§ As amended, further considered.
§ (2.35.) MR. GERGE WHITE () Norfolk, N. W.
moved to leave out the word "secular," his intention being consequentially to move to insert, after the words "not provided by them," the words "subject to the provisions of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, Section 516 14, sub-Section 2." He said he was aware that the Amendment he had to propose, together with the consequential one which followed, revived the religious controversies of which the House was getting tired; but still this was the first time the question had been raised in that particular form. It was exactly the antithesis of the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich which they discussed on the previous day. The principle underlying the noble Lord's new Clause was that the Cower-Temple provision should be abolished with our elementary education system, while the principle underlying the Amendment he was proposing was that the provision should run in all schools, whether provided or non-provided. That principle was fought for very strongly during the education conflict of 1870—the principle that there should be no denominational or dogmatic teaching in rate-aided schools. It was adopted on the Motion of a Conservative Member of the House, and was almost universally accepted. Surely, what was held to be unjust in those days remained equally unjust today. In the interval which had since elapsed such progress had been made in the principle of religious liberty as should make them chary of inflicting the disability upon a large proportion of the community, and additional reasons now existed. There had, for instance, been a remarkable growth of Free Churches, which were now a great power in the country, and, in addition, there had been a growth of sacerdotalism. The right hon. Gentleman must bear in mind that this objection to dogmatic teaching in rate-aided schools was not raised by a few loud-mouthed speakers or mendacious pamphleteers, but it was raised by more than one-half of the citizens of this country. It did not come entirely from those who dissented from the Established Church, and had the Prime Minister realised these facts he would not have acted on the principle underlying the Bill. In a somewhat remarkable novel lately issued, the talented author put into the mouth of the King the words: "I am just now in a humour to satisfy the demands of the nation rather than the demands of the Church." Had the Prime Minister acted on a similar principle they might have avoided 517 many religious discussions. Archdeacon Pelham, the son of the late Bishop of Norwich, only the other day wrote:—Let the Cooper-Temple Clause be extended to all elementary schools alike, with the proviso that once a week in all schools alike, denominational religious instruction, according to the wishes of the parents, is given to the children.And again, at a meeting in the city of Norwich it was resolved—(1) That religious instruction in all elementary schools alike be secured by statute with a Conscience Clause. (2) That religious instruction be based on the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament and shall include the teaching of the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer, and (3) That the religious instruction be given by the teachers of the school and by them only.He could add evidence from other leading Churchmen from all parts of the country which went to show that, as long as dogma was taught in rate-aided schools, there would be a sense of injustice, and he was sure that there were many hon. Members behind the Prime Minister who believed in the principle he was now submitting to the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House had said, in dealing with a kindred subject, that they could not betray the men who sent them there. But in insisting on dogmatic teaching in rate-aided schools the right hon. Gentleman was betraying the very men who placed the Government in their present position. There were thousands of Nonconformists who supported the Tory Party at the last General Election who felt that they were being unjustly betrayed in this matter. Those Nonconformists were in number equal to the majority which gave the Government its present position, and the Government could have done nothing which would have provoked more determined opposition from those supporters than to impart the religious aspect they had given to this Bill. Simple Bible teaching in the schools would satisfy the great majority of the people of this country. They could not hope, of course, to satisfy such men as Mr. Athelstan Riley, who had asserted that to teach the Bible only was worse than no religion. But it was the action of such extreme men as this that they had cause to fear; they did not want them to have the control of religious education in the schools. He would like 518 to submit to the Prime Minister one fact, and that was, that in some 8,000 parishes the people would be in this condition. While they were strongly in favour of the religious teaching of their children, they objected to dogmatic teaching, but the only alternative open to them would be either dogmatic teaching or no religious teaching at all, for if they objected to dogmatic teaching the children would have to be withdrawn from religious teaching altogether. Was it worth the while of the Government to carry a Bill bearing this stamp of injustice upon it? In many parishes in his own constituency two-thirds of the children in denominational day-schools were to be found in Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan Sunday Schools. It might be said that if no Amendment were adopted the raison dêetre for voluntary schools would be abolished. But the teaching advocated by the Amendment was very simple, and it could easily be supplemented denominationally. As John Bright once said, all that was necessary was the teaching of virtue, truth, honesty, and the fear of God. The fact was that the Prime Minister, fearing to anger the priests, had yielded to their demands, and was thereby angering the people. Lord Palmerston, o one occasion, said that legislation followed the conscience of the Nonconformists, and history proved the truth of that assertion. At any rate, half of the community were absolutely determined that they could not, under present conditions, submit to the imposition of a rate for the teaching of those doctrines which they believed to be absolutely erroneous, and if the Bill was passed in its present form he was sure that the country was entering upon a war which would be carried on until justice was obtained. He believed that if the Prime Minister had had his own way and had not been influenced by the clerical powers behind him, he would have imparted a very different character to the Bill.
Amendment proposed to the Bill—
In page 3, line 2, to leave out the word 'secular.' "—(Mr. George White.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'secular' stand part of the Bill."
*SIR CHARLES DILKE () Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean
said his hon. friend 519 had moved his Amendment as if it were inseparable connected with his second Amendment. He did not agree with that, and his own support of the Motion would largely depend on other considerations. The Amendment of his hon. friend, taken with a consequential Amendment, had for its object the imposition of the Cowper-Temple Clause on every assisted school in the country. But this Clause must be read in conjunction with Clause 16, continuing the grant to certain public elementary schools which were not maintained by the authority. He doubted if his hon. friend's Amendment would cover institution schools. He thought that the Government proposal was entirely unworkable, and when hon. Members came to explain to the constituencies at the next County Council elections the meaning of Clause 5, he did not believe that the plain British elector would be able to understand what the House had done. Hon. members would have to tell the constituencies that under this Clause the secular instruction in all the aided schools was in the control of the local education authority, although it was administered by teachers who were not appointed by them. In regard to one part of their duties, the managers were to be the more creatures of the local authority, while in regard to another part they were to be in a superior position to the local authority. In the long run the plan of the Bill, he was convinced, would break down. The first part of the Amendment altered the bargain between the Church and the State altogether, but it was much less violent than forcing the Cowper-Temple Clause on all the denominational schools of the country. The first part of the Admendment would place the general control of all education in the hands of the local education authority, but subject to the trusts of the school. It would place the authority in their proper position as the supreme education authority for the whole of their district, but in regard to the religious portion of the teaching in the schools, they would have to have regard to the character imprinted on the schools by the trust deeds. The Church itself had repudiated the bargain with the State, and used language which would add to the difficulty of working the new system. The Bishop of London, who had distinctly spoken of the "bargain" between the Church and the 520 State, had attacked even the foundation managers as regarded their control of the religious part of education in such a way as enormously to increase the likelihood of friction. There would be a much greater chance of peace in the working of the Bill if the local education authority were given a general control over education of all kinds within their district. When Mr. Birrell spoke of the English country gentleman as being in some cases careless of education and no better than "Tony Lumpkins," there was great irritation on the other side. But the Bishop of London had referred to the foundation managers as "Squire Western and his head gardener and farmer." Under the scheme of the Bill, if they had a "Squire Western" managing the education, he would probably have been placed in that position by the present chairman of the managers—by his "Parson Supple." Surely such language did not add to the chances of the smooth working of the Bill. There was a very strong case for the first part of the Amendment, which did not necessarily involve the imposition of the Cowper-Temple Clause on all the aided schools in the country. When this Bill had to be placed before the electorate at the County Council elections, he would rather have an intelligible and workable scheme to explain than one involving litigation and ill-feeling, as he was convinced this limitation of Clause 5 would.
§ (3.4.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said the right hon. Baronet had added another to the many subjects that had been discussed during the progress of the Bill. It they had not had much education, they had, at all events, had a great deal of theology, with some local government; and now, apparently, a course of literature was to be added to those extensive fields of learning, and the House were to consider by which of the characters in classical English fiction the foundation managers were most happily and accurately described. He would not discuss, either the character mentioned by Mr. Birrell or those which commended themselves to the Bishop of London; they were both outside the scope of the Amendment. He would rather call the attention of the House to the 521 avowed inconsistency between the speech of the mover of the Amendment and that of the right hon. Baronet who proposed to support only a part of the Amendment. The mover of the Amendment had based his argument on, amongst other reasons, what he called the "fundamental principle" that rates ought not to be used for the support of schools in which denominational teaching was given. He had never been able to see on what ground that was called a "fundamental principle" either of morals or of politics, but, even if it were, it was entirely thrown to the winds by the right hon. Baronet, because he was prepared to accept a scheme which did indeed remove the foundation managers and the denomination itself from any control of the teaching in the schools, but substituted for them the local authority, who were to be required to provide denominational teaching in accordance with the trust deeds.
*SIR CHARLES DILKE
pointed out that his plan had reference to the present condition of the Bill; it was not the plan he would have proposed if he had had a chance of framing a Bill.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
agreed that possibly it was a counsel of despair, but at all events it was the plan suggested in the present condition of the Bill. The right hon. Baronet would be the first to admit that it was as radical a contradiction of what the hon. Member had described as a fundamental principle as the provisions of the Bill itself. In both cases rates were applied to schools in which denominational teaching was not only permitted, but required in accordance with the character of the trust deeds. The second argument of the hon. Member, on which he relied even more than on his first, was based on the growth of what he described as sacerdotalism in the Church of England. He had declared that an immense change had taken place in this repect since 1870, and that the majority of the population now objected to these denominational schoold—not on the rather abstract. and, as he ventured to think, untenable distinction between the rights of education, but on the broader and more practical grounds that in a large 522 number of these schools under the guise of Church of England teaching there was carried on a propaganda of doctrine with which the majority of the Church of England did not agree. He for his part did not at all deny—he was afraid it was the fact—that in a few schools there had been teaching which, if he might express a personal opinion, was absolutely inconsistent with the whole spirit of Church of England doctrine, with its history and its traditions, but he ventured to think, in the first place, that the provisions of this Bill would completely put an end to those cases; and, in the second place, he could not help thinking that the number of such schools had been very greatly exaggerated. Because there were a few Church of England schools where non-church of England doctrine had been, he thought, unfortunately permitted, surely that was not a sufficient reason for attempting to destroy the whole mass of denominational school in this country, which had done, and which he hoped were likely to do, such enormous benefit to the education of the younger generation. The hon. Gentleman had declared that there was a large school of Protestant opinion which denied that the Bible was the common foundation of our religion. He did not believe there was a single individual of whom that could be said. Mr. Athelstan Riley had been quoted, but he should be surprised if Mr. Althelstan Riley would agree to the representation of his doctrine given by the hon. Gentleman. He was perfectly certain that the great body of Church of England opinion in this country would assert as strongly as the hon. Gentleman that the Bible was the foundation of the religion which they professed. The hon. Gengleman laid down two propositions—one that it was absolutely wrong to teach dogma, and the other that it was absolutely right to teach Christianity. Those two propositions were absolutely contradictory.
§ MR. GEORGE WHITE
The position I laid down was that it was wrong to teach dogma in rate-aided schools.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he understood that, and he was referring only to rate-aided schools. The hon. Gentleman argued that it was wrong to teach dogma in rate-aided schools, but that it was right to teach Christianity in rate-aided schools. Those two propositions were absolutely inconsistent, and he would defy any man to get up in the House and attempt to prove with the smallest regard for the elements of logic that it was inconsistent with any general principle of morality to teach what was called dogmatic Christianity without every argument which he used being capable of being turned round to deal with what was called undogmatic Christianity. There was no such thing as undogmatic Christianity. Every religion contained propositions of dogma. A religious proposition was a dogma, and a dogma was a religious proposition. They could not escape dogma. They might escape what the courts of law or the Board of Education chose to describe as dogma characteristic of one particular denomination, but when they had escaped that they could not avoid the difficulties that at once met them when they tried to apply the principle all round. Unfortunately, the whole population of the kingdom were not Christians. How were they going to deal with that part of the population which did not believe even in what was called undogmatic Christianity? They had to pay rates for the teaching of a religion which they did not believe in. He could not understand why it commended itself to the hon. Member's view of abstract morality that religion should be taught in the way he and his friends liked, while all the higher principles of morality were violated whenever they attempted to teach religion which differed from the law which the hon. Gentleman laid down for himself and his friends. He was not sure that he ought to have trespassed so much upon first principles on the Report Stage of this Bill. The hon. Member's speech seemed to him to be one which would have been more appropriate to the First, Second or Third Reading than to either the Committee or the Report Stage. He 524 was aware that he had repeated many things which he had said to the House on previous occasions, but he thought it was only courteous to remind the hon. Member of the reasons why the Government found it absolutely impossible to accept the suggestions he had made.
*MR. LUCAS () Portsmouth
said he should like to say a word or two upon this question. He thought the speech made by the hon. Member for Carnarvon yesterday was one of the most important speeches made this session. Speaking for his constituents, the hon. Member for Carnarvon divided the opponents of this Bill into two classes, those actuated by great hostility to the Church of England and those who were not anxious about religion at all. He would leave the hon. Member to settle with his own constituents the general charge that a very large number of them did not care very much whether there was any religious teaching at all. According to the hon. Member a very large number of parents did not care whether their children received any religious teaching whatever, and they left religion severely alone. These were the conscientious objectors to this Clause, and it seemed to him that their consciences were in a very bad condition. From the very beginning of these discussions the supporters of this Bill had not had any desire to injure in the slightest degree the Nonconformists. In the first place they could not have done so if they had wished to, and in the second place they would not be fools enough to try. The hon. Member for Carnarvon had made a boast that if the spirit of this Bill were carried into effect they would use the measure as a weapon—
Order, order! The hon. Member is now discussing a speech made upon another Amendment yesterday which has no particular bearing upon the question before the House. The question before the House is whether the local authority or the managers should have the control of the religious education.
said his difficulty was to know upon which Amendments the discussion of religious instruction was out 525 of order. No Member of the House of Commons was listened to with more pleasure than the hon. Member for Carnarvon—he did not know whether he was read with so much pleasure in the country.
Order, order! The hon. Member is continuing a debate on a speech made yesterday, which really has no bearing upon the question before the House.
I must remind the hon. Member that that is hardly a respectful way of treating the Chair.
said he did not mean to be disrespectful, and what he intended to say was that he had said all he wished to say before Mr. Speaker stopped him, and that therefore he would not attempt to pursue the subject.
§ MR. BRYCE
said that this Amendment would simply have the effect of making the local authority supreme over all the education given in the school. He thought it would be a great deal better for the working of the Government system if the local authority was made supreme over every kind of instruction. The argument for this Amendment was that they might avoid a certain amount of friction, and although other kinds of friction might arise, they might fairly expect that public bodies would respect the denominational character of the schools if the legislature intended and directed them to respect it. That was the effect of the Amendment which they were now discussing, and he thought it ought to be judged upon its own merits. He thought this proposal would work better than the system contained in the Bill. As for the Cowper-Temple Clause, it was perfectly true, as had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, that it was not logical. It did not meet the cases of the Jews, the Roman Catholics, and those who did not hold any form of Christianity. It was, in point of fact, a compromise between the two sections of opinion which existed in 1870. It was a compromise between pure 526 secularism and pure denominationalism. He remembered very well the discussions which took place in 1870. This was not defended then as a logical system, but as a working compromise. They might appeal to the experience of the past thirtytwo years to show that it was a compromise which had worked fairly well. The reason why it had worked fairly well was because it corresponded—
§ MR. SPEAKER
The next Amendment proposes to insert a reference to the Cowper-Temple Clause, and the proper time to discuss it will be when that Amendment is proposed. If it is understood that that Amendment is not to be proposed, I shall not prevent the right hon. Gentleman from dealing with the question now; but it seems to me that this line of argument is hardly relevant on the present Amendment.
§ MR. BRIGG (, Keighlay) Yorkshire, W. R.
said that one great object to be desired was that matters should be simplified in connection with the management of the schools. If they took out the word "secular," they would find that therby all the insturction in the school would be carried on by one authority. He spoke on behalf of those who had to carry on a large amount of this work, and he would ask that every opportunity should be given to simplify and make plain work which had to be done under very great difficulties. There was no question that the having of two authorities in the school was an exceedingly difficult position. There must be more or less a conflict between the two parties, and it was therefore exceedingly desirable that there should be entirely one management if possible.
§ MR. PLATT-HIGGINS () Salford, N.
said the hon. Member who proposed the Amendment, while regarding it as unjust to levy a rate for denominational teaching, seemed to think it was quite right to levy a rate for teaching the New Testament. To apply that to the Jews seemed to him a very illogical argument, 527 and one that would not bear consideration. He wished to show what would be the logical result of the arguments put forth on this Amendment. A decision had lately been given by the Supreme Court of the State of Nebraska, in which they had laid it down that it was unconstitutional for a teacher in any public school in the State to read passages from the Bible, cause the singing of hymns, or to offer prayers to the Deity. That was the logical consequence of the arguments put forward. The hon. Member also stated that such teaching as he recommended was satisfactory to the Nonconformists. Might he be allowed to give the House a statement by a distinguished Congregational minister, the late Dr. Dale of Birmingham? In his "Life," published two or three years ago, there was the following passage—Any explanation of the Bible that could be regarded as 'undogmatic' he has always
§ regarded with distrust. In the debate on the scheme of religious education proposed by the majority, he argued that religious reaching which would not be likely 'to attach the children to any particular denomination' would end in detaching them from all. He expressed his alarm at the tendency of modern thought to depreciate the importance of definite religious teaching, and his conviction that nothing was so likely to bring about the destruction of whatever religious faith still survived in England."
§ He ventured to suggest that the late Dr. Dale was a higher authority than the Member for North-West Norfolk, and on that ground he would oppose the Amendment.
§ (3.36.) Question put,
§ "That the word 'secular' stand part of the Clause."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 171; Noes, 92. (Division List No. 583.)529
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Howard, John(Kent, Faversh'm)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dixon-Hartland, SirFred Dixon||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Doughty, George||Kemp, George|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kenron-Slaney, Col. W.(salop.)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hungh O.||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Kimber, Henry|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||During-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Knowles, Lees|
|Austin, Sir John||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Law, Andrew Bonar(Glasgow)|
|Bagot, Cappt. Josceline FitzRoy||Egerton, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lawson, John Grant|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lee, Arthur H.(Hants, Fareham)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fardell. Sir T. George||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lockwood, Lt. -Col. A. R.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Fergusson, Rt Hn. SirJ. (Manc'r)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W(Leeds)||Fielden, Edward Brocklchurst||Long, Col. CharlesW.(Evesham)|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Bignold, Arthur||Fisher, William Haycs||Lowe, Francis William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||FitzGerald, SirRobert Penrose-||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Bond, Edward||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas, ReginaldJ. (Portsmouth)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson(King'sLynn)||Fletchcr, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Macartney, Rt. Hn W G. Ellison|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Flower, Ernest||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Campbell, Rt Hn. J. A. (Glasgow)||Forster, Henry William||Malcolm, Ian|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H||Galloway, William Johnson||Maxwell, WJH(Dumfriesshire)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gardner, Ernest||Milvain, Thomas|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Garfit, William||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gibbs, Hon, Vicary(St. Albans)||Moro, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Chamberlain, RtHn J. A (Wore.)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Champman, Edward||Greville, Hon, Ronald||Murry, RtHnA. Graham(Bute)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hain, Edward||Murray, Col. Wyndham(Bath)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Halsev, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Myers, William Henry|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Hamilton, RtHnLordG(Midd'x)||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashford)||Pemberton, John S. G|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Percy, Earl|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Helder, Augustus||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Higginbottom, S. W.||Platt-Higgins. Frederick|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hobhouse, RtHn H. (Somers't, E)||Plummber, Walter R.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Horner, Frederick William||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Denny, Colonel||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Pryce-Jones, Lt. -Col. Edward|
|Dewar, Sir T. R.(Tower Hamlest)||Hoult, Joseph||Purvis, Robert|
|Rankin, Sir James||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Welby, SirCharlesG. E. (Notts.)|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Spear. John Ward||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)||Whiteley, H(Ashton-und. Lyne)|
|Remnant, James Farquhrson||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Willonghby de Eresby, Lord|
|Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Renwick, George||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wilson, Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)||Talbot, RtHn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Redley, S. Forde(BethnalGreen)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Thornton, Percy M.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Rutherford, John||Tufnell, Lient.-Col. Edward||Wylie, Alexander|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Tully, Jasper||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Valentia, Vicount|
|Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Walrond, RtHn. Sir WilliamH.|
|Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (IslcofWight)||Wanklyn, James Leslie||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—:Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Sharpe, William Edward T.||Warde, Colonel C. E|
|Smith, Abe!H. (Hertford. East)||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Smith, HC(North'mb. Tyneside)||Welby, Lt. -Col. A. C. E(Taunt'n)|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir. Arthur D.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Allen, CharlesP. (Glone., Stroud)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Horniman, Frederick John||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)|
|Bell, Richard||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Shackleton, David James|
|Black, Alexander William||Jacoby, James Alfred||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Brigg, John||Jones, David Brynmor(Swansea)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Broadhurst. Henry||Lambert, George||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Langley, Batty||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Burns, John||Layland-Barratt. Francis||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R(Northants)|
|Caldwell, James||Levy, Maurice||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cameron, Robert||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Sir A.(Glamorgan, E.)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas David Alfred(M'rthyr)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Logan, John William||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough. Thomas||Thomas, J A(Glamorgan, Gower)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Tomkinson, James|
|Crombie, John William||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Mansfield. Horace Rendall||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Wason, Eugene|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Palmer, SirCharlesM. (Durham)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Ellis, John Edward||Partiagton, Oswald||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Paulton, James Mellor||Williams, Osmond(Merioneth)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Pease. J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Gladstone, RtHn. Herbert John||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Priestley, Arthur||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir E.(Berwick)||Rea, Russell|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie(Dumfries)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. George White and Mr. Runciman.|
|Harcourt, Rt Hon. Sir William||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Rigg, Richard|
§ MR. CHANNING
, who had an Amendment to strikw out the words "School Boards Shall be abolished," said that in view of the two decisions of the House the previous day he did not think it would be desirable to detain the House by discussing his Amendment, and he would therefore not move it.
*(3.50.) MR. RUNCIMAN () Dewsbury
, in moving the Amendment standing in his name, said that he approached this subject of the single-area schools with diffidence because it was one which it was hoped, not so long ago, would 530 have been made the subject of compromise by the Government. There had, however, been no concessions made by the Government The Words of his Amendment were practically the same as those moved by the hon. Member for East Mayo some time in July last. The object he had in moving the Amendment was that, in single-school areas, there should be a different mode of control of the school to the extent of allowing that area to have its managers publicly appointed. That Amendment was resisted by the Government, but he noticed, in looking up the reports in Hansard, that the 531 First Lord of the Treasury admitted the grievance which the hon. Member or East Mayo was going to cure. The hon. Member for East Mayo said that he was deeply disappointed by the attitude taken up by the First Lord. It was a question on which he thought the right hon. Gentleman would at least be willing to make an effort to meet the admitted grievance of the Nonconformists, and the First Lord replied, "I said I would meet it." Now, they on that side of the House had asked the First Lord to meet it, but up to the present time no change had been made in the Bill which could be said to alleviate this griecance. He believed that the principle involved in his consequential Amendment went much further than that of the hon. Member for East Mayo, and that it would, to a large extent, relieve the grievance in those areas where the schools were a monopoly of one Church, and where the Church alone had the right to appoint the majority of the managers. The single school areas had been stated to be over 8,000 in number, but that had been contradicted by the representatives of the Church who said that they only numbered 6,108; even the latter ought to merit the consideration of the Government. Roughly speaking, there were 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 of people resident in the rural villages, and he presumed that nearly 4,000,000 children were entirely dependent for their education on the Church schools. Now, in these rural villages there were great masses of Nonconformists—not only in Wales, which was so often quoted, but in the west of England in the Midlands, in the east, and in the north of England—where the parents naturally objected to have their children educated in what they though was a Chhurch atmosphere. They had no alternative but to send their children to these voluntary schools; and no Conscience Clause could entirely do away with the Church atmosphere. The Attorney General, during the course of these discussions, stated that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Aberdeen was quite correct in saying that the Government recognised that there was a grievance in these single-school areas, and that the Government proposed to deal with it in the Report stage of the 532 Bill. What they asked of the Government was to fulfil their pledges on the Report stage. This grievance was not only admitted even by the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and several other dignitaries had admitted that in single school areas the grievance was so great as not only to be justifiable but to merit a cure. The cure put forward in the Bill was that the Nonconformists should be allowed to build new denominational schools; but it was absurd to expect that poor Nonconformists in the villages should provide from £700 to £1,000 in order to erect a structure in which to secure religious equality. If riches were to be a criterion of religious equality. If riches were to be a criterion of religious equality, he did not think that it would satisfy either the Nonconformists or others concerned. There could be no religious equality for the poor under the new denominational schools Clauses. There was an ideal that every religion should have a school of its own. That was perfectly impossible and would lead to confusion. It was said that the "grievance could be met by permitting religious teaching in the schools such as the Nonconformist parents desired." That, however, would not get rid of what the Nonconformists complained—the Church atmosphere. There was bound to be a Church atmosphere where the teachers were appointed by the Church. Were the teaching profession thrown open and public control given in those village schools, then they might be prepared to accept the proposal that there should be a right of religious teaching outside the school hours, or some other arrangement which would not interfere with the working of the school, but which would allow religious teaching by the various denominations to be given to the children in the school building. But was it not absurd to suggest that any proposal of that kind could be made when the bishop was to be the final arbiter in religious disputes in these schools? Even if two managers of an alien religion were appointed on the board of management, the bishop would still be supreme. He knew that it was frequently pleaded that the position was no better than under the Act of 1870; but he wished to point out that the Act of 1870 had never fully satisfied the Nonconformist claim; and no one could state 533 that with more force than the Colonial Secretary if he were there that day. Reference had been made to Dr. Dale, who declared that the Act of 1870 would never satisfy the Nonconformists. The fact was that the Act of 1870 created an intolerable strain under which the Nonconformists lived, and that intolerable strain was no less today than it was then. That feeling was a real and intense feeling. It had developed in its strongest form even amongst the Wesleyans, who had themselves their own denominational schools. At the recent Wesleyan Conference, again and again the complaint was made that "the primary object of Methodist policy in the matter of elementary education was the placing of a Christian unsectarian school within reasonable distance of every family;" and that policy was reaffirmed by them at the meeting of their special education committee which had taken place during the passage of the Bill through the House. Objection had been raised to the word "proselytizing" in the schools, but proselytizing was bound to go on in the Church schools. It might not be visible, but its influence and its effect were apparent. An hon. Member had said that proselytizing was almost unknown in the Church schools, but hundreds of cases could be quoted where proselytizing was carried on; and even if proselytizing was not carried on in its most active form, he ventured to assert that the Church atmosphere itself was sufficient to deserve the Government. Every hon. Member representing an agricultural constituency knew that the parents in agricultural districts for the sake of their children were induced to leave the country and go into towns where there were board schools. Any hon. Member who knew well the county districts, especially in the north of England, would know that the dearest aim of parents in agricultural districts was to see their children well educated without their religious feelings being outraged. The foundation of the settlement was not likely to be very stable if this grievance was not remedied. The hon. Member for East Mayo recognised that, when he moved his Amendments in the interests of the Catholic communion. Nonconformists were not likely to put up with schools which were the monopoly of the Church 534 of England. Toleration was all very well in its way. Nonconformists did not like the word. Toleration was a stage they had passed long ago; and the demand they now made was a demand for religious equality.
§ Amendment proposed to the Bill—
§ "In page 3, line 15, at beginning of sub-Section (2), to insert the words: 'Except in areas where there appears to the local education authority to be only one school available for children resident in such area.' "—(Mr. Runciman.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
*THE SECRETARY OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir WILLIAM ANSON, Oxford University)
said he understood that the hon. Member's two Amendments should be taken together.
said he would be prepared to accept the compromise proposed by the hon. Member for East Mayo.
*SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said he should take the hon. Member's Amendment as he found it. The Amendment proposed that the school in every single school area should be treated as a school provided by the local authority, whatever the previous rights or conditions of the denominations to which it belonged. The hon. Member for East Mayo moved in substance the same proposal as long ago as last summer. That hon. Member admitted that it was a hardship to the denominations concerned; but he said it was necessary in the interests of denominationalism that some sacrifices should be made. It did not concern the great majority of Roman Catholic schools, and therefore the hon. Member was prepared to throw a child to the wolves of undenominationalism, having taken care, in the first instance, that it was some one else's child. He frankly admitted the difficulty of the single school areas. He had admitted it from time to time; it had been admitted by the Prime Minister; and various suggestions had been made, but the hardship was not, he thought, mainly, and certainly not entirely, on the children of Nonconformist parents who had to attend 535 denominational schools. He did not think it was a great grievance in practice, and they heard little of it except on platforms and in the course of debates in that House. He could not, therefore, believe that the depopulation of their rural districts, which no one regretted more than he did, was due to the desire of the parents to send their children to schools in the towns. In order to remove the grievance, which was not a grievance of the children, but of the teachers, they had done something in other parts of the Bill by throwing open the teaching profession more widely then it was at present; and they had made further provision in Clauses 9 and 10, which he admitted was not entirely satisfactory, for the supply of other schools. They had extended the term necessary so that it should apply not merely to the numerical requirements of the population, but also in respect to the denominational requirements of the population. The whole question had been most carefully considered by the Government. The Prime Minister spoke yesterday of the time and trouble that had been expended in endeavouring to devise some scheme on the lines proposed by the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich yesterday, and supported with much force and eloquence on both sides of the House. He confessed that, enamoured as he was at first with that proposal, he had come more and more to the conclusion that it was unworkable for the reason adduced by the Prime Minister; namely, that it would be unpopular with Anglican clergymen, who would not like Nonconformist ministers invading their schools, and with Nonconformists who would have to journey to the schools, oftentimes at considerable inconvenience; and it would also be unpopular with the teachers, who would find alien persons undertaking the teaching of the children during school hours. The more the solution of the difficulty was considered the more unsolvable it appeared; and he could not admit that the hon. Member had attained anything approaching a solution when he proposed to approach the question with a frank measure of confiscation. What the hon. Member proposed was that schools which had been built and maintained by a denomination for a number of years at great cost and sacrifice should, because they conflicted with the opinions of a number of Nonconformists within the area, and 536 of more influential Nonconformists in political circles outside the area, be taken from the ownership and trust under which they existed, handed over to the local authority, and be treated as schools under Clause 14 of the Act of 1870, so that the religious reaching given in them should be under the Cowper-Temple Clause. He could not admit that that was a fair solution. He admitted the difficulty which had baffled the ingenuity of persons abler and with more knowledge than he possessed, but he could not admit that the proper way of cutting the Gordian knot was the appropriation of other people's property and labour, or that it was even a decent solution of the problem, which he was sure hon. Members on that side of the House desired to see solved to the satisfaction of all parties.
*SIR HENRY FOWLER () Wolverhampton, E.
said that the hon. Gentleman admitted the grievance. The Government had admitted it over and over again, but had not helped the House to the solution. They criticised yesterday with perfect justice, not only from a theological point of view, but also from a practical point of view, the Amendment of the noble Lord; and no one spoke more tersely and strongly against it than did, that afternoon, the Secretary to the Board of Education. The point before the House was really the most difficult part of the Bill—namely, the separate treatment of a school area in which there was only one school. A great deal of the Nonconformist grievance, he would admit, did not exist in large towns. Practically there was no Nonconformist grievance where there was a choice of schools, and certainly no Church of England grievance where they had their own school.
*MR. TALBOT () Oxford University
said there was a very distinct Church grevance in some districts of large towns, where there was an ample supply of board schools, but absolutely no provision for the definite religious education which was given in Church Schools.
*SIR HENRY FOWLER
said that no doubt there were isolated districts in large towns where the school whcih was nearest and most convenient was a board 537 school or a denominational school, as the case might be. A parent told a clerical friend of his that she sent her child to the school to reach which he had to pass the fewest crossings, although she was a member of the Church of England and no doubt wished her child brought up in the Church of England. For all practical purposes, however, there was no intolerable grievance in the large towns where there was a choice of schools, but there was an intolerable grievance in the country districts where there was but one school. He admitted that proselytizing did not exist to any great extent. The point was that there was a class of teaching in some schools which was not only offensive, but distressing to Nonconformist parents. He intended to put a question to the Secretary to the Board of Education with reference to a case which had been sent to him, and which had occurred within the last three weeks. He would now ask the Secretary to the Board of Education whether his attention had been drawn to a statement that thirty-one children attending the National School in a certain parish in Devonshire were withdrawn by Nonconformist parents from religious teaching in that school on 13th October. They were withdrawn because of the extreme ritualistic teaching in the school, which had reached a point which Protestant Nonconformist parents could not tolerate any longer. The vicar, on his next visit to the school, ordered all the children, eighty-one in number, to stand up and to repeat three times after the school mistress the following statement: "Fifty of us want the Bible, and thirty-one of us don't want the Bible." Was it possible to conceive a more contemptible and childish proceeding? He did not profess to be responsible for the allegation himself, and he would certainly give the hon. Gentleman (Sir William Anson) an opportunity of investigating it. He believed the story was uncontradicted by the clergyman himself, and the case was one in which he submitted that the Education Department ought to interfere and say whether the Conscience Clause had not been violated. It was these difficulties which did the mischief in a few cases, but the strength of a chain was the strength of its weakest link, 538 and thestrength of the denominational system was the folly of its weakest members. If the system was liable to this sort of folly, he was entitled to ask the Government to give the public such protection as they legitimately could. The Secretary to the Board of Education had said, "You want to confiscate the property of the denominations." He certainly did not wish to do so. He had no wish in any way to disturb the existing denominational system. He wished Church of England schools to remain Church of England schools; Wesleyan schools to remain Wesleyan schools; and Roman Catholic schools to remain Roman Catholic schools. Where, however, there was only one school in one area, he held that there ought to be exceptional treatment not only for one denomination but for all denominations. What was the solution arrived at by the Government. He was willing to admit that the denominational religious character ought to be maintained. He admitted that. He thought that if the Government had been content to rely in the first instance, or even in connection with what was called the Kenyon-Slaney Clause on the continuance of denominational teaching in those schools subject to the trusts of the deeds that would have been an intelligible proposition. But they would not rely upon that; they had excluded the principle of popular control from those schools. They gave the denominations specifically the majority on the management. They ought to have given the public the majority, in order to protect all sections of the public against causes of complaint such as that to which he had referred. He would substitute the proportion of four for the proportion of two, and vice versa. That would render those acts of petty tyranny impossible. He did not wish to interfere with the town system, that was working fairly well at the present time, but there existed a distinct and separate grievance which would continue so long as there was only one school in a parish, and so long as we maintained that the religious teaching at the school should be under the control of one denomination unless some means of safe-guarding the civil and religious rights of the parents were adopted. This question was left unsettled, and it would be an open sore.
539 It would have to be dealt with even by this Government if it remained in office, and certainly a Liberal Government. It only aggravated our existing sectarian differences to leave open this question which the Government, with its huge majority, could settle and might settle even yet. Let them secure to the denominations who had taken part in erecting these schools all their denominational rights, but say to them that where their's was the only school in the district they would safe-guard the rights of the children in religious matters by putting the power, so far as the management of the school was concerned, in the hands, at all events, of the majority of the ratepayers. He would certainly support his hon. friend in this Amendment, although he would prefer that the ultimate solution of the difficulty should be found in putting the schools under effective and real popular control.
*MR. TULLY () Leitrim, S.
said he wished to oppose this Amendment as strongly as he could. It related to 8,000 parishes in which there was only one school, and its intention was to put these schools under popular control. This Amendment affected thirty Roman Catholic schools. He had been trapped on the occasion when the hon. Member for East Mayo moved a similar Amendment to this which was written out for him by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, and he had seen how the thing was misrepresented in Ireland by the untruthful reports which were sent over from this House that it was moved in the interest of the voluntary schools. The action of the hon. Member for East Mayo on that occasion was one that could not be described in any language which the Speaker would allow to be used in the House of Commons. But as he had been trapped on that occasion into voting entirely against his religious convictions, he intendednow to atonefor that by voting solid against this Amendment. The Member for East Mayo had no authority to speak for the Catholics of Ireland, either the clergy or the laity, when he brought forward his Amendment, which, had it been carried, would have given thirty Catholic schools over to secular education, to the exclusion of the religious element. That was the proposition of the hon. Member who had said he voiced the opinion 540 of the Roman Catholics in Ireland. The belief of the Roman Catholics was that our Lord, when he commanded the Church to go forth and teach, commissioned the Church as the teaching authority, and not the public or the parents, and when the hon. Member for East Mayo moved an Amendment the same as this he would tear down the Church from its pedestal and give over the education to the public and the parents. He did what he had no right to do, and he wished to protest against such a doctrine going forth as representative of Irish feeling and Irish sentiment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton had said that the safety of the voluntary schools depended on the folly of their weskest members. But did not the same remark apply to secular schools? If that was to be made the occasion for a threat in the House of Commons, he did not think if was one to which much importance need be attached. The Amendment, if incorporated in the Bill, would practically mean the closing of thirty Catholic schools in thirty parishes in England. In France, when the Prime Minister of that country proposed his attack upon them, the Roman Catholics said they were prepared to close their schools and convents rather than submit to their secularisation. This Amendment, if carried, would do in England and Wales, as far as the Catholic schools were concerned, the very work which the French Prime Minister had been doing to the Catholic schools and convents in France. He at least stood in the House of Commons as one Irish Catholic representative to protest against any such conduct, and to record his objection to the doctrine wrongfully put forward by the hon. Member for East Mayo on the part of Irish Catholics.
*SIR CHARLES DILKE
thought the hon. Member for South Leitrim had been shooting at a distant target rather than directing his fire at the Amendment before the House.
*SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that when the hon. Member produced a list of the thirty Roman Catholic schools that were 541 likely to be closed by the operation of this Amendment, the House would be able to see what grievance they possessed. Under this Bill almost the entire cost of the schools in question was to be paid out of rates and taxes, and surely under the exceptional circumstances contemplated by the Amendment—even in the exceptional circumstances of the thirty somewhat mythical schools referred to by the hon. Member for South Leitrim—the State was entitled to insist on certain conditions before it spent so large a sum of money. The grievance this Amendment was designed to meet was admitted. It was one of the weightiest grievances that existed, and it would be one of the greatest practical difficulties in the working of the Act. The Clauses placed on the Paper to meet the difficulty had been shut cut by the Closure, but the present Amendment appeared to raise the point, and to do so without the difficulty of interpretation involved in certain previous Amendments. This was always called a question of "single school" parishes, but it was nothing of the kind. A very common case, indeed, was that of a single civil or ecclesiastical parish—the latter sometimes containing two civil parishes—in which there were four or five schools, but all under the same body of managers, and therefore, for all practical purposes, one; they were all Church of England schools. Things would be worse under the Bill, because in many of these parishes the trust deeds were not strictly adhered to, and in order to obtain subscriptions from the whole population, and especially from the manufacturing portion, Nonconformist managers were appointed. But under the Bill the conditions of the trust would be rigidly adhered to; and these Nonconformist managers would not be appointed, and the system which now might, and sometimes did, work very fairly, would not continue. The Amendment raised the whole question, because the word "areas" would probably be interpreted as meaning the areas served by the particular schools. He regretted the tone adopted by the Secretary to the Board of Education on the present occasion. Previously, when the matter had been discussed, they had, at all events, been met sympathetically, with promises that the 542 matter should be considered, and everything done that could be done to meet this admitted grievance. But today the hon. Member had directed a heavy fire into the Amendment, saying that things were working with perfect harmony, and that it was a matter of which much was heard in the House of Commons, but very little in the districts themselves. The reason little was heard in the districts was that the grievance existed mainly in the few parishes where extreme teaching was given. But that was not the case he was putting to the House. His case was that of places where things worked well at present, because the schools were conducted in such a way as to draw subscriptions from the whole neighbourhood. If this Bill were passed, all that harmony would cease, and much would be heard of the grievance—not from the exceptional parishes in which the teaching was disapproved, but from all the parishes in which these so-called single schools existed.
§ MR. MALCOLM () Suffolk, Stowmarket
was sure that some of his friends on the Government side of the House would not agree with the taunt levelled by the right hon. Baronet at the hon. Member for South Leitrim, who had, as he humorously said, "fired a sighting shot" into those Members who were away, but who ought to have been sitting on the Benches opposite. Church members at least must have considerable sympathy with the hon. Member. It was not a very dignified position for Members of the House of Commons to be away in America, or elsewhere, looking for the wherewithal to carry on the agitation for Home Rule, while they left the true teaching of their Church to look after itself in Parliament. The Irish people at heart were a most religious people. They were Roman Catholics, but they of the Church England thought none the worse of them for that; they respected them for it. And yet, at a time when their teachers and their schools were in jeopardy, or would have been but for the large majority on the Government side of the House, nearly eighty Members had forsaken their flocks and fled to America or other places. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the 543 Member for East Wolverhampton was one of the most moderate from that side of the House to which he had listened for a long time. But with regard to the Devonshire case quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, it should be for the bishop to censure that elergyman, as censured, indeed, he ought to be. As many on the Government side objected to the Kenyon-Slaney Amendment because it placed the religious teaching under the control of the managers instead of the clergyman, and ultimately the bishop, so he would object also to this Amendment because it took from the bishop the power and responsibility which he ought to have of consuring clergyman who behaved in the manner described by the right hon. Gentleman. He wished he could feel that popular control would provide a solution of the difficulty in these one-school areas. He was afraid, however, that that was not possible, because the word "weapon" used by the hon. Member for the Carnarvon Boroughs on the previous day still rang in their ears. The hon. Member had frankly stated that in the districts in which there was a war between two creeds, and the Nonconformists got the better of it, they would use their advantage as a weapon against the Church in these one-school districts.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
explained that what he said was that if the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich were carried, Nonconformists would certainly use that weapon, unless popular control were given.
§ MR. MALCOLM
said that if popular control were given, Nonconformists would have a greater weapon given to them, and a weapon would be taken from the Church. If the Amendment of his noble friend had been accepted, a weapon of equal sharpness would have been given to both parties, but with great astuteness the hon. Member for Dewsbury now proposed to give to his own side a weapon which he withheld from the other. It was really a measure for the confiscation of Church schools in these areas, and as such he should vote against it.
§ MR. CHARLES ALLEN () Gloucestershire, Stroud
thought the Government 544 ought really to be greateful to the Opposition for providing them with a suggestion as to what should be done in this matter. From the First Lord of the Treasury to so advanced a Member as the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich, all admitted that in these single-school areas Nonconformists had a very considerable grievance, and yet all the Government would say was that they would give them nothing except Clauses 9 and 10. He should certainly support the Amendment. What he suggested in a new Clause which he had upon the Paper was that the local electors should be allowed to decide every three years whether the school should be taken over by the local authority or not. That was a comparatively moderate thing. It would have done away with this grievance at once in some cases, and later on in other instances. At any rate, the people would have felt that they had a right to have a poll to decide the question. The Government simply presented a non possumus upon this question. He believed that a large number of country clergymen would be willing to accept such a proposal as he put down on the Paper, or of the kind which had been moved by the hon. Member for Dewsbury, but they would not give up the management of those schools, because at the diocesan meetings the clergymen who gave up their schools lost caste. On the principles of justice he should certainly support the Amendment.
§ COLONEL PILKINGTON () Lancashire, Newton
said that perhaps the grievance which had been alluded to was the greatest that the Nonconformists felt. The Government had already considered it very carefully, but had they considered it enough? Was it not possible, even at the eleventh hour, to remedy this grievance? He desired that this Bill should work well in the country, and as far as the Church of England was concerned he believed it would be far better that this position should be fully and justly met by some arrangement in regard to these one-school areas. It seemed to him that it would be in the interests of the Church of England that this should be done. It would be far better instead of building another school to make some arrangement by which the management of the Church of England religious teaching should be in 545 such a position that Nonconformists would feel that they could send their children there and be in no way interfered with as regarded their religion. In his Division this grievance did not arise, for it was not felt to the same extent in populous towns. It only arose where the population was just sufficient for on school. He knew that this was not an easy position to meet, but he thought it could be met, and if it was too late to deal with it in this House, the Government had a sufficient power and following in another place to see that a suitable and proper way of dealing with the question was introduced into the Bill. He thought that if the Church of England would open their schools more widely and generously and fearlessly, they would make converts by thousands. He spoke as a Nonconformist who had liberally supported Church of England schools in Lancashire. Did they suppose that he would ever let go his interest in the National Church? It was because he believed that an alteration of the Bill in this direction would not only be in the interests of the smooth working of the Bill, but would also redound to the interest and benefit of the Church of England, that he made this appeal to the Government.
§ MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire,) South Molton
assured the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Education that this was felt to be a very considerable grievance in rural parishes. He happened to represent a constituency in which there were a large number of parishes with single-school areas, and in many of those parishes there was a majority of Nonconformists. It rankled with them when anything cropped up relating to their schools, and he was perfectly certain it would be to the real and abiding interest of the Church of England if it would throw open its doors and admit a majority of managers on the management for those schools where only one school existed for children to attend. The Secretary to the Board of Education had told the House that this was largely a local grievance. He did not believe it. Of course the right hon. Gentleman was not brought so closely in touch with the electorate as most hon. Members. There were scores of villages in his constituency where 546 this grievance was keenly felt. He should be only too delighted to chaperone the right hon. Gentleman through his constituency, where he would find this grievance was very severely felt. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Nonconformists in the country parishes were a peaceable race. Naturally they were, because they occupied a rather subordinate position. Very often they were small shopkeepers or labourers, and could not afford to be obstreperous and continually making complaints against the school. In the great majority of cases the rectors and squires were reasonable men, and would not attempt to persecute a man because he expressed his religious convictions; but what could be said of such a rector as he mentioned the other day, who considered a gardener incompetent because he was a Nonconformist? This illustrated the case in Devon of the vicar who compelled the children to say some of them wanted the Bible and some did not. These were the things which the Nonconformists considered grievances, and they would not exist if a majority of the managers were appointed by the local authorities. As a compromise, he would be quite content with the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton, and allow two managers to be appointed by the Parish Council, two by the County Council, and two by the denomination. That would be a very fair compromise in the country parishes. It might be said that the denomination would suffer a little. He doubted it. Anyhow, it was not so important that the denomination should not suffer as it was that national education should not suffer. He put education far above denomination, and if it were a question between the two, the former should triumph. It was absurd to call the Bill an Education Bill if they allowed the interests of the denomination to override the real interests of education. It was all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to talk about the difficulty. The Government was there to meet the difficulty. What difficulty did the Bill really meet except the difficulty of maintaining voluntary schools? What they asked was that in those parishes where there was a large number of Nonconformists, compelled by law to send their children to single schools, that they should be given a majority of the representation on the board of management. The 547 grievance would be brought home tenfold when the rate-collector went round, and he hoped at this eleventh hour the Government would do something to meet this grievance in the country districts.
(5.0.) MR. J. W. WILSON () Worcestershire, N.
said he felt that this Amendment could be looked upon as standing by itself. There was no idea of confiscation. All that was desired by some of them on both sides of the House was that there should be some recognition of the exceptional position and circumstances in which the schools in these parishes were placed. By giving even one elected representative, he believed the position of the schools in those parishes would be strengthened. They could not pretend but to feel that in the removal of subscribers there had been a removal of a great force, which had been for good, in these parishes. They knew that the subscriptions were collected from all alike, not merely from church or chapel people—they had been collected from those who wished to support the present schools, and possibly from those who supported them merely to avoid having a school rate He felt that the plan of the Amendment was much better than that which was suggested in the Bill, namely, the building of a second school. In the interests of education, how could they expect the success of a rival school in a small parish which was only able to support one school porperly managed? He expressed the hope that there would be some recognition of the exceptional circumstances, and he was sure the result would amply repay the concession.
§ DR. MACNAMARA () Camberwell, N.
said that every time the single-school area was mentioned, they were all agreed that there was a serious grievance. That had been universally admitted, and there had been nothing said to the contrary. An equally striking feature was the fact that the Government could find no remedy. The Prime Minister had again and again admitted the grievance. He had heard this Government called "a Government of all the talents. "He thought they might have done more for the grievance of the single-school areas. The issue before the House now was whether they should continue to compel people to send 548 their children to a school, the religious instruction in which would be distasteful to them. The Parliamentary Secretary said that the Government had given Clauses 9, 10, and 11 of the Bill. He would ask the hon. Baronet whether he thought that the provisions of those Clauses really consitituted a mitigation of this difficulty. What was the scheme set forth in those Clauses? If people were discontented with the form of religious instruction given in a village school, they were to have the right of applying for another school; then the managers of the existing school might put in a notice of objection; then the ratepayers might object, and the whole matter would go to the Board of Education to inquire whether those who were applying for a separate school were to have one. The Board of Education were to have regard to the interests of secular education and the wishes of the people, and they were to have regard to the economy of the rates. He was quite sure that the application for another school would be rejected. This remedy was quite illusory, and he was very glad it was. He could not view with satisfaction the prospect of setting up these little mushroom schools, which would be largely extravagant and educationally absurd. He did think that it was in the Government's interest to endeavour to do something. He was one of those who were anxious for the harmonious working of the Bill in the localities. He believed it would have a very rough time in many of the localities. If something could be done here, it should be done to remove the difficulties which would be felt in many cases. There was not a great deal of trouble at present in many of the villages. The teachers had been very discreet, and in the Church schools they had not pushed the thing too far in dealing with Nonconformist children. The parents themselves had been—he thought he might say without offence—fairly indifferent. Why? Not because they were not concerned with religious instruction. He was sure the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich would agree with him in that. It was because the whole cast had come from some place far away—the Treasury. There was a school in the place, and it was to them a dispensation of 549 Providence, like the weather—something with which they had not personal connection. But they were now going to the doors of the people with a demandnote, asking five, ten, fifteen, or twenty shillings. That was the way to create an interest in the schools on the part of those good people who had been unconcerned, and who in the past had not contributed a farthing. He knew that there were nearly a thousand villages in which there were no voluntary contributions at all. They had been living on the Government grants. The interest of those people in the conduct of the schools would be increased manyfold at once by the mere demand for money. The voluntary school teachers in the single-school areas were going to have a rough time of it. Could the Government do nothing to mitigate that? He suggested, in the interest of the working of the Bill, that something should be done to mitigate it—something beyond the appointment of a subordinate teacher. Someone had suggested that they were proposing confiscation. He did not propose confiscation at all. He wanted to treat everybody fairly and reasonably. The proposal which the hon. Member for East Mayo made was one which the Government might very well have accepted, namely, that where there was one school the six managers should consist of two representing the parents, two the public, and two the trust. The Prime Minister said he felt that might upset the denominational character of the school, and that was the ground taken now. If the denominational character of the school was upset, at whose instance would it be done? The parents of the children. They would be the moderating influence, and hon. Members opposite had always said that they ought to have the claim to determine the religious instruction to be given in the school. He still hoped that the Government might see its way to do something. If the character of the school was to be changed, it could only be done at the instance of those who had a right to change it. If nothing was done here, perhaps in another place something might be done. He was sure that in villages where there was only one school, and that a denominational schools, to which people were compelled to send 550 their children, there would be interminable difficulties, unless some provisions were made to meet the grievance. He urged that such steps should be taken as would give the parents in those villages a predominating influence in the management of the schools.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL () Greenwich
said it was quite clear that the remedy proposed now was no remedy at all. Either it would make no difference, in which case the Nonconformists would have as much ground of complaint as before, or it would make a difference, in which case the Church parents would have a grievance. The representation of the parents suggested by the hon. Member for North Camberwell did not correspond at all with the inalienable right of parents. The inalienable right of parents was only over their own children. No parent had rights over other people's children. Therefore, under this proposal, they would shift the grievance from one set to another. There were two kinds of religious opinion, and only one school to go to. There must be a grievance one way or another. The one idea which was constantly cropping up, no matter how often it was dealt with, was that undenominational teaching ought to be acceptable to the members of the Church of England, even if it were not so. That was the question which they had over and over again. It was the very prevalence of that idea which they had now once more presented to them, that they should accept undenominational teaching, which furnished a very great difficulty in the solution of this question. Once the idea was thoroughly understood, he thought that the Scotch system would work very well indeed in this country.
*MR. FLETCHER MOULTON () Cornwall, Launceston
said that the noble Lord was confounding two entirely different things. There could be no doubt that what was at the bottom of the education policy of the Church was an attempt, a desire, to drive the children of Nonconformist parents into denominational schools, deliberately for the purpose of turning them into members of the Church. [MINISTERIAL cries of" Oh, oh!"] Well, a man must be supposed to 551 see the reasonable results of the acts which he committed. What was the ground on which the Church party supported the denominational schools at such a sacrifice? Why were they championed as being necessary to satify the conscience of Churchmen? It was openly stated that it was because they had a tendency to turn the children into Churchpeople. The Church party claimed that it was in their eyes a conscientious duty to secure an education for the children of Churchpeople which would have that effect. When that is the reason which is put forward the first thing an honest man should say was that he would never be a party to driving into such a school the children of parents of other denominations. How could they make the provision of an educaiton tending to lead the children to become members of the Church a question of conscience and yet lift one finger to support a permanent system of education which used those schools by the force of law for the children of those who did not hold the same religious views.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said that the hon. and learned Member was making a most unfair representation of his views. The danger of which the hon. Member spoke was merely imaginary. The Clause which he had proposed on the previous day was totally opposed to the suggestion of the hon. Member.
*MR. FLETCHER MOULTON
said that even with the noble Lord's Amendment of the preceding day it was intended that the schools should remain denominational schools—schools with the two doors. He did not say that the noble Lord personally desired to take the children of Nonconformist parents and force them into Church schools, but the noble Lord was supporting a Bill which made such a practice part of the permanent system of education in England. Various means had been tried to avert the injustice, but they had all utterly failed, because the cry of confiscation had been raised. In other words, it was a question of property and money which was to justify this gross injustice which placed a lien upon the religious education of the children regardless of 552 the wishes of the parents. He admitted that hon. Gentlemen opposite were anxious that the children should be trained up in Church principles. That was a very good motive for voluntary educational effort. But if it was important that children should have an education tending positively to make them follow their parents in the choice of a denomination it was ten times more important that they should not be forced into schools purposely organised so as to lead them to leave the denomination to which their parents belonged. No one who put himself onto a judicial position and weigh the two against one another could fail to see that the Nonconformist grievance was greater than that of the Churchman. Were they going to allow this Bill to go out to the country with the knowledge which the country would have that the Nonconformist conscientious grievances had not been remedied one iota? [MINISTRIAL cries of "Oh, oh !"] Look at the ninth and tenth Clauses, which, in his humble opinion, were the most iniquitous Clauses in the Bill. They took from the local authority even the power of deciding that a provided school was necessary. It appeared to him that a remedy might be found for those grievances which would go fat to remove the sense of wrong from the minds of Nonconformists, but if they left the crying injustice untouched, an amount of strife would accompany the Bill which would tend to paralyse the work of education.
said he wished to repel, in a very few sentences, the charges made by the hon. and learned Gentleman. To say that no attempt had been made to remedy the wrongs of Nonconformists was really a gross perversion of what had been done. Only yesterday he and his friends had tried to meet these alleged grievances, but their attempt obtained no support from the Opposition. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the grievance of the Nonconformist was not comparable to the grievance of the Church. He should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would have realised that a negation was just as much a grievance to the conscience as an affirmation. It was just as much a grievance to Churchmen that there should be a negation of the great doctrines of the 553 faith in which they believed, as to Nonconformists that doctrines in which they did not believe should be taught.
§ (5.30.)MR. JONH WILSON () Durham, Mid
denied that there was any negation of the doctrines of the Church in the board schools. Only the religious truth of Christianity as professed by the Church of England or the Nonconformists could be taught in the board schools. Nonconformists might not believe in the ritual of the Church of England, but there was not a single doctrine in which the right hon Gentleman believed which he did not believe in himself. It was not in itself a direct negation, though it might be a difference in form. The schools should be cleared from this religious controversy altogether. The money to maintain them was to be paid by men of most diverse religious opinions, and they were all agreed that the children should be educated as citizens of this great industrial country. Why should they have this eternal clash of creeds?
§ JOHN WILSON
said he was aware of that. He believed in these doctrines as solemnly as the hon. Member did Public money should not be devoted to religious controversy, and that was sure to be the outcome of this Bill. There was a larger Nonconformist conscience outside of the House, so far as this Bill was concerned than hon. Members gave credit for, and he believed that instead of helping to forward the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England this Bill would help its disruption, and would do great evil to denominational teaching in the land.
§ MR. AUSTIN TAYLOR () Liverpool, East Toxteth
said he should be sorry to see this Bill law without some serious attempt to redress the legitimate grievance of Nonconformists in the single-school rural areas. He had before he entered this House read with amazement the proposition of the hon. Member for East Mayo, which was a most surprising one to come from a Roman Catholic. He could not see how Roman Catholics 554 could be affected by this Bill, for he certainly was not prepared to give Roman Catholic schools preferential treatment. He thought there was an agreement on both sides of the House that the Government should, if possible, find some remedy. But the remedy proposed by the hon. Member who moved this Amendment was one which he could not support. There were in the English parishes about 7,500 schools, of which 5,600 were Church of England schools, 1,800 board schools, and the balance voluntary schools of some other character. He should have thought that, if there was to be any differential treatment as between town and country, it was only fair that the whole of the schools in the rural areas should have been dealt with. But the hon. Member only proposed that these 5,600 schools belonging to the Church of England should be placed exactly in the position of the board schools of to-day. But the Amendment would place all these church schools in the position of provided schools, and to that proposition he could not be a party. Hon. Gentlemen opposite could not seriously advance this Amendment as a solution of this difficulty, so that the position was that while everyone admitted the existence of a grievance, no one had yet come forward with a practical remedy which would commend itself to both sides of the House. He did not believe that the religious teaching in the board schools was repugnant to the majority of Churchmen, If it was not too late, he would now suggest to the Government that the parents should be given some representation in the management of the rural schools, while the foundation managers were not diminished. He was not prepared to move the suggestion as an Amendment at a moment's notics, but such a thing might be done by increasing the number of the managers to seven, four of whom should be foundation managers one a representative of the local authority, and the other two direct representatives of the parents. He thought such a scheme would be an improvement on the present position, but while he desired the parents to be in a position to express their wishes, he was not prepared to give them the right to take away the property of the Church of England.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
said that the right of control was the only solution for this difficulty, and although the hon. 555 Gentleman who had just sat down complained that no one had offered any parctical remedy for the mitigation of this grievance, the hon. Member for East Mayo suggested exactly the same remedy as the hon. Member himself had just put forward. That suggestion, however, was not accepted. It was a most remarkable fact that although every speaker on both sides of the House had admitted that the grievance existed, it was only from the Opposition that any attempts at a solution of the difficulty had come, until they had this suggestion from the hon. Member, which he would be glad to adopt. How would the Amendment inflict any grievance on Churchmen? It proposed to make these single school areas provided schools, and then to give every facility to the Church for teaching its own doctrines to its own children. It was in fact the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich, but with control. It was not true to say that the Nonconformists had rejected any practical solution of the difficulty.
§ SIR JOHN GORST () Cambridge University
said he could not allow this debate to come to an end without contradicting the statement of the hon. Member opposite that no suggestion for the solution of this difficulty had come from the Government side of the House. He had himself placed a Clause on the paper which would have given control. It would have made it the duty of the local authority to make arrangements by which the religious instruction acceptable to the parents should be given. That was done in hundreds and thousands of schools now. Hon. Members opposite would lead one to suppose that the schools were the scence of perpetual religious squabbles. But there was not one in a thousand where there was any trouble at all. The agitation raised in Parliament and on the platform was unknow in the rural areas, because the people in the rural districts came together and discussed matters, and as a rule the managers managed to give such instruction that no child was ever withdrawn. As a matter of fact, he attributed the reluctance of Parliament to settle this question to the fact that the religious controversy was a very useful weapon in matters of this sort.
*(6.0.) MR. TOULMIN () Lancashire, Bury
said he knew of cases where such voluntary arrangements as the hon. Member for Cambridge University reffered to were in operation; and that that which had been given to the people by voluntary arrangement ought not to be swept away, as it would be by the Bill, but converted into a statutory right. He instanced the case of Salisbury School, near Blackburn, in which such a scheme as was mentioned had been arranged, and had worked without the slightest friction. The Committee consisted of the vicar and six members elected by the three parishes served by the school. Upon the arrangement being made, the teaching of the Catechism was discontinued, but the vicar gave instruction at stated times to all who desired it in the vestry of the church. Hon. Members opposite frequently spoke as if they only represented the wishes of the parents. How were they expressed in the case of this school? Not one parent asked that the teaching of the Catechism should be retained in the school. After ten years' experience of the scheme, the vicar had quite as many candidates for confirmation, and the religious life of the district was quit as good as before. The diocesan inspector had reported that the school deserved to be classed as "excellent;" that none of the subjects were below "very good;" that most of them were "excellent;" that the spirit of reverence pervading the whole school was very marked, and that the repetition and recitation of the prayers was excellent and most reverent; while the Bishop of Manchester, who visited the school three years ago, had remarked that he had visited every school in the diocese, but had never seen more reverence in prayer. This was in a school which was managed by six elected managers and the clergyman. The noble Lord the Member for Greenwich seemed not to recognise that there was among Christians what might be called a common denominator—something which could be agreed upon to be taught to all the children in the schools. The remarks of the hon. Member for East Toxteth were an evidence of that fact, and also of the feeling of those Members who had most recently been in contact with the constituencies. In view of recent elections, it was rather amusing 557 to hear the hon. Member saying that the more the matter was considered the more remote was the prospect of a Liberal Government. The experience of the hon. Member himself showed that the feeling of the constituencies was not so much in favour of every detail of the Bill as the Government desired to think, and the hon. Member would achieve a great success if only he could induce the Government to accept his views with reference to the Amendment under discussion. The Amendment referred not solely to Church of England schools, but to all schools, and the mover would doubtless be prepared to accept any reasonable scheme which would carry out either his own plan or that recently suggested by the hon. Member for East Mayo. He was suprised at the remarks which had been made as to the speech of the Member for East Mayo, in moving his Amendment relating to this question. It appeared to him to be a perfectly honest recognition of an undoubted grievance. In reply to the declaration of the hon. Member for Oxford University that the denominational schools had been there, were there, and would continue, he would say that the Opposition had demanded, did demand, a publicly managed school within reach of every parent who desired to make use of it. Strong and admirable in its wayas was the desire to maintain denominational schools, hon Members would find that there was on the other side quite as strong a determination that the children of other denominations should not be forced into those schools. As for popular control, hon. Members opposite always took it for granted that an elected majority would be hostile to the Church. He thought that an absolutely mistaken nation. The influence of the clergy and the people of the Church of England would have its due effect, and probably in most cases the Church would obtain a majority on the committee. The Opposition did not ask for a statutory right for Nonconformists to be on the Committee; they were willing to accept the result of an appeal to the people, and stood on the principle of public representation. They asked that they might have a constituency to which they could appeal when there was any grievance.
558 Let them have that, and they would rely on the general sense of fairness which was always to be found in their countrymen.
§ LORD WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY () Lincolnshire, Horncastle
said he had studied the Bill as carefully as a layman could, as so far as he understood the matter the position was this: In a parish with a large majority of Churchpeople the school would be conducted in accordance with the tenets of the Church of England, and would be thoroughly efficient in that respect. Parenthetically, he might say that he thought it impossible to erect a school to place everybody. If a Jew lived among a large number of Christians, or a Mohammedan amongst Buddhists, he had occasionally to suffer certain disabilities. In the same way, if two or three Dissenters lived in such a parish as he had described, although the Church-people would doubtless try to make things as easy as possible for them, he was afraid they would have to suffer certain disabilities, and their children would have to go to that school, although they might be withdrawn from the religious instruction. But what would happen in a parish in which there was a Church school, and a large majority of the people were Nonconformists? If the managers provided an education which was not in accordance with the wishes of the parents, the latter would doubtless be very indignant. They would probably send a petition to the local authority, who would look into the matter, and no doubt give the parents favourable hearing. ["No!"] The Council would then go to the Board of Education and say a new school must be provided. He did not believe that any Minister at the Board of Education would refuse the demand of the County Council if a large majority of the parents required a different kind of education. The Council would then say to the managers: "You are not giving the kind of education the parents desire, and we intend to build a new school," and the managers, probably being the biggest ratepayers in the parishes, would in nine cases out of ten, immediately reply: "If the parents do not approve of the education which is being given, we will let you our school; you take it over and manage it," That would be done in 559 nine cases out of ten, and he thought this difficulty would be got over. Then there was the Churchman who was anxious that his child should receive religious education every morning. He would have a grievance. But if he lived amongst a lot of people who were mostly Nonconformists he would have to bear the grievance, because it was perfectly impossible to please everybody. Where voluntary schools were under management which suited the people of the district, they had nothing to say against them, and such schools would go no quietly. In his own constituency there was a large number of Nonconformists, who had no quarrel with the Church schools, and in many cases Nonconformists were the managers of those schools, and even the managers of those schools, and even the churchwardens were often Nonconformists. Undoubtedly the managers would see that Nonconformists were represented on the board of management. As he read the Bill, he thought all educational interests were protected, and they would not serve any useful purpose by passing fresh Amendments.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS () Denbighshire, W.
said he did not think it was necessary for him to quarrel with the noble Lord who had just spoken, because they always listened to his speeches with considerable interest. He thought there was a good deal of practical commonsense in what the noble Lord had said. The policy underlying this Bill aimed at maintaining the voluntary schools of this country, and it was impossible for them to think that the Bill would work out in any other direction. As one who represented a large area in Wales, this Amendment was bound to have a great influence on the constituency he represented. The case complained of was an acute one in Wales, where the majority of elementary schools were denominational schools. At least one half of the elementary schools were denominational schools, and a great majority of them were single schools in their area. There had been many evidences during the discussion that both sides admitted this grievance and desired, if possible, to meet it. He was very sorry that any theological dispute had been brought in. He felt that there was a great gulf fixed between a certain number of hon. Members opposite, who held religious views which it was difficult to bridge over as between them and 560 those who sat on the Opposition side. Those differences, however, would not be settled by a debate in the House of Commons, but only by the overwhelming sentiment of the people of the country as a whole. The result of the attitude of the Government in reference to the Amendment would be that the process of extinction of non-provided schools would go on all the more quickly. He should have thought that in the interests of the satisfactory working of this Bill, and in the higher interests of education, the Government would have reconsidered the posssibility of doing something in the direction of this Amendment. He was very glad to hear the speech of the hon. Member for East Toxteth, who expressed views which were largely held by the Church, and whose intervention in the debate to-day was welcomed from both sides of the House. He hoped it was not yet too late for the Government in another place to do something to meet this real grievance.
§ MR. HARWOOD () Bolton
said he rose to ask the Government very seriously to reconsider this matter. He had not before spoken in any of the debates on the Education Bill, and perhaps his position was 'a somewhat peculiar one. He was a friend of this Bill on the whole. He had voted for a good many Amendments, but they might vote for Amendments from quite different motives. Some hon. Members might vote for Amendments because they wished to wreck a Bill, but he voted for Amendments with the intention of improving this Bill. He felt that this was a better Bill than they had any chance of getting from any one else, and he was disposed to take this Bill rather than see the great cause of education put back for ten or twenty years. His desire was to make this Bill as good as it possibly could be made, and to make it work as smoothly and as effectively as possible when it was passed. He wanted to put it to the Government, as a Churchman who was very keenly interested in the welfare of the Church, whether there was not a case of grave injustice that ought to be met in this particular matter. He asked the Government to consider how they would feel themselves, as Churchmen, if they were in the minority in which 561 Nonconformists were. They must not forget that the great principle of compulsion had been introduced in education. When this country adopted the great principle of legal compulsion, they altered the whole philosophy of the matter. Now they found that in thousands of parishes the children were compelled by law to go to the only school in the district. How would they, as Churchmen, like it if they were compelled to send their children to Roman Catholic schools? He thought his hon. friend opposite had a little under estimated what was called the religious atmosphere. How would they like it if their children had to go to schools soaked with a Roman Catholic atmosphere? The would feel that it was a case of great injustice, and they ought to feel that, in a Bill which was going to put this education question on a new footing for generations to come, there ought not to be anything that would create a sense of injustice. This was certainly a great and practical injustice. He had not risen to suggest a remedy, but he begged the Secretary to the Board of Education, as a Churchman, and as a friend of this Bill and a friend of education, to do something to meet this practical injustice, which would do more than anything else to impede the effective working of this Bill. He was convinced that the Church of England did not need for its strength and maintenance any kind of chicanery. On the contrary, he was certain that the true welfare of the Church was identified with moderation liberality, and generosity in a matter of this kind. Upon the School Boards in nearly every case at the elections Churchmen were returned in a majority which showed that the masses were in favour of the Church. He hoped the Government would do something to meet this difficulty.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS () Flint Boroughs
said he lived in the centre of a number of parishes which were single-school areas. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had told them that there was no real grievance. This grievance might not be very loudly expressed but nevertheless it was felt very keenly and bitterly. He agreed that if the Bill passes into law in its present form it would pass with a very 562 serious and great blot upon it in this respect. Appeals had been made to the Secretary to the Board of Education. He did not wish to say anything offensive, but he thought it was unfortunate for the educational system of this country that the hon. Gentleman should represent in this House a constituency which consisted very largely of rural clergymen. He hoped that before the Bill left this House something might be done to mitigate its acerbity to Nonconformists in this respect. This Bill was to go to another place, and what mercy were Nonconformists' interests likely to meet with in another place, which did not contain a single English or Welsh Nonconformist, but which did contain a large number of the official representatives of the Churchs of England? The grievance, to which reference had constantly been made, had been acknowledged by the Prime Minister and his predecessor, Lord Salisbury, and it was one which was not to be lightly settled in this country. He wished to express his belief that this Bill would be very largely unworkable in many of the country districts of England. They could not treat large areas with large majorities of Nonconformists as if they were children or slaves always to be kept in subjection. These people had the feelings of human beings. He ventured to say with regard to these large areas of the country that a feeling was arising, and would continue to grow after the passage of the Bill, which would never cease until ultimately some fairer solution than this could be found. He wished to do everything that could be done to meet the views of honest Churchmen in this matter. He did not wish to see a victory of Nonconformists over Churchmen. He did not wish to see this question settled on the basis of keeping the other side always down to the ground. He trusted that when another Bill was introduced into the House the Government of the day, whatever that Government might he, would take into consideration all the factors that applied to the situation in an infinitely fairer manner than had been done in the case of this Bill.
§ (6.33). Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 117; Noes, 209. (Division List No. 584.)565
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead||Hardie, J. Keir(MerthyrTydvil)||Runciman, Walter|
|Allen, CharlesP. (Glouc.,Stroud||Harwood, George||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Shackleton. David James|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Bell, Richard||Horniman, Frederick John||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Black, Alexander William||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Brigg, John||Jacoby, James Alfred||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Broadhurst. Henry||Jones, David Brynmor(Swansea)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Kitson, Sir James||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants)|
|Burns, John||Lambert, George||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Langley, Batty||Taylor, Theodore C.(Radeliffe)|
|Caldwell, James||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan E.)|
|Cameron, Robert||Leese, SirJoseph F. (Accrington)||Thomas, DavidAlfred(Merthyr)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hasting s)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Levy, Manrice||Thomas, J. A(Glamorg'n, Gower)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lewis, John Herbert||Tomkinson, James|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lloyd-George. David||Toulmin, George|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Logon, John William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Wallace, Robert|
|Cremer, William Randal||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Walton, John Lawson(Leeds, S.)|
|Crombie, John William||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Markham, Arthur Basil||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Wason, Engene|
|Dewar, John A.(Inverness-sh.)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Moultom, John Fletcher||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Donglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Newnes, Sir George||Whiteley, George(York, W. R.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Palmer, SirCharlesM.(Durham)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Partington, Oswaid||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Ellis, John Edward||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Perks, Robert William||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Price, Robert John||Yoxail, James Henry|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Grant, Corrie||Rigg, Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Grey. Rt. Hon. Sir. E. (Berwick)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derby-hire)||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Arkwright, John Stahope||Chamberlain, Rt HnJ. A. (Wore)||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton)||FitzGerald Sir Rober penrose.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Chapman, Edward||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon|
|Austin, Sir John||Charrington, Spencer||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Fletcher. Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Flower , Ernest|
|Balearres, Lord||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Forster, Henry William|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Colomb, SirJohn Charles Ready||Gardner, Ernest|
|Balfour, RtHnGeraldW. (Leeds)||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Garfit, William|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gibbs Hon. Vicary(St. Albans)|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Bathurst, Hon, Allen Benjamin||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Crossley, Sir Savile||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cust, Henry John C.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bigwood, James||Dalkeith, Earl of||Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Bond, Edward||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Groves, James Grimble|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Guthrie, Walter Murrey|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn)||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Hain, Edward|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Dosford, Sir William Theodore||Hamilton, Rt HnLordG(Midd'x)|
|Butcher, John George||Duke, Henry Edward||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.|
|Campbell, RtHn. J. A. (Glasgow)||Egertaon, Hon. A. De Tatton||Hardy, Laurence(Kent. Ashf'rd)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hatch, Ernest Frederick George|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Heath, Arthur Howard(Hanley)|
|Helder, Augustus||Morgan, DavidJ(Walthamstow)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Morrison, James Archibald||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Higginbottem, S. W.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Hobnouse, RtHn H.(Somers't, E)||Murray, RtHn A. Graham (Bute)||Stewart, SirMark J. M'Taggart|
|Hope, J. E.(Sheffield, Brightside)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hoult, Joseph||Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Howard, John(Kent, F'versham)||Nicholson, William Graham||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G.(Oxf'd Univ)|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.||Pemberton, John S. G.||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Kemp, George||Percy, Earl||Tufnell, Lient.-Col. Edward|
|Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T.(Denbigh)||Pierpoint, Robert||Tully, Jasper|
|Kenyon-Slanev, Col. W. (Salop)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Valentia, Viscount|
|Keswick, William||Plummer, Walter R.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Pretyman, Ernest George||Walrond, RtHn. Sir William H.|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Lawrence, SirJoseph(Monm'th)||Purvis, Robert||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Lawson, John Grant||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Rankin, Sir James||Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE(Taunton)|
|Lee, ArthurH.(Hants, Fareham)||Ratcliff, R. F.||Welby, SirCharlesG E. (Notts.)|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyed|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Reid, James (Greenock)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und. Lyne)|
|Leigh-Bennett. Henry Currie||Remnant, James Farquharson||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rensbaw, Sir Charles Bine||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Renwick, George||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham)||Ridley, Hn. M. W.(Stalybridge)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Bristol, S.)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks,)|
|Lowe, Francis William||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Robinson, Brooke||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lucas, ReginaldJ. (Portsmouth)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Rutherford, John||Wylie, Alexander|
|Macartney, RtHnW. G. Ellison||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Younger, William|
|Malcolm, Ian||Seely, Maj. J. E. B.(Isle of Wight)|
|Maxwell, W. J H(Dumfriesshire)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Milvain, Thomas||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander AclandHood and Mr. Austruther.|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)||Smith, HC(North'mb. Tyneside)|
*(6.44.) MR. RICKETT () Scarborough
moved an Amendment on Clasue 6 with the object of providing that of the six managers four should be representative and two foundation managers. It was quite useless at this time of day to argue the question of abstract right, and he would, therefore, confine himself to endeavouring to impress on hon. Gentlemen opposite, in the interest of the Church party, how desirable it would be to recognise the representative character of these schools. There was no point in the whole Bill which stood so outside the theological sphere, and which would so appeal to that large part of the English people—48 to 52 per cent. Of the population—who did not attend any church, and who, as working men, would largely determine the fate of this Bill and the fate of the next election. They were very weary of these theological discussions. They quite realised that Church and Nonconformity appeared to bulk more largely in the House 566 than they did in the country. They had a keen sense that where the money went, particularly in the cases of rates, there should be a true representation on those who provided the money—that they should not be put in the position of mere spectators. They had been told that the local education authority would have the disbursement of the money. That might be so, but the working classes realised the common-sense view of the situation that the management of the school would be practically in the hands of the Board of Managers. If. As they had been told, the real control was vested in the hands of the local education authority, then why put two representative members on the Board of Management. For what purpose were these two members put on the Board? Surely it must be that it was felt with the introduction of retes some sort of control would be exercised through the Board. If That 567 were not so, the only alternative would be that these two representatives would stand for the religious side of the management, and that would be contrary to the intentions of the Government and the wishes of the Church party. Where there was a majority of foundation managers there would be constant controversy going on. Moreover, the Liberal Government of the future might hesitate to reverse legislation, but could easily convert two into four by a short Act. The Church school was secured for denominational purposes by the Trust, and so long as the Trust Deed was maintained there would be no risk in increasing the number of representative members of the Committee, as no change could take place in the denominational character of the school. If this change were made, the representative managers would become friends instead of crities, or in the position of the Devil's Advocate. If the Government made this concession it would not involve the least sacrifice of the denominational position of the school, but would, in his opinion, do more than anything else to confirm that denominational status, and leave it unchallenged in the future. Moreover, those who desired that the clergy should have a strong position in the management would secure that by reducing the foundation managers from four to two. The influence which denominationalism would exert in the schools in the future would be a moral, and not a mechanical and physical one. The moral position would he strengthened by his proposal. It seemed to him that that was a very strong case for making the alteration he proposed in the representative managers, and that it was far more likely to work in harmony with the denominational managers than if the representative managers were in a minority. What was the Church to gain by this capricious and anomalous position of the Church schools? Would she not gain a great deal more by frankly holding out her hand to the people, by throwing open her gates and making herself in fact, as she desired to be in theory, the Church of the nation?
§ Amendment proposed to the Bill—
§ "In page 3, line 18, to leave out the word 'four,' and insert the word, 'two'" —(Mr. Compton Rickett.)568
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'four' stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. FULLER () Wiltshire, Westbury
said he wished to make a last appeal to the Government to alter the Bill on this very vital point before it became law. He made that appeal to the Prime Minister, not from any religious point of view, or from even any educational point of view, for he did not profess to be an educational authority. But the right hon. Gentleman must be anxious that this Bill Should work in practice, and, as a Member of a County Council, it was his belief that if this provision was left in its present form in the Bill, giving the denominational managers a majority on the Board, the Bill would not work satisfactorily and harmoniously in the way which he was sure the right hon. Gentleman desired. The point on which he laid special stress was that of economy. There would be handed over to the managers, through the local authority. immense sums of money. Take the case of his own county. They should have, what with the old aid grant, the new aid grant and the money raised by the threepenny rate, £100,000, and he ventured to say that where the local education authority had not the full control of the administration of this huge sum of money there could be no hope or prospect of the Bill being administered efficiently or economically. The Committee of Management would have no inducement to practise economy. An education inspector would come down to inspect the school, and the managing Committee would persuade him that new desks and new books, &c., were wanted, and the inspectors would recommend that these should be furnished. The local authority would have no power to stay the hand of an extravagant school management committee. The right hon. the Prime Minister, would see that this proposal of his hon. friend went to the root of the Bill. He believed that the Opposition as a whole had disinterestedly applied themselves to improve the Bill, and at the eleventh hour they were making a final appeal to the Government to reconsider their decision, and let the Bill pass as a more workable measure.
*(7.0.) SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said the Government ought to be grateful to 569 the hon. Members who had just spoken for the most kindly solicitude they had shown for the future of the Church and of the Bill and of the Government. But they must bear in mind that these schools were to be denominational schools. That was part of the scheme of the Bill, and many hon. Members opposite had said they did not desire to deprive these schools of their denominational character. How could they provide for the maintenance of the denominational character of the schools if the denominational managers were not in the majority? The hon. Member for Scarborough had said that the members of the board of managers, coming from different sources of representation, would be engaged in constant controversy, because they represented different interests, and there would be constant litigation. He ventured to predict the hon. Gentleman had taken an exaggerated view of the situation. He had himself been connected with a body concerned in the management of a school of which the various members of the governing body came from different constituencies, but it never appeared to him that each representative considered it was his business to assert the views of the constituency he represented. All were engaged in endeavouring to advance the institution of which they had control. He was convinced when these managers came together under this Bill they would forget that one was a foundation manager and the others were not, and all would work together harmoniously. The real reason for insisting that there should be a majority of denominational managers was to insure that the teachers should be chosen with due regard to their denominational character. If they were to choose people who were to teach religion of a practical sort they must be sure that the people chosen would be able conscientiously to teach that which they had to teach. That was an unanswerable reason for insisting on this majority on the board of management, and he saw no other way in which could be secured the end which everybody admitted was desirable, namely, that the schools should remain denominational schools.
§ MR. BRYCE
said the gratitude of the Secretary to the Board of Education to his hon. friends had sttopped at words, and had not taken the shape of any 570 concession. He did not even take the excellent advice offered: he made no answer to them, except that the schools referred to must be denominational. Since the discussion of this question in July, the Government had discovered no fresh argument. The Opposition had discovered, in the course of the Bill, many additional reasons for anticipating that it would work badly in its present form. All that the hon. Gentleman now said had been said in July last. To the denominational consideration everything was to be sacrificed: strife was to be introduced, good administration to be lost, and constitutional principles to be disregarded. He maintained that, with a trust deed securing the denominational character of the school, the necessity for a majority of denominational managers disappeared. The local authorities would be bound to respect the trust. This had been referred to as the eleventh hour of the Bill. This was the last chance the Government had of making changes which would, he did not say remove their objections to the Bill—they had long ceased to hope for that—but give the measure a reasonable chance of being accepted by the House as one that it would be possible to work. Well, the eleventh hour was passing, and that chance was being lost. In resisting the Amendment the Government were making fatal errors. They were violating the principle, hitherto always observed, that taxation and control should go together, in defiance of a challenge to point out any precedent for such a course. They were not giving the spending authority the strong connection they ought to have with the representative local authority, but were putting on the managing body a majority who would have no interest in economy. Their argument, which was not met by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Education, was that they were putting the managers into a position in which it would be necessary for them to incur expense with the passive consent, or in anticipation of the consent, of the local authority, and therefore there ought to be on the managing body a majority of persons appointed from the local authority. They were creating a further 571 source of theological strife, and losing the opportunity now given to them of avoiding that strife by having on the spot an authority impartial, trusted, representative, and responsible. Nothing would meet their sense of injustice but the provision everywhere of undenominational schools, but in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the difficulties that now arose would be removed under a system of popular control. With popular control there would be a check on anybody who wished to abuse his power of management—if he was only one on the board of management and the other managers were not his creatures. The local authority was expressly refused control over all questions relating to religious instruction, and by that refusal they were perpetuating the sources of religious controversy. The Government said they had carefully considered the grievance of single school areas, but were not able to find any remedy. What a confession of despair! Never had confession of despair been so clear before. Here was an admitted grievance which affected no other country in the same way, and the Government said , "We should like to remedy it but do not see our way."
*SIR WILLIAM ANSON
said that, although they had not remedied the grievance as they might wish to do, they had introduced into the Bill many mitigations.
§ Mr. BRYCE
said that remedy was partial, and did not remove the grievance of the Nonconformist parent. He would remind the Government of the famous phrase that unsettled questions had no pity for the repose of nations. This question, never completely settled, had at any rate sunk into a kind of tranquillity, but now the Government had made it infinitely more acute. They were sending this Bill out as a messenger of strife and bitterness. He believed that the Bill would excite stronger feelings of antagonism—
Order, order! it is not in order on every Amendent to make a general attack on the Bill.
§ MR. BRYCE
said he would not pursue the subject. In the interests of the Church of England itself, as well as of education, they were bound to protest against the violation of principle involved in this Clause, and to record their opinion that only by accepting popular control would a solution of these difficulties be found.
*MR. THEODORE TAYLOR () Lancashire, Radcliffe
said on this, the only occasion on which he had addressed the House this session, he would like to ask the Government if they could not find some means of mitigating this grievance, the existence of which they admitted. He joined issue with the Secretary to the Board of Education when he said that this was the only way in which the denominational character of the school could be secured. He believed it would have been well if the Government had, in the interest of education, and in order to make denominational teaching acceptable to the people, determined to widen the character of the school, and give the majority of the managing body to the public. The reason why the majority of the foundation representatives on the board of managers was so strongly insisted upon by the Government was evidently because the representatives of the public in their opinion could not be trusted. There could not be any other reason. His experience of local authorities had been quite the contrary Local authorities would do nothing unfair in regard to religious bodies. Who were they whom the Government would not trust? They were the people of England and Wales. But those same people elected Members of Parliament, and thus indirectly the Prime Minister, who appointed the bishops of that very Church this restriction was designed to protect. And yet those same people were not to be trusted with the appointment of the teachers of their own children paid for entirely by public money. Let them carry out the principle of trusting the people.
§ It being half-past seven of the clock, the debate stood adjourned until this evening.