§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD WAVENEY
said, when his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack introduced this measure, he ventured to hail it as one well calculated to promote Intermediate Education in Ireland, and so accomplish the work which the old diocesan schools had been founded to perform, and further consideration of the measure confirmed him in that view. 416 From his own personal knowledge, he could say that some of those schools had given an excellente ducation to members of the three great Churches, while they had been no burden on the people generally, being supported by the Clergy. It was, however, useless to conceal from themselves how liable were their best hopes to be frustrated in the matter of schemes for Irish education; and it seemed, from the experience of the past, that when an endeavour was made to draw the different Churches together, that endeavour failed in proportion to the sincerity with which it was made; and, in the present case, he confidently believed that no measure could be offered to the consideration of the country which was more unlikely to raise any of the feelings which had caused the defeat of the measures which had been proposed in the past. The scheme which had now been introduced by the Government appeared to him to deserve well of their Lordships, and he trusted it would be persevered with, notwithstanding any points of difficulty which might present themselves. No measure was ever proposed affecting Irish education which did not raise difficulties between the classes who were educated at the National Schools and those who went to the Primary Schools. He believed there were many who would take advantage of the schools proposed by the Bill. He cordially approved of the principles of the Bill, which embodied free schools, free teaching, and free scholars. The advantages offered to the country were not to be over-rated, and the country would only have itself to blame if it did not take advantage of the opportunity now offered. He was gratified with the attention which had been already paid to the Bill. He had received letters from gentlemen of the highest intelligence indicating their firm confidence in the good fruits which might be produced by this system of education if it were sagaciously and wisely administered. He had received one letter from the lady secretary of a leading educational establishment in Dublin, in which she begged that, at the proper time, he would move that the benefits of the Bill be extended to the ladies of Ireland. If ever there was a scheme which had a fair prospect—a more than fair prospect—a certainty of success, it was this one; and he should be surprised if other noble 417 Lords sitting on his side of the House did not as cordially support it as he did.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
said, he had great pleasure in offering his cordial thanks for this Bill, and he thought the Government were entitled to the gratitude of the country for its introduction. Having promoted such a measure, it was now incumbent upon the Government to take care that it should not be delayed, but that it should become law during the present Session. That was a matter of great importance to Ireland; and if there was anything which he could possibly grudge his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack, it was his good fortune in having had the splendid privilege to introduce a measure which in itself, and in its consequence, he believed, would be fraught with so much good to Ireland. The first question for their Lordships' consideration was, whether there were sufficient reasons or not for the introduction of a scheme of Intermediate Education? For many years they had had great discussions in Ireland on the subject of Primary Education, and for many years there had been a conflict of opinion as to the existence and operation of the National Board. That Board had its shortcomings, and it might have had its errors and defects, but it had been successful in spreading schools over the country from the centre to the sea; and the results upon the youth of Ireland, of a class not so high as that to which this Bill addressed itself, must be in the highest degree encouraging to every man of good feeling and good understanding in the country. He would read to their Lordships a startling statement, though its truth could not be doubted, considering the authority by which it was made. From figures quoted a short time since by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, it appeared that England had 72¾ per cent of the population of the United Kingdom, Ireland 17 per cent, and Scotland 10¾ per cent. Since 1871 there had been 1,918 places in the Excise and Customs bestowed in public competition. For these places there had been 11,371 candidates, of whom 11 per cent were Scotch, 46 per cent English, and 43 per cent Irish. Of the places, Scotland gained 6 per cent, England 38 per cent, and Ireland 56 per cent. Of every 100 Scotch candidates 9 passed; of every 100 English, 14; and of every 100 418 Irish, 22. Why did he quote those figures? He quoted them to show what the young men could do when educated; but what were their opportunities? The Irish boy could distance his competitors in the struggle for the humbler positions in the public service; but here he must bound his ambition and abandon hope. If he desired to look higher, and raise himself by honest efforts and assiduous culture to a better position in life, the way was barred against him. Every lad in Scotland had a classical school within easy reach of his home, and endowments invited English students to progress and to honour. It was said that a few years ago one-fifth of all the alumni of the University of St. Andrew's were the sons of labourers; but in Ireland, youths similarly situated could not compete for the higher offices, which were the reward of liberal education. This was from no national inferiority and from no social disqualification, but for the lack of the information which the State had refused to supply, and by its action had denied them redress. A million of children were educated in Ireland in the National Schools. About the age of 15 their education was completed. Up to that age they were amongst the best educated youths in Europe, but from that time they were without hope for their further advancement, however they might feel within themselves the impulses of genius and the consciousness that they were worthy of a higher destiny. According to the Returns taken in 1871, there were in Ireland learning Latin only one in 923 of the entire Catholic population, and one in 259 of the Protestants; while there were learning Greek—of the Catholics one in 1,207, and of the Protestants one in 398. These figures spoke most forcibly of themselves. They showed how completely had been the decadence of Intermediate Education in Ireland in recent times; and they showed also that the Catholic population, as they had the deepest interest in it, ought to make the most earnest efforts for the success of the system proposed by the Government. The sad history of Ireland had no blacker page than that which contained the narrative of her educational efforts during the last 200 years; and without doubt her demand for reparation in this respect constituted her strongest claims 419 on the Imperial Legislature. An Act of Henry VIII. provided for the establishment of schools in every parish, but it had been allowed to fall into desuetude; and in the institution of endowed schools, down to a recent period, the action of every successful statesman was conceived in a sectarian spirit, and had for its object the propagation of peculiar religious tenets, and not the advantage of the people, whom it was vainly desired to coerce and corrupt into the adoption of them. The endowed schools were not originally or legally exclusive, but they became practically so, and were of no benefit to the great mass of the people. The old legislation of the penal times was the most abominable which the perverted ingenuity of man ever invented to debase humanity, and aimed to keep the Catholic population in a state of utter ignorance only to be avoided by the sacrifice of faith and honour. A Catholic parent could not instruct his own child; a Catholic teacher could not bring up a Catholic pupil under penalties of the heaviest kind; and from the benefits of the educational endowments the Catholics were rigidly excluded. This fearful system continued to blight the intellect of the country for 90 years; and it was only wonderful that the people, ever eager for knowledge, and always aided to struggle for it by the Catholic priesthood, managed to get it in obscure places from humble teachers who ventured to defy the law. The Charter Schools aimed to Protestantize the country by robbing parents of their children, and compelling them to submit to instruction which they detested. They flourished for years, but their monstrous abuses—their cruelty, filth, and utter inefficiency—were exposed by Howard in one of those meritorious efforts of his noble life, and they eventually gave place to other institutions, which still laboured, though with mitigated virulence and equal absence of results, to undermine the ancient faith. Finally, Lord Derby's scheme of National Education was abandoned. This hopeless work of proselytism aimed at giving the Irish people united secular education and separate religious instruction. In spite of the shortcomings of that scheme, it had bestowed on the Irish people, as had been well observed, the greatest benefits which they had ever derived 420 from the Imperial Legislature. He had endeavoured to show to the House some of the remarkable results of its operations in the success of the competition for places in the Civil Service, and they were made more manifest in other ways; but they had not all been equally beneficial—surgit amari aliquid. The noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) had already observed how they had tended to destroy the old schools, which gave, in so many cases, a good classical education. The masters were maintained by the majority of their scholars, who sought only some English education, and they were able to supplement their incomes from those who desired a higher culture; but when the State drafted away that majority by its liberal subscription to the National Board, these schools, of necessity, ceased to exist. This evil had been great and universal, and it was not unfair to ask Parliament, whose action, although for purposes most beneficent and most successful, had produced that evil, to supply a sufficient remedy. The schools which had formerly existed in the North and South had nearly become extinct. In Kerry ripe scholars used to be found among the bogs and mountains, and the Northern Province, where the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) and he first saw the light dawn, had modest seminaries, which had sent many a distinguished man to the legal and clerical professions. In Newtownstewart the people told their own tale in a Memorial to the National Board, deploring the extinction of the old schools of their parents, which had sent hundreds of pupils to the various professions, many of them attaining high distinction. The National Board was so pressed by representations of this kind that it was ultimately induced, perhaps without sufficient authority, so to dispose of the resources devoted to Primary Education as to offer some small result fees to teachers instructing in classics before or after the ordinary school hours; but that aid was, of course, utterly inadequate to meet the necessities of the case, and last year only 305 pupils passed in Latin and 90 in Greek. He, as one of the Commissioners, was not prepared for this, because he thought that the funds were intended for the poor; but what could they do? He would read two passages from the Memorial. It spoke of the 421 people affected by the Board, and stated that—The first is a list of the boys primarily affected by the Board's order, those—namely, who formed the Latin classes in Newtownstewart School, with a statement of their social position and that of their immediate relatives. The Board will observe that though in humble or struggling circumstances, they are just of that class from which the Professions are in fact recruited or have been hitherto. Nearly all of them have uncles, full cousins, or elder brothers, who have made their way to the Professions.The second list contains the names of more than 20 teachers who actually have imparted classical instruction, since the year 1800, in different districts of this parish—in Newtownstewart, Lisnatanny, Douglas, Ardstraw Bridge, Crew Bridge, Dreguish, Magheracriggan, Erganagh, or Clare—not all simultaneously, but two or three or four at a time, as the wants of the localities varied. At present, with some 25 National Schools in the parish, and several Church Education Schools besides, there is no classical or other superior instruction whatsoever. And we have every reason to fear besides, that the little English which is learned in early childhood is, for want of being kept up and carried on, mostly forgotten before the age of puberty.The third list represents in part the fruit of this old-fashioned instruction, a list—namely, of those natives of the parish, who, since the year 1800, have actually reached the Professions. And we say 'in part,' for our list is most incomplete; more careful inquiries would, we are satisfied, increase it 25 per cent or more. It contains, however, between 300 and 400 names. And many of these, the Board will observe, not only reached the Professions, but attained to some eminence therein.Our Clerical list contains a Dean of May-nooth and several Protestant Rectors; our Medical list includes three who each won the honours of knighthood. And all this we add, not without some pride, is from a parish whose only resources are agricultural, whose resident gentry are few or none, and where the average size of the farms is under 20 acres of but middling land—of land reclaimed with difficulty from rock or bog or mountain.He did not think a more interesting statement could be laid before the House, or one which showed in the most complete way the great and pressing necessity for supplying the want of Intermediate Education, caused by the destruction of these schools. The admirable Report of the Senior Commissioner of 1866 was conclusive as to the continued decadence of Intermediate Education. He would only add to the figures stated by his noble and learned Friend, that in 1866 there were 1,504 private schools in action, which in 1871 had diminished to 612, the decrease of pupils in the same period being 24,782. 422 The Committee declared, with deep regret, that all available evidence pointed to a similar rapid retrogression. No wonder that the community had been alarmed by such a state of things. There had been an unanimous universal outcry, for the North Endowed Schools Commissioners in 1857 testified most strongly to this, and to the anxiety manifested by all people of all parties and religions in every district in Ireland for some provision for middle-class institutions; for some assistance to those who were willing and earnest to obtain some distinction by honest industry and mental cultivation. The Commissioners strongly urged the compliance with a demand so just and reasonable, and suggested something of payment by results, which the Government approved, as an ample means of improving Intermediate Education. But 20 years had gone, a generation had passed away, the effects which were naturally to be expected had been produced, the intellect of Ireland—to use the words of the Census Commissioners—had been "starved and warped." A moral paralysis had affected the mind of the country. The people had ceased to know or care for better literature. Book shops were vanishing from the country towns, and the publishing trade, which in the last century was large and flourishing, was almost extinct. Once the publishers of Dublin produced multitudes of expensive works—encyclopædias, dictionaries, books of science and travel, and classical criticism; but the production of such books had almost now ceased. Those who read might look abroad for the means of indulging their literary appetites. The want of the love of reading had resulted from the want of education, from which the love of reading came. Ireland could produce naturally men of literary ability if education was available; and unless there be a change and a supply the result to the character of Ireland—intellectually, morally, and socially—must be of the most serious and lamentable description. In a political sense, too, it was very desirable just now that all these things should be looked at. The question of education was at the present time the question of the world. They had given the Irish people the franchise and the ballot, and possibly they might give them at some future time a Parliament; and it was, therefore, very important that 423 the people should be educated. The franchise was a blessing or a curse, according to how it was used; and it was necessary that the great instrument of education should be wisely and considerately employed. In Ireland there was material progress, but mental retrogression. Irish literary ability found scant encouragement at home, and was driven to seek employment and reward in other countries. He lamented that he should be obliged so to speak of the state of things which prevailed in Ireland; but their Lordships should understand it in order to appreciate the necessity for this measure they were asked to adopt. With regard to the Bill itself, he did not think he would trouble their Lordships with a discussion of details after the measure had been so fully explained by the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor). A Bill of this description might be valuable or valueless, according to the nature of its administration. It might be a blessing or a curse, according to the manner in which it was carried out. It appeared to him to be quite sufficient if the same fair and impartial spirit which dictated the framing of the Bill were applied to its administration. If rightly and properly administered the scheme would be an admirable one, and would commend itself to their Lordships as an honest effort to supply a great national want and in a just and judicious manner. It was admirable in itself, in its consequences, and in the principle that it adopted. It respected the rights of conscience; it did not interfere with religious susceptibilities; it encouraged individual effort and rewarded it; it absolutely and impartially dispensed the bounty of the State; it aided and improved and consolidated the efforts of scholastic institutions; and it did all this without vexatious interference with the internal management of these institutions. That was all excellent; and, for his part, he thought very little more could be desired. It devoted to good purposes a fund which could not be more fitly employed than in making reparation for the past evil, and giving assurance for a better future. His only anxiety at present was that the Bill might not be made the law of the land this Session. He hoped, however, there would be no endeavour to defeat it by extravagant demands on the one side, 424 or captious objections on the other. He trusted that, seeing this Bill was one for the benefit of Ireland, all Parties would unite in passing it. This settlement had been too long delayed, and he could conceive few things more criminal than it would be to delay it any further. For his own part, he had lamented—and always should lament—that the great University Reform for Ireland introduced by the late Government, which was conceived by an earnest desire to promote the welfare of Ireland, had not passed into law. He was convinced it would have done great good for Ireland; but that was a matter of the past. They must now look forward to the future to see that generations of Irishmen should not pass from infancy to old age with lapsed opportunities and blasted hopes—and live and die without the culture which might enable them to advance themselves and serve their country. The youth of Ireland had not the advantages of a great commerce, of great manufactories, or of ships, or of mines; but they had what, under certain conditions, was as good as any of those things—they had considerable mental power, and that possession should no longer be thrown away or allowed to stagnate and waste itself in hopeless inactivity. It was because he believed this Bill would afford a means for the successful development of that power that he gave it his hearty support. He fondly believed that a better day had come for Ireland; and that through this measure and those which might come after it, designed in the same good spirit, that mental power might find a full and prosperous development. The angel of Siloam stirred the sluggish pool and the healing influence descended—the spirit moved upon the dry bones in the prophet's vision, and they grew to shapes of beauty—and, with God's blessing, they would see Ireland launched on a new career and roused to generous action, awakened soon to new life and new hopes.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
looked at this question from a different point of view from that of his noble and learned Friend who had just spoken; but he did not know that his conclusions were very different. He thought he could speak with some authority on the subject, because for some years past he had been one of the Trustees of an in- 425 termediate school in the South of Ireland, which, he was sorry to say, had not been successful. In the present generation he knew of a school in existence which was endowed 200 years ago. In the course of the last century the endowment which had been secured to it had been reduced to less than one-third of what it originally was. The consequence of the present state of things was, that there was really very little inducement to a man, if he were not a man of extraordinary energy and love for his work, to take up the profession of a schoolmaster. But, even supposing that the pecuniary remuneration were sufficient, which it was not, there was the difficulty that there was no recognized Board examination to which the master could submit his pupils to test their comparative success and, what was far more important, his efficiency as a teacher as compared with the teachers of other institutions. If that want alone were supplied by the present Bill he should consider it a great boon to Ireland. But a great deal more would be done. It would give the master a fresh interest in his work, because it would give him a direct pecuniary advantage in the number of pupils who passed the examinations. It would, at the same time, give to the pupils a new stimulus to exertion in the exhibitions it would open to them, and the assistance it would afford them in their entrance into the tussle of life. He knew an instance, in which the son of parents in a very humble position, and of very limited means, was able, through the small exhibitions that at present existed, to obtain everything that could be obtained at Trinity College, Dublin; and when he last heard of him, he was a successful candidate for the public service. That was the class of pupils they wanted to assist in every possible way, because they were the class from which they might expect to get good public servants; but at present they were practically without the assistance which had long been furnished, by Universities and kindred institutions, to those in a similar class of life in England. He had taken the opportunity, since the Bill was laid upon the Table, of communicating with those on the other side of the Channel, who had been for their whole lives practically interested in the work of education and he found but one opinion— 426 that the Bill, if passed into law, would be the most valuable aid, in an educational point of view, that had ever yet been extended by Parliament to the sister country. If he might be permitted to criticize, there were two provisions which he should like to see somewhat modified. First, as regarded the age at which pupils were to be permitted to present themselves for examination, he could not help thinking that the age named in the Bill was somewhat too high for the case of Irish boys, and he would suggest that it should be fixed at 15, or, still better, at 14. In his country it was beyond the power of parents, in the great majority of cases, to keep their children at school beyond that age. A large number of the boys who were brought up in those schools as they existed, and a still larger number of those who would be brought up in the intermediate schools as he hoped they would exist, were intended for commercial life, for clerkships in banks, and other similar employments in our cities and towns, and in their case the continuance of the education up to the age of 19, in the intermediate schools, would be a mistake. It would, therefore, be a very great advantage if the Board, which was to be called into existence by the Bill, fixing whatever standards it thought proper, were to permit boys of a younger age to compete in those standards. In many cases he believed they would be able to attain the standard, and be able to enter into the duties of active life, at a somewhat earlier period than would be the case if the provisions of the Bill were to pass as they stood. Another point which he should like to mention had reference to the subjects in which the pupils were to be presented for examination. With the greater portion of the subjects mentioned he entirely agreed; but he rather doubted whether it would be possible, unless matters changed very much, to teach boys in intermediate schools in Ireland much in the shape of natural science, and he was inclined to think that that particular branch of education would be better left to those who ultimately went up to the Universities. There was only one other point on which he desired to touch. He was extremely anxious that the Conscience Clause should not be made too stringent in the case of Ireland. From the peculiar circumstances under 427 which education was conducted in Roman Catholic schools, it was very doubtful whether the children of Protestant parents would ever be sent to them, and there was no fear of a competent master of a Protestant school interfering with the religious belief of his Roman Catholic pupils. The self-interest alone of the schoolmaster would point out to him that it was exceedingly desirable for him to take proper means to prevent matters of faith being touched upon in a system of education which was pursued for a different purpose. Looking at the Bill from a practical point of view, he thought that it contained elements of great hope for the future education of Ireland. It would bring into existence, in the first place, that to which he attached the greatest importance—a competent Board of Education. It would supply an independent system of examination, which would cover all the schools in the country, and thus they would be able to compare one with another, and to see who were the most competent teachers. When parents had the opportunity of testing the efficacy of the teaching in the different schools, there need be no fear of the best masters failing to get the best support. Secondly, you would obtain an addition to the salaries of the masters, which was at present grievously needed. What was wanted was to engage the highest possible stamp of man, be his opinion what it might, to enter upon the instruction of the youth of the country. At present such men were to be found in a very limited number, and the demand was greater than the supply, even as it was. If they were able to offer proper remuneration, there would be no difficulty whatever in obtaining competent men, and they would have the general standard of education immeasurably improved. Thirdly, the Bill would provide that which in Ireland was of the greatest possible importance—a subsidy for boys of unusual talent, or even for those of ordinary talent, who made the best use of their time, affording them the opportunity, at present much needed, of raising themselves in the social scale. Those were the reasons why he hoped the Government would leave no stone unturned to pass the Bill into law in the present Session.
§ LORD CARLINGFORD
I do not feel quite able to echo the extreme enthusiasm of the last speaker as to the un- 428 paralleled merits of the Bill before us; but, at the same time, I am loth to differ from him, or to question what he has said on the subject. Indeed, whoever has taken any part in the subject of Irish Education—as I at times have done—must recognise the great importance of the Bill, and take an interest in its success. I, therefore, rise for the purpose of adding my voice, by way of welcome, to the voices of those who have already spoken on both sides of the House in favour of the Bill. I am ready to welcome it, because I believe it to be a practical, and evidently a sincere, attempt to deal with the most neglected and the most starved part of the Irish educational system; and especially I welcome it because it attempts, with a fair prospect of success, to provide for the Intermediate Education of the largest and most neglected portion of the population of Ireland. It professes to be a Bill to promote Intermediate Education in Ireland. I hope and expect that it will promote Intermediate Education generally over the whole country, without exception of classes or creeds. The great blot of our educational system in Ireland, and of many former attempts at educational legislation, has been that we have not managed to promote education in Ireland generally and without large exceptions. Those classes in the country whose education had already in former days been largely promoted found their education promoted still further, and have obtained, and are now enjoying, large advantages from the legislation of Parliament; but those classes whose education in the old, and what I may call the bad, times had not been promoted, but, on the contrary, had been depressed and even crushed, have failed to obtain even from the well-meant legislation of Parliament of recent years that amount of advantage to which they had every claim, and of which they were in by far the greatest need. That is the state of things with which we have to deal now. The statement I have just made is, I believe, true as to every part of Irish education other than primary; but it applies especially to Intermediate Education. There is a little poem by the poet Moore, which was famous in its day, and which was a kind of political parable applied to the Established Church. The poet called it The Dream of Hindostan, and in it he described a 429 city, the inhabitants of which were forbidden by their religion to eat butchers' meat as food. He says—But how is this? I wondering cried,As I walked that city, fair and wide—And saw in every marble street,A row of beautiful butcher's shops—'What means for men who don't eat meatThis grand display of loins and chops;'In vain I asked. 'Twas plain to seeThat nobody dared to answer me.''This parable was applied at the time to the Established Church; but it is not without its application to the system of education in Ireland at that time and since. The fact is that in ancient and modern times we have been offering educational food to the people upon such terms that they have not been able to swallow it. If that were to be the result of the present proposed legislation it would only add to the number, I will not say of failures, but of most imperfect measures and partial successes that have hitherto been passed by Parliament. I do not apply these observations to the National Schools of Ireland. The National School system is one of which we are all justly proud, and of which the success has been great; but the moment you get above primary schools my statement, I am afraid, is too true—that is to say, that all the schools above that class, although doing great good within certain limits, have failed to promote, generally and universally, the education of the people of Ireland without exception of class or creed. The model schools of Ireland, the training schools of Ireland, which are still the blot and the opprobrium of the educational system of Ireland, the Queen's Colleges, even Trinity College, Dublin—that great and distinguished and in its way most valuable institution—and more especially the endowed schools for the purposes of Intermediate Education, have failed in that respect. As a Protestant, I rejoice that the Protestants of Ireland have the numerous educational advantages which they possess both from ancient times and from modern legislation. I admire their industry and energy; and I know, and am glad to know, that they have made, and are making, the best use of those advantages; but I desire—as I am sure all your Lordships would desire—that those advantages should be common to all the people of Ireland; that the advantages of education should be put 430 within the means and within the consciences of every part of the people of Ireland without distinction of class or of creed. And it is because I hope and expect that the terms on which Intermediate Education is offered in this Bill will be practically available for all the people of Ireland, that I am ready to give it a cordial welcome in this House. It is true that the Bill offers all its advantages not only to that portion, forming, I believe, the majority, of the people of Ireland which is in a state, comparatively, of educational destitution, but also to that portion which has already considerable educational advantages. It may be said, by way of objection and criticism, that those who are already endowed in respect of Intermediate Education will be still further endowed and provided for; and that those who have exceptional advantages for obtaining that education which will enable them to compete for these prizes and result fees, will be able to compete for them upon equal terms with others who are not so favourably placed. I do not mean to dwell upon that part of the question. I will not raise it as a criticism upon the Bill, and I do not feel inclined to raise it, because I am satisfied there is nothing in the terms on which these advantages are offered to the majority of the people of Ireland which will prevent them from making full use of them. There is one clause which I think does require explanation, and perhaps re-consideration, from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. It has been mentioned already by the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Midleton)—I mean Clause 7, which imposes a kind of Conscience Clause upon all schools which shall avail themselves of this Bill. I doubt the necessity or the wisdom of the new Board of Intermediate Education making itself responsible in the matter of a Conscience Clause for the internal and domestic arrangements of the schools which may send up candidates for these examinations. I doubt the wisdom or the prudence of extending the Conscience Clause system from primary schools, where it is necessary, to intermediate schools, which are of a totally different class, and in regard to which it is not only not necessary, but might work injuriously. I hope the noble and learned Lord will consider the advisability of 431 giving up that clause. There is one other point on which I should like to say a word. I entirely agree with those who have urged the great importance of the constitution of the Board of Commissioners who are to administer this Act when it becomes law. I see that there are no qualifications laid down in the Bill, and no restrictions whatever upon the Government in the choice of the members of the Board. I do not say that it would be easy to lay down any such qualifications or restrictions. Perhaps it is better as it stands; but it is impossible for us in this House to impress too strongly upon the Government the vital necessity, if the Bill is to be a success, for the greatest care and liberality in the choice of the members of the Board. It will, for that purpose, be absolutely necessary that the members of the Board should be men capable of forming an enlightened judgment upon all educational questions, and especially upon such questions as will come before them in connection with these examinations and the distribution of the funds. It is not enough, in a case of this kind, to obtain men distinguished for their literary and educational attainments. There is one thing even more necessary than that, and that is that the members of the Board should be men capable of obtaining the confidence of all classes and creeds of the people of Ireland. I am convinced that no one who knows the country will differ from me when I say that that condition is necessary and essential. If the confidence of the people of Ireland of all creeds is to be obtained for this Bill, and its full advantages are to be realized, it is necessary absolutely that those who are to work the machinery of the Bill—if it becomes law, as I hope it will before long—and those who are responsible for the distribution of the fund, shall obtain and retain the confidence of the people, not of one class or creed, but of all. If that is sufficiently provided for in the choice made of members of the Board, I hope and believe the Bill will turn out to be a success; that it will mark a very great step in advance in the education of the people of Ireland; that it will remedy the most neglected part of the educational system; and that it will lead, in future years, to still further measures of improvement.
THE EARL OF BELMORE
said, he had no doubt the Government would take pains to select the best persons to form the Board; and he quite agreed that persons of literary distinction were not necessarily the best to be placed upon a Board of this sort. While he was on the subject of the Board, he should like to ask his noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack what was to be the exact position of the Assistant Commissioners? It appeared that the Assistant Commissioners were to be also Secretaries of the Board, and, if necessary, Inspectors; and, further, that the Board was to define the duties of the Assistant Commissioners. What he wished to know was, whether the Assistant Commissioners were to be in all respects the equals of the other Commissioners, and to vote as members of the Board? Then, with regard to the Conscience Clause, he was very much inclined to agree with his noble Friend who spoke last, that possibly that clause had better be omitted from the Bill. It was a clause commonly inserted among the Rules of the National Board; but the cases were not by any means on all fours. The duties of the National Board were to provide education; but, in this case, the duties of the Board would be merely to secure an independent examination. At the same time, it was quite clear to those who knew Ireland that all who would receive education under the provisions of the Bill would get it in schools where the teaching of religion would be little thought of or considered. The Bill provided that the Board should, at the beginning of each year, publish a list of Examiners; and he believed it was intended that the appointment of the Examiners should be for one year only. Now, he was told that one of the great difficulties in regard to the endowed Schools was in the selection of Examiners; and that in one of the schools in the county where he resided the examinations were conducted with considerable difficulty. He would venture, therefore, in Committee, to propose an Amendment to the clause with reference to the Examiners, so that the appointments should not necessarily be for only one year; but, of course, if the alteration was objected to be should not press it. He did not think that there were any other points in the Bill with which he need trouble their Lordships. The 433 noble Viscount near him (Viscount Midleton) had raised an objection to the age of the pupils; but the age was, as a matter of fact, the maximum and not the minimum. He heartily joined with noble Lords on both sides of the House in the hope that the Bill would obtain the assent of Parliament during the present Session.
LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE
said, he would not detain their Lordships at any length; but he must say that he had listened with considerable interest to the speech of the noble Lord who spoke the last but one, because the noble Lord had long taken an active part in carrying out the education of Ireland as an undenominational system; and the speech he had made that night seemed to indicate that he would give that up almost altogether, and hand it over to the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, with funds, of course, provided by the State.
§ LORD CARLINGFORD
said, the noble Lord had misunderstood him. In what he had said he had supported the Bill.
LORD ORANMORE AND BROWNE
would not, then, pursue the point further; but he thought the noble Lord even objected to the principle upon which Trinity College was now carried on, which, he believed, was entirely undenominational, everything in that College being perfectly open to every person of every class and creed. The noble Lord was perfectly aware that the Roman Catholic clergy had been long fighting in Roman Catholic countries to get education into their own hands; and in almost every country it had been taken out of their hands and given into the hands of the people. He would ask the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, who had, no doubt, considered the matter, whether there were not rather too few paid Commissioners? It had often been thought that the accusations of Party partiality amongst the Commissioners of National Education would have been got rid of if there had been a certain number of paid Commissioners. They were all aware that there had been sudden increases in the number of Commissioners appointed; and it certainly had appeared to the public that that had only been for the purpose of carrying out certain Party views of the Government for the time being. 434 Then, in Section 3 of the 5th clause, a part of the duty of the Commissioners was to provide payment for the managers of schools complying with prescribed conditions. He did not know who the managers were to whom those payments would go. It appeared to him that in any of these schools the payments ought to go to the person teaching. That would be, he supposed, the head-master of the schools in question. Then, with regard to Clause 7, he thought it would be better to get rid of that altogether. He considered that undenominational education in the National Schools was an absolute necessity, if any fairness or justice was to be maintained with regard to the minorities that existed in Ireland. There were at present no fewer than 20,000 Protestant children scattered through Roman Catholic schools in Ireland; and if the system of education was made denominational, they would, of course, be excluded from the benefit of the National Schools. That was quite sufficient reason, without going further, for the undenominational system being maintained. Clause 7 was really not of much importance, except as an encouragement to the schoolmasters; because, looking at the Schedule, he saw that every Irishman of a certain age was open to offer himself for examination, the only condition being that he had been educated in any place in Ireland for a period of 12 months. If that was the case, he thought the 7th clause was put in to ensure the principle being carried out, when the promise was made, that none of the property resulting from the residue of the Church funds should be devoted towards any denominational system. He confessed that without it no such appropriation could occur. The Commissioners would have no schools of their own, but would merely offer premiums and examine those who came forward. He thought that this was a very fair proposal, and one to which there could be no objection. Every Irishman would be glad that any of his countrymen who were well educated should be able to get these fees, utterly irrespective of class or creed. Now, there was another point to which he would call the noble and learned Lord's attention. Section 4 of the 6th clause was to define the subjects and nature of the examinations. This would bear a very broad interpretation, and he thought it desirable that 435 it should do so; for what was wanted—and it was wanted, perhaps, in England as well as in Ireland—was a more practical education. Intellectual education was an excellent thing; but he did not know that if it were carried too far, without being applied to those pursuits in which a man's life was to be spent, it might not become an injury. We might educate children and bring them up as if they were to get their living by education alone; whereas, do what we would, the majority of men must live by the sweat of their brow. He thought, therefore, that, if it were possible, it would be most advantageous to extend the subjects of examination even to agriculture and different trades. Their Lordships were probably aware that in Prussia every man was obliged to learn a trade, whatever else he might learn, from the Prince Imperial downwards; and as they had sought their examples for education from that country, they should not overlook this part of it. He had one more point to which he wished to ask the attention of the noble and learned Lord. He saw that in the Schedule the National teachers were excluded from the results fees under this Bill. He supposed the reason for that was, that they already received results fees in the National Schools, and could not be entitled to receive them twice. That was, he thought, an insufficient reason; and it was unfair to the teachers, who were certainly very useful members of society, that it should be left to them to eliminate such boys as were going in for the higher awards, rather than be allowed to send them forward to get results fees under this Bill.
§ LORD EMLY
wished to add a few words to what had been said by two noble Lords near him with regard to this Bill, which was one of very great interest on the matter of Intermediate Education in Ireland, and he hoped it might become law this Session. He should have been sorry to have allowed the second reading of the Bill to pass without saying a few words upon it, and thanking the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack for having introduced the measure. Indeed, the only part of the speech of the noble and learned Lord which appeared to him in the slightest degree liable to exception was, that although the language he used was strong, he did not adequately 436 describe the terrible evils which had been produced by the present state of things. It would, perhaps, be not out of place to say a few words on those evils. Out of every 100,000 of the inhabitants of Scotland 371 were receiving education in endowed intermediate schools; out of the Protestant population of Ireland 199 out of every 100,000 received this education in endowed intermediate schools. How many Roman Catholics received their education in the same way? Only two of every 100,000. This state of things arose from the unhappy legislation of former times, as his noble and learned Friend had said. At the time endowments were allowed to be enjoyed by Scotland and the Protestants of Ireland no Catholic endowments were permitted to be given. Who were the people who were now suffering from that condition of things? Why, they were that class of people who especially required Intermediate Education. They were, generally speaking, the farming classes in Ireland. As the noble Earl, his noble relation, stated the other day, the quantity of land in Ireland was limited, and the number of people who were desirous of getting farms was very much greater than the number of farms that could be provided for them. The consequence was, that there was a vast number of the sons and brothers of comparatively wealthy farmers who really had no means of supporting themselves; and unless they could find some means of supporting themselves, they would continue what, unfortunately, they were at the present moment—the most discontented, and, he was afraid, the most disloyal and dangerous part of the population of Ireland; because, although they knew enough to be able to read the newspapers, they had not received an education which would enable them to get on in life, and in this respect they were behind similar classes in England and Scotland. If their Lordships only looked to this great city, he believed they would find that for every 100 Irishmen employed as clerks in public offices, banks, and other institutions, there were, at least, 1,000 Scotchmen. Why was that? As the noble and learned Lord had pointed out, it was not from any defect in intelligence on the part of the Irish people, for when they had the opportunity of being properly educated they could hold their 437 own with the English and Scotch. The sole reason was because they had not the same opportunities of obtaining a liberal education as were enjoyed by those with whom they had to compete for such situations. If they looked to the Colonies, they would find exactly the same results following from the same cause. Sir Charles Gavin Duffy, who had been twice Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, and who had had immense opportunities of observing what actually took place with regard to Irishmen going to that country, had written him a most interesting letter on this subject. He would not trouble their Lordships by reading it; but he would observe that Sir Charles Duffy stated that a great number of Irishmen who went out to Australia, chiefly belonging to the middle class, were men of bright natures and bright intelligence; but on account of the want of education amongst them they had, in fact, to become hewers of wood and drawers of water, and, as compared with the Scotch and American, they entirely failed in the battle of life. Scotchmen and Americans, simply because they went out better educated, earned considerable livelihood, and rose far above the Irish immigrants in the social scale. It was not merely in the Colonies that this state of things prevailed. Any one of their Lordships who was acquainted with Ireland must have seen precisely the same thing in Ireland itself. Only the other day an institution with which he was connected in Limerick required a first-class scientific master. They put an advertisement in the newspapers, and about 20 people offered themselves for the appointment. The Committee—a most impartial one, including both Protestant and Roman Catholic Bishops—had to select the three fittest candidates, and every one of the three they had to select was a Protestant. The mode of appointment of Inspectors under the Irish National Board of Education arose from the same causes. Whenever there was a competitive examination for the office of Inspector, Protestants only competed for a Protestant vacancy and Catholics for a Catholic vacancy. That was done for the simple reason that the deficiency of education amongst the Catholics was such that, with open competition, all the Inspectors would be Protestants. These things must make 438 them feel the absolute necessity of passing, as soon as possible, some such measure as that now before them, and relieving the Roman Catholics of Ireland from the degradation under which they were now suffering. The only thing for them to do was to urge the Government to press on this measure with the least possible delay. It was not a question whether this was, in the abstract, precisely the system which their Lordships would prefer as the best. Some might like to have seen something more done in the way of utilizing existing endowments for education in Ireland; but he was not going to advocate the delay of this great boon for a whole generation, as they would have to do if they were to go into this question of endowments. Many persons might ask why they did not use this large sum of money for the purpose of building and establishing schools? The answer to that was simple. Were these schools to be denominational or undenominational? He had had some experience of the House of Commons, having spent some of the best years of his life there; and he was sure they might as well try to get a stream to run backwards as to get the House of Commons to vote money for denominational schools. But with regard to undenominational schools, they would have no pupils. He could mention a most remarkable case. His noble Friend near him, when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, had sanctioned the appointment of a Roman Catholic master to the Royal School of Bannagher. That was the first Roman Catholic master that had ever been appointed to that school. What had been the result? Up to the time that the Roman Catholic master was appointed, every single boarder in the school was a Protestant; but from that time every single boarder had been a Roman Catholic. That showed pretty clearly what they might expect; and, therefore, really it seemed to him that there was no other system, except the self-working system, which it would be possible to carry. With regard to endowments, he believed the way to prevent them from leading to idleness and want of exertion was to use them in such a manner that the proceeds could only be acquired by exertion on the part of those who were to get them; and, therefore, in his opinion, the system proposed by the Bill was not only the 439 only possible system, but the best possible one. He earnestly trusted that the Government would consider the magnitude of the evils which this Bill was intended to meet, and that they would without delay press it forward through all its stages. If they did so, they would confer an enormous boon on Ireland, and earn the gratitude of the whole population; and certainly this Session of Parliament would not have been unfruitful if it conferred on that country those educational means and opportunities which would enable them to enter on the battle of life on equal terms with their fellow-subjects in the rest of the Kingdom.
§ EARL SPENCER
said, he would not detain their Lordships by any lengthened observations on the important subject before them, or by making many remarks on a Bill which had elicited a chorus of general approval from both sides of the House. But he could not help saying how sincerely he trusted that this measure, so full of good principles, might bear excellent fruit and prove successful in encouraging and increasing Intermediate Education in Ireland. While this general approval had been given to the system proposed in the measure before them, the institutions which already existed in Ireland had, he thought, been a little lost sight of. It was for that purpose that he rose to follow up a remark made by a noble Friend of his on the opposite side of the House, and to ask the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack whether he would give them some further information on a subject to which, in "another place," reference had been made? He thought that, however much might be done by this Bill, it was necessary that additional powers should be given to those bodies in Ireland who were unable to reform themselves, or to those Commissioners who had the power to carry out reforms in different parts of the country. The Report of the Commission of 1858, which had been referred to, was of very great importance, and contained some very valuable suggestions. Anybody who looked at that Report would see how very unsatisfactory was the state of many of the educational endowments of Ireland, and that no power existed of improving them or of dealing with the estates under those who had the management of the 440 endowments. The Commissioners who were established for the purpose of making reforms had totally inadequate power to deal with the vast questions which were brought before them. The body called the Commissioners of Education in Ireland had not even the power, neither had they the funds, to appoint an Inspector to go round to the schools. There were not large endowments for the purposes of Intermediate Education in Ireland; but, still, those endowments which did exist ought not to be lost sight of, and a great deal might be done in different localities by investing the Commissioners, who already existed in Dublin in connection with the Royal Free Schools, with larger powers.
said, there seemed to be such a general assent in favour of the principle of the Bill that it was almost useless to say anything further about it. There were, however, one or two matters to which he should like to refer. This Bill seemed to say to the people of Ireland—"We have tried to please you before, and we have failed. Now you may please yourselves, and to assist you to do this we will give you a million of money, but we shall not interfere with you as to what teachers you select, or how you teach. We shall simply look at the manufactured article when it is finished, and not while it is in the process of being manufactured." That was the principle of the Bill, and he was not sure that they would not create a difficulty by deciding to shut their eyes. There would be a great responsibility upon them, even with their eyes shut; and he regretted that he could not see much provision in the Bill about inspection, which was a very important matter when they were going to spend £1,000,000. He did not use the word "inspection" in reference to the vexed and angry religious question; because he could fancy greater danger and evil than the fact that a school was conducted by a Roman Catholic priest. He could imagine some Roman Catholic priests inculcating loyalty, but there were others who might teach disloyalty; and that was an important matter, in respect to which their eyes ought not to be shut. It was the duty of the Government to look into these schools, not at all from a religious point of view, but to see what was otherwise being 441 taught in them. History was to be one of the things which was to be taught. Well, he should like to know what history? Was it to be really English history, or English history from an Irish point of view? There was some Irish history which would teach nothing but disloyalty to the young men of Ireland. They were going to give large sums for proficiency in these schools, yet they might find the pupils well up in events which had not occurred. Some of the text-books which might be used in these schools might be a greater injury to the Commonwealth than the ignorance of the people. Ignorance was a danger, but systematic disloyalty, inculcated in school-books and newspapers, was a greater danger; and he did not wish to run any risk of a perfectly disloyal education creeping into these schools, which were to be subsidized by the Government. The provision in the Bill which constituted a Board of seven members, appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, was, he thought, a very reasonable and desirable one. In the 3rd clause it was enacted that the Assistant Commissioners should also act as Secretaries, and, when required, as Inspectors. From the use of the words "when required," it would appear as if inspection was looked upon as something contingent. Did the words "when required" mean that there was only to be an inspection when glaring irregularities were discovered? In his opinion, there ought to be more provision than that for the inspection of these subsidized schools. In the speech from the Woolsack, when this Bill was introduced, the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) declared one of the conditions of payment to the schools was to be that there should be a minimum number of scholars. That was a very practical and very proper declaration on the part of the noble and learned Lord, because there were the strongest possible reasons why these rewards should not be given to very small schools, where there was the most limited attendance of scholars; but in the Bill he did not find there was any provision whatsoever as to fixing a minimum number of scholars. It was provided in the Bill that such other subjects as the Board might, from time to time, prescribe should form part of the general system of education. That was a very excellent provision, and he 442 quite agreed in some remarks which had been made as to the desirableness of something practical being taught in the system of education. Allusion had been made to the success in life of Scotchmen as compared with Irishmen, and from his naval experience he was able to say that Scotchmen, as a rule, seemed to be always lighting on their legs, while Irishmen were always getting into the wrong groove, and going from bad to worse. This did not arise from any inferiority in the Irishman; but it was due to his want of education, as compared with the Scotchman. There was another provision of the Bill which said that one of the conditions of the examinations should be that the proficiency which was obtained should have been obtained in Ireland, and that the candidate should have spent the previous 12 months in Ireland. Now, Ireland might be a very pleasant country to live in, though some people said it was better to live out of it; and supposing a young man had acquired competency in education in England, he did not quite see why he was to be excluded from the benefits of this Bill. He would have learnt one thing in England, which probably he would not have learnt in the course of his education in Ireland, and that was loyalty; and altogether he would have larger general views. In conclusion, he begged to express a hope that he had not said anything which was likely to offend the susceptibilities of any of their Lordships who were Irish Roman Catholics.
said, there was one point in the Bill regarding which he felt very strongly, and that was the 7th, or Conscience Clause. It appeared to him this was altogether an illogical clause, and had no reason to be in the Bill at all. The noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor), in introducing the Bill, said it was the intention of the Government to pay for the manufactured article. Now, by this clause, he considered they would very much interfere with the process of manufacture; and it might cause considerable vexation in Ireland. The clause was almost identically the same as that which was insisted upon in the system of Primary Education in Ireland, without the same necessity for it; and it would be an interference with the intermediate schools which was not at all called for. In the case of the primary schools, it was the only 443 possible way to get the children instructed; but there was no good reason why the system should be extended beyond the primary schools. With this exception, he must pay his contribute of thanks to the Government for having introduced this Bill, which he trusted would soon become law, with such alterations as their Lordships might deem necessary.
expressed his approval of the Bill; but he hoped the noble and learned Lord (the Lord Chancellor) would re-consider the question of the Conscience Clause, which he did not think ought to be in the Bill. He thought its omission would meet with the approval of both the Protestants and the Catholics in Ireland.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, by favour of your Lordships I was allowed, on the introduction of this Bill, to state fully the views of Her Majesty's Government on the question of Intermediate Education in Ireland, and the principles upon which they desired this Bill to be framed, and I certainly should not, on the present occasion, think of repeating anything which I said at that time. I shall rather, in a few sentences, endeavour to answer the questions which have been directly put to me in the course of this debate. I must, however, in the first place, say I have heard with most sincere satisfaction the very kind way in which this attempt to deal with the great subject of Intermediate Education in Ireland has been received; and from the manner in which it has been spoken of in your Lordships' House and beyond it, I cannot but augur well for the future of the Education Question in that country. It appears to me that the great leaders in Ireland have placed in abeyance their own particular views of what, in the abstract, is the best kind of education for Ireland; and, putting those views aside, they look upon this Bill as an honest and practical endeavour to deal with the subject of Intermediate Education. It is suggested that it is an undue restriction on the condition of examination that the pupil should have resided for the 12 months previously in Ireland; and the noble Lord (Lord Dunsany) asks why pupils from England should not have the benefits of the exhibitions? Well, the simple answer to that is that this is a Bill to encourage Intermediate Educa- 444 tion in Ireland, and it would not be doing that were you to allow English youths to come over to Ireland and take the rewards which are offered. I have been asked why it is that the National School teachers are to be excluded from the results fees? Now, I wish to speak with all respect of that meritorious body, and of their excellent work; and I wish them to be paid in a way which shall be commensurate to the services they perform; but it would be bad economy on the part of the State to pay these teachers, on the one hand, for giving primary education, and, on the other hand, to induce them to give a higher class of education. That would be, virtually, asking them to serve two masters, and the result would not be satisfactory. My noble Friend also says he thinks there might be other subjects for examination besides those specified in the Bill; but he will find the last heading of the various subjects for examination is so worded that any additional subject thought desirable may be added by the Commissioners. He further says that the payments ought to be made, not to the managers of the school, but to the teachers; but if the teacher is not the manager, he is a servant of the manager, and the Commissioner must deal with the principal. It would be quite idle for it to be otherwise. Then, it has been asked why there should not be paid Commissioners in place of an unpaid Board? Her Majesty's Government have duly considered that matter, and they have come to the conclusion that it is unnecessary to have a paid Board. There will be two Assistant Commissioners, who will perform the functions of Secretaries; and it does not appear to the Government that there would be a justification for a staff of paid officials over and above the two described in the Bill. Then I was asked what these Assistant Commissioners are to be, and whether they, will be co-ordinate with the Commissioners? The Assistant Commissioners will not be co-ordinate; they will be inferior to the Commissioners, as their name obviously implies. Allusion has been made to inspection, but we do not want a general inspection of the schools. We do not undertake a responsibility of that kind; but there are certain things mentioned in the Bill—conditions as to the number of pupils and the attendances—as to which it may 445 be necessary to have some limited inspection, and so far as it is necessary that duty will be performed by the Assistant Commissioners. Then, an observation has been made about the Examiners, and their yearly appointment. I quite agree it would be very undesirable to have a clean sweep of Examiners every year, and that is not proposed in the Bill. The only provision on the subject in the Bill is in one of the rules in the Schedule which deals with the qualifications of the Examiners. We propose however, that every year a list is to be published, from which the Examiners for the year are to be chosen. There is nothing whatever to prevent the same persons, or any number of them, from being continued Examiners year by year; and no doubt, in order to preserve continuity, a good many of them will be continued in office year by year. I have been asked a question as to what is to be done in the Bill in regard to the Commission which the Government is about to appoint on the subject of the Endowed Schools? What I said on a former occasion was, that the Government has announced, in the other House of Parliament, its intention to appoint a small Commission of Inquiry into the management of the property belonging to the Endowed Schools in Ireland. I do not in the least deprecate—indeed, I a anxious for any change which can be made in the management of the Endowed Schools in Ireland to serve the purposes of the scheme proposed by this Bill; but I think it would be unadvisable to hang up this question till that is settled, and I sincerely trust Parliament will not mix up that question with the present measure. No doubt, it is very desirable that something should be done in regard to the Endowed Schools of Ireland; but that is a small matter when compared with the whole question of Intermediate Education. On the last occasion, I stated to your Lordships that the total landed property, including buildings, belonging to these Institutions is £13,000, and of this sum £7,250 represents the open, and the remaining £5,750 the close, Endowed Schools. Then, the noble Viscount (Viscount Midleton) has objected that the ages are not low enough, and that younger boys ought to be admitted than those of 16, 17, or 18; but the ages to which my noble Friend has referred are the maximum ages. Any boy may be 446 allowed to pass the examination who presents himself, and who is able to satisfy the Examiners, provided his age does not exceed those limits. As regards the examinations in natural science, my noble Friend has expressed a doubt whether the examinations on that subject will succeed. I should be sorry in any way to imply that it is not a fit subject for examination; but I will point out that a choice of subjects is given, and that no one of them is compulsory. The only other observation I have to make is on the subject of the Conscience Clause. I have no desire to go into the general question at this time; but I am quite ready to admit that the question has a different aspect when we are considering it in relation to primary, to when we are considering its connection with intermediate schools. There are obvious differences. In primary schools we have to protect children who stand much more in need of protection; and, whereas intermediate schools are nearly always boarding schools, the primary schools rarely, indeed, are more than day schools. In regard to the language of Clause 7, some noble Lords have said that the clause is transferred from the rules for primary schools in Ireland, and another noble Lord has said the clause is almost in the words used by the National Board. That is a mistake. I believe it is transferred almost verbatim from the corresponding clause in the Endowed Schools Act for England. That is, however, a question for consideration when we come to consider the details of the Bill in Committee. I have only to repeat my thanks for the manner in which the Bill has been received, and to express a hope that your Lordships will allow the Committee to be taken on Tuesday next.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock, to Monday next, Eleven o'clock.