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tiality, endeavoured on all occasions to protect the interests of the minority from civil injustice, while they have paid due respect both to the rights of conscience, and to the religious institutions and convictions of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects.
I am, &c.,
JAMES Philips KAY SHUTTLEWORTH. The Rev. Robert Eckett, 6, Argyle-square.
At the COUNCIL Chamber, WHITEHALL,
EXPLANATORY MINUTE, June 28, 1847. Read letters addressed on April 5th and April 6th, 1847, to the Lord President of the Council from the United Committees of Privileges and Education of the Wesleyan Conference.
Read also the letter addressed by direction of the Lord President of the Council and Lord John Russell to the Secretaries of the United Committees of Privileges and Education.
Ordered, That this letter be now entered on the Minutes of this Committee.
Committee of Council on Education, Council Office, GENTLEMEN,
Whitehall, April 7, 1847. Your letter, dated April 6th, has been under the consideration of the Lord President of the Council. His Lordship has informed you that he has communicated with Lord John Russell on the subject of your inquiries, and that I am directed to furnish you with the following explanations on the several matters to which they relate, resulting from recent deliberations of the Committee of Council.
1. Schools not connected with the National and the British and Foreign School Societies have been admitted to the benefits derivable from the parliamentary grants, by means of the Minute of the 3rd of December, 1839. It was their Lordships' intention, when they adopted the Minutes of August and December, 1846, to remove the stringency of the preamble to the Minute of the 3rd of December, 1839, which declares, that if the school be not in connection with either of those societies, the Committee of Council will not entertain the case, unless some special circumstances be exhibited to induce their Lordships to treat the case as special. This part of the preamble having been removed, the schools recognised by the Education Committee of the Wesleyan connection would be admitted to the benefits of the public grants on the conditions observed in common, both by schools connected with the National and with the British and Foreign School Societies,
But no school would be admitted to the enjoyment of these advantages which did not fulfil the requirement contained in the resolutions with which the Minute of the 3rd of December, 1839, concludes, namely, that the daily reading of a portion of the Scriptures shall form part of the instruction in the school.
It has always been intended by the Committee of Council that these words should be understood as requiring that the entire Bible, in the authorized version, should be required to be in use in schools aided by public grants, so far as such a condition did not interfere with the constitution of the schools of the British and Foreign School Society, as founded under the patronage of His late Majesty George III., and subsequently sanctioned by Parliament since 1833, and which constitution includes the use of the Holy Scriptures, or extracts therefrom.
Their Lordships have not superseded the operation of their Minute of 3rd December, 1839, by their Minutes of August and December, 1846. The whole series of minutes are connected, and are to be deemed mutually explanatory.
Their Lordships have hitherto made no provision for the extension of aid to Roman Catholic schools, but they have not by their recent nor by any preceding minutes precluded themselves from presenting to Parliament further minutes, by which, upon a full consideration of the wants of the population and the constitution of the school, they may be enabled to grant such assistance. These further minutes, when presented, will make a separate provision for Roman Catholic schools, and will in no degree unsettle the basis on which aid is now granted to other schools. Full opportunity will be given for the consideration and discussion of such minutes before Parliament is called upon to carry them into execution; and no one who agrees to accept aid under the present minutes will be thereby in any degree pledged to approve these future minutes, or precluded from offering to them such opposition as he may think expedient.
2. The Committee of Council are appointed to superintend the distribution of parliamentary grants for promoting education in Great Britain. It is, therefore, obviously not within their Lordships' discretion to devote any part of these grants to ecclesiastical or other purely spiritual uses. In framing all their minutes, from those of 1839 to those of August and December, 1846, the Committee of Council have had in view this distinction. Unless, therefore, in their recent minutes, the office of schoolmaster be regarded as a function apart from that devolving on the clergy and ministers of religion, their Lordships cannot fulfil their obligation to apply the parliamentary grant solely to purposes of education. If they were to use it in aid of the stipends of teachers in the responsible exercise of ecclesiastical or other spiritual functions, this fund would insensibly become a means of support as much for ministers of religion as of masters of schools. They have accordingly made no such provision in their minutes of August and December, 1846.
To these views of the character of the office of a teacher in an elementary school, and of their Lordships' discretion in the distribution of the parliamentary grant, they will consider it their duty to adhere.
3. The Committee of Council on Education having, in a preceding part of this letter, signified their readiness to admit schools recognised by the Education Committee of the Wesleyan connection to a participation in the parliamentary grant, on the conditions common to other schools, their Lordships are disposed to provide for the inspection of Wesleyan schools in a manner similar to that by which they have provided for the inspection of British schools.
In appointing inspectors of British schools, my Lords have not consented to admit, as a valid objection to the appointment of an inspector, that he did not belong to some particular religious communion. Their Lordships have desired to select for such appointments gentlemen who would impartially perform the duties of their office, while they acted in harmony with the religious communion with which the schools inspected by them were connected. But they have not for this purpose considered it desirable, or scarcely practicable, that each inspector should belong to the religious communion with which the schools inspected by him were associated. It is obvious that such arrangements would involve the inspection of schools in much practical embarrassment, and that it could not be conducted on this plan without an unnecessary addition to the numbers of the inspectors, nor without a large increase of the pecuniary charge of such inspection to the Government.
With this general explanation their Lordships desire to assure you that they are anxious to appoint, as inspectors of Wesleyan schools, such persons only as may obtain the confidence and support of the Education Committee of the Wesleyan Conference; and that they will not recommend any person to her Majesty for such appointment, without previously consulting the Wesleyan Education Committee.
They intend, for the reasons previously stated, that the persons 60 appointed shall also, under similar provisions as to their appointment, be employed in the inspection of other schools.
4. The inspectors so appointed will be guided and limited by the same instructions as those which have been issued to the inspectors of British schools.
5. The Committee of Council have not conferred on their inspectors any authority beyond that of a power to examine and report to their Lordships, and have reserved to themselves the decision of all matters relating to the administration of the public grants under their minutes. My Lords will therefore listen with attention to the appeal of the school managers against the recommendation of any inspector. They have always recognised the justice and propriety of such an opportunity for appeal.
6. The Committee of Council have given careful consideration to the suggestion of the Education Committee of the Wesleyan connexion, that they feel it to be of great importance to the religious character of their schools that their Lordships should concede to the managers of the schools the right to select in the first instance the scholars who, if approved by the inspectors, may be recommended to their Lordships as pupil-teachers or stipendiary monitors. Their Lordships perceive that this suggestion is founded on a misconception of the intention and practical tendency of the minutes. My Lords intend that the managers and the inspectors shall act concurrently. They consider the managers as the proper arbiters of everything which relates to the moral and religious character of the apprentice; and that the inspector, while he receives their certificate on this subject, is to examine and report on the intellectual qualifications of the candidate. They have therefore conferred on the inspector power to examine the whole school, in order to make the comparative intellectual qualifications of all the scholars apparent. While, therefore, it will be ihe duty of the inspec, tor to point out those who are intellectually best qualified, it will be the duty of the managers to make known their comparative moral and intellectual qualifications. It is obvious, therefore, that the inspectors and the managers must practically concur in the recommendation of the candidate for the office of pupil teacher or stipendiary monitor.
7. Their Lordships, having during the last fortnight frequently conferred on the several matters contained in this letter, and having authorized these declarations, will be ready to incorporate them in an explanatory minute.
8. The Committee of Council have further deliberated on the subjects adverted to in the sixth resolution of the United Committees of Privileges and Education, on the 31st of March and 1st of April, 1847. It cannot fail to be known to the United Committees, that the
regulations of Church-of-England schools, in connexion with the National Society, which render instruction in the catechism of the Church of England a condition of admission to the advantages of other instruction given in such schools, were not imposed upon that Society by the Committee of Council on Education. The maintenance of this condition has on more than one occasion been the subject of discussion in the Committee of the National Society, and it is material to the consideration of this subject that a large body of the clergy consider themselves to be under obligations of conscience to make this requirement; consequently, after repeated discussions, this rule has been maintained by the National Society, though the managers of each school are, with the concurrence of the Diocesan, at liberty to admit scholars who do not attend the Sunday-school or Divine worship according to the doctrine and ritual of the Church of England.
Under such circumstances, my Lords, having regard also to the fact that National schools thus constituted have enjoyed the advantages derivable from Parliamentary grants since 1833, have not considered it their duty to make the admission of children of Dissenters into such schools without these requirements a condition of grants under their Minutes for August and December, 1846.
Their Lordships greatly regret that the children of Dissenters are not admissible into Church-of-England schools without these requirements, and they would rejoice in a change in the regulations of such schools, providing for their admission.
While on the one hand my Lords regard with respect and solicitude the scruples which religious parents among the poor may feel to permit their children to learn the catechism of the Church of England, they have felt themselves precluded from insisting upon a condition which might at once exclude Church-of-England schools, or at least the majority of them, from the advantages to be derived under the Minutes of Council.
Their Lordships hope that much may be expected from a careful review of the civil and political relations of the school, which has not at any previous period been so fully acknowledged to be a National
а Institution. Regarded in this light, their Lordships cannot but hope that the clergy and laity of the Church of England will admit, that the view they take of the obligations resting upon them, as to the in. culcation of religious truth, must be limited by their duty to recognise the state of the law as to the toleration of diversities in religious belief, and especially in those who, on the basis of the Apostles' Creed, approach so nearly as the Wesleyan Communion do, in doctrine, to the Church of England.
If their Lordships should find, upon the report of their inspectors, that, in parishes with only one school aided by public grants, communicants of Wesleyan congregations, too poor to provide a school for the education of their children, had, under the circumstances previously related, no opportunity of obtaining such instruction without conditions which they could not conscientiously fulfil, it would be open to their Lordships to consider whether, without a departure from the principles on which the minutes are founded, they could provide for the education of such children.
I have, &c.
J. P. KAY SHUTTLEWORTH.
The Rev. Thomas Vasey,
and Education of the Wesleyan Conference. Resolved
That the explanations given in this letter be confirmed.
That, in pursuance of these explanations, the Committee will no longer require the statement of special circumstances as prescribed by the Regulation of the 24th September, and the Minute of the 3rd December, 1839, in the case of applications from schools not in connexion with cither the National or the British and Foreign School Society.
Their Lordships understand, that by the Minute of the 3rd December, 1839, the use of the entire Bible in the authorized version was intended to be required in schools aided by public grants, so far as such a condition may not interfere with the constitution of the British and Foreign School Society.
That, inasmuch as the promotion of education is the exclusive object of the Parliamentary grants placed at the disposal of the Committee, and as, in the framing of the Minutes, from those of 1839 to those of December, 1846, the office of schoolmaster has been regarded as one apart from that of ministers of religion, no gratuity, stipend, or augmentation of salary will be awarded to schoolmasters or assistant teachers who are in holy orders or ministers of religion.
That their Lordships reserve to themselves the power of making an exception to the last resolution, in the case of model schools connected with training schools.
That the Committee of Council will not employ any inspector to inspect Wesleyan schools without previously consulting the Education Committee of the Wesleyan Conference; and that the inspectors so employed shall be guided in the inspection of Wesleyan schools by the instructions which are applicable to the inspection of British schools.