§ (10.) £1,322,989, to complete the sum for Public Education.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
I had intended to bring forward the case of the annual grant to the Middle Grade School near Swansea; but, first of all, at this hour of the night I doubt whether the Committee would very well relish being detained the necessary length of time to enable me to lay the details before it. Besides, I was rather gratified at the tone of the assurances we received some nights ago from the Government in the discussion which arose on the Motion, that the Speaker leave the Chair to go into Committee of Supply on the Civil Service Estimates. I will, therefore, in consideration of the assurances we then received, abstain from detaining the Committee on this particular case. I cannot help expressing a hope that the Government will reconsider the decision which they arrived at in regard to it. I am satisfied that a very grievous hardship has been, inflicted on the managers of the school in question, and that while it is, perhaps, the hardest case that has ever arisen under the rule which relates to it, the school has such merits in its favour as would warrant the reconsideration and reversal of the decision already arrived at.
§ MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
I am sure the Committee will forgive me if I say a word or two on this subject. I had the honour of moving a Motion with respect to the scheme the other evening, and I met with the sympathy of the House then; but since that discussion I have read with considerable interest, not un-mingled with astonishment, the evidence given by the Secretary to the Department before the Royal Commission on Primary Education. I am almost inclined, notwithstanding the assurances of the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Donegal (Mr. Arthur O'Connor), to take a vote on the reduction of the amount to be devoted to Public Education. We find that in evidence before the Royal Commission, Mr. Cumin, Secretary to the Committee of Council on Education, called attention to a speech of the late Mr. Forster, formerly Vice President of the Council, in which the right hon. Gentleman had said that 744 the denominational schools should not clash with the board schools, and that there should be no rivalry between them. And yet, by the action of the Department, rivalry has been created, with the result that a number of the denominational schools has been suppressed—that is, suppressed so far as participating in the public grant goes, not suppressed as to actual existence. If they do not obtain recognition by the Board, which has power to override recognition by the Department, they do not participate in the grant, and the result is that they are denominated adventure schools. In adventure schools the education the children receive is, of course, of a low class, and in the half-time districts the children are sent to these schools as being those at which the minimum amount of attendance and the lowest standard of education are exacted. So that the school board authorities do not reap the reward of their selfishness, for these children do not come to them. The parents decline to put their children into the board schools. In 1870 Mr. Forster declared that the Privy Council had the power to determine whether certain schools should or should not be considered necessary, and this view was shared in by the Marquess of Ripon. The dictum of the noble Marquess, however, has been overturned by the interpretation put on the Education Act by the present Permanent Secretary to the Department, Mr. Patrick Cumin, who would reduce the denominational schools to the position of the schools which I have described as private adventure schools. Mr. Patrick Cumin has, in fact, interpreted this Act from his own reading of it. I am not going to criticize the ability of Mr. Cumin—we all know that he has been for years a most efficient public servant. We are also well aware that he has had for his legal services in the Department an increase of salary—he receives certain emoluments for services as Secretary, and £500 for legal services. But the interpretation of the Act is contrary to the intentions of the originators of the Act, to the dicta of the late Mr. W. E. Forster and the Marquess of Ripon. Mr. Cumin steps in and interprets the Act to his own liking, and against denominational schools. I think I shall be perfectly within my right in moving to reduce his 745 salary by £500. According to the Returns and to the evidence furnished to us, Mr. Cumin has actually been the means of the suppression, since 1876, of 50 denominational schools. While I would like to meet the Committee in the best possible spirit, I think the Committee would forgive me if I were to put them to the trouble of a division. Owing, however, to advice which I have received from a source I am willing to respect, I will not trouble the House with a division, but will simply put before the Department, through the medium of the Vice President of the Committee of Council, an alternative. The Department has power, under Article 135 of the Code, to formulate a Minute; this Minute, if it were placed upon the Table in the next Session of Parliament, would certainly satisfy me—a provisional Minute giving the Department power to bring these schools within its scope, and to adjudicate upon their necessity or otherwise. I did, in the last Session of Parliament, put a series of Questions upon this matter in the endeavour to impress upon the Department that it has power, under the 98th section of the Education Act, to determine whether a school be necessary or not. Unfortunately for denominationalists, the Department has handed over that power to school boards. Now, I ask them to withdraw it until the final Report of the Commission, and to themselves determine whether a school be necessary or not. I am perfectly certain that if the Vice President were to put such a Minute on the Table this House would come to his assistance, and concede the power I have in view to the Department until the Royal Commission has issued its Report and legislation can be initiated. I hope the right hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Holland) will take my remarks into his favourable consideration.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I only wish to say one or two words on this occasion. I was not in the House when this Vote came on just now. I understand that the Government, profiting by the experience of a few nights ago, offered to report Progress. And I am bound to say, in the interests of those who are not present, and who I know would have been anxious to discuss this Vote, that I regret the Motion to report Progress 746 was resisted on this side of the House. Had I been in the House I should have acted consistently with the attitude I took the other evening, and have supported the proposition to report Progress. I merely rise now in order to renew the protest which I made the other evening, but which I shall not carry further than a mere verbal protest—that it is inexpedient—I will not use a stronger word—that these Estimates should be taken at this hour of the morning (2.40). And I say this all the more anxiously on this occasion because I was talking to the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) this evening, and he expressed a great deal of satisfaction at the Vote not having been allowed to come on on Monday evening, because, as he told me, he was interested in it, and hoped to take part in the discussion which might arise. Through the action taken this evening, the hon. Member, not being present, is precluded from taking part in the discussion. I shall not trouble the Committee with any Motion on the subject. ["Move!"] No; I will not move to report Progress. There are various matters in regard to which I have been memorialized by school teachers in my own constituency, and which I should like to lay before the Committee. I shall not trouble the Committee at this hour of the morning—I would rather prefer to reserve the complaints which my own constituents have asked me to lay before the Committee until a more suitable opportunity in the Estimates of next year.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I have, indeed, made a very great sacrifice in assisting the Government to proceed with this Vote at this time of the morning (2.45), because I do not know any Vote in the whole of the Estimates in which I take a deeper interest, or upon which I am more inclined to speak at great length. At this hour in the morning, however, I would not be justified in imposing upon the Committee any lengthened observations; but perhaps I may just occupy a few minutes of the attention of hon. Members. I hope the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Sir Henry Holland) will take the opportunity he now has of initiating a large policy with regard to education in this country. Last year the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birming- 747 ham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain), questionably attracted a great deal of attention, and obtained a good deal of popularity, by the offer of free schools. Well, Sir, I am sufficiently impartial upon this question to hope that the Government will be able to adopt the same platform with certain modifications. I think it would be desirable that education in this country should be gratuitous, but upon the principle that fair play should be given to all sections of educational thought on this question. On this question I wish to speak with moderation, because I think the country is moderate upon it also. I do not think, except in a few cases, that there is very much extravagant feeling on the subject, and I am of opinion that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Henry Holland) will be able to devise a settlement satisfactory to the country if he will boldly set himself to the task. I am perfectly convinced that if the right hon. Gentleman were to endeavour to enforce upon the country a completely secular system of education he would find this task at present impossible. I know there is a very powerful and very enlightened section of public opinion in this country which is in favour of completely secular education; but I am inclined to believe that if the experiment were tried at this moment it would not meet with the approval of the majority of the English people. On the other hand, I must say I do not like many things in the present school board system. It appears to me an extremely illogical compromise. I think it is unfair to both the Catholic and the Hebrew child to have to attend these schools, though, if I remember rightly, there is some consideration shown in the case of a Hebrew child. But some people are under the impression that the present schools are, to a large extent, unsectarian in character. I do not share that opinion. School boards are sectarian in character, at least in the eyes of Catholics. I understand there are daily readings from the Testament, with explanations from the masters reading them. I do not wish to enter upon any controversial subject; but hon. Gentlemen opposite me will know that the reading of the Testament with explanations and comments by a non-Catholic teacher does not recommend itself to Catholic parents or to Catholic children. Therefore, I 748 think that the present school board system cannot be described as wholly unsectarian in its character. I speak with some trepidation on this question, knowing how bitterly feelings are excited upon it; but I think that means tan be found by which, at the same time, education can be made gratuitous, and full justice can be done to the claims both of the secular and of the denominational schools. I understand that in my own constituency the school board adopts a very moderate policy, and does not do anything to commit itself to any action which might be called unfair competition with the existing schools of the different denominations. I do not quite share the views which were expressed by my hon. Friend (Mr. Conway) of the action of Mr. Cumin. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will have time this year to approach this very great problem; but I am sure that he can take it up with advantage, now that the public opinion of this country has reached a stage which will allow the matter to be dealt with in a thoroughly just spirit. A good deal of the wild prejudice which existed on this question some years ago has passed away; and it is clear that all Parties—with the exception, of course, of the extreme politicians on either side—are willing that the settlement should be moderate as well as large.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir HENRY HOLLAND) (Hampstead)
Sir, I have listened with attention, and I hope profit, to the speeches of hon. Members upon this important subject of education; but I hope I shall not be accused of want of courtesy, or of not being alive to the importance of the question, if I deal somewhat briefly with the different points and suggestions which have been brought under the consideration of the Committee. And this for two reasons—first, because my right hon. Predecessor (Sir Lyon Playfair) made, in June last, an able and most exhaustive statement, dealing, more or less fully, with many of the questions raised to-night; and I feel sure the Committee would not desire that I should, at this late hour, travel over the same ground; and, secondly, because the Royal Commission on Elementary Education is still sitting, and evidence has been given, and more will probably be 749 given, upon the principal subjects touched upon to-night. Till they report the Education Department could take no step in the direction suggested, even if it were thought desirable. My right hon. Predecessor, in his statement, declined, for this latter reason, to argue debateable questions, which would be dealt with by the Royal Commission; and I shall, with all respect to the Committee, adopt the same course. In truth, these questions are removed, if I may so say, from the Court of the Education Department to the Court of the Royal Commission; and, just as in legal matters it is thought to be inexpedient to discuss and prejudge questions which are sub judice, so in these educational matters it would not be desirable or expedient for the Department to make any change of a substantial character in the law, or in the practice which has prevailed in giving effect to that law, until the Royal Commission has reported. For this reason I will not go into that class of cases where complaint is made that, in school board districts, voluntary schools have been refused grants. The hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) has made a special reference to one well-known case, the Dan-y-Graig case; but he has postponed any further discussion upon it to a future and better occasion. In these circumstances, I shall, of course, not go into it; but I venture to direct the attention of the hon. Member to my defence of the action of the Department in that case which I made in the debate on education last June; and it is because the Royal Commission is still sitting that I am quite unable to assent to the suggestion made by the hon. Member for North Leitrim (Mr. Conway), that the Department should pass a short Minute to the effect, as I understood him, that it would not sanction the enlargement of premises by a school board in cases where they thought that the necessary accommodation in the district would be found by a voluntary school, but that they should make a grant to such school. Such a Minute would be, I apprehend, in direct conflict with the existing law, and could not be made until that law is altered; and such an alteration, as I have before said, could not properly be undertaken by the Department until the Commission has re- 750 ported. Let me observe, in passing, that the hon. Member fell foul of Mr. Cumin, the Permanent Under Secretary of the Education Department, for having wrongly interpreted the law, and forced his interpretation upon the Department. That is an error. Mr. Cumin, of whose ability no one can entertain any doubt, did, as legal adviser to the Department, put forward his construction of the Act of 1870. But the hon. Member did not refer to the fact that the Law Officers of the Crown had supported him in that construction. Let me refer the Committee to the answer to Question 1,882 of the evidence before the Royal Commission. It is there stated that both the Attorney and the Solicitor General (the late Sir George Jessel and the present Lord Chief Justice) were asked their opinion as to what the words that the school board were entitledto provide such additional accommodation as is in their opinion necessarymeant; and they said thatit gave absolute discretion to the school boards to supply such additional accommodation as was in their opinion necessary.That is in exact accordance with the opinion and advice of Mr. Cumin. I would cite also the opinions of the late Eight Hon. W. E. Forster and the Marquess of Ripon as to the meaning and intention of the Act, which will be found stated in the answer to Question 1,995, and which fully confirm the view taken by the Department. But I desire to state for myself, and, I believe, for the Department, that in our opinion full recognition should be made of voluntary effort, and no injustice should be done to voluntary schools. Fair play should be shown to both classes of schools—board and voluntary. We bear in mind Mr. Forster's statements in 1870, when introducing the Bill. I would prefer to give to the Committee the exact words of the right hon. Gentleman. He said—We must take care not to destroy in building up—not to destroy the existing system in introducing a new one. … Our object is to complete the present voluntary system, to fill up gaps. … and welcoming as much as we rightly can the co-operation and aid of those benevolent men who desire to assist their neighbours. … Not only do we not neglect voluntary help, but, on condition of respecting the rights of parents and the rights of conscience, we welcome it. … We acknowledge and make the utmost possible use of present educational efforts."—(3 Hansard,  443–4, 460, 464.)751 If it can be shown, from the experience of 15 years, that the working of the Act has unduly hampered the voluntary schools, further legislation may he required; but that is a matter which is under the consideration of the Royal Commission, and we must wait for their Report before introducing any change. I have been obliged at this late hour to deal very briefly with the points brought under the notice of the Committee; but I hope I have made clear the position of the Department. We are fully alive to the importance of the questions; but our action, except as to administrative details, is for the present necessarily stayed until the Royal Commission make their Report. As to the complaints made by the hon. Member for the Camborne Division of Cornwall (Mr. Conybeare), I will beg him to bring them before me officially, and I can assure him they shall receive careful consideration. And as to the exhortation of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) that I should distinguish myself by a large and bold policy, and initiate the principle of free education, with certain modifications and limitations, I am afraid I must content myself with pointing out to him that I could not undertake such a revolution in the present system while the Royal Commission is sitting.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (11.) £170,043, to complete the sum for the Science and Art Department.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I have a few points in connection with this Vote to submit to the Committee. They chiefly relate to the establishment in Dublin. The Science and Art Institution in Dublin is analogous, though on a very much smaller scale, to the British Museum here; and I and others have protested over and over again against the system of managing the Science and Art Establishment in Dublin from London. It leads to no end of inconvenience and trouble in Dublin, and, I am sure, to a great deal of worry and annoyance to the officials in London; besides this, it very greatly impairs the usefulness of the institution. I do not propose to go fully into the question—it would take up too much time—but I particularly wish to direct attention to a question I raised several years ago, and that is the treatment meted out to the Librarian. 752 At the head of the Dublin National Library, which forms part of the Science and Art Institution, is a gentleman with whom I am very well acquainted. He is a man who is as well qualified for the position he holds as any man in England, Ireland, or Scotland. He is hardworking and courteous; in fact, he is in every way qualified for his post. Now, I want to point out that the salary this gentleman receives is utterly and entirely insufficient for a man of his class. I draw attention to this matter entirely on my responsibility. I have never been asked by the Librarian to bring the matter before the notice of the Committee of the House of Commons; indeed, I have never heard him make the smallest complaint as to his treatment. If you turn to the salaries paid to the officials at the British Museum, you find that the salary of the Principal Librarian and Secretary is £1,200 a-year, with an official residence; that the salaries of the Keepers of Departments are £750 a-year, with official residences; that the salaries of the Assistant Keepers of Departments are £600 a-year. Now, the salary of the gentleman who is the Librarian of the National Library of Ireland, and who is a man who has made a scientific study of his work, is only £450 a-year, and that is his maximum salary. When I drew attention to this subject before the salary of this Librarian was only £350. I am very glad there has been an increase. I think my demand that the salary of this gentleman be still further increased is a very moderate one. I do not mean to say you should put him upon an equality, as regards remuneration, with the Chief Librarian of the British Museum; but I think it is ridiculous that the head Librarian of the National Library in Ireland is not entitled to as large a salary as the Assistant Keepers of Departments at the British Museum. All I want to urge on the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Sir Henry Holland) is that he ought to put it to the Treasury whether they could not increase this gentleman's salary to £600 a-year. I repeat, I make this proposition upon my own responsibility. I am pretty intimate with the Librarian, having come in contact with him when I have gone to the Library to read; but I have never had the slightest conversation with him on this subject. 753 Another point to which I desire to direct attention is the expenditure on the purchase of books. I see there is spent annually in the purchase of books for the British Museum somewhere about £30,000, whereas there is only £1,000 spent in the purchase of books for the National Library of Ireland. I do think that a fair proportion would be about one-fifteenth part of what is spent for the British Museum. The Dublin Library is very largely used, and the Government is now building new premises for this Library. I do not pretend to say that we are entitled to as much as the British Museum; but I think it is a very moderate request indeed that the £1,000 now allowed annually for the purchase of books for our Library should be increased to £2,000. I could speak at very great length on this Vote, but I do not think the time (2.55) suitable; and, therefore, I will confine my observations to the two points I have mentioned.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNOIL (Sir HENRY HOLLAND) (Hampstead)
It is not necessary for me to make such an inquiry as is suggested by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) into the character and work of the Librarian, as I am quite aware of his high character, and of the good work he has done. I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member that the salary of the Librarian is low; but the point is new to me, and I cannot make any promise upon it, except that I will inquire into the matter. If it is thought reasonable that the salary should be raised, I hope I shall have the support of the hon. Member in the attempt to soften the proverbially stony heart of my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. As to increasing the amount allowed for purchase of books, that point also has not been brought under my notice; but I will inquire into it, and see what amounts are allowed in other eases. I agree with the hon. Member that it will hardly be fair to make any comparison with the amount allowed to the British Museum, as that is not the Library of London, but of the nation at large. We must look to the sums allowed to other local libraries.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
It is not my intention to go into this subject at very considerable length. I wish to 754 confine my remarks on this occasion within the shortest possible limits. As regards Ireland, the question of education is of vital importance; and I hoped not only to have spoken upon it, but also to nave heard what hon. Gentlemen opposite had to say upon the subject. We are now dealing with the question of Science and Art; and as an Irishman standing in this House, which was designed by Barry and decorated by Maclise, I feel proud of participating in (he Vote before the House. Irishmen have always been to the fore, especially in the department of Science and Art, and I say that this House is a standing monument of their ability and capacity. ["Oh, oh!"] I am not going into the subject of technical education; but hon. Gentlemen opposite who cry "Oh!" must be aware of the great advantages which technical education necessarily confers. That is a recognized fact, and I am not, at the present hour, going into the subject at great length. The amount we are asked to vote is not too large when we consider the vast importance of the facts connected with it; but I think when we come to deal with this matter in connection with Ireland we shall find that there are one or two things to be borne in mind. The Royal College of Science and Art is an Institution of comparatively recent date. The original Institution was entitled a Museum, and there has been considerable discussion with regard to it as connected with technical education in Ireland. A Memorial was signed in which the question of increasing the facilities for technical education was first considered, and which went on to say that this should be done in accordance with the views of the Memorialists. The next communication goes on to tell of the existence of this Museum of Irish industry, of which the Royal College of Science is the lineal descendant. The Memorialists said that the objects they had in view would be best promoted by placing the Museum under the control of the Royal College of Science, and thus extending the usefulness of an Institution little availed of. I should like to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen, on all sides by making my remarks as brief as I possibly can. Now, I point out that in Ireland, in connection with this College of Science, there are many points of controversy. In the first place, 755 we find that the College of Science is situated in rather an out-of-the-way district of Dublin, and that the artizans, who are entitled to all the advantages connected with technical education which ought to be, and are, gradually being opened to them, cannot take advantage of this Institution in consequence of its being so situated. They have accordingly made the suggestion that schools should be opened in at least two or three districts, and that the staff of the Royal College of Science should be utilized to impart instruction to them on certain evenings of the week, the salaries of the instructors being, of course, raised for the increased work they would have to do. My object is to draw attention to the fact that it is impossible for the poor working people to obtain the technical instruction they are entitled to under the present system. ["Divide, divide!"] Her Majesty's Government would have us believe that they are the friends of the working man; but when I stand up here for the working man, I find that right hon. Gentlemen opposite shout me down. What I have said in connection with this case is equally true in Cork. We have a very large and beautiful Art School built there, owing to the munificence of a gentleman who gave a large sum of money for the purpose. This school, in itself, is very useful; and, as the inhabitants state, it has opened up a career of usefulness which will be beneficial to the town as well as to themselves. In our city of 80,000 inhabitants, we find, in connection with institutions like this, that the artizans are unable to take advantage of the classes which are open for their instruction, the working end of the city, if I may call it so, being distant three or four miles from the shop keeping portion of the city. We are, therefore, trying to open a second school where such technical education as is given in the Royal College of Science shall be available for the people. What we are trying to do in Cork I hope will be done in other parts of the country. I invite the attention of English Members to this fact. Do we not see the decline of British trade, and are we not going to inquire into the causes of that decline? We are here, among other reasons, for the purpose of improving British trade; and I ask what is the use of such Reports as I hold in my hand unless they are attended to by the 756 Government? We send Inspectors to the schools abroad—to Germany, to France, and other countries; and ought we not to instruct ourselves by the knowledge which they impart? I say that it is by scientific and technical education that we can improve the trade of the country. This matter is certainly one which should not be sneered at by hon. Gentlemen opposite; on the contrary, it is deserving of the attention of Her Majesty's Government, in the most extended sense. I ask the right hon. Baronet whether the communications on this subject which were received by his Predecessor from various artizan clubs in Dublin and from the artizans in Cork and Belfast merit, and will receive, his attention?—because I am of opinion that the carrying out of the suggestions therein contained will be of more benefit to Ireland than many of the ephemeral schemes which have been put forward.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
I do not propose to detain the Committee for any length of time; but I am bound to say that some questions arise in connection with this Vote which are worthy of the consideration of the Government, and certainly of those Members of it who are responsible for the Government of Ireland. The first question I refer to is that of the College of Science and Art in Dublin. That is a question which is capable of enormous development. At the present time it is of very little use, and what it does is entirely the result of the generosity, devotion, and ability of those who are teachers in it; but if it received from the State the encouragement which it deserves, it will be of the utmost use to the artizan population in Ireland. It did, for some time, good service, because artizans and mechanics were admitted free; but shortly after that there was a small charge upon those who desired to become students of the Institution, and the result was that it ceased to be of any practical utility. The Senior Professor of this Institution gave evidence before the Committee, of which I was a Member, to the effect that if there was to be any development of technical education in Ireland it must be carried on at the expense of the State, because the mechanics of Ireland are too poor to support a system of technical instruction. Now, I think it is worthy of the 757 consideration of the Gentleman who is Vice President of the Council (Sir Henry Holland), and who takes very great interest in everything, I believe, which tends to the welfare and advancement of the people of Ireland—I say it is worthy of his attention that the question of the development of technical instruction in Ireland should be brought forward as a matter of definite public policy. Then, Sir, I have to refer to the question of the Geological Survey of Ireland. The learned Professor at the head of the College in Dublin is a man of considerable experience as a geologist, and was able to give the Committee valuable opinions as to what could be done by the Government for the purpose of developing the mineral wealth of Ireland. At present there are only two mineral industries which pay in Ireland. There are some coal mines which pay, and some iron mines which pay; but there is no other mineral deposit which can be worked profitably. I have the opinion of a most distinguished mineralogist in Ireland, that there should be borings carried on throughout Ireland. ["Oh, oh!"] This question is also worthy of the attention of the Government, and especially of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President, and who, notwithstanding the jeers of some hon. Members opposite, will, I trust, consider it. The Professor also recommended that there should be, at a trifling expense, a series of experiments carried on, in order to discover what are the mineral deposits in Ireland and those which it would pay to work; and I believe that there are such deposits to be found, if the Government will do what is wanted for the development of the industrial resources of the country. I believe that there are considerable deposits of coal and iron; and that if these are brought together, as they would be brought together in England and Scotland, there would be an iron and steel industry in Ireland which would rival the most successful industries in those two countries. I am aware that the iron industry is not, at the present time, very successful in England; but it must be remembered that there is a considerable quantity of iron sent over from Ireland to England for the purpose of smelting. This iron makes the finest steel, and if the deposit were properly developed I am convinced that it could be made of great benefit to the people 758 of Ireland. I represent a district in which there are very large coal mines; it is, in fact, with one exception, the only part of the country where mining pays. In Antrim there are found enormous deposits of iron, a large quantity of which is shipped to En gland; whereas, if we had a Government in Ireland which would be able to inquire closely into the requirements and capacities of the country, these two deposits could be brought together and worked with advantage to the Irish people. Now, I urge upon those who are responsible for the development of education in Ireland, and for the advancement of education among the people, to consider these questions of technical education and natural deposits which so closely affect the future development of Irish resources. I believe if the Government would devote their attention to these matters that they might do enormous good to the people of Ireland. I am bound to say that this is a question which does not come within the vortex of political strife, and that if the Government would undertake to deal with it, as far as I and the Representatives of the greater part of Ireland are concerned, we shall be prepared to give them the most cordial assistance in their attempts to improve the material position of the people. We have within reach the means of improving their condition immensely, and all that is required is that there should be direction, inspection, and encouragement proceeding from the Government, because Ireland is not like England—in this respect; because England is so rich, that Englishmen can develop their own industries and private enterprizes; and I should like to know in what other country, except America, is personal enterprize able to do what it does here? On the Continent, Governments superintend what is here done by private enterprize; and Ireland, above all things, needs the care of the Government in this respect. Therefore, I submit to the Vice President that he should do all in his power, as I believe he will, for the purpose of developing the plans of Irishmen who are anxious to improve the material prosperity of their country.
§ SIR HENEY HOLLAND
Of all the many important and pressing points connected with education, perhaps none is more important and pressing than that of technical education. It is, there- 759 fore, very desirable that it should be brought before Parliament in a more definite form, and at a better opportunity, and at a time when it can be fully discussed. However anxious I am to promote technical education, nothing of importance can really be done to secure a uniform and thorough system until Parliament has decided two questions; first, how, and by whom, the cost of erecting and maintaining technical schools is to be borne; and, secondly, whether the attendance shall be made compulsory for a longer time than it is at present. I fear, unless that is done, technical education in its full sense can hardly be taught, though much may be done in that direction. I will not now discuss the subject further; but I will point out to the hon. Member (Dr. Tanner) that the hon. Member for South Manchester (Sir Henry Roscoe) has given Notice of a Motion for next Session, which will raise the whole question of technical education, and I hope that an early opportunity will be found for bringing on that discussion. As to the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Mid Tyrone (Mr. M. J. Kenny) that a grant should be made for boring in different parts of Ireland, with a view to test the mineral resources, coal andiron, of that country, I will consider the matter; but I entertain great doubts whether the Treasury will assent to any such application.
§ DR. TANNER
I will defer making some remarks on several other points upon which I wish to speak until the Report stage.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
If the hon. Gentleman will come and see me at the Department, we shall be more likely to come to some understanding.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
May I ask how soon will the Geological Survey of Donegal, the county I represent, be completed? This is the only county in Ireland where the Geological Survey is not completed. I am afraid there is a great deal of time being wasted in this matter, and it is very important that the survey should be completed.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (12.) £77,285, to complete the sum for the British Museum.760
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,607, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1887, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Gallery.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I observe that the Leader of the House (Lord Randolph Churchill) is fast asleep on the Treasury Bench—I see he is now awake. I had been going to remark that I did not think it desirable to steal a march on him by going on with any further Votes. Not because I am not perfectly fresh; but I observe that we have reduced to slumber not only the noble Lord, but the majority of hon. Members opposite. Several questions of great importance arise on this Vote, and I see on the Paper several Notices of Amendments to it. Several important purchases are contemplated by the Department, and are to be brought under discussion; and for these reasons I think it would perhaps be as well to leave the discussion of this Vote over until to-morrow.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
I hope we may be allowed to go on to the end of this Class.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I should be quite willing personally. I assure the right hon. Gentleman I could go on for several hours more. But I know what a severe strain all this involves upon hon. Members opposite. This is a Vote to which, unless I am much mistaken, Notice of Amendment has been put by several hon. Members, all of whom are absent. If I am not mistaken, I think there is an item in the Vote in regard to some of the Blenheim sales. ["No, no!"] Yes; in connection with the National Portrait Gallery.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir HENRY HOLLAND) (Hampstead)
This Vote is for the National Gallery.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
I see an Amendment on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell). I would suggest that the National Gallery Vote should be postponed.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
There is just one question I should like to ask the right hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Holland), and that is, whether the National Gallery is opened on Sundays?
§ DR. TANNER
Then, if it is not, I know for certain there are a great many Members of this House who will oppose the Vote. As they are not present the Vote should be postponed. I myself desire to speak on it, and take a division on it.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
If the Vote is opposed it will not be reasonable to take it now. The only Votes to which Notice of opposition has been given are the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ (13.) £7,400, to complete the sum for Learned Societies and Scientific Investigation.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
I wish to say just one word on this Vote. I see that a portion of the Vote goes to cover the expense of supplying newspapers with forecasts of the weather. We see these forecasts in the London daily papers; and I must say for the last few years they have been uniformly wrong. Now, I want to know whether, if the Meteorological Society is to exist, it is to continue in its present state, or go on improving? I believe there is no use in having such a Society if it does not go on improving, for I have never yet known it produce a weather prophet who has been able to give the slightest idea of what the weather is going to be. This is a Vote under which we gave £15,300 last year, and under which we are giving the same amount this year, for the luxury of reading in The Times certain forecasts of the weather which are always wrong. ["No, no!"] Yes; I challenge any hon. Member to point to a single forecast in The Times newspaper, within the last 12 months, that has been right. There has not been one. In fact, it is almost safe to go on the principle that exactly the reverse of that which is predicted in The Times forecasts will happen. I am of opinion, Sir, that if this State subsidy to the meteorologists is to continue, these gentlemen should show some reason for it, or, at least, that the result of their inquiries has been to advance science. Because, after all, what is the use of pursuing any object for a scientific purpose unless we are able to arrive at a definite result? The only object of science is to arrive at definite information. I assert 762 that in connection with these meteorological investigations we have arrived at no definite information, and that the gentlemen who conduct them have failed to effect the object for which the State subsidizes them. I would ask the attention of the right hon. Gentleman responsible for this Vote to this question of meteorology, so that he may, if possible, stimulate these gentlemen in their researches and induce them to furnish to the State some Report which will, if possible, enable Parliament to come to the conclusion that their Institution and their Society, or their "Council," as they call it, is one that is worthy of continued support.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (14.) £6,152, to complete the sum for the London University.
§ (15.) £6,000, to complete the sum for the University College, Wales.
§ (16.) £1,837, to complete the sum for Deep Sea Exploring Expedition (Report).
§ DR. TANNER (Cork, Co., Mid)
I should like to have some assurance from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Vote as to what is the great practical benefit that has accrued from this Deep Sea Exploring Expedition—from this cruise of the Challenger. We heard a great deal about it at the time it took place; but, so far as I can gather from the Reports which reached us from the Expedition in the years 1873–4–5–6, the principal result has been to find places at the bottom of the ocean most suitable for laying down cables. I should like to know something about the matter.
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E.R., Holderness)
The result of these investigations has been 30 large volumes; and if the hon. Member will study these log books he will perfectly understand the object of the Expedition.
§ DR. TANNER
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has referred me to 30 odd volumes; but I maintain that we should not be always asked to read these terrible volumes which are issued from time to time in connection with our scientific services. I should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Henry Holland), or any hon. Gentleman who has to do with the Vote, in a short and suc- 763 cinct form, what is the meaning of this charge?
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL (A LORD of the TREASUEY) (Wigton)
The hon. Member has alluded to the true origin of this Expedition—namely, the great extension of the Sub-Marine Telegraph Service, and the immense development of telegraphic communication between the different parts of the world. I am sure the Committee will not be inclined to underrate the importance of that matter. Then, of course, connected with this Expedition, there has been an immense development of biological science. It may be interesting to know that the great cause of the delay which has occurred in the publication of these volumes of Reports—which will be all completed by the end of next year—arose from the illness of many of the distinguished men who are preparing the volumes, and from the death of one.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again,"—(Mr. Jackson,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.