« PreviousContinue »
An hon. MEMBER moved that the House should be counted; but notice being taken that 40 Members were present
might be reduced without any sacrifice | House that the road could not be made in of efficiency; and he hoped he should time to be of any service, and the propohave the assistance of the right hon. sition was rejected, the result being that a Gentleman in asking the Government to more economical road, which served every take a practical step towards retrenchment. purpose, had been opened. He did not He took the division the other night on mean to charge either the present or any the British Museum Bill as an indication previous Government with wilfully misthat the House was thoroughly awake to leading the House in these matters, or enthe subject, and was determined to carry deavouring to get in the thin end of the out a system of retrenchment in some way. wedge. He knew that other considerations affected that decision, but he believed it was influenced to the extent of many votes by that consideration. The question was how independent Members could best effect a reduction of the Estimates when the House saw that they could be safely and properly reduced. In the discussions upon the Estimates it was a matter of common occurence that objections to items were met with the objection that the expenditure had already been sanctioned by a vote of the House, and that the refusal to continue it would inflict hardship upon persons who had accepted office on the faith of such a vote; or that it was for the completion of works which had been already commenced, and the money spent upon which would be wasted if a further sum was not expended. No doubt those were strong arguments as far as they went, and the House, frequently for those reasons, rejected a Motion of which in the abstract it approved. Had many of the works which had consumed so large a portion of the public money been fairly and fully explained to the House in the first instance, it was very likely that they never would have been consented to. He might quote as an illustration of this the case of the fortifications at Alderney, which were defended by the noble Lord at the head of the Government on the ground that they were a continuation of works begun by a former Government. And so with the South Kensington Museum. At first they were only asked for the money for a shed; then the shed was enlarged; then they were asked for a corrugated iron shed, on the plea that there were articles spoiling for want of room; and so they went on until at length an enormous establishment had grown up, which cost the country some £20,000 or £30,000 a year besides the expense of the building. As showing how the public money might be saved by the House paying proper attention to the subject in the first instance, he might cite the case of the proposed road across Hyde Park to the Exhibition. was shown by a high authority in the
MR. DILLWYN said, the Motion he had the honour to move pointed, as he thought, to a simple method of checking the continual demands upon the public purse of an unnecessary description. He believed, that if there was a distinct class of Estimates for Votes which were proposed for the first time, hon. Members would think it worth their while to be present when such Votes were taken, and to examine them more fully than they cared to do in the case of Votes which had already in some way or other received the sanction of Parliament. Why should not the House of Commons deal with the Estimates in the same manner as a private gentleman regulated his own expenditure? No private gentleman or man of business would consent to his agent undertaking new buildings without carefully considering the subject, nor would he allow items for such expenditure to be passed under his review as if they were a portion of his ordinary annual outgoings. They had been told. over and over again by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Government were responsible to the House for the expendi ture which they proposed; but in reality that responsibility was very slight, because the change of Governments enabled them to shift the blame to the shoulders of their predecessors. By the alteration which he sought to introduce, more direct responsibility would be created, and at the same time the passing of the ordinary Estimates would be facilitated. He would therefore conclude by moving the Resolution of which he had given notice.
MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH seconded the Motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that, in all cases in which Her Majesty's Government propose to construct Works or to erect Fortifications or Public Buildings distinct and separate from those already existin or sance
tioned by Parliament, the Estimates for such New | with other Votes, and from the details reWorks or Erections should be submitted for the ferring to them all. There was every wish consideration of the House in a separate form, on the part of the Government to present and at a separate time, from the Annual Estimates for Current Expenditure." those Estimates in a form most satisfactory to the House, with a view of furnishing the best information possible, and of facilitating discussion. Those Estimates were now set forth in much greater detail than they used formerly to be presented to the House. Their present bulk was occasion
by the frequent demands made on the Government for additional information, and the desire of the Government to furnish such information. It was most convenient, in the discussion of those Estimates, to be able to compare one year with another, and to see the total amount of the Estimates as a whole. [Another attempt was made to count out the House without success.] He would instance the case of a new barrack for which a total estimate of £50,000 would be required; but only a sum of £10,000 would be asked for the first year. Now, though that Vote would appear in the first instance in the proposed new class of Estimates, in the second year it would necessarily be transferred into the ordinary Army Estimates. But how would the Voto of the previous year be entered? Here it was obvious that the necessary information could not be communicated, and the advantage of comparison would be wholly destroyed. The same inconvenience and confusion would arise with respect to the Naval and Civil Service Estimates if the proposition of the hon. Gentleman were agreed to. The Army Estimates were, he thought, presented in such a form that hon. Members could easily see for themselves what was and what was not a new work. If they were not sufficiently clear, he should have no objection to indicate the new works by some typographical arrangement, so as to draw attention to them more forcibly. There was every disposition on the part of the Government to present the Estimates in the form most convenient and acceptable to the House, but he did not see that any good would arise from the adoption of this plan, and he was therefore unable to give his assent to it.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS said, he hoped that the hon. Gentleman would not think he was treating him with any want of respect, when he stated that it was not his intention to follow him through the several topics of his speech. The hon. Gentle-ed man's proposition was, that a new class of Estimates should be created by the execu tive Government and laid before the House. There were already four classes of Estimates, one for each branch of the War Service, one for the Revenue Departments, and one for the Civil Service. His hon. Friend proposed that a class should be constituted, to consist of "new works," which were now distributed among the other classes; but he had not gathered from his hon. Friend's Resolution or from his speech whether in the new class were to be included additions to existing works. Would an addition to a barrack be considered a new work?
MR. DILLWYN: Yes; if it were a considerable addition.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS: A considerable addition?-then a small addition would not, in his opinion, be a new work. The hon. Gentleman would see that a very nice question would at once arise as to the extent of the addition which was to constitute a new work. But the hon. Gentleman overlooked another inconvenience that would arise. The new works, according to his meaning of them, would be of a very limited extent. In the fourth class of the Army Estimates the Votes were set out in great detail, and, with few exceptions, the new works mentioned therein were works which had previously received the sanction of Parliament by a vote of money. Now, what information could the hon. Member ask for more than was furnished in those details? The only works really new in these Estimates were to be found under the head of Bermuda, the total estimate of which was £5,000. Supposing that Vote were put in a fifth class, what advantage would the House derive from such an arrangement? That Vote was connected with other Votes, for Gibraltar and other fortified places in our Colonies. Now, if that particular Vote for new works were relegated to a fifth class of Estimates, the House would be deprived of that information which was derived from a comparison
MR. DILLWYN in reply said, that if the right hon Gentleman would separate the Vote for new works in each class of Estimates it would be a practical improvement upon the present system. Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
"I think the value of these industrial certified schools in Scotland can scarcely be exaggerated."
COLONEL SYKES said, he rose to sub- And the Commissioners, in their Report on the State of Popular Education in Engmit the following Resolution :land, at page 402, used these words
That, in any system of Education by Government aid, provision should be made for teaching in Industrial Schools; and that, with a view to encourage evening study by adult operatives, provision, be made for supplying a Teacher in such Mechanics' Institutes as may apply for one." The results obtained from the system of education in the schools assisted by the Government grant were admitted to be very imperfect and unsatisfactory. Even
Nevertheless, such serviceable schools were left without aid from the education grant ; though, with singular incongruity, if the children educated by philanthropic indi
rably well were limited to a minority of the pupils, and it was not usual to find a child able to master the multiplication table. But supposing these things learned, they no more constituted education than plates and knives and forks made a dinner; they were merely means to an end. By far the greater number (at least 86 per cent) of children in Government schools, who entered at or after six, were com
the elements of reading and writing tole-viduals at such schools had committed offences against the laws, and had been passed to a reformatory, an allowance of five shillings per head per week would be In consequence of granted for them! this state of things, Dr. Guthrie addressed a memorial to the Committee of Privy Council on Education, asking for aid for then called public attention to the subject Industrial Schools, and was refused. Ho in a letter, dated Edinburgh, 17th May, 1862, from which he (Colonel Sykes) would quote a few words—
pelled to leave the schools before or at ten years of age, their parents needing the profit of their labour. Those who remained beyond that age were not the children of the labouring poor, but of the middle class, who were able to pay for their education elsewhere. The returns indicated that the maximum attendance of children at school was at eight years of age, and that after that age the attendance rapidly declined. If Members compared the results of the system pursued in these schools with the benefits actually conferred on the poorer class of children by the training of the Industrial Schools supported by private efforts, they would agree with him in urging them on the Government for assistance. The Industrial Schools, by the combination of mental and physical labours, reconciled children to the restraints of school. While, in addition to literary culture, the girls were taught washing, cooking, housework, and needlework, the boys learned trades, gardening, agriculture, household work, baking, &c. In Scotland these schools had been eminently successful. In Aberdeenshire, Sheriff Watson's Industrial Schools had greatly diminished juvenile offences and vagrancy; and Dr. Guthrie, who had greatly interested himself in this class of schools, bore strong testimony to the ad. vantages society derived from them; and the Inspector of Reformatories reported
"It appears to us that the object which Industrial Schools are intended to promote is one which should not be left to private individuals, but should be accomplished at the public expense and by public authority."
I pray you to observe that we do not ask one penny from the public funds to feed these hungry, to cloth these naked, or, when it is necessary, to house these homeless children; but we complain of it as a monstrous wrong, that the Committee of Council, to whom are intrusted the monies voted for education, should deny us all help to educate them! They refuse to aid us in educating those whose circumstances are so desperate, that unless we burthened ourselves to a greater or less extent with their maintenance, they must go altogether uneducated, having no choice but to beg, steal, or starve.”
Although this language was strong, it was not too strong for the occasion; for social economists were quite aware that ignorance and want of occupation in nine cases out of ten were the causes of juvenile crime; and it must be patent to Members, that the
Blacking Brigades" of poor boys in London had done more to diminish juvenile offences than all the legislative Acts ever passed. He therefore trusted that in any grant for educational purposes regard should be had for that class of children to whose case he now called the attention of the House.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, in any system of Education by Government aid, provision should be made for teaching in Industrial Schools; and that, with a view to encourage evening study by adult operatives, provision be made for supplying a Teacher in such Mechanics' Institutes as may apply for one."
MR. LOWE said, that the hon. and | ner the object of these Industrial Schools, gallant Gentleman had with much force which was not so much intellectual as pointed out the early age at which children moral. It had been said of the ragged left the schools under the system of the schools of London, presided over so adPrivy Council, and also that many of the mirably by the Earl of Shaftesbury, that children left the schools without having they would be seriously injured by interfeacquired the rudiments of education. rence of any Government department. In Agreeing with the hon. and gallant Mem-like manner he was convinced that by interber on these matters, he could not, how-fering with Industrial Schools they would ever, join in the inference, that because be doing harm instead of good. The hon. children left the schools at an early age, and gallant Member might, nevertheless, without having acquired, in many in- have made out an excellent case for pristances, the rudiments of reading, writing, vate charity. Dr. Guthrie, it was true, and arithmetic, and of religion, therefore had applied to the Privy Council for £700 the remedy was to be sought in teaching in aid of similar schools, and was refused. them something else. He should have Dr. Guthrie then appealed to the benevo thought that the inference ought to be lence of the public, and the consequence quite the opposite. It was unnecessary for was that he got £2,000; and that result him to go at any length into the subject, Dr. Guthrie thought a great reflection on which had been thoroughly investigated the Privy Council, but the matter ought to by the Royal Commissioners, who reported be regarded in quite a different light, not against continuing the aid to the schools only as showing the extent of Dr. Guthrie's adverted to by the hon. and gallant Mem-influence, but as pointing out a legitimate ber. Last year a Committee of that House field for the exercise of private benevo also investigated the subject, and reported lence. He was perfectly convinced, that against the grant of aid. The opinion of the duty of sustaining these Industrial the Select Committee of the House of Schools did not full within his department, Commons was, that if the children in these circumscribed within the limits in which schools were children who had committed it was restrained at present, and he was offences of a minor description, there were neither disposed to trench on the business reformatories in which they might be re- of the Home Office with respect to the imtained and reformed; and that if they were prisonment of young criminals, nor upon only poor and destitute, their case was then that of the Poor Law Department in reone for the intervention of the Poor Law spect to feeding and supporting destitute by district workhouse schools. If, how- children. ever, they were of a nondescript class, not comprisable in either one or other of the categories just mentioned, then the recommendation of the Select Committee was, that they should be left to the voluntary attention and kinduess of persons actuated by charitable feelings; and the Select Committee most expressly reported against the proposition of the hon. and gallant Member. Such were the views of the Select Committee of last year, and they appeared to be founded in justice and good sense. The House would understand how difficult, or, indeed, how impossible, it would be to devise conditions on which public money should be granted to these schools, the very essence of them being that they were missionary efforts, trying to pick up the waifs and strays of society not amenable to discipline. Were he to put them under the discipline of the Privy Council and exact from them something definite in the shape of intellectual progress in exchange for money given, he should be injuring in the most vital man
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Henry Berkeley, MR. H. BERKELEY: Sir, I answer your summons, and rise to ask leave to bring in a Bill to cause the votes of Parliamentary electors to be taken by way of ballot. It strikes me very forcibly that the arguments I have hitherto used are entirely unanswered. shall, therefore, leave the question in your hands.
LORD FERMOY seconded the Motion.
Motion made, and Question put,
"That leave be given to bring in a Bill to cause the Votes of Parliamentary Electors to be taken by way of Ballot."
50: Majority 33.
Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. HENRY BERKELEY and Lord FERMOY.
BALLOT AT MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. LEAVE.
MR. AUGUSTUS SMITII said, the Motion which he had the honour to submit was one so very similar to that which had just been decided, as to make it unnecessary for him to take up the time of the House by advancing any arguments in its support. He would therefore content himself by simply moving for leave to bring in a Bill to allow the votes of municipal electors to be taken by way of ballot in all places where the town council should so think fit.
MR. COX seconded the Motion. VISCOUNT PALMERSTON: After the agreeable surprise which we have had enacted this evening, and the hon. Member for Bristol having given us an example in his own person that silent voting is better than audible argument, of course this Bill will take its fate with the other, and therefore I will defer any remarks until another occasion.
Motion made, and Question put,
"That leave be given to bring in a Bill to allow the Votes of Municipal Electors to be taken by way of Ballot, in all places where the Town Council shall so think fit."
Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. AUGUSTUS SMITH, Mr. Cox, and Mr. DILL
The House divided :-Ayes 82; Noes And the noble Lord concluded— 48: Majority 34.
MR. HENNESSY said, the Committee were aware that the religious instruction of Roman Catholic prisoners in England and Wales was given under an Act of Parliament which was passed before the period of Roman Catholic Emancipation. It was, therefore, impossible that Roman Catholic prisoners could be legally assembled for religious worship within the walls of the prison. The visiting justices of some county prisons had dwelt on the injustice of the present state of things, and had expressed their regret that the law was so strong that Roman Catholic prisoners could not be assembled in class to be instructed by priests of their own persuasion. In 1853 the noble Lord at the head of the Government said—
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
Motion agreed to.
House in Committee.
MR. SERJEANT PIGOTT said, he thought that some explanation of the provisions of the Bill ought to be given.
"As far as Government prisons were concerned, he was quite prepared to state that he should feel it to be his duty to take steps for carrying into effect the views which had been expressed that in every Government prison there should be reDissenter, as well as to every member of the ligious instruction given to every Catholic and Church of England, and that the person who gave it should receive that treatment which was consistent with a due respect to his character, and such reward as might be adequate to the duties which he had to perform." [3 Hansard, cxxix., 1569-70.]
"It would be his duty early next Session to prepare and submit to Parliament a measure for the purpose of placing religious instruction in county gaols on the same footing as religious instruction in prisons more immediately under the control of the Government." [Ibid.]