Stansfeld to Under-Secretary of State
Treasury Chambers
3rd December 1869
I am directed by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury to acquaint you, for the information of Earl Granville, that My Lords have had before them the Ordinance No 21 of 1869 "To Establish Public Schools throughout the Colony of British Columbia," transmitted in your letter of 18th ult.
I am to state that as provision has been made in the Estimates fortheManuscript image the current year for educational purposes, out of which My Lords presume that the Grants to be made under the authority of the Governor, as provided in the Ordinance, will be issued, they see no reason to object to the Ordinance.
I am,
Your obedient Servant
James Stansfeld
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Holland
The Ordinance to establish Public Schools in B.C. is to be sanctioned—but how much of the minutes on 6250 should be embodied in the confirming despatch.
WR 4.12.69
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Sir F. Sandford
Upon the latter part of Mr Robinsons minute I offer no opinion. The Ordinance may be sanctioned, so far as the legality of it is concerned.
HTH 4.12.69
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In sanctioning the measure, I sd inform the Governor that, from whatever source public grants may continue to be made to denominational schools, such Schools cannot receive any aidManuscript image under this Ordinance: and I sd request to be furnished with a yearly report upon the working of the measure, and its effects upon the present denominational Schools. The amount of aid given to Schools of both classes, and the conditions under which it is given, should also be stated. It is to be hoped that suitable arrangements will be made for ensuring, by a System of Inspection, that the Public Grants will be given only to those Schools in which satisfactory results are attained.
FRS 7 Dec. 69
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N.B. It is a question whether state supported Schools will not necessarily kill out those that depend mainly upon Voluntary effort.
This experiment will be worth watching—tho' its results may be shewn too late for instruction at home.
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Lord Granville
This measure will do grievous injustice if it makes local taxes for education compulsory on the one[s] who cannot conscientiously send their children to schools supported by them. It would be in that case establishing a system in British Columbia which has been tried, found wanting,Manuscript image & condemned in Trinidad. This system, as Mr Keenan has shewn, is not the system of the Irish National Board.
I cannot agree with Sir F. Sandford that the experiment whether these s[t]ate supported schools will not necessarily kill out the schools which being voluntary, are certainly such as the parents wish for, will be interesting to watch—Manuscript image& I think it probable that the parents who, conscientiously objecting to this system, will still have to pay for it will agree with my view.
I think it would be wise to ask the Governor to consider Mr Creases despatch saying, that upon the understanding that an ordinanceManuscript image will be passed bringing the present one into harmony with the principles there laid down it will be sanctioned.
WM 10/12
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Wait till Mr Forster's bill is explained. It will I think meet this case.
G 19/12
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Mr Herbert
Mr Forster having explained his Education scheme I circulate these papers again.
See Lord Granville's minute.
CC 22/2
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See separate minute.
RGWH Mar 4/70
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Lord Granville's observation, that Mr Forster's Bill will probably meet this case, appears to me to be correct.
2. As I read the Ordinance, the intention at all events, if not the effect of it, is to allow (as Mr Forster's Bill allows), any school, denominational or other, to receive a grant of public money as a "common school," at the discretion of the Governor in Council. The previous Ordinance of 1865, requiring the Common Schools to be strictly non-sectarian, is repealed; but the Govr in Council may require the text-books used in schools under the new Ordinance to be non-sectarian, and the provision enabling the minister of any denomination to teach religion to the children of his persuasion at convenient hours is retained. There is, however, no "conscience clause" exempting scholars, whose parents so desire, from attending such religious instruction as may be given in the school. Neither isthereManuscript image there any specific provision for ascertaining whether the existing school of a district gives sufficient educational accommodation such as every sect can avail itself of; nor for withdrawing aid from any school which fails or ceases to comply with this requirement.
3. The ordinance is in fact too rudimentary; leaving too much to be filled in by the Governor in Council; and as the local Board have the power of imposing an educational poll tax upon all males over 20 years of age, it seems necessary that the regulations should be clearly defined in the Ordinance; so as to secure to the people of each denomination that their children may be taught their own religion, and shall not, except by consent, be taught any other religion, in the School.
4. Such an arrangement wd apparently be admissible under Mr Forster's Bill, and resembles the Irish National System, to a considerable extent.
5. I am perfectly aware that the RomanCatholicManuscript image Catholic and Church of England clergy will in many cases conscientiously resist this system, saying that religion should be thoroughly intermixed with education, & that they must have access to their School at all hours. The state may however properly reply that these are views which the denominations may carry out at their own cost, but that only one sort of education can be paid for by public money, that is, education which is non-sectarian when so desired, but not consequently non-religious.
6. I should be inclined to write to the Govr in terms of the first three paragraphs of this minute (if they meet Lord Granville's views) and to recommend the amendment of the Ordinance by the introduction of a "conscience clause" similar to Clause 7 of Mr Forster's Bill, thus leaving it permissible for the School of any denomination to be a "Common School" provided that it conforms to the regulations contained in that Clause; and I should also suggest the adoption of the other provisions, so far as they are applicable, (and mutatis mutandis) of that Bill, especiallytheManuscript image the Clauses from 82 to the end; because they furnish a machinery useful for many purposes not provided for in the Ordinance.
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G 10/3
The Ordinance so amended will apparently still be in accordance with the present balance of opinion in the Colony out of which this compromise has sprung. It will not perhaps be what any one person would have desired; but in educational matters, quot homines, tot sententia.
RGWH Mar 4/70
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It is in the essence of the Irish N. System that the schools should be under local patrons, who have the appointment & removal of the schoolmasters. This I think should be pointed out, & a copy of Mr Keenans report on education in Trinidad should be sent—intimating that the more the system in B. Columbia was framed on that model the more it would meet with your approval.
WM 4/3
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Printed copy of Elementary Education Bill, "A Bill to Provide for public Elementary Education in England and Wales," 1870 (16 pages).
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Granville to Musgrave, No. 27, 16 March 1870.