Page images

tailed attendance, “ irrespective of any standard of attainment." This interpretation of the meaning of the Act was emphasised in a circular to School Boards from the Scottish Education Office.

It was, however, in the sphere of higher education that there happened the most interesting and impressive event in the Scottish history of the year, and one fraught with the most important possibilities. This was Mr. Andrew Carnegie's magnificent benefaction to the Scottish Universities, which was first announced in May. The sum given was no less than 2,000,0001. in Five per Cent. Stock of the American Steel Corporation, producing 104,0001. a year. One-half of this annual income was, under the terms of the trust, to be applied towards the improvement and expansion of the universities of Scotland in the faculties of science and medicine ; also for improving and extending the opportunities for scientific study and research, and for increasing the facilities for acquiring a knowledge of history, economics, English literature and modern languages, and such other subjects cognate to a technical or commercial education as could be brought within the scope of a university curriculum. The other half of the income, or such part of it as in each year might be found requisite, was to be devoted to the payment of the whole or part of the ordinary class fees at the Scottish Universities for students of Scottish birth or extraction and of sixteen years and upwards, or for scholars who had given two years' attendance after the age of fourteen at State-aided schools in Scotland or at such other schools and institutions as were under the inspection of the Scottish Education Department. Wherever any student had shown exceptional merit power was given to extend the assistance bestowed, either in money or other privileges. The trustees named were the Earl of Elgin (chairman), the Earl of Rosebery, Lords Balfour of Burleigh, Kelvin, Reay and Kinnear, Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, Mr. A. J. Balfour, Mr. Bryce, Mr. John Morley, Sir Robert Pullar, Sir Henry Roscoe, Mr. Haldane and Mr. Thomas Shaw, M.P. for the Hawick Burghs ; ex officio trustees were to be the Secretary for Scotland, the Lord Provosts of Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Provost of Dunfermline; and the four universities were to be represented by one trustee each. Both the trustees as a body, in matters of principle, and, in matters of detail, the executive committee appointed to conduct the ordinary administration of the trust, were endowed with very wide discretion with a view to the fullest realisation of its aims in accordance with the changing circumstances of the times. In the event, for example, of there being surplus funds after meeting the primary objects of the trust, power was given for their application for extra-mural colleges, schools, or classes giving instruction of a kind recognised as adequate. Of course the existence of any such surplus was largely dependent upon the number of beneficiaries under the eleemosynary branch of the trust. In this connection it was, at the outset, hoped that

Mr. Carnegie's University Benefaction.

[229 many students would have refrained from making application for the payment of their fees, and considerable disappointment was felt at the manner in which non-necessitous students did, in fact, appeal for assistance. Whether this disappointment was quite justified, having regard to the class of students who had long been enjoying the benefits of the wealthiest educational foundations in England, seemed rather doubtful. But it was understood that in future the trustees were likely, as they were fully entitled, to take measures for restricting participation in the Fee Fund to those young people whose circumstances could be held to warrant their receiving pecuniary help.

The exclusive preference given to non-classical studies under the first portion of Mr. Carnegie's splendid benefaction was regretted by many people, and frank expression was given to that feeling by Mr. Morley in a speech at Brechin (June 5). At the same time there seemed to be good reason to hope that under the wide terms of the trust, its resources would be so used as to develop a liberal spirit in the pursuit of scientific and modern studies.

In the ecclesiastical life of Scotland in 1901, it was to be observed that attention was given chiefly to extension and mission schemes, and that controversial topics like Disestablishment were rarely heard of. The United Free Church successfully vindicated its title to the fabrics and other property of the old Free Church, as against the small dissentient minority, who, in resisting to the end the union with the United Presbyterian Church, had claimed that they were the legitimate heirs of the Disruptionists of 1843. All the same, some difficulties were encountered, chiefly in the Highlands and Islands, in settling down under the new union, but, with prudent action and conciliatory measures, it was expected that the obstacles to peace would be gradually removed. On the whole, as might have been hoped, after the achievement of the union between the principal non-established Presbyterian Churches, a feeling of greater cordiality was a distinct feature of the Scottish ecclesiastical situation ; there was more co-operation among the Churches, and a more tolerant spirit was prevalent.

The International Exhibition at Glasgow in 1901 was a signal success, and, in connection with it, with the celebration of the ninth jubilee of the Glasgow University, and with the numerous congresses held in the city during the year (to which some reference is made in Chapter V.), the western capital of Scotland received a remarkable concourse of distinguished visitors from all parts of the world. The enterprise for which its Corporation had long been well known was further illustrated by the starting of a system of municipal telephones at very low charges, threatening severe competition with the local system of the National Telephone Company. There were, however, those who thought that this enterprise was of a speculative character, and that a little more of the extreme caution which was complained of in London as marking the agreement

between his Majesty's Post Office and the National Telephone Company, in regard to terms for service within the Metropolitan area, might have been observed, with advantage to the ratepayers, in Glasgow.

From a trade and industrial point of view the year was, on the whole, remarkably prosperous in Scotland. The Clyde sbipbuilders, for example, bad a "record” output of 519,000 tons. In the jute trade, which is the staple industry of Dundee and the neighbouring district, there were general good profits and good wages. Flax-spinning, though not very lucrative, was a good deal more active and successful than in Ireland ; the manufacturers of linen goods would have done badly, and some had to close their mills, but, through an abundance of Government orders, many did quite fairly well. Most branches of trade, indeed, had a good year to look back on, but few, if any, except perhaps the locomotive builders, felt that they had a good year to look forward to. Indeed, there was a general apprehension of bad times coming, but if the war could be brought to a really satisfactory end, and a large new demand opened up from South Africa, the outlook, it was felt, would undergo a favourable transformation.


FROM the material and economic point of view the twentieth century made a favourable beginning in Ireland. The harvest of 1901 over the country at large was decidedly good, and the potato crop, both in quantity and quality, exceptionally so. And while Nature thus responded liberally to the efforts of those engaged in the principal Irish industry, there was also a steady development among them of that principle of concerted action, the growth of which had for several years past been the most encouraging feature of Irish agriculture. At the Cooperative Congress, held at Middlesbrough at Whitsuntide, attention was prominently called to the much greater aptitude shown among Irish than among English farmers in adopting the co-operative principle, especially in relation to dairying; and it was stated at the end of the year that the number of central co-operative dairies in Ireland had grown to 200, from the figure of 150 at which they stood in 1899. Their growing produce found a very ready market across St. George's Channel, as well appeared from the fact that the value of the imports into Great Britain of Irish butter and eggs for the first eleven months of 1901 reached 24,959,9741. -an increase of nearly two million sterling on that recorded for the same period of 1900. In these circumstances there seemed good reason to anticipate that the marked economic progress illustrated by the reports of the principal banks for the first six months of the year under review would be further exemplified when the

Economic Prosperity in Ireland.

[231 next figures should appear. The Bank of Ireland declared a dividend of 12 per cent., and the average dividend of five other important banks was 11:6 per cent. At the end of June, 1901, the deposits and cash balances in Irish joint-stock banks had passed by 1,180,0001. the “record” figure of little over 10,000,0001., which they reached at the same date in 1900.

A gratifying feature in the Irish agricultural returns for 1901, and not only from an agricultural point of view, was the growth from 47,451 to 55,471 in the number of acres under flax as compared with 1900. This increase of 8,000 acres, following upon one of 12,000 in 1900 over 1899, seemed to point to a distinct tendency among the Ulster farmers to revive the cultivation of the raw material for the staple industry of Belfast and other towns of the northern province. The Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Ireland, usefully active in many directions under the inspiration of its energetic head, Mr. Horace Plunkett, was giving earnest attention to the subject of extended flax cultivation, and might be relied on to secure for the farmers all the best light available on questions of seed, and of the best methods of cultivation, besides administering the wholesome stimulus of prizes for the best crops grown under proper competitive conditions. The restoration of flax culture in Ireland, and its establishment, could that be brought about, on an extensive scale, under conditions calculated to secure a good quality of fibre, could not fail to be of material advantage to the old textile industries of Belfast. In 1901 those industries had one of the least favourable years which they had experienced for a considerable period. Alike in the spinning and weaving departments there were low prices and much depression. In the brown power-loom linen manufacture short time had to be worked in some districts, and the failure of several Belfast firms was recorded. That circumstance, most regrettable in itself, operated as a check on supplies, and so somewhat braced prices, and at the end of the year there was a revival of the demand from the United States, and a general feeling that the bottom had been reached, and that the trade outlook was beginning to brighten. The white linen trade also suffered from considerable, if not such severe, depression, except in goods of the highest qualities ; but here also there were signs of improvement at the end of the year. The spinners were still doing very poorly, though doubtless they cherished hopes of revival with that of the manufacturing branches.

Very different was the record of the other great industry of Belfast—that of shipbuilding. The principal firm, Messrs. Harland & Wolff's, stood first in the world for individual output, the vessels launched by them in 1901 reaching the great total of 92,316 tons. These included the Celtic, launched April 4, of nearly 21,000 tons gross register, which is much the largest ship ever constructed, and six other very important

passenger, or combined passenger and cargo, steamers of the most improved type. The other Belfast shipbuilding firm, Messrs. Workman, Clark & Co., came fourth, with 52,711 tons, in the marine construction of the United Kingdom.

The total tonnage output of Belfast in 1901 was over 145,000, and exceeded by 26,000 tons that for 1900, which was the previous highest on record. In view of this remarkable progress, it was not surprising that the shipbuilding industry should show signs of revival in other Irish ports. Londonderry made a beginning in 1901 with two ships totalling 6,428 tons, and a yard on the Liffey had been secured by a Scottish firm with a view to the starting of shipbuilding operations in the course of 1902.

It is not possible to present so favourable a view of the political and social condition of Ireland in 1901 as of its economic aspects. Throughout the year the organisation of the United Irish League was striving to establish its authority over increasing areas in the south and west, and many loyalists were constantly remonstrating at the apathy of the Executive in allowing a system of lawless oppression to be extended and consolidated which, they represented, was in its essence identical with that maintained in former years by the Land and National Leagues. Even in the districts in which the United Irish League was most active it was admitted that there was comparatively little overt criminality; indeed, there was no doubt that the country, as a whole, was exceptionally free from agrarian outrage.

But it was very steadily and widely asserted that there was prevalent, nevertheless, a system of intimidation nearly, if not quite, as thorough and effective as any that had been brought to bear in the days when crime was frequent and flagrant; that the dictates of the branches of the League were very generally obeyed; that honest and law-abiding persons were coerced into joining its ranks, and, in fact, that over a large part of Ireland the law of the League was undoubtedly stronger than the law of the land. For the greater part, indeed for the whole, of the year the Executive declined to accept that grave view of the subject. So late as December 10, Mr. Wyndham, the Chief Secretary, speaking at Exeter, made comparatively light of the United Irish League movement. It was, he said, in the main, a political machine for collecting money from the more impoverished among Irishmen. To say that there were forty branches of it would be a liberal computation. It was made up of notoriety hunters, and its importance ought not to be exaggerated. At the same time, he recognised that oppression must be prevented. Our object should be to give "the maximum of protection to those who were oppressed and the minimum of advertisement to the oppressor.

Order must and would be maintained, and the Government would know how to deal with any attempt to revive that “insane" project the Plan of Campaign. But let Unionists avoid language of exasperation and fulmination. For the rest the

« PreviousContinue »