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transaction of business, and, on Mr. Disraeli objected to any the other hand, the probability pedantic and petty attempts to was, that if no discussion was deal with the rules of the House. allowed in Committee of Supply, The higher duties and more imthe Estimates for the great ser- portant qualities of the House of vices of the State would be passed Commons were, its sensibility in early in the Session. Parliament respect to public feeling, its would thereby forfeit the control quickness in the appreciation of it ought not to have given up. the public desire, its determinaThe prescriptive law and usage tion to represent the grievances of the House were, that when of the people, and to vindicate Governinent required money, it their rights and privileges. In should be in the power of any his opinion, Parliament did not unofficial member of the House sit too long; hardly long enough; to submit any grievance that and the effect of the proposed might require a remedy. The change would be to shorten the two last Committees that had sat Session by a month at least. upon the forms of procedure in Something happened during the House had both had this every recess which gave rise particular question referred to to a wish that Parliament had them, and had both declined to been sitting at the time. He make any recommendation. The appealed to the respect enterreport of the last Committee was tained by the House for Sir drawn up by Sir James Graham, James Grahan, and hoped that whose thorough knowledge of the they would not pay such little business of the House, and the respect to his last recommendaconstitutional principles upon tion as to lend their sanction to which the House should act, was so crude a scheme as that prounsurpassed. This report might posed by Mr. White. He conbe said to contain the last words cluded by entreating the House Sir James Graham had addressed not to abandon any of their to the House, and he heartily precious privileges. concurred in every word. He Lord Palmerston said he was knew, also, from repeated con- still of the opinion he had exversations with Sir James Gra- pressed in a Select Committee ham, that he entertained objec- on the subject, that one of the tions to the abandonment by the highest functions of the House House of any power or authority was to act as an exponent of the which, as an independent body, feelings of the country, and a it ought to exercise and keep for' medium for the expression of itself.
grievances. Although it might Sir George Lewis took a more be advisable to apply some refavourable view of the proposi. striction to the latitude of the tion. He thought it would con- discussion on going into Supply, duce to the convenience of the he was not prepared to support House if there was one night in any sweeping changes which the week on which members would entirely do away with might be sure that the business those preliminary discussions. of the Committee of Supply He could not, either support would be proceeded with.
any proposal that did not meet with the full concurrence of a causes which led to the appointlarge majority of the House, as nient of a Royal Commission on it would not be fitting that a bare the subject, the principal one majority should impose restric- being the fact that, whereas trictions on the business of the 2,200,000 children ought to be House which a large minority brought into the inspected schools, might regard as unconstitutional. no more than 920,000 actually He hoped honourable members attended them, and only 230,000 would consider the subject well, received adequate instruction in so as to be prepared to adopt the elements of reading, writing, some proposal less liable to ob- and arithmetic. He denied that jection than that before the there had been anything like an House.
attempt on the part of the Go. After some observations from verninent to smuggle the New Mr. White, leave was given to in- Minute through Parliament. If troduce the resolution, but no there had been, it would cerfurther proceedings in the mattertainly not have been promulgated took place this Session. • at a time when every one had
The first subject which Parlia- leisure to discuss, and pick ment took up earnestly for dis. it to pieces during the dead cussion was National Education, time of the year. He then in connection with the New described the operation of the Minute of the Privy Council, New Minute, which would do which had been promulgated away with all the numerous grants since the end of the preceding of the old system, and substitute Session. Parts of the new Code one simple plan of assistance, by thus announced to the public had which a capitation grant of id. been regarded with great hostility per head would be given for each in some influential quarters, and attendance over 100, subject to a it was generally felt that whatever favourable report from the inspec. might be the merits or demerits tor. To ensure this favourable of the proposed alterations, they report, it would be necessary for were such as ought not to be the children, grouped according adopted without the opportunity to age, to pass an examination in of a full and free discussion in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Parliament. The Ministers who and their failure in any one of represented the Education depart. these three branches would render ment in the two Houses, Earl the school liable to the loss of Granville and Mr. Lowe, early one-third of the allowance, and expressed their intention of afford. if they failed in all, the allowance ing occasion for such a debate, would be withdrawn altogether. and of offering explanations on Earl Granville then adverted to their own behalf; and on the 13th the cry of " Religion in Danger!" of February the subject came on which had been raised by the for discussion, being introduced opponents of the New Minute, and by speeches from the two Minis- said that as the New Minute did ters, which were listened to with not make the slightest technical great interest.
alteration in the previously-existEarl Granville commenced his ing system of religious education, speech by briefly referring to the he did not see how it could be
affected while the inspectors were those alterations had been made still clergymen, appointed with the in the right direction, and he sanction of the Archbishop, and hoped that whenever the subject upon whose favourable report the came to be fully debated, it would grant depended. As to the blow be without the infusion of party struck at the training colleges, he spirit. admitted it was sudden and se- A few remarks made by Lords vere; but the assistance granted Ebury and Lyttelton brought the to these establishments averaged subject to a close. no less than 68 per cent. of the In the House of Commons, on whole expense, which showed the same evening, Mr. Lowe how little voluntary efforts were made a full and elaborate stateexcited by such large grants. He ment respecting the proposed denied that any vested rights Minute. The Committee of whatever were possessed by the Council, he said, had paid the certificated masters, and adduced most respectful attention to the the decisive opinion to that effect views and opinions which had given in the report of the Royal been ventilated upon the subject, Commission. Earl Granville and had endeavoured to make the concluded by stating that in de revised regulations conform, as far ference to the strong representa. as their sense of duty permitted, tions which had been made, Scot to those views and opinions. In land would be excluded from the order to fix the exact limits of operations of the New Minute; the controversy, he explained the reform of the training col. the object of the Committee of lege would be postponed; a Council, which was to promote distinct declaration would be in- education among the children of serted to the effect that no altera- the labouring poor by grants of tion was made in the department money under certain conditions, of religious instruction ; children and he stated the mode in which under six would have to attend the grants were administered. He 200 times instead of 100, and then explained the reasons which would be thereby exempted from had forced upon the Department examination; and, lastly, it had the question whether the Code been determined that no school should be adhered to as it stood or should receive assistance unless be amended, and the considerathe master was certificated and tions which had weighed with the duly paid--that was to say, unless Privy Council Committee to adopt he received from the managers the alterations in the Revised Code, three times the amount of his which did not alter the present present augmented grant.
system in its fundamental princiThe Earl of Derby compli- ples, but would, in their opinion, mented Earl Granville on the carry out the object in view with clearness and candour of his greater efficiency. Mr. Lowe statement. He thought it unde proceeded to detail and elucidate sirable to enter at present into a by figured statements what he consideration of the subject, so regarded as faults of the existing many important modifications of system, in which, he remarked, a the Minute having been just Government department had to announced. He thought that all co-operate with voluntary agency, and to obtain information from was dangerous, and, in justice to parties interested in placing the all parties, it was necessary to fact in one point of view. deal with the matter as soon as The system was, he observed, possible, and to put an end to a eminently destructive of an im- system which would divert the portant function of that House, educational grant from its legiti. which could not exercise a full mate purpose, and cause an incontrol over the expenditure of creasing drain upon the public the funds without a considerable exchequer. Agreeing with the alteration of the machinery of the Commissioners that it would not system, and some guarantee for the be right to interfere with the proper application of the funds foundation of the existing mode and for the results in the quality of administering the grant, the and quantity of the education Committee of Council had come afforded in the schools. Accord to the conclusion that the system ing to the Report of the Commis- of appropriated grants should be sioners there was a guarantee only abolished, and replaced by a simifor the qualifications of the master, lar system -- that of capitation but not for the efficiency of the grants. After explaining the deinstruction given to the children; tails of this change, he proceeded and with regard to the latter point to state the qualifications which the Commissioners differed from the Committee proposed in order the inspectors, and he believed to meet objections to the Revised the opinion formed by the Com. Code. It was not intended that missioners, which was unfavour- it should at present apply to Scotable to the existing system, was land. It was proposed that inthe most correct. With respect fants under six years of age should to the application of the grants, be entitled to the capitation withhe referred to cases in which he out examination. With respect considered there had been a to the training colleges, he wasteful expenditure ; he thought thought the whole subject rethe Committee of Privy Council quired re-consideration, and it should not have to pay the whole was proposed that, with a few salary of the pupil-teachers, and exceptions, they should remain that the amount they contributed for the present substantially as as augmentation to masters was they were. After explaining the extravagant. The present mode details of the other modifications, of administering the public grant, Mr. Lowe noticed and replied, at he observed, had led to expecta considerable length, to the obtions and to feelings of disap- jections which had been urged pointment, which were very de against the Revised Code, observ. plorable, though unreasonable. ing that he could not promise that The Committee of Council had it would be an economical system, to deal with the managers of but, if not economical, it would be schools, who had subscribed their efficient; the present system was money relying upon a certain neither efficient nor economical. annount of Government support, He entered very fully into the and the pupil-teachers conceived question of the claims of the they had their grounds of com- schoolmasters, which, in their in. plaint. Such a system, he thought, tegrity, he maintained had no
foundation in principle or justice; Government to fix a time for a but he stated the extent to which discussion of the subject. the Government were prepared to Sir George Grey said that as go, under the circumstances, to soon as the Minute had been laid meet those claims. He could not on the table, it was competent to lay before the House, he said, a any member to raise a discussion scheme free from objections; he upon it, either by moving an admitted that his scheme was not address to the Crown or otherwise. perfect, but it was an improve. The debate then terminated. ment upon the present system, In the House of Lords, on the and, in conclusion, he pointed out 4th of March, the regulations of its main advantages.
the Revised Code underwent a Mr. Disraeli commented in severe criticism from the Bishop severe terms upon the conduct of Oxford, who, in presenting a of Government in rescinding so number of petitions against it, many essential provisions of one brought the whole subject before of the most important institutions the House, at considerable length. of the country without any notice The Bishop said that he could or communication to Parliament. not propose any definite resoluA year ago, he should have thought tions on the subject, as in case of such a proceeding incredible. He any disagreement arising between hoped the House would not enter the two Houses on the question, into the discussion of the subject there was no parliamentary maon that occasion, but would wait chinery by which it could be aduntil the country had time to join justed; whereas, if they had prothem in a decisive expression of ceeded by Bill, each" Chamber opinion.
could have introduced its own In reply to questions from amendments, and a conference several members, Mr. Lowe ex- between the two Houses would plained one or two minor de bring them into harmony on the tails, and denied that the pro- subject. He believed that the mulgation of the Minute at the evils to remedy which the Recommencement of the recess was vised Code was propounded, were, in any way an attempt to evade to a great extent, illusory; and discussion. On the contrary, it the remedies proposed were based was the very step to court exami- upon assumptions equally fallanation and discussion
cious, while the subsequent reSir John Pakington repeated vision of the Revised Code even the complaint of Mr. Disraeli as aggravated the evils of which its to the late period at which the opponents complained. The first Revised Code had been laid before fallacy involved in the Code, was the House. This had caused an the notion that the annual inimpression that the Government crease of expenditure under the were not dealing fairly with the present system would be indesubject. He pointed out some finite. At the very utmost posinconsistencies between Mr. sible limit, it could never exceed Lowe's statement and his three times its present amount; speeches last Session.
and, great as that sum might Mr. Walpole appealed to the seem, it was far from relatively