12 APRIL 1856, Page 10



The Education debate was brought to a close last night, by a division 'which affirmed Mr. Henley's amendment by a great majority. Before the debate was resumed, much time was taken up with in- quiries of a generally uninteresting nature, prefaced by speeches, and made on the formal question that the House should adjourn till Monday. Sir JOHN PARINOTON called the attention of the First Minister to the inconvenience and disadvantage of this practice. Lord PALMERSTON said—" As I am in the unfortunate position of having spoken before, I can only say that I entirely agree with the right honourable baronet." (Cheers and laughter.) At length the Speaker left the chair ; and the House having gone into Committee, Lord Joan RUSSELL resumed the debate with a speech in explanation and defence of his whole scheme. At the outset, however, he commented on the inconsistency of Sir James Graham, who after having served on the Educational Committee of the Privy Council, came forward as "the trumpet of the voluntary system." He defended him- self from the attacks of Mr. Edward Baines, who had charged him in one page with bringing a newfangled scheme of despotism from Vienna in 1855,—which scheme, according to another page of the pamphlet, he had concocted in 1839. Going over his resolutions, he explained that increased inspection is required to obtain more accurate information; and that the rate he proposes is not a compulsory but a voluntary rate, to

establish schools where there are not sufficient subscriptions. AS to the plan for the appropriation of charitable funds to education, he is not the

audacious person who originated that—it was introduced and adopted by Lord Cranworth ; but it sank to the bottom, with many other ex- cellent propositions, in a Committee of the House of Lords. It was said that if his mode of dealing with the religious difficulty were adopted it

-would lead to a secular system ; but that is a forecasting of evil not justified by experience. He would rather face the dangers of the secular system than remain as we are. Having gone through the resolutions, he then stated that he should only retain the first five, and withdraw the Test— He should ask the Committee to consent to the first five resolutions, which sanction the principle of extending, consolidating, and revising the Minutes of the Committee of Privy Council, and the appointment of Sub-Inspectors to ascertain what is the real state of the education of the country.

Sir GEORGE GREY stated the course of the Government. The with- arawal of seven resolutions had much narrowed the ground of difference.

The Government could not assent to the motion of Mr. Henley, because

they were willing to consolidate the Minutes and extend the system of the Educational Committee of the Privy Council. In fact, there have been

two extensions recently—the increase of the capitation grant, and a grant of 10,0001. for industrial schools. But, looking at the resolutions as a whole, the Government, although they might agree in their general spirit, could not take upon themselves the responsibility of proposing measures founded on them to Parliament.

At this stage, Mr. HENLEY proposed to withdraw his amendment on the first resolution, and to renew it on the second. There seemed, how-

ever' a disinclination to cut short the debate ; and it was continued hy Mr. EliWARD BALL in the Voluntary interest ; Si STAFFORD NORTH- COTE, on the Educational system in general ; Mr. hin.rs, in support of Lord John Russell's resolutions ; and Mr. DRUMMOND, on " education " and "instruction."

You may buy instruction; but you can't educate people by acts ofParliament. Scoundrels on a great scale—John Sadleir, for instance—did not want for instruction. Education is that which is imbibed from the moral atmosphere which a child breathes. You may attempt the reformation of offenders; but the man who wants education wants that which you never can supply. Give him instruction, if you will ; and thereby you will only make him ten times worse than before. When your people become offenders against the community, you have really only two ways of dealing with them ; namely, to send those who have offended the least out of the country, and those who have offended the most out of the world. (Laughter and cheers.)

Mr. GLADSTONE, taking objection to the form of proceeding—he would have preferred an address to the Crown—described tbe solemn manner in

which Lord John Russell had invited the House to come to a decision on the subject of edueation, and said that, after such preparation, he could little have expected that Lord John himself would prevent the House from passing judgment on the most weighty and momentous of the reso- lutions. But the explanation was, that he anticipated defeat, and, con- vinced that a great majority of the House entertained the main objections to his scheme as deep convictions, like a skilful general, Lord John was anxious to extricate the remnants of his army from a dangerous and des- perate position. The House did not question his intentions ; no doubt, he intended to save the principle of local influences as opposed to central control, and to save the principle of religious as opposed to secular in- struction: but the House were convinced that in these vital respects he -would be entirely disappointed.

"We have happily found it practicable in England to associate together in the most perfect harmony these two principles—the principle of volun- tary exertion, through which you get heart and love and moral influence infused into your school instruction, and the principle of material aid from the state, by which the skeleton and framework of your education are pro- vided." But if he were driven to abandon the voluntary principle, or place exclusive reliance upon it he should not hesitate to say at once—" Give me the real education, the affection of the heart, the moral influences operative upon character, the human love, that are obtained through the medium of the voluntary principle carried out by men whose main motive is one of Christian philanthropy, rather than throw me upon a system which, what- ever the intentions of its first mover may be, must sooner or later degene- rate into hard irreligion."

Having discussed the resolutions, and condemned them as tending to create a central controlling power, involving secular instruction and endless religious quarrels, Mr. Gladstone went on to a wider objection. "When we speak of a thing being unconstitutional, we mean that it is mit of harmony with our laws and institutions. But there is something more important than our laws and more weight,' than our institutions, and that is the na- tional spirit and character out of which they have sprung, and which are at once their basis and their buttress. I think these resolutions conceived in a spirit adverse to that national character. They have a tendency in utter contrariety to it. They tend to encourage a dependence which is alien and foreign to the minds of Englishmen—to substitute that which is mechanical, technical, and formal, for that which is free, open, elastic, and expansive. They might enable you to draw up better tables, to compile better statistics, to enter into competition with other nations in matters of figures upon better terms than at present ; but it has not been by the technical instruction of her children, by superiority in mere arts of the schools, that England has risen to her present place in the world. She has often been behind the performances of other nations in these respects. She has understood the practical responsibilities of life— the duties of the man, of the citizen, and above all of the Christian. The element of the freedom in which we move and breathe and have our being is essential to the development of the English character • and if you take it away, you pine and starve that character, and any substitute you can give in the form of education returns is utterly worse than worthless." (Cheers.)

Mr. Disnesti, having borrowed Mr. Gladstone's allusion to the pomp and ceremony with which Lord John had introduced his resolutions, ad- vised him to withdraw the whole, and not call on the House of Commons to give a pompous and undignified vote "about nothing." Lord Toffx Ressmn declined to take this advice. The plan proposed in 1839 looked very unpromising at first; it was misconceived, and raised a great storm ; but the Government went on with it ; and that is the plan now in exist- ence, which he proposed to extend and complete.

But there was evidently a difference between him and the majority of the House as to the nature and immediate effect of his proposal ; and, such being the ease, he thought it advisable' for the promotion of the cause of educa- tion, not to expose his plan to the risk of being rejected—a fate which might prevent its being brought forward in the shape of a bill for many years.

The House was now all for a division. In reply to an appeal from Lord PAT.ainnsTorf Mr. HENLEY said he was willing either to withdraw his motion or proceed to a division. The Committee divided on the question "That the Chairman do now leave the chair." Ayes, 260; Noes, 158; majority, 102. The effect of this division was to prevent any proceeding on the resolutions at all. The announcement of the numbers was received with cheering; and the House resumed.

On the motion for adjournment to Monday, Sir Ds LACY Ewan, called attention to the great merits and claims of the Chaplains of the Army in the East. Not the smallest acknowledgment has been made of the services of these men. Lord PALMERSTON concurred in a tribute of just eulogium passed upon gentlemen who had performed such eminent services : the Government have not overlooked them, and will gladly take any opportunity that may arise of evincing their high sense of those services. Mr. SIDNEY HERBERT, joining in the praise, said that as many of them, on returning to this country, will have nothing to fall back upon, he hoped the Lord Chancellor would bestow upon them some of his patronage.

In the House of Lords, the Bishop of EXETER presented a bill on Church Discipline, identical with that which came from a Select Com- mittee in 1847, for the purpose of comparing it with a bill before the House. The Loan CHANCELLOR presented a bill for the regulation of Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, which had been framed in accordance with the recommendations of the Commissioners who considered this subject two or three years ago, with the exception of some slight altera- tions. Both bills were read a first time.