§ [THIRD READING.]
§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."1452
§ *DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
I desire to say a few last words on this Bill by way of moving its rejection. I take this course for three reasons. First of all, as a London Member, I venture to resent the way in which the Bill has been pushed through its various stages in this House. The Second Reading was taken four parliamentary days after the First Reading was carried, and before either the School Board for London or the County Council had any opportunity whatever of examining its details. I asked the Prime Minister to postpone the Second Reading, in order that those two great bodies, so deeply affected by the measure, might have an opportunity of considering its details, and he replied that he did not think it would be convenient or possible to alter the arrangement come to, because, of course, these two important bodies would have an opportunity of expressing their opinion during the interval between the Second Reading and the Committee stage. But, in spite of that deliberate pledge, what occurred? The Second Reading of the Bill was finished on Wednesday, 29th April. The very next day the London School Board appointed a special Committee to examine the Bill and make recommendations to be forwarded to the Government. The Committee met on Friday, 1st May, and again on the following Tuesday and Friday, and I can say personally that they worked very hard on those three days. But before they had had an opportunity of finishing their deliberations, before they could place their views before the Board with the view to submitting those views to the Government, the Committee stage was entered upon. I desire, then, to express very strong resentment at the Second Reading having been taken before either the School Board or the County Council had had a chance of examining the measure, and at the Committee stage having been pushed on before they had anything like a reasonable opportunity of expressing their opinion. I speak on behalf of the people of London when I say that this is an ill requital on the part of the Government, which has been treated so generously by London in the matter of representation in this House.
1453 My second reason for moving the resection of the Bill is, that I very strongly object to the form which it has taken. The Bill of last year was a very revolutionary measure. It uprooted the educational legislation of thirty-three years; to repealed sixteen Acts of Parliament, it repealed the whole of the Technical Instruction Act of 1899, and to repealed fifty sections and all the schedules of the Act of 1870. Notwithstanding the fact that it produced this enormous revolution one-third of last wear's Bill was passed in this House under the operation of the closure, and without any discussion at all. Then the Government turns to London and applies this stupendous revolution to it in a Bill of only one clause, and it actually passes that clause by means of the closure. I say that that is treating London in a most contumelious manner and I strongly resent it. London education is as important, numerically and financially, as the education for the whole of Scotland. Lord Balfour of Burleigh has promised an Education Bill for Scotland next year, and I should like to know whether, when that Bill is introduced, it will be a Bill of one clause settling the whole education question by reference to another Bill. I do not suppose for a moment it will. I imagine that the Scotch people will demand a measure complete in itself—a measure that will set up local authorities elected ad hoc for suitable areas. As I have said before London has treated this Government very generously by returning fifty-four Ministerialists out of a total of sixty-two representatives, and I ask again why should it be treated in this contumelious way? I am aware that a great many Londoners deserve the treatment that they get. They are far too unconcerned and happy-go-lucky. Their sceptre of Empire is the batôn of the conductor of the Music Hall Orchestra. Their only text book is to be found in the words of the latest song by Marie Lloyd and Little Tick Their highest aspiration is to "spot the winner" of the City and Suburban. Therefore they get the government they deserve. Although I am a London Member I cannot help feeling as I do when I 1454 remember how London is treated in this House.
Now I come to my last reason for opposing the Bill. I oppose the machinery of the Bill altogether. It is hopelessly bad. It is bound to break down, and I will again tell the Parliamentary Secretary why I think so. The Government have determined to destroy the School Board for London. It is to be destroyed because it has done its work too well. I see that its sons have become Senior Wranglers, and have taken very high positions at Oxford; they are occupying positions in which they were not originally born, as the phrase goes, and I imagine that that is one of the reasons why the School Board is to be destroyed. As the Parliamentary Secretary said on the First Reading, it has been guilty of "vaulting ambition"; for that reason it is to be destroyed, and the work is to be given to the London County Council. I have again and again endeavoured to describe the magnitude of this problem. Let me once more remind the Parliamentary Secretary and the Government that when you deal with the education of London you deal with a problem which involves the control of 2,000 schools and the direction of 20,000 teachers, as well as the education of 1,000,000 students and the expenditure of £4,000,000 sterling annually. It is a problem as large as is involved in the whole education of Scotland, and is three times as large as is involved in the education of Wales. The work is now to be added to the work of the London County Council, as to the members of which body Ministers have gone about this City asserting that they already have too much to do. I confess I cannot square the position taken up by the Government on this point. On the First and Second Reading, when I pointed out that the Government proposal would have the effect of doubling the work of a body which admittedly, from a Ministerial point of view, already have too much to do, the Prime Minister replied to me that the genius of his scheme was that they were going to devolve enormous powers on the Borough Councils. The right hon. Gentleman said that decentralisation 1455 was an absolute necessity of the situation, and that it was to take place by statute. The hon. Baronet the Member for Wiltshire, amongst many other speakers on the other side, also declared on the same point that the School Board had been over centralised, but that, under this scheme, there would be complete decentralisation, which would not involve so many meetings or the appointment of so many subcommittees, because the local bodies would take over much of the work formerly done by the School Board. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary where is the decentralisation in the Bill now? There is absolutely none. It has gone, and, consequently, there remains no answer to my original contention that the County Council cannot do the work. How does the hon. Gentleman square the present form of the Bill with the original suggestion that the work could not be done by the County Council unless there were broad powers of devolution. With regard to the machinery, I view with the gravest apprehension the handing over of this matter as it now stands to the County Council. Already that body has found it necessary to establish seventy committees and sub-committees, which have held in all over 1,300 meetings. It has al ready quite enough to do. It is the tramway authority, the fire brigade authority, the main drainage authority, the parks authority, the asylums authority, and the weights and measures authority. It is responsible for carrying out great public improvements, for the enforcement of the Housing Acts, for the licensing of music halls, and for the issue of dancing licences. And all this on behalf of a population of 5,500,000.
How the County Council can be expected to undertake the work of the School Board, especially in view of the fact that the whole scheme of decentralisation has disappeared from the Bill, puzzles me. The Committee for educational purposes will have to be at least seventy-five strong, and I imagine that the County Council will insist that the majority, at least, shall be members of its own body. Thus there will be about forty County Councillors, who every day will receive one set of agenda papers calling them to Spring Gardens, and another set calling them to Victoria Embankment, where the meetings of the educational authority will be held. 1456 They clearly cannot be in both places at once, and, consequently, I imagine they will go to Spring Gardens, and practically the whole work of the education of London will be carried on by thirty-five persons who are not at all responsible to the ratepayers. I want in the most vehement manner to resist that. London people will not stand it, and we shall be compelled, sooner or later, to revive in some form or other the ad hoc authority, or else it will be necessary to increase the membership of the County Council by adding a third representative for each division. Only by some such means will it be possible for the work to on by the representatives of the ratepayers instead of by thirty-five outsiders. I resent very bitterly indeed the way in which the Bill has been pushed through the House. I resent, too, the breach of faith of which the Prime Minister has been guilty in not giving us time to examine the Bill before the Committee stage was entered upon. I resent also the form of the Bill. I say that London should have a self-contained and complete measure. I think the machinery is hopeless and bound to break down. But the issue is now passing from our hands to those of the ratepayers of London. Happily, before the appointed day—the 1st May, 1904—there will be a County Council election, and I want to say quite deliberately that at that election we intend to fight this matter out to the bitter end. In the first place we propose to fight it out on the broad issue of the machinery of the Bill. I believe we can secure an overwhelming majority on the London County Council absolutely opposed to the present machinery as contained in this Bill, On the 28th April the County Council passed a Resolution which is only a faint indication of what the verdict of the London people will be next March. That Resolution set forth that the Council was strongly opposed to the scheme proposed by the Bill, and would prefer either the maintenance of the present system or the creation of one directly elected educational authority, specially elected for the purpose, which should have full and complete control over all grades of education. That Resolution was carried by sixty-four votes to 1457 sixteen. That will be the first issue on which we propose to take the opinion of the people of London, and I have no doubt we shall get an overwhelming majority in our favour. If feeling at present runs high over the destruction of the London School Board, I think that feeling will prove to be but merely child's play as compared with the popular indignation likely to be aroused in connection with the hopeless machinery provided in this Bill.
Again, I believe that the method of rate-aiding denominational schools is likely to prove a very burning question at the County Council election next March. There is in the country a great deal of irritation, deep-rooted and widespread, but slightly reflected in this House, as to this method of rate-aiding denominational schools, and it will in London surpass anything which either the Government or the Board of Education has yet experienced. I believe that the London people next March will return to Spring Gardens an overwhelming majority opposed both to the machinery of the Bill and to the method by which denominational schools are to be rate-aided. Members of the Government express mild surprise that there should be any irritation on the part of the people. There is no need for such surprise. We are going in London to take over 200,000 children now in denominational schools, and the maintenance of each child per year when the Act comes into operation will amount to 60s. Of that amount, according to the most generous estimate, denominationalists will find something like 2s. per child to up keep the fabric of the school. The value of the use of the rooms may be put roughly at 3s. per child, so that altogether the denominationalists will subscribe 5s. out of the 60s. The remaining 55s. will have to be subscribed by the public in the shape of rates and taxes, and then, while the denominationalists only pay one-twelfth of the cost, they are to be granted eight-twelfths of the management, while the public, who pay eleven-twelfths of the cost, will only supply four-twelfths of the management. The London people are very happy-go-lucky and indifferent; but they are greater fools than I take them to be if they stand that for any length of time. I repeat I believe we shall have 1458 an overwhelming majority against this method of rate-aiding the denominational schools. There can be no doubt as to what the view of the County Council is, for on the 28th April it passed a resolution earnestly protesting against being required by law to make rates to be applied in the maintenance of denominational schools not under public control and in the payment of the salaries of school teachers who, while they are paid wholly out of public funds, are subject to religious tests. I think many of the Unionist Members of this House will soon have cause to be sorry that they ever voted for this Bill. That Resolution, I may remind the House, was carried by sixty votes to ten.
Now I come to the third issue which we intend to lay before the people. We have 1,500 head teachers in the denominational schools of London. In the past they have been partly paid by voluntary contributions, and that might justify the imposition of religious tests. But after the passing of this Bill they are to be entirely and exclusively paid out of public funds, and we are going to insist, immediately that happens, that they shall be subject only to such tests as may be superimposed by the public who find the money. These are the three issues we are going to raise, and we are now going through an elaborate farce in either voting for or against the Third Reading of this Bill this after noon. The matter really rests with the people of London. No doubt the Third Reading will be carried by a very large majority, but I repeat that many a London Unionist Member will be sorry before he has done that he ever put his hand to it in any shape or form. I give the Government fair warning, as far as I am concerned, that the London Progressives mean to fight this out to the bitter end, and mean to insist that the three simple claims I have indicated shall be respected and satisfied. First with regard to London education, a stupendous system involving the proper equipment of one out of ten of all the children of the British race all the world over, we mean to insist that we shall have such a board of management for London as shall be directly responsible to the ratepayers and capable of carrying out the great work. We shall, in the second 1459 place, insist that rate-aided denominational schools shall be controlled by those who find the bulk of the money, and, thirdly, we shall say that public servants maintained entirely out of public funds must only be subject to such tests as shall be imposed by a public authority. We shall claim the abolition of all religious theological tests, which often simply sap the fibre of the teacher, and are frequently, to all intents and purposes, merely a premium on hypocrisy. That will be our policy, and I have no doubt whatever as to the issue.
§ *MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
I must ask the indulgence of the House if, in the few remarks I have to make. I do not deal so effectively as I could wish with the subject; the reason is that I have been very unwell of late. My hon. friend has said that the Third Reading of this Bill is likely to be carried by a large majority. That is extremely probable, for, although I do not see anything like a majority of the Members of this House present, we know perfectly well that there are battalions in reserve which will come forward and vote for whatever proposition the Government choose to submit. But I do appeal to the House to reconsider this Bill before it parts with it. It seems to me that to pass this Bill is to do a serious wrong to education. It is unjust to the ratepayers of London to impose this great burden upon them without guaranteeing to them a full equivalent in educational efficiency, which I venture to assert they will not get under this Bill. It is doubly unjust to the parents of hundreds of thousands of children in the Metropolis, who are physically placed in a worse position than children in other parts of the country, from the very central difficulty of maintaining high mental and physical efficiency among those who attend the schools in the poorer parts of Loudon. I say that this Bill ought to be rejected, even at this last moment, and that hon. Members opposite ought to realise that the motive underlying it has not been education at all, but has been to give a fresh lease of life to what is admittedly an inferior type of school in this great area, and with a view of further extending and perpetuating clerical domination over the people of 1460 the Metropolis. The Act of last year may do some good in organising education in some of our rural districts, but no one will deny that in the great towns it will have a seriously reactionary and depressing effect on educational forces. I am assured by experts in many parts of the country that that anticipation is not exaggerated or ill-founded. This Bill is recasting the educational system of London for the benefit of the worst and smallest part of that system. No Bill affecting London within my recollection has ever been introduced into this House which has been so absolutely, so uniformly, and so universally condemned by everyone who has a right to say what is wanted for education in the Metropolis. The London County Council and many of the Borough Councils have expressed in most emphatic terms their dissent from the principle of this Bill, and in order to remind the House once more how strongly this great representative body feels on this question, I will read the Resolution—This Council is strongly opposed to the scheme proposed by the Bill and would prefer either the maintenance of the present system or the creation of one directly elected educational authority, which shall have real and complete, control over all grades of education.I am aware that some of the worst features of this Bill have been modified. I agree that to a certain extent even this House represents the predominant common sense of the community outside, and has overruled in some points this extraordinary Ministry and its extraordinary majority. But still we are placed in this extraordinary position, that this is a Bill with which no one is satisfied. I have sat in this House for eighteen years, and I have heard many attacks made upon the efficiency and administrative capacity of the London County Council, and every proposal made by that Council has been riddled by attacks and undermined by intrigue by the very people who are now bringing forward this legislation. We know that hon. Members opposite are not satisfied with these proposals. It was clear from the Bill as introduced that the Government intended the County Council to have no real voice in the matter. They intended it to march in fetters, bound hand and foot, and unable really to control the 1461 destinies of education in London. The Government however have been compelled by the logic of the Act of last year to knock away those checks upon its action. On the other hand, the unanswerable arguments of my hon. friend the Member for North Camber-well have shown the House conclusively that it is physically impossible for the London County Council to efficiently carry out the proposals of this Bill. Therefore I am justified in saying that hon. Members opposite are not satisfied with this Bill because the Government have been compelled to place the power in the hands of a body hostile to their views; and hon. Members on this side are not satisfied with the measure because it leaves the London County Council in such a position that it is unable to deal as a representative, directly-chosen, democratic authority would deal with the problems of education under the operation of this Bill. Several alternatives have been suggested by my hon. friend; they have been suggested by the London County Council and by many other authoritative sources of opinion in London. One alternative is to leave the existing state of things alone. I read the other day the admirable report of the Technical Board of the London County Council, which is a splendid testimony to the educational value of that Board in dealing with the class of work in which it is engaged. We are all aware of the splendid work of the London School Board until it was paralysed by that absurd Cockerton conspiracy, and was thus prevented from giving the best education possible to the children entrusted to its charge. Therefore you have, in the existing state of things, the sound basis of an educational machine to go on effectively until we can get this directly-elected democratic authority which the London County Council has said will infinitely better discharge this duty than the London County Council itself as at present constituted. Then there is the alternative of remodelling the London County Council and electing an additional third of that body to deal with education. That is an alternative which I do not favour, but either of the alternatives I have mentioned would be infinitely better than the chaos in which education will really be handed 1462 over to officials to administer under the provisions of this wretched Bill.
This Bill should not be passed because it deprives women almost entirely of the right to be elected and to sit and work upon the educational authority in London. Another reason why the Bill should be rejected is because it is almost impossible to adequately represent labour upon the education authority of London if that authority is not directly elected by the people. This Bill tramples upon the religious feelings of the vast proportion of the Nonconformists in the Metropolis, and it deeply wounds their just religious susceptibilities. The measure also imposes religious tests upon teachers. I thought we had got rid of this question in the long fight of the London School Board when that atrocious scheme was concocted by some feather-headed fanatics some years ago and then decisively rejected by the electors of London at the poll. What right has this or any other Government to fan the flames of religious hatred and stir up religious controversy and animosity? Even this might be tolerable if it were accompanied by any real improvement in the educational machinery. But I believe you will see in London what you are only too likely to see in the great towns of Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford, and in our country towns, namely, the symptoms of a decreasing interest in education and the lowering of the standard of education, which is a most serious matter for the future welfare of this country. You will see the same educational wreckage and shrinkage in the Metropolis unless you have an upheaval of public opinion, which I believe will be aroused before long and which will put your Board of Education in a strait-waistcoat, strangle your laws, and insist on administering them out of existence, even before the people have a chance of returning a majority to this House to reverse this policy and wipe those laws off the Statute-book. The other day the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury taunted us with bitter scorn for protesting against this Bill in the brief discussion on the first clause. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman is wholly blinded by the dilettante exclusion from his mind of all practical knowledge and the rational inferences which practical men naturally draw from practical knowledge, but he 1463 ought to know that the present Government has long since forfeited the confidence of the country, and the right hon. Gentleman has no right to speak of this Bill as representing the feelings of the people of London. These Education Bills have been forced through a Parliament elected on other issues. Therefore it has been a constitutional fraud to force these Bills through the House of Commons, and it is a bitter injustice to the nation, whom the Prime Minister and his colleagues have betrayed.
We fought this Bill and the Bill of last year on the question of principle and not of detail. We are fighting this question upon the principle which is interpreted by the man in the street in a broad commonsense way. There has never been any necessity for either of these Bills. I have never known a violent and determined attack upon an individual School Board or upon the School Board system at large which did not result in the promptest rally of the democratic forces to return a stronger Progressive majority to that Board, or which did not fail to turn out a reactionary majority and place a Progressive majority in its place. There have been no features in our educational system more noble than the participation of women and of those directly representing labour in the control of education in the past few years. That very fact has stimulated popular interest in education. The great co-operative bodies, the trades unions, and all the most thoughtful and active elements in the community have taken up education with spirit during the last ten years, and this has been largely due to the fact that labour representatives have had free access to the education authority. Therefore, any legislation which interferes with those forces which have been working so much good, which sponges them off the slate and constructs a fanciful and obviously less workable machine, which renders it more and more likely that the standard of education will fall and popular interest in education decrease, is one of the greatest crimes which any Ministry can commit, not only against future generations, but against the people of to-day. I have consequently great satisfaction in resisting, as I shall to the last, the passage of this Bill, and even now I appeal earnestly to the House to give some further consideration to this 1464 question. If this Bill could only be adjourned for one year, and if the Government would only have a General Election upon this issue, they would find these educational proposals condemned as misdirected, unjust, and wholly without the representative authority of the people, not only of the Metropolis but of the country at large. The Government would then find themselves compelled to adopt or acquiesce in legislation of a totally different kind.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day three months.'"—(Dr. Macnamara.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)
I join with my hon. friend who has just spoken in supporting the rejection of this Bill. I do so because every attempt to put into this measure amending clauses which would have offered greater facilities for education was ruthlessly ruled out of order because they were not in accordance with the Act of last year. I think in regard to educational machinery we were getting on very well in London as we were. The Technical Education Board was the first Committee which made an inquiry as to the necessity of technical knowledge in the poor districts of London, and I do believe that something useful is being done in this direction. I view with considerable concern the time when the people of London wake up and discover that this is a Bill, not for the improvement of education, but to hand education over to some irresponsible authority which will hand it over to permanent officials to carry out. Although I am a member of the London County Council I can quite understand that there is a limit even to its capacity. As has already been pointed out, the London County Council has forty Committees meeting every week. An ordinary business man finds it exceedingly difficult to attend every day in the week, and consequently he picks out the few afternoons which he can spate from his business to do this work. If you are going to add considerably to their present obligations by asking them 1465 to take up education, I ask, how is it possible for them to do it? Something must go undone. What is to go undone? Education is to go undone. If you want to inspire people with the idea that you are only actuated by one desire—the growth of an Imperial educated race—you are going the wrong way about it. You are simply keeping the people down. Many a time during my life, when I have suggested that there should be an opportunity given to every workman's child, I have been told that I should be content with the position in which the Lord has placed me. My answer to that has always been, Who is to decide that? The position of a man is that for which his capacities best fit him. This Bill leaves us where we are. We can learn the Catechism and remain subject to the control of people we are nearly tired of. Here and there you pick up a clever boy or girl, and you say, "See what we have done." But what are you doing to give the vast mass of children an opportunity to develop their brain power, which the nation is most in need of now? You curb it more and more. Because this Bill is merely one of new machinery you expect that it is going to do wonders, but I do not believe it will. You are going to make it a little worse and not a little better.
As a member of the County Council I have been elected for the moment to attend to some work in respect, it may be, of the bridges, or tunnels, or tramways of London. The question of transit is a burning one in London at present, and the people require the best brains they can get to carry out the scheme by which travelling facilities are provided. If you want me to take up education, I say, "My dear Sir, I know nothing about it. Bridges, tunnels, and tramways are as much as anyone can do." If I were to say that I intend to devote myself to the subject of education, the people would say, "Surely the time has gone past for that. We cannot afford to elect people who have to learn their business when we have people who thoroughly understand the educational needs of London." But by this Bill you are absolutely shutting them out You are practically blinding the people as to what you are fighting for. It is not an Education Bill at all. I suppose we shall be told, if not in this debate certainly on public platforms, that the Germans and 1466 Americans, and God knows who, are ever so much better educated than we are. Let me admit that if you like. You will be surprised if I tell you that I think the nation could well spend a good many thousand pounds in premiums for apprentices. When certain Amendments were put down when the Bill was in Committee, they were at once ruled out of order as having nothing to do with education. I would ask, Where does education begin and leave off? We have learned that this is an attempt to foist on the people of London an alteration of educational machinery which is a deliberate interference with the liberty of the subject. I would ask the hon. Baronet the Secretary to the Board of Education whether he can remember a time when a rate was enforced on the people for a Church which they did not want. What is now proposed by this Bill recalls the time when the rector went down among the people and used sometimes moral suasion and sometimes coercion with them to pay the rate. The people now say, "We are not going to pay for a dogma we do not believe in." There is an old story of a clergyman who went to a barber and asked him to pay the rate. The barber said—I don't go to your church.The clergyman answered—There is a beautiful church and a beautiful service.He was amazed when the barber sent him a bill for hairdressing and shaving. The clergymen objected to pay the bill having had no such service. The barber replied—I have a good barber's shop, and if you do not care to come in and get shaved it is not my fault.I want education to be real and not a sham, and I want the administration of it to be in the hands of people who are not a mere make believe. I am exceedingly anxious that every boy and girl in this country should have an equal opportunity of using his or her brains for the welfare of the country. How can that be done? We should have a discriminating power. Some boys and girls have capacity to go to the University to be trained as teachers, but it is quite evident that other boys and girls are suitable for other paths in life. I venture to say that a good sound English 1467 engineer is as important to our wellbeing as any Oxford don can ever be. I heard a nobleman who takes a keen interest in education say that unless we take up the question of the proper training of boys and girls we will degenerate into mere "hewers of wood and drawers of water." To call this an Education Bill is nothing more nor less than a fraud. You have an authority for education which is doing better than the one now proposed will ever do. The Bill certainly does nothing for education, and I shall do my best to get some Member to bring in a real Education Bill which will be for the benefit of the community rather than in the interest of a few ecclesiastics.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I agree very much with what has fallen from my hon. friend, that the Bill does nothing for education, but candour obliges me to admit that it is better than when it was brought in. It is not the same Bill. It presents very few points of contact with the original Bill. This is not in its principal features the Bill which was originally introduced by the Government. It is the Bill of my hon. friend the Member for South Manchester, and if he had been present I should have liked to compliment him for voicing the general sentiment of the House, which emphatically condemned the provisions in regard to Borough Council management. All that remains is the provision that they are to choose two-thirds of the managers and that they are to be consulted on the question of sites. The consultation on the question of sites is really very harmless. It cannot give any opening to jobbery. It cannot very much retard the proceedings if the local education authority is allowed to ask the Borough Council's opinion about sites The provision about the managers, I think, would be better away. The Borough Councils have no special knowledge, and, I think, a two-thirds proportion is too small to give them any real interest in it or to make them practically the education authority. These are mere planks out of the wreckage of the old Bill which have been fastened and nailed to the new Bill which belongs to the hon. Member for South Manchester. They are interesting historical survivals, but they 1468 have practically no functional value. Now, if the Bill is so much better by the excision of these pernicious elements which the commonsense of the House obliged the Government to drop—Ishould like to say that I do not wish to reflect on my hon. friend the Secretary to the Board of Education. I do not suppose he ever wished to give the Borough Councils the powers proposed by the original Bill. I gathered from the character of the defence that he frequently offered that he was arguing as warmly as he could for a cause which he knew to be wrong. It gives a great deal more pleasure to argue on behalf of a bad cause than a good one, because it affords all the more testimony to the powers of persuasion and extemporisation which the advocate is able to bring to bear.
Well, can we accept the Bill on the Third Reading? It appears to me even now that it has three great faults. In the first place it extinguishes the School Board. I shall not repeat what was said on the Second Reading, but it is a matter of concern and surprise that a body against which no charge has been brought, which has accumulated a great body of experience, and which unquestionably enjoyed the confidence of the ratepayers, should now be suddenly extinguished. It has always struck me with some surprise, because the main object of the Bill, namely, to put the voluntary schools on the rates, could have been as well effected by retaining the School Board. So far from the School Board being prejudiced against the voluntary schools, I believe in its composition it was more favourable to them than the County Council, and more likely to give them indulgence than the County Council is likely to do. I cannot, therefore, understand why the extraordinary course of throwing overboard this useful body has been adopted. Perhaps we shall be told that it was for the sake of uniformity. London, as I have said, ought to be considered by itself. London is so much vaster, it presents so many different problems from even the greatest of the other municipalities in the country that it does not follow that the method which is good for Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, or Leeds, is necessarily the method to apply to London. The result has been 1469 that work is to be thrown upon the London County Council, which is already overburdened with very onerous and difficult functions. My hon. friends the Members for Camberwell and Woolwich have given very useful illustrations of the difficulties which a member of the London County Council will feel in future in doing his duty on education as well as on the other work already placed on a county councillor. I wonder if the House realises how vast is the work which we have thrown on the London County Council. These functions, which were renumerated just now, are old functions—very large and difficult, quite enough to occupy the whole time of a busy, active, practical man if he is to do his duty to the general body and to its Committees.
I wonder how much fresh work we are going to impose on the London County Council. Last year we created the Water Board, and we put a large number of members of the County Council on it to discharge very important functions. This year we are invited to pass the Port of London Bill, which will take another set of County Council members who will be quite new to their duties. There is a Committee sitting at present to investigate the very important question of London traffic, and anyone who has studied the question knows that it is extremely probable that in the arrangements to be made in the future for the traffic of London, and the regulation of that traffic, whether above or underground, there will have to be a Board constituted, on which members of the County Council will have to sit. Or perhaps the County Council itself will form the Traffic Board. How can the London County Council discharge all these old functions and these new functions, and also take up the great work of education which has been found to fully occupy the School Board for the last thirty years. In fact, as was observed by the hon. Member for Camberwell when the Bill was introduced, and when it was urged that the London County Council would not be able to undertake this education work, the answer was that the County Council would be relieved by the Borough Councils, who were to take over a large part of the work by the scheme of decentralisation, 1470 and therefore the County Council would not have an addition to its labours in the same sense as Manchester or Liverpool or Birmingham had. But that argument has completely disappeared, because the Borough Councils are entirely deprived of all functions of control or management. Therefore these must rest on the County Council alone, with the aid of the co-opted members. Of course I recognise that the County Council will have a majority on the Education Committee and be responsible for the decisions of that body, and the co-opted members will consequently give comparatively small relief to the County Council in the discharge of their work. I feel, therefore, in contemplating this question, that we are not at the end. I do not think it is possible that we can go on without fresh legislation. But unfortunately our experience in this House is that even where there is a clear case for fresh legislation, so many things may happen, so many political crises may arise, that it may be a long time before we can get new legislation, and that even a very bad system of legislation has to go on working for a prolonged period. I look with great anxiety on the fate of education in London during the next few years in the hands of a body which, on its own statement—for nobody has stated it more strongly than the County Council itself—will not be able to take it up efficiently.
The other aspect of the Bill is that in which it appears as an application and extension to London of the Act of last session. The First Lord of the Treasury, in the debate on the first clause a few days ago, spoke of the Act of last session as being a great educational reform, and he professed surprise that we should wish to prevent London having the benefit of this great educational reform. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman has persuaded himself that it is an educational reform. He has said it so often that he has come to believe it to be true; but those of us who consider that the Act of last session is an educational disaster instead of a reform must naturally object to its being extended to London, which has one-eighth of the population of Great Britain. What ought an educational reform to be? It ought to be simple, 1471 economic, efficient in its working, to proceed on constitutional lines, and to conform to justice. Now the Act of last session, which we are asked to apply to London by this Bill, is not simple, because it multiplies and complicates the confusion of authorities. It is not economic, because this multiplication of authorities involves a multiplication of expense. It is not efficient, because it throws upon an unfit body, already overburdened with work, a very grave and difficult subject, and because it draws in an insufficient popular impulse to be associated with the work of education. It is not set on constitutional lines, because it imposes the burden of supporting the voluntary schools without giving powers of popular management. Finally, it is not just, because it leaves one half of the teaching profession in an unfair position in regard to religious tests, and it excludes one half of the young people of the country from the position of head master. These objections are not objections made, as the Prime Minister seems to suppose, mainly on ecclesiastical or controversial grounds. They are made on educational grounds. It was on educational grounds, quite as much as any other, that we objected to the Act of last year; and if the Prime Minister were here I would, for the twentieth time, repeat that it was not purely on religious grounds, but because we believed the Act of last year was educationally indefensible, that we have always objected to it. It does not secure popular education; it has not provided for the grouping of all kinds of schools; it does not require proper provision to be made for secondary education; it does not provide for dealing with those large sums of money which we have all over the country available for educational purposes in the endowments. The Government, certainly the First Lord of the Treasury, have not really appreciated the objections we have taken to the Bill on educational grounds, and I do not think that he does appreciate the objections which we take on religious grounds either.
I listened with great interest yesterday to what the First Lord of the Treasury said about the Irish Land system. He told us that the Irish Land 1472 system was the worst in the world. I could not help thinking what a pity it was that he and the great Party which he leads had not come to that conclusion twenty years ago. If they had done so how much bitterness and strife, how much misery and misfortune to Ireland and to England would have been saved! Therefore, I hope that the day will come—these are the days of open minds—when the Prime Minister's mind will be open even to the complaints that are made by the Nonconformists in regard to the Education Act; and perhaps twenty years hence, when we have to state that the educational system of England, on its religious side, is the worst system in the world, then he will reply that that was not recognised twenty years ago. And yet the right hon. Gentleman says now that the Nonconformists are ungrateful for the boon he desires to bestow& At any rate the right hon. Gentleman must realise that he has aroused a strong force or vehement opposition to the Act of last year which shows that that Act must have touched the deepest strings of religious passion. The passive resistance movement will spread to London and we cannot look upon that but with regret. Anyone must be blind who does not see that the Act of last session has stirred up a religious controversy which the Government last year were unwilling to believe. The Act of last year, which we are going to extend to London now, was not a settlement, it was a raising of the whole controversy. It does not close the controversy; it opens a new controversy, and those who desire our educational system to be efficient, well-ordered, just, and progressive, cannot possibly acquiesce either in the Act of last year or in the Bill which we are asked to read a third time to-day. We shall have to appeal to the people. It is only from the people that any help can come now to reverse legislation which we heartily and sincerely condemn. And we believe that when the people obtain an opportunity of declaring their opinion, that opinion will sweep away this legislation and enable us to begin to make a real advance in a progressive and truly national system of education.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
My right hon. friend commenced his able speech by pointing out, what is perfectly true, that the Bill is entirely and absolutely different from what it was when introduced in the House. That is the serious complaint which I desire to make against the Government. We cannot find any principle in anything the Government do. If the Bill was to assume the shape in which it has passed through the House, there was no reason why London should not have been dealt with in the Bill of last year. We were confident after what was said last year that a separate Bill suitable to London would be introduced. The Government brought in a separate Bill, but what has become of it? It is scattered, as the right hon. Gentleman said, to the four winds. We have a right to complain of the Government's action. The time of the House during all these long sittings might have been saved if the Government had only made up their mind as to the action they were going to take. I think this kind of thing has been carried too far by the Prime Minister. No one more strongly contended that a separate system was necessary for London than the Prime Minister himself; and, as my hon. friend the Member for North Camberwell pointed out in his speech, even the Prime Minister insisted that a large devolution of powers from the County Conned was necessary in London. Then, Sir, if the Prime Minister laid down that principle, why has he not stuck to it? Why does he not stick to any principle? He brings in a Bill based on the principle he himself laid down; we all discuss it; he finds that it will not stand upright, even if not discussed at all, and then he says, "Very well, then change it, do what you like with it." We put it into an entirely different shape, and hon. Gentlemen opposite accept the new Bill for which the Government is not responsible, and which is based on an entirely different principle. We have had too much of this kind of thing. I think that a Government in this House ought to be held responsible that the principles they lay down, and the statements they choose to make, should not be departed from by them in this frivolous and trifling way.
I am glad that I have an opportunity of opposing this Bill, even in its new form; 1474 for although the Bill has ceased to be the measure which the Government attempted to adopt, it remains the Bill of 1902; and when I say that that Bill is unsuitable to London, I am only saying to-day what the Government said yesterday. They themselves agreed that the Bill of 1902 would not suit London. We agreed then, and we agree now, as to that, and are consistent, but the Government are now content to apply the Act of 1902 to London. All the old reasons which were employed six months ago with regard to this matter exist to day. The Act of 1902 will not suit London; it was not devised to suit London. The constitution of London is quite different to the constitution of all the other counties in England and Wales for which the Bill of 1902 was specially devised. Therefore the Government will find that they are wrong again; and that it would have been better for them to have stuck to their first principle, which was to bring in a different scheme for London. We complain that when they brought in a different scheme they did not stick to it, and either fall themselves or let the Bill fall altogether. They have now brought in a Bill for which no one is responsible. Who has invented it? My right hon. friend who has just spoken said it was the hon. Member for South Manchester, but the hon. Member is not the Prime Minister; he did not plan the Bill, he brought in casual Amendments. My right hon. friend is, however, very near the truth when he says that the Bill is more his than anyone else's. We need not, however, go to Manchester for educational ideas with regard to London. There are a great many people in London who are constantly thinking over these matters. We have the School Board for London, containing members—men and women—who have devoted their lives to the solution of the right understanding of those principles which should govern education in London. We have got the County Council for London, and we have Members of Parliament for London. The opinions of all these might have been taken with regard to the scheme to be applied to London; and we ought not to have a patched up structure like this forced on 1475 the Metropolis by the ingenuity of the hon. Member for South Manchester.
What has London to say about this Bill? From the day the Bill was introduced until to-day, the opinion of London has grown strong and yet stronger against the Bill. You say you are going to push this Bill through. No doubt you are. When the division bell rings the supporters of the Government will come in and push it through. But no one in London likes it. The Bill that was introduced was a bad Bill; but the Bill you are going to push through to-day is worse still. I speak now in the name of these bodies in London which are manned by supporters of the Government, and which do all they can for the Government, and I say—and I challenge hon. Members opposite to deny the accuracy of the statement—that these bodies believe that the Bill, in the form in which it is presented to-day, is not suited to London. Not one of them likes it. Yet although they dislike it, and we dislike it, some secret mysterious force in this House is going to thrust this Bill on London. The London County Council is as strongly in opposition to the Bill to-day as it ever was. Here we raise a great constitutional question. I do not believe that the Government would have dared to pass the Bill of 1902 if all the County Councils of England and Wales had been against it, and if they had sent up a plain resolution that they disliked the Bill. If that resolution was passed in each Council by a majority of fifty-eight votes to seven, even a Government which will dare everything would not have dared to thrust the Bill of 1902 on those Councils. Nothing of the kind, however, took place. Many of the Councils were in favour of the Government Bill; and there was no organised opposition to it. But it is quite different in London. The London County Council is the one body that represents in the most thorough manner the whole area to be covered by the Bill. The London County Council is almost unanimous in its repudiation of the Bill, and in its fear of the responsibilities and duties which will be thrust upon it. Then the School Board for London is solid in its opposition; and it is most remarkable that even the 1476 Common Council of the City instructed the two Members for the City to do everything in their power to oppose the Bill at every stage in its present forms. Where are those two hon. Members to-day? I think they ought to be here doing their duty. They may think it more complacent to support the Government; but I think hon. Gentlemen opposite will find that there may be too much of supporting the Government through thick and thin, and that a little more devotion to principle and a little less support of the Government might be more useful to Members themselves. Further, the Borough Councils do not like the Bill. But all the local authorities in London have been set at absolute defiance by the course the Government have taken, and are in hostility to the Bill. I think it is a great pity that no attention has been paid to the complaints of London.
We never knew what the Bill was to be until it was in Committee. That was the third stage; and the Bill that emerged from Committee was as different to the Bill that went into Committee as black is to white. There were only two other stages, the Report and the Third Reading; and I think the Government ought to have shown more respect for London opinion on these stages. No attention was paid to the opinions expressed at the great meetings at Hyde Park and the Albert Hall, or to the unanimous feeling of opposition to the Bill in London. I do not know why the Government should go on in this way. It is evident they do not like the Bill themselves; they have not managed to make it more agreeable to London; yet it is to be forced on London by the weight of the Government majority. I think this is a great pity, and I think that the evils which may follow in London, should the Government adopt this course, will involve very great responsibility on the members of the Government. They ought not to have been blind to the movement in the country with regard to the Act of 1902; and there was no need to force on the London Bill until they saw how the passive resistance movement and the open hostility movement would develop. The education of London could be carried on for another year or two until 1477 we had a little more experience. I put this argument before the Government, that, considering the hostility which the Act of 1902 has excited in the country, they ought to have hesitated before applying it to London. As a supporter of the Government said, if we are going to have a row in the country let us have a row in London too. I should not be surprised if the Government were to be gratified in this respect; and I believe that the row in London will be far greater than the row in any other part of the country, and that the whole policy of the Government will be repudiated. There is ample evidence which makes it likely that this will occur. The London School Board has been the most creditable School Board in the country; it has been steadily growing in popular favour, and London is proud of it. This Government has distinguished itself from the very beginning by a considerable degree of hostility towards the School Board; it treated the situation which it now assumes it is necessary to meet by this Bill, by checking the School Board in its educational work, and by displaying hostility to it. The people of London will remember this against the Government. There are on the School Board men and women who are known only for their work in connection with education; and London highly appreciates their devotion. The Cockerton case arose out of an effort on the part of the supporters of the Government, and the Government Themselves to check the School Board—[An HON. MEMBER: No, no.] I am astonished at the hon. Member. Mr. Cockerton was only a bogey at the best; he was set up to shield hon. Members opposite who desired to deal a deadly blow at the School Board, and he succeeded. He made a situation, and rendered it impossible for the School Board to build pupil teacher centres which are absolutely necessary for the development of education in London. Then the Government said that something must be done, having created the difficulty themselves. This revolutionary measure is the result. The whole plot is plain and open to the people of London, and the tone London has adopted from first to last has proved that what I am saying is true.
This Bill is Bill that has just the same as the been passed for the 1478 country. It is open to all the evils of the Bill of 1902; and I believe that those evils will be graver in the case of London than throughout the country generally. In the country the majority of the children, except in Wales, were not being educated under the School Board system, but under the voluntary school system. In London, however, the great majority of children are being educated by the School Board. I must say one great blot on the memory of the hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill will be that he has not displayed any great feeling for the School Board. The people for London had seen no reason why the School Board should be done away with in this way, and better cause still remains for its maintenance than for its abolition, and far better cause remains for its continuance than there was for the continuance of the School Boards in the country. All the difficulties with regard to the Free Churches and the Nonconformists in the country exist in London, but the Nonconformists regarded the School Board for London with greater friendliness perhaps than the School Boards in various parts of the country. The schools maintained by the Free Churches before the London School Board came into existence were all given up to the School Board because they found it met all their requirements. We have done all we could to prevent this Bill being passed, but after all we are only nine out of sixty Members for London, and for some reason that nine is not able to throw all their force into the opposition to this Bill. This Bill is utterly unsuitable to London, but for some reason the Government has persevered in a reckless and unconstitutional way, and we are unable to look at the Bill as it now is with less alarm than we did when it was first introduced.
§ *MR. BULL (Hammersmith)
The question whether education is wanted either in the country or in London is not a question for a Third Reading debate, but I hold it was the duty of a strong Government to carry measures which are admittedly wanted. Anyone would admit that a Government with a majority of only thirty or forty at its back could not possibly have carried this 1479 Bill; but the Government having put its hand to the plough with regard to the education of the country was bound to deal with London. It is perfectly clear that all over the country the School Boards had failed to raise enthusiasm on behalf of education. In London fewer and fewer people voted for the School Board, and it is clear, whatever the reason may be, that the power of the School Board was declining. It was necessary that fresh enthusiasm should be infused into national education in London. That the London School Board has done good in the past is certain, but on the other hand there have been religious controversies and other things with regard to the School Board which have not endeared it to London as a whole. It is alleged by hon. Members opposite that it is a shame to place the conduct of education on the shoulders of the London County Council, because they have already enough to do. Again and again we heard that in the course of these debates; but we heard shortly before, that the London County Council was trying all it could to get the question of London water into its hands, in addition to which it has several times tried to get all the tramway systems into its hands; it is also in favour of managing a steamboat service on the River Thames, (a thing of which I ought to say, parenthetically, I am thoroughly in favour); all this goes to show the avidity of the London County Council for work. Its enthusiasm is high and it is ready to take all the work that is given to it. The London County Council was created for whatever duties might be cast upon it, and I feel certain that the London County Council will not fail in its duties, but will loyally undertake them and carry them out. As an old member of the London County Council I may say in the early stages of this Bill some of the members of the Progressive party came to mo—[Cries of "Name."]—Mr. Sidney Webb, Dr. Bateman Napier, and other old education lists of the London County Council, and entered into negotiations with regard to this Bill, and when it is suggested that the London County Council as a whole are thoroughly against this measure I deny it, and say there will be found to be a large majority in its favour who firmly believe that the 1480 education of London will be far better in the hands of the London County Council than in the hands of the School Board. With regard to the unfair attacks on Mr. Cockerton, it is not usual in England to question the decision of judges, or in business or politics to attack auditors, but Mr Cockerton has been attacked. It is said there was a conspiracy, and that he was put forward by the Government to fight this question, and very bad motives were attributed to him. That is a very serious thing. I do not know what the House may think of the matter, but I have never known, in all the years that Mr. Cockerton has been in that service, any suggestions raised as to his probity, and I think the unworthy manner in which Mr. Cockerton's name has been dragged into this debate is to be deprecated.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
Any hon. Gentleman who still believes the present Ministry to be a strong Government is quite capable of supporting the Third Reading of the Education Bill. I should like to ask one question of the hon. Member who supports this Bill so strongly, I should like to know whether at the last General Election he took his constituents into his confidence as to his intention of abolishing the London School Board and putting denominational schools upon the rates. I do not wish to be hard on the hon. Gentleman, but I do not think he has been quite fair to his constituents in the matter of this belated attack of inefficiency and religious squabbles on the London School Board which he now says justifies a strong Government in taking this action. I think he should have informed his constituents beforehand.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Member did tell his constituents he was in favour of abolishing the School Board and putting the denominational schools on the rates.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
And no more! The hon. Gentleman in that case is rather worse than his colleagues; they said nothing, but he concealed half the truth, which is unfair to those supporting him. With regard to his defence of Mr. Cockerton I think many hon. Members on that side will agree with him. Mr. Cockerton has done their work well, they ought to support him. But I may point cut that the hon. Gentleman who is supposed to be at the bottom of the whole matter was a member of the Committee who—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
pointed out that though an attack on Mr. Cockerton had been made and answered, the question whether Mr. Cockerton was right or wrong was not the question before the House.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I was not, Sir, pointing out whether he was right or wrong, I was merely stating that this Bill is the result of the Cockerton judgment, which restricted the School Boards and prevented them going on with technical and secondary education.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
That, Sir, is a matter of opinion, but if you say so I will not pursue the subject. It is a matter in the cognisance of the House. We have now got a Bill which completes the educational settlement for both England and Wales. This is a supplement of the Bill of last year which covers the educational settlement of the whole of the country. The country has had fifteen months to consider it. It was unpopular when it was first introduced, but it was nothing like so unpopular then as it is at the present moment. It has grown in unpopularity as month succeeded month. I remember it being said when it was first introduced that the country had arrived at a hasty conclusion with regard to this Bill; that the country had not grasped what an excellent measure it was; and that when it dawned on the country they would be convinced that it was a good Bill. What has happened? As time went on the opposition to this Bill has grown in intensity.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Member for Grimsby will have his opportunity by-and-bye, but my experience when I was invited down to Grimsby the other day, not to support the hon. Member, by the way, was that feeling was very strong even among the supporters of the hon. Member himself. That is the feeling, so far as I can gather, throughout the country. Last year the supporters of the Government were able to bring together a meeting at the Albert Hall to support a Bill with which London had nothing to do; but this year when there is a Bill of London itself a demonstration in its support cannot be organised anywhere. Not only has the feeling against the Bill grown, but the feeling in its favour has weakened from week to week. Where are the London Members who ought to be supporting it? County Councils in Wales feel so strongly on the matter that they refuse to levy a rate until the question has been settled by the judgment of the country. Here is an indication of how the feeling is growing. In Carmarthenshire the Committee decided to levy a rate, but the agitation in the country was so strong that the County Council have reconsidered the position, and I have just received this telegram:—Carmarthenshire County Council refuse to levy rate, 38 votes to 13.And that is against the advice of their Committee, on which there are two or three very influential men. That shows how the feeling is deepening, and I see no signs of its abatement. I do not charge the hon. Baronet with the responsibility of this Bill. He came in afterwards to help this strong Government through their difficulties. But does he really think this is going to be a settlement, even for a generation. Several attempts have been made to distract and divert attention from the question. The right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Birmingham Education League, the Colonial Secretary has made the attempt, but without any real success, even in London. The meetings which have been held recently show that London is quite as keen 1483 about this subject as ever. The Government will never settle the education question until they have dealt with the religious difficulty. That has been the mistake of the Government. The cause of the retardation of education is this religious strife. The country is divided into two great camps, each fighting the other. You have two great systems of education—the sectarian and the non-sectarian. The supporters of the one system are fighting the supporters of the other, and each side is doing its best to impoverish the resources of the other, with the result that education has not made the progress it otherwise would have made. This country, probably the richest in the world, can the least afford to do without a good system of education, because it is really fighting for its life commercially, and education is the sole weapon by which victory can be secured, and yet we are not up to the standard of our great rivals, Germany and the United States, or even of Switzerland, which perhaps would not be regarded as a rival. Why is it? Because in those countries they have settled the religious difficulty, and all the educational enthusiasm is devoted to the proper machinery without anything to retard progress. If anything is to be done in this country a settlement must be arrived at which should be regarded as satisfactory by nine out of every ten people in the country, and I believe that is possible. The hon. baronet must realise by now that this Bill will not be a settlement. It has simply aggravated the difficulty and embittered the controversy. The religious strife and contention in education is tenfold what it was three or four years ago, and that is the result of a Bill which was supposed to be a settlement.
Why cannot the Government even now apply their minds to doing something to meet the difficulty? What is the real difficulty? There is a real and an ostensible object in all this religious business in education. I will not say which is the real and which the ostensible, but there is at any rate a desire for patronage which enters into certain minds. I do not say that that is the dominant instinct, but there is undoubtedly with a large body of clergy a real desire to obtain patronage for their particular de- 1484 nomination. That ought not to be encouraged. It is not fair that any denomination should secure, at the expense of the State, the patronage of, say, 1,200 head teacherships in London and 20,000 in the country. Another thing which I am sure all parties in the House would deprecate is anything in the nature of proselytism. Proselytism of the most degrading kind has been going on. There is a proselytism which is effected by means of approaching the intelligence, by converting the mind. Of that all I will say is, that it is not right that the machinery of the State should be used for that purpose, or that the funds of the State, to which men of all creeds and denominations and men of no denomination at all contribute, should be used for the purpose of missioning for any sect. But that is not the worst form of proselytism. There is the proselytism by means of material inducements being held out to people to abandon the sect or creed to which they belong in order to attach themselves to another, and that is the form associated with the denominational schools system. In London there are probably 5,000 or 6,000, and in the country 70,000 appointments in denominational schools, and these have been used ruthlessly for the purpose of bringing Nonconformist children over to the fold of the Church of England purely from material motives. That is a monstrous system, and the country ought not to encourage it. It produces a sort of exasperation and irritation which makes it perfectly impossible to induce men of different creeds to co-operate as they ought for the advancement of education. It is the same thing that one often hears about missionaries abroad. The irritation against them is produced not so much by the fact that they teach or preach doctrines with which the bulk of the people do not agree, as by the fact that some missions undoubtedly use material inducements to bring over converts.
We shall never get a good educational system until we get rid of this proselytising element. Is it possible for this to be done? Can we not meet the views of men who are really desirous of giving religious education to their children, and at the same time get a system of instruction which should be under popular control and which will commend itself 1485 to the vast majority of the people of the country. I say it can be done. It has been done in the colonies and in every other country in the world. Why should it not be done in this country, which prides itself on its power to arrive at a practical issue on all great controversies? This Bill does not afford a settlement; it satisfies nobody. In London you have large areas served by sectarian schools, while the bulk of the people are outside the communion of that particular Church. The Daily News census proves that. It is not that they are Nonconformists, or Catholics, or Jews, but that they are outside the communion of the Church of England. We have no right to dictate to them that they should have a creed, or should be registered as members of a certain creed. In such districts the control of education is in the hands of a sect comprising a minority of the people. That is not fair, and it is not for the good of education. Take England as a whole. You have what is called the "8,000 parishes" case, although the Prime Minister put it at 5,000. In each of those parishes the only school is a school belonging to a particular sect, teaching doctrines which are believed by one sect, and members of all other sects are practically excluded from the patronage in connection with those schools and from the privileges which those schools confer. That cannot possibly last. The members of the Church of England itself are not satisfied with the settlement. They point to districts in which there are only Board schools, in which a religion is taught with which they do not agree, and they say that that is a hardship upon them. The present system is so devised that it does not satisfy any section of the community. Why on earth, then, should the Government bring in a Bill to perpetuate and strengthen that system instead of so amending it that it would commend itself to the people.
There is no doubt that the enthusiasm of the Church of England for the Bill has evaporated. The only section of the population who do not complain of it are the Catholics, and they are a comparatively small section of the community. The reason the Church of England have lost their enthusiasm 1486 for the Bill is clear. The Kenyon-Slaney clause took away their enthusiasm became it put them in practically the same position in their own schools as in the Board schools. Their complaint against the undenominational religion of the Board schools was that it was framed by six or seven members of the School Board—that it was a State-made or rather a Board-made religion—though it is peculiar that they should complain of a State made religion. It took a long time to abolish purgatory, and I am not sure that the other place would not also have been abolished except for the fact that they would not have known quite where to locate the dissenters. It is now left to six managers to decide what religion shall be taught in the school. It is the Kenyon-Slaney business that killed the enthusiasm for the Bill, and when the hon. and gallant Member for Shropshire wrote that clause I am sure he never realised how much mightier the pen was than the sword, for he has practically ruined this Bill from the Church of England point of view. In schools all over the country you will have six managers framing a syllabus, each making a religion for themselves. In some schools you will have the Ritualistic catechism and in others the Evangelical, and the hon. and gallant Member for Shropshire has himself with one stroke of the pen created thousands of little religious sects in every town in England. I should like to know where there is a friend of this Bill left. There is the Treasury Bench and there is only one left there. There has been no agitation for this Bill, no meetings in support of it, either inside or outside the House, and Members of Parliament have been apologising for it and saying that this is a strong Government and it must do something singularly wicked and unpopular in order to show how strong it is.
How long does the hon. Baronet think this settlement is going to last? It cannot last, and the Secretary to the Board of Education knows it. It is officially announced that this Parliament is coming to an end in March next. I think it ought to come to an end on the first of April. No Minister for Education can continue this settlement. The real interest is outside, and we are 1487 all inquiring in different parts of the country not into our own minds but into the minds of our constituencies. Why does the hon. Baronet not consider countries which have succeeded in settling this thing, and where experience has proved their system to be a success? I deny the right of a parent to dictate to the State what shall be taught in a school. It is said that a parent has a right to claim what dogma shall be taught to his children, but he has no more right to do that than he has to dictate what political principles shall be taught to his children A parent has as much right to say: "You must teach my children an honest trade" as he has to insist that a particular dogma shall be taught. There is no dogma in this country which is the dogma of the majority. Ours is not a country like Germany, with Catholics in one quarter and Protestants in another. We are not like Holland, where you have Calvinists and Catholics. The people of this country are split up into innumerable sects, not one of which has a preponderating proportion of the population in its ranks. In London there is no sect which is predominant, and even the Church of England has not a majority of the population. In Scotland the Presbyterians have it all their own way, and although they are split up into different sects they all believe the same thing as to their ultimate destination. The people of Condon are divided even about that. It is no use quoting Scotland to us, because there they are all of the same mind. You cannot give denominational instruction at the expense of the State to one sect without doing an injury to the rest, and the Board of Education must recognise that. What is the good of calling these schools sectarian, because they are not sectarian in anything except patronage and the creed they teach? They are really local schools of a particular district. This Bill gives the control of education in one district to the particular denomination which happens to be the first in planting a school there. That is not fair to anybody and not right from an educational point of view.
I would suggest that we should try the colonial plan, where the 1488 people have absolute public control over every school to which the State subscribes. The schools should be managed and controlled by the State, and there should be no religious tests in the appointment of teachers. Scotland would not tolerate for a moment the system they had got in this Bill. Several hon. Members opposite have voted to impose upon London a system which they would not stand in Scotland. We never impose a religious test upon the appointment of teachers in Scotland. Both in Scotland and in Wales if a teacher is a good man we appoint him. In one particular institution in Wales when we came to select a teacher not long ago we appointed a clergyman of the Church of England simply because he was the best man. We do not consider what sect or profession he belongs to or whether he is in or out of holy orders. That is just how popular control will work. As a matter of fact the majority of the teachers in the Board schools of England and Wales are Churchmen, and hundreds of the teachers in the Board schools in Wales belong to the Church of England. Recently a Mr. Vince went down to the West of England and said there was not a single Board school teacher in Wales who belonged to the Church of England. All I can say is that I hope that gentleman's pamphlets will be more reliable than that statement. The Bishop of St. Asaph made an inquiry into this question, and he found that 850 teachers in the Board schools of Wales were Churchmen. That inquiry influenced the Bishop's judgment, and now he is prepared to trust to popular control, and he has acted upon those facts. Why do not hon. Members opposite trust the men belonging to their own community? If their teachers are good men they will come out on the top. They will be given every facility for teaching their dogmas. We offered this arrangement to the Church people in Wales and they have accepted it. We told them that if they would give us popular control we would give them every facility for religious teaching outside school hours. This arrangement has been accepted without any qualification by the County Councils of Wales. It is a very extraordinary thing that the first demand they made 1489 in Wales was that the religious instruction should be upon the same syllabus as that of the London School Board. I am perfectly certain that the vast majority of the Nonconformists of this country would be delighted to give other denominations those facilities. There are plenty of facilities to get religious education if the parents desire it, and if they do not desire it, why should we compel them to have it? This matter is entirely in the hands of the parents themselves. Personally I object to compulsory powers being used to force children to accept the dogmatic instruction of any sect, because the only basis for a sectarian training must be the desire of the parent himself. Where the parent desires this instruction it should be given, and if he does not desire it you should not use the machinery of the State to force children to be taught any particular religious instruction. This is the last appeal I will make to the hon. Baronet upon this question. I ask him whether he does not think it is possible for him to propose some sort of settlement which will be acceptable to all reasonable men who have been thinking this subject out. We have proved in Wales that we can settle this question, and the majority of the Elders of the Church accepted our terms. I hope the hon. Baronet will do something of this kind, instead of prolonging this strife, which is creating so much bitterness throughout the land, and which is thwarting educational progress as well.
§ *THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Sir WILLIAM ANSON,) Oxford University
I will willingly make a present to the Opposition of such satisfaction as may be caused by the change which the Bill has gone through in the course of its progress in the House. There were two principles laid down by the Prime Minister on the Second Reading of this measure. One was, that the Bill would provide an educational authority for London not elected for educational purposes only, but that the principle of municipalisation adopted in the Act of last year should be followed in this Bill. The other was, that the Metropolitan boroughs were to have some voice in the educational work of London. The part originally assigned to those boroughs was very different from what it is now. I was under no illusion as to the difficulty of 1490 carrying such a measure in the House. I think it might, if accepted in its original form, have worked well, and worked better than hon. Members were prepared to believe, but I was quite aware of the probable jealousy of the County Council and the Borough Councils, and of the certainty that hon. Members on this side at any rate would comment unfavourably on the departure from the principles of the Act of last year, and the assignment to the London County Council of a position different from that in which other County Councils were placed I was prepared for that. I cannot say that on the whole I regret the changes that have taken place in the Bill in the course of its progress through the House. It is said that it is no longer the Bill of the Government, but the Bill of my hon. friend the Member for South Manchester. No doubt we accepted the Amendments of my hon. friend which gave the boroughs the part substantially they now occupy in the Bill. I am glad to give him all the credit which is due for having brought forward on the Report Stage, in a workable form, Amendments which will enable the Bill to work more smoothly than it otherwise might have done. What is the result? The London County Council is, as it was when the Bill was first introduced, the local education authority. The boroughs have some part in the work, but not the part given originally to them—a small part, it is true, but an appreciable part in the work of London education. What has surprised me in the course of our debates is that there has been a curious hostility displayed to the London boroughs by hon. Members on both sides of the House. The hon. Member for Poplar besought me to eliminate the boroughs altogether, and my hon. friend the Member for East Nottingham has dogged their steps through the progress of the Bill with the cold hostility and remorseless activity which actuate a detective, while the hon. Member for West Islington was never tired of impressing upon us the ignorance and incompetence of Islington in all matters of education, and the disinclination of the Borough Council to have anything to do with the education of the children in the borough. Nevertheless, we have adopted in the Bill the principle of the 1491 local management of the schools, and we have secured the predominance of the County Council. We have secured also the presence of women on the boards of management and the presence of the former managers of the schools. The Bill, therefore, in its present form is a workable measure, and I do not regret altogether the form which it now assumes.
But now I come to the various larger objections which have been made to the principle of the Bill. The first is as to the extinction of the School Board. Well, the School Board as a corporate body and as the authority for elementary education in London will no doubt disappear, but, as in the case of the other School Boards of the country, one hopes that the educational experience of the School Board will not be lost, and that in another form they will take part in the work of the London County Council and the Education Committee of that County Council. It may be hoped that the members of the School Board who have occupied themselves to such good purpose with the elementary education of this great city will still find ample scope for their exertions. Then it is complained that the purpose of the Bill has been to place the voluntary schools on the rates. I do not admit for a moment that that is the purpose. No doubt it has been the result of the Bill, but it is following out the measure of last year in bringing the voluntary schools under the control of the local education authority, and giving them at the same time that assistance which the other schools receive for their maintenance and for the effectual carrying out of their educational work. Is it not desirable that the voluntary schools shall be brought under the scrutiny of the local educational authority? Is it not desirable that they should no longer be able to plead the difficulties in the way of maintenance as an excuse for indifferent and unsatisfactory buildings? Is it not an advantage to secular instruction in the voluntary schools that they should be brought under the direct control of the local education authority? I say in these matters the levelling up of the voluntary schools and the bringing of the whole of the education of London under one 1492 control is, from the educational point of view, a distinct advantage to London, as I believe this system is becoming an advantage throughout the country at large.
But there are objections with which it is more difficult to deal, because they take the form of misrepresentation—not, I am sure, intentional—of the purport of the principal Act, and possibly this Act also. There is the constant assertion of the imposition of tests upon the teachers. We are told that this is a form of proselytising, and that teachers are induced to leave their original faith and become members of the denomination which has teacher ships to offer, and which gives a better prospect of advance in their profession. It is suggested even that the subscription to some form of denominational belief is required. There is nothing like a test, except in the one case to which I have referred more than once in the course of the debates, where the head teacher is required by the trust deed of a school to be a member of a particular denomination. I do not believe that is so formidable, and it is the only case in which denominational requirements are specifically insisted upon. Beyond that the managers are free, in respect to all teacherships, to appoint whom they please. There have been from time to time comparisons made between the old system of tests and the probability—for it is nothing more—that denominational managers will appoint denominational teachers. Now, what is the difference? What was the old system of subscription? Take the case with which I am most familiar—that of my own University. A definite subscription was required in order that you might get the full benefit of being a member of the Corporation of the University, or of the corporate body of a college. These tests are happily abolished; but it must be borne in mind that subscription indicating ahhesion to a particular faith has nothing whatever to do with one's position either as a member of the University or as a fellow of a college, whereas the relation of teachers and managers is that of employed and employers. Even in a University or college where there are no tests, if that college were engaging a lecturer on divinity it would surely inquire whether he was 1493 a Roman Catholic, or an Anglican, or a Jew, and in the case of managers who are employing a teacher whose business it may be to teach the English Church catechism, it is surely reasonable that they should ask whether the teacher can conscientiously do so. As regards the other objection stated by the hon. Member for Carnarvon, the difficulty he indicated cannot take place if the law is observed. The Conscience Clause, makes it impossible for any child to be taught any form of belief to which the parents object, and the by-law recently issued by the Board of Education makes it possible not only that the child should be withdrawn from religious instruction if the parents declare that to be their wish, but the child may be withdrawn from school while that instruction is being given, so that proselytising is impossible. There is no reason why teacherships should not be given to persons of any religious denomination, if they are good teachers whom the managers can employ irrespective of denominational teaching. If he is employed in religious teaching, surely it is reasonable to ask what denomination he belongs to.
§ DR. HUTCHINSON (Sussex, Rye)
Is it reasonable that the State should pay for that teaching? That is our point.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
I must remind the hon. Member that the local education authority has complete control over the question of the qualifications of the teachers. So far as the quality of the teaching is concerned, the local education authority is supreme, and if they think that the managers are, for denominational purposes, employing unfit persons, they can at once ask the managers to make a change. I pass to another misrepresentation, which I have before me in the form of a Resolution passed by a local Free Church Council. It is really monstrous to say that the Act of last year gave to one section of the Church absolute authority in determining the educational policy of the nation. The educational policy is determined for each area by the Education Committee, subject to the authority of the County Council. The provided schools are completely under its control, and the voluntary schools, which were formerly very often entirely under clerical control, are now, as to their secular 1494 teaching, under the control of the local authority, and as to their religious teaching, under the control of a body of managers, two of whom are appointed by the local authority. Surely that is some return, in the way of popular management, for the assistance given to the general education of the country by the maintenance of the voluntary schools, so far as their teaching is concerned, out of the rates. I will give a small instance of the hasty way in which the denominational terror is excited in the minds of those who are the victims of statistics. The hon. Member for Camber well the other evening stated that there were in London 354 departments of schools liable to be re-transferred from the School Board to denominational management.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
What I said was that since 1870, 354 departments were transferred to the London School Board.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that there were 354 departments liable to be transferred if the formalities are complied with. I should like to tell him the facts which I worked out from the School Board Returns. There are not 354, but only forty-three departments in nineteen schools which are now liable to be re-transferred, of these eight are undenominational, and two others are also almost certainly so, while only nine are Church of England schools, with nineteen departments.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
The hon. Gentleman has not challenged my statement, that since 1870 there have been 354 departments transferred to the London School Board.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
I did not challenge that statement; but the hon. Gentleman said that there were 354 departments liable to be re-transferred if the Board of Education were willing. I only mention this to show how very easily the denominational terror is excited, and that if you go into the matter more carefully you find that their fancies are almost wholly unfounded. I do not wish for a moment to minimise the religions difficulty; I am painfully aware of its existence, as I have said over and over 1495 and over again. But, I think that hon. members who raise this vehement objection to assistance of voluntary schools out of the rates should remember how long the Roman Catholics and Anglicans have had to pay rates for religious teaching which was not acceptable to them, and to maintain their own schools at their own expense. If a Nonconformist happened to require to go to an Anglican school, at any rate he got his teaching for nothing, whereas the denominational people who are not satisfied with the religious teaching in the Board schools had to pay for their own schools, and also to pay rates for teaching which was not to their minds. I do not think we have yet reached the final settlement of the religious difficulty; but I should wish to see it treated in a somewhat different spirit. I think that if there was rather more religion in the matter there would be less difficulty.
I pass from that to another point raised by the hon. Member for Camberwell—viz., that the London County Council cannot, and will not undertake this work. Well, I quite admit that if the County Council work as the School Board did—as described to us by the hon. Member for Camberwell—spend the morning in interviewing teachers, and the afternoon in dealing with small repairs, trusting nobody, delegating nothing to anybody, insisting on doing everything itself—it would break down under the effort. But I do not see why it should act in that way. There will no longer be the work necessitated by the competition of the School Board with other educational institutions in London. The County Council will have the field entirely to itself, and co-ordination, if I may use that much abused word, will take the place of competition. Therefore, the County Council will be able to lay down the broad lines of educational policy, and work through sub-committees under one of the clauses of the Act of last year, either for particular purposes, or for particular areas. Under these sub-committees, again, will be the managers of the elementary schools. I cannot believe that, with all the intellectual and educational resources of London, the County Council will find it impossible to do the work, I admit the heavy work, which this Bill proposes to place upon it. I do not believe the County Council will 1496 refuse to undertake that work. I have heard in this House and elsewhere many hard things said of the County Council. I have heard it described as injudicious, extravagant, and ultra-political, but I have never heard it said that it was lacking in public spirit, where there was any opportunity of undertaking work which it thought it could discharge for the benefit of the citizens. Under these circumstances can we believe that the London County Council will neglect this great educational work? In the "Inferno" of Dante there is a place for those lost souls who, either from meanness of nature, or from self distrust, shirk responsibilities, or cast aside great opportunities. I cannot believe that the London County Council will be numbered among these. I am sure that it will take up this great work for the benefit of the youth and children of London, and carry it through heartily, courageously, and effectually.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
Perhaps the hon. Baronet will allow me to say, on behalf of those who sit on this side of the House, that we thank him for the courtesy he has consistently shown to all Members throughout these debates. We sympathise very much with him in the difficulty in which he has been placed in carrying the Bill through the House. I am sure it would be a curious revelation if we had the secret history of the different phases and changes which have occurred in the passage of the Bill. The Government got themselves into difficulties because they had consulted the wrong parties. Instead of consulting those who are interested in and know the educational wants of the Metropolis, they put themselves in the hands of certain Unionist Members who proved to be a very broken reed indeed. There are one or two matters in which this Bill is an improvement on the Act of last year. One is in regard to the unlimited rate which may be made for secondary education. Another is the statutory position in which women will be placed in regard to school management. The hon. Baronet said that we had shown hostility to the Borough Councils throughout these debates. I can assure him that we have no such hostility whatever. We had hostility to the proposal in the Bill that education 1497 should be the sport forever of separate bodies. In our opinion the bringing in of the Borough Councils would have created friction and made the administration of the education of London wholly unworkable. I have never been able to understand why the Government chose to municipalise education in London. In small country School Boards, and even in the case of large School Boards, you might carry out that operation; but when you come to the case of London you are on an entirely different footing. Even the Government themselves said that London should be treated differently. I have never been able to appreciate the reasons given for municipalising education in London; and I am afraid that while you will destroy the School Board you will also practically wreck the London County Council. The hon. Baronet said that, in his opinion, the County Council would be fully able to do the work. That was not what the hon. Baronet or the Prime Minister said in a former discussion; because he then laid it down absolutely and distinctly that unless there were a statutory delegation, in order that the County Council should be relieved of the bulk of the work, it would be impossible for the County Council to carry it on. Now the delegation disappears; and yet the hon. Baronet says that the County Council will be able to do the work. We believe that this Bill will really injure the work of the County Council; and that it will not be able to carry out its educational work in a sufficiently satisfactory and efficient way; and that, instead of making for education in London, it will do a great deal to retard it. The Bill was hurried at the earlier stage, before we were able to obtain the opinion of London on it. That opinion has now been given unanimously by every public body; and I believe it will be endorsed by the electors who are absolutely averse to the policy of the Government. We have had many discussions on this Bill; but because of the way the Bill is drawn we have never been able until this afternoon to touch on the question of control and rate aid which lie at the bottom of the whole matter. The hon. Baronet entered at some length into the religious question and the question of control. He touched especially on the question of tests for teachers; and he went so far as to say that he understood that there were very few schools in which tests would be 1498 applied, because there were very few schools in which the trust deeds would operate in that direction.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON
I said I believed that the number of trust deeds which required tests for teachers was not very large.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
My information is that they are a very large number, I have heard they number 13,000—at all events, they amount to thousands. But it is not only in schools which are governed by trust deeds that tests will be applied. We know very well that there will be a test imposed on the head teacher in every Church of England school in the country. Unless a teacher is a member of the Church of England he will not have any opportunity, whatever his secular qualifications may be, of becoming a head teacher in a Church of England school. That means exclusion for the bulk of Nonconformists from the denominational schools, so long as they are not under popular control. Considering that the State in its rate-paying capacity is now going to pay the salaries of these teachers they are practically Civil servants; and there ought to be sufficient margin of public control over denominational schools which, without interfering with the atmosphere of these schools, should take care that, as regards secular instruction, there should be full and open competition as regards the appointment of teachers. The hon. Baronet said the other day that the Act of last year was generally accepted. I am afraid that he will find that that is a very sanguine view; and that when the London County Council elections come on, instead of their turning, as they ought to turn, on municipal work, they will turn on educational and religious questions, and especially on the question as to whether the new County Council through its educational authority should give rates to the denominational schools where they have not full control over secular instruction, with a view to its proper efficiency and to prevent tests for teachers. I believe the vast majority of the electors, who are in these matters Progressive, will give an instruction that the education authority shall not pay 1499 rates to the denominational schools unless they have full control over the secular education in such schools. I shall entirely sympathise with that view; and, if it is accepted, what is the hon. Baronet going to do in such circumstances? He will find himself face to face with a very serious situation; and I can only say that the Government have brought this question upon themselves. They should have waited to have seen how the Act for last year would work in the country. There would have been no difficulty in carrying some temporary measure which would not prejudice the voluntary schools or the ratepayers, instead of suddenly altering the whole educational system of London. It is very hard that we in London should have a Bill of this sort, which is totally different to the Bill originally introduced and to all the Government had said, at this very early stage of our new educational policy, forced on the electors of London. In my opinion it will do a great deal more to damage education than to benefit it.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
At this, the last stage of this controversy, I wish to say a few words from the Catholic point of view. To those of us who remember the debates of 1896 and the debates of last year, and the debates at the early stages of this Bill, the appearance of the House this evening is very remarkable. I wish it were otherwise, but I am greatly afraid that that listlessness is not a true reflection of the conditions in the country, and that the controversies which were aroused by the Bill of last year, and by the Bill we are now discussing, are, I think, by no means brought to an end. The hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs said that as far as he could hear the only body in this country who were thoroughly satisfied with this Bill were the Catholic body. I do not think he was right in imagining that the Catholic body are thoroughly satisfied in regard to this Bill. I notice that the enthusiasm with which the Church of England hailed the introduction of the Bill of 1896 and the Bill of last year has considerably abated. I myself, throughout these discussions, acting on behalf of the Irish Party, have pursued a course very often slightly differ- 1500 ent from that advocated by the leaders of the Catholic Church in this country. In our private discussions on the Bill of 1896, and again on the Bill of last year, I used my utmost influence with the leaders of my Church in this country to bring their influence to bear on the Government to bring about a concordat or settlement which might last for another thirty or forty years. I failed to make my views prevail; and although I support this Bill and mean to vote for its Third Reading, it is not in the least because I approve of the policy of the Government, or the details of the measure; but because it embodies a principle in which I believe, and in which all my colleagues believe, and that is, support of denominational instruction in primary schools. I took leave to urge on the heads of the Catholic Church in this country, and even spoke in this House in a way in which I was very sharply taken to task by some of the Catholic newspapers, that in my opinion no more unwise course could be adopted by the Government than to take advantage of their present, or perhaps I should say their late, majority to force terms upon the Opposition without giving them an opportunity of arriving at some concordat.
Let us recollect for a moment what has been the history of this education question during the last thirty years. In 1870 a great struggle arose between the advocates of strictly secular education and the advocates of denominational education in this country, quite as bitter and quite as fierce on both sides as anything that has been going on for the last three or four years. But in the course of that the great settlement of 1870, after fierce debates, was agreed to; and, although in my judgment it was a very imperfect and a very bad arrangement, still because it was the outcome of a certain amount of agreement between the two sides it has withstood the storms of thirty years and has carried on the question for that period without any change. I have always had a great objection to that settlement. I think it was a bad settlement. I have always been an opponent of the Cowper-Temple clause, which I think is 1501 at the bottom of a great many of our present difficulties. But still it stood from the very fact that it had its origin in some form of agreement springing from conciliation on both sides. I took occasion at a critical time in the history of the Bill to urge strongly upon the Government that they had now a great opportunity because of their great majority and their power to obtain some settlement and arrangement which might carry the question on for another thirty or forty years. My advice was thrown aside, and the present arrangement was come to. Does anyone believe that this is a settlement? Does any man believe that the power of this Government is going to last very much longer? I then ask myself what is going to follow? I am concerned chiefly, I admit, with the fate of the Catholic schools. And I say that as regards all the complaints made by the hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs and the hon. Member for North Camber well our withers are unwrung. We do not want to proselytise; we offer no teacher any inducement to change his religion. All we desire is to obtain leave to pursue that system of religious instruction to which our race and nation are attached in whatever part of the globe they may be found. Our fortune has been indissolubly tied in education matters, by the leaders of our Church in this country, with the fate and fortunes of the Anglican Church.
It does appear to me to be an undeniable and an indefensible position that there should exist in this country thousands of schools in which you have mixed Protestant bodies of children being taught, and that in schools of that character the Nonconformist teachers are penalised and denied the right of ever becoming head masters. What I am afraid of is this. What will be the position of the voluntary schools when they are brought under the influence of a powerful Radical majority? It has been held that all compromise is impossible in this matter. I do not believe it. There are Members upon both sides of the House who would have compromised but for the extremists who made compromise impossible. We have not got rid of the religious difficulty in any way. It will all have to be brought out again after the next General Election, and, if so, the Government has 1502 set an example which others might follow, and if the pendulum should swing heavily, and the Radical Party comes back in great strength, they might say: "Why I should we consider you? What mercy have you shown to us? We believe in absolute popular control; you have admitted the principle of popular control. You say the proprietors in voluntary schools shall have two-thirds of the control, and now only one step is needed to sweep the voluntary schools completely under popular control." I always felt from the beginning that we who are the defenders of the denominational schools, when we admitted the element of popular control in these schools, had done that which in the future may bring forth trouble in this matter. I hope and trust that the Irish Party will have power enough to defend in the future the fate of the Catholic schools. I regret that on this occasion I have been compelled to vote in favour of a measure that in my judgment contains indefensible provisions, and which subjects certain classes of the population in this country to disabilities which we in Ireland have overthrown. I am convinced that, because of these defects, this Bill will not stand long without substantial and dangerous changes being made in it. Still we have been compelled to vote in favour of this measure, because it is presented by the Government as the only issue placed before us, and because it incorporates the great principle which we in Ireland—I was going to say irreconcilably—adhere to, and that is, that there shall be religious teaching in the primary schools.
§ *MR. BARRAN (Leeds, N.)
There is a general consensus of opinion that the interest of the Education Bill has passed from this House to the country. We have had the first act, and this is the second act in the education drama. Interest is now concentrated in the prologue of the third act, which will have to tell what may take place between the close of the second and the beginning of the third. It may be some little time yet before that can be written. In the meanwhile we offer none the less strenuous opposition to the Third Heading of this present Bill. It applies to the remaining area of the country the worst principles of the former Bill, in spite of the condemnation through the country and in 1503 London shown by the meetings and elections. Those of us who are interested in stating the case for the Nonconformists are not influenced by the point harped upon by the Prime Minister and many others on that side of the House that Nonconformists are better off under these Bills than they were previously. We do not for a moment admit the point, but we demand at the present time equality of treatment and opportunity for every citizen. The Nonconformists have acted for thirty years under a compromise made by that Party which is most in sympathy with their views. They have kept their part of the compromise. The position now will be entirely different. In these Bills there has been no compromise, they now lie under the injustice of inequality inflicted upon them by a powerful and intolerant Party. Their action is, and will be, necessarily very different. As the hon. Member for Carnarvon has pointed out, while claiming this equality for themselves, they are willing to give just and fair treatment to those who differ from them for teaching their own particular religion. They are willing to give to the Church of England an opportunity of teaching their own dogmas and a consideration which shall be based either on what the Church has done for education in the past or a consideration based on the value of their buildings. The latter pecuniary consideration has perhaps weighed too heavily with Churchmen, and it is a question as to whether, after all, they have not made a sordid bargain when they have received their money consideration and lost a great influence. Those on this side of the House regret equally with those on the other the loss of the
§ influence of the clergy where it is exercised religiously. But I oppose the Third Reading of this Bill equally on educational grounds. London will lose the direct responsibility which went from the Education Committee to the smallest sub-committees, the members of which were able to state their views and the requirements of the schools personally before that body which had the granting of the money and the levying of the rate, and these men were also directly responsible to the ratepayers. In place of this you substitute a body half of whom can never make a personal report to the council which has the final word, and half of whom are not responsible to the ratepayers. You will lose cohesion, and you will lose responsibility. We shall by this Bill lose the prospect of that educational efficiency in London which is so vital to us in the face of foreign competition. It is not only the organising of the Committee, or the forming of a syllabus for the schools, which makes for success; it is the direct interest of the members of the Education Committee in watching over the success of the education that will answer our purpose in the competition with the markets of the world. It is principally because I believe that by this Bill we are going backward and not forward in that competition that I strongly oppose the Third Reading. I would rather leave London education in its present condition than have it in the position in which it will be after this Bill becomes law.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 228; Noes, 118. (Division List No. 181.)1507
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bigwood, James||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bill, Charles||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon J. (Birm|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Boland, John||Chamberlayne, T. (Southmptn|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bond, Edward||Chapman, Edward|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Charrington, Spencer|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bousfield, William Robert||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bowles, T. Gibson (Lynn Regis)||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bull, William James||Coddington, Sir William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Butcher, John George||Collings, Right Hon. Jesse|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow||Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Crean, Eugene|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch||Carlile, William Walter||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Davenport, William Bromley|
|Denny, Colonel||Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay(Galway||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Hamlets||Knowles, Lees||Remnant, Jas. Farquharson|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Dillon, John||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Renwick, George|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool||Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lawson, John Grant(Yorks, N R||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Doughty, George||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Duffy, William J.||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Faber, E. B. (Hants, W.)||Lundon, W.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Macdona, John Cumming||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Seely, Maj J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Fdinburgh W||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Maxwell,Rt.Hn.SirH.E.(Wigt'n||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Smith,H. C.(North'mb. Tyneside|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Milvain, Thomas||Smith,JamesParker(Lanarks.)|
|Flower, Ernest||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Forster, Henry William||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Spear, John Ward|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Morrell, George Herbert||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans||Mowbray, Sir Robt. Gray C.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.|
|Gordon, Hn. J. F. (Elgin & Nrn||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby- (Salop||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Stroyan, John|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Nicholson, William Graham||Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G.(Oxford Univ.|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Grenfell, William Henry||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Gretton, John||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Groves, James Grimble||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||O'Dowd, John||Valentia, Viscount|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn Ld. G.(Midx||O'Malley, William||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent,Ashf'd||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Whiteley, H (Ashton und. Lyne|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||O'Shee, James John||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn E. R. (Ba|
|Heath, Arthur H. (Hartley)||Percy, Earl||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Helder, Augustus||Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Yerburgh, Robt. Armstrong|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hn H. (Som's't, E||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Hoult, Joseph||Purvis, Robert|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Randles, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Howard, Jn. (Kent. Faver'h'm||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Sir Alexander Acland-|
|Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil||Reddy, M.||Hood and Mr. Ansturther.|
|Johnstone, Heywood||Redmond, Jn. E. (Waterford)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Crooks, William|
|Asher, Alexander||Burt, Thomas||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Caldwell, James||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Cameron, Robert||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Duncan, J. Hastings|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Causton, Richard Knight||Dunn, Sir William|
|Black, Alexander William||Cawley, Frederick||Elibank, Master of|
|Brigg, John||Channing, Francis Allston||Emmott, Alfred|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh||Cremer, William Randal||Fenwick, Charles|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Taylor, Theodore C.(Radcliffe)|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick||Mitchell, Edw (Fermanagh, N.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd||Newnes, Sir George||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings)|
|Harwood, George||Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Partington, Oswald||Tomkinson, James|
|Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Toulmin, George|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Price, Robert John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Priestley, Arthur||Wallace, Robert|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||Rickett, J. Compton||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Rigg, Richard||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Labouchere, Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Langley, Batty||Rose, Charles Day||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Runciman, Walter||Williams, O. (Merioneth)|
|Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland||Wilson, Chas. H. (Hull, W.)|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||Schwann, Charles E.||Wilson, H. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Levy, Maurice||Shackleton, David James||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Huddersf'd|
|Lloyd-George, David||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Lough, Thomas||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Sloan, Thomas Henry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and|
|Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Soares, Ernest J.||Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe||Spencer, Rt. Hn C. R. (Northants|
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.