HC Deb 18 July 1879 vol 247 cc1141-83

, in rising to call attention to the deficiency of due provision for higher education in Wales, and to move— That, in the opinion of this House, it is the duty of the Government to consider the best means of assisting any local effort which may be made for supplying such deficiency; said, he rose with a sense of the deepest responsibility, because he felt that on the fate of his Motion might depend the future intellectual advancement of the people of Wales. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), in that great speech which he delivered on moving the second reading of his Irish University Bill, said— When we look into the far future, the well-being of Ireland must in great degree depend on the moral and intellectual culture of her people; and in promotion of that culture the efficiency of her Universities cannot fail to be a most powerful and effectual instrument."—[3 Hansard, ccxiv. 378.] Of all men in this country, the right hon. Gentleman had probably drank deeper at the source of intellectual knowledge than any other man. No man was, probably, more capable of appreciating the benefits of high education—such education as was imparted at their old Universities—than his right hon. Friend; and, certainly, no man had sacrificed more than he in the endeavour to extend such education to Ireland. The first portion of his (Mr. Hussey Vivian's) task to-night was to show that there was a deficiency of high education in Wales, and he regretted that he would have no difficulty in proving that. Before, however, they could determine whether there was a deficiency, they must arrive at some standard of what should be the number of students, as compared with population, who ought to receive high University Education, and for that purpose he would again advert to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, to which he had already referred. The right hon. Gentleman then showed that in Ireland there were students in arts at Trinity College, Dublin, 563; at Belfast, 136; at Cork, 50; and at Galway, 35—being a total of 784. In law, medicine, and engineering, there were altogether 455, and for degrees at Trinity College there were 395—being a total, in the whole of Ireland, of 1,634, or one student for every 3,121 of the 5,500,000 people in Ireland. His right hon. Friend characterized that as a bare and meagre figure. The right hon. Gentleman further showed that in Scotland there were 4,000 students, which meant one for every 840 of the population. He (Mr. Hussey Vivian) had ascertained with as much care as he could the number of Welsh students in the enjoyment of University Education. He found that at Jesus College, Oxford, which was open to all the world, although, for the most part, the students were Welsh—and for the purpose of this statement he had taken them as being so exclusively—the students were 55 in number; at St. David's, Lampeter, he took them at 70; and at the University College of Wales, at Aberystwith— founded in 1872—at 64: making a gross total of 189. Those figures gave one student to every 8,000 of the population of Wales, taking the population to be 1,500,000. That was the actual condition, so far as he knew, of higher education in Wales at this moment. In the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, one in 3,121 for Ireland was a very poor and meagre figure. What, then, must one in 8,000 be considered. If Wales had the proper proportion of students—the same proportion as Scotland—instead of having 189, it would have 1,786. If that did not prove the deficiency of higher education in Wales, he could not conceive what would do so. In that estimate, however, he did not include students who might be at other Colleges, not strictly Welsh Colleges, for the reason that it was not possible to ascertain the figures correctly, and also because both Irish and Scotch students studied at the other Colleges, and were not included in the figures given. Nor did that estimate include the students in Nonconformist Theological Colleges, which were not in the nature of Universities, and at which students were educated for a special purpose. Those students, however, were in the whole only 360. In Wales they were not wanting in young men, for it was estimated that there were no less than 48,000 young men belonging to the professional, commercial, and agricultural classes, between the ages of 15 and 25; therefore, the supply was there, and the means of education only were wanting. He had spoken of three Colleges belonging to Wales, and now must show what these Colleges were. He first took Jesus College, Oxford. He had heard it stated, on the authority of the Principal of the College, that Welshmen had net so great a legal claim on the College as they believed. Jesus College was founded in 1571, on the petition of Dr. Hugh Ap Rice, under the Charter of Queens Elizabeth, and was afterwards largely endowed by Sir Leoline Jenkins. It consisted of a Principal, 13 Fellows, 22 scholars, and about 30 exhibitioners. Six of the Fellowships were confined to Wales, and six were open, the remaining one being devoted to the Channel Islands; 20 Scholarships were entirely devoted to Welsh boys, and the exhibitioners were all Welsh. The students averaged from 45 to 65; last January there were 59. The cost of the education was £16 per annum, and the cost of the living was about £57 per annum, or a total cost of £71. He was, however, told that the actual expenses were larger, and amounted in the whole to about £100, or £110 per annum. The income was not very easy to ascertain. From the figures given in the Report of the Committee of 1873, he found that the income from all sources was £13,567 10s. 11d. Then the Meyrick fund was £1,805 17s. 10d., and the tuition fund £1,083 6s., giving a total of £16,456 14s. 9d. The expenses of the College were £13,161 7s. 1d., of which the Principal had £1,822, and 13 Fellows £3,765 12s. 1d. He wished to draw attention to these figures, because his own impression was that great economy might be introduced in the working of the College. He thought an efficient Principal might be got for less than £1,800 a-year; nor could he imagine that so many Fellows were requisite for the training of 50 or 60 young men in Arts. He believed a scheme had been propounded for Jesus College, which would take away a portion of the Welsh endowments; and he ventured to urge on the Government that they should ' not allow any hasty legislation to occur before they had fully considered the whole question of University Education in Wales. The next College was that of St. David's, Lampeter, which was founded by Bishop Burgess in 1822. It redounded greatly to the credit of that good man, who had the interest of his diocese, and of Welshmen generally, at heart. For 18 years Bishop Burgess set apart a tenth of his income for endowing Lampeter College. With the aid of subscriptions from the clergy of the dioceses and others, among which were grants of £6,000 under the Administrations of Lord Liverpool and Mr. Canning, and a donation of £1,000 from the Privy Purse of George IV., the College was established. The College was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1828, and since then Charters had been granted which enabled them to confer degrees. It was now sought to open the College more widely to general students. Up to the present time the College had been essentially a Theological College, and must be regarded as strictly for Church purposes—to educate the clergy. Now, however, other than theological subjects could be substituted for what were called Classes 2 and 3. That, to a certain extent, opened the College to lay students. The average number of students in attendance was 70; last year there were 59. It was endowed with three sinecure livings, which amounted to £535 a-year, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had allotted £1,525 to Lampeter—he believed from the fund of Christ's College, Llandovery. The student's fees amounted to £1,050 on the average, and the Phillips Natural Science Endowment produced a revenue of £350. The total was £3,455. From 1828 to 1871 the College was granted £400 a-year, which was reduced to £300 in 1871, and very shortly afterwards to £150, and finally taken away altogether. The Examiners of the College were appointed by the Vice Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge; and he presumed that as, by their Charter, they were compelled to put the standard of their degrees at the same point of efficiency as those of Oxford and Cambridge, the B.A. degrees of Lampeter might be taken as of equal value. He next came to what was called the University College of Wales, at Aberystwith. That University was the result of the spontaneous efforts of the Welsh people to supply the deficiency of higher education. It was opened in 1872 with 25 students; it had now 64, of whom 31 were resident within the walls, the remainder residing in the town. Their average age was 21, so that, in respect of age, they might class as University students. They had, although the University had been established for so short a time, obtained two open Scholarships and one exhibition at Oxford; five open Scholarships at Cambridge, and seven matriculations at London University. Three others had obtained a first, and two a second degree. Three hundred and forty-four persons had contributed, for the purposes of this College, £10, and under £100; 38 had contributed £100, and under £500; seven had contributed £500, and under £1,000; and seven had contributed £1,000 and upwards. Altogether, upwards of £50,000 Sad been voluntarily contributed for the purposes of the College. That, for a poor country, and considering the short period that had elapsed, showed how deeply the Welsh people were sensible of the want of higher education. £16,000 of that sum had been expended in purchasing the freehold of the magnificent University building, which originally cost £80,000; £19,000 had been expended in carrying on the work of the University, and £15,000 had been invested. A large proportion of these contributions had come from the poorer classes, and there were 90,000 contributors of under 2s. 6d. If that did net show the general feeling of the Welsh people on the subject, he did not know what would. There was an institution in Wales called the Eisteddfod. Eisteddfod were held yearly in 'Wales, and the surplus funds were, to a large extent, devoted to the maintenance of this College. The Eisteddfod of Mold granted £250, and smaller grants came from the Eisteddfodau of Bangor, Pwllheli, and Birkenhead. Scholarships of different value had been founded by the Llanberis Quarry district and other localities — a circumstance which again showed the universal interest the Welsh people took in higher education. He had visited the University a few weeks ago, in order that he might speak from personal knowledge of the condition in which it was. The situation of the College at Aberystwith was by no means a bad one, being removed from all evil influences, and equally accessible to North and South Wales. The building was a remarkably fine one. It had very fine lecture rooms. There was the nucleus of a very good museum, and there was a very good laboratory. It was purchased at a comparatively cheap price; £10,000 were required to finish it, when it would accommodate a very large number of students. The curriculum was modern languages and literature, classics, mathematics, natural and physical science, Oriental languages, logic, modern philosophy, the science of agriculture, history, and political economy; and there was no divinity or theological teaching whatsoever. There were nine Professors, who all taught in English. Ho believed there was one Professor who gave lectures on the comparison of the English and Welsh languages.

He really felt ashamed to make such a statement as he had made as to the University Education which was provided for Wales. There were fewer than 200 young men receiving University Education in Wales, even including the College at Aberystwith, which had not the power to confer degrees. He took shame upon himself for having allowed such a state of things to continue. It was the duty of Welsh Members to have brought it forward long ago, and urged it on the attention of the House. Bat what was the position with respect to intermediate education? Why, the endowed schools of Wales were almost as wretched in regard to endowments as the University. As far as he could make out from the Reports of the Endowed Schools Commissioners, the figures in which were scattered here and there, the endowments of the English intermediate schools were upwards of £300,000 a-year. Ireland last year received £1,000,000, which must represent £35,000 or £40,000 a-year. On reference to the list of the endowed schools in Wales, he found there were 11 first-class schools, with an endowment of £4,063, and 11 second-class schools, with an endowment of £2,468, making a total of £6,531 only. Some of these, he knew, were doing good work; but, on the whole, the provision for intermediate education in Wales was of the smallest possible extent; the endowments were not adequate. He should have occasion again to refer to that matter, because he had invited the opinion of the Welsh Bishops on the subject, and they all dwelt upon the importance of intermediate education.

The financial aspect of the question of higher education was quite as bad. When the Scotch Universities were established, a grant of £140,000 was made for the buildings of Glasgow University, and there was an annual grant of £20,824 to all the Scotch Universities. He was not stating this fact in any way to depreciate the grant to Scotland; he was only using the argument in order to show what Wales ought to get. Scotland had a population of 3,360,000, and Wales of 1,500,000 in round figures; and at the rate of the grant to Scotland, Wales ought to receive annually £8,844; but, as a matter of fact, she received nothing—not one farthing. Scotland, however, had cleverly secured the maintenance of her Universities at the time of the Union, while Wales in the time of Edward I had not been equally fortunate or sagacious. How did matters stand in Ireland? Ireland, with a population of between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000, received actual grants to the amount of £37,978, besides the grant of £100,000 for the building of the Queen's Colleges; and, in addition to that, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), in 1873, in order to bring Ireland up to what it was thought she should be, proposed an additional grant of £18,000 a-year. He was aware that, at the present time, the Government did not propose to add to the endowments of the Irish Universities. Hem did not think, however, that they proposed to withdraw any portion of the existing grants; and, therefore, he should be prepared to base the claim of Wales upon the actual sums given to Ireland. If, then, the same proportionate amount, according to population, were given to Wales as Ireland received, the grant would amount to about £10,000 a-year—a sum which, according to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, would be so inadequate that a Government ought to endanger its existence in order to increase it. Now, he wished to know on what grounds the sums he had mentioned were paid to Scotland and Ireland, and nothing to Wales? He could not but dwell for a moment on the distinctive nationality of Wales, and would quote from the statement of the gentlemen who drew up the Report of the Census of 1871. They said that Cambria had as distinct a nationality as Ireland or Scotland, with a natural increase of 170,000 on a population of 1,426,000. The fact was, the Welsh were a separate race in language, temperament, and tradition. Their history cannot be ignored. The Welsh, the Cornish, the Irish Celtic population, and the Scotch Gaels, were the only pure blooded races now inhabiting these Islands. They claimed to descend from the ancient people that once inhabited the whole of England—namely, the Cymric Celts, who were in possession at the time of the landing of Julius Cæsar. One of the greatest experts on pre-historic races was his hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock), in whose opinion, based on the records of caves and tumuli, the race which occupied Britain before the Cymric Celts in many respects resembled the Esquimaux, who emigrated and were driven out at a period as remote as one of the great cold epochs placed by the late Sir Charles Lyell at about 800,000 years ago, and by his hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone about 200,000 years ago. Be that as it might, their antiquity was very great. It was known that the Romans occupied this country for some 500 years, and had in their own control all the military arrangements of the country. When they had withdrawn they were open to the attacks of the savage tribes of the Continent, and were unable to defend themselves, having lost the art of war. They sent a despatch from their Foreign Office to Rome, in which they said— The barbarians chase us into the sea; and the sea, on the other hand, throws us back on the barbarians; and we have only the hard choice left us to perish by the sword or by the waves. # The " barbarians " of that time were this now highly civilized nation. For 150 years they carried on the war; but at length they were driven back into Wales and Cornwall. They there remained fighting gallantly for 570 years more, and it was not until 1283 that they were finally subdued by Edward I. These were the traditions of the Welsh. They were a distinct nation, and when they heard their own national music, such as " March the men of Harlech," no man could conceive who had not lived among them how their souls were stirred. They had a separate nationality; their language was absolutely distinct; and there could be no better test than language. There was an entire separation in language between England and Wales; and, indeed, there was no such distinction between English and any other language of Europe, except the distinction between it and the Sclavonian and Greek languages. At present the number of Welsh-speaking people was estimated to be over 1,006,000. The Calvinistic Methodists, the -Congregationalists, the Baptists, and the Wesleyans in Wales numbered in their ranks 686,220 persons, exclusive of children under the age of 10, and of that number only 36,000 worshipped in the English language. If children under 10 were added, these four denominations alone would represent 870,220 persons who preferred to worship in the Welsh language. There were 12 newspapers in Welsh published weekly, having a circulation of 74,500; there were 18 magazines, with a circulation of 90,300; and five monthlies, with a circulation of 3,000. In addition to this, many standard works were being constantly translated into the Welsh language. The Welsh were an eminently religious people. He had seen many congregations in many parts of the world; but in no part had he found it so universally the case as it was in Wales, that as many men as women attended divine service, and that he considered a good test of real religious feeling. The Dean of Bangor had recently declared that the most strongly marked of all the sentiments of his countrymen were their powerful religious feelings; and in eloquent words he pointed out that in America the Welsh emigrants clung to their language and religion, and that the first building that arose in a Welsh village in America, as in the mining districts of Wales, was a simple house of prayer. One of their prophetic bards had said of the Welsh—" Their God shall they serve, their tongue shall they keep, their land shall they lose, except Wild Wales." They were a loyal and law-abiding people, and in support of that opinion he need only point to their conduct during the long strike of 20 weeks' duration which, unfortunately, took place two years ago. They were a poor people, and could not afford to go to the expensive Universities of England. As regarded crime, Wales compared most favourably with England. In England there were 14 persons in prison in every 20,000; in Wales nine. The commitments in England were 7 per cent; in Wales only 4 per cent. He had no desire, he might say, to do anything which would prevent any Welshman from acquiring a perfect knowledge of the English language. On the contrary, he desired that they should be more highly educated in the English tongue, in art, and in science. The Government, he thought, ought seriously to consider the points he had endeavoured to place before them. It was not for him to point out how they should deal with the question; but if he might venture upon one suggestion, he would say it was very desirable that their attention should be directed not alone to higher, but also to intermediate education in Wales, in precisely the same manner as it had been directed to the same questions in Ireland. He had received letters from the Bishops of Llandaff, Bangor, and St. Asaph on this question, with which he would not trouble the House; but he might say that they all alluded to the absolute want of proper intermediate education in Wales; and he had already shown that that feeling was general throughout the Principality. The deep interest that was felt in this matter in Wales must be beyond all doubt. Last year upwards of 100,000 persons subscribed towards the effort which had been made in founding the University College of Aberystwith; 256 Town Councils, Local Boards, and School Boards, representing a population of 1,042,874 persons, had presented a Memorial to the Government in support of that undertaking. One thing he would venture to warn the Government against. They did not want grants for denominational education. He thought he did not go too far in saying that the Welsh would not accept any grant of such a nature. He was happy to say that Her Majesty's Government had last year shown their feeling on this point in relation to the subject of intermediate education in Ireland, and in their view he entirely concurred. Wales paid taxes in support of the Scotch Universities and the Irish Universities; and if Wales had a separate nationality, what could be the reason why she should not be dealt with in a similar manner? Wales was a thoroughly loyal country. The Welsh laid down their lives in defence of their common Fatherland. If he wished to dilate on their bravery, he would only have to point to the heroic doings of the 23rd Regiment, the glorious record of whose deeds was embroidered on their Colours. The 24th Regiment, too, he might speak of. The depôt centre of that regiment was now at Brecon. At Isandlana one battalion had been cut to pieces; but they died shoulder to shoulder. Since the days of Ther-mopylæ there had not been a more gallant defence than that at Rorke's Drift, and that defence had been mainly conducted by Welshmen. A letter from the commanding officer of the 24th, in answer to a letter from the Mayor of Brecon, spoke of them in the highest possible terms. He could not see why justice should be refused to the Welsh, who paid equal taxes, and were as ready as others to lay down their lives for the sake of England. They had waited with patience, for since 1875 repeated representations to the Government had been attended with no success. He would now urge upon the Government that this was a serious question, and deeply involved the highest and best interests of a large portion of Her Majesty's subjects, who possessed a separate and distinct nationality, and who wished to have their rights. He hoped the Government would not meet the case with a non possumus, or with a non volumus. The question had now been raised, and must not, and would not, be shelved. Justice must be done. The Government had now a golden opportunity before it; and it might, by a small pecuniary grant, secure for ever the gratitude of a devoted, a loyal, but a long-neglected race. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.


said, he rose with diffidence, but with much gratification, to second the Resolution. Hon. Members would recognize the importance of the question before the House, and would bear with him while he appealed for aid to assist that higher education which the Welsh people had long and anxiously looked for, and which they had a right to expect. As a native of Wales, he rejoiced that the question had been brought before the House, where the claims of the Welsh people were but seldom heard. In other methods they had urged their claims on the Government for increased educational facilities; but they had been left behind other countries, and keenly felt the isolation in which they were placed. It was urged that Wales was so much a part of England that it did not need special educational facilities; but the argument was a false one. Scotland had four flourishing Universities under the fostering care of the Government. The students at Edinburgh University outnumbered those at all the Colleges of Oxford, while at St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Glasgow the Scottish youth, availing themselves of the high-class education at their own doors, achieved distinction in literature, science, and commerce, which was at once creditable to themselves and shed a lustre on the character and institutions of the country. The same might be said of Ireland. Why should they deny the like opportunities to Wales? Dr. Chalmers attributed the intellectual superiority of his countrymen to three causes—the appropriation of the Church endowments to a clergy exclusively national, the parish schools extended throughout the whole country, and the national Colleges. Many of what might have been the educational endowments of Wales were alienated for the support of distant monasteries in England, and the injustice was continued after the Reformation. Christ Church, Oxford, was in receipt of £14,000 a-year, derived from parishes in North Wales, chiefly in Montgomery-shire; and South Wales suffered still more lamentably. The introduction into Wales of clergymen ignorant of its language had largely aggravated the evils arising from the alienation of its resources. The time was passed when such wrongs could be committed, and statesmen of both parties had exhibited a desire to do justice to the country. Inasmuch as endowments had been taken from Wales wrongfully in the past, it might fairly claim some help to repair the injury it had suffered. He asked them to give to Wales something less than their due proportion, but something that would put them on a footing approaching that of the rest of the Kingdom. Their claim was one that could not be resisted. Wales had suffered inequality of treatment in the past, and the result was that she suffered from inadequate resources now. A remarkable pamphlet, recently issued from Jesus College, Oxford, showed that the secondary schools of Wales were poorly endowed as compared with these of England, having, in proportion to population, only about one-third of the endowment. Notwithstanding this, he would not admit that Wales had been intellectually barren, but claimed that, under great disadvantages, Welshmen had done wonders in providing religious ministrations and promoting the social and moral welfare of the people. " In their need they forged the weapons of self-help." But poverty had produced its natural effect in reducing the number of students seeking higher education, which was 33 per 1,000,000 in Wales, for 158 in England. The unanimity of the Welsh Members on this subject was a proof of the feeling of the country. They only wanted fair play; and their righteous demands ought not to be set aside by pleas of delay or of the necessity of taking a new departure. Their wrongs had been exceptional, and they claimed exceptional remedies. They did not ask for millions, like the Irish, or for tens of thousands, as were given to Scotland, nor even for their due share in proportion to their numbers or their contributions to the Exchequer; they only asked for a modest aid to enable them to provide encouragement to their young men, who, with equal intelligence, had not equal advantages with the young men of the other portions of the Kingdom. The working classes, the farmers, the tradesmen, and even the women of Wales had contributed many thousands to the College at Aberystwith, and great efforts had been made to revive grammar schools; but they had been crippled by want of resources, and they now appealed to the Government for that help without which their efforts must fail in producing the desired results. A revision of the existing school endowments might, to some extent, forward their objects; and the scheme for the administration of Jesus College, Oxford, now under consideration, might prove one that would increase the usefulness of that College, and advance the higher education of the Welsh people. It would be asked what plan they had to urge? He did not wish to advocate any specific plan—many men had many minds; and all he could say was that there was a growing necessity that something should be done, which necessity was recognized on all sides. Ireland put forward her claims, and Wales, which had for a long time been placed in a state of educational destitution, had an equal right to urge hers. It had been said, over and over again, that Wales was as much an independent part of the country as any other portion of the British Islands, and her wants had been generally admitted. At all events, they could not wipe out the distinct nationality; and he considered that the Welsh people, under all the circumstances, had deserved well of this House.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, in the opinion of this House, it is the duty of the Government to consider the best means of assisting any local effort which may be made for supplying the deficiency of higher Education in Wales."—(Mr. Hussey Vivian.)


, in supporting the Motion, controverted the argument that those who desired aid from the Government in this matter were really striving to keep up Welsh exclusiveness and antagonism to English influence. Their aim, if attained, would have a contrary effect. He believed that the presence of University Professors in Wales would add very much to the independence of the Welsh people. It had been said that the great want was an improved system of secondary and grammar schools. There was, no doubt, much truth in this contention; but this Resolution .was designed to benefit those who were beyond the age of school discipline. There was a feeling which prevailed among many people in Wales, that they had been robbed in former days of much money that should have gone for the purposes of education, and, no doubt, that was a grievance that had some reality. He appealed to the Government to consider this question seriously. The claim now put forward was based, he believed, on the united wish of the Welsh people, the justice of whose cause was only equalled by the moderation of their demands.


said, that what was asked of the Government was that they should consider the best means of assisting local efforts to supply the deficiency of education in Wales, and he hoped they would see their way to granting so moderate a request. He would, however, suggest a modification in the form of the Resolution. That part of it which referred to local efforts might, with advantage, he extended. As it stood at present, it only urged the Government to follow in the wake of local efforts; but this restriction was unnecessary. It would be better to leave the Government open to go further. What he was anxious to see was a full, searching inquiry, conducted by Commission or otherwise, into the position of Wales as regarded higher education; and he should not wish either that any limit should be placed on the extent of the inquiry, or that the Government should be committed to any particular scheme. It would not be wise to fetter the Government in any way. Hon. Members might say that all they wanted was a grant for Aberystwith College; but he doubted whether that would really advance the interests of higher education. It was not the only College that required consideration, as there were also Lampeter College, Christ's College, Brecon, and the Grammar Schools and Nonconformist Colleges, all of which had to be regarded before any adequate scheme could be formed. He wished to move, as an Amendment, to leave out the words " assisting any local efforts which may be made," believing that his hon. Friend would, if he acceded that Amendment, gain all he sought without hampering the inquiry in a needless or even a mischievous manner. They asked the Government to make the admission that Wales had a claim on the public purse. They might be told, perhaps, that the Principality was rather a small place, or that it would be better for its young men to go to English Universities. Of course, Wales was a small country, but it was not like any English county. Its language at once placed it on a different footing, and made it as distinct from England as Scotland or Ireland. That being so, the same arguments that gave Scotland and Ireland grants from the public purse ought to obtain similar advantages for Wales. As for the other objection, he would remark that the higher education of the English Universities was mainly a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, and that those who could afford to do so would always go to them. That, however, was not possible for all, and it was on behalf of the less wealthy class that he was pleading that day. It might be said—" You come to the Government for a money grant; where is your scheme?" To that he would answer that he believed it would be impossible to draw up a scheme that would be acceptable to all concerned without holding a full inquiry. The ground, he had pointed out, was already occupied. Great care would be needed to deal gently with, and to utilize as far as possible, all existing institutions; and he did not think any inquiry would be of sufficient weight unless it were instituted by the Government of the day. He believed that if such aid as they sought were given, after careful inquiry and due consideration, for all existing Colleges and schools, a scheme might be drawn up which would utilize and consolidate those institutions which already existed, widen their sphere of usefulness, and confer a lasting benefit upon the people of Wales. He moved the omission from the Resolution of the words " of assisting any local efforts which may be made."

Amendment proposed, to leave out the words " assisting any local effort which may be made for."—(Viscount Emlyn.)

Question proposed, " That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he thought that by this time Her Majesty's .Government would have perceived that, in the first place, this was a subject wholly detached from all considerations of Party; and, in the second place, that the substance of the Motion, which had been brought forward with so much pains and so much ability by his hon. Friend, commanded the approval and warm support of all those who were, in a Parliamentary sense, Welsh Members of the House. The noble Lord who had just addressed the House had moved an Amendment to the Motion before the House; but the House would not fail to observe that it had unlimited scope. His hon. Friend had made a limited demand; but the noble Lord proposed to remove that limit, and to make the demand of a large character. He must say he did not prefer the Amendment to the Motion, and for this reason—he thought it was not well that they should throw a large and exclusive responsibility upon the Government in this matter. The noble Lord stated that he considered local effort a condition not merely useful and not merely desirable, but absolutely necessary in the matter. If local effort was not quite indispensable, he confessed he did not see any objection to their specifying it. The Amendment of the noble Lord did not exclude local effort; and if the Amendment were more agreeable to Her Majesty's Government than the Motion, he did not think the Mover of the Motion would present any serious opposition to the enlargement. His object in rising was to bear what might be considered in some respects an impartial testimony on behalf of the movement. Geographically speaking, he lived within the limits of Wales; but he resided in a parish of 8,000 persons, where no Welsh was spoken except by those who had migrated to the parish within the last few years. The associations of the parish were quite as English as Welsh; and the witness he wished to bear was really witness not founded at all upon what affected his own immediate neighbourhood in any sense or degree. He wished to commend this subject to the careful attention of Her Majesty's Government. It was very rare for the people of Wales or their Representatives to urge any local claims whatever upon the attention of the Government or of Parliament. In this vast Empire those who were acquainted with it, mainly through the medium of Parliamentary discussions and reports, might almost suppose that such a country as Wales did not exist; that it was merely a geographical expression describing so many square miles without any distinctive features, without any history, or literature, or traditions. Such had been the patience of the people of Wales. He did not hesitate to say that while that patience was greatly to be commended, it had been pushed to extremes. The Welsh people would have been more justified in making endeavours, through their Representatives, long ago to convey to the mind of Parliament an idea that they had some distinctive and special claims to which no recognition had yet been given, but to which it was high time some recognition should be afforded. Let them just consider how the matter stood. The noble Lord had most fairly and justly compared the case of Wales with that of Scotland and Ireland, and distinctions undoubtedly might be drawn. They might say that Scotland had had for a great length of time an entirely independent existence as a separate Kingdom, and had had what was justly called, in a political sense, and as regarded Scotland, an Imperial, that was to say, a Sovereign, and independent Crown. The case of Wales could hardly, perhaps, be considered as standing in the same category, because Wales passed at once from a state of comparative political disorganization to a state of subordination to England; but there was this to be said—that in many respects Wales, if it had less of a distinctive, historical, and political existence than Scotland, it had even a more marked nationality. That was a fact which could not be too strongly impressed upon the minds of hon. Gentlemen. Take the significant and almost infallible test of language. There was in Wales a population of something like 1,500,000; there was in Scotland a population of 3,500,000; and in Ireland a population of 5,500,000. In Scotland and Ireland there were 9,000,000 people; but amongst the 1,500,000 of the inhabitants of Wales there were a larger number of human beings who loved and clung to and who spoke their national tongue than there were among the 0,000,000 of Scotland and Ireland; and that was not owing to Parliamentary encouragement. Nothing Welsh had had Parliamentary encouragement since the Revolution of 1688. During the Tudor and Stuart reigns Wales received not only equitable but liberal treatment. Unfortunately, however, after that period there was in the entourage of the Throne, and in the Throne itself, an idea that by proscribing the language of the people Wales would be more loyal and one with England. The consequence was that the Welsh language was not only negatively but entirely and cruelly ignored at the hands of Parliament, and it was most cruelly treated through the medium of its religious institutions. The hon. Member (Mr. Puleston), who seconded the Motion, spoke of the great advantage the people of Scotland had enjoyed in having her Church identified with the people. No doubt, that was an immense advantage. If they were to go back two or three centuries, there could be no question that, apart from all questions of establishment or disestablishment, the National Church, whatever else it was, was a vehicle by means of which the national and political life of the country was brought forward. The National Church in Scotland was of immense service to the people in fostering the national intelligence, and there was no reason why that should not have been the case in Wales. It was the same in Wales until the proscription of the Welsh tongue was established. A remarkable circumstance about Wales was that its religious condition 200 years ago was totally different from what it was now. They all knew that the Welsh were a nation of Nonconformists, for the Churchmen formed only a small percentage of the population. Two hundred years ago the Welsh were strictly a nation of Churchmen. The old Puritanism, which was so powerful in many parts of England, took no root whatever in Wales. It seemed good to the authorities, partly after the Revolution, and partly after the succession of the House of Hanover, to appoint English Bishops to every See. These Bishops introduced men of their own nationality; indeed, there was not a deanery or a canonry, and a living which offered a distinct existence, that was not given to an Englishman. The dregs, consequently, were left to the people of Wales. The people of Wales were driven out of connection with that great national institution which, in time, would have afforded means for the cultivation of the national intelligence, so that Parliament and the British Government had not only done nothing for Wales, they had not only withheld from Wales the aid that had been given, especially during the present century, to Scotland and Ireland, with more or less liberality, according to the views they maintained, but they positively drove the people of Wales out of the enjoyment of the only institution which offered any means of fostering and educating the national mind. Now, he contended that the position of Wales, the history of Wales, and the state of Wales, invested it with a claim which could not be much longer overlooked. His hon. Friend who made this Motion had shown that the people of Wales did not find their way into the enjoyment of higher education in the same proportion as the people of any other portion of the United Kingdom. That was not their own fault. Undoubtedly, they had shown quite as great a disposition to profit by the advantages of education whenever they had access to it, as had been shown by the people of Scotland itself. The Welsh cherished amongst themselves a literature of their own, institutions of their own, for keeping alive their national tradition; and the warmth of feeling which they entertained on those subjects, the affectionate manner in which they clung to those recollections, must command them respect. There were some who argued that the Welsh language was a misfortune to the Welsh, and that the sooner it was got rid of the better. He hesitated to subscribe to that doctrine. It was not the abstract question they had to consider as to whether an absolute unity of tongue was desirable. Where they had a large population warmly and closely attached to its tongue, and where that tongue was an emblem of the traditions they had received from their fathers, that attachment was one which ought to be respected, and any measure introduced under the supposition that they ought to be weaned from the use of their language ought to deprecated. He agreed with the noble Lord that the full accomplishment of the object in view would not prevent the access of Welshmen to English Universities. On the contrary, lie was persuaded that the establishment of a higher education in Wales would result in bringing a larger number of students to the English Universities; but it was not the less true that the operation of Jesus College, Oxford, had, down to this time, been in the main to bring from Wales a certain number of selected youth who were placed in English associations, and were thus weaned from their language. It had done nothing for Wales as Wales. The claim of Wales was very strong. The hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Richard) published in the newspaper some time since a number of most interesting letters, which put before the world the intense desire of the people of Wales for the advantages of education and literature, and the disadvantages under which they laboured, and the total and absolute want of that assistance which was given to others. That, on the whole, made so strong a case for Wales that he could hardly conceive any one questioning it. He did not know what might be the intention of Her Majesty's Government on the subject; but it was quite evident that no instant measure was asked for. It would be very difficult perhaps to decide, without much inquiry and consideration, what were the precise steps that ought to be taken. It would be a great misfortune, he thought, if this Motion said one thing and meant another. To the founders of this College great praise was due; but he thought it would be a great injustice to the subject, and even to the founders of this College, meritorious as they were, if it wore supposed that an exclusive regard to its interests was the object of this Motion, or that the Motion was intended to prejudge the case of any other College. The present College had had to struggle with great difficulties; therefore, he would simply say that ho earnestly commended the Motion to a favourable and impartial consideration. Nothing was more alien to his usual habits than to press upon a Government an addition to the public charge. It was only here where there was a state of things so thoroughly inequitable that induced him to think that Government would be discharging a public duty were they to recognize the reasonableness of the grounds upon which the Motion was founded. Nobody acquainted with the native intelligence of the Welsh people, with their disposition to obey the law, with the comparative absence of crime among the people—violent crime, he believed, was almost unknown—but must admit that all the features in the condition of the country were of the most encouraging character. The void to be filled was a void which simple justice called on them to endeavour to supply. No prejudice of Party or religious distinction could possibly obstruct the consideration of the question. There was no intention, as far as lie was aware, to establish any distinction on behalf of the Colleges of Wales, as compared with Colleges in any other portion of the country; and he could not but cherish the hope that, before the discussion closed, Her Majesty's Government would, without giving any pledge so stringent as to unduly fetter their future liberty, in some shape or other recognize the fairness of the claim made, and would encourage his bon. Friend and others, whose knowledge might be available in the prosecution of the subject, to persevere with their intentions, in the hope that those intentions might ere long take effect in the removal of inequalities which now existed, and that a measure might be adopted which, he felt satisfied, would bear fruit a hundred-fold.


admitted that the denominational Colleges in Wales were doing a great deal of good, but reminded the House that the majority of the inhabitants of the Principality were Nonconformists, and that any educational institution designed to meet their requirements must be based on un-sectarian principles, which would give no prerogative to one religious faith over another. All hon. Members appeared to be agreed as to the necessity of some assistance being given for the promotion of high-class education in Wales. The speech of his hon. Friend the Mover of the Resolution before the House clearly showed what the position was which was taken up by the Welsh people on the subject; and he would ask the Government carefully to consider what was the object which it was sought to attain. The people of Wales had endeavoured to establish a free University College, and that was the sort of institution they wanted to maintain. They had got together between £50,000 and £60,000 for the establishment of that College, and they had hitherto kept it up by means of voluntary subscriptions, amounting to £3,000 a-year, as a sustentation fund. What they now required was a subsidy for that College at Aberystwith, which was free and open to all, which they had established by their own unaided efforts. They desired to see that College placed upon a safe and sure footing; and, speaking on their behalf, he must say that he felt greatly indebted to those right hon. Gentlemen who sat upon the Treasury Bench for the interest which their presence that evening in the House testified that they felt in the important subject of high-class education in Wales. He would repeat, that what the Welsh people really wanted was that the College of Aberystwith should be made a safe and permanent institution in which young men might receive a free un-sectarian education. In making that request they were, he contended, asking for no more than had already been freely given to England, and Scotland, and Ireland; for he begged the House to bear in mind that Wales was the only nation in the United Kingdom which had never had any aid or consideration extended to it in the matter of high-class education. Men in the position of Dissenters in Wales were obliged to send their sons to the Universities of Germany or Scotland to receive that instruction which the Government denied them the means of obtaining at home. When the question of his own education was being considered by his family, it was found that, being a Nonconformist, he could not go to the University of Oxford or Cambridge. He was, therefore, sent to Glasgow—and he was now glad that he went there—where he received that education which he could not get in his own country. And why, he should like to know, should Wales have no consideration extended to her in the matter? She had always been faithful to England throughout all her difficulties and dangers. The Welsh people had fought side by side with England, and had always shown that they were desirous of being sharers in the glory, and of casting in their lot with the destiny of the English nation. Lately a portion of the inhabitants of Wales had passed through a great crisis in Glamorganshire. Thousands of the working classes there had been thrown out of employment; but they had borne their difficulties and privations in silence. They never murmured, or caused the Government a moment's anxiety by their conduct, because they were loyal and true, and prepared to wait peaceably to have their case considered. There were, he might add, no people in the Kingdom who had a greater thirst for knowledge than the Welsh, or who were more anxious to learn and to advance themselves in the world. When young Welshmen had the opportunity afforded them of competing with others in the Universities of Europe or America, they had always held their own; and all that they now asked the House of Commons to do was to aid them in maintaining the modest institution which, as he had already stated, had been established by means of voluntary contributions, and which was specially adapted to the circumstances of Wales. The Welsh people had no wish to perpetuate dissensions between nationalities; and, in his opinion, the sooner all historic distinctions drawn between the various parts of the Kingdom were abolished the better. There were, at the same time, certain peculiar circumstances connected with the nationality of Wales of which the Government ought not entirely to lose sight. They had to deal with a case in which the inhabitants of the locality had established for themselves an unsectarian institution; and it was but right, he thought, that they should not refuse to listen to the appeal which was made to them to place that institution on a permanent basis, and thus to provide the means by which those young men who might wish to do so might obtain a high- class education without being driven to the necessity of seeking it elsewhere.


said, he had listened with great attention to the exhaustive speech in which the hon. Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian) had introduced the subject to the notice of the House, but that he had failed to learn from that speech what the real meaning was of the Resolution which the hon. Gentleman had submitted to the notice of the House. Several other hon. Members, representing Welsh constituencies, had also spoken in the course of the discussion; but the interpretation which they had, for the most part, put upon the Resolution only tended to render its meaning even more doubtful than it was before. The hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs (Mr. Hanhury - Tracy), speaking on behalf of the Welsh people, said they wanted a University; and his noble Friend the Member for Carmarthen (Viscount Emlyn), to whose speech great attention was paid by hon. Members sitting in every part of the House, said that money, and not a University, was that which was required by those who supported the Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, who followed his noble Friend, spoke with caution; but stated it to be his opinion that the question raised by the Motion could no longer be overlooked, although he admitted that it was one with which it was exceedingly difficult to deal, and went on to point out that it might be desirable that an inquiry should be instituted into the subject before any further steps with regard to it were taken. So great a divergency of opinion tended to place the Government in a position of some embarrassment. But the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down had put a clear, distinct, and unmistakable interpretation upon the Motion before the House. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. B. Williams), speaking on behalf of a Welsh constituency, informed the House that what the Welsh people wanted was a subsidy for the College at Aberystwith. Now hon. Members knew exactly what the Resolution meant; and he could not help thinking, when ho first saw it on the Notice Paper, and when he listened to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved it, that its real meaning was that which the hon. and learned Member (Mr. B. Williams) had explained it to be. He was all the more inclined to take that view because, on two previous occasions, an appeal had been made to the Government on behalf of this particular College. In 1875 an appeal was made on its behalf by Lord Aberdare; and in 1877 a very large and influential deputation, composed of leading Welshmen, waited upon his noble Friend the Duke of Richmond and laid before him a definite proposal, which was to the effect that the Treasury should make a grant of £5,000 to increase the funds of the College, and that they should place on the Estimates a further sum of £2,500 each year to be devoted to its maintenance. He would also point out that the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Motion spoke not only of higher-class but also of intermediate education—in some respects making an ambiguous, but in others an unmistakable appeal to Her Majesty's Government to aid intermediate education in Wales by a grant from the Consolidated Fund. Well, he did not mean to contend that, because of the difference of opinion which had been expressed on the subject, Her Majesty's Government ought not on that account to consider it. The hon. Member (Mr. Hussey Vivian) had shown that there was a strong opinion in Wales, which was not confined to a particular class, as to the deficiency of higher education in the Principality, and that it might be well that Her Majesty's Government should do something to supply that deficiency. Now, great stress had been laid on the nationality of Wales; and he did not deny that the hon. Member had given them statistical facts which showed that the Welsh, so far as their nationality' was concerned, were quite distinct from their fellow-subjects in other parts of the United Kingdom. But he could not help thinking that the plea of nationality was not the foundation on which the Motion was based; and he was confirmed in that opinion by what had fallen from more than one speaker in the course of the debate. It was, no doubt, a very agreeable argument to put forward that one spoke on behalf of a people whose language no one could understand—[A laugh]—he meant no Englishman could understand—a people who were justly proud of their traditions, and were, in consequence of natural traditions, desirous that a national University should be established among them. It was, however, a singular fact that every hon. Member who spoke had been educated at a University, although there was no University in Wales. It was admitted that those who were in a position to do so would still send their sons to Oxford and Cambridge; and the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken had said that he was in favour of degrees being continued to be conferred on all educated young Welshmen, who were able to bear the expense, by the University of London. What, then, became of the plea of nationality? The real ground on which the Resolution was based was that Wales was a peer country, and that the few endowments which she possessed were devoted to sectarian education; but, assuming that the force of that was admitted, was it a sufficient reason, he would ask, for agreeing to the Resolution—of drawing upon the Consolidated Fund? Let him suppose that Cornwall could establish a separate nationality, and that she set up a similar plea—what would be said in that case? The question was, where were they to stop? If they allowed the soundness of the argument urged in support of the validity of the plea, he could not see how they could prevent its being almost universally expanded. In dealing with the Resolution, therefore, the House would do well, in his opinion, to regard it as not being applicable simply to Wales, but to the case of secondary education in England also; because, although assistance had undoubtedly been given to the Universities of Scotland, and recently to certain Colleges in Ireland, he was, he believed, correct in saying it had never been our policy to give such assistance for the promotion of secondary or University education in England. He was merely stating objections to the Resolution which at once occurred to him, and they were, he was sure, objections which would be appreciated by every person who had studied the difficult position in which University education stood in other parts of Her Majesty's dominions, and who would, he thought, agree with him that the House ought not by a side-wind to pass a Resolution which either meant nothing, or, if it meant anything, affirmed a principle which was capable of indefinite application. He was anxious, he might add, to place before the House certain facts which showed what was the actual condition of the University College in Wales. It appeared from The Western News, and other Welsh newspapers, that a very serious dispute was going on between the College and the Governing Body, and that the students were in rebellion and refused to be examined, while a serious disagreement existed between the Council and the Senate. The most influential of the local newspapers were, it appeared, taking different sides in this quarrel, which was every day assuming larger proportions. In these circumstances, it was clear that the Government should hesitate before making grants from the public Exchequer to such a College, because the money might possibly be expended, not upon education but upon litigation. But these were not the only objections to which the Resolution was open. No doubt a great desire existed in Wales, as it did in England, to obtain University degrees; and why? Because a degree was a mark of merit. But there was always the danger that, in proportion as the number of Universities in a country were increased, the value of a degree would be diminished. The Resolution, too, sought to pledge the House to assist local efforts, not now being made, but which might be made at some future time; and it was, he believed, almost the invariable rule, that when Government gave grants in aid of local efforts they should know exactly how the money was to be expended, and what the local efforts were which they were asked to assist. But, in the present instance, it was proposed that the action of the Government should be immediate, while the local efforts were to be prospective; and the only result of passing the Resolution in its present shape would be that the House would be pledging itself to assist, by a grant of public money, some local efforts, no matter what they might be, which might hereafter be made. Another reason why, at the present moment, even with the utmost anxiety to supply any deficiency of that kind in Wales, they ought to hesitate was, that there was now before the Government a proposal to grant a Charter to a Northern University. The proposal which was made on behalf of Owens College, and various other Northern Colleges, was not that they should receive any assistance from the public Exchequer, but simply that they should have a Charter for a University, with the power of conferring degrees. It seemed to him that the wants of North Wales would, to a certain extent, be met by the creation of such a University, for he believed that it would be quite as easy for students from North Wales to go to Manchester as to any other part of the country. A further reason why the House should hesitate to accept the Resolution was that the authorities of Jesus College were at present revising their statutes; and it was possible that they might make some proposal which would give greater facilities for the higher education of Welsh students than those which now existed. For these reasons he was afraid, therefore, that he could not, on the part of the Government, hold out any hope of their assenting to this Resolution as it now stood. It was true its terms were somewhat vague; but it was equally clear that its ardent supporters attached to it a meaning which could not be acceded by the Government. On the other hand, the House had had a most interesting discussion, and there was, undoubtedly, a great desire on the part of all the Welsh Members to supply the existing deficiency. He, therefore, suggested that it would be just as well to wait a little time before any definite proposal was made by those Members to the Government. Let them wait and see whether they could make a real success of the College established at Aberystwith; also how far the Northern University about to be created would meet the wants of Welsh students; what was the exact nature of the alterations to be made in the statutes of Jesus College; and whether the system of local examinations connected with the older Universities would do anything towards affording facilities for higher education in Wales. It would be possible, shortly, to obtain information on all these points; and he was prepared, on the part of the Government, to undertake that if, after that, it was found that something further ought to be done, an inquiry, such as had been suggested by the right hon. Member for Greenwich, should be made. But it was essential that there should first be a full inquiry into all the circumstances he had mentioned. He thought it was impossible for the House to assent at this moment to an abstract Resolution such as the one before it; but if the hon. Gentleman who moved the Resolution decided to test the feeling of the House by a division, he should feel disposed, on behalf of the Government, to move the Previous Question, as he did not wish, admitting the deficiencies of higher education in Wales that did exist, to throw cold water on any sincere effort made for its improvement.


said, that the noble Lord had raked up some very sensational paragraphs from a local newspaper, descriptive of some very stormy proceedings which had occurred in the Senate of the Welsh College; but he could inform the noble Lord that those matters could be very satisfactorily explained. On behalf of the University College of Wales, he could assure the noble Lord that no Welsh Member would think of asking the Government to grant money for the purpose of a Welsh University, unaccompanied by conditions for its fullest inspection and control. He should not have troubled the House but for one observation of the noble Lord, who stated that it would be a very good thing if Welsh students could be induced to go to Oxford or Cambridge, at the former of which Universities they had a College of their own. He further stated, that every hon. Member from Wales who had addressed the House had been to an English University. But they were not taking the part of Gentlemen in the position of his hon. Friend the Member for Glamorgan, or the noble Lord opposite, who were able to afford to go to an English University, but they were speaking on behalf of the great body of Welshmen. As regarded the great majority of students in the Principality, they were just as well able to go to Salamanca or Padua as to the great English Universities. No doubt there was a Welsh College, more or less richly endowed, at Oxford; but there were two features in the University education given there which practically excluded the greater number of Welshmen from taking advantage of those benefits. Jesus College, Oxford, was still a denominational institution; for, although they had passed an Act of Parliament by which theological tests had been abolished, yet it was impossible to abolish the character or spirit of an institution by Act of Parliament; and, like every other College at Oxford, except one—Jesus—it was, in every sense of the word, a Church of England institution. He did not say it was still necessary to subscribe the Articles of Religion; but at Jesus College all students were, as a rule, compelled to attend the Church of England services in the Chapel. One effect of the system would be seen from an extract in The University Calendar, which he would read. It stated that there were upon the books of Jesus College 94 members, exclusive of members upon the foundation, who had taken the degree of Master of Arts; no less than 72 out of that number, or nearly 80 per cent, were not only members of the Church of England, but actually clergymen of the Church of England; so that the clerical element at Jesus College stood to the lay element in the proportion of 4 to 1. But that was just the proportion which in Wales the Nonconformists bore to the members of the Church of England. How, then, could they expect any Nonconformist to go to that College, or their parents to send them there, if they could be sent to any other? There was, therefore, that feature in connection with Jesus College which made it impossible for the majority of Welshmen to take advantage of that College. But there was another objection to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and that was that the age at which young men usually went there was 19 or 20. He wished to call attention to this very important point, for it concerned, in a material degree, the question, not only of Welsh University education, but of all University education. The chief educational problem of the future would be to provide education for those young men who were too old to be submitted to the discipline of a school, but who could not afford the time, nor the expense, which attached to the education they could receive at an English University. To these young men time was money; and they had to begin the business of life at the very time young men of fortune entered the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge. These were the young men for whom it was sought to provide by the proposed University College at Aberystwith; men who were provided for in Scotland by the Universities which existed there—which were, in fact, high schools. He thought the University College of Wales was, therefore, entitled to the favourable consideration of the Government; because it was the only academical institution which could give to the people of Wales the University education which they wanted. Look at what had been done for Scotland. Parliament annually voted a sum of money, amounting to £20,000, to keep up the four Scotch Universities. He did not say that that sum was too much, nor did he begrudge it—in fact, he did not think that in the whole Budget they would find another £20,000 so well expended. But Wales had a population nearly half as large as that of Scotland, and was entitled to the same advantages which were given to it. Let them look, also, at Ireland. He would not take into account the magnificently endowed institutions of Trinity College, Dublin, the endowments of which belonged to history; but, within living memory, they had endowed a second University in Ireland with a lavish hand—with so lavish a hand, in fact, that he could state, on the authority of an hon. Gentleman, that at one of the Colleges in that University there were actually more scholarships than scholars. And Parliament was now asked to endow a third University in Ireland, and to appropriate £1,500,000 of public money for the purpose. At the risk of some unpopularity, and even misrepresentation, he had given a qualified support to that proposal, mainly because it came backed by the large majority of the Irish people. If he went into the subject, however, he was afraid he might draw upon his head a storm which would sweep him away, and he would, therefore, say no more about it. All he would say was that he thought it the duty of the State to meet the people half-way in a matter of this kind, and to encourage and foster those generous aspirations after a higher education which he believed to be amongst the healthiest and most hopeful signs of the times. The question of the University for Ireland bad been treated by him as a purely Irish question; and he hoped that the question that they were debating that night would be considered by his Friends below the Gangway solely as a Welsh question. He was quite sure that everyone would feel grateful to his hon. Friend for having brought this matter forward; and especially would the natives of the Principality be grateful to him, for there were no people in the whole of the United Kingdom—not even in Scotland—who were so deeply sensible of the value of higher education than the people of Wales. What could show their sense of the value of University education more than the history of this University College in Wales? It was established in 1872; and since that it had been supported, literally, by the pence of the poor —by sixpences and pence subscribed at the chapel doors in Wales—by scholarships founded by quarrymen, out of money earned by the sweat of their brow. He thought the people of Wales were entitled to some recognition from the State for what they had done in this matter. It might be very well for the noble Lord to talk about what had been done in Lancashire, and the establishment of a University there; but what comparison was there between the Lancashire cotton lords and the poor colliers and quarrymen of Wales? When the Wigan colliers were found clubbing together their weekly wages to found an exhibition for Owens College, then, and not till then, would he admit that there was any analogy between the two cases. There was no part of the United Kingdom which had suffered so much from the terrible depression the trade of the country was now undergoing as Wales. Nearly every day he received letters from men who, a few years ago, were in positions of comparative luxury, but who now did not know where to turn for the necessaries of life. Was it wonderful that, under circumstances such as those, the subscriptions for a University College had fallen off? He feared that, unless some aid were forthcoming from the State, this University College of Wales, which was doing well a great and noble work, might fall to the ground altogether. And if that should happen, it would be a disgrace not only to Wales but to England also. They did not ask much from the Government—not more than they were in the habit of shooting away on a single morning over the heads of a couple of hundred Zulus. And, now, he would wish to make a bargain with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They had heard a good deal about bargains with the Government on University questions lately; but the bargain lie proposed should be a perfectly open one. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary knew very well that there was no part of Her Majesty's Dominions which gave less trouble than Wales; the Judges could tell them what little crime existed in Wales, and how, when they passed from England into Wales, it was like going from darkness into light. They had the criminal statistics of the country before them; and ho challenged the right hon. Gentleman to say that there was any part of the United Kingdom which would compare with Wales in respect of its absence from crime. Why, they could not, in the whole six counties of North Wales, scrape together a sufficient number of prisoners to justify the holding of an autumn Assize. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to give them back, in the shape of a University grant, one-fourth of what they saved him in prisons and police; and if he would do that, he thought that the bargain would be alike honourable and satisfactory, both to the Government and to the people of the Principality.


said, that the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council had entirely mistaken the arguments used by various hon. Members who had spoken in support of the Motion. It had never been supposed by any hon. Member that this demand which was made upon the Government was made on account of the poverty of the Welsh people. They had not come there to present a Petition from the Welsh people in forma pauperis, nor to ask the Government to give a grant to the College of Aberystwith, because they were poor. Their demand was a simple one, and it was this—Wales had a right to be placed on the same footing with England, Scotland, and Ireland in regard to University education. They demanded that as of right, and if they were not entitled to it they would not ask for it. But they were entitled to it as of right. They said that, owing to its history, Wales had been under special disadvantages, which had been, in a great measure, owing to its connection with England, and its conquest by the English people at an early period of history. The English people destroyed the institutions which existed in Wales at a very early period. The celebrated University at Bangor-is-y-Coed, where, amongst other renowned men, Pelagius was brought up, was destroyed by the invaders. There were in South Wales other Universities which had continued in existence for a much longer period than the one he had mentioned. Those institutions were destroyed in consequence of the turbulent times following the invasion of the country by England; and, ever since, the Welsh had never had an opportunity of placing themselves on the footing of other nationalities in respect of University education. In the time of Elizabeth, when there was an effort made to benefit the Welsh people, instead of establishing a College in Wales a Welsh College was founded at Oxford. At the same time that the Welsh College was established at Oxford, Trinity College was founded at Dublin for the benefit of the people of Ireland. If the same course had been adopted as was taken with regard to Ireland, in all probability the Welsh people would not then have been under the necessity of coming forward and making the claim which they now did. On behalf of Wales, they put their demand forward as a matter of right; because they said that Wales had the same right as England, and Scotland, and Ireland to University education, and was entitled to the same grants which those two Kingdoms received. The noble Lord had commented upon divergences which he said existed between the demands put forward by hon. Members; but he would tell him that there was no real difference in the requests put forward by hon. Members. They all agreed that it would be desirable for the Government to make a grant to the College at Aberystwith—they all agreed that it would be very desirable, indeed, if the Government would take up the whole subject of higher education in Wales. But if they would simply make a grant to the College of Aberystwith, they would do as much as could be expected, and would show some consideration for the benefit of the Welsh people. In those demands they were all agreed; and the only difficulty that existed was that his hon. Friend the Member for Carmarthen had brought the latter more prominently forward than anybody else did. The noble Lord had taken pains to expose the present position of the College, and had endeavoured to show, by a number of extracts from local newspapers—papers which were destitute of influence in the Principality, and made themselves ridiculous by the views which they took, and were exceedingly glad to find any opportunity of raising a little storm in order to increase their circulation—that the Council of the College of Aberystwith was by no means united in itself. No doubt there had been some disagreement between the Council and the Senate of the College. But that was a disagreement which was produced by a misunderstanding; and he was happy to be able to inform the noble Lord and the House that this disagreement had been altogether settled. The Council and the Senate of the College at Aberystwith had explained matters to each other, and no further controversy really existed between the two bodies. The noble Lord had gone on to say that it would be a pity that the House should be obliged to negative this Motion, and hold out vague promises as to what he might do in certain improbable events. He said the Government could not be expected to sanction a grant to this College until it proved itself to be a success; but if, after it had been fully established, the people of Wales wanted help, Her Majesty's Government might be disposed to consider the matter. The answer to that was obvious. If they waited till the College was a financial success, they would not have very much to thank Her Majesty's Government or the House of Commons for. If it were a success, and when it was a success, they would not want any further help from any quarter. And as to the University to be established in the North of England, they would have to wait a very long time to see if it would be of any use. The people of North Wales might possibly find some benefit from that institution; but with regard to the greater part of the country, he could not see that this Northern University would be of any use to them. All the Government said really was, "Wait a few years." They were to wait until certain events had taken place before Her Majesty's Government would decide whether or not they should have the grant which they asked for. He would ask the noble Lord if he would undertake that his Party would be then in power? Such promises meant nothing; and he would ask Her Majesty's Government to state straightforwardly what they meant to do. If they did not mean to give this grant, let them negative the Motion; and if they did not care to do that, let them make some more distinct promise than saying that when something which might never happen had taken place, the matter would be considered. He hoped that his hon. Friend the Member for Glamorgan would go to a division upon his Motion, in order that they might see who were their friends and who were their foes. If Her Majesty's Government absolutely refused what was now asked, then they would understand who were their friends, and would wait for better times, and for an opportunity of bringing the matter forward again.


rose for the purpose of correcting an observation of the hon. and learned Member for Denbigh (Mr. Osborne Morgan), who had asserted that Nonconformists at Jesus College, Oxford, were obliged to attend at the chapel. Having been at that College at a later period than the hon. and learned Member, he could assure him that no such thing now existed, and that no Nonconformist was obliged to attend the chapel.


thought that the remarks he had made in bringing forward this Motion were of a very specific character. He desired to urge, in the strongest possible manner, upon Her Majesty's Government the absolute necessity of immediately entering upon the consideration of this very important subject of University education in Wales. Therefore, so far as the Amendment which had been proposed was concerned, he begged to say that he should be happy to accept it. But, after the speech of the noble Lord the Vice President of the Council, he feared that there was no course open for him but to take a division upon his Motion. He regretted that there was so much bitterness in the speech of the noble Lord, and so very little to encourage their hopes and aspirations. He was in hopes that this question had really and sincerely engaged the attention of Her Majesty's Government; but, after the statement he had heard from the noble Lord, he did not feel that he should be justified in doing otherwise than dividing, unless the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer could put matters in a different position from what the noble Lord left them. He could assure the Government that they were thoroughly in earnest about this matter, and they did not intend to be put off, for they had already shown sufficient patience. For several years this matter had been pressed upon the consideration of Her Majesty's Government; and the position in which the noble Lord had placed it was such that there could be very little hope indeed that this matter would be taken up by Her Majesty's Government, or that they could get their righteous and reasonable claims recognized within any reasonable time. The noble Lord had suggested that they should first of all make the College at Aberystwith a complete success. Well, but they had net the funds—they had not the means to de so. They had been struggling to de their best; but to say that the College must be made a complete success before the Government would consider whether they would assist them or not was absolutely ridiculous. He did not urge the claims of the College at Aberystwith in particular—he had only suggested that it would form a very safe basis to proceed upon; but he advisedly made his observations as broad as he could, and only presented the claims of higher education in Wales generally. He had only urged that the same should be done for Wales as had been done for Scotland and Ireland. In 1845 Sir Robert Peel brought in a well-considered measure establishing three Queen's Colleges in Ireland; and what they asked was that Her Majesty's Government should take the just claims of Wales into consideration in a similar manner. The noble Lord had admitted that there was a most distinct nationality attaching to the Principality of Wales; but he said that that was not their real reason for bringing this matter forward. What right had the noble Lord to make such a statement as that? It was one of his main reasons for bringing this Motion forward; and he thought it was not the proper way to meet this case for a Member of the Government to resist the Motion, on the ground that it was not being made on account of the distinct nationality of the Principality of Wales. They could not allow themselves to be put off with the statement that, in the judgment of the Vice President of the Council, the distinct nationality of Wales was not the real point upon which they based their case. The noble Lord said, if it was owing to the poverty of the country that the people of Wales had not been able to avail themselves of the educational facilities afforded in England, the same might be said of any English county or district, and that there was nothing to prevent anybody in Wales from taking advantage of those educational facilities. The fact was not as the noble Lord had stated; for Wales had not been able, chiefly owing to its special nationality separating it from the rest of England, to avail itself of the educational facilities afforded in England. Why should they attempt to force Welshmen to quit their country to obtain University education in England? A high authority on these matters had said they should not take the people to the teaching, but they should bring the teaching to the people. It was on that ground they wished this matter to be considered. They came to the House to assert their special claims to consideration, just as hon. Members who represented Ireland and Scotland did; and they simply asked for the rights which they had never denied to those hon. Members. He begged to say that if they were to be met in the manner they had in urging their reasons upon the Government—if, when they had been pressing this matter for some years, they were met in the hoighty-toighty kind of way in which the noble Lord had met them—how could they expect them to do otherwise than to continue to push this matter forward in every legitimate way? He could not allow this matter to rest there — they must either receive some definite assurance that the Government would take this matter into its early consideration, or else they must divide upon the Motion, however much they might be beaten.


said, as his hon. Friend the Member for Glamorgan had appealed to him, he was quite willing to tell the House what occurred to him upon this question. He wished, in the first place, to disclaim, on behalf of his noble Friend the Vice President of the Council, the imputation that had been cast upon him—that he had spoken with anything that deserved to be called bitterness on this occasion. It did not appear either to himself or to anyone sitting near him that there was any tinge of bitterness in what his noble Friend had said. He was sure that, however much the observation might apply to others, it certainly did not apply to his noble Friend. With regard to this matter, he might say that the Government were really in a position of some embarrassment, and there was some little difficulty in ascertaining what was the exact request which was addressed to Her Majesty's Government. There could not be the least doubt that the Principality of Wales had as strong a claim to the consideration of any Government and of any Parliament as any other part of Her Majesty's Dominions. They were quite ready to admit that from whatever reason, whether in consequence of, or in spite of, having no University facilities, there was no part of Her Majesty's Dominions which contained a more loyal and peaceable people than the Principality of Wales. Most certainly there could be no other feeling than that of kindness towards the inhabitants of the Principality in the minds of their English brethren. But what was it exactly they were asked to do? So far as he remembered, they had never had a discussion of this character in the House of Commons before. The hon. Member for Carmarthen said that for the last 25 years this question had been raised. But, if so, the matter must have been represented at different times to different Governments. He did remember that his noble Friend (Lord Powis) addressed a question to the Government of his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich, and received a rather short answer, as to whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to do anything towards the advancement of higher education in Wales? He forgot what the Question precisely was; but it certainly showed that a matter, which appeared to have been simmering for 25 years, could not be injured by a little delay. It was now brought forward at a time when it caused some difficulty, for very different proposals were made on behalf of the Principality. His first impression, on seeing the Notice of Motion, was that the Government was to be asked for the establishment of a Welsh University; but, after what had passed in that debate, he imagined the object the hon. Member had in view was not so much the establishment of a separate University, but to enable the inhabitants of Wales to take advantage, more fully than they did at present, of University education in other parts of the United Kingdom, and also to promote what was called intermediate education in the Principality. He had rather gathered that the object of the majority of hon. Members was to encourage and develop institutions like Aberystwith College, which would promote the higher education short of the curriculum of a University. It seemed to be the object to give such facilities for that kind of education which would afterwards enable a man to go to Oxford, or to one of the other Universities of the United Kingdom.


did not wish that there should be any mistake as to their aspirations. They had simply pointed to a Welsh College, which they had established, as a specimen of what they would like. He should not like it to go forth, that if a Welshman had so studied as to entitle him to a degree he should not be able to obtain one in own country, as Irishmen and Scotch-men were now able to do at their own Universities.


said, it was very undesirable unnecessarily to multiply Universities. He did not want to speak ex-cathedra upon the subject; but, at the same time, there ought to be a case very clearly made out to justify the establishment of a fresh University. With respect to the matter of higher education in Wales, the promotion of that was an object which they recognized as one that ought to be distinctly ked in view, and, so far as was possible and in the power of the Government, promoted. So far as any encouragement, which it was in the power of the Government to give, to the promotion of higher education in Wales, they would do it, for they thought that Wales had as just claims as any other part of the United Kingdom in the matter. But to pass a vague Resolution, such as that of the hon. Member—to put that on record would be most embarrassing, for they could not toll what it meant or what it did not mean. It might be capable of being construed as a pledge or a promise which the Government did not feel themselves at the present time justified in making. His right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich had spoken in very appropriate language, which commanded their esteem, as to the just claims of Wales in this matter. He thought, however, that it would cause some embarrassment, for this or for some future Government, if they acceded the Resolution. He hoped that they would be allowed to postpone giving any distinct opinion on the matter; and he should be extremely sorry if the object which the hon. Member for Beaumaris (Mr. Morgan Lloyd) seemed to have in view—namely, to go to a division—was carried out. It seemed that the hon. Member desired to take a vote, in order that he and his Friends might go about declaring that the Government were the enemies of Wales. He did not think that they would be able to satisfy the hon. Member for Beaumaris or those who shared his opinions; but the Government would certainly not accept the Resolution without considering whether there were any claims which could fairly be met, and whether anything could be done in the matter. Everything that had been said showed how desirable it was that time should be taken in order to see what could he done. Some reference had been made as to what was being done at Jesus College, Oxford. At present, they did not know what alterations of the rules would be made there. Then, with regard to Aberystwith, he did not think that his noble Friend the Vice President had gone the length of saying—" We will wait until Aberystwith is a complete success; " but rather that he had said—" We will wait until an end shall be made of the disputes which have recently taken place within it." Upon this subject the Government had very little information. It would be well to know how this institution was working; and it would be well to have before them some definite proposal to which they could give their assent, and proceed in the matter with their eyes open. It was quite impossible for the Government to accept the Resolution in the form in which it had been brought forward, and hoped that the hon. Member would not force a Division.


said, that the Resolution which was put upon the Paper was perfectly clear and distinct. It was as follows:— That, in the opinion of this House, it is the duty of the Government to consider the best means of assisting any local effort which may be made for supplying the deficiency of higher Education in Wales. The demand was then made upon the Government to consider the best means for assisting the efforts made by the people of Wales in the direction of higher education. He knew of no instance where such poor people as those of Wales, where quarrymen and colliers had subscribed for scholarships to send their sons to the Universities. Certainly, they had no instance of that kind in Scotland. So remarkable a thing had been done in this case, that he thought it ought to command the very serious attention of the Government. In the answer that had been given by his noble Friend, it was true he did not speak with bitterness—for he never did that—but he spoke with ridicule. No promise had been given by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. All he said was—" Allow the Government to consider, and postpone the matter until the alterations at Jesus College have been made. Let us wait until the Northern University is created." The request was, in fact, to postpone the matter for some indefinite time upon perfectly indefinite promises from the Government. He did not see what else his hon. Friend could do but take the sense of the House as to whether his proposal was to be rejected or affirmed; and, if rejected, to bring it forward again.

Question put, and negatived.

Main Question, as amended, put.

The House divided:—Ayes 54; Noes 105: Majority 51. — (Div. List, No .142.)

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