§ MR. J. R. YORKE,
in rising to move the following Eesolution:—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to issue a Royal Commission to inquire into the origin, objects, and present administration of Wellington College; and to report to Her Majesty whether such administration is or is not in accordance with the conditions, or implied conditions, under which contributions were solicited and obtained from the army and the public when the College was founded; and, if not, to advise Her Majesty what alterations in the present system are required, and by what means they can best be effected,137 said, he did not wish to make any imputation of misconduct upon the present Staff of the College, which he believed consisted of able and energetic gentlemen, who, within the limits of their powers, had done all that was possible for the interests of the College. Neither was it his intention to cast any imputation of moral misdemeanour on the Governing Body of the College. What he intended to question was the policy which they had deliberately adopted since the opening of the College; and he should endeavour to show that it had not been in accordance with the engagements made when it was founded. The result was that there had been produced a state of things different from that contemplated by the original subscribers. The College was founded as a Memorial of the great Duke under a Charter, granted under the Great Seal in 1853, which stated that it was intended for the orphans of deceased officers, and for none others. In February, 1854, a report from the committee of Governors to a general meeting of subscribers contained a suggestion that the benefits of the College should be extended to the sons of living officers, and that their admission should be made the means of providing, in subordination to the primary object of the institution, a Public School at which the sons of officers might be educated at moderate charges. It was thought that such an extension of the original design would be highly beneficial to the school, and would confer a benefit on the Service by supplying a want long felt, and which they had unsuccessfully attempted to provide by their own unaided efforts. A resolution was passed that all meals should be taken in common, and that all boys admitted as boarders should be treated in this and in every respect as the foundation boys were. In July, 1855, in an appeal issued by the Governors for funds to provide a water supply, complete the chapel, and lay out the grounds, it was stated that it was intended to establish a school for 200 foundation orphans and 40 non-foundationers. The sum required was £26,000; the appeal brought in between£5,000and £6,000; it was, therefore, determined that the upper dormitories should be dispensed with "at present." The original intention of the Governors was, therefore, deferred, but not abandoned. In 1856 the first stone was laid by Her 138 Majesty, to whom an address was presented, in which it was stated to be the anxious hope of the Governors that within the walls, at no distant day, 200 orphans of officers would be educated, lodged, boarded, partially clothed, and otherwise provided for between the ages of 11 and 16, and that admission would be regulated by strict attention to the claims of deceased officers and the circumstances of survivors. Finally, the College was opened with 81 orphan foundationers, and it was afterwards resolved that a certain number of non-foundationers should be admitted, the number not to exceed 100, and that for these places the sons of officers should have preference, and pay at the rate of £70 a-year, but that a certain number of the sons of civilians should be admitted at a fee of £100 a-year, The College was opened in January, 1859, the opening being inaugurated by Her Majesty, and at that time promises were held out as to improvements which might take place. The idea at the time was, undoubtedly, to found an efficient and unpretentious school for the orphan sons of military officers, and that they should receive a good education without the example of extravagance—the civilian element to be subservient to the military. What was the contention of the Governors? He gathered from the correspondence between the Adjutant General and the secretary last autumn that, subject to the obligations of maintaining a certain number of the sons of officers, they were to be at liberty to manage the College in other respects very much as they pleased. They put forward two alternative principles—first, that of an orphan charity school, which they regarded as being too narrow in its scope; and, secondly, that of a school for high-class education, conducted on a broader basis, which was the one they adopted. What had been the general result of that course? The school now consisted of 80 orphans, costing £6,400 a-year, or £80 a-year each; also 80 sons of officers, not orphans, paying £80 10s. a-year each, and £6 entrance fee. That produced neither profit nor loss. There was also a supplementary element, consisting of about 210 boys, and these were a source of profit. Some of these waited for admission to the second class for 15 months, during which they were paying £110 a-year, while some civilians paid as much as £135 a-year in the 139 houses of the senior masters. The proportion of boys in the College was 283, as against 82 in houses, thus making a total of 365. There were the primary, subsidiary, and supplementary classes. The first comprised the orphan or primary section. At the opening of the College the prospect had been held out of the number of orphans being increased to 200; but instead of that they had diminished from 81 to 80. The school profits, added to all the other pecuniary donations which the College had received since the opening in 1859, amounted to £70,755; but the total amount received since 1852 was £235,983. So that nearly £236,000 had been contributed for the College, and as the result they had only the maintenance of these 80 orphans. He asked the House to contrast that with the solemn promise of the Governors, made in the presence of Her Majesty at the opening of the College, to increase the number of orphans to 200. The contrast was remarkable, and showed that the College had failed for the purpose for which it was established. With respect to the principles upon which the orphans were admitted, some time ago the limit of age was between 10 and 14; but since that time an alteration had been made, and the limit had been fixed at from 9 to 12. Now, surely an arbitrary limit of this kind was most unreasonable. Suppose that some of the officers who unfortunately lost their lives at Isandlana happened to have boys over 12 years of age. Were they to be considered so hopelessly corrupted and ignorant, that they could not be admitted to receive the education which they would have been eligible for if their parents had died when they were 11. A test examination, which was not originally contemplated, had also been introduced, and boys of the age of nine years were required to pass in Latin, grammar, and French. The result of the mania for a high intellectual standard was that the boys who were, or ought to be, the most eligible, were rejected, because they did not, at that tender age, come up to the requisite standard. An accident in infancy, for example, might so retard a boy's education as to deprive him of the educational advantages intended for him by the promoters of this institution. It was all very well for those in middle age to console themselves in their selfishness by the reflection that they had for- 140 tunately been born at a time when there was plenty of room for them in the world; but really, in these days, it was no joke to be a boy. The system adopted at the College virtually excluded the very cases which had the best right to be included. What was required was that this charity school—for such it was—should, so to say, take in the lame, the halt, and the blind. If there was to be any race in the matter, it had better be an intellectual donkey race, in which the most ignorant children would get in. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] Yes, he maintained that in a charity school ignorance and poverty ought to be the highest qualifications for admission; and if the right hon. Gentleman opposite cheered ironically, he would refer to a letter written by Mr. Price, the master of Westward Ho! School, North Devon, who pointed out that if the sons of military men were often not so well educated as those of civilians, it was due in a great measure to the fact that their means obliged them to spend a great deal of their time on foreign service, and that, therefore, they were not in a position to supervise the education of their children. He now came to the subsidiary class—the sons of living officers. It was originally intended and officially mentioned that they should be taken at £30 a-year. He did not say that sum was sufficient; but there was a great difference between £30 and £80. Now, the lowest charge was£81 10s., without clothing, and subject to competitive examination. Surely, that was no great boon, seeing that at some of the Colleges for young gentlemen, where there was no endowment, the charge was only £84. It was stated by the Head Master, in his circular of October, 1874, that the number of those boys should be reduced to 80. It was added that the amount paid by those boys left neither profit nor loss on them. Why, then, their number should be reduced he failed to see. Such was the position of the sons of living officers. If they paid £110 a-year, they were taken without competitive examination; if they paid £81 10s., they were subjected to such examination. When he turned to other large educational establishments, he found that at Cowley, Oxford—the most expensive of them—the sum charged was £89; but there was no endowment. At Westward Ho! one of the best managed of all, the charge was only £67 a-year, and that was sufficient to pay a dividend 141 of 4 per cent on the shares of the Company. Among schools that were continually advertised under distinguished patronage—at Trent College, for instance, under the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire—the charge was only £50, and at Dover College, under the patronage of Earl Granville, the same. It was a remarkable thing that such an education as was afforded at Wellington College, could not, in spite of its endowment, be had for less than £80, and he thought there must be some mismanagement. Then, as regarded the supplementary or civilian class, numbering 210, some who were in the College paid £110, others who were in the masters' houses paid up to £135. At Wellington College, instead of making a profit, they had a deficit, and they endeavoured to make it up out of the civilians, which reminded him of some of the interesting writings of the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) in reference to those ants which were represented as keeping milch cows. There was one other matter to which he desired to draw attention—namely, that vested interests were gradually growing up on the estate. Two of the masters had built their own houses; and an advertisement had appeared in The Saturday Review under the heading "Wellington College—Educational advantages," stating that a house on the estate was to be sold, carrying the right to send boys to the school. Surely in an establishment of that kind it was very objectionable to allow those vested interests to grow up; and if the question of revising the system should be considered, as he trusted it might be, by a Royal Commission, it was to be hoped that this matter of vested interests would receive attention. His contention in the main was that Wellington College had in 27 years departed nearly as much from the original intention of the founders as Eton had in 400 years. It seemed to him that such progress should be arrested; at all events, that inquiry should be made as to whether the progress was in the right direction. If not he feared they would have another of those little Etons which were growing up over the country; and, instead of its fulfilling the end for which it was intended, they would have, no doubt, a large and well-managed school, but not one which extended its benefits to those for whom they were meant to be provided. There had been a correspondence at the 142 instigation of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, in which the attention of the Governing Body was called to the very great and widespread disaffection existing in the Army with regard to the College. He had in his possession a vast collection of letters written by officers of distinction, whose testimony was highly authoritative, although he was not at liberty to mention their names. Among such communications which he had received there were eight from generals, five from lieutenant-generals, and nine from major-generals. In these numbers were included all the generals in command of districts in England and Wales. Nor did these officers speak in their mere individual capacity. They were all representative men, and they recorded the testimony of their particular districts. The only general officer, in fact, who seemed to think the College was well managed was the hon. and gallant Member for Brighton (General Shute). His (Mr. Yorke's) allegations against the College were that they had only 80 orphans instead of 200, and that they had imposed the test examination, by which they excluded the very boys for whom the institution was intended, and who, by reason of the circumstances of their parents, had not had the advantages of a good education. He contended that it ought not to be necessary to fill the College with civilians. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman should have cheered him ironically. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Not ironically in the least.] He was glad to hear that such was the case. He objected to the creation of vested interests, and contended that there had been a vast amount of financial mismanagement, against which the Adjutant General had protested in vain. He acknowledged that it was a formidable tiling to attack an establishment which had on its management such a formidable list of Royal and aristocratic names as had this. Nearly all the Royal Family and most of the present Cabinet Ministers were included in the management. He almost felt as if he was moving a vote of want of confidence in the Royal Family as well as in the Governors of the institution; but, of course, it was not to be supposed that all the illustrious and distinguished personages whose names appeared in connection with the College could be unremitting in their attendance at the meetings of the Governors. He 143 thought it would be wrong to be deterred from asking for an inquiry by the magnificence of the names on the outside of the College circular. He asked the House to grant him this Royal Commission, because every other means of investigating the evils of which he had complained had hitherto failed. Complaints without number had been made; compromises had been attempted; mixed commissions had had their champions; all sorts of expedients had had their advocates, and they had all broken down. There was, to his mind, something appropriate in appointing a Royal Commission in connection with an institution so largely established and supported by Royal patronage. Though the College authorities were not legally, they were equitably bound to publish their accounts and to act as the public now wished them to act. If the appointment of a Royal Commission were permitted, the House would be doing a great public service, and assisting the onward progress of an institution which at one time had done great good, and was still capable, under proper management, of realizing the expectations formed at the date of its foundation. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.
§ MR. R. E. PLUNKETT,
in rising to second the Motion, wished to anticipate one or two objections which might be raised against the case which he advocated, and to prevent one or two possible misconceptions. It might be objected, he said, that he and those who agreed with him were altogether averse from the admission of civilians to Wellington College. But, as a matter of fact, the officers did not complain of the admission of civilians. They were, on social grounds, very glad that the civilian element should be added to the school; but their case was, that the sons of officers had been excluded from the institution while the sons of civilians had been admitted. Why should this have been the case? The Army had subscribed largely towards the foundation of the College; it was instituted as a national memorial of the greatest military leader our Army had ever possessed, and it was understood at the time when it was built that it was to supply a great want in the military education of the country. These facts had been put forward by the officers; but they were met by a rather frigid spirit on the part of the College authorities. He wished the House to 144 recollect with what indifference the demands of the officers for facts and figures had been treated. The officers interested in the affairs of the College complained—as they had a right to—of the fact that no full and proper accounts were published as to the expenses incurred, or as to the reasons which might be supposed to exist for increasing the cost of managing the College. In return, the letters they received reminded him of an official correspondence a friend of his had with the War Office. His gallant friend sent in a bill of expenses, in which the item "Porter 1s." occurred; he received a note from the Department on a large sheet of foolscap informing him that refreshments were not allowed. Of course, the officer wrote to explain that, being at one railway station, and requiring to go to another, he employed a "porter" to carry h is luggage. The Department acknowledged the explanation; but suggested that in the future he should in such cases use the word "porterage," to prevent confusion in the Office. His gallant friend concluded the correspondence by asking whether, when he had to charge a cab, he should put it down as "cabbage." He would defy anyone to tell how many boys were in the school, as three different numbers were given by the Directors in the same letter—namely, 301, 365, and 291—so that really one could not tell what reliance to put upon the Directors' report. Nor could they get the amount of money spent upon the boys. The most difficult point to be dealt with was the kind of education to be given in the College. The College was intended for the advantage of the Army; but the Army element was being gradually pushed out from the advantages of the scheme on which the College was based. The Governors maintained that at some indefinite time they might increase the number of the orphans; but as it stood, not only was the number of orphans limited, but the number of paying officers' sons. The motto, "Filii heroum," had been written on the school by its founders; but it now would have to be translated, not "sons of heroes," but "sons of monied men." The help of the House of Commons would be necessary to achieve that object. He desired the College to remain as a military College, and not be turned into a proprietary school. He felt that the Army would receive no 145 satisfaction from the Governors unless the House took the matter in hand; and he would, therefore, ask hon. Members, if they granted the request asked for, to grant it in full. If the House determined to proceed, let them proceed in a manner which was worthy of its dignity, and not allow any half-measures to be used, but let them see at once that right be done.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that tier Majesty will be graciously pleased to issue a Royal Commission to inquire into the origin, objects, and present administration of Wellington College; and to report to Her Majesty whether such administration is or is not in accordance with the conditions, or implied conditions, under which contributions were solicited and obtained from the army and the public when the College was founded; and, if not, to advise Her Majesty what alterations in the present system are required, and by what moans they can best be effected."—(Mr. Reginald Yorke.)
§ MR. C. S. PARKER
said, that having served on the last Royal Commission on Military Education, and on the Public Schools Commission, he had taken some pains to ascertain the facts about Wellington College, and to form an opinion. The House would, no doubt, show the utmost consideration for gallant officers who thought themselves aggrieved; but he trusted that hon. Members would approach the question in a spirit somewhat different from that which had pervaded the speeches of the hon. Mover and Seconder of the Motion. As to the facts, there had been much misconception, nor had they now been stated quite correctly. The total subscriptions to Wellington College, including £25,000 from the Patriotic Fund, amounted to £165,000. Of that sum, £60,000 was spent at once upon the site and buildings, and the remaining £105,000 was invested as an Endowment Fund, at 4 per cent, producing £4,200 a-year. The hon. Member for East Gloucestershire (Mr. J. R. Yorke) added a sum of more than £70,000, which he said had been received since the school was opened. But most of that sum was income, laid out as it accrued, partly on current expenses, partly in completing the College, and in adding a Head Master's house, a chapel, an excellent sanatorium, and other buildings, resembling those of the best Public Schools. The endowment with which the Governors bad to deal was £4,200 a-year. With that sum at their disposal, 146 two policies were open to them. It was possible to educate a larger number of boys on a cheaper system, or to give to a smaller number a more expensive education. To expect that a sum of £30 a-year would pay for the board and proper education of officers' sons was almost ludicrous. At £40 a-year 100 boys might have been educated, or 80 boys at £50. The Governors decided to take 80 boys, but to give them an education I costing £80 a-year. Where, then, was the additional £30 to come from? It was obtained by admitting sons of civilians, who were willing, seeing the excellence of the education, to pay £110 a-year, being £30 above the cost price. These civilians went in to the open market, and selected Wellington College as likely to give them the best bargain for their money. Thus the College obtained a profit sufficient, not only to make good the deficit for the 80 orphans, but also to give the means of gradually completing the buildings. At the same time, 80 sons of living officers were admitted at the cost price of £80. Their number was limited, because the College could not yet afford to take more of them without profit. These being the facts, the question raised by the hon. Mover I was twofold—first, was there any breach of faith? and, secondly, was the policy; a mistaken one? As regarded the sons of living officers, it could not for a moment; be contended that there was any departure from the original engagements. His hon. Friend did not state what proportion of the endowments was subscribed before there was any mention of this class. He was informed that the subscriptions already in hand before the sons of living officers were mentioned were nearly 95 per cent of the whole. The hon. Member for West Gloucestershire said the Army had subscribed largely. But what they subscribed after the proposal to admit others than orphans was little more, he believed, than ½per cent of the total funds. As to the general policy of the Governors, they had to do honour to the memory of a great man. Their feeling was that both the buildings of Wellington College and the education given there should be worthy of him. They resolved that the instruction should be first-rate, and especially that it should be such as to fit lads for the higher scientific branches of the Army. And, in that respect, the school had been remarkably successful. 147 In the year 1877–8, among the candidates entering Woolwich, there were 10 from Wellington College, some of whom took very high places, and 32 obtained direct commissions in the Army without leaving school to go to a crammer, a point to which the Military Education Commissioners attached great importance. Others had won Scholarships and Exhibitions at Oxford and Cambridge. Such results could not be achieved without considerable expense. At Marlborough, it was true, for sons of the clergy the cost was somewhat less; but this was partly owing to the number being greater. With an increase of numbers at Wellington College, the cost per head might be reduced. At Cowley a Military College had been founded on co-operative principles by officers themselves, than whom none knew better how to obtain full value for their money. But the cost at Cowley College was about £10 a-head higher than at Wellington. At Cowley, it was true, there was no endowment; but at Wellington the endowment was only for the orphans, and did not much reduce the price to others. Westward Ho! had also been quoted, but it remained to be seen whether the school there would continue to educate boys up to a good standard at the present charge. As to competition for entrance, there was, no doubt, something to be said against it in the case of officers' sons who had not the advantages enjoyed by others. But it was now applied at Wellington only to a very small extent. Under Dr. Benson, 10 places were reserved for competition. As for the test examination, his hon. Friend would probably not find many in the House to agree with him that it involved any breach of faith, or that the memory of the great Duke would be best honoured by an intellectual donkey race. It could not seriously be maintained that the Governors of Wellington College were taken bound not to hold an ordinary entrance-examination, such as was enforced in almost every school of credit. The hon. Member had dwelt on the hardship to boys who had not received an education suitable to their age. No doubt, there were hard cases of that kind. But in all schools such boys were a most difficult element to deal with. They were, of necessity, classed among the small boys where often, they did a world of mischief. The same difficulty 148 led to the superannuation of boys who did not make progress answering to their age. The Head Master, he believed, was desirous that there should be no mechanical rule of superannuation, and the regulations of that kind were worked in a spirit of leniency, and afforded no substantial ground for complaint. The question really at issue was, what kind or "grade" of education should be given? If it was to be of the first grade, the sum of £80 for board and instruction was not excessive. The Schools Inquiry Commission, it was true, alleged the example of Marlborough as proving that if the buildings be provided the best education could be given for less than £60 a-year. But the cost at Marlborough was now £65 a-head with 560 boys. In the opinion of the Head Master of Uppingham, who was an authority on this matter, having given much attention to it, £80 a-year was low for the average cost of a first-grade school of 300 boys. The charge of luxurious living at Wellington he held to be unfounded. This was admitted by the hon. Member for East Gloucestershire with respect to the College itself. In the masters' houses the charge was naturally higher, but did not exceed £130. Bearing in mind that this included a profit of £30 to the College, the living could hardly be called luxurious, as compared with other schools. There might be room for improvements and economies; but, if any inquiry were necessary, he thought it should not be by a Royal Commission, the appointment of which might be supposed to imply some censure upon the policy of the Governors. It would be better to appoint a committee from among the Governors themselves. They were a body of very distinguished men, some of whom, as Cabinet Ministers or otherwise, had little time to spare; but others, not less capable, had leisure for investigation. Such a committee might confer with the officers who had complaints to make, and might report to the Crown as Visitor of the College. His own impression was that the presence of civilians in the College, when rightly understood, would cease to be complained of as a grievance. Financially, as his hon. Friend had said, they might be regarded as milch cows. But they stood also in other and more honourable relations to their companions. It was undesirable that any school should consist exclusively 149 of a single element—military, clerical, or commercial. Wellington College was intended chiefly for the sons of soldiers; but, with all the good equalities they displayed—such as manliness and regard for truth, and honour—it was for their own good and for the good of society that they should mingle at school, as in after-life, with the sons of other professional classes. On these grounds he was not disposed to find fault with the policy of the Governors, but rather to admire the success they had achieved within the space of 20 years in founding a great Public School.
I do not speak with the authority which my hon. Friend who has just sat down derives from having taken part in inquiries relating to education, and military education in particular; but my domestic relation with the Head Master has caused me to become acquainted with the arrangements of the school in some degree, and I am very desirous to do what I can towards assisting the House in this discussion, which involves some elements of obscurity which, in my opinion—and I say it without any disrespect—have not been cleared, but rendered darker, by the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Motion. I think there is a good deal of force in what has fallen from my hon. Friend behind me with regard to the Governors of Wellington College. It has not been a usual proceeding on the part of the House, although it is a thing that has been done, to pay for the appointment of a Royal Commission in invitos. When a Commission was so appointed on the University of Oxford, some of the Colleges refused to give evidence, and there were no means of obtaining it; and when, subsequently, a later Government proceeded to examine the case of the Public Schools, and came to the conclusion that an inquiry by Royal Commission was desirable, they also came to the conclusion that they must either proceed with the goodwill of the authorities or else ask Parliament for authority to appoint a Commission. They made a reference to the Public Schools on the subject, and the authorities were perfectly willing that such a Commission should be issued. In the present case, I think it would be a considerable rebuke to the Governors if the House were to adopt this Motion. It is perfectly true, undoubtedly, that many of the Governors in a body of this 150 kind do not pay great attention to the regular and ordinary transaction of business. But it is also true, in this instance, at any rate, that many of the Governors have paid very great attention to it. I believe I may say, among others, that the distinguished father of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary of State for War did himself give a very great amount of time and attention to the consideration of all these arrangements; and, in fact, I have a strong conviction that there was no important arrangement of the College which had not his consideration and, I believe, his approval. It is rather a serious matter whether you will invade their province and show such a want of confidence in this body as to propose to interfere with their proceedings, and, especially in the case of a College with a constitution of this kind. For the Queen is a Visitor of the College; and I have not the least doubt that, in virtue of that capacity, it would be perfectly possible for Her Majesty's Government to institute any inquiry for which they may think there would be a case conformable with the rules of the College, without implying the slightest reproof or disparagement to those to whom I think we are very considerably indebted for having superintended and regulated the foundation of a very important and efficient institution. It certainly is an efficient College; and it is no small matter in the course of 20 years to put bricks into the soil, and to constitute a school that shall be able to take rank with our other Public Schools; nor can it be done for a small sum of money. I should like to have some of the obscurities in connection with the question cleared up. Both the hon. Member, and Sir Charles Bllice in his later letters, assume that they speak for the Army; they say the Army thinks this and that, and desires such and such a course to be followed. But we have no authentic means of information to tell us in what degree the dissatisfaction which exists is the dissatisfaction of the officers, or even of a portion of the officers, and very naturally that portion, in the persons of their friends, may have been the most unfortunate with regard to obtaining the benefit and provisions of the foundation. The hon. Gentleman has really run a tilt at intellectual excellence; but before I enlist under his banner, I should like to know whither he intends to lead. The hon. Member 151 objects to all examinations of children of 9 or 10 years of age. [Mr. J. R. YORKE: Hear, hear!] But what in the world does the hon. Member mean, when he consents to a system of public examination, not for the children of officers, but for the children of peasants, who have infinitely less means of general information, and which system we are endeavouring to work entirely upon the basis of education for children of the most tender years?
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
I object to their being excluded from the possibility of instruction, as a consequence of their ignorance, when they present themselves for admission.
That is precisely the case. The hon. Member says that this is a College founded for the halt, the lame, and the blind. I will not again refer to his simile of the intellectual donkey race; but let me assure the hon. Member that if this is to be a school for the halt, the lame, and the blind, and if those officers' children who have been better instructed and better prepared are to be put aside in order that the most ignorant as well as the poorest children may be admitted by preference—that if such a state of things is to be established—the hon. Gentleman will, undoubtedly, introduce a revolution into the arrangements of this College. It is quite evident that the intention of the Governors was to establish an institution and an educational system upon a high scale and a high class. They knew very well that there was an idea in the public mind that the officers themselves had not been sufficiently instructed, and they desired to lay the foundations of education in their children and to rear up young men who would afterwards take rank with the most highly instructed officers of the Army. But that could not be done at a small cost; and if, instead of aiming at a high education, they had substituted for their pupils the halt, the lame, and the blind, the staff would disappear. It would be no hardship to the staff, of course; but the hon. Member would have to choose men of a very different stamp to deal with the intellectual hospital that he proposed to establish in honour of the Duke of Wellington. It is really a question between the better and the worse. In my opinion, it is a misfortune that a good education, although an excellent commodity, is 152 very expensive, and I am sorry to see it is growing dearer and dearer in this country. There are many who regard the expense of education as a real grievance; but the House must not think to dispose of the matter by referring to the very touching circumstances that may always be brought forward in abundance as to the children of those officers who have fallen in action. The test of the matter is whether the hon. Member has succeeded in dealing with those children. Between him and me there is no difference on one point—we agree that the College was founded for the benefit of the officers of the Army, and certainly not for the benefit of the public at large. It is for the officers of the Army, subject only to the limitation that the funds are to be applied exclusively to the maintenance of the orphan children of officers; and the children of other and non-military persons are introduced there in order that, by their introduction, they may extend to the officers of the Army the advantages that the College was intended to secure. There is no difference of opinion between us on this point; but the hon. Member complains that there are only 80 orphan children in the College, whereas 200 were originally promised—as the hon. Member said, solemnly promised. Another of his complaints is that the paying children are admitted only in limited numbers; and thirdly, he complains of the very large number of civilians. Now, these complaints are absolutely destructive of one another. The hon. Member complains that there are too few orphans, while at the same time there are too many civilians; but it is quite clear that if he cuts down the number of civilians, he will also be obliged to curtail that of the 80 orphans. The figures with respect to the College are not complicated. The income of the College available for eleemosynary purposes is £4,000 a-year, and the sum spent on the orphans is £6,400. There is, therefore, a sum of £2,400 to be found every year in order to meet the eleemosynary expenditure upon the orphan children of officers. How is that sum provided? Simply out of the extra payments and out of the profits afforded to the College by those lay or non-professional scholars of whom the hon. Member complained that there were too many. But if you choose to cut off one-third of them, you 153 cut off one-third part, or £800, of your £2,400 a-year, and you must consequently cut down 10 orphans, whose maintenance is represented by that £800.
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
I described the mal-administration to which the management of the Governors had brought the College.
I am glad of that, because it leads me to endeavour to disentangle two questions which are entirely distinct, but which have been unfortunately mixed in the letters of Sir Charles Ellice and in the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion. Those questions are—Have the Government been guilty in the past of sacrificing to the lay element the interests of the professional element in the College? I do not hesitate to say that the main strain and stress of Sir Charles Ellice's letter is upon that charge, and that strikes at the whole foundation of the system of government in the College. In my opinion, it is an argument which cannot be sustained in argument, but which is perfectly self-destructive; because the most superficial examination of the figures will show any Member of this House that it is by the lay element that the Governors are enabled, as matters now stand, to extend the eleemosynary expenditure of the College. The same thing applies, only in a minor degree, to the other complaint of the hon. Member, that the paying children of officers are not admitted except in limited numbers; but it is easy to see that there is no force in that argument. Let us suppose, for example, that instead of 80 paying children of officers we took 160; the meaning of that is, you put in 80 laymen who have paid £30 a-piece towards the maintenance of the 80 orphans who have not paid at all. You may say "No," because, though I eject 80 lay scholars from the College buildings, they may go into the masters' houses. Yes, but we have not done with the inconsistencies of the case; because one of the specific causes of the hon. Gentleman's complaint is that there was such a large number of masters' houses, so that he has cut himself off entirely from that refuge. [Mr. J. R. YORKE: I complained simply of the terms.] Yes; but could the masters find houses for nothing? If you are to have a great addition to the officers' children, and you are not to eject the paying boys altogether in order to re- 154 ceive that great addition, you must provide for them by sending them elsewhere where the charge will be higher; and I want to know whether the hon. Gentleman approves the large invasion of the Endowment Fund which will be necessary in order to raise the new College buildings which would, in these circumstances, be required. But let us carefully separate the question whether the lay element is to be sacrified to the professional from that other question which ran more or less obscurely through the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution. The question is a very serious one—Have the Governors of Wellington College been right or wrong infixing the scale on which the institution has been established? And this embraces two essential points—first, as to the scale of living; and, secondly, as to the education which is given. There can be no doubt that, upon the whole, the College has been administered on the same principles from the first. I quite agree, however, with the hon. Gentleman on one point, and that is that it was most unfortunate that before any practical step was taken philanthropy had an opportunity of putting its dreams into pen and ink ad libitum, and that the officers who naturally would be ready to catch at such a prospect should be told that for £30 a-year they could have their boys supported and educated. That was an extraordinary miscalculation; but very shortly after it was made the Governors were employed in taking into consideration the erection of the structure, and they determined that they would build a single room for every boy. Now, I ask any hon. Gentleman who is conversant with the arrangements of our Public Schools what he thinks of the accordance between a magnificent building, with a spacious room for each boy, and the charge of £30 a-year? But there is another curious fact which has reached me from authentic sources, and that is that at the time when, of course, the Governors were very reluctant to recede from the expectation of providing education for £30 a-year, once that expectation had been held out, the question was being taken seriously into consideration whether it would be necessary to give the boys meat every day in the week, or only upon a certain number of days. What satisfaction would it now give if the dietary of Wellington Col- 155 lege should be fixed so that there should be meat only on three days a-week? The hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter) will correct me if I am wrong; but I believe that within no very long time the Governors have thought it right and wise that the boys should have meat twice a-day if it suited them—in fact, there is an upward tendency in expenditure that is a most serious matter to examine into. Those who have given so much time and thought to the organization of this institution from the first were of opinion, if I am not mistaken, that it should be a school of a high class, and that it could not be made a school of that class in regard to its intellectual standard unless the mode of living were also fixed on a certain scale, which, however, is not extravagantly high. That has been, I believe, a fundamental idea in the arrangement of the institution all along. Now, is it possible to bring that question to an issue? There is no use or advantage in blinking the matter. The lay element is made to contribute to the support of the military element. It contributes largely, and I hope may be made to contribute more liberally. But if complaint is made of the sacrifice of the military to the lay element, I am very sorry that that pressure for a more economical system of expenditure has not been brought before the public by officers in the Army. If there are a large number of officers who want a change of system, there is no reason why they should not put it forward. It has never, in fact, been put before the Governors; but representations to the Governors have all along been founded upon the accusations which were made in the course of the speech of the hon. Member to-night. The hon. Member was not quite fair towards the Governors. He says they promised that 200 orphans should be supported out of these funds, but they never proposed anything of the kind. Lord Derby, indeed, stated that he anxiously hoped that, at some not distant time, 200 orphans might be provided for. That expression of a hope was magnified into an expectation; but there are a great many things which I am sure hon. Gentlemen anxiously hope—there are certainly a great many things which I anxiously hope which I am far from expecting. The House will, I trust, draw a broad distinction between the 156 two questions which have been raised. As to the alleged unfairness towards the Army and in favour of the lay part of the population in casting the balance of the different positions of the professional and the non-professional pupils, I hope it will answer in the firmest manner, "No." The other question is the possibility of affording an education substantially as good as that now given on a lower scale of expenditure. My hon. Friend behind me has adduced some very formidable evidence on that point; but it is a question which has never been laid fairly before the Governors, and which, if raised, ought to be raised in the first instance for their consideration. I know not whether it was or was not strictly prudent; but it certainly was a very gallant determination on the part of those who fixed the original arrangements for the College which led them to found it on a scale so liberal, with a building which cannot be called anything less than magnificent, and with the firm intention that the boys should find themselves substantially on a footing with those in the first Public Schools in England. I do not deny the right of those to have the question examined who wished to lower the scale of living, or even of the education, though I trust the language of the Mover of this Address will not be adopted. They are perfectly justified in asking that the question should be considered; but if it is to be considered at all, it should be considered by the Governors, and should not be based on the slightest accusation against them, which I maintain, even as the case has been stated by the hon. Gentleman, has not a shadow of justice.
§ GENERAL SHUTE
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for East Gloucestershire (Mr. J. R. YORKE) frequently joined in military debates, but generally took a part adverse to the Army. It was only a few months ago that he specially exerted himself to induce the Government to expel our fine Household Cavalry from Hyde Park and transport them to the slums of London. He congratulated his hon. Friend on the more kindly interest he had in this instance shown in the Military Profession. He felt deeply obliged to him for having brought forward this question. Every patriotic Englishman must take a deep interest in a charitable institution, the object of which was to educate the orphans of 157 gallant officers who had fallen in action, or prematurely died from, the hardships of military service, and whoso little all might have been expended in the purchase of a commission, the value of which had been, by death, forfeited to the country. The right hon. Gentleman, after whose eloquent speech he (General Shute) hardly dared venture to rise, had proved to the House how much these orphans owed their education to the profits derived from the high rate charged to the sons of civilians also educated at the College, whose numbers, therefore, might gradually fall off and occasion a great loss to the charity were it not shown by this debate, as he hoped it would be, how excellent an educational establishment Wellington College was. The daily Press had been flooded with articles to the school's discredit. Even within the last few weeks he had met two old Winchester schoolfellows, one in London, the other in Brighton, and each remarked—"Well, I was going to send my boy where your son was; but I have now sent him to our old public school, Winchester." On inquiring why, the reply was to the effect—"Oh! I have heard that Wellington is infamously conducted. They tell me that it has been shown up in all the papers, and at last its management is to be inquired into in the House of Commons." He said, in reply, how sorry he was, for that his friends would have obtained for their sons, in a social and literary sense, the best education in England, at a far lower rate than at Winchester, besides contributing, at the same time, £30 a-year towards an admirable charity. It had been complained that the funds of the College had increased, but that there had been no proportional increase in the charity; but the absolute necessity of gradual additions to the building, erecting a sanatorium, hall, courts, &c., for the boys, seemed to have been forgotten. But, besides this, originally there were only 60 orphans, who paid from £10 to £20 a-year each; there were now 80, educated, boarded, &c, for nothing. There were also now 80 sons of living officers admitted at cost price—namely, £80 a-year. In fact, they had now 80 orphans paying nothing, 80 sons of living officers paying £80 a-year, and 223 sons of noblemen and gentlemen paying, those in the dormitories, £110 a-year each, and those in masters' houses, about 158 £130 each, giving a profit to the College of a fraction over £5,000, to whom, therefore, the orphans, in a great degree, owed their education. His hon. Friend wanted to reduce this College to a second-rate school, or, as he would seem to call it, a "College for failures." Where, under such circumstances, would he find a civil element to produce £5,000 a-year? His hon. Friend complained that there was an invidious distinction between private gentlemen's sons and foundationers; but he (General Shute) had questioned his own boy, and at least a dozen other Wellingtonians, who all said that they did not oven know the difference. At Winchester and Eton the foundationers were gowns; but at Wellington no one knew which was which. His hon. Friend was quite incorrect in saying that the civil element, by their example, got extravagant notions; but such was not the case. The sons of the newly-made rich, and who made a display of wealth, were more frequently sent to Eton. At Wellington they had the sons of a few noblemen, who had been connected in earlier life with the Army; sons of officers who had formerly loft the Army; sons of some of! the Bishops and clergy, and sons of country gentlemen; and that this mixed society was socially, as well as in a pecuniary sense, a great advantage to the orphans, and would increase their acquaintance much to their advantage in after-life. His hon. Friend complained that when there there were more orphans and £80 candidates than there was room for, that a test examination had been applied; but he maintained that that was better than selection, which usually meant jobbery, social, personal, or political interest. To prove how discontented the Army were with Wellington College, his hon. Friend held up a largo bundle of letters, which, he said, however, that he was not at liberty to read; but it so happened that he could read to the House extracts from the contents of one of them, and, as it exactly expressed his own opinions, he would do so.I cannot but speak in the highest terms of the education the boys receive, and am fully satisfied with the entire management of the institution. The masters are both scholars and gentlemen, and I am inclined to think that the College would degenerate if it were confined solely to the use of the sons of officers at the rate claimed by them. …. It is, of course, obvious that for officers dependent on their pay the charge for education is put at rates 159 far beyond their means; but I do not think that the present standard of education could be maintained at a lower figure than now exists…I dissent from the opinion that the whole of the arrangements of the College are too luxurious, unsuited for the sons of poor men who have to make their way in the world. I have no proof of any tendency to extravagance. … The tone of the school is good, the boys are well satisfied and happy.This letter was written by one of the only two writers of the 26 letters that his hon. Friend had displayed rolled up in a bundle to the House, who had themselves had boys at the school. Of the others, many of the writers had little experience in education, having had no children of their own, and never being likely to have any. He considered that the Motion was an undeserved censure on a most influential and competent Governing Body, the names of some of whom he would read, who had been most attentive to the interests of the College—President, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales; Vice President, Colonel the hon. W. P. Talbot; Ex-officio Governors, the Commander-in-Chief, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Duke of Wellington, and the Secretary of State for War; Governors, the Duke of Connaught, Prince Leopold, the Duke of Cambridge, the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Richmond, the Duke of Buccleuch, the Marquess of Salisbury, Earl Granville, Viscount Eversley, Viscount Cranbrook, Lord Hampton, Lord Napier of Magdala, the right hon. S. H. Walpole, General Sir John Simmons, General Sir Alfred Hereford, General Sir H. D. Harness, John Walter, Esq., M.P., Henry Cox, Esq., and the Rev. G. R. Gleig. He admitted that a good deal of money had been expended on the building of the College; but it must be remembered that it was, he might say, a monument to the great Duke. For the present fine approaches to the College, and planting and laying out of the ground, they were almost entirely indebted to the liberality of his hon. Friend the Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter). As to the bundle of complaining letters, none of which had been read, they were as easily obtained as signatures to Petitions. Finally, he trusted that the House would not grant a Royal Commission, not that the College had any reasons to fear inquiry, but because it would be a very undeserved snub to the Governing Body; inconvenient, and an uncalled-for expense. It was clearly 160 shown that there was no just cause to complain of this most admirable College, which was no "little Eton," as his hon. Friend the Member for East Gloucestershire (Mr. J. R. Yorke) had designated it, but one of the best Public Schools in the country.
§ MR. WALTER
thought the Body of Governors might well be satisfied to leave their case in the hands of his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), who had so gallantly come forward to defend them a few minutes ago. But as he had the honour during the last 14 years to be a member of that Board, and as he did not think he had missed a single occasion of its yearly meeting, and as he saw another right hon. Friend who was also a member of that Board, he thought it would hardly be becoming in him to refrain from saying a few words in defence of that Body on the occasion of the attack which had been made upon them. He gathered from the remarks of the hon. Member (Mr. J. R. Yorke), that the Governors would, at any rate, not be indicted for malversation of public money. But the hon. Member had, nevertheless, spoken, in a tone which was somewhat slighting, and hardly justified by the facts of the case, of what he conceived to be the almost irresponsible position of that distinguished Body. If the hon. Member really believed that those distinguished personages did take an active share in the concerns of the College, he would have hesitated to prefer so serious an indictment against them. He should not trouble the House by reading the names again of that Board. The list contained the names, as the hon. Member stated, of members of the Royal Family, of a great many Cabinet and ex-Cabinet Members, Archbishops, and Bishops, and, in fact, the names, he might almost say, of the eminent men of rank who had figured before the country for many years past. But if the hon. Member thought that because the Board of Wellington College was a very distinguished Body therefore it did not attend to its duties, he was under a great mistake. He might say that at every half-yearly meeting from 12 to 14 members were present, who devoted two or three hours a-day to a painstaking examination, not only of the financial affairs of the College generally, but of those educational matters on 161 which the hon. Member had touched. How could the hon. Member suppose that the professional members of the Board—officers who had served on it for many years past—could have been so utterly neglectful of their duties to their professional brethren as to allow the whole concerns of the College to go wrong; to allow the revenues to be perverted from the original foundation, from the professional to the civilian; and to admit the imposition of improper examination tests, and all the other wrongs imputed to them. He would read the names of the professional officers who had been, or were now, active members of the Board, and who had devoted, at least, as constant attendance to the Board as any other members:—Tho Duke of Cambridge, the Marquess of Anglesey, Lord Hardinge, Lord Gough, Lord Seaton, Lord Raglan, Lord Herbert of Lea, Sir Howard Douglas, Sir James Scarlett; and, in addition to these and other members, the College had had the services for a great many years, until prevented by ago and infirmity, of the Chaplain General. He did not know how the hon. Member for East Gloucestershire could suppose that all the abuses he alleged could exist while those gentlemen were active members of the Board. Surely the hon. Member might have been charitable enough to suppose that they acted from a strict sense of duty, and that they were impressed with a full sense of their responsibility, not only to the public, but to the noble Profession. Now, a great deal of this misconception, he believed, arose from this—that the promises on which so much stress was laid were given several years before the College really was on its legs, the promises were given in 1856, and the College only assumed an active shape in 1859. The growth of an institution of that kind must be of a progressive character. It had to grow; it had to obtain a character; it had to decide on a course of policy, and that was decided, to a great extent, by the means at its disposal. This question was partly one of policy. It was also in a great measure—at least, for the purpose of the present discussion—a question of pounds, shillings, and pence, and that was the point on which he would insist. He contended, in opposition to the hon. Member, that those interesting 162 members of society for whoso benefit the College was founded really owed at present their education not so much to the liberality of the public as to the profits supplied by the sons of civilians. It was said the public supplied an enormous sum, and he heard it said this sum amounted to £250,000. Now, what were the facts? The public, from first to last, had subscribed £121,000, in round figures, the interest on that sum which could be applied to the use of the College was about £20,000. That made £140,000. The Patriotic Fund subscribed £25,000, and the legacies about £14,000; and that was literally almost the whole amount the public had really subscribed to the purposes of the College. The sum which it was found possible actually to invest for permanent endowment had been only £105,000, producing about £4,200 a-year. The education of the 80 boys on the foundation cost about £6,200 a-year. This left a margin of about £2,000 to be made up out of some other source, and what source could that be but the profits from the sons of civilians? He did not think the figures had been stated; but he might mention that the profits accruing to the College from the sons of civilians amounted to no less than £5,200 a-year. That was the sum which kept the College going, and enabled it to retain its status as a great College. With the permission of the House, he would submit a few figures from the balance-sheet, showing what sums of money had been received by the College from the year 1852 to 1878 inclusive; and he should leave it to his hon. Friend to make any complaint he might think fit on the result of that statement. The receipts—and he begged his hon. Friend's attention to this—for College subscriptions to December, 31, 1878, amounted to £120,785—he omitted shillings and pence; received from Patriotic Fund, £25,000; interest on investments, £20,642; legacies, £13,804; subscriptions to building chapel, £2,445; loans outstanding, £5,000—he was sorry to say, like many other people, they began to borrow—donations for prizes, £2,917. Bents of houses and ground-rent, £7,056; new estate receipts, £2,255; miscellaneous, £739; and the donation by the Duke of Wellington for sanitarium, £1,160—amounting in ail to £201,808. That was the whole of 163 the money that had been subscribed from the year 1852 to the end of last year. To that must be added a balance, made up partly out of the profits of the school, and partly out of a sum borrowed from the Endowment Fund, of £62,982, making a total of £264,790, all of which had been subscribed by the public before the College was opened, as they were told; but it was nothing of the kind. He had now to state the payments. Purchase and laying out lands and grounds, £21,401; the main building—which had to be added to from time to time to meet the wants of the school, and very much on the suggestion of the professional members of the Board—£77,116; Head Masters' house, £5,184; chapel, £9,365; sanitarium, £4,145; gasworks—a large item—£5,744; waterworks—an artesian well was sunk 500 feet or 600 feet deep to get water; the amount included steam-engine—£4,131; racquet-court, £996; farm and garden buildings, steward's house, and lodge, £1,842; building materials, furniture, and preliminary expenses before the opening of the College, £10,476; payments on account of new estate, £3,416; interest on loans and donations, £5,857; invested for prizes, £1,566; expended on buildings producing rents, £8,545—making £159,790; and, adding the Endowment Fund £105,000, there was a total of £264,790. The School Surplus Fund amounted altogether to about £50,099, and he did not know in what way this money could have been better spent. The hon. Member said it ought to have been spent in introducing more foundationers. A Public School, to be a good school, must be a large school. A small Public School could not be well conducted. There must be a proper competition among the boys. The forms must contain a certain number of pupils, The College would be far richer and better calculated to meet the views of the hon. Member if the numbers were 500—and he hoped to see them up to that number—than at the present figure. But he repeated that the whole question came to this—that the only means of extension and further benefiting the class of the foundationers was to increase the civil element of the school. Why? Because the country had not subscribed the sum requisite to produce the great results it ought to secure. He would say a word with regard to the test examina- 164 tions. For boys between 9 and 10 they were really of the most moderate, he might say even trifling, character. Many of the children sent up knew much less at the same age than those brought up at an ordinary elementary school. How was it possible to conduct any class satisfactorily, if it consisted of those who were not fairly up to the mark? That was simply what the test came to. The actual state of the test was this—For boys between 9 and 10, what was required was reading and spelling—good reading being indispensable—simple addition and subtraction, and to say the multiplication table. Surely that was a most moderate standard. A boy who could not pass such an examination would hardly obtain a capitation grant in an ordinary elementary school. The standard for boys from 10 to 11 was reading, writing, and spelling, and the four first simple rules of arithmetic. In grammar, either Latin to the end of the first conjugation, or French to the end of the verbs être, avoir, and parler, construing very easy sentences with a dictionary, and doing exercises in easy combinations of French words. Surely that was not an examination to terrify parents or call down the censure of that House. With regard to the remarks which fell from the hon. Member as to some sort of attempt to obtain a friendly settlement by four members of the Board and four officers, that had fallen through. If the Government should think that a Royal Commission should be appointed, or if the House thought fit to adopt any other means of inquiry, he would take no part in it, leaving it to others to judge whether the conduct of the Board had been such as to entitle it to the confidence of the House. In carrying on the business of the school, the only object was—he could speak for himself, and he was sure it would be endorsed by the other members of the Board—to make Wellington College a great Public School worthy of the name of the founder, not only without detriment to the interests of the foundationers, but greatly to their benefit. In his opinion, a professional school, consisting merely of the sons of officers and the sons of clergymen, would be an unmixed evil. Nothing could be better than a fair admixture of those classes with the civilian element, especially where the latter contributed largely to the higher education 165 of the school. He left the case with confidence in the hands of the House.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
wished to say a few words, especially as his Iron. Friend (Mr. J. R. Yorke), at the conclusion of his speech, seemed to think that the Motion implied some censure on the Government. He did not look upon it as a censure on the Government. It was perfectly true that certain Members of the Government were members of the Governing Body of Wellington College; but, with one exception—that of the Secretary of State for War—they acted only in a private and unofficial sense. Indeed, the only connection that really existed between Her Majesty's Government and the Governing Body of the institution was to be found in the fact that the Vice President of the Council was ex officio a Charity Commissioner, and that Wellington College, as an endowed school, came within the cognizance of the Charity Commission. The only object, therefore, which the Government considered was to promote the education of that important establishment in regard to the officers in Her Majesty's Army. The education of the sons of officers of the Army was a matter in which the House ought to take great interest. A largo proportion of the officers of the British Army being stationed abroad, their great concern was that while they were absent from England their sons should have a good and sufficient education. Suppose a Royal Commission—To inquire into the origin, objects, and present administration of Wellington College; and to report to Her Majesty whether such administration is or is not in accordance with the conditions, or implied conditions, under which Contributions were solicited and obtained from the army and the public when the College was founded; and, if not, to advise Her Majesty what alterations in the present system are required, and by what means they can best be effected.What might be the result? The hon. Gentleman distinctly stated his own opinion that the Governors were wrong in not treating this school as a charity, expressly using the words "for both poor and ignorant." Was that an object which the wishes of the founder, if they could now be ascertained, would have contemplated? He understood that this College was established in order that a certain education should be 166 given to a certain number of orphans, the sons of military officers; but the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) had made it conclusively clear that in proportion as they eliminated or diminished the civilian element they would reduce the income of the College. Indeed, if they altogether eliminated that element the College would be practically bankrupt. The right hon. Member for Greenwich spoke with some authority upon one point, because he was nearly connected with the Head Master of the College, and his statement confirmed previous reports that if the Commission was to report in favour of making this College nothing more than a charity school, one and all of the masters would resign. Therefore, if this Commission went in the only direction in which it was intended to go, one of the possible results was that the Governing Body, and the administrative officers, or the whole of the teaching staff of Wellington College might resign, and the Government or the House of Commons would have to establish de novo all the machinery necessary for carrying on the work of education there. That might possibly be the result of a Motion of this sort. It was said that a certain amount of dissatisfaction existed amongst the officers of the Army with respect to the present administration of the College. He could quite understand it. They knew that a certain sum was subscribed and invested for the foundation and maintenance of the College. They knew that admirable instruction was given there; but they found that the charge for boys not on the foundation was outside their means in many instances, and they asked that the cost should be reduced, so as to bring the advantages of the College within their reach. It was a question of finance. Could the cost be reduced without impairing the present efficiency of the institution? If that could be done, it seemed to him that, instead of appointing a Royal Commission, a more reasonable method of ascertaining what could really be effected would be for the officers to join with the Governors of the College and carry on a joint investigation as to whether or not that object could be attained. It had been admitted that the reason why the Governors had not promoted such an inquiry had been that Notice had been 167 given of this Motion, the success of which would probably lead to the resignation of the Governors and to changes in the teaching staff. He knew that there was a feeling amongst many hon. Members that some inquiry was necessary, and the Government would be happy to facilitate an investigation of the nature which he had just indicated. The cost of education in Wellington College had not increased during the last 16 years. He did not think this could be said of any other similar institution in the country. The hon. Member, however, now proposed a Commission which would have no power to create, and which would simply upset the whole of the present existing arrangements without putting anything in their place. There was an increasing tendency on the part of the House of Commons to interfere in the administration of local and other legally constituted institutions, and this was to be regretted as involving transfer of responsibility to the House or the Government. Although, in the circumstances, some inquiry might be necessary in this case, the Government could not support such an inquiry as would leave to it, or to the House, the future administration of the College. They had no desire to burke any inquiry into the present administration of Wellington College—all they looked to see was that education should not deteriorate, and that a plan should not be adopted the result of which would be that the officers of the Army would be able to say that they asked for bread and were given a stone. He hoped that those who supported the Motion would see that the inquiry he had suggested was more desirable than one by a Commission.
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
said, the noble Lord who had just spoken had painted in alarming colours what he thought would happen if the Commission were granted. But he did not think there need be such apprehensions. He would remind the noble Lord that the Government had granted him a Commission in connection with the Stock Exchange, and that the committee of that Body did not resign in consequence, and that no great crisis had taken place in the Money Market as the result of the appointment of that Commission. He did not think his position had been in any way materially shaken by what had been said in the course of the discussion, 168 and what he had said about the tendency of the Governors' policy had been substantially confirmed; therefore, he should leave the matter to the House.
§ SIR THOMAS ACLAND
said, the threats about the resignation of the Governing Body and of the teachers must be taken for what they were worth; but, considering the high character of those who had filled those posts at Wellington College, he thought that that was not a way in which they would wish to be brought before that House. That it was not necessary to spend a sum of £110 a-year on a pupil in a first grade school provided with buildings was shown by detailed statements in the Report of the Schools Inquiry Commission, in which it was remarked that good schools had a tendency to become expensive almost in proportion to their goodness, and that this was illustrated by what was then going on at Marlborough, Haileybury, and Wellington College. The conclusion of the Commission was that as good an education as could be had ought to be given for £60 a-year. The officers of the Army complained that at Wellington College there was an expenditure of something like £2,000 a-year, of which they could get no real account. They complained of the general charges, and also of the charges for extras. He had seen bills for Brussels and Kidderminster carpets for newly-admitted boys, and these were matters which officers with limited means desired to have looked into, because it could not be necessary to renew the carpets for each fresh boy. There was a case for inquiry, and it would be better to promote it than to talk about Governors and teachers threatening to resign.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 60; Noes 66: Majority 7.—(Div. List, No. 55.)