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jayiiametttayif, FRIDAY. The sitting of the House of Lords was one of a purely formal character. There was no business on the paper, and accordingly none was done. In the House of Commons, Mr Childers, replying to an en- quiry of Mr Gourley as to the recent cruise of the combined Channel and Mediterranean squadrons, repeated the answer he gave in July last to a similar question put by Captain Egerton. It was his intention to lay upon the table a voluminous set of papers, including the report of the captain of the fleet, reports as to the performances of the several ships, and the minute of the Board of Admiralty; and these papers would give ample in- formation on the subject. Mr Cardwell stated, at the instance of Mr N. Grenville, that some regulations were contemplated for increasing the efficiency of the Yeomanry Corps, and that he would explain their character in introducing the army estimates. Mr Childers wished to give formal notice that he hoped to be able to move the navy estimates as early as Thursday week, the 24th instant. On the motion for going into committee of sup- ply, Mr Serjeant 8imon directed attention to the conduct of Mr Gresham, the high bailiff and returning officer for Southwark, in making what he described as an excessive demand for a share of the election expenses upon Mr George Odger, one of the three candidates for the borough. According to law the whole sum that could be so demanded was zC85 11s. 4d. from each candi- date but Mr Gresham required payment of £ 100 after .£100 had already been deposited with him on Mr Odger's account. The learned serieant wound up his speech with a resolution to the effect that the charges ana expenses of returning officers at par- liamentary elections should be regulated by law, and not left to the discretion of those gentlemen. The motion was seconded by Mr Eykyu, and supported by Sir H. Hoare and Mr Anderson. The Solicitor-General, who did not see any advantage in adopt- ing the resolution, gave it as his decided opinion that the high bailiff could not force a candidate to enter into a contract with regard to the expenses. The duty cast upon that official was to provide the necessary facilities primarily at his own expense, and afterwards to recover them from the candidates, if he could," and he had no right to give to the persons who entered into a contract with him facilities which he refused to persons who did not enter into a contract. He recommended Mr Gres- ham, therefore to be well advised before exposing himself to the certain risk, and the very possible success of an action for damages, by any one whom the course he had taken might injure. Contenting himself with having elicited the opinion of the Solicitor-General, Mr Seijeant Simon then withdrew his motion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer brought in a Bill to convert certain Government stocks, and make the dividends thereon payable quarterly, instead of half-yearly; and a Bill to amend the law relating to savines banks by reducing the rate of c interest from .£3 5s. per cent. a reduction which, he ex- plained, would be sufficient to arrest the loss now entailed upon the public by these institutions. Bills were also brought in by Mr Russell Gurney to amend the law relating to the property of married women Mr Goschen, to make provision for the pro- ceedings of boards of management and boards of guardians upon the dissolution of districts and unions, or the annexation of parishes to unions; and Mr Whalley, for the amendment of the Railway Construction Facilities Act (1864). The select com- mittee on parliamentary and municipal elections of last session was re-appointed on the motion of the Marquis of Hartington; the petition of the electors of Bridgewater, presented the day be- fore, was ordered to be printed with the votes, at the instance of Mr Headlam; and Mr Otway obtained the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the diplomatic and consular services. The house then adjourned. MONDAY. The House of Lords was occupied in discussing the Colonial question, which was introduced, in a speech of considerable length, by the Earl of Carnarvon. The proceedings in the House of Commons opened with the reading of the reply of her Majesty to the address adopted by the House. The reply was, as a matter of course, merely formal. Her Majesty's Ministers had then to answer a number of questions. The result was to elicit from the Home Secretary his intention of introducing a Bill to amend the present regula- tions with respect to print and dyeing workshops, and also that it was not his intention this session to bring in a Bill to amend registration of voters in English and Welshboroughs, his reason for postponing a measure upon this subject being the great amount of other business to be got through. The Under- Secretary for Foreign Affairs stated that the American Govern- ment had not offered to re-open negotiations on the Alabama question, and that it was probable that whenever re-opened they would be conducted in Washington. The Irish Secretary said no provision would be made in the budget for payment of the Regium Donum this year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer could not say when he would make bis financial statement, but he was desirous of makingit before Easter. Mr Hardcastle ob- tained leave to bring in a Bill to abolish the minority clauses of the Reform Bill. Mr Gladstone stated that legal changes were ontemplated, and it was not the intention of the Government to 11 the vacancy in the Court of Queen's Bench, caused by the eath of Mr Justice Hayes. A lengthened discussion took place on a motion introduced by Mr Fawcett with reference to the preservation of Epping Forest as a place for public recreation. COUNTY FINANCES. In reply to Mr CampbeU, Mr Hugessen said that under the extensive programme of business before the House already he could not introduce a measure for the improvement of the financial administration of counties. THE BALLOT. Mr Leatham moved for leave to bring in a Bill providing that the poll for parliamentary and municipal elections be taken by ballot. He explained that the only exceptions to the use of the ballot in parliamentary contests would be the universities. He then argued that it would be impossible, without the ballot, to give due protection to the voter, or to prevent his vote from being influenced by bribery or corrupt proceedings; and de- scribed, in detail, the manner in which he proposed to effect the object he had in view. Mr Liddell opposed the introduction of the Bill whilst a select committee was inquiring into the subject. Mr Gilpin hoped that the Bill would be proceeded with at once. The Marquis of Hartington as chairman of the committee, said that the Government would not oppose the introduction of the Bill, but hoped that a reasonable time would be allowed be- fore the second reading, in order that the report of the com- mittee might be presented. When it had that report before it the Government would decide whether it should take up the Bill or leave it in the hands of the honourable member. After some conversation, leave was given. HOUSE OF LORDS, TUESDAY. Their lordships met at five o'clock; but no public business of importance was transacted, and the House adjourned at 5.20. HOUSE OF COMMONS, TUESDAY. There was an unusual large attendance of members, consequent on the announcement that Mr Gladstone would move his Irish Land Bill this evening. Mr Deane took his seat for Queen's County, and Mr Munster for the Borough of Mallow. Mr S. BEAUMONT gave notice of his intention to intro- duce a Bill to relieve the bishopa from attendance in the House of Lords. Mr GRAVES gave notice of his intention to move on the 15th March, that it is expedient to reduce the Inland postage of letters under 2oz., and on newspapers to id. In reply to Mr Newdegate, Mr GLADSTONE stated that there was no preliminary arrangement for protocol or other documents emanating from the Government, which had been laid before the French Legislature in reference to the English commercial treaty, nor were negotiations pending with France for the renewal of the commercial treaty with that country, which treaty had not expired, nor had it reached that stage when it would be in the power of either country to give notice to termin- ate it. With regard to the Austrian Reischrath, the case was different, because from time to time negotiations had been carried on between the two Governments, and had taken effect in the shape of treaties, and for aught he knew numbers of papers might have been laid before the Reischrath relating to those negotiations. Of course, L when the stage of ratification of negotiations had been reached, the treaty would be laid before Parliament. In reply to Mr Talbot, Mr GOSCHEN stated that the at- tention of the Poor-law Board had been drawn to the state of pauperism in the metropolis. With regard to casual -cases of starvation, the Central Board had no power to deal with them; they were matters to be dealt with by the guardians and relieving-officers. With regard to the over-crowded condition of the workhouses, the matter was a difficult one to deal with, but by the arrange- ments in course of being carried out, 11,000 new beds would be added to those already in existence. In reply to Mr Akroyd, Mr OTWAY stated that one of the articles of convention provided that the treaty of Tientsin should be ratified there. IRISH LAND BILL. Mr GLADSTONE said-Twelve months have not yet fully passed since it was his duty to submit to the House a measure of the greatest consequence and difficulty with reference to the Church of Ireland. He at that time stated that important question did not embrace all the legislation that they had in contemplation for the contentment and prosperity of Ireland, but that there lay behind it a still more difficult and equally important question, affecting the social condition and welfare of the general portion of the Irish people. He did not disguise from himself that the difficulties of this question had been greatly aggravated by the delay that had taken place but that delay was un- avoidable, and he trusted that in the end. it would be found to have conduced to a more satisfac- tory and permanent settlement of the question. It had long been under the attention of Parliament, for it was in 1833 that Mr Sharman Crawford first brought it under the notice of the House. In 1843 Sir R. Peel was so struck with the statement made by Mr Crawford when he again brought it forward that a commission was appointed, which elicited much valuable information, and the result was a Bill, brought forward in 1843 by the late Lord Derby, as the organ of the conservative Government of Sir R. Peel. Most unhappy was it that the question had not then been settled by a resolute effort; but for this all parties alike are equally 'responsible and seeing the dis- astrous result of the delay which had taken place, he trusted that the question would now be dealt with in a more vigorous spirit, and that success would not fail to crown their labours. All parties, he believed admitted the necessity of a settlement of the question, not only in this country, but the whole civilized world would look upon the efforts which they were now making in this spirit. So much had the question engrossed the attention of the public, that not only the members of this House, but every man of eminence in public life or literature had lately devoted their best time and leisure to a solution of this vexed sub- ject-not in a party spirit, but with the desire to effect a satisfactory solution of it. One good result had certainly been attained-for the Irish people must see that the Eng- lish Parliament did not grudge one year, or four years, if by so doing they could attain a better and more satisfac- tory knowledge of the subject, and provide the better for its settlement. Still prejudices lingered, and it was with these that their chief difficulty even now existed. He denied that the agrarian out- rages which had excited so painful a sensation lately ought to be attributed to this question. For on enquiry it would be found that they were less frequent in the agricultural counties, and not at all prevalent in the purely Celtic ones. The occupation of the land in Ireland, as founded upon tenure, was altogether different in its spirit and tenure to that in England and Scotland. The country was full; in England it was not so. In Ireland the landlord generally differed from the tenant in politics and religion. He did not find the capital required, and' the improvements were effected by the tenant and not by the landlord. In Ireland he was in most cases an absentee, but the worst feature of all was that in the absence of an agreement he did not recognise the right of the tenant to anything that he had put in the ground; but in every county in England that right was recognized by custom; and this state of things was further aggravated in Ireland by the tradition that the soil belongs to the old people, and had been taken from them by conquest and confiscation. It was therefore idle to maintain that the law, although absolutely so, was practically the same in England and in Ireland. He then pointed out with great emphasis the natural effect which loss of hardly-effected improvements-if they came to be evicted even for legitimate, although hard, reasons-could not fail to have on the temper of the Irish peasantry. He, for one, should be sorry to be so tried, when he saw swept away all the labour and value of past years. Since 1860, while the value of his labour had been almost stationary, the cost of subsistence had greatly increased. The abolition of the Corn Laws so great a boon to the English public had not been so to the Irish occupier. Wheat was less in price, but that was his great resource for the market, whilst the cost of oats and potatoes, on which he lived, had materially in- creased. The result was that the progress which had been pre- viously taking place had been checked since 1860, and it really came to this, that although they had been legisla- ting for Ireland during the last half century with the most benevolent intentions, as regards Ireland they had effected little social and national improvement of the small occupier and the peasant. He reviewed the charac- ter of this legislation since the union as affecting the sub-division of the land, and the tenure upon which it was held. The Acts of 1793 and 1829 had greatly aggravated the evils which existed, and that too was the effect of the Encumbered Estates Court, which had for its aim the great and indispensable object of getting rid of the impoverished proprietors who had previously existed. Over a great proportion of the county, under that Act, the estates were sold with the im- provements which had been effected by the occupier, and not by the ruined landlord, who got the benefit of the labours and outlay of his tenants. Thus it was that their very remedies, with the best intentions, had operated pre- judicially to the cultivation of the land, and so indirectly had the operation of the poor law, whilst the remedy of emigration, valuable as long as it was voluntary and free, when it was compulsory on one who wished to stay, who was passionately attached to the land—under these circumstances it was but another word for banishment. Still it was true that for ninety-eight years they had been incessantly legislating for the benefit of Ireland. They had abolished all civil and religious disabilities, they had endeavoured to place Ireland upon an equality with England, but still, after all, it was doubtful whether the social condition of the Irish people was materially better. Had they done good ? They had placed within the reach of the Irish peasant education; but education without the removal of social grievances only made the sense of them more embittered. The effect of new statutes intended to settle this question had been hurtful for they unsettled the old relations, and by the changes introduced into the law had introduced new processes, of which the practical effect, although not intended to be so, had been really for the advantage of the land owners. Parliament was therefore now being called upon to deal seriously and radically with this question, and they must bear in mind that the result of their legislation hitherto—bene- ficial as it was intended to be-had really been harsh and hurtful to the occupier and peasant. He would now explain what the propositions of the Government were. They did not intend to ask Parliament to interfere merely to reverse the previous prescription that, in the absence of a contract, the occupation was from year to year. They did not intend to interfere with the most perfect freedom of contract; unless indeed, as had been the case in certain manufactures of England, it was necessary to do so for the benefit of the weaker party, who could not, from his circumstances, enter into a clear bargain. In Ire- land there was a great demand for land and a great desire to make large farms so that the freedom of the Irish peasant and occupier to enter into a contract was only a nomi- nal one. The great evils under which the occupants of land in Ireland suffered arose from the frequency of evic- tions and the consequent insecurity of tenure and the question was, how this insecurity should be put an end to. Some persons asked for perpetuity, and others for certainty of tenure. Examining the subject of "per- petuity," Mr Gladstone urged against it a variety of reasons, any one of which was sufficient to condemn it, and avowing that neither he nor his colleagues were pre- pared to deprive the landlords of their rights, or to relieve them from the duties connected with their estates, said they were compelled to cast aside perpetuity of tenure as a remedy that they were not prepared to entertain. Their efforts must therefore be confined to providing "security of tenure; and the experience, not only of England and Scotland, but of Ulster itself, had clearly shown that a remedy might be provided for insecurity of tenure without in any way shaking the foundations of property. Having disposed of these preliminary matters, Mr Gladstone re- ferred in graceful terms to the unavoidable absence of Mr Disraeli and Mr Bright, and read a letter from the latter right hon. gentleman, in which he expressed his regret that he could not be at the Prime Minister's side to vote and speak for the Bill, and added, I think it a just and comprehensive measure, and I hope the moderation and patriotism of Parliament will enable it soon to become law., Before stating the provisions of the Bill which he was about to introduce, the right hon. gentleman stated that it would be coupled with other measures which would have general reference to all parts of the United King- dom, and which would give increased facilities for the transfer of land, and would deal with cases of succession under intestacy. The portion of the Bill itself which dealt with ownership would enlarge the powers of limited owners in Ireland to lease and sell estates and it would provide that loans of public money should be made to oc- cupiers who might be disposed and able to purchase from their landlords the cultivated lands which they occupied. At the same time, facilities would be given to landlords by way of loans to enable them to prepare waste lands for occupation; and in the same way assistance would be given to tenants to purchase these lands. As to occupa* tion, the measure would commence by creating a distinct judicial machinery for the decision of all disputes with reference to land. This would be of a two-fold character, and would consist of a Court of Arbitration, from the de- cisions of which there would be no appeal; and the Civil Bill Court, presided over by the assistant-barrister, from the judgments of which there would be an appeal to the two judges of assize, and-when necessary-to a Court for Land Cases to be created in Dublin, and to consist Eartly of equity and partly of common law judges. The oldings in Ireland the right hon. gentleman divided into r four classes: those under the Ulster custom, those under customs more or less analogous, yearly tenancies not pro- tected by any custom, and leaseholds and he stated in detail the manner in which each class would be dealt with. Premising that the Bill would refer only to agri- cultural holdings, he said that the Ulster custom, which included compensation for improvement as well as a pay- ment for goodwill, would wherever it existed be converted into law, and the courts would be required to give to it the same living effect as attached to actual law. All that they would have to ascertain would be whether or not the custom existed. The other analogous customs would be legalised, only subject to certain restrictions. The tenant would be allowed to claim compensation only when he had been evicted for some reason other than non-pay- ment of rent, or subletting or subdividing his holding, ex- cept for the purpose of building cottages and providing gardens for labourers. All arrears of rent, and any damage done by the tenant to the farm, might be pleaded as a set-off by the landlord, and the owner might bar the effect of the custom by giving the tenant a lease for thirty- one years. In cases in which there was neither a custom nor a lease the Bill would establish a scale of damages, according to which the tribunals might award compensa- tion for evictions but parties having holdings of 250 a year and upwards would be allowed to contract themselves out of this scale by receiving leases from their landlords, In applying the scale the judge would be required to have regard to the improvements which had been made by the reg tenant, and to the loss he was about to sustain by his eviction; and the tenant would be allowed to prefer a claim for permanent buildings and the reclamation of land entirely apart from this scale. For a holding not ex- ceeding the value of 210 the judge might award a sum not exceeding seven years for one between 210 and £50, five years; for one between 2.50 and 2100, three years; and for one exceeding 2100 two years' rent. The landlord might plead in mitigation of damages, and money would be advanced to him to meet these charges; and it would be provided that in order that everything might be re- garded and dealt with as an "improvement," it must add to the letting value of and be suitable to the hold- ing. Under these circumstances the measure would reverse the present presumption of law, and instead of improvements being, as now presumed to be, the pro- perty of the landlord, they would, unless the contrary could be shown, be presumed to belong to the tenant; and this provision would, under certain circumstances, apply not only to future improvements, but to those which had already been made. The Bill would not contain any pro- visions for the general encouragement or discouragement of leases; but any landlord would be allowed to emancipate his land either from custom" or from the scale of dam- ages by granting a lease for thirty-one years, upon condi- tion that he should leave the tenant the right to claim certain compensation at the end of his tenancy, and that the terms and covenant of the lease should be approved by the court. Another evil which it was necessary to deal with was the exaction of exorbitant rents, to which the Irish peasantry had for many years been compelled by a "deadly necessity" to submit, After the passing of this Bill, the right hon. gentleman emphatically declared that every Irishman must be responsible for the fulfilment of any contract into which he entered; but with reference to bargains made before the passing of this measure, the court might give compensation to a tenant evicted for non-payment of an excessive rent. Notices to quit would be extended from six to twelve months, and in order to render more expensive the amusement of these who were in the habit of issuing them without necessity, they would be made liable to a stamp duty of 2s. 6d. These last two proposals were received with general expressions of ap- proval, while the suggestion of a stamp excited a good deal of merriment. Having noticed an alteration which is to be made in the incidence of the county cess, Mr Gladstone brought to a close his description of the Bill; and in a few minutes more he concluded a speech of three hours' duration with a brilliant and impressive peroration, which won cheers from all parts of the House, and so excited some of the occupants of the strangers' gallery that they were led to violate the rules of the House by clapping their hands. It was not to be expected that any one would attempt to discuss a measure so complex and com- prehensive as this upon the evening of its introduction; and Mr Hardy wisely eonfined himself almost entirely to a recognition of the candid and conciliatory manner in which the subject had been treated by the Prime Minister, and a promise that the Bill would be dealt with in a similar spirit by himself and his friends. The second reading of the Bill was, with his consent, fixed for the 7th March. WEDNESDAY. The House of Commons sat for twenty minutes only, and dis- patched the business on the paper with unprecedented rapidity, considering that one of the subjects disposed of has in various sessions occasioned long and excited debates, and that another was of a novel character, and involved large social and political results. The former of these was the Bill of Mr T. Chambers, permitting marriage with a deceased wife's sister, which the House read a second time without debate Mr M'Laren, how- ever, intimated that in committee he should move to omit Scotland from the Bill. Mr Jacob Bright also obtained leave to introduce a Bill to enable women, being householders, and pos- sessed of the qualification already established by law, to vote for members of Parliament. And Lord Enfield brought in a Bill, founded on the recommendations of a select cemmittee, to amend the laws relating to the qualifications, summoning, attendance, and remuneration of special and common juries. Both Bills were subsequently read a first time, and then the House adjourned. THURSDAY. The House of Lords spent the greater part of its sitting in discussing the arrangement of public business. Several noble lords repeated their annual complaints that in the early part of the session they are left without work, while at the end of the period they are overwhelmed by measures which they have no time fairly to examine, and which they are compelled to accept or reject without adequate consideration, The members of the Government who took part in the debate gave the invariable assurance that everything that was possible should be done to provide their lordships with immediate occupation, to expedite the business of Parliament, and to ensure to the peers ample opportunity for the discussion and examination of all the measures to which they might be asked to give their assent; and the discussion, as usual, ended without any practical result. THE EDUCATION BILL. Although the House of Commons was by no means so full as it was when Mr Gladstone introduced the Irish Land Bill on Tuesday night, there was a very large attendance of members to listen to Mr Forster's exposition of the Education Bill; and some dozen or so of peers—conspicuous among whom were the President of the Council (Earl de Grey and Ripon), and the Archbishop of Armagh—occupied seats over the clock. There were 17 questions upon the paper, but many of them referred to matters of minor importance, and when we have stated that .Mr Lefevre promised to state in a few days the views entertained by the Board of Trade upon the subject of street tramways that Mr Fawcett undertook that if the Government declined to take up the question of parliamentary election expenses, he would himself give the House an opportunity of considering it; and that there was a short conversation as to the date at which the House should be asked to go into committee upon the Bill for legalising marriage with the sister of a deceased wife we have said all that is necessary as to the results of the parlia- mentary catechism. The public business had been delayed by a discussion and division upon the second reading of a Scotch private Bill, and it was twenty minutes past five o'clock when Mr W. E. Forster rose to ask leave to bring in a Bill toprovide for public elementary education in England and Wales. The Vice- President of the Council was loudly cheered as he took his Elace at the table; but before he was allowed to proceed with is address Sir George Jenkinson insisted upon presenting a petition from some place in the west of England expressing ap- proval of the existing system of education. When this obstacle had been got rid of, Mr Forster. who had for the moment re- sumed his seat, again rose, and this time was allowed to go on without interruption. The right hon. gentleman did not occupy much time in demonstrating the necessity for the provision of increased means of elementary education. He fully recognised the value of the voluntary efforts of past years, and the im- portance of the results which they had produced; but a brief reference to the number of schools at present assisted out of the Parliamentary grant, and a more detaded statement of the re- sults arrived at by the Commissioners who had examined the educational condition of Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds, led naturally to the conclusion that the nation is suf- fering from much imperfect education, and much absolute ignorance; and brought the right hon. gentleman to the declara- tion that the Government and Parliament had in this matter two duties to perform—to cover the country with good schools, and to induce parents to send their children to school. In per- forming the first of these tasks, they must remember the duty to the parents and the taxpayers, and must take care that while rebuilding they did not destroy. Their endeavour must be to complete the present voluntary system, and to fill up the gaps which existed in it, sparing money where it could be spared, and spending it freely where it was needed. In the first instance, the country wouid under the provisions of this Bill be mapped out into educational districts. In towns these districts would be conterminous with the limits of boroughs, in the country with those of parishes, and in the metropolis with those of the work- house school districts, where they existed, and where they did not with the boundaries of vestries. In order to ascertain the educational condition of these districts, the Government took power to obtain returns of the number of schools and scholars, and to appoint inspectors to test the quality of the schools. Where elementary education was sufficient^ efficient, and suit- able-that was where the schools were sufficiently numerous, the teaching was good, and there were no restrictions, religious or other, to which parents could reasonably object-the district would be left alone. Where the educution was not sufficient, provision must be made. In future all schools that would sub- mit to inspection, private or public, denominational or secula* would be recognised as public elementary schools, subject to the conditions that they should keep up a standard of efficiency, that inspection should cease to be denomirawonal, and that a stringent conscience clause, which would be set out in the Bill, should be rigidly enforced. Upon these terms all schools, in- cluding secular as well as denominational ones, would be per- mitted to receive the benefit of the parliamentary grant. Where new schools were required, the arrangement for their provision would be as followsA year would be allowed to elapse, in order to see if the schools could be provided by voluntary effort; but if this source failed, then school boards would be called into existence, and would be required to erect schools, the cost of which would be defrayed out of rates, aided by the parliamentary grant. In towns, these boards would be elected by the town councils, and in the country districts by vestries or select ves- tries. Absolute freedom would be allowed as to the per- sons to be selected, subject only to the condition that each board should consist of not less than three or more than twelve members. No ex-officio members, or Government nominees, would sit upon these boards; but if any one of them failed to perform its task of providing schools, the Government would step in, do the work, and then hand back the district to the board. The payment of school fees would be continued, but the boards would be allowed to establish free schools where they could prove to the Government that a necessity existed for their erection, and to give free tickets—secured against any stigma of pauperism—to parents who could not afford to pay for their children. The schools would, as a rule, be thus supported —one-third out of school fees, one-third out of the parlia- mentary grant, and one-third out of rates or subscriptions, The rate where levied would be a charge of the poor-rate, and if it exceeded threepence in the pound, the district would receive additional assistance from the Parliamentary grant. The school boards might either build new schools or assist existing schools but if they assisted any school, they must assist all schools in equal proportions. With reference to the schools which they might provide they would stand exactly in the same position as the managers of voluntary schools. The religious difficulty had not escaped the attention of the Govern ment. They were disposed to think that its importance had been exaggerated; and after much consideration they had, as Mr Forster announced amid general expressions of approval, de- termined not to restrict the action of the school boards with re- ference to religious instruction, but to content themselves with the enforcement of an efficient conscience clause. To secure the attendance of the children in the school it had been determined to adopt—" After much deliberation the Government have per- mitted me to put before the House," were Mr Forster's words— the principle of direct compulsion; and power would be given to the school boards to frame by-laws compelling the attendance of all children between the ages of five and twelve under a pen- alty (to be levied upon the parents) of 5s. for each offence, un- less the parent could prove some reasonable excuse—that the children were educated elsewhere, sickness, or some unavoidable cause, or the absence of any public elementary school within a distance of one mile. The announcement that the Government intended to adopt the principle of compulsion had excited warm expressions of approval from hon. members on both sides, but the explanation of the mode in which it was to be carried out fell rather flatly upon the House, and excited no cheers at alL When this question had been disposed of, Mr Forster had only one or two minor provisions to explain; and he concluded his speech, which occupied just two hours m delivery, with an eloquent and forcibly delivered peroration, in which he urged the importance of at once providing sound and sufficient elementary education for the whole population of the United Kingdom, in order that we might prepare our work- men for competition with foreigners, might ensure the safe working of our constitutional institutions, and might secure our power and influence as a nation. The cheers which followed the close of the right hon. gentleman's speech were both loud and hearty, and proceeded from all parts of the House. Whatever may be the fate of his measure there can be no doubt as to the success which attended his explanation of its provisions. The conversation which followed his address was shared in by many hon. members who have especially distinguuished themselves by the part they have taken m the educational movement; and although none of them committed themselves to a decided judgment upon the measure, pretty clear opinions were expressed upon some of its provisions. Lord R. Montagu alone seemed inclined to think that no legislation is required upon the subject. Everyone else recognised the necessity of at once providing a really national system of elementary education, and acknow- ledged the prospect which this Bill seemed to hold out of a final settlement of this most difficult question. Lord Sandon expressed approval of the BilL Mr Dixon and Mr Fawcett expressed doubts as to the sufficiency of the method in which the compulsory principle was to be applied, and in which the religious difficulty was to be dealt with; while Mr Mundella and Mr Melly gave a more cordial reception to the measure. Mr Cowper praised the completeness and comprehensiveness of the Bill; and the chief fault found with it by Sir J. Pakington was, that it did not provide for a satisfactory reconstruction of the educational department. Other hon. gentlemen also addressed the House, and after Mr Forster had made some explanations, and Mr Whalley had questioned the advantages of education, leave was given to bring in the Bill, and the second reading was fixed for the 15th March. After disposing of some other business the House adjourned.

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