforded a better justification of the conduct of the Government in determining to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole subject of the primary education in Ireland than the course which the discussion had taken that evening, for Member after Member had risen and called attention to what they regarded as faults and defects in the system. In dealing with so important a subject, no Government would be prepared to take upon themselves the responsibility of recommending any serious change, without at the same time laying before the House and the country in detail the opinions of those persons whose position and knowledge best qualified them to form a judgment upon the matter. He thought that a system like this, which had been in operation for so many years, and which had created so great an interest both in Ireland and in this country, ought not to be altered or even touched by the House or by the Government without full and adequate inquiry. He believed the course they had taken would prove to the country that the alleged defects of the system had 1284 been greatly exaggerated. It would show what a great work of usefulness the system had performed, while it would, at the same time, afford an opportunity to the real friends of education in Ireland to propose such alterations as would, without interfering with its usefulness, make the system harmonize more with the feelings and wishes of the majority of the Irish people. That was the sole object which the Government had contemplated in the proposals they had made to the House. He believed that if the Commission were fairly constituted, as the Government hoped to be able to constitute it, they would be able to lay the opinions of that Commission before the House at the commencement of next Session. It would then be the duty of the Government and of the House to consider this great question of national education in Ireland. Many hon. Members opposite had lost sight of the great work which this system had performed. For thirty years it had had to struggle with many difficulties. Notwithstanding these difficulties, they had by its means been able to offer to every child in Ireland a sound secular education—an offer which, in the case of an enormous majority, had been accepted. It had thus placed at the command of the children and of their parents the means of learning all that was necessary for persons in their class of life. That great object the National system in Ireland had attained. Therefore, in advocating changes, and suggestings alterations, they ought to be very careful, and to clearly see their way, to setting up something better, before pulling down what already existed. The Commission about to be appointed would be no hostile Commission for the purpose of overthrowing the existing system; but the purpose would be to make that system more efficient for the great object in view. The inquiry of the Commission would be confined to one subject—namely, the condition of primary education in Ireland as respected all classes and creeds, and the schools of all denominations. It was proposed not to limit the investigation to National schools, but also to inquire what success had attended unassisted schools. The House would then be in possession of all the information on the subject. He hoped that all persons feeling an interest in this question, and able to throw any light upon it, would deem it their duty to offer themselves as witnesses before the Commission.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he wished to ask whether evidence would be taken as to the nature of the education in Roman Catholic schools?
said, that evidence would be taken on the subject of primary education, no matter by whom that education might be given.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
said, he thanked the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland for the promise to appoint an impartial Commission. After the statement of the noble Lord he would withdraw his Motion, though he did not consider that the case he had made out against the so-called mixed system of education had been answered.
§ Motion, by leave, Withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (4.) £730, Commissioners of Education in Ireland agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Twelve of the clock.