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Introduction of Irish Land Purchase Bill. [103 take over the whole of an estate, in any part of Ireland, or as much of it as an owner wished to sell, with a view to resale to the tenants. Any owner was to be empowered to apply to the Land Commission for a preliminary estimate of the price at which they would be prepared to sanction a sale—being thus saved the cost of preliminary negotiations which might prove abortive. If he was satisfied with the Commissioners' estimate, the assent of three-fourths of the tenants, in number and ratable value, to purchase their holdings would have to be obtained. The Commission would then acquire the property for itself. It was to have the power, subject to Treasury conditions, to buy untenanted land outside the purchased estate, where that was necessary to a proper resale; also to have the right to effect any necessary improvement, amalgamation, or enlargement of holdings. As it was desirable that landlords who sold their property should continue to reside on their demesnes, the Act would afford them facilities for the repurchase of a portion of their estates. Then it was proposed to create a new category of estates. The present scheduling of congested districts was quite arbitrary and irrational in as far as the purchase and resale of land were concerned. The definition of congested districts was, therefore, enlarged for the purposes of the Bill, and the existing provision of the law requiring that there must be no loss on purchase and sale was relaxed. The administrative work to be done under the Bill would be entrusted to two Commissioners, who would be called the Estates Commissioners. From the date of an agreement between the Land Commission and a landlord the latter would be paid 4 per cent. on the agreed price. The advances made would be in cash instead of in land stock, which would be to the advantage of the landlords. The purchase instalments paid by the tenants were to be continuous until the whole amount of the purchase money was repaid, but the instalment would be lowered from 41. to 31. 15s.; on the other hand there would be no automatic reduction after ten years, as at present. As to judicial rents, it was proposed that when either party applied for a fair rent the other party might apply to the Land Commission to state the terms on which an agreement for sale could be properly made. If the applicant for sale declined to receive or to pay the price named by the Commission, the new rent would be fixed against him. If the applicant for the fair rent refused the price, the old rent would continue for a further period of fifteen years. In conclusion, Mr. Wyndham expressed a hope that the Bill, if it found acceptance, would help to bring landlords and tenants together. While Mr. J. Redmond (Waterford) took objection to the provisions in regard to judicial rents, the Bill had on the whole & distinctly friendly reception from representatives both of landlords and tenants.
Mr. Rhodes's Will; his Oxford Bequests-Diversity of Opinion about the
Education Bill-Letters from Mr. Acland and Mr. Chamberlain-Second Reading of Licensing Bill—Protracted Debates on New Procedure RulesEstimates for Civil Services and Revenue Departments—Budget introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer: Income Tax Increased, ChequeStamp Duty Doubled, and Corn-Import Duty Imposed-Debate on Irish Crimes Act Proclamations-Spion Kop Papers—The Peace Negotiations ; Mr. Asquith thereon-Debates and Divisions on Welsh Local Government Bill and Postal Employés' Grievances-Facilities for Mr. Marconi's Experiments--Reception of Budget in the Country; Debates and Divisions thereon in the Commons-Martial Law Discussions in Both HousesAtlantic Shipping Combination; Public Uneasiness; Discussion in House of Commons ; Terms of Combination Published; Renewal of Arrangement between Admiralty and White Star Company-Debate on Second Reading of Education Bill; Large Majority in Its Favour-Lord Salisbury's Speech to the Primrose League-Manifesto of the Liberal League–The Bury Election-Debates and Divisions on Second Reading of Finance Bill — Industrial Law Debate and Division-Relief to West Indian SufferersWhitsuntide Adjournment.
A DEEPLY and universally favourable impression was produced by the publication (April 5) of the will of Mr. Cecil Rhodes. Even those who had looked with the most severely critical eyes on the career of that remarkable man—whether holding that his want of scruple with regard to means more than neutralised any grandeur and nobility in his aims, or that the aims themselves were of doubtful quality-were constrained to join with the great majority of their fellow-countrymen in applauding testamentary dispositions which were original alike in their substance and in the scale of the provision made for carrying them out. gard to South Africa, the clauses of the will were of sufficiently striking conception. They made provision, first, for the creation, maintenance and adornment in the Matoppo Hills, in Rhodesia—where Mr. Rhodes desired that his own remains should be laid-of a burial-ground to be set apart for the bodies of men and women who should have rendered eminent services to South Africa ; secondly, for the scientific cultivation of estates in Rhodesia, in the manner most calculated to afford instruction to the inhabitants of that region, in regard to such matters as irrigation, experimental farming, forestry, market and other gardening, and fruit farming, the establishment and maintenance of an agricultural college being also specified; and thirdly, for the dedication of the testator's residence, De Groote Schuur (with money for keeping it up), and neighbouring property under Table Mountain, to the use of the Prime Minister for the time being of a federated South Africa. Pending the realisation of federation, the grounds might be used as a public park.
But the most impressive parts of the will were its imperial, and even international, provisions in regard to University education. After expressing his sense of the value of the residential system in the English Universities, the absence of
[105 which prevented him from establishing scholarships at Edinburgh, in spite of the number of South Africans studying medicine there, and expressing the hope that the Oxford School of Medicine might become " at least as good,” Mr. Rhodes directed his trustees to establish, as soon as possible, scholarships of 3001. a year for three years, to be held at any college in the University of Oxford. Sixty colonial scholarships were to be assigned-nine to Rhodesia; twelve to Cape Colony (three to the South African College School, three to the Stellenbosch College School, three to the Diocesan College School of Rondebosch, three to St. Andrew's College School, Grahamstown); three to Natal; and three each to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, the Province of Ontario in the Dominion of Canada, the Province of Quebec in the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland and its Dependencies, Bermudas, Jamaica ; not more than one-third in each case to be filled up every year.
Mr. Rhodes also directed the establishment of American scholarships in such number that two might be appropriated to each State or Territory of the United States, not more than one for each State or Territory being filled up in any year. This magnificent bequest was expressly inspired by the testator's desire to encourage and foster an appreciation of the advantages which he "implicitly believed would result from the union of the English-speaking peoples throughout the world.” But further, having regard to his conviction that “ good understanding between England, the United States of America, and Germany would secure the peace of the world and that educational relations formed the strongest tie," Mr. Rhodes, in a codicil, established fifteen scholarships, of 2501. a year each, for three years (five to be given in each of the three years after his death) for students of German birth to be nominated by the German Emperor.
In order to secure that the Rhodes scholars should not be merely bookworms, the founder, in the body of his will, directed that " in the election of a student to a scholarship regard should be had to (i.) his literary and scholastic attainments; (ii.) his fondness of, and success in, manly outdoor sports, such as cricket, football and the like; (ii.) his qualities of manhood, truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; and (iv.) his exhibition during schooldays of moral force of character and of instincts to lead and to take an interest in his schoolmates, for those latter attributes will be likely in after-life to guide him to esteem the performance of public duties as his highest aim.” No student was to be qualified or disqualified for election to a scholarship on account of his race or religious opinions. Except in the cases of the four Cape Colony schools, the election to scholarships was to be by the trustees after consultation
with the local Education Minister. A desire was expressed that the scholars holding the scholarships should be distributed among the Oxford colleges, and not resort in undue numbers to one or more colleges only.
To his own old college, Oriel, Mr. Rhodes bequeathed 100,0001. free of duty, of which 40,0001. was to be spent on new buildings (partly in the actual erection and partly to make up the loss of rent involved in clearing the site), 40,0001. was to be invested for the increase of the income of the resident working Fellows, 10,0001., the income of which was to go to the high table, and 10,0001. as a college repair fund. The college authorities being “ like children as to commercial matters were advised to consult the trustees as to the investment of the money.
Even in the private provisions of the will, the independent thought of the testator was illustrated. His recently purchased estate of Dalham Hall, near Newmarket, was entailed on his brother, Colonel Francis Rhodes, and his heirs male, with remainder to another brother, Captain E. F. Rhodes, and his heirs male, in strict settlement, but subject to the condition that the heir shall not assign, charge, or encumber his interest or (except in the case of the two brothers) omit to spend ten consecutive years in the practice
in the practice of some business or profession, and (if his profession were not the Army) to join the Militia or Volunteers, failing which his interest should determine.
In conclusion, after various private dispositions, Mr. Rhodes left the residue of his real and personal estate to the Earl of Rosebery, Earl Grey, Lord Milner, Mr. A. Beit, Dr. L. S. Jameson, Mr. L. LI. Michell, and Mr. B. F. Hawkesley (who had previously been appointed executors and trustees) absolutely as joint tenants.
If, as was certainly the fact, Mr. Rhodes's princely testamentary scheme in connection with higher education awakened sympathetic applause in all directions, the Easter recess did not pass without affording only too abundant evidence that in the political and ecclesiastical spheres educational legislation was to be a profoundly dividing issue. In later chapters it will be necessary to follow the fortunes of the Government Education Bill with considerable closeness. At this point it will be enough to indicate a few features of its early reception. Almost from the outset two things became clear. In the first place, though at the committee stage in the autumn session a change was introduced which excited considerable discontent among the clergy, for many months there was an entirely overwhelming preponderance of feeling in favour of the Bill among the friends of Church of England and Roman Catholic elementary schools. It was regarded by them as promising the removal of a financial pressure which had long crippled the secular efficiency and even threatened the existence of many of those schools, and as giving this relief on terms which were compatible with the continued efficiency of the schools as agencies of definite religious in
[107 struction. The one serious flaw which they saw in the Bill was the option proposed to be given to local authorities as to whether or not they would administer that part of it which related to elementary education; but it was pretty soon understood that this provision would be dropped if there were a sufficiently strong demonstration of feeling against it on the Ministerial side. Among the earliest evidences of denominational feeling on the subject may be mentioned a commendatory resolution (but deprecating the “local option" clause) passed by the Standing Committee of the National Society (March 26), and approval expressed, but in most cases with the same reservation, by the York House of Laymen (April 3), the Bishop of Manchester (April 3), the Bishops of Worcester and Coventry (April 4), the Bishop of Chester in the Times (April 7), the Roman Catholic Bishop of Salford, and the Archbishop and Bishops of the Roman Catholic province of Westminster, in a resolution published on April 11.
On the other hand, and in the second place, it speedily became clear that the Bill was regarded with very strong aversion in Nonconformist quarters. The main ground of objection taken was that, while throwing the whole charge of the maintenance of denominational schools (apart from that of the fabrics) on public funds, it failed to secure to the local public any real control over the management of the schools so maintained, and amounted in effect to a new endowment of the Church of England ; also that it perpetuated and enhanced the injustice of the pressure of the system of religious tests in the profession of elementary teaching, which would now, it was said, if the Bill should pass, be the permanent monopoly of Anglicans in the schools educating more than half of the children of the working classes. Denunciatory resolutions, based generally on grounds of this character, were passed by the National Free Church Council, the London Congregational Union (April 8), the General Committee of the Protestant Dissenting Deputies, and other bodies; and at an early date a disposition, to which both encouragement and expression were vigorously administered by the British Weekly, was somewhat extensively shown to urge that it would be the duty of Nonconformists to refuse to pay the education rate if the Bill should become law. Dr. Parker, of the City Temple, in a letter to the Times (April 5), avowed himself earnestly in favour of this policy, which was also defended by the Rev. H. Price Hughes. It was opposed by the Rev. Dr. John Watson, of Liverpool (known in the literary world as “ Ian Maclaren "), but the voices of restraint among the Nonconformist opposition were less audible than those of indignant reproach and menace. These manifestations of feeling in the period before the debate on the second reading of the Education Bill culminated in a crowded conference of Free Church Councils, held at St. James's Hall, London (April 15). On that occasion, Dr.