§ [THIRD NIGHT.]
Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [3rd March], "That the Bill be now read a second time;" and which Amendment was,
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House, while ready to assist Her Majesty's Government in passing a measure 'for the ad-
vancement of learning in Ireland,' regrets that Her Majesty's Government, previously to inviting the House to read this Bill a second time, have not felt it to be their duty to state to the House the names of the twenty-eight persons who it is proposed shall at first constitute the ordinary members of the Council,"—(Mr. Bourke,)
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. VERNON HARCOURT
said, that if this Bill were to be regarded as an experiment in governing Ireland according to Irish ideas, it could not be pronounced a success. It had produced in Ireland a unanimity of an Irish character—that of unanimity of discord—but he did not lay the blame of this characteristic result upon the Bill itself, for if the Bill had been a far better Bill than he considered it to be, he doubted if it would have been popular in Ireland. The experience of recent times had shown that any attempt to do equal justice to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects was never popular in Ireland, distracted as she was by distinctions of race, by difference of party, and by conflicting religions. Ireland had too long been accustomed to the principles of ascendancy and predominance to have acquired a taste for equal justice. Each party in Ireland seemed to be actuated by a desire to get everything it could for itself, and to allow as little as possible to other people. He was neither surprised nor dismayed that the result of measures which professed to have for their object justice towards all parties of the community should not be received with unanimity in Ireland; and if they were to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas, he feared they would find themselves reduced to the consequence of not governing Ireland at all. They were left, then, a deplorable option between anarchy, ascendancy, and priestcraft. He was not willing to adopt any one of those three courses. For himself not being a "Home Ruler," he had never adopted the idea of governing Ireland according to Irish ideas. He had always regarded Ireland as a part of Her Majesty's dominions—as an integral fraction of a united Empire—and, if that be so, Ireland, like all other parts of the dominions of , the Queen, must be governed, not ac- 1619 cording to Irish, but according to Imperial ideas. Imperial ideas were exactly opposite, so far as he could judge, to Irish ideas, for Imperial ideas prescribed the duty to administer equal justice to every class of Her Majesty's subjects. The House of Commons had not to consider whether a measure squared with Irish ideas or satisfied the demands of any section of the Irish people, but whether it was consistent with equal justice, and, having matured such a measure, it was their duty to offer it for acceptance by the Irish people, leaving to those who rejected it the responsibility of that refusal. He should not, therefore, examine the question with regard to the passions and prejudices of any particular class of the Irish people, but he would ask leave to discuss whether this or any other Bill that might be offered for the acceptance of the House of Commons fulfilled the requirements which belonged to the Imperial idea; and it was for that reason that he differed from the position assumed by the right hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman). The right hon. Gentleman had told the House that a measure, having been recommended by the Queen from the Throne, submitted to Parliament by Her Majesty's responsible Advisers, and read a first time by the Commons, should have been withdrawn, not because it had been disapproved by Parliament—for Parliament had not yet pronounced upon it—but because it had been disapproved by the Irish Bishops. Was that the doctrine of an old Constitutional Whig with reference to the manner in which a great public measure should be dealt with? His right hon. Friend, who seemed to be the victim of youthful inexperience and unpremeditated impulse, and a gentleman who had been Chief Secretary for Ireland, went home after hearing the speech of the Prime Minister, actuated no doubt by an amiable credulity which led him to the conclusion that this was a measure calculated to please the Irish Prelates, and wrote a gushing letter to The Times, in which he spoke of the Bill as likely to become an ornament to the Statute Book. What could have led him to suppose that it was a measure intended, or likely to be agreeable to the views of the Irish Prelates? He (Mr. Harcourt) regarded it as a measure submitted by a responsible Government to the Grand 1620 Inquest of the nation, and that being so the judgment of Parliament must be pronounced upon it. Why did his right hon. Friend imagine that this was a measure that would please the Irish hierarchy, Sic notus Ulixes? Was this what he had learned in his Irish experience of the spirit, temper, and expectations of the Irish hierarchy? Why, on the very day on which he addressed the House on the subject, there appeared in The Freeman's Journal a document from the pen of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath, commenting upon an article in some journal which had contrasted the position of the Roman Catholics in Ireland with that of their brethren in Germany. Dr. Nulty wrote—Our brethren in these countries have no reason to envy us our condition as Irishmen under British rule. They have not passed through ages of persecution, pillage, and plunder to be persecuted still for conscience sake under the pretext of civilizing and enlightening us. This spirit has pursued us implacably for centuries. We tried to propitiate it by the sacrifice of our property, our liberty, and our very lives, but it is still inexorable. Now, it demands the surrender of our conscience, our religion, and our hopes for the future, not by appealing to the dungeon, the gibbet, or the sword, which we despise, but, to the most distinctly diabolical of all moral agencies—the silent, slow, but irresistible influences of a godless education.The document after having exhausted every artifice of rhetoric calculated to inflame sectarian animosity, concluded with the episcopal benediction of peace upon all mankind! When such language could be employed by men in such positions was it not a delusion to hope the House of Commons could legislate in accordance with the wishes of the Roman Catholic Prelates? He was glad, therefore, to find no symptoms of any such attempt in the framework of this Bill. Having expressed his dissent from the main position assumed by his right hon. Friend, he cordially endorsed the distinction he drew between the views of the educated Roman Catholic laity of Ireland and the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The most instructive of all the speeches which had been made upon the Bill was that from the hon. Baronet the Member for the city of Galway (Sir Rowland Blennerhassett). In that speech the House he thought might feel that it heard a cry for help and defence from the independent and enlightened Roman Catholic laity of Ireland. That was the class whose interests the House should regard, 1621 the class whom, above all others, the House was bound to protect; and yet his right hon. Friend, who was anxious to defend the Roman Catholic laity against the Roman Catholic hierarchy, wished to defeat a Bill which the hon. Member for Galway was anxious to see passed, and appeared as the ally of the Bishops who had denounced it. Such a conclusion was consistent only in its inconsistency. The House had nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Bishops. They were not masters of the British House of Commons, nor was the House their servant. Let Parliament give to Ireland what in its opinion would be a fair and equitable measure, and let the Prelates of Ireland do and say what they pleased. The responsibility of their conduct rested with them, and not with the House. The only question before the House was whether the Bill was fair, or, if not, could it be made so? They were on the second reading of the Bill, and the forms of the House constituted the logic of Parliament. Upon the second reading the main question was what was the principle of the Bill? They had some grounds of complaint that Her Majesty's Government had not made it clear what they considered the principle of the Bill as distinguished from its details. Indeed, the principle of the Bill was buried in details, some important and some unimportant; but he would say boldly—and he asked the attention of his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball) to this statement—that the principle of the Bill, and the only principle upon which he could or would support the second reading, was to affirm, consolidate, and extend the system of mixed and united education in Ireland. If that was not the principle of the Bill he would vote against the second reading; if it contained details inconsistent with that principle, or which could not be made consistent with it, he would vote against those details. In saying that he knew he was placing himself most distinctly at issue with the right hon. Member for Liskeard. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Horsman) said most distinctly that this was a Bill for the destruction of mixed education, and relied greatly on the authority of the Irish Prelates. He would quote a passage from the same document to which he had already re- 1622 ferred, the Pastoral of the Bishop of Meath written last week with reference to this Bill. Whatever else hon. Members might think of the Pastorals of the Catholic Bishops, they knew very well what they were writing about; they thoroughly understood this Bill, what it did and what it did not. The Bishop of Meath, speaking of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, said—He therefore reasserts the principles of mixed education, he re-establishes and re-endows, he multiplies the Colleges in which the education is specially given, and to infuse fresh life and vigour into their prematurely effete constitutions, he supplements with a new godless University, richly endowed and abundantly supplied with every requirement that elevates and popularizes the godless education imparted by all conjointly.Now, those allegations were true though they appeared in a Pastoral. He entirely agreed in all those statements, and he cited them as a conclusive answer to the affirmation of his right hon. Friend. But he did not mean to leave the question on the authority of the Bishop of Meath. Let it be examined by the light of the Bill itself. The matter was somewhat complicated, and was not easily understood by gentlemen not acquainted with the workings of the academical system. He would examine separately what belonged to the College and what belonged to the University part of the matter. He would assume for the moment—a point to which he would presently recur—that Galway College was not to be extinguished, and if that were so as regarded the Queen's Colleges no change was made. Therefore, mixed education in those Colleges, at least, was not destroyed. What were they going to add to the mixed system? The great and famous foundation of Trinity College. Was that nothing? Why, it reduplicated the strength of the mixed system. By adding one of the most famous Universities in the world to the mixed system, they gave to it one of the most valuable elements of strength and power which could be possibly conferred. That very thing alone was the pith and marrow of the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton, who had come to a conclusion at which he was surprised—namely, to vote against the second reading of a Bill which, at all events, comprised the whole of his own. In some respects the Bill contained things which his hon. Friend and which he also disap- 1623 proved. But then it did some things which his hon. Friend approved, but which his Bill did not do. It separated the theological Faculty from Trinity College, and made the system, more completely than his hon. Friend's Bill would make it, a system of mixed and combined education. And yet the right hon. Member for Liskeard affirmed that this was a Bill to destroy the principle of mixed education. It seemed to him there was not common sense or common justice in such a statement. He now passed from the Colleges to the University. Was it true that this Bill destroyed mixed education in the University system of Ireland? What was the present condition of University education there? You had the Queen's University, which was not an educating University at all—it was merely an Examining Board whose operations were limited to the students of the Queen's Colleges. Then you had the University of Dublin, which was not a University of mixed education at all; and this Bill proposed—not to destroy—but to take and amalgamate the Examining Board of the Queen's University and the Dublin University, and to convert them into a teaching University, endowed with Professorships, Fellowships, and all the apparatus of learning for the purpose—as the Bishop of Meath had said—to promote jointly with the Colleges in a manner more effective than at any former period, the system of combined and mixed education. Who had a right to complain of turning the Examining Board of the Queen's University into a teaching University? Nobody except the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was the Philippe Egalité of academical literature, and went about the country denouncing "the arts by which he rose." But the Chancellor of the Exchequer was one of the joint promoters of the Bill, and why should they who approved a teaching University quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman for his timely repentance on this point? Such were the principles of the Bill; and the House—he would not say the Government—had some right to complain that the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), in his powerful and eloquent speech the other night, altogether gave the go-by to those principles, and fastened exclusively upon details, in his objections to which he (Mr. Harcourt) entirely concurred. Now 1624 he could not vote against the second reading of a Bill containing those principles merely because they were proposed by Her Majesty's Government; and as long as he could keep the Bill alive which contained those principles, and saw any chance of its passing into law, he would never consent that they should part with the Bill whether they parted with the Government or not. For the Bill was the property of the House and whatever the Government might say or do the House could mould it as they pleased. And when he heard his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton denounce a measure which, whatever might be its faults, at least embodied all the principles for which he and his hon. Friend had so long contended, the lines of Milton came into his mind—Thus spake the fervent angel, but his zeal None seconded, as out of season judged, And singular or rash.It might be said it was all very well to speak of the general principles of the Bill, but the details might be so bad that it was not worth while to pass the Bill, because you could not distinguish between the details and the principle. But was that so or not? And here, again, he would distinguish between the Colleges and the University. First, with respect to the Colleges, he could not understand why Her Majesty's Government ever proposed to abolish the Queen's College, Galway. Some years ago the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) had an original theory on the subject of Ireland, to the effect that the evils of Ireland were due to a moist climate and a melancholy ocean. Well, Galway was the head-quarters of moisture, and it was washed all along its shores by a most melancholy ocean. Therefore, it had need of all the consolations of philosophy which Boethius or anybody else could afford. Why, then, extinguish the glimmering light of Galway? The observations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night, depreciating the character of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, were somewhat less than just, and certainly much less than generous; for, considering the adverse circumstances under which they had been maintained, these Colleges deserved sympathy and support. He never could understand the test which the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Govern- 1625 ment applied to the College of Galway, when he excluded from his consideration the graduates in the professions of Medicine and Law. The right hon. Gentleman was answered conclusively by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Dr. Lyon Playfair), who said there must be in a poor country a number of professional men who lived by their professional exertions. Perhaps Galway required a very large supply of medical men, and certainly with regard to law, that at any rate could not be said to be a superfluous article there. His right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade might as well propose to extinguish the lighthouses on the coast of Galway in order to please the Ultramontane wreckers of that country. Certainly the House would never consent to extinguish the light of Galway; but was it necessary to kill this Bill in order to save Galway College. Then, as to Trinity College, Dublin. He had the pride and the privilege to owe allegiance to another Trinity College—Trinity College, Cambridge. Many others in that House owed the same allegiance; and no Trinity man would be wanting in sympathy with their illustrious sister on the other side of the Channel. If he thought this Bill would do injustice to Trinity College, Dublin, he would vote against it. He regarded Trinity College, Dublin, as the intellectual eye of Ireland. It might be said of her—as Lord John Russell said of the aristocracy of this country—"that they were strong in ancient associations and in the memory of immortal services." Trinity College was strong now, and always would be. We who are members of another Trinity know something of the momentum which belongs to the mass of a great College moving with the accelerated velocity of accumulated fame. Trinity, Dublin, was and always would be the sun in the firmament of the education of Ireland. She would warm by her heat, illuminate by her light, and attract by her mass all the lesser orbs that circulated around her. Trinity College, Dublin, like Trinity College, Cambridge, would always be able to maintain a standard of her own. He had, therefore, no fear for Trinity College, Dublin. She was entitled to utter the proud boast of Italy—"Italia faro da se." If he had any fear, it was rather for the poor Cinderella of St. 1626 Stephen's Green, which sat in dust and ashes, and saw her proud and prosperous sisters go forth in their fine clothes to banquets to which she was not invited. He did not, therefore, think that objections to the arrangements of this Bill could come with very good grace from Trinity College, Dublin. If, then, the collegiate details were not objectionable, what did they object to? The University question was much more complicated as to its details, and more difficult to understand. There was much he disagreed with in the plan of the Government. First, ought they to have, and continue to have, as they had now, two Universities in Ireland or but one? He confessed he entertained great doubts upon that question. There was much force in the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who with great ingenuity pointed out that Colleges were apt to overbid one another in raising the standard of education, but that Universities had a tendency to underbid one another in order to induce people to come to a poorer University, thereby cheapening knowledge, and degrading the standard of education; and after hearing that argument he felt disposed, for his own part, to accept the proposal to substitute one University for two. But if they thought it better they might keep Queen's University as it was and reconstruct Dublin University. Whatever else they did they must in some form or other re-construct the Dublin University. The subordination of the University to Trinity College could not be defended on any academic principle. The whole tendency of modern legislation on University reform had been to give more independence and more weight to the University, and less and less to the Colleges. If they were pretending to have a University Reform Bill in reference to Dublin—even if there were no question of Catholic or Protestant in this matter—they must have a re-construction of Dublin University. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. G. Hardy) said that Dublin University should be left alone—it had done great things and why meddle with it? That was the old argument for rotten boroughs—they had produced great men. But the greatness of the men of Trinity College had been due to its Collegiate more than to its University character. In fact, the rela- 1627 tion of the University to the College was that of Old Sarum to the Constitution of England. But there was a much stronger ground for re-construction. If the Bill was to be of any use it was to make a fair and just offer in respect of University Education to the Catholics of Ireland; and, if they refused to re-construct the University of Dublin, it would not be a fair offer. He had seen in the papers a very unjust representation of what had fallen from his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. It was attributed to him that he had said he wanted to give predominance to the Catholics. [Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE: I said the opposite.] No doubt, when they had formed the University, if ultimately the educated Catholics of Ireland should ever constitute the majority of the Senate—they would have the predominance, and he should be glad when that day arrived. It would be reached by the honourable road of fair competition. And if it should be so, Ireland would then be a very different country from what it was now. He had always felt that the Bill of his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) was defective in this very respect. It was right in principle, and he supported it on that ground; but it did not give a fair and, impartial Governing Body, and therefore did not make a just and candid offer to the Catholics. If the House did not wish to give the Irish Prelates a real grievance, it would deal with this matter. If the House did not deal with it, it would make a sham offer to them and suffer in the result, which he maintained would be a most unwise thing to do. He would gladly escape from the difficulty of a nominated Board if he knew how; but what was the alternative? They had no constituency except that of the existing Colleges; and to offer the Catholic University to be governed by the existing Fellows of Trinity or the existing Queen's Colleges, would not be a fair offer. True, such a body as was desired might grow in time; but how could the Roman Catholics be expected to go there in the meantime, when they were overshadowed by the whole power and influence of the existing institutions? It was like planting a sapling in the midst of a forest of full-grown trees, whore it would never grow. If the House acted fairly, they must acknow- 1628 ledge this difficulty; if justly, they must attempt to redress it. The Government had come to the conclusion that they could only get this fair and impartial Governing Body by having a nominated Board. The Board proposed was, however, too large, and in Committee he hoped the House would agree to reduce the number of its members. The Government having placed the nomination of the Board unreservedly in the hands of the House, the House could constitute it as they liked; and if they constituted it principally out of the academical elements, they would make a fair offer to the Catholics; and whether the latter accepted the offer or not, it was their affair, and not ours. With reference to collegiate representation on the Board, the Government had re-assured the House on that point, in having said that they never attached great importance to these affiliated Colleges, and never expected them to be affiliated in large numbers, and were willing to agree to restrictions in that respect. But these affiliated Colleges were not necessary; get rid of them and we did not want their representatives on the Council, or get rid of the representatives and we did not want the Colleges, and we got rid of the denominational difficulty. If there were no collegiate representatives in the Council there was no need to affiliate any Colleges at all. The students of the Colleges could matriculate and graduate in the University and become members of the University equally well without affiliation at all. He was himself not very fond of denominational Colleges; but who was the great and vehement opponent of denominational Colleges in this debate? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. G. Hardy). In some political satire, The Whig Guide, he thought it was, he recollected a scene in which statesmen of opposite sides changed heads; and from the head of the advanced Liberal statesman came Tory sentiments, and vice versâ. That scene had been reproduced on Thursday night. He looked round, to see if his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Dixon) had got his own head upon his own shoulders, or whether he had parted with it for the evening to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The right hon. Member for Oxford University talked pure League for a quarter 1629 of an hour. The right hon. Member said he regretted it, but the condition to which they had reduced Ireland was such that secularism, pure secularism, undiluted secularism, was the only treatment for Ireland. And then the right hon. Gentleman, in order to complete the transformation, went into a dithyrambic eulogium on the merits of secret voting, and was hardly able to curb his impatience to realize the anticipated results of the Ballot. While he listened to these statements of the right hon. Gentleman with mixed astonishment and alarm, a horrid idea entered his mind, that the right hon. Gentleman was going to vacate his seat for the University of Oxford and enter into a contest for the borough of Oxford on advanced Liberal principles. This was a thought which alarmed him extremely for he knew how formidable a competitor the right hon. Gentleman would prove. After hearing that, he was almost on the point of going across the House to ask his right hon. Friend whether he would not recommend him for the vacant seat in the University as a person of moderate opinions who was not so irreconcileably hostile as himself to the affiliation of one or two denominational Colleges. But his apprehension was soon removed; for he observed that his right hon. Friend kept these unusual sentiments carefully locked up in a bonded warehouse in his mind, not intending them for home consumption, but reserving them exclusively for Irish exportation, and, like the witch of old, when he recrossed the Irish Channel he resumed his former shape, and the secularist of Dublin University became the denominationalist of the University of Oxford. Therefore he still hoped that within the precincts of that ancient city he and his right hon. Friend would continue to maintain their attitude of friendly antagonism. He did not hope to satisfy his right hon. Friend; but in regard to the Nonconformists on the Government side of the House, if the arrangement as to the affiliation of denominational Colleges proposed in the Bill was not as he believed altogether necessary, it could be removed in Committee without any detriment to the principles of the measure. Upon academical grounds collegiate representatives would not be a good element at the Board. The best men of Belfast and Cork were wanted 1630 there to do the work of their Colleges; and, besides, College representatives would be delegates full of sectional prejudices and more or less antagonistic—conditions which ought to be avoided on such a Board. Why not dismiss altogether the idea of Collegiate representatives, and take a Board nominated by this House upon academical principles? That would be fair and just to both Protestants and Catholics. In this way they would get rid of the whole vexed question of affiliated Colleges, and of the denominational or undenominational prejudices against the Bill. He now came to the "gagging clauses." His noble Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland said the Government did not regard them as ornamental. He should think not, indeed. Those clauses were the most hideous deformity that ever defaced any Bill laid by an English Government upon the Table of an English Parliament. He could not comprehend on what principle the Government had proposed those clauses, or how they ever conceived that they could be accepted by an English House of Commons. But these "gagging clauses" were dead, and would soon be buried. In the great speech of the Prime Minister the first night of this debate the only passage received with murmurs, almost derisive, was that in which the right hon. Gentleman said he was about to ask the House of Commons to place a stigma upon the study of Philosophy and of Modern History. The right hon. Gentleman must have known from the first that these unfortunate excrescences were doomed to excision. They did not proceed from the lettered mind of the head of the Government; if he had been speaking upon this subject his own sentiments, he would have expressed them in the language with which we are all familiar—How charming is divine philosophy! Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute.Were did these "gagging clauses" come from? They were the anathema of the Vatican against modern civilization; they breathed the spirit of the "Index;" they comprehended the whole Dunciad of the "Syllabus;" the House would never accept them, and it was hardly worth while to argue against them—it was twice to slay the slain. The Government were not aware of the 1631 extent to which the mere proposal of these clauses had wounded the free intellect of England; but they had suffered a severe penalty in proposing them, because these clauses, which were not of the essence of the Bill, had seized upon the imagination of the country, and had occupied so much attention, that people had overlooked the principle of the Bill, and had thereby done injustice to the Government. All he thought it necessary to say of these "gagging clauses," might be conveyed in the words of Dante's guide, in speaking of the disgraceful ghosts, "Let us say no more of them, but glance at them askance, and pass on." What then are we to do? Shall we, by rejecting this Bill, indefinitely protract the solution of this thorny question, or should we not rather desire that it should be removed from the province of a mischievous and dangerous agitation. He believed the Government would help them in such a course, and in a manner not inconsistent with the principles which those who sat on this side of the House could not and would not abandon. Whether the Government did so or not, the Government were not the absolute masters of this Bill. It was the property of the House. The House was in a difficult position—everybody knew it—and that position would not be improved by taunts, whether proceeding from these benches or from those opposite. The Bill was before them, and why should they not choose the good and refuse the evil? If they did not, it would be because this question had been raised into the dangerous eminence of a great party struggle. In that respect the Government were not free from blame. It was, to a great extent, their own doing. He deeply regretted their obstinate and almost passionate resistance to the adoption of the Bill of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) on this subject last year. He then told them they were running their ship upon the Pearl Rock. They were now on the Pearl Rock, and the question was how were they to get off? In the hands of an independent Member the question could have been more easily handled. It would not then have raised those party passions, those asperities which always characterised a party struggle. The bubbles that had been wantonly blown into undue importance had, no doubt, been rendered gorgeous by the 1632 iridescent eloquence of the First Minister, but that did not alter the character of the measure. It was always a measure of secondary importance, and it had been a great political mistake ever to treat it as any other. It showed a want of that sense of the proportion of things which was the basis of all political prudence. The position of the question was not the fault of hon. Members, and they must deal with it. Those who sat on the Benches below the Gangway would not be accused of servile subserviency to the Government, for they had always defended their principles. Hon. Members opposite, though distinguished by party difference, were English gentlemen, and they knew very well it was not the moment of danger and distress that English gentlemen selected as a proper occasion for deserting their friends. [Laughter.] He was sorry Gentlemen opposite laughed, for they who supported the Reform Bill of 1867 were not the Gentlemen to laugh upon this subject. He believed, indeed he knew they were more loyal, more chivalrous, more generous, than they themselves supposed. It was not on a measure which hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House thought right in principle, faulty as it was in details, that hon. Gentlemen opposite could expect them to take the course which the Opposition desired them to pursue. It was not because they were independent that they could therefore be expected to be ungrateful, and on the present occasion they intended to be mindful of the great services they had received, and would not select it to abandon a chief who had often led them to victory, and who, even in the hour of defeat, had always covered them with honour. These were considerations which, of course, did not affect hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were not expected to act upon them. The Opposition might turn out the Government, and it was very likely that they would do so. Moreover, he did not know that any section of the House would have very much occasion to regret it. He could not speak the sentiments of those who occupied the benches above the gangway; but he thought they heard the other day, "by the banks of grassy Lumon"—wherever that might be—a voice which had something of the melancholy sweetness that belongs to the cadence of the dying swan. Alas! 1633 the Ministers wanted rest. Well, it was not exactly rest that he and his friends wanted; and perhaps for that very reason they would not feel very unhappy if they had to change seats with hon. Gentlemen below the gangway opposite. There were many questions which they could discuss with an Administration more advantageously in their point of view from the Benches opposite. This, however, was out the question of tonight. They knew the temptation to a great party when they saw a chance of destroying the Government opposite. It was no doubt a great deal to expect of the Opposition that they should hesitate at all when they were in the flush of expected victory. Yet there were some considerations which even at this moment might give pause to hon. Gentlemen opposite. They might turn out the Government, but they would not do it by themselves. They would have allies, but who would those allies be? They objected, as he did, to placing the higher education of Ireland in the hands of the Ultramontane priesthood. But they were going to do a far more dangerous thing than that. They were going to place in the hands of those who would give them their majority the policy of the House of Commons; they were going to place the choice of the Government of the Queen in the hands of the Catholic hierarchy. He ventured to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, whether it was worth their while to do that in order to secure a brief and dearly purchased triumph? They would come into Office soon—sooner, perhaps, than they expected—and he hoped that when they came into Office they would come into Power; but he would ask them to consider whether both parties had not played long enough in Parliament at this game of see-saw—at this traffic in the Irish vote. In his opinion, the Parliamentary calculation of contending parties upon the Irish vote was the real Upas tree of Ireland. This had done more mischief in the past, and it might do more mischief to Ireland and to England in the future, than anything else. He knew hon. Gentlemen opposite might address to the party on these Benches a terrible tu quoque; but a tu quoque was not statesmanship. Was it not time, he would ask, that upon both sides of the House they should open a new chapter on this subject? There were those among them who had something 1634 of public life before them, some political hopes which ought to lead them to think a little of the future—not of themselves, but of their country. Was it not better that they should all endeavour to settle this difficulty and to redress this grievance while they might? Was not this for both parties in the State the wise and patriotic course? They had received to-day a message to the House of Commons from a Cardinal in Ireland. Let them send him a reply becoming the House of Commons—befitting this famous Assembly. But such an answer could only be contained in a Bill which should be framed on the principle of firm, calm, and equal justice. If to-night hon. Members would rise a little above the level of faction, might they not say Sursum Corda, and let them, Conservatives and Liberals alike, carry to the foot of the Throne—of that Throne whose supremacy they alone acknowledged—a measure which should be worthy of the Legislature of a free people and of the Parliament of a united Empire.
§ DR. BALL
* I congratulate, Sir, Her Majesty's Government upon the line of defence adopted by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Harcourt), the first advocate of the Bill outside the official circle who has with any power taken part in this debate. He will vote for the second reading, but accompanies the declaration with unqualified condemnation of the chief and cardinal provisions of the measure—the frame of the Council, the clauses excluding particular courses of study, the affiliation of small and obscure seminaries, and the extinction of the Galway Queen's College. Further, he announces that he would retain the present Government in office, but in the same breath observes that, if they should retire, he did not know that any section on his side of the House would regret it. So much for his political friends; then, what of his foes? They are in league with the Irish vote; and by its means are about to place the Government of the Queen in the hands of the Catholic hierarchy. Calculation of this vote by contending parties, he finds to be a fourth branch of the now celebrated Upas-tree. Lastly the sum of these peculiar reasons for the second reading is completed by admitting the Bill to be condemned in Ireland by an absolute unanimity of disapproval; but 1635 that very fact, he contends, ought to be its greatest recommendation to a mind like his own, stored with Imperial ideas. I confess, that as my hon. and learned Friend thus proceeded, dealing out with perfect impartiality universal censure upon men and measures, I was involuntarily reminded—ancient history not being yet prohibited—of the elephants of Pyrrhus, which caused as much confusion in the ranks among which they were marshalled, as in those they assailed. Sir, I agree in the comments of my hon. and learned Friend upon the clauses of the Bill; and I am not disposed to express myself upon them more strongly than he has done. Why, then, do I not follow the same course, and go into Committee? Because I take a different view of the duty of this House, when a Bill is proposed for its acceptance. He thinks we may with consistency read it a second time, and afterwards expunge every important clause and provision. I think such a course not consistent with respect to the Minister proposing, the Government responsible for it, the implied general assent given by the House itself. What, read the Bill a second time with the declared design (I use a phrase of Canning's) to "pound and mash" it in Committee! Then wide as the poles asunder are the views we hold respecting the weight and value to be given to Irish opinion. My hon. and learned Friend scorns, I respect it. It is no recommendation of the Bill to me as it is to him, that it is displeasing to all classes in Ireland. On these points rather than on the merits or demerits of the proposals of the Government my hon. and learned Friend and myself entertain opposite opinions, and in them may be found the explanation why, although our premises agree, our conclusions differ. Sir, my hon. and learned Friend finds the substance of the Bill to be mixed education. I find it in the constitution of a new University to be erected upon the ruins of the two which now exist. Here let me observe that I am not enamoured of abstract theories in reference to education, whether higher or lower. Not that they may not advantageously be debated by philosophers and thinkers, but that the work of practical legislation should be carried on with reference to times and occasions, before which theories have to bend. When institutions already exist, they must be 1636 taken into account as they exist, and not as we would desire originally to have framed them. The system of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities has admirers who can see no merit in that of the London. On the other hand, there are advocates of the London blind to the advantages of the former. The truth is, each system is adapted to its own place, and discharges important duties peculiar to itself in connection with the instruction of youth and advancement of learning. It it not my comparison with either, but by its adaptation to the people and the circumstances it has to deal with, that the measure proposed for Ireland by the Government is to be tried and judged.
Sir, we have in the debate heard much of the University Council, proposed to be constituted by this Bill; and rightly, for the Council is in truth the new University. Everything is guided, everything dominated and directed by it—the studies, the teachers, the examiners, the students. It bounds, fills, connects, and governs all. True, the internal management of the affiliated Colleges is preserved from its interference; but, pressed beneath its incumbent weight, as the ultimate examining tribunal, gradually they must, in their studies and intellectual pursuits, take, to a considerable degree, "its form and pressure." How, then, is this Council proposed to be constituted? Partly of representative Members, partly of appointed. The representative are to be returned by the affiliated Colleges; two members from Trinity College, two from each of the three Queen's Colleges at Belfast, Cork, and Galway; two from the Catholic University College, one from Magee College—11 in all; and, besides these, others from small Roman Catholic Colleges not named in the Bill or in the Prime Minister's statement. In the debate the Government advocates finding the true nature of these last-mentioned Colleges becoming discovered, throw them over; the President of the. Board of Trade (Mr. C. Fortescue), pre-eminently, nicknaming them "bogus colleges." Why, Sir, the Prime Minister, in his introductory speech, clearly pointed to them, hoping that the small Colleges might multiply; and the Catholic Bishops, evidently referring to some proposition made to them for their affiliation, expressly in their resolutions refuse to 1637 allow it. And, indeed, how can it be pretended they were designed to be excluded, when so miserably small an educational institution as the Magee College was expressly named for insertion by the Prime Minister. We must, therefore, assume that representatives from such Colleges were intended to be admitted, and will be admitted; and so assuming, let us consider their number and extent. They are 43. At the time of the Census of 1861, they seem to have been 35. The Census Returns for 1872 are not yet published; but from those of 1861 we learn that much the greater proportion of the 35 gave classical education; that 20 of them, containing about 1649 scholars, were under the management of the monastic orders, known as Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, Jesuits, Marists, Oblates, Trappists, and Vincentians; and 15, containing about 1502 scholars, under the supervision of the Catholic prelates or other ecclesiastical superiors. What number of these were intended to return representatives to the Council has not been told, but the number of appointed members, clearly fixed to counterbalance them, proves they were expected to be numerous. What a source from which to seek the advancement of higher education! The Jesuit Order possesses some members of birth and education, devoted to learning and to teaching; but, with such exception as these gentlemen may furnish, I deny the fitness of monastic persons to regulate and control the studies of what the President of the Board of Trade himself terms "the great National University of Ireland." If I err, the Roman Catholic Members, who speak later in the debate, can contradict me. But, until I am shown to be mistaken, I must continue of opinion that the introduction of these persons upon the Council is the introduction of an influence adverse to high culture. Well, if this be the representative element, what is the appointed? 28 in number, to be nominated by this House. Such mode of nomination is, to my hon. and learned Friend who preceded me (Mr. Harcourt), a comfort and consolation under his other painful feelings in respect of the Bill; to me, of distrust and apprehension. What does this House know of Irishmen? At this moment I look at a compact array, a steady phalanx of supporters, who habitually fill the benches behind the 1638 Prime Minister. How many of those estimable merchants, manufacturers, and financier have condescended an inquiry into the conditions, circumstances, or persons of Irish social life? Of those who have, how few would venture to criticize the Minister's selection? For my part, I much prefer that uncontrolled power of nomination should be vested in the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. He has given hostages to posterity for conscientious conduct, in speeches, in writings that will outlive your ephemeral disputes, in a lofty tone of thought and reflection pervading both. The Prime Minister, acting under a sense of this individual responsibility, is very different from the Prime Minister proposing a Motion from the front bench at the head of excited, exacting, and unreasoning followers. No doubt, speaking of his position as a Minister, and the duty he would have to discharge in respect of this matter, he has declared that he would not select on religious grounds, but from those who by their special knowledge or position, by their experience, ability, character, and influence, may be best qualified at once to guard and to promote the work of academic education in Ireland. However admirably expressed, what is this but words—"words, words, Horatio,"—applicable equally whether the Council shall be composed exclusively of laymen, or of ecclesiastics, or of collegiate Professors and fellows, or of political and public characters. Neither is it by any means new to us in Ireland. We have heard it all before; have had it tested, and have found the fruit not so excellent as the leaves. Yes, there is not a single profession you now make, in reference to selecting the University Council, that you have not already over and over made as to the National Board of Primary Education. Others may, but you cannot decline to test, by the proceedings of this Board, the reasonableness of our comments, our distrust, our desire to have actual names, not air-drawn images of yet undiscovered nominees.
Hear, then, the case of the Rev. Mr. O'Keeffe, and the National Board. This Roman Catholic clergyman had at Callan, in the county of Kilkenny, schools in connection with this Board, attended by large numbers of children. He brought an action in one of the courts of law against another clergyman, and for this was sus- 1639 pended by his Eminence Cardinal Cullen. The order or rescript of suspension comes before the Board, and Lord O'Hagan, the Irish Lord Chancellor of the present Government, demands a termination of the connection between the schools and the Board. Mr. Justice Morris, a Roman Catholic Judge, moves that Mr. O'Keeffe be heard before he is condemned. Chief Justice Monahan, also a Roman Catholic Judge, supports this proposition. Mr. Justice Lawson, formerly the Attorney General for Ireland of Earl Russell's Administration, concurs with them, and addresses to the Chancellor and his followers a dignified remonstrance, a report of which fortunately has been presented to Parliament—I expressed my unfeigned surprise that, at a meeting to a large extent composed of Privy Councillors and persons holding a judicial position, it could be seriously proposed to condemn a person unheard and to proceed to deprive him of a civil right without giving him notice of any such intention. I suggested that such a course was not only contrary to British law, but even to natural justice.British law and natural justice against the rescript of the Cardinal! It may be law, most learned Judge, but it is not politics. Wherefore the Lord Chancellor not only himself voted, and led the usual followers of the Government to vote, but, contrary to all rules regulating professional conduct, brought down his son-in-law, Mr. John O'Hagan, who was then counsel for the Cardinal in an action at law pending between him and the Rev. Mr. O'Keefe in respect of this very suspension, to vote. The result was that by a majority of one, so far as the National Board is concerned, education was withdrawn from the children of this large and populous parish. So much for the wisdom and impartiality of Her Majesty's Government in selecting, and for the zeal for the advancement of learning in the selected, Board of National Education. What a warning against entrusting Ministers swayed by the exigency of political circumstances with the choice of those who are to guard the sacred interests of learning and knowledge! But why was the Council to be framed as proposed? The reason is obvious. Nothing being done in the Bill to meet the demands of the Roman Catholic Prelates for religious education, it was hoped their acquiescence could be bought on the cheaper terms of giving 1640 them places on the Council. Why, too, was the Lord Lieutenant, necessarily involved in politics, representing for the time one or other of the great English political parties, to be Chancellor? Because otherwise the Cardinal Archbishop, who in Ireland, ranks before any Peer, would preside, and that might alienate Presbyterian support. The Council was planned to meet political objects, will be filled by political persons, and will be moved in its distribution of patronage by political influences. The House is not told who are to be the nominated members, but everyone in Ireland knows just as clearly as if the names were printed in the Bill. The Cardinal, and some judiciously selected Roman Catholic Prelates, a Protestant Archbishop, and one or two Protestant Prelates to balance them; the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland; the ineviable Postmaster General (Mr. Monsell); five or six Peers, ornaments of the Vice-regal circle, who will attend such meetings as are coincident with the Vice-regal entertainments; some barristers looking for Judgeships, and some puisne Judges solicitous about the health of their chiefs.
Sir, this Bill was not introduced to meet an educational want. No one denies that education in Dublin College and the Queen's Colleges had reached a high standard. I know what Continental opinion is upon this subject, and I fearlessly challenge comparison of their instruction, more especially when viewed as a preparation for active life, with that of any other University. It was introduced to meet certain demands in reference to the subject, alleged to involve rights of conscience. The nature and extent of those demands have been exaggerated. There is no more uniformity of opinion upon the subject among Roman Catholics than among Protestants. There are those who prefer united secular and separate religious education. The great Catholic Petition presented by Henry Grattan to the Irish Parliament points out the advantage of the united system of education in removing prejudices and, promoting harmony and mutual esteem among members of different religious denominations. On the other hand, there are also those who think religion should pervade, attend upon, interpenetrate every pursuit and study; and that to effect this, the 1641 place, the teacher, the tone of thought and feeling, should be in direct and guaranteed alliance with sonic recognized form of religious profession. If they are in error, "their failings lean to virtue's side," and I decline to adopt the spirit in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Lowe) has spoken, or to sit in judgment on the the conscientious feelings of my fellow-men. And, therefore, admitting a demand, and that there is a difficulty, and that a measure to deal with the question of University education was to be expected from the Government, let us consider in what manner the Bill professes practically to meet this demand and solve this difficulty. The provisions directed to this end appear to me to be three. The Catholic University College in St. Stephen's Green is proposed to be affiliated in, and to return members to the Council of the new University. The small Roman Catholic seminaries, to whose nature and number I have already drawn attention, are also to be affiliated, and to return members to the Council; and the teaching of Mental and Moral Philosophy, and of Modern History, is to be excluded from the Chairs of the new University. It is quite a mistake that this Bill for the first time introduces mixed education in Trinity College. All the Catholic Judges now on the bench in Ireland were educated within its walls. The Bill opens the Fellowships and some foundation scholarships; but the course, system, and practice of education neither require to be altered, nor are altered by it. Then, as to what I have said the Bill does—the introduction of small Colleges with representation on the Council is for reasons I before assigned absolutely pernicious. The Catholic College in Stephen's Green, a place aiming at high culture with religious education for members of that creed, cannot in my judgment maintain even its present position against the new University; that is, the measure being declared to be brought in for the purpose of meeting a Roman Catholic demand for religious education, it is framed to extinguish an institution which aims at that object. No matter how able the Professors of this College, they could not compete with those of the new University, endowed with an income of £50,000 a-year. The medical school of this College, for instance, which has been successful, could not retain its 1642 pupils against that of the University, whose Professors could confer the degrees, and very probably recommend for Government patronage. The inevitable fate of the College must be to become a large boarding-house for students in the University. Except that fees might be cheaper, and that it would have two representatives on the Council—I do not see that its relations would be better with the new than they might have been with the old University. The Bill, therefore, after it is passed, will leave the grievance and the demand, such as they are, which have been alleged to be the reasons that necessitate and justify it, very much where they were before. It causes the unmerited fall of great educational institutions, acknowledged and undoubted sources of instruction and enlightenment, to substitute another of defective construction, circumscribed in its range of study, without the faintest pretence that thereby any want is satisfied, any discontent appeased, controversy or agitation terminated. This is to destroy for the pleasure of destruction. The clauses relating to the study of Mental and Moral Philosophy seem to me to have been inserted by the Prime Minister in consequence of erroneous information. Ireland has not been negligent of these branches of knowledge. From the days of Molyneux, the friend of Locke, whose social and literary position gave his counsels weight, they have been more or less cultivated. He influenced Trinity College when yet the immortal Essay on the human Understanding, whence as from a fountain have flowed whatever contributions England and Scotland have made to these sciences, was in little favour at Oxford, to appreciate and welcome the new philosophy. He turned towards its pursuit at an early age the searching and inquiring spirit of Berkeley—a fellow of Trinity College—with what success learn from the calm and impassioned judgment of Buckle, who pronounces that in the 18th century England produced not one original writer in ethics; that in psychology she was equally deficient, for that Berkeley, the author of the most important discovery ever made in that noble science—he of course alludes to the celebrated and now universally accepted Theory of Vision—was born in Ireland and lived in Ireland; while in æsthetics the only work of the least merit was by Edmund Burke, 1643 also an Irishman. In our own time, the History of Rationalism and the History of European Morals, by Mr. Leckey, trained like Berkeley and Burke, in Dublin College, whose sagacious and profound inductions we may dissent from, but must respect, attest that Irish genius still affectionately loves and follows after these and kindred studies. Nor am I aware of objection to them ever expressed by Roman Catholic laymen. On the contrary, judging from the names of those who voluntarily selecting the course for ethical and metaphysical distinction at the degree examinations, have obtained honours, they seem more partial to them than to mathematics or classics. I see at this moment my right hon. Friend the Member for Kildare (Mr. Cogan), who obtained in this department the highest honour; the junior Member for the county of Limerick (Mr. Synan), Catholic enough we must admit, equally successful; and my memory recalls the name also of Mr. Justice Morris, formerly a Member of this House, among those similarly eminent. Then Modern History its exclusion would not effect the purpose. Ancient History remains; and Ancient History of late is written with continued reference to parallel or analogous instances in modern. Take two textbooks of Trinity College. Grote's Greece, and the great work on Rome by the German Mommsen. In both the past is continually illustrated by the events and institutions of the present. What, for instance, is to be done when the Professor of Ancient History reaches the celebrated comparison of the latter between the Celts on the Seine and the Loire in the days of Cæesar, and the Celts on the Shannon and the Liffey in in our own—lazy in the culture of the fields, indisposed to other labour, ardent, imaginative, rhetorical, credulous, docile as children before the priest? What, but consign the book to the "Index Expurgatorius," and the lecturer to the fate of O'Keeffe—silence or deprivation. The truth is that from the necessarily discordant elements of which the University Council is to be composed—the majority drawn from political or sectarian not academical sources, and unharmonized by the cementing influence of a common pursuit of literature and science—peace can be attained only by eliminating from the teachers and the teaching everything like independence 1644 of thought. Mediocrity of mind and common-place reflections may not altogether prevent the offences against religious convictions which the 11th clause of the Bill so severely punishes, but they furnish the best chance of it; and the tendency in that direction will be further increased by the number of representatives from obscure institutions, where the course of instruction is and must necessarily remain limited, and which can therefore continue constituent parts of the new University only by reducing its standard of education to their own level. It may be suggested that Trinity College is preserved, and with it we may hope some superior culture. I do not deny this was intended. I believe the Prime Minister sought to act fairly to the College; but unless the Bill be altered in Committee, the result will not, I fear, correspond with his intentions. The studies must be directed with a view to the courses prescribed by the University for degrees. The collegiate teaching must, for the mass of the students, be subordinated to its teaching. That forms as it were the summit level, and everything else must be accommodated to its depression. Then, to meet the vested life interests, which will at once be affected by the withdrawal of the non-resident students to the University, and by the loss of the fees at present derived from degrees and other sources hereafter closed, and at the same time pay £12,000 a-year to the University fund, the capital of the property of the College must year by year be encroached upon. I, however, am disposed on this subject to trust that the justice of the Prime Minister and Chief Secretary will in Committee redress errors of this character. Surely, if income and emoluments be transferred from an institution not itself condemned, it is out of some other fund than its own property, the owners of the interests injured should be compensated. And why are Trinity College, Galway College, or any other really effective establishment, for superior instruction in Ireland to suffer and languish while the large surplus of Church property remains unapplied and available? Its present contemplated destination, the use proposed to be made of it for the benefit of lunatics and idiots, seems conceived in the very spirit of scorn, in which Swift records 1645 that he bequeathed his own property for the same purpose—To show by one satiric touch No nation wanted it so much.Let me cite for the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Marquess (Sir James Mackintosh)—though perhaps in the present estimate of political authority on the Government front bench, I ought to apologize for referring to so distinguished a Whig. He, when recording in his history the confiscation of the property of the monasteries, discusses the question what would be the most commendable application of revenues withdrawn by the national will from these or analagous purposes, and finds among the nearest to the original destination and the most fitting, learned education. No doubt, if we adopt the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Lowe) upon educational arrangements, few drafts will be needed on this or any other fund, and very unambitious and unexciting our range of studies. Teaching is a trade, and like other trades can support itself. The present system is all wrong. A boy may leave Harrow or Eton and know the Latin for the liver is jecur, and not have the least idea where his own liver is in his body: alia hujus modi. A philosophy practical but certainly not elevating; if philosophy, indeed, it can be called, and not rather the voice of a degraded materialism, for which our world is the universe, man an ingenious mechanical contrivance, and all outside and beyond the fabric of a vision. Wherever else this tone of thought may prevail, I can answer for its rejection in Ireland. And this, Sir, brings me to the singular misconception of the wishes, feelings, objects of my countrymen manifested in the measure which we are now asked to read a second time, to the universal disapproval which it has received from them, and to the political—I do not mean party—considerations connected with this unanimity of condemnation. Sir, the noble Lord, the Chief Secretary for Ireland (the Marquess of Hartington) says it is for the interest of all connected with Ireland—especially of the educational institutions—that this question should be settled. Now, I am just as alive to the perils of the future as the noble Marquess. I do not undervalue the warning he has given the College, of which I am a representative— 1646 for of threats unworthy of his race, unworthy of his own generous nature, I acquit him. But what is meant by being settled? Surely for settlement there must be some guarantee, at the least, some indication that those concerned or interested in the institutions remodelled, will acquiesce; that we are to have an end of agitation, and arrive at finality. Is this so here? Far from it. The Roman Catholic Prelates will no more be content with the new University than with the Queen's Colleges and the Queen's University. Year after year their Pastorals have been directed against them; year after year they will be directed against the new. Indeed, in candour we must allow, the new is but a larger Queen's University; and if the system of the former carried, as the Prelates assert, danger to faith and morals, how will the latter offer less? Old sources of strife will be invigorated and others opened. Strife within, about, and around the new University; strife from the Catholic excluded by his religious convictions; strife from the Catholic included, for what more fertile source of strife than to give him preponderating power in the Council, while the Colleges he represents compete in vain with the University Professors? Each election, each choice of study, will be fought with all the ardour of party and of sect in the little senate you create. I acknowledge—in 1870 when I first announced the resolution of the Board of Trinity College to support the abolition of tests, I expressly stated, that great difficulties surround this question; dfficulties in the subject, difficulties in the state of English and Scotch opinion, difficulties in the demands of the Roman Catholic Bishops. Of other difficulties not less formidable I since see traces: indications that the attitude assumed by these Prelates is due to unreasonable hopes heretofore excited in their minds. I infer this from their Pastorals, and, above all, from the declaration of his Eminence the Cardinal at the great meeting of Catholics in Marlborough Street Cathedral in January, 1872, in which he alluded to "promises" made in reference to this subject. True, nothing of the kind can be detected in the Prime Minister's speeches. On the contrary, he—first in his place in Parliament, afterwards in Lancashire—gave no obscure intimation that he would not 1647 move in this direction, and characterised the policy of concurrent endowment as a policy perishing in the moment of its birth. But the right hon. Gentleman is not exempt from the common lot of Ministers, and it is the curse of greatness to be followed by those whose zeal outruns discretion. Notwithstanding the infallibility which attaches to Cardinals and Bishops, it may—when the secret history of this question comes to be disclosed, and at some or other everything, it seems to me, is disclosed—turn out that they have been misled, and that for the engagements and the expectations built upon them, the only authority was—Some busy and insinuating rogue, Some togging, cozening slave, to get some office.Amid much doubt and much obscurity over this part of our Parliamentary history, three things are certain. (1.) That a Minister educated in this very Trinity College, which you now destroy, Irish in birth, in lineage, above all, in a generous sympathy for every class and creed of his native land, did announce that he sought equality, not by degrading and destroying, but by elevating and restoring. (2.) That the Roman Catholic Bishops obstructed his proposals. (3.) That if they obstructed them without assurance or promise from any quarter of better terms, they displayed more of the simplicity of the dove, and less of the wisdom of the serpent, than ever I have observed in them upon any other occasion. But be these difficulties what they may, how much are they enhanced by the tone and conduct of the Government during this debate. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Lowe) proclaims that we may regard the declaration of the Roman Catholic Prelates as we regard the visitations of nature, an earthquake, a storm, or a famine, or anything else that we cannot help, and to which we can only adapt ourselves as well as we can. What a declaration at a moment when a measure, which boasts to be a compromise, a settlement, is offered; when conciliation is preeminently demanded, and any ultimate result to be attained only by mutual forbearance! The writers of antiquity, whom the right hon. Gentleman owes so much to, and treats with such ingratitude, might have warned him that the Celt, although patient of wrong, is unforgiving of insult. The course taken 1648 the Prime Minister is still more to be regretted. Not in this House where answer or explanation are possible, disregarding the Irish Members as though they had no voice to be considered, while this debate is unconcluded, he collects his other followers to a banquet at Croydon, and announces that, somehow or other, an Irish question is very commonly found to be a suitable and convenient subject for a row. But what is the question and what is the subject? And when you answer that it is higher education, consider a moment what this means to Ireland and Irishmen. Our legislative independence is gone; trade, except the manufacture of linen in Ulster, gone; one-fifth of the whole income of the country drawn by absentees to England. But an equivalent you gave us worth all you had taken; you incorporated us with yourselves, opened up to us the whole field of your unbounded Empire; partners in your greatness and your glory. Of little avail, had you not left us the very University you now destroy; for what were the field without the arms and the training to conquer? As it was, freely, fully, everything was opened to us. Mayo, Governor General of India; Cairns, Chancellor of England; five Judges of the English Common Law Bench from Trinity College within the last 10 years; Magee on the Episcopal; India covered over with our successful competitors for its civil service; not a colony that is not at this moment served by ability trained in the Irish Universities. The question, in truth, touches the whole surface, and penetrates the inmost depth of Irish social life. Hence excitement you cannot understand; hence unanimity unprecedented. The provisions of this measure, notwithstanding the professions with which they were heralded, menace intellectual culture; dwarf everything, degrade everything. It is the policy—pictured by your own great dramatist, he who, above all others, had sounded all the depths of human nature—pursued by the elder to the younger brother when having robbed him of his patrimony, he made him unfit to recover it, and "undermined his gentility in his education." Here, then, arise political considerations of grave moment? If this Bill be read a second time, it must be read by the votes of English, Scotch, and Welsh Members. Ireland declares, 1649 and will declare in the coming division her opposition. A Minister against a people! for, although we have ceased to be a nation, we are still a people. That is the issue. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government is prepared for this issue. It is because it was impending, that he addressed his followers at Croydon, called upon their wavering allegiance; and what the invocation? Ireland, Irish interests, Irish feelings? Nothing of the kind. Party, the triumphs, the successes, the interests of the Liberal party. I have led you to victory against the strongholds of prejudice and privilege, and I can lead you again. If the storm rage, and the waves run high, and the bark now on the crest, Dow in the trough of the wave, reels to and fro, the magician who "put the wild waters in this roar," can again allay them! Is this so certain? What if the spell be powerless, and the wand broken—if the agitation you have raised in Ireland refuse to pause at your bidding?
Sir, I am unable to share the views, the confidence, the equanimity of the right hon. Gentleman. Irish by birth, by education, residence, profession, bound to my native soil by indissoluble ties, I cannot sever my interests from hers. I regard with alarm the indifference manifested to her feelings, opinions, wishes—education, progress, elevation in the scale of nations, mere feathers in the balance compared with the fate of a Ministry, or the triumph of the Liberal party! I foresee in that very triumph new grounds for the discontent which, whether with or without reason, extensively prevails. I anticipate the use which the advocates of a separate Legislature may make of it, to proclaim that in the Imperial Parliament neither Irish feelings are respected, nor Irish interests consulted. Touched by this feeling, these apprehensions, I decline to assist the further progress of this measure. Even were the concessions suggested to academic objections more important in themselves, and more securely guaranteed, than they are, still I am constrained to vote against the second reading of this Bill, because I am not prepared to meet the unqualfied opposition of an unanimous people.
§ MR. P. J. SMYTH
I am pained to find myself forced into a position of antagonism on this subject towards the 1650 only Government my country has known since the Union that has shown a disposition to grapple with the Irish difficulty. But, on seeking the honour of a seat in this House, I, in common with some other Members from Ireland, voluntarily gave certain pledges, and those pledges I conceive can only be redeemed by uncompromising opposition to this Bill. It is a Bill of necessity on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, and being so it has been framed with a view solely to pass, but not to settle a disturbing question. It supplies no admitted want, satisfies no just claim, redeems no promise, and while unsettling much, settles nothing. The plan of the Bill is defective, and will prove in operation impracticable, inasmuch as, while adopting affiliation, it overlooks the necessary branch of intermediate education. The secondary schools are the pillars of the structure which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to erect, but where those pillars are to be found, whether they really exist, what condition they may be in, the House is not informed. The House is asked blindly to adopt a system of affiliation, and to leave to a nondescript Council the task of selection. The secondary schools are notoriously in an unsound state; some of them have been condemned by Royal Commissions, many of them are endowed sectarian schools; all of them, at some indefinite period, will form the subject of legislation, yet, notwithstanding all this, the House is required to abdicate its privilege of pronouncing on their fitness or unfitness for the purpose contemplated by this Bill. The subjects of intermediate and higher education in Ireland are inseparable, and should be dealt with in one comprehensive Bill. To fling a dome into the air without providing the requisite pillars is an architectural feat not likely to conduce to the perfectness and completeness of the edifice. Looking to the provisions of the Bill, I enter my protest against the monstrous exclusion of philosophy and history. The highest authorities upon education—Locke, Milton, and others—rank mental philosophy as one of its highest departments. Even the very humble curriculum furnished by Messrs. Chambers in their Information for the People, has this paragraph—Mental Philosophy.—This is a department of science which it is the fashion of our age to 1651 overlook. Yet what can be more important than a knowledge of that wonderful power by which we think and act, and which more especially connects us with the things above and beyond this transitory scene?In the University systems of Europe for 800 years past, mental philosophy has been, if not the whole, the principal part of the curriculum—everything revolved round it. Even still, logic—the laws of mind in its function of reasoning—metaphysics, psychology, ethics, natural law, and natural theology, form the most important part of University training. Take these away, and you take the spring from the year; you teach the play of "Hamlet" without Hamlet's part; you teach a maze of unmeaning facts without a key to any. The right hon. Gentleman himself is our highest authority on tills. In his fine address at Liverpool, he warns the young student to prepare himself well against such writers as Strauss, and such products of the modern school of thought as the "Universum." How is he to do that without mental philosophy? Upon what other basis will be found the rules of human duty, the maxims of natural law and civil polity, the duty of subjects to the State, of the State to the subject, and of State to State? History is philosophy teaching examples. You abolish the philosophy by abolishing mental philosophy. You abolish the examples by abolishing modern history. What remains? Pope said—The proper study of mankind is man.But mental philosophy and modern history comprise the two chief aspects in which man can be studied. Abolish them, and man no longer knows himself; and we have realised Dr. Newman's prediction that the time may not be far distant when, on account of divergences of opinion, man as well as God may be excluded from the subjects taught at a University. History is ordinarily divided into two main sections, ancient and modern, the latter beginning with the birth of Our Lord. Ancient history, how fresh and interesting so ever it may be to imaginative minds, is not history properly so called. It is but a record—often furnished from mere fancy—of the wars and conquests of two great nations, Greece and Rome. It bears no comparison in extent of sphere, in variety of interests, in development of peoples, in discoveries brought to light, in arts in- 1652 vented and the application of them, to that history which we call modern. Human progress began in fact with the modern, and the records or myths which we have been accustomed to read in schools of these two successful peoples furnish no sufficient information for the mature minds of University scholars—no sufficient preparation for the battles of modern life. Ancient history might, perhaps, be dispensed with—though I should be sorry to see it—but we must keep the modern—knowledge of it is a necessity for every man who goes into the world. Remember what, according to the greatest of Roman historians, Livy, is the true value of all history—Ad ilia mihi pro se quisque acriter intendat animum, quæ; vita, qui mores fuerint; per quos viros quibusque artibus domi militiæque et partum et auctum imperium sit.Where will examples of the kind mentioned by Livy be found in the histories of Greece, Rome, or Assyria? You will find them at every page of history in modern Europe, in America, and in countries sealed up to what we call the ancient world—China, India, and Central Asia itself—Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.Better fifty years of Europe for instruction and true knowledge of our fellowmen, than all the periods, fabulous, prehistoric, heroic, or historical, from the age of bronze to the age of Augustulus, where ancient history may be supposed to close. It is difficult to realise how such a proposition as the elimination of modern history from a University course can be gravely discussed at the present day in a British senate. More difficult still to realise the fact of a great Minister saying to any portion of the youth of this realm—you may climb the Capitoline hill, but Olivet and Calvary are forbidden heights; you may sail with the Argonauts for the recovery of the Golden Fleece, but you shall not accompany Columbus on his voyage to the discovery of a new world; you may stand in line with the three hundred at Thermopylæ, but you shall not ride with the six hundred into the Valley of Death at Balaklava. It is said that this is a concession to Catholics, inspired by a tender regard for Catholic conscience. I wish to dispel that illusion. The fundamental doctrines of mental philosophy are the 1653 same both for Catholics and Protestants. Catholics, equally with Protestants, recognise Paley and Bishop Butler as among the highest authorities on the subject. It is a department of learning which has a peculiar charm for the Celtic mind, and the one in which the Catholic students in Trinity College particularly distinguish themselves. I admit the difficulty of treating the subjects of mental philosophy and modern history in a mixed institution, but I can only deal with this Bill as I find it, and as a Catholic I implore the House not to ratify the barbarous decree. I object, having regard to the whole scope of the Bill, to the power given to the Council to reprimand teachers who give wilful offence in matters of religion. Suppose the matter treated of to be geology, and the teacher maintains that the world has existed for 1,500,000 years. That is contrary to the Mosaic account, and he gives offence in a matter of religion. Here you meet the difficulty by punishing the teacher, but logically you are bound to abolish the science. Geology, it is clear, must go the way of philosophy and history. Thus you have a place of universal teaching, minus philosophy, minus history, minus natural science. In flat contradiction to this penal clause is the regulation that no disqualification shall attach to any candidate in any examination by reason of his adopting in any branch of learning any particular theory in preference to any other received theory. What is a received theory, and what is not? Is Darwinism a received theory? If it be, the candidate is free to hold any theory he likes. If it be not, it is fair to punish the teacher and leave the candidate free to give what offence he pleases? I will now, with the permission of the House, show by a few brief examples, the impolicy of adopting, under present circumstances, a system of promiscuous affiliation, and conferring on the Council power to do that which in a few years hence Parliament may require to undo. The Queen's Colleges, viewed from the stand-point of Sir Robert Peel and Sir James Graham, must be pronounced failures; but keeping steadily in view the motives of these eminent statesmen, it will be found that Cork is a greater failure than Galway, and that Belfast is the greatest failure of the three. In Galway 56 per cent of the students 1654 are Catholics, in Cork 42 per cent, and in Belfast 4. Failures though they be, better, I have no hesitation in saying, the Queen's Colleges, with their variety and their competition, than this monstrum cui humen ademptum, whose only attractive force consists in bulk. Descending from the Queen's Colleges, I find a network of institutions, largely used for intermediate education spread over the land, and maintained by permanent endowments granted by the Crown or by Parliament out of the national property. There are diocesan schools, Royal schools, Irish Society schools, Erasmus Smith's schools, incorporated schools, model schools, and others, with endowments amounting in the aggregate to £52,000 per annum. All the schools in these categories are practically denominational; all of them have formed at various times subjects of Parliamentary inquiry; all of them rest, more or less, under the ban of Parliamentary censure; many of them are already connected by exhibitions and scholarships with Trinity College; many of them, such as Erasmus Smith's schools, are better qualified for affiliation than the Magee College, which received last year one student, and enjoys an endowment of £500 a-year from that incongruous body known as the Irish Society—weighing all these facts is it a reasonable thing to ask Parliament to part with its power over them, and give to this Council the right of fixing the future status of these schools, or of any of them? Mrs. Glass's receipt appears not quite inapplicable to the present case. Before adopting affiliation, know what you are going to affiliate, how it may be caught, and how it may be made worthy of being put upon the table. In the Census Report on Education of the year 1861 the educational institutions of Ireland are classified into two divisions—superior and primary; the former including all institutions, in which a second language, ancient or modern, is taught. What will be the effect of this scheme? In the first place to degrade the University by incorporating with it a multitude of obscure schools; and in the next, to enable a multitude of obscure schools by cramming a few students for matriculation to advertise themselves as first-class collegiate institutions. The financial part of the Bill is worthy the genius of the right hon. Gentleman the 1655 Chancellor of the Exchequer. Ireland gets a grand national University, and no contribution is demanded from the British taxpayer. A sum of £50,000 is required for the new Dublin University and College. Galway brings her dowry of £10,000, Trinity College yields £12,000, fees give £5,000—total £27,000; leaving an annual deficit of £23,000. How is that sum to be obtained? Oh, there is the surplus of the Irish Church Fund, and into that the right hon. Gentleman dips his hand. It is very simple, very convenient, but is it just, is it honest? What, having regard to its origin, are the objects of the Church Fund? They are four-fold—maintenance of Church fabric, support of clergy, relief of the poor, education of the people. The first two have been abandoned by the Catholics; the other two may be accepted by them; but, in equity, no portion of that Fund can be taken for the purpose of endowing a secular institution like this. What have you already done? Maynooth was founded in 1785 by the Irish Parliament, the original intention being that it should be a Catholic University and College for lay as well as for divinity students. It went over at the Union as a charge to the Imperial Parliament. In 1845 the grant was raised to £28,000 a-year. By the Church Act you relieve the taxpayers of the United Kingdom of that charge, and compensate Maynooth, not by calling on the Consolidated Fund, but by abstracting from the Surplus Church Fund £370,000. The Regium Donum, granted in the time of Charles II., passed, like Maynooth in 1800, to the charge of the Imperial Parliament. It amounted in 1869 to £45,000 a-year. You relieve the taxpayers of that charge by paying the Presbyterians £700,000 drawn as before from the Surplus Church Fund. The Belfast Theological College is dealt with in the same way; and now you call upon the Surplus Fund for a further sum of £560,000—that is the amount capitalized at 25 years' purchase of the £23,000 a-year—for the endowment of a secular institution which Catholic Ireland will not have. Thus you will have taken from the Fund, to the great wrong of the Irish nation, upwards of £1,600,000. This occurs 40 years after the Appropriation Clause excited in this House some of the most remarkable debates in Parliamen- 1656 tary annals. I know not if the Liberal party has retrograded since 1833; but then, at least, no school of Manchester or of Birmingham dared dictate to the Morpeths, the Howicks, the Melbournes, the Macaulays, and the Russells, a policy at variance with the principles of justice and equity. The Surplus Church Fund being at hand, the right hon. Gentleman can afford to be generous, and accordingly he spreads before poor Ireland a tempting array of prizes. These things, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman himself, are "the medicines of our infirmity, not the ornaments of our health." For my part, I regard them as deleterious—more calculated to protract the infirmity of the present than restore the intellectual vigour of the past. The right hon. Gentleman, in his introductory statement, referred in feeling terms to those sad times, when, across a scene of turbulence and bloodshed, there flickered from time to time the faint light of a national University. It flickers still. But how comes it that, having once looked into that past, the right hon. Gentleman should present to the Irish people a Bill conceived, to a large extent, in the spirit of the 16th century? Then, education was forbidden to them, except in conjunction with a religion which they repudiated; now, education is offered to them without the religion to which they are attached. Then, their Church lands and College lands were seized to found institutions hostile to their faith and nationality; now, the residue of the ecclesiastical revenues of their ancestors is applied to the endowment of a godless University. I will not pursue this theme. But the House will bear in mind that even were perfect equality established to-morrow, the Catholic would start in the race with his Protestant brother weighted with the effects of the disabilities of 300 years. The House will bear in mind in discussing this Bill that, although its subject be Ireland, its object is education, and that the decision arrived at will affect mankind. In the name of learning, degraded by it, of the human mind debased, of man cast down, of God repudiated, I ask the House to reject this Bill.
§ MR. CONOLLY
congratulated the hon. Member who had just sat down upon his eloquent denunciation of this Bill. It had met with a concert of dis- 1657 approval which was unequalled in the annals of Parliament. The whole people of Ireland objected to it; and every section of people in Ireland had equally found fault with this unfortunate Bill. The noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland refused to accept the fiat of the Bishops; he might accept the fiat of that House, and when he found nine-tenths of the Irish representatives voting against the Bill, he would perhaps believe that the whole of the intellect of Ireland was opposed to him. He believed that the noble Marquess, in his secret conscience, gave due weight to the opinion of the people of Ireland; but he was officially bound to the chariot of the head of the Government. Even if the Bill should be carried to a second reading, it would only then be launched upon a sea of storm and turbulence, which it could never survive. The responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had not been lessened by the advocate which he had put forward that night. He (Mr. Conolly) had a right to call him an advocate, for it was easy to see that in imagination the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Harcourt) was already upon the Treasury bench. His speech would have a most disastrous result; for it was made in defiance of the public opinion of Ireland. He said that they were not to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas. They who sat on that (the Conservative) side of the House had never said that they ought to do so; but if there was any one subject upon which Irish ideas ought to be consulted, it was that of education in Ireland. He believed that no more injudicious appeal was ever made than that made by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford. It was always a bad thing to attempt to override a section like the Irish representatives, even when they were divided; but when they were united, as they were upon this subject, such a course he believed to be at once ungenerous, unstatesmanlike, impolitic, and unjust. The great career of Trinity College was not to be blotted out by a factious division upon this Bill. In somewhat bad taste the right hon. Gentleman had been called upon to withdraw the measure; but he could not do that in the hasty and hardly creditable style suggested to him; but before he attempted to press it forward, surely he would do 1658 well to take counsel again with his Cabinet. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford had given them to believe that several of the most objectionable parts of the Bill were already vanishing from sight, and these were the lures held out to induce the House to assent to a second reading. If, however, the gagging clauses and the affiliation clauses were to be given up, together with that still more objectionable feature—the nomination of a political Council—what would remain of the Bill? It would then resolve itself into a measure for destroying the great University of Ireland, which would receive the deep-rooted opposition of every Irishman, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic. Not only the present but the past would rise up against the destruction of that University. If, however, the Prime Minister pressed the passing of this measure with a majority hostile to Ireland, what were its prospects in that "other place" to which it must fortunately still be referred? To suppose that the other House would treat it with more leniency than the House of Commons was simple infatuation. Every debate would only have the effect of showing the people of Ireland the animus and determination of the Prime Minister and the Liberal party to stamp down the opinion of Roman Catholics and Protestants combined, to treat Ireland as a cypher, and govern her by power and authority alone. If that were the course to be taken, he knew well the result. Irish politics would enter upon as dark a phase as had yet been seen, hostility to England would again be evoked, and Irishmen would protest against one of the greatest gifts of God and Nature being taken away from them. He agreed with Archbishop MacHale when he said that Ireland had always been a land of learning, and when he protested against any plan of divorcing education from the tutelage of religion. He did not believe that the united education scheme proposed by Lord Stanley had ever been a success in Ireland. It was intended that mixed education should be engrafted on that country; but, owing to the action of the National Board, education had been as completely denominational as it was intended to be united. If the education proposed to be given under this Bill were manipulated by a Board under the 1659 Government, University education, like primary education in Ireland, would become purely denominational. What would the people of England say when they found that after raising a tumult in Ireland, the Bill had simply evoked a Roman Catholic denominational University in Ireland? Looking at the measure from all sides, he thought that it had been unfortunate in its conception and ill-advised in its provisions, and that it would be disastrous in its results.
§ SIR DOMINIC CORRIGAN
* Sir, I cannot think the Amendment is worthy of one minute's consideration, and I therefore turn at once to the great object before us—the University Education Bill. I will vote for the second reading of the Bill, and for its going into Committee, reserving to myself afterwards the right to oppose the Bill altogether, if such Amendments as I think necessary are not carried in Committee. It gratifies me that the course I am taking is in accordance with the views of the Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland. In their Petition, presented to this House on Monday night, they pray either for the rejection or the amendment of the Bill. I adopt their latter alternative as the better of the two. There is a consideration that I think we ought all, and I am afraid we do not all, keep sufficiently clear in our view, that we are here discussing only University education—that is, the education which young men above the age of 17 are going through for their degrees, and that we are discussing neither intermediate nor primary education. It does not follow that a man must entertain the same views on University, intermediate, and primary education. I myself do not entertain the same views on intermediate and primary education which I entertain on University education. This distinction will, I hope, be kept clearly in view. I know it is not yet kept so, even in Ireland, where we have been so long considering the subject of education. Let us recollect there are three phases of education before us—the University, the intermediate, and the primary—and that a man's views on one phase do not imply that he takes the same views on the second or the third, and that it is only University education we have now before us. Some friends, whom I esteem, have asked me to join them in opposing the Bill at every stage, on the 1660 ground that it is utterly impossible to amend it in Committee. I cannot take this view; I believe that any measure, however bad, may be amended; and as to the word impossible, I do not believe in it—That foolish word Impossible at once for aye disdain.I will vote for the second reading of the Bill, and for its going into Committee, that we may attain a full and clear understanding of all the bearings of the subject. The English mind has not yet attained this, for so lately as Saturday morning we find the following passage in The Times of that day. The Times says that Irish Catholics have no grievance to complain of; that—Catholics can get degrees from the Queen's University, although passing their University career in Catholic Halls; with respect to Queen's University, Catholics have just the same ground of complaint that they have against the London University, and no more.This is altogether an error. Catholic students may go from Carlow College, and from St. Mary's College, Dublin, from St. Patrick College, Thurles, St. Kyran's, Kilkenny, and from several others, and from private tuition to London University; but they will not be admitted to the Queen's University, sitting in Dublin, unless they spend the whole time of their undergraduate course in one of the Queen's Colleges in Belfast, Cork, or Galway. The parents of a young man residing in Dublin may educate him as they please under their own eye in England, Ireland, or even on the Continent, and send him to London for the examinations for his degree; but the Queen's University, sitting in Dublin, is precluded by law from admitting him. Surely the Catholics have just grounds of complaint against the Queen's University in Ireland, or not against it, but against the laws which hamper it. Connected with the progress of general and professional education in Ireland—for many years a member of the Senate of the Queen's University since its foundation, and holding the office I have now the honour of holding, that of Vice Chancellor—I have necessarily given attention to the subject. My views may be wrong; but I trust to your kindness, Sir, and to that of the House to listen to them. I am of the same opinion now as I was some years ago, that there should be a great na- 1661 tional University in Ireland, whose function it should be solely to examine—to examine all candidates, come from whence they may, or wherever educated, in College, at school, or at home. In one short sentence I embodied my sentiments in addressing my constituents, and on it they elected me. These are my words—That there should be one great National University for Ireland… That its degrees, honours, and emoluments shall be open to all candidates, wherever educated—in College, at school, or at home… That the State should be equally impartial to all denominations, giving equal aid to all—to those who desire to have denominational education, and to those who do not.These words, Sir, explain, I hope sufficiently, the character in which I rise—not as the advocate of mixed education, not as the advocate of denominational education, but as the advocate of perfect freedom of education, giving equal facilities for education to all, and equal aid to all. The Bill now before us carries out the principle of the establishment of one great national University, and, so far, has my support. It has also my support on anotherpoint—that it reserves the matriculation examination to itself; but on many other and most important points the Bill appears to me to be objectionable, unsatisfactory, and unworkable. The importance of granting full scope to freedom of education, especially in a comparatively poor country like Ireland, may be estimated from the fact that of about 1,000 or 1,200 students on the books of Trinity College, there are at least 500 on the books annually who are engaged in other pursuits for their support, who labour on their task of education in their evening hours, and avail themselves of the by-law of Trinity College, which permits them to go through their whole Arts' course without attending a single course of lectures, and to obtain their degrees on examinations, as in the London University. This system has been in operation for more than 100 years in Trinity College, and with good results. Strange to say, this important privilege the Queen's University has never enjoyed; the 500 students alluded to, have been driven into Trinity College—a very large proportion, probably more than one-half, would have become graduates of the Queen's University had the privileges been equal. I will read, in support of the benefit conferred on young men by this full freedom of education, a 1662 short extract from a letter of a graduate of the London University, which appeared in The Times of May 25, 1869—The son of a highly educated but poor gentleman, who had met with reverses, I received an ordinary education at one of the City schools, and before I was 16 obtained employment in the City. Being fortunate enough to make progress, and believing, at about the age of 21, that a University degree would be desirable, my attention was directed to the University of London, where after four years study I took the ordinary B.A. Degree, having passed all the examinations in the first division… The reluctance I naturally feel in saying so much about myself gives way before what I believe to be a duty I owe to the University which has offered me so many advantages, and to the hope that I may thus make known, more generally than is the case at present, the means by which any man in London, of moderate abilities and fair preliminary education, may obtain a degree at the same time that he is maintaining himself by commercial pursuits.B.A., LOND.As far, then, as the Bill goes in enunciating the principle of one great national University with full freedom of education, I go with the Bill; and also thoroughly with it in the new University retaining in its own power the matriculation examination. Retaining the standard of matriculation in its own power will bar imperfectly educated students from entering the University, and will effectually obviate any deterioration of education, for all Colleges and schools sending up their pupils must come up to the standard of the University. The University will not sink its standard to theirs, and the public will at once be able to judge of the comparative merits of the several Colleges and schools in Ireland by the comparative numbers that pass from each. I now come, however, to a great stumbling-block in the scheme of the new University. It is in the attempt to engraft on the University affiliated Colleges. The London University tried for some years after its foundation to affiliate Colleges—that is, to admit certain Colleges to the exclusion of others, to send up pupils for examination; but they were soon obliged to abandon it. They now give no advantage whatever to one place of education over another. It has been stated in course of debate that the London University has affiliated Colleges attached to it, and that this Bill was only copying the Charter of the London University. I now repeat what I have already stated—that the London Uni- 1663 versity has no affiliated Colleges in the sense in which they are mentioned in this Bill. In this Bill, by affiliation is meant adopting into the University certain Colleges with exclusive privileges of representation not shared by other Colleges. The London University never had any Colleges of this kind attached to it. It had in its first Charter—1837—a provision under which certain Colleges were named with power from time to time to add other Colleges, and no persons were admitted to examination unless with certificates from the Institutions named, or to be afterwards named. The list in the Charter originally amounted to 57; this system was abolished in 1861 by a new Charter; for it was found impossible to draw the line, to know where to stop, and serious abuses grew out of the system. Some of the affiliated Institutions set up a sale of certificates, and young men receiving their education from schools not recognized, or from private tutors, purchased certificates from some of the recognized institutions, but never attended them, and got their education elsewhere. If any Member will now look at the Calendar of the London University he will find matriculated students and graduates from innumerable Colleges and from private tuition. In the sense meant in this Bill, then, the London University never had any affiliated Colleges whatever entitling them to take part in the management of the University, or to send representatives to its Senate in Council. There is no resemblance whatever in the connection at any time of Colleges with the London University, and the proposed affiliation of Colleges under the proposed Bill. Where or how is the Council under this Bill to draw the line to say what Colleges are to be "within the pale,"—and the word has an ill-bearing reputation in Ireland—and what Colleges are to be "outside the pale?" I have some experience on this matter. When the Supplemental Charter was granted to the Queen's University in Ireland, and was about to come into operation, we—that is, the Senate, on the suggestion of some of its members, in which I did not concur—proposed to make a selection of Colleges. We spent day after day in trying to find out some principle of selection. We found it utterly impossible. We tried the test of numbers—of means of education. 1664 Immediately every Institution had Professors on every subject required. We thought of the test of numbering the pupils—any number of names could be made up. Jealousies sprung up. At last I was myself almost driven to consider the expediency, as a test, of measuring the boys as recruits are measured, and admitting each Institution, according to the number of boys coming up to a standard of 5 feet something. I deeply regretted—and I have deeply regretted from that time (1866) to the present—the defeat of the Supplemental Charter. Had its legal defects been remedied—for it was by a mere legal oversight it could not be brought into action—and had the Queen's University been permitted to admit to examination young men from the various Colleges in Ireland, Catholic, Protestant, and Presbyterian, in addition to pupils from the Queen's Colleges—for this was what the Supplemental Charter was aimed to do—we should have had six years trial of freedom of education in Ireland, and my belief is we should not now be whirling round in this cyclone of turmoil and difficulties and strife. I may take this opportunity of observing to the hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) that he has been inaccurately informed as to the object of the Supplemental Charter, and as to the occurrences relating to its introduction and attempted working. He stated in the course of his speech—That it was introduced that the students of the Roman Catholic College should take their degrees at the Queen's University, the Roman Catholic College being affiliated to it; but it was decided by the Rolls Court in Ireland that such a measure would deteriorate the University degree.Sir, I can assure the hon. Baronet that the Supplemental Charter was not passed to admit the students of the Roman Catholic University, but was passed to admit, on the same system as the London University, all candidates on undergoing certain examinations; that the Rolls Court in deciding against the Supplemental Charter merely decided on a legal point—namely, that the Senate of the University had no power to accept the Charter without the joint assent of Convocation. The Rolls Court had no power as a Court of Law to take up the consideration of deterioration of degrees, and did not take up such question at all 1665 in giving its decision. The Prime Minister in his speech, Sir, has also fallen into a mistake. He said, speaking of the Supplemental Charter, "That plan—that is, the plan of the Supplemental Charter—has entirely broken down." This is not quite correct. An experiment or plan cannot be said to have broken down until it has been first tried. The Supplemental Charter did not break down, for it was never tried. It never came into action, for before we could bring it into action the decision of the Rolls Court on a legal point stopped all proceedings to work it. I have now, Sir, an observation to make in justice to the Queen's University. Is there any test by which to ascertain whether its examinations have been creditable, and have supported a good standard of education? We have a test by which to ascertain how the Queen's University has discharged its duty as an examining body, and the test is a sure one—namely, how have its graduates borne the test of competitive examination with the graduates of other Universities when tried before another and an impartial tribunal? The Inspector General of the Army Medical Department has an Examining Board, who examine such candidates as present themselves, perfectly regardless as to the Universities or Colleges from which such candidates come, merely requiring that the candidates shall be duly qualified practitioners in medicine and surgery under the Medical Act of 1858. In five years, ending in 1869—I have no later Returns from which I could quote—there were examined by the Board for the Army Medical Service 28 candidates from the University of Edinburgh, of whom 7 were rejected, or 25 per cent; from Trinity College University of Dublin 70 were examined, of whom 16 were rejected, or 23 per cent; and from the Queen's University 76 were examined, of whom only 5 were rejected, being only 6 per cent. I now come to what is, in my mind, one of the most serious objections to the Bill. It is that this new University to be founded is to be a teaching as well as an examining body. It is to have Professors at a cost of £45,000 a-year. Will this be fair play in education? This new University is not only to examine candidates who present themselves, but it is also to educate them. Everyone who is at all conversant with the details of education well knows that 1666 the Professors of this new University would soon have a monopoly of pupils and of fees; for you never could persuade young men going up for examination that the influence of the Professors of that University would not ensure a more favourable examination than could be obtained without it. Suppose the First Lord of the Admiralty saw it necessary to establish an Examining Board to test the seaworthiness of all vessels built in the United Kingdom—that this Board was to consist of shipbuilders, who were to be empowered, not only to examine all ships before being certified for, as to their fitness, but also to become a manufacturing firm themselves, building ships for their own profit, and entering into competition with all other shipbuilders—would this be fair play to all the other shipbuilders? Certainly not. Assuredly, almost everyone wanting a ship would go to this Examining Board for his ship; for it would be out of his power to free himself from the conviction that he would get more favourable terms in the examination of his ships if he purchased them from the Examining Board, than if he got them from a competing shipbuilder not one of the testing body. If such a proceeding as building ships and examining ships by the same firm would not be tolerated in trade, surely a similar abuse should not be tolerated in education. If a University were to examine only those students who were educated within its walls, then I might have little objection to its both teaching and examining its own pupils, because there would be no room for partiality; but the case is totally different when there is to be a University established which is not only to teach and examine its own pupils, but the pupils of other Universities and Colleges. To show how necessary it is to provide for full impartiality, and how necessary it is, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that a University should give its degrees properly, and be withdrawn as far as may be from any disturbing influences that might make it partial or otherwise than strictly fair in conferring degrees, I will give you an instance of the disturbing influence of teaching on freedom of education. In three, at least, of the four Scottish Universities, that are both teaching and examining bodies, lecturers in other Institutions are permitted to send up 1667 pupils for examination for University degrees on certain conditions; and you, Sir, and the House would, I am sure, suppose that the conditions should be that the lecturers to be recognised should have proved themselves fit for their work. Not at at all. The condition is that the recognition will depend upon those lecturers keeping up their prices—it is a money condition. The following is the by-law of one of these Universities—The fee for attendance on the lectures of any private teachers, with a view to graduation, shall not be of less amount than that exigible by medical Professors of the University for the same course."—[Aberdeen, 1870.]In the regulation of another University, it runs thus—Lectures of any private teacher in Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Aberdeen, shall not be reckoned for graduation if the fees for such lectures be of less amount than is charged for the like course of lectures in the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Aberdeen."—[St. Andrews, 1870.]In a third (Edinburgh), it runs thus—The fee for attendance on the lectures of an extra academical teacher in Edinburgh, with a view to graduation, must be of the same amount as that exigible by medical Professors in the University."—[Edinburgh, 1870.]And now let us see what kind of teaching is carried on in one of these Universities under this system of combining teaching and examining. There cannot be two subjects more distinct in their nature than Natural History and Civil History, or requiring more distinct frames of mind in the Professors; and yet, in one of these Universities, the following is the programme of a course of lectures, given by the same Professor, whose teaching is protected by the money monopoly rule I have just quoted. The heading is "Civil and Natural History—1. The course for next session will comprise Civil History and Anthropology, History of England from the Accession of the Stewart Dynasty. 2. Zoology and Comparative Anatomy—The Anatomical Zoology of the Invertebrate.The transformation scene of a pantomime does not exceed this—the transition from the History of England to the structure of oysters. There is nothing in trades' combinations to equal this, and the corrupt system of teaching and examining, and of selling certificates, may now find 1668 its way into Ireland under the proposed Bill. Next, with regard to the constitution of the Council proposed in the Bill. The Council, as proposed to be elected, would eventually be a Council of Professors either in actual number, orpractically so. Four vacancies occurring every year in rotation would be filled up thus—No. 1, named by Her Majesty; No. 2, by the University Council; No. 3, by the Professors of the University; and No. 4, by the Senate. I think it would be safe to conclude that the Professors would certainly always return a Professor in every case; that the Senate, from old attachment to their Professors and from various influences, would as surely return a Professor—that the Queen might, and that the University Council probably would—but supposing there were on each division only two Professors returned, we should then have at least 14 Professors out of 28 on the Council. The other members of the Council would often be occupied with various pursuits, and unable to attend regularly. The Professors would always be on the spot, and the result would certainly be that the Council would be a Council of Professors, and necessarily influenced much by their own interests. A certain proportion of Professors would be to any Council of Education a useful ingredient; but if they were to become paramount, they would be mischievous. I remember an occasion when I was engaged in the consideration of an educational reform, and the cry always was—"Whatever you do, take care of the poor Professors." I entertain very great objection to making the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Chancellor of the new University during the tenure of his office as Lord Lieutenant. I consider it an indignity little short of insult to do it, and that, if done, it will destroy the independence of science; and the conviction will be that the only way to University distinctions and emoluments under such Chancellorship, will be up the back stairs of the Castle. I will say no more about it at present—should the Bill go into Committee I will have more to say on this part of the Bill. There is no security whatever in the Bill for fair representation of the religious persuasions on the Council. The members may be all Catholics, or Protestants, or Presbyterians. The probability—nay, almost the certainty—will be, that for many 1669 years to come, one half the members of the Council will not be Catholic, and that even that minority will be at length weeded out. There should be some safeguard on this point. Perhaps we may be told that we may rely on the good intentions of Government. Let us try this by the test of what occurred in the Queen's Colleges. In 1845, on the formation of the Queen's Colleges, the Roman Catholic Bishops presented a memorial to the Government, praying that a fair proportion of the Professors and other office-bearers in the new Colleges should be members of the Roman Catholic Church. Sir James Graham stated, in reply, that he could not assent to legislation on the subject; but admitted that the demand was reasonable, and gave a Parliamentary or Ministerial assurance that it should be practically carried out, and then went on to say—Beyond a doubt, on the part of many of the Professors, an adherence to the Roman Catholic faith would be an additional recommendation—one, too, which I have as little doubt would not be overlooked in the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown, acting under responsible advisers."—[3 Hansard, lxxx. 1149.]The Professors now number 60 in the three Queen's Colleges, and how many Catholic Professors in the whole of the three Colleges, including Arts and Professional education?—only 9. There are in the whole Arts' course in the three Colleges only two Catholics, and in the Belfast College not one Catholic. This is called mixed education; and are we now, as we did in 1845, to rely on merely Parliamentary assurance that the respective proportions of Catholics and Protestants would be taken into account? I often remonstrated against this weeding out of Roman Catholics, but was met by the assurance that it could not be avoided, as the most competent person was always appointed, and the most competent person happened to be—of course, by accident—nearly always a Protestant. But when a number of competent candidates present themselves there is no mode of determining who is the most competent, unless by competitive examination, and there is none for these Professorships as there is for Fellowships in Trinity College. Testimonials cannot decide it. It should have been quite sufficient for the Government of the day to have a list of competent persons before it, and then choose among them—bearing in mind 1670 the pledges of the Government in 1845. Instead of adopting this course, the lesson taught the Irish Bishops and Catholic people has been that Sir James Graham's pledge on the part of the Government and of this House has been continuously broken during a period of 30 years, and that no reliance can be placed on similar assurances now. Another great and continued breach of faith for the same period has been in regard to the mode of appointment of the Professors and office-bearers of these Colleges. It was promised, on the foundation of these Colleges, that the appointment of Professors in these three Colleges would be only held by the Lord Lieutenant until the Senate of the Queen's University was ready to take up the task. That promise has never been redeemed; and now, at the end of nearly 30 years after that solemn promise was given, there is seen in Ireland what is not seen in any other—even the most despotic—country in Europe, that Professors, 60 in number, of Arts and Sciences are the mere nominees of a Viceroy. Surely this is a state of things not to be endured. The Queen's University is supposed by many Members of this House to be intimately connected with the Queen's Colleges. It is not so. The Queen's University knows nothing whatever of any proceedings in the Colleges. It has no control over them. It knows nothing whatever of the appointments of the Professors, of the manner in which they discharge their duties, of the examinations of the pupils; and if a member of the Senate of the Queen's University sees even the Annual Report of the Colleges, it is only by the courtesy of the Presidents or Secretaries of the Colleges. The Bill before us touches none of these abuses—it only deals with the question of the Queen's Colleges so far as to shut up one of them, the Galway College. I cannot be a party to that. If there is to be a closure on principle, let the closing of the three be discussed; but do not shut up the one that is most needed. Before quitting the subject of the Queen's Colleges, I must make a few short observations in reply to some observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Queen's Colleges. After indulging in general disparaging observations, he quoted from the Report of the Royal 1671 Commission that sat in 1857 to inquire into the state of the Colleges some strictures, culminating in the astonishing announcement that students were admitted to matriculation "almost utterly ignorant of Greek." He appears to have forgotten that at the present hour in the London University, of which the right hon. Gentleman is a distinguished member of the Senate, a student may not only be "almost utterly ignorant of Greek," but entirely and utterly ignorant of Greek, for its study is only optional. He then goes on to observe—I should like also to know what the Governing Bodies of the Colleges are about that such a state of things should be allowed. I go no further than this—that they show that the state of these Colleges is not satisfactory, nor one which we ought to acquiesce in as a permanent state of things.All these disparaging observations in Thursday night's debate were based on a Report of the Commission of 1857, quoted by him in the debate of that night; but what occurred in 1867, ten years afterwards, when the Senate of the Queen's University attempted to take matriculation into its own hands and to enlarge the sphere of usefulness of the Queen's University, to make it a national University, instead of what it is—a University not allowed to examine any but the students of the three Queen's Colleges. The censures of last Thursday night were founded on the Report of 1857; but 10 years after the date of that Report, when the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had an additional 10 years' experience of the working of the Colleges, how did he speak of them? These are his words, speaking of the Queen's Colleges—Denounced by the Roman Catholic Church with all its terrors and all its thunders, opposed in every manner possible, denounced, too, by many well-meaning persons in this country as Godless Colleges, they have gradually and steadily increased; and before the mischievous interference of the late Government, they were attended by 837 students. When you remember that they possess hardly any endowments, and that Oxford, with all its endowments, has only 1,200 students, when, too, you remember the obstacles they have had to encounter, I am perfectly warranted in saying that they have proved successful."—[3 Hansard, clxxxvii. 1452.]Now, Sir, let me ask the House to look on this picture and on that. But suppose all these defects I have observed upon removed, there still remains the 1672 intolerable injury that will be felt deeply and more deeply every day—that while Trinity College is left in possession of at least £50,000. a-year, wrung by oppression and confiscation from the Catholics; while Royal and endowed schools are scattered through the length and breadth of the land all devoted exclusively to Protestants; Catholic Colleges and Catholic schools derive nothing from the State. Sir, the House sanctioned—and indeed, well it might, for the money did not come out of the Consolidated Fund—a commutation grant of £700,000 to the Presbyterian Church, including Regium Donum and College—and to Maynooth College £372,000. Sir, I have heard, over and over again, the objection raised to giving any grant for a Catholic College under this Bill, that the House never can sanction denominational grants; but surely, Sir, these grants have been made to denominational bodies, to Colleges purely for the clergy of the two denominations Catholic and Presbyterian. Is it fair not to give the Catholic laity for their University education a similar grant? Let a similar act of justice be done for them as has been done for the clergy. Let them have a fair start in this new educational competition. If they then fail in the competition for degrees, emoluments, and honours, they will not be able to say they have not had fair play; but if they fail under the proposed Bill, which leaves thousands on thousands with Protestant and Presbyterian Colleges, and gives nothing to them, they will attribute their failure to injustice; and every rejection of a Catholic candidate that will occur will be a never failing repetition of heart-burning, sectarian discord, and disaffection in Ireland. I trust the Prime Minister, when he ponders over these things, will introduce large Amendments into the Bill. I know no Minister that ever lived that has done more for Ireland; and I will, with the hope of seeing the Bill become what I think it ought to be, support the Prime Minister in voting for its second reading.
If I venture to claim for a few minutes that indulgence which the House usually extends to a young Member who has not had the advantage of experience in addressing it, I do so only because I believe that there are some circumstances which 1673 place me in a favourable position when I attempt to approach the question of University education in Ireland in a practical spirit. Actual residence for a considerable period, and at no distant date within the walls of Trinity College, Dublin, has made me familiar with the teaching and academic life of that institution, and enables me to compare the great Irish University in many of her most essential features with her older and still more famous sister, my own University of Oxford. An Irish Protestant myself, I believe I am able, at least, in some degree, to enter into the feelings with which those of my own creed regard this question; while, at the same time, it has been my special study and desire to make myself acquainted with the opinions of my Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen on a matter of such deep interest to them. I do not intend, however, to discuss this question from the special point of view either of the friends of Trinity College, or of the Irish Protestants, or of the Irish Catholics. These interests have been far too ably represented in this debate to leave them in need of any feeble advocacy from me. I desire, rather, if the House will permit me as one who, with some actual experience of University life, has endeavoured to think out this matter for himself, to state very briefly the conclusions to which I have come as to the probable influence of the measure before us on the interests of learning in Ireland. I may sincerely say that I did not approach the consideration of this Bill in any fault-finding spirit or with any desire to discover reasons for opposing it; on the contrary, I anxiously sought to find in it the solution of a vexed and difficult question, and one which it is most desirable to set at rest. Neither do I under-estimate the difficulty of legislating on this subject; I believe, indeed, it may well be said, how well the events of the last couple of weeks have shown to any statesman who has the courage, aye, I will say, who has the generosity and the unselfishness to devote himself to the task—Incedis per ignes "Cineri suppositos doloso.I did not, therefore, expect a faultless Bill, much less did I expect a Bill which would satisfy everyone, for I know well that a faultless Bill, if such were pos- 1674 sible, would assuredly fail to do that. I confess, however, that I did hope for the introduction of a measure which would be fairly adequate to meet the special circumstances that render legislation on the subject desirable, and which would tend to foster and encourage higher education in Ireland. In this hope I have been disappointed, and therefore with profound regret I feel it to be my duty to oppose the measure which Her Majesty's Ministers have introduced. My opposition to this Bill is based, if I may so speak, on its positive and on its negative character. I object to it because of what it proposes to do, and because of what it does not propose to do. In the first place, I cannot regard this measure as a final or a satisfactory settlement of the question, because it utterly fails to accomplish the primary object for which it was intended—that is, to give the Irish Roman Catholics equal advantages as regards University education with their Protestant countrymen. It is a fact which has been conclusively demonstrated that the vast majority of that body are strongly opposed to any system of University education which separates teaching in religion and morals from the other branches of learning. They regard such a system as dangerous to faith and morals, and they cannot accept it without offence to their consciences. Whether they are right or wrong in holding this opinion would not, I apprehend, be a profitable question to discuss in this House, and it is quite beside the point which I desire to raise. It is sufficient for my purpose to know what the repeated public declarations of the hierarchy and laity place beyond question, that this is the state of mind which generally prevails among the Irish Catholics. Now it is to satisfy these Catholics that this Bill is specially intended. The Irish Protestants—at least, so far as regards themselves—do not want any Bill at all; they have long enjoyed peculiar advantages, and all they wish is to be let alone. The friends of the mixed system have no cause of complaint, their wants are amply supplied by the three Queen's Colleges. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, however, thinks—and I entirely agree with him in his opinion—that the great body of Irish Roman Catholics do not occupy a just or satisfactory position in relation to 1675 University education, and he proposes, as a continuation of his Irish policy, to remedy this grievance. One of the main features of that policy has been to introduce the great principle of religious equality into Ireland, and educational equality, if I may use the term, has come to be regarded as a natural and necessary consequence of the disestablishment of the Irish Church. The Roman Catholics well know the logical strength of their position when they claim a settlement of the education question on the basis of this principle of equality which has been actually acknowledged by the present Government, and by a majority of this House. Does the measure now before us concede to them those equal educational advantages which they demand? To this question, I submit there can be but one possible answer—it does not. What does this Bill really propose to do for the Irish Catholics? It offers them—if they do not, as we know they will not, abandon the principle for which, from the first, they have steadily and persistently contended—namely, that religion should be a part of the daily teaching of Catholic students—it offers them, I say, if they do not abandon this principle, what by a curious euphuism has been called. "freedom to compete," it offers them this and nothing more; that is to say, the Catholic University or any other Catholic College, poor and unendowed, without ancient fame or intellectual prestige, and without any powerful Professorial staff, is given freedom to compete with the wealthy and famous foundation of Trinity College, and with the State-endowed Colleges of Belfast and Cork. This freedom to compete is offered, as if in irony, to the Catholics as a concession of educational equality. Can they accept it as such? Can any Member of this House expect them to be so blind as not to see the hollowness of the pretext and the worthlessness of the gift? The only freedom to compete which bears any true relation to equality is freedom to compete on equal terms. This is what the Irish Catholics ask for, freedom to contend in the intellectual arena with equal advantages and equal opportunities, and without offence to their conscientious scruples. This equality the measure before the House does not concede to them, and. therefore they will not accept it as a settlement of the ques- 1676 tion. Therefore, Sir, I oppose this Bill because it does not satisfy what I believe to be the just demands of those for whom it was intended; because it is a feeble and ignoble compromise which pleases no one; and because instead of being, what such a measure ought to be, a final settlement of the question, it will only prepare the way for a renewed and vigorous agitation. I have no doubt at all that if this measure passes into law it will be followed at once by a fresh agitation of the Roman Catholic party in Ireland for that equality which is now withheld from them, an agitation which may keep that country in hot water for years, and which can only end in one of two ways—either in the ultimate endowment of a Catholic College under circumstances, as regards existing institutions, much less favourable to learning than the present, or else in the final withdrawal of all endowments, and the virtual abolition of University education in Ireland. I also object to this Bill, because, as regards Trinity College, it interferes for evil, and it does not interfere for good. While it contains provisions which must materially diminish the usefulness of that institution, it makes no attempt whatever to remedy those abuses which are the most serious obstacle to the progress of learning within its walls. This is an omission which may, perhaps, be excused on grounds of expediency in the Bill of a private Member; but it is, in my opinion, a very grave defect in a great Government scheme of University education for Ireland. I shall merely glance, in passing, at two or three of these abuses. There is first the system under which the Fellows of Trinity College—of whom personally I desire to speak with the utmost respect—are elected, and after one great effort are allowed to progress upwards by seniority alone to the highest places in the College. In this way an enormous amount of public money is absorbed by men who have scarcely a single inducement to active exertion in College work, or to undertake those original researches on which the progress of science depends, and which it is one of the chief uses of rich endowments to promote. We have all heard of "the silent sister." Then there is the system which allows Professors to enjoy large salaries, and. to relegate all the duties of their Chairs to substitutes who receive 1677 one-sixth or one-seventh part of the Professorial incomes. I believe there is one distinguished ex-Fellow of Trinity—I do not know whether he is the same distinguished ex-Fellow who, we have been told, greatly admires this Bill—who enjoys a Professorial income of about £700 per annum, and transfers all his official duties to a substitute at £100 per annum. Another great evil is the anomalous system under which the Fellows of Trinity are their own employers and their own employés, having the power of electing one another to valuable appointments, and of assigning to themselves their own duties. To remedy these and other most serious evils, this great Government measure does not contain a single provision; but if we are sufficiently hopeful, or rather credulous, we may comfort ourselves with the suggestion thrown out by the Prime Minister, that those who enjoy all the advantages of the existing state of things will spontaneously undertake to reform it at their own cost. I have now stated some of the grounds, political and academic, on which I object to this Bill, because of what it fails to do; but I dislike it not only for the good it will do, but also—and this mainly on academic grounds—for the evil which I believe it will do. I am convinced that the effect of the measure will be to lower and degrade University education in Ireland, and I believe I can show that there are several ways by which it must lead to this result. In the first place, it will diminish the value of an Irish University degree. In what estimation, do you think, will men of learning hold the degree of a University from which some of the noblest studies upon which the human mind can exercise itself are practically excluded? Every Irish student of pluck and energy, whose circumstances enable him to do so, will seek in England or elsewhere those genuine academic distinctions which are no longer to be won in his own country. This measure will also cause a great decrease in the number of students who come under the influences of College life, influences which many great men have esteemed at a far higher value than mere learning. Trinity College though in a better position than any of the other Colleges, yet weakened in power, in influence, and in revenue, must lose a large proportion of students, and will exist only 1678 with impaired powers and diminished usefulness. The Catholic College or University in Stephen's Green can hardly continue to exist at all. Her hope of support and progress depends on the attendance of a large body of students, and how can this attendance be expected by a poor and unendowed College when the honours and emoluments of the new University are open to students attached to no College at all, and permitted to reside wherever they please. In fact, the practical operation of the Bill will be to divide most of the young men in Ireland who seek a University degree into two classes, neither of which will enjoy the benefits of academic life and training. One class, composed chiefly of those who are considered cleverer than their fellows, will enter no College at all. They will come up to Dublin, live in the city, subject in many instances to the corrupt and dangerous influences of a large town, and there they will enter upon a kind of study, the most mischievous and contemptible which it is possible to conceive. That is to say, they will cram, or grind or coach, whatever you may like to call it, for the purpose of competing for the various petty emoluments attached to the University. They will read nothing but what pays for this immediate object, and they will read that only in the way that pays best. I need not tell the House that the kind of reading which pays best under such circumstances is not the careful and conscientious study which produces sound scholars and educated useful men. An hon. Member, who spoke on a previous evening anticipated this objection and denied its force. Every Member of the House, he said, who is a University man has had recourse to private tuition at some period of his University career. This may be so; but every Member of this House who knows anything of University life and work will recognize at once the enormous difference between a systematic course of academic study, supplemented by the occasional assistance of a private tutor, and the desultory and unmitigated cram which this measure will tend directly to encourage. I confess I do heartily dislike the growing system of bribing men to do their work by leading them into feverish and unhealthy competition for small pecuniary rewards. I dislike the system in England, but I dread it much 1679 more in Ireland, where its bad effects are intensified by the character of the people, and by the poverty of the country. It may be all very well to give a schoolboy his prize before he goes home for the holidays; but a University student should be treated more like a man. He should be taught to pursue knowledge, as they do pursue it at the German Universities, as a serious preparation for his work in the world, or better still, he should learn to seek it and love it for its own rich and sweet reward. The other class of students to which I alluded will be made up of youths attending various seminaries or schools in the provinces. The students of the Catholic University have foreseen and protested against this danger. These provincial schools are, no doubt, very excellent and useful in their way; but they can never become, in any sense, an adequate substitute to the Catholic youth of Ireland for the great central College or University which they desire to possess. This is a measure which is disliked by Irish Protestants, because it must greatly injure University education for them. It is also disliked by Irish Catholics, because it ignores their conscientious convictions and does not give them that educational equality which they believe to be their right. How comes it to pass then that this Irish measure, which pleases nobody in Ireland, has a chance of being accepted by Parliament? The answer to this question is not far to seek. Because—whether rightly or wrongly I shall not stay to inquire—it is supposed to be in harmony with the feeling which exists in England and in Scotland in favour of united education. The precise strength of that feeling, either in Parliament or in the country it is difficult to estimate; but when you add to it the undoubtedly strong feeling which prevails against even the appearance of showing favour to the Church of Rome, you get the force to which, if it pass at all, this measure will owe its existence. I shall not attempt to discuss the relative merits of the united and denominational systems. The cry of united education has been taken up by a section of the Liberal party in England. Let me remind Liberals who adopt that cry as part of their Liberal creed, that united education when it is free, when it is voluntary, when it is a liberation of the conscience, is one thing; but that united 1680 education when it is not free, when it is imposed on an unwilling people, when it is a coercion of the conscience, is quite another thing. One word more before I sit down. Those who advocate united education are bound, at least, to ask themselves what price they are willing to pay for it. An object may be very beautiful and precious, but yet it may not be worth the price that, under certain circumstances, is demanded for it. What, then, is the price you will have to pay if you re-construct the Irish University system so as to establish one common University adapted to the exigencies of mixed education. The price is an enormous one. It is nothing less than the practical exclusion from the University curriculum of every subject upon which Roman Catholic and Protestant teaching cannot meet. In other words, you will have to sacrifice altogether some of the noblest and most essential elements of culture, and to limit and circumscribe almost every branch of study. This question, in its widest aspect, is no party question—no religious question. Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics alike have a vital interest in opposing the mutilation of University education and the degradation of learning in their country. Protestants and Catholics, Liberals and Conservatives, all to whom the progress of culture is dear, all by whom the freedom of the intellect is valued, may well unite on common ground to oppose the illiberal and anti-academic measure which is the strange and unnatural production of a Liberal Ministry largely composed of Oxford first-class men. I am afraid that I have trespassed too long upon the time of the House. I am grateful for the patience with which I have been heard. I could not keep silence on this question, for I believe that the decision of the House upon it will not lightly influence the future of my country. The fate of science, and scholarship, and all true academic culture in Ireland, is now in the hands of Parliament. If Parliament accepts this measure, I am convinced that it will aim a fatal blow at them; that it will help to accomplish in Ireland "the worst of all massacres—that which slays the mind of a country."
§ MR. G. BENTINCK
said, this Bill had been so vigorously belaboured that he felt he should be only wasting the time of the House if he were to direct 1681 any efforts of his own in favour of the objections to the measure. He would simply confine himself to one or two points which must be considered before the House went to a division upon the second reading. He regretted that he could not concur with the arguments advanced by his hon. Friend (Mr. Bourke) in support of his Amendment; but he was glad, from the tone of his hon. Friend's speech, to find that the Motion was not brought forward in a party spirit, for this was not a question of party tactics or party warfare. His hon. Friend asked the Government to lay on the Table of the House the names of the Governing Body of the new University, and he intimated that if the names were given the Bill might be so remodelled in Committee as to become a useful measure. He, for one, could not take that view. His firm conviction was that neither peace or happiness, truth or justice, religion or piety could not be established in Ireland by any measure which Her Majesty's present Government could concoct. On what did his hon. Friend found his confidence in the Government? Was it because of the sudden conversion of which they heard the other night, and which resulted in the Irish Church Bill? Was it because of the Bill which deprived Irish landowners of their just rights. Whatever the cause, he certainly did not share his hon. Friend's confidence. The hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth) by his Amendment asked them to take a far better course, and that was to reject the Bill. He had listened with great satisfaction to the observations which had been made by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Harcourt) with regard to coalitions. No one abhorred those coalitions more than he (Mr. Bentinck) did, and since he had sat in that House he had never given a vote against his convictions for the sake of party, and as long as he should have a seat in that House he never would. A few days ago he was under an impression that there might be a renewal of those coalitions on the present occasion, and that men of totally different principles would again be found to go into the same lobby for political and party purposes, irrespective of the merits of the measure under consideration. Now, did he believe that there was any covert understanding between the front Opposition bench and 1682 gentlemen below the gangway on the other side of the House, he, for one, would not lend his support to any such arrangement. He had listened with the greatest pleasure the other evening to the eloquent speech of the right hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. G. Hardy), and he hoped he might draw from the speech of that right hon. Gentleman the conclusion that he and those prepared to act with him would not at any time, or under any circumstances, accept office during the continuance of the present Parliament. If he understood the right hon. Gentleman aright, he should say that that was the most fortunate and most statesmanlike announcement that had for a long time emanated from that bench, and he congratulated his right hon. Friend upon being the man who came forward boldly to make that announcement, which seemed to augur well for his future political career. If he (Mr. Bentinck) rightly construed that speech he should not hesitate as to his vote, and should vote against the second reading of the Bill. He wished his right hon. Friend had gone a step further and declared that he never would condescend to take office while he was in a minority in that House. The Liberal party seemed to be like a very disorderly family, which for some reason had quarrelled with its head, and which had come out of doors to ask other people to take part in the quarrel, and it seemed possible that we should lose that strong Government which had for four or five years governed this country in a manner so dictatorial. Of the Bill it was hardly necessary that he should say anything—it had been so universally condemned. It was a measure which could never benefit Ireland. A great deal, it was true, had been said of Irish grievances for the last 40 or 50 years; but his own opinion was that those grievances had been invented or suggested by political agitators. The mode of governing Ireland for a long time had been to discourage the loyal portion of the population and to encourage the seditious. The country for the most part had been either badly governed or not governed at all, and a state of things so disastrous would, he believed, only cease when political intrigue and tergiversation were scouted throughout the length and breadth of the land, and when the de- 1683 stinies of England were confided to men who combined the talents of the statesman with the aspirations of the patriot.
§ MR. MIALL
said, he had listened to the speech of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bentinck) in the hope that he might have seized upon some topic in that address to comment upon or to controvert; but, as regarded any reason why this Bill should be passed or rejected, he had failed to obtain the slightest clue in the speech of the hon. Gentleman. He should speak from the Nonconformist point of view, though he did not mean to say that he should take the responsibility, from which he should shrink, of authoritatively setting forth the opinions and sentiments of the Nonconformist body. He did not like to take a sectional view of any subject that came before the House, and he would endeavour to look at this subject from a point of view from which probably a considerable number of Members looked upon it also. From some expressions which had been let fall on this and the previous night's debate, he did not know whether he was bound to vindicate his right as a Nonconformist to have an opinion on a matter of this kind. He did not think it was a patriotic course to map out this country into geographical sections, and to say that an hon. Member was bound to confine himself to the representation of his own section rather than of opinions and principles. He refused to allow any such restrictions on his liberty. He regarded himself as having been sent to that House, Nonconformist though he was, not to give Nonconformist votes, but to join in the general councils of the nation in reference to all the great national questions which might come before it. He refused, therefore, to be bound by any geographical restrictions. There, at least, they ought not to be reduced to the principle of Home Rule. He should like to say one word or two to Roman Catholics, on his title to give free and disinterested opinions upon this topic. He and those who agreed with him had, whatever might have been the popular prejudices and obloquy to which they exposed themselves, always claimed on behalf of their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects exactly the same rights as they claimed for themselves. They had stood by the Roman Catholics in every encounter with mere bigotry and prejudice, 1684 and there was scarcely an instance which had come before the House during the last 40 years, in which the Roman Catholics had demanded rights for which they had a full justification, where they had not received the support of the Nonconformists. They had never deviated, and would not deviate, from the path marked out for them by the principle of equality. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had been charged, as he (Mr. Miall) thought, improperly, with creating the difficulty with which they had to deal. The right hon. Gentleman did not stand alone in recognizing a grievance on the part of the Roman Catholic population in regard to the matter of University education. Both sides of the House must take their share of blame—if blame there were—for endeavouring to allay by means of concession a troublesome agitation on a question peculiarly difficult of satisfactory settlement. The right hon. Gentleman, in the heat and excitement of a General Election, might have somewhat exaggerated the case which he had to treat, like a doctor who had not yet been called in, and he had subsequently, in his (Mr. Miall's) opinion, misdescribed the grievance with which he felt himself bound to deal. Neither the right hon. Gentleman nor the Government that had preceded him could be said to have given rise to the question now demanding a settlement. That had resulted from the state of feeling that pervaded the Irish population, and that state of feeling was the legacy bequeathed to them by an exclusive and monstrous ecclesiastical system which had produced on the minds of the people a sense of grievance and of trespass upon their individual rights. Trinity College, Dublin, itself was not free from adverse criticism. No doubt it had been more liberal in its administration and in conferring degrees for many years than any other University; but, like the priest in the story, it had been more ready to dispense its blessings than to give its pence. Up to the present time it had kept its Fellowships, exhibitions, and emoluments to itself; and, although since the disestablishment of the Irish Church it had offered to open its prizes to the general public, yet it had served to keep up the state of feeling which had rendered the present measure necessary. If the Bill of the hon. Member 1685 for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) had been presented to the House 10 years ago; if it had been endorsed by the authorities of Trinity College, accepted by Parliament, and supported by the votes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and put upon the Statute Book, they would never have heard of the necessity for the present measure; or if it had come before them, they would have been able to deal with it in the most summary manner. They had, however, sown the wind, and they were now reaping the whirlwind. They had maintained a Church in ascendancy which was not in harmony with the views of the majority of the people, and now they had no right to find fault if they were threatened with the natural ascendancy of the religion of that majority. This was a question of immense importance to the interests of Ireland, and it excited so much feeling that it was very desirable that it should be settled. When he looked at the Bill, he found in it certain great principles, which, in his opinion, justified him in giving his vote for the second reading. One was the principle that all parties should have equal access to the means which were provided by the State for the advancement of learning. The Government had done in Ireland with regard to University education what the Nonconformists were asking should be done in England with regard to elementary education. It separated the teaching of religion from the teaching of secular knowledge. They had asserted that principle as the only one which harmonized with religious equality. The Government was not appointed to teach religion—it was unfit for it; and it could not do so without trampling on the rights of others. The principle which he advocated was that the instruction given by the State should be simply secular. On that ground, he should support the second reading of the Bill. Under the Bill, freedom of access to University education would be given to all religious classes of Her Majesty's subjects without distinction, and religious tests of all kinds would be abolished. There were, of course, many of the provisions of the Bill to which he objected; but, still, he had not the smallest doubt that the object the Prime Minister had in view was to do justice to all parties. He was afraid that an excessive anxiety to consult all the petty scruples of the various 1686 sections of society in Ireland had rather misled him in the planning of his machinery. His wish to conciliate all parties had led him to attempt to conciliate what was irreconcilable. He could not agree that it was a grievance which the State could remedy when religious instruction could not be combined with ordinary teaching. The State offered all it could give. If it offered to give more, it would do that which was insincere, and that which would be pernicious in its results. The State could give secular instruction to all parties without doing injustice to any. The State could not give religious instruction without doing injustice to some. The claims of the Irish Roman Catholic Prelates were mediæval in their character. They were not at all in harmony with the spirit of the ago; and neither House of Parliament nor any Administration would venture to support them for a moment. He did not know what the Roman Catholic hierarchy might have in view in putting forward their claims so very plainly; but he did know that that House would never consent to do that which would place the education of the Roman Catholic laity in their hands. What was wanted was that the Ministry should put before the people of Ireland an institution for their intellectual advantage, which should be founded exclusively upon academical principles. The Roman Catholic hierarchy might have great influence in Ireland, and might be able to raise a commotion; but the British Parliament did not meet to legislate on a hand-to-mouth policy, which simply regulated itself by the ordinary fashions of the day. What they had to do was to offer to the Irish people real freedom with regard to education, to teach everything, to endow, and if they liked richly endow the Chairs of the Professors, to distribute their exhibitions impartially among all classes, and, in fact, proceed as if there were no ecclesiastical differences in Ireland at all. The scheme which the Government had propounded was on the surface free education, although the machinery meant to carry it into effect was defective, and he wished to state distinctly, unless an alteration was made in the composition of the Governing Body as now proposed he could not vote for the third reading of the Bill. To hold that the Bill should be withdrawn because the Roman Catholic hierarchy did not approve of it 1687 seemed to be unworthy of the position of the House. The important matter was to improve the intellectual culture of the Irish people, and he felt convinced that while that might not be done immediately it would succeed in the end. He believed that the Irish people were earnestly desirous of improving their educational means; and therefore he would say—"Trust them; do right; do all you believe you can do; do not attempt anything beyond your power; and, especially, do not think you can reconcile the irreconcilable." Let them give to the Irish people a real boon, and, if possible, let the institution to be placed in Dublin be such that hereafter Irishmen might regard it with as much pride as the English felt for the national Universities of this country.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down seemed disposed to vote for the second reading, but if the Bill came out of Committee in its present shape the hon. Member would apparently feel it his duty to vote against the third reading. That statement summarised tolerably well the support which the Bill had received during three nights of debate. So far as he had understood, every hon. Member who supported the second reading had given most emphatically some reasons why, unless the Bill was materially altered, he must oppose it on the third reading. He was willing to admit within a limited degree that there was a grievance on the part of the Roman Catholics in Ireland in the matter of higher education which the present or any Government might very properly attempt to remedy, provided the remedy proposed was consistent with the advancement of learning, with respect for conscience, and the maintenance of the united system of education in Ireland. But, in his opinion, the right hon. Gentleman had very greatly exaggerated both the extent and the character of the grievance. It was impossible to forget that during the last quarter of a century, 1,500 Roman Catholics had passed through the Queen's Colleges, while many more had been educated at Trinity College, so that obviously no serious grievance existed in their case, and he must add that of the eight Judges professing the Roman Catholic faith, and now upon the Bench, no less than seven had been honour-men at Trinity College. 1688 The President of the Board of Trade the other night denied that any of the young men destined for Holy Orders in the Church of Rome came from the classes which could afford to send their children to the Queen's Colleges or Trinity College; but he heard that assertion with surprise, because information laid before the House showed that it was at the present moment calculated that there were 1,000 young men in Maynooth, Clongowes and other Colleges destined for the Roman Catholic priesthood. [Sir JOHN ESMONDE said, this statement was incorrect in reference to Clongowes.] At any rate, there were 1,000 students, and did the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that none of those young men came from those classes which it might be fairly presumed would have supplied candidates for University instruction if they had been destined for other careers? He ventured, therefore, to say that on the point of extent the right hon. Gentleman had very considerably exaggerated the grievance. Now, as to the character of the grievance. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had given an historical account of the foundation of the Queen's Colleges, and reminded the House of the charges of the godlessness brought against them by the late Sir Robert Inglis. He, like the right hon. Gentleman, took a part in the debate on the foundation of those Colleges. It was perfectly true that when the Bill for the foundation of them was introduced by Sir James Graham, no provision was made for the religious or the moral supervision of the young men to be educated in them. Great exception was taken to that omission, and on the second reading he (Lord John Manners), and not Sir Robert Inglis, moved the rejection of the Bill. On a division they were beaten by a large majority; but majorities in the Lobby did not prove that they were altogether in the wrong. In its progress through Parliament, Amendments were made in the Bill, and in August, 1845, as may be seen by the extract from Archbishop Crony's speech, quoted in page 10 of the Statement of the Committee of the Queen's University—By the Bill," he said, "as it stands at present, no pupil could be received into any of the new Colleges unless he would lodge with his parents, a relative, a guardian, or in a house 1689 fully licensed by the President of the College, for the very purpose of protecting his morality. Besides, the Bill gives full power to have chaplains of every religious persuasion, duly appointed for the purpose of superintending the moral conduct of the students, and giving them proper moral instruction at such hours as will not interfere with their scientific studies. This being the most important point in the measure, and one to which most objections were urged at the outset, I am determined, as far as I am concerned, to give our provincial Colleges a fair trial.Archbishop Crolly and Archbishop Murray—two names that could not be mentioned without respect, expressed their satisfaction with it. There was similar language from Archbishop Murray. There was a direct, and vital, and fatal difference between this Bill and the Bill of 1845, and every other measure which he had heard of for remedying the admitted grievance as to higher education in Ireland. The Act of 1845 and the scheme suggested in 1866 respected everything that existed. His lamented Friend Lord Mayo, when he turned his practical and sagacious mind to the subject, never proposed to destroy anything that was in existence. What he did was to supplement existing machinery. But what did this Bill? Where it was not confused and mysterious it was destructive. The fact was; the genius of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government was essentially destructive. Was it a Church to be disendowed, a University or a College to be blotted out, there was no difficulty. It was only when they came to re-construction that hesitation and uncertainty prevailed. But why was unfortunate Ireland to be made the perpetual subject of these destructive experiments? Galway was the first to be destroyed. They now heard that Galway might be respited. This might be so, but respite was not in the Bill. The Queen's University was to be destroyed. The Theological Faculty was to be ousted, not only from Dublin University but from Trinity College. The branches of education of which so much had been said were to be either ostracised or so weighted and handicapped and discouraged and despised as virtually to be thrown out of the future career of the intelligent youths who were seeking higher education in Ireland. Had the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government ever visited the West of Ireland? If not, he should spend his Easter holidays in the City of the Tribes, and 1690 in that melancholy country he would see that the College alone reared its head there to speak well of the Imperial Government. If the reign of the British Crown came to an end in Ireland, what would be its chief monuments? Irishmen would probably say the medical charities, the Irish Constabulary, Trinity College, the Queen's Colleges, and the Queen's University, and it was with these great educational establishments that the Bill dealt in the destructive manner to which he had referred, and upon that ground he should not give his vote for the second reading of the Bill. The destructive characteristics of the Bill brought to mind the concluding lines of a well-known poem by the great Roman Catholic poet of the last century—Thus at her felt approach and secret might Art after art goes out, and all is night; See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled, Mountains of casuistry heaped o'er her head! Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before, Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more. Nor public flame nor private dares to shine! Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine! Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored, Light dies before thy uncreating word; Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall; And universal darkness buries all.This was not a very exaggerated summary of the provisions of the measure as it was introduced; and with what object were they to perform this extraordinary feat of sacrificial legislation? It was introduced to remove the Roman Catholic grievance; but it appeared on undoubted authority that this object lead entirely failed. Though it was no longer pretended that the Bill would advance learning or remove the Roman Catholic grievance, they were now told that Parliament was to pass it because the Bill was vital to the existence of the Government. If, however, the Bill was vital to the existence of the Government, he should like to know what was vital to the existence of the Bill? No man could speak to a Roman Catholic audience with such effect as the President of the Board of Trade. They knew him and he knew them; and the right hon. Gentleman, turning to the Roman Catholic Members, said—"Take my advice. Take the Bill. Work it for a short time; and you will find you will get nearly everything you want." When the right hon. Gentleman spoke in that strain, did he mean the Bill as it stood, or the Bill as it might be altered to suit the views of 1691 the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) and the right hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman)? But afterwards there came another powerful speech from the hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Dr. Lyon Playfair), which called up another Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who declared almost in his opening sentence that the "gagging" clauses were not of the essence of the Bill. Then there were broad hints that the denominational Colleges need not be affiliated, and that Galway would not be extinguished. He was not quite sure whether he had not even heard that the Lord Lieutenant need not be the Chancellor. When these changes had been made would the President of the Board of Trade then get up and tell the Roman Catholic Members that, after working the Bill a short time, they would get out of it pretty nearly all they wanted? He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Horsman) that the time of the House was being wasted in the further consideration of this question. The right hon. Gentleman, as a candid Friend, advised the Government to withdraw the Bill. He could not venture to offer the Government advice; but he might ask the House to consider what was best for its own dignity and the conduct of the important public business which it had yet to discharge. At any rate, he hoped the House would not suffer one single stone of an existing building now devoted to education to be pulled down, or any money now devoted to that object to be diverted, until they were satisfied that the system to be substituted would sub-serve the triple end of advancing learning, securing the rights of conscience, and maintaining the existing system of united education in Ireland.
§ MR. OSBORNE
Sir, I rise at this late period of the evening to ask what has become of the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) if that Amendment had been in course of discussion by this House, I should not, Sir, have endeavoured so persistently to catch your eye; because, although the Government has cracked its whip up on this occasion, and intends to look upon an adverse vote as a Vote of Censure—crying "Wolf!" a little too often. I think—still, my mind has been made up from the first upon this proposition, for I think the selec- 1692 tion of 28 members out of the academic circle in Ireland, to form a Council for this new University, would be next to an impossibility. I am fortified in that opinion by the sentiments expressed by the Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin—Dr. Haughton—who upon a recent occasion, at a public meeting convened by the Senate said he would ask any person there if he could write down the names of 28 men in Ireland, exclusive of Judges, postmasters, and inspectors of constabulary who were fit to sit on the Council? I believe it would be impossible to get 28 such men. And even if you could get them, I believe it would be one of the falsest steps in legislation if they were to be nominated by the general ignorance which prevails in this House of Irishmen and Irish manners. But the debate has assumed much wider proportions, and there seems to be a chance of our discussing this great question of education, not with reference to the interests of Ireland, but simply as a question of party warfare; and we shall find ourselves voting, not for the advancement of learning, but to prolong the existence of a Government. I much regret the declaration made at the commencement of this debate by the First Minister of the Crown, in which he said the measure was vital to the honour and existence of Her Majesty's Government. That was a great mistake. The right hon. Gentleman sees the effect of that mistake, and he may exclaim with Falstaff—"I have led my ragamuffins where they are pepper'd." He may go even further with the quotation, and say—" There's not three of my hundred and fifty left alive." I regret he has placed that issue before us, for the sake, as I have said, of the advancement of learning; and now I will take exception to some of the opening statements of the right hon. Gentleman in introducing this Bill. He was guilty on that occasion not of a misrepresentation, but a misconception, of the history of Dublin University. He told us Queen Elizabeth was not the founder of Dublin University, but that it originated in the year 1311; and, strangest of all, he quoted the renowned Dr. Todd as an authority on the subject. I have taken the trouble to see what Dr. Todd wrote on that subject, and found this passage—It is unnecessary to pursue any further the history of these transactions, since it must be 1693 now sufficiently obvious that the whole story of an endowed University, or any University at all, endowed or not endowed, which was confiscated and destroyed at the suppression of the monasteries, is an absolute fiction…. Queen Elizabeth is the real and only founder of the University of Dublin."—Irish Ecclesiastical Journal, October, 1844.So much for the history of the right hon. Gentleman. This extraordinary error on his part can be explained on the presumption that no Professor of Modern History was at that time allowed in the University. On looking at the authorized version of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman I think he has also made a very grave mistake in his estimate of the property of Trinity College, Dublin. He estimates the total funds of that society at £50,000 a-year, and, of course, when the speech was made the House understood that the £50,000 a-year was so much hard cash received from the property of the College. In the note on page 52 of his speech he explains that he has taken into account the value of the College, Porch, and Buildings and the Provost's House. Surely this is most unfair; and the right hon. Gentleman has added to the falseness of his estimate by omitting to take into account the municipal taxes, amounting to £1,500 a-year. Besides this, he shows a surplus of revenue over the expenditure of Trinity College of £11,600. What are the facts? During 1871, the year on which the estimate was based, the College expenditure in the library and some other public departments was unusually low; for the year ending November 20, 1872, the surplus was only £3,555, and the year 1873 will show a still smaller surplus. So rigidly have the funds of Trinity College to be economized that the authorities are in great trepidation lest, in course of time, if this Bill becomes law, the College should be so crippled as to be unable to carry on the work of education at all. The right hon. Gentleman may smile incredulously; but these criticisms are based on the statement of accounts published by the College authorities. When the First Minister of the Crown talked about legislating for Ireland according to Irish ideas, I regret that he did not first ascertain whether such legislation was practicable, and whether it could be carried through this House. When complaints are made of the exaggerated hopes which have been excited in Ireland, to 1694 whom are those hopes due? The right hon. Gentleman speaks of the Irish educational grievance as being "miserable" and "scandalous;" but how does this Bill redress that grievance? It is a pity the right hon. Gentleman, before stirring up this question, had not taken the advice he gave at Liverpool on the 23rd of last December on the subject of Dr. Strauss. The right hon. Gentleman on that occasion said:—"Be slow to stir inquiries which you do not mean particularly to pursue to their proper end." I wish the right hon. Gentleman had been a little more cautious before exciting the hopes of Roman Catholic Bishops and the Roman Catholic laity by this Bill. Prominent among the supporters—I may say the few enthusiastic supporters—of this measure is the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan) a Queen's Counsel, who said that the Bill came to us with particular recommendations, the first of which was that it was constructed and compiled by eight first class Oxford men in the Cabinet. I feel very glad that the sister University to which I once belonged has neither a wrangler nor even a wooden spoon connected with this Bill. Why, Sir, you would expect that when men of their standing in the University laid their heads together you would have had a Bill of some merit in an academic point of view. These Oxford men seem to be particularly partial to their progeny, too; I suppose for the same reason that parents have a special affection for their most rickety children. But what are the academic qualities of this Bill? In the first place, the Bill strikes a fatal blow at all knowledge; it prohibits the study of Modern History.
§ MR. OSBORNE
What! Have the Government again altered the Bill? I say the Bill as we have it ignores Moral and Mental Philosophy, and it sends theology to Coventry. Is this what we were to expect from eight first and double first Oxford men in a Cabinet? Why, Sir, with such a constellation what could you expect? You might, at least, expect common-sense! If you pass this Bill, education is rendered not only incomplete, but valueless; and the University of Dublin, which was sometimes 1695 sneered at as "the Silent Sister" becomes at once blind and dumb. There is only one thing which has been effected by this Bill, and that is a thing which, since the Union, has been unknown in Ireland—it has made all parties unanimous. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade says—"Oh, no! it is only certain parties, not the people of Ireland, who are against the Bill." But where are we to look? Look at the protests of Belfast, Cork, Galway, Trinity College, the University in Stephen's Green—in fact, every College and society of learned men, except that small, private little place in Derry, Magee College. [An hon. MEMBER: And Coleraine.] Yes, and Coleraine. So much for this Bill now under discussion. I lament to say I listened to my right hon. Friend and successor at Liskeard (Mr. Horsman) with some regret. I cannot concur in a great part of his speech. I lament that he ascribed improper and ignoble motives to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. ["No!"] No? Then I can only say God defend me from my friends if I am to be told that the language of my right hon. Friend was complimentary. I think he was unjust. I may say I never would whisper anything to the detriment of the ability of the right hon. Gentleman, or to the great sacrifices that I think he made in adopting the principles of the Bills on Irish Land and the Irish Church. I will say that not even the eloquence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard, or all the exertions of all of us, could ever have carried those measures to a favourable issue. I am thankful, therefore, to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government for having come forward in an honourable and distinguished manner and carried these measures. But if my right hon. Friend has been unjust to the First Minister of the Crown, I think he had been very one-sided in his review of mixed education, and I can only account for it in one way—he was once a very distinguished Secretary for Ireland. But it is notorious that he was more fond of the sports of the field than well informed on the educational wants of the country. But the right hon. Gentleman, looking at the matter merely from a Protestant, I should almost say from a Presbyterian point of view. [Mr. BUCKLAY: No, no!] I do 1696 not know what the hon. Member is who says "No;" but he looks like a Nonconformist. Well, my right hon. Friend, speaking solely from a Protestant point of view, ignoring altogether the Roman Catholic point of view—and adopting the strain, to some extent, of thanking God that he was not "like that Publican"—says this is merely a priest's question. Sir, I deny it. If the right hon. Gentleman had much knowledge of Ireland, he would have known that you cannot in Ireland separate the priests from the laity. You may lament it, but such is the fact, and we have to deal with the facts of the case. And what does my right hon. Friend say about mixed education? He adduces the evidence of a Catholic Bishop or two as to the multiplication table being necessary to the formation of sound morals in the young. But does my right hon. Friend forget that this system of mixed education has not been opposed by the Roman Catholic clergy alone? He knows that in his time the great trouble caused at the Castle was the opposition of the Protestant clergy. It was they who denounced mixed education in every form. They began it, and now the Roman Catholics continue it. I heard myself a most eloquent sermon from one of the best of the Irish Bishops now no more, and that excellent Prelate denounced from the pulpit the schools of the mixed system as "Devil's schools." And only the other day—namely, in November, 1871, at a meeting about mixed education in the city which I so inadequately represent, a member of the Established Church—a Member of the Disestablished Church [a laugh]—well, a member of the Establishment, and not a Roman Catholic ferreted out of a Blue Book, said that—He deprecated allowing our Protestant children to be associated with Roman Catholic children in the schools. Some associations would take place, acquaintanceship would go on to friendship, and that would end in affection, and, after a short time, in marriage.Let my right hon. Friend take that with him to the electors of Liskeard. I have no doubt he will very soon be there. Now, it seems ridiculous, but these are the sentiments preached for the last 20 years by the Protestant clergy with respect to mixed education. Therefore, let not this House be carried away by the representations of the right hon. 1697 Gentleman and believe that it is the Roman Catholic Bishops and clergy alone who denounce the system. Unfortunately, the clergy of both denominations denounce it; but I do not know that we owe education to any clergy. According to my reading of Modern History—which as long as I may be here I trust I may be able to quote in this House, even if the Bill passes—the clergy of most denominations have never been very favourable to the education of the people. Now, something has been said about the success of the Galway College, and an hon. Gentleman whom I heard for the first time in this House, the Member for Londonderry (Mr. C. E. Lewis), who, though a young Member, is evidently an old practitioner, talked of the "comparative success" of the Queen's Colleges. Well, we have had great regrets over this Galway College, which, if it had its deserts, would be immediately extinguished, along with Cork College. The College of Belfast is denominational altogether. But what is the real history of this Galway College? Why, the real history is this—that the Galway College is no College at all; it is a preparatory school for young gentlemen, who come to it most imperfectly educated, and leave it not much better. Let me give the House the history of some recent transactions in this College. I am not going into any comparison as to the cost to the country of educating a man there, whether it is £300 or not. This is a subject which goes beyond the question of cost. If you get an educated man in Ireland he is cheap at any price. But at a public meeting of the Queen's University, held in Dublin Castle, on October 10, 1872, where they are apt to glorify themselves on their acquirements—the Chancellor of the University, the Marquess of Kildare, being well primed for the occasion, called particular attention to the distinguished success of certain gentlemen—I will not mention names—a Master of Arts, a gold medallist, who gained second place at the East India Civil Service competition, and another gold medallist who gained a studentship of Inns of Court, London. And this was such a remarkable success that the President of the College in his late report said that Mr. So-and-So got the first place in an examination for Ceylon writerships against 51 competitors from leading Universities. Now, what was 1698 the real state of the case? The gentleman who got it was twice plucked from the Civil Service, India; he went after to a "crammer" and got the Ceylon writership. The first Peel Exhibitioner in 1869–70, as well as gold medallist in 1870, in 1871 went up for Civil Service competition. He was plucked. He then studied afresh at a grinding establishment in Bayswater—if any hon. Member doubts it I will give him the card—and gained second place at the East India Civil Service Examination. Another gentleman also, an M.A. and gold medallist in Law at the Queen's University, was plucked for a studentship in 1871. What did he do, after all the education he had received at the College, which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Oxford (Mr. Harcourt) called "the light" of Galway? He went into a lawyer's office in Lincoln's-Inn, and after grinding for a single year he obtained a studentship of the Inns of Court in 1872. These are specimens of the education given in Galway College, that light of learning. Sir, I believe Cork is not much better. I believe Galway is the best of the three. The fact is, we have begun at the wrong end—we have put the cart before the horse. It is not Colleges, but intermediate schools they want in Ireland. It is absurd to call these places Colleges. The Irish people are very ambitious. Every little she been in that country calls itself an hotel; and, on the same principle, they call the preparatory school a College. Talk of Colleges, why only the ether day you find there was a jury in the county of Clare of which four jurymen could not speak English, and the foreman could not write his name. And for these people you are founding Colleges and not schools. What does Professor Cairnes, Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Economy in Queen's College, Galway, say in his letter to Mr. John Stuart Mill. He says this—All who have had any acquaintance with the working of the Queen's Colleges know the wretched state of preparation in which, owing to the want of good intermediate schools in that country, the great majority of the candidates for matriculation now present themselves. The chief sufferers are the Professors, on whom falls, in addition to their proper duties, the work which ought to have been performed by the schoolmaster.We should be doing our duty better to the people of England and Ireland—for 1699 I maintain you cannot separate the two—if we gave our attention first of all to the establishment of good intermediate schools. What says the Petition from Limerick City which I hold in my hand. It is signed not only by Roman Catholic Bishops and clergy, but by Protestant gentlemen; and what they call for is not an increase of Colleges, but an increase of good intermediate schools. I heard with pleasure the speech to-night of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball)—one of the most liberal and distinguished speeches I ever heard from any side by Churchman, Nonconformist, or Roman Catholic. He asked, "Why are we placed in this dilemma?" "Because," he said, "we have to redeem the pledge of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, given in that unfortunate electioneering tour he took in Lancashire." The right hon. Gentleman having again burnt his fingers, is by this incendiary Bill about to make a holocaust of his party. Sir, I have always lamented—with the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. G. Bentinck), who has confidence in no one—that Ireland is incessantly the battle-field of party. I lament it in this instance. I cannot help thinking that the sins of the Leader of the Opposition have now descended on the head of the Ministers in office. I know I touch an unpopular topic; but I regret we did not accept the great scheme of "levelling up." I know the universal shout that will arise on this side of the House among some of my most Liberal friends; but I repeat that I have always lamented the rejection of the proposal. The chance went by. What is the consequence? I have heard, in the course of two speeches made in support of the Bill—one by the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim)—I do not know which is the senior of the two; it is a matter very difficult to find out—but what does the elder of these twins say? Why, he said he had no doubt in his own mind that if Ireland possessed a Parliament of her own, even though it was mainly Protestant—[Mr. PIM: All Protestant]—well, if it were all Protestant, he had no doubt they would endow a Roman Catholic University. Dr. Shaw, one of the senior Fellows of Trinity College, gave utterance to the same thought on a recent occasion. He did not say "all Protestants;" but that if there was a 1700 Protestant element he was certain an Irish Parliament would endow a Roman Catholic College in Stephen's Green. I think the House would have acted wisely if they had adopted the levelling up scheme; it would have been a great and statesmanlike proposition. My Nonconformist Friends on this side of the House are not to suppose that there are a mere handful of Roman Catholics in Ireland. Let them listen to the words of the greatest man who ever left Trinity College, and who was a Protestant. What did Mr. Burke say on this question about the Roman Catholics of Ireland? Lay these words to your hearts, because they are as true today as they were in 1792. He said—In England the Roman Catholics are a sect; in Ireland they are a nation. This fundamental difference must affect every reason, every measure concerning them.If you acknowledge this, you cannot deny that the Roman Catholics of Ireland are not a sect, and that the true and wise policy would be to give a charter to the Roman Catholic University. What are you doing? We are told to legislate for Ireland according to Irish ideas; but are you not going to stir up the English, Scotch, and Welsh prejudices on this subject? The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government talked of the Irish grievance as a scandalous one; but if it be so his measure miserably and scandalously falls short of that grievance. I give the right hon. Gentleman every credit for sincerity and good intentions; but we know there is another place which is paved with sincere and good intentions. Sir, the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman that this Bill is vital to the honour and existence of his Government places me personally in a very uncomfortable position. I have a general confidence in the right hon. Gentleman. I think he can do things no other man on this side of the House can do; and I think we are lucky in having such a leader. I have also confidence in a great many of the right hon. Gentleman's Colleagues, especially my noble Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I think it would be difficult to replace them. What, then, is a man to do who has a sincere desire, not only for the advancement of learning, but for the great interests of Ireland? My hon. and learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford has made 1701 an appeal ad misericordiam—he says, "Date obolum Belisario"—"Give a vote to a blind Government." Well, Sir, tied as I am, I feel disposed, to use a vulgar proverb, to "help a lame dog over the stile;" but I want to know with what face I could present myself to my constituents, unless, indeed, I should confront my old friends at Liskeard. I would, therefore, entreat the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government to follow the example of the Lord Chamberlain, and, as The Happy Land has been withdrawn from the Court Theatre, he will withdraw this unhappy Bill, which adds not to the content but to the discontent of Ireland, and compromises the position of the great Liberal party.
§ MR. CARDWELL
I hope, Sir, the House, which has been entertained by the speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, will indulge me for a few minutes while I address myself to the real question before the House. I shall do so from no party or political point of view. My hon. Friend said he would support us, but he was afraid of his constituents; yet such is the versatility of my hon. Friend that I am sure if he could not appear before one constituency he knows how to find another in any emergency. As we approach the close of this long debate it seems to me that we ought to get rid, not only of amusing personalities, but also of all exciting topics which may tend to obscure our judgment and draw our attention from the real subject before us. Now, I understand that the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bourke) is virtually extinct, and that it will receive a decided rejection from the House. Therefore, the question that remains to be considered is—What is the proper course to take on the second reading of the Bill? I will allude briefly to the principal portions of the Bill which have been objected to, and show that no person voting for the second reading will be fettered in respect of them by any vote which he may give on the second reading. I wish to show that the points that have been criticized have been considered both by those who defended the Bill and by my right hon. Friend who opposed it as collateral or matters of detail, and as accessories, and not principal portions of the Bill. What is the position of those 1702 who would reject the Bill upon the second reading? Their position is this. They say—"We will not take into consideration a measure which has been recommended in the Speech from the Throne." ["Oh, oh!"] What does that interjection mean? To reject the Bill on the second reading is to resist the further progress of the measure; to say you will not enter into counsel with the Government for the purpose of disposing of that which has been admitted to be a grievance; and, more than that, to say you will not endeavour to solve a question of so much importance to the welfare of Ireland that even the right hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman), in his animated declamation against the Bill, said that to leave this question unsettled was to deprive Ireland of benefits which she might otherwise derive from the great measures already passed by the present Parliament for her benefit. This will be the position of those who endeavour to reject the second reading of the Bill. The right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. G. Hardy) predicted the discomfiture of the Bill, and suggested as its epitaph the word "Misunderstood," and a more appropriate one could not be proposed. When you consider that this Bill is opposed by the Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church because it tends to perpetuate and extend the evil system, as they call it, of mixed education, and you find it at the same time opposed by my right hon. Friend because, as he says, he is the oldest supporter of mixed education in the House, and this Bill will accomplish its destruction, is it not manifest that the Bill is misunderstood? When all the details of the Bill are being discussed on the second reading, that we may be prejudiced against its main object; and when we are debating, not that which has been declared by the Government to be the essence of the Bill, but those which they declare to be collateral points, and which are clearly matters of detail, then I say the Bill has been misunderstood, and, if it failed, the suggested epitaph would be accurate. What is the position in which we are placed? We are desirous of extending the highest academical instruction to the three parts of the United Kingdom. Within the last few years we have dealt with the question in Scotland, where the difficulties prevailing in 1703 England and Ireland are not found. We have disposed of it, and have settled it upon a foundation which satisfies the people and calls for no change. In England we have made great changes, and those changes are not yet at an end. But for Ireland we have as yet done nothing. That Ireland has a claim and makes a demand has been admitted on almost all hands; it has been admitted emphatically by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball), by the noble Lord the Member for North Leicestershire (Lord John Manners), and by the hon. Member for Edinburgh University (Dr. Lyon Playfair), who told us, not agreeing in historic tradition with the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Osborne), that at the beginning of the 14th century even the Pope was desirous of doing for Ireland what we had yet to accomplish towards the close of the 19th. With all this before you, are you prepared to reject the second reading of this Bill? What is the essence of the Bill? The question was asked by the noble Lord the Member for North Leicestershire (Lord John Manners), who said he was bewildered. If he had referred to the speech in which my right hon. Friend introduced the Bill he would have obtained the information he desired. He said, "A separate existence for the University is the basis of the measure." And again, "It is this University within the precincts of which the reform now projected for Ireland ought to take effect." And again, speaking of Galway College—I am now speaking, remember, of matter which is not of the essence of the plan of the Government. The essence of the plan lies in what relates to the University of Dublin and to Trinity College.That is the essence of the Bill. What is it that we desire to accomplish? We desire, not a mere reformation of Trinity College and the abolition of Tests, leaving it its Theological Faculty and its old occupation, but what we desire is the establishment of a great national University; and we desire to establish it upon principles of entire neutrality as regards every religious denomination. The hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Osborne) quoted the doctrines laid down by Mr. Burke, in 1792, and he regrets that we do not level up and endow 1704 a Roman Catholic College. In the earlier part of his speech he told us that there was no use in dealing with theory, and that what we wanted to do was to deal with facts as we found them. I think his principles and pledges prohibit him from proposing Roman Catholic or denominational endowment; I know our principles and pledges prevent us from promoting it; and, what is more, the settled determination of Parliament is not to adopt it. What is the use of proposing to offer to the Roman Catholics of Ireland a measure of levelling up when you know there is no chance of carrying it through Parliament? Having stated the object of the Bill, I ask, do you approve it? If you do, the only natural course is to vote for the second reading of the Bill. Do you disapprove many of the details of the Bill? The proper course is to go into Committee and discuss those details. The points upon which the Bill has been adversely criticized include these:—The dissolution of the Queen's University and the abolition of Galway College. Of these two I say they are already declared open. I do not agree with the hon. Member for Water ford's estimate of the Colleges either of Galway or of Cork. We have proposed, as he knows, in the Bill to deal with Galway College, and that proposal is an entirely open subject for consideration in Committee. There remain three other points on which the Bill has been criticized—the arrange-merits with respect to the Chairs, what are called the "gagging clauses," and the constitution of the Council, including the collegiate representation. With regard to these I wish to say they are not points on which we need abide by the Bill as it stands. [Laughter] All may not be exactly on the same footing, but all are open to modification and discussion in Committee. I see that statement excites amusement in the minds of hon. Gentlemen; but they themselves have been parties to much larger measures, and, as they were reminded in the earlier part of the evening, those measures underwent much modification in Committee, and they have contended in their turn that it is only respectful to the House to pay deference to its opinion in Committee. We seek to establish a great national University upon a footing absolutely free from all denominational connection. We desire that it shall be 1705 open to all who wish to avail themselves of it, and that there shall be access to it not by one portal only but by several. It has been said by some who oppose the Bill that until we give a Roman Catholic endowment we cannot do justice to Ireland. I have already said that the day for denominational endowment has gone by; but this we can do. We can insure to every man in Ireland who has the knowledge and the requisite abilities, come from where he will, that a University shall be open to him where, with perfect equality, he may receive its honours and emoluments. We cannot endow a denominational University, but we can establish a University on purely free and independent principles, where if there be the pure gold of science or knowledge it may be brought to the Mint and receive the impress of the Crown. That is what we desire to do. We desire also it shall be not an examining only, but also a teaching University. We desire that it shall embrace all the branches of human knowledge, though it has been represented that we desire to exclude or disparage some of the principal. The candid mind of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Dr. Ball) would not so exclude them from the Bill; but when we go into Committee this question can be thoroughly and fairly discussed. No doubt the proposal in the Bill establishes only a portion of the teaching in direct connection with the University, and leaves the remainder to he furnished by the various Colleges. It was the proposal of Lord Derby in 1831, with respect to primary education, that there should be combined secular and separate religious teaching, and it is the proposal of the present Bill as it stands to have combined education as far as we can persuade the various Colleges to accept it, and separate education where we think they will not receive instruction under the combined arrangement. If, however, you can in Committee suggest any improved arrangement, there is no reason whatever why it should not be adopted. Let me now remind the House what was the language used by my right hon. Friend on this subject when he introduced the Bill. In speaking of the Chairs of Modern History and Mental Philosophy, he said—We feel that our asking for the foundation of Chairs in these subjects would be impossible 1706 in the case of a mixed University…. The House may or may not overrule the Government in this matter but, at any rate, that is the conclusion at which we arrived.We desire that it should be a self-governing University. We desire that, as my right hon. Friend said, it should not be in the German sense Unitarian—that is, not restricted by Government control to any one particular party through the constitution of the Council; but that, on the contrary, it should receive contributions from every quarter in Ireland where knowledge may flourish. Therefore, we have sought to make the permanent constitution of the Council academic and not nominated. We believe that by this measure we shall confer a great boon on the entire people of Ireland, and that we shall stimulate the intermediate education which, according to the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Osborne) is the great desideratum of the country. We believe you will not get good intermediate education in Ireland until you have created that University education to which those who go to the intermediate schools will be aspiring, and which will give them hope and ambition, and the desire of profiting by their learning. Having stated what is the essence of the Bill, now let me say a few words with regard to those points which have been so keenly contested. First of all, there is the dissolution of the Queen's University, and, as I have already said, that has always been treated as an open question. I am not likely to say anything in disparagement of the Queen's University, for it was founded by a Government of which I had the honour to be a Member, and, like my right hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman), I was for some time its official advocate in this House. I do not agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Waterford that the pupils in. the Queen's Colleges are sent away ignorant; because, in the case of open competitions for public employment, I have seen a great proportion of the prizes awarded to persons who had been trained in those Colleges. But it was not in a spirit of depreciation that my right hon. Friend proposed the dissolution of the Queen's University. It was, indeed, in an exactly opposite spirit. It was in order that they might participate in the large endowments and the independence of the new University. My right hon. Friend 1707 proposed that they should become members of the national University instead of remaining in their present isolated condition; but if when we get into Committee it is found that the members of the Queen's University prefer their separate existence, and if the House should think it better to retain that system, there is nothing in what we have declared to prevent us from acquiescing in that conclusion. As to the Galway College, I have already referred to our views on that point. With regard to the "gagging clauses," it is a very convenient artifice to give a nickname to anything one wishes to disparage, and I know of hardly anything more difficult than to get over a good Parliamentary nickname. I am not, however, now going to argue in favour of the clauses, I only intend to say that they were introduced with the view of doing that which, as I understood, the hon. Member for Edinburgh University (Dr. Lyon Playfair) stated was the object of the regulations adopted in regard to the Queen's University, which have been in operation for 25 years without giving offence to anybody. It is, however, perfectly free to the Committee on this Bill to deal with those regulations as they please. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball), in his excessive candour, stated this to be his main academical objection to the Bill, and afterwards he said that he reposed so much confidence in the academic character and high qualities of my right hon. Friend that if instead of inserting the names of the Council in the Bill he would take it in his own hands he should have confidence in his selection. To express this confidence in my right hon. Friend's unassisted selection, and to withhold it when that selection is submitted to the guidance and direction of Parliament, is only asking the House to pass a Vote of Want of Confidence in itself, and shows, indeed, a deep distrust of the House on the part of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. We have been much ridiculed, because we proposed to have the Council nominated in the first instance by the Crown, and to place at the head of it the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. As to the nomination by the Crown, it has never been represented as anything but a scaffolding—a temporary arrangement and preparation for the future building. 1708 We have always said we looked forward to the academic independence of the Council as one of the great merits of the scheme; but before you can have an elective Council it is obvious you must have a constituency to conduct the elections. As this objection proceeds from those who are advocates of the Queen's University and the University of London, I will remark that I have the honour to be a member of the Council of the latter University, and I owed my appointment to the Crown. The Council of the Queen's University was also appointed by the Crown. I was sorry to hear the hon. Baronet the Member for Dublin (Sir Dominic Corrigan), who is Vice Chancellor of the Queen's University, speak against having the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the Chancellor of the new University, for it must be remembered that the first Chancellor of the Queen's University was the Lord Lieutenant, the late Lord Clarendon. I may add that my noble Friend and Colleague (Lord Granville), who at this moment is Chancellor of the University of London was appointed by the Crown. The arrangement was proposed by us in the hope that it would remove the office of Chancellor from the arena of political conflict, but it is not of the essence of the Bill, and the House may properly and fairly consider the subject in Committee. And now I pass on to the omission of Chairs of Modern History and Metaphysics. No one ought to be more ready than I to appreciate the objection, if ground for it existed, to the omission of these Chairs; for I would observe that when I and my hon. Friends whom I see around me were at the University we had not the advantage at Oxford or Cambridge of the endowment of effective Chairs in either of those two sciences. Although that is the case, we have not proposed to omit these sciences from the course of the intended University in Ireland; but, on the contrary, it was thought that these studies had best be prosecuted, considering the particular state of Ireland, by arrangement in the several Colleges, rather than by arrangement in the combined University, where probably those of different sentiments would object to meet; and if it is considered an unsatisfactory arrangement it can be discussed in Committee, it being a subject on which we are perfectly prepared to listen and respect the determination of the Committee. My right hon. 1709 Friend at the head of the Government has already stated that he is willing to deal with College representation; but nothing has been more misunderstood and misrepresented than the views upon this subject with which the measure was introduced. My right hon. Friend has been charged with having intended to swamp the opinion of the Council by affording the opportunity for the creation and representation of a multitude of Colleges; and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has been accused in the earlier part of this evening with having stated that if the Roman Catholics would only use the advantage which this clause gives them, they would speedily obtain a command of the University. I am authorised by my right hon. Friend to deny on his part that he has given utterance to any sentiment of the kind. My right hon. Friend at the head of the Government says that he expressly excluded any possibility of the Colleges governing the action of the Council by the exercise of influence or combination among themselves. No doubt they were to be heard in the Council, and their views with respect to education fairly brought under discussion. No one can deny that that is a legitimate object. But it will be for the House to decide whether the mode proposed by my right hon. Friend should continue in the Bill, or whether it should be set aside. Now, Sir, in no point to which I have referred have I stated anything new. I have sometimes encountered a little exhibition of amusement, as if I were making changes in my right hon. Friend's statement as he originally made it. But I have in no instance said anything that is not perfectly warranted by the speech of my right hon. Friend. Some of these proposals were spoken of as being collateral, others as being matters of detail, and many of them have been described by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) and others in the course of the debate as being accessory only to the measure. The true policy surely is when a Government measure has for its essence a great object, involving a great many complicated details, to some of which objections are entertained, not to reject the measure on its second reading, but to go into Committee and endeavour to take counsel together and see whether we cannot 1710 produce a satisfactory measure. Surely that is the course which the House has been accustomed to take. ["Oh, oh!"] My right hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard says "Oh, oh!" So far as I understand his speech he is ready to reject a measure which he at first received with enthusiasm because the Prelates of the Irish Church have rejected the Bill. My right hon. Friend knows as I know that we ought to treat the opinions of the Prelates of Ireland with the respect due to those who command the confidence of a large portion of the people of Ireland; but it would be an exaggeration of that duty if, when we had proposed a Bill for the benefit of a portion of the Empire, we were to withdraw it because it has been rejected by a section of the community. [Mr. HORS-MAN: Hear, hear!] My right hon. Friend knows the long and arduous conflict which was maintained on the subject of primary education. We had the same difficulties to contend with, and we have contended with them successfully. As stated by the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Osborne), the opposition began with the clergy of the Established Church. It was very much mitigated afterwards, on their part, and although strong opposition has been persistently offered by the Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church, yet 80 per cent of the managers of schools are priests. Then, I say, it is our duty not to be discouraged by the denunciations of the Prelates or of anybody else, but to submit to the judgment of Parliament, and hear what the Members of the House—Irish, Scotch, and English—have to say on the subject and determine the policy we are to pursue with respect to this measure. My right hon. Friend says that we should be wanting in respect to the House if we went on with the Bill after what had passed. I, on the contrary, hold it would be in the highest degree derogatory to the respect which we owe to the House if we had withdrawn the Bill or hesitated to submit it to the judgment of the House. My right hon. Friend says we ought to turn to the Roman Catholics of Ireland and say—"If you won't make use of the means of education we have provided you, provide some other for yourselves." It may be that we may be compelled to adopt that course; but when could we do so with justice? Surely not until we have exhausted 1711 every effort—not until we have made every proposal which our own principles and our own pledges permit us to make. That course we now invite the House to adopt. We are not anxious to insist upon anything from any feeling of pride or selfish pertinacity. We only desire to benefit Ireland by promoting, as far as we can, higher education consistently with the rights of conscience. My right hon. Friend says it is an affront to the House. I ask my right hon. Friend, is it worthy of his great ability, when there is already so much theological animosity, to come down to the House of Commons and stimulate that animosity by his elaborate eloquence? When the train of theological combustibles is laid, it does not require the ability of my right hon. Friend to explode it. Any child can fire it. The difficulty is to extinguish it. And I would appeal to the House of Commons to surmount this difficulty. This measure, it has been universally admitted, was brought in with a sincere desire to accomplish in Ireland a great and noble object. Everybody praises and supports the object. Many of you have criticised the details. My appeal is this—"Do for Ireland what you have done for Scotland and England." "Pass the second reading of the Bill." "Proceed to consider in Committee all the various details which have been designed to accomplish this useful object." "Criticise them freely; expunge those which are objectionable." [Laughter.] I, at least, shall not be deterred by ridicule from repeating the advice. I say reject those things that are objectionable, and adhere to those that will stand the test of argument. The House of Commons would be unworthy of its great functions if we were deterred by any such feelings from discharging our duty to the Empire. What we want is to accomplish a great purpose and settle this still open question—the higher education of Ireland—on the principles on which this Bill has been introduced—namely, to promote the advancement of learning in conformity with the rights of conscience.
§ MR. HORSMAN
I desire, Sir, to say one word in explanation. I have never said that the Bill ought to be withdrawn because the Bishops in Ireland were opposed to it. What I said 1712 was that everybody else disliked and objected to it, and as it was brought in to remove the grievances under which the Bishops asserted the Roman Catholics laboured, their resolution took away the last ground on which the measure could be supported.
§ MR. LIDDELL
asked what necessity there was for adjourning the debate. He wanted to know after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, what more there was to discuss on the second reading. He thought that the Government had acted very wisely in the course they had taken that evening; but, as a matter of fact, they had withdrawn every single proposition they had made in the Bill. ["No, no."] But that was a fact. Two nights ago they were told that the affiliated Colleges were not of the essence of the Bill, and that the question of the Queen's University was open to discussion; and to-night they were told that the nomination of the Council was not of the essence of the Bill, but was to be left in the hands of the House. There was, therefore, really no issue before the House, and he objected to an adjournment, which was not only unnecessary, but was merely wasting the time of the House.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY,
so far from agreeing with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, could not see how, with justice to the people of Ireland, that debate could be concluded tomorrow.
§ MR. DODSON
wished to ask his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government whether he intended, after the Bill had been read a second time and committed pro formâ, to introduce into it some Amendments in detail, respecting the conditions on which the Colleges should be affiliated, that his right hon. Friend mentioned the other night.
said, that the Amendments he had mentioned in the House before that debate commenced were of a very limited description, and went to one or two points which the Government had considered since the introduction of the measure, and he had mentioned these simply that hon. Gentlemen might have accurate information in discussing the question on the second reading. But the question now raised was a larger one; because the lengthened debate that had since occurred had given 1713 the Government the advantage of a much greater acquaintance with the views of the House on the particulars of the Bill than they possessed at that period; and all he could say with reference to the question of his right hon. Friend was that they proposed to go on with the debate to-morrow night. His hon. Friend (Mr. M. Henry) thought it would not be possible to conclude it to-morrow night. That would, no doubt, be decided, as was usually the ease, by the prevailing sense of the House. If it was found that there was any considerable section of Members who were really disposed, and had fair claims to speak upon the question, even after all that might have been said, the House was inclined, even at great inconvenience to itself, to allow a debate to be prolonged. But, on the other hand, considering the pressure of public business and the limitations of time, it might be expected of hon. Members that they would sacrifice something to the convenience of the House. If, therefore, there was a prevailing sense of the House, he should desire himself to obey it, and he hoped his hon. Friend would do the same. That being so, he should propose to fix a day for the consideration of the Speaker's leaving the Chair, and in the interval the Government would consider what course it would be most convenient for them to take. It was not possible to give an answer absolutely on the question until the House had decided on the second reading. But he would give this pledge—that the Government would not ask the House to go into Committee without a reasonable notice of the course which was intended to be pursued there. It was not possible, until they looked at the matter in detail, to say whether it would be convenient to reprint the Bill, or to place any Amendments which they were disposed to suggest upon the Paper. But the statements which had been made by the Government with regard to the greater number of points, were rather in the nature of statements that they would be perfectly ready to discuss propositions on their merits, than statements to the effect that they were convinced they were in error, and therefore were disposed to alter the Bill.
§ Debate further adjourned till to-morrow.