Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/488

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Lingen
Lingen
468


change, 'Get it done, let the objectors howl' (Abbott and Campbell's Jowelt, i. 185). As secretary, Lingen acted on this maxim, though his strength lay perhaps not so much in his capacity to make changes as in his ability to negative claims upon the public purse. The growth of educational expenditure led to the appointment in 1858 of a commission on the subject ; the Duke of Newcastle served as president and the enquiry lasted nearly three years. At this time Lord Granville was president of the council, and the vice-president, in charge of education, was Robert Lowe, afterwards Lord Sherbrooke [q. v.]. With Lord Granville and more especially with Lowe, whom at a later date he joined at the treasury, Lingen worked with loyalty and in entire harmony (Fitzmaueice's Lord Granville, i. 426 ; Patchett Martin's Robert Lowe, Viscount Sherbrooke, ii. 478). The staunch adherence to 'sound principles,' with which Lingen credited Lowe, was equally characteristic of himself, and he proved fearless and tenacious in the face of public criticism.

The Newcastle commission, which reported in March 1861, gave a lead in the direction of payment by results, but the revised code which was first issued at the end of July in that year, though it did not come before parliament until the following February, went far beyond the committee's recommendations. All assistance from state funds to the schools of the country was merged in a capitation grant depending upon the children passing an examination in the three R's. Examination was, according to the opponents of the scheme, substituted for inspection. Financial considerations were paramount in Lowe's and Lingen's minds in drawing up the revised code. 'As I understand the case, you and I [wrote Lowe later] viewed the three R's not only or primarily as the exact amount of instruction which ought to be given, but as an amount of knowledge which could be ascertained thoroughly by examination, and upon which we could safely base the parliamentary grant. It was more a financial than a literary preference . . . One great merit of the scheme, as it seems to me, was that it fixed a clear and definite limit' (Life of Lord Sherbrooke, ii. 217). Matthew Arnold reckoned Lingen, while in charge of the education office, as 'one of the best and most faithful of public servants, who saw with apprehension the growth of school grants with the complication attending them, and was inclined to doubt whether government had not sufficiently done its work and the schools might now be trusted to go alone' (Humphry Ward, Reign of Queen Victoria, ii. 258).

The publication of the code aroused a storm of criticism, among its opponents being the late secretary. Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth ; a compromise was arrived at, but the authors of the scheme were not forgiven, and on 12 April 1864 Lord Robert Cecil, afterwards Lord Salisbury [q. v. Suppl. II], moved a vote of censure in the House of Commons on the education department for alleged mutilation of the inspectors' reports in favour of the views which the revised code had embodied. He was supported among others by W. E. Forster [q. v.], the motion was carried, and Lowe resigned, demanding a committee of inquiry, whose report exonerated the education office and showed the allegations to be groundless. The attack was clearly directed as much against Lingen as against Lowe himself, and it is testimony to Lingen's power and strength of character that he attracted the animosity which is usually reserved for the parliamentary chiefs of a government department. 'If rumour does not much belie him,' wrote the 'Saturday Review' (16 April 1864), 'Mr. Lingen is quite as powerful (as Mr. Lowe) and a good deal more offensive. It is from Mr. Lingen that all the sharp snubbing replies proceed' (Patchett Martin, ii. 223). It was alleged by his opponents 'that the whole department over which Mr. Lowe and Mr. Lingen presided was in a state of revolt' (p. 221), which no doubt meant that Lingen upheld discipline and kept a strong hand on the public purse strings. The result of the committee of inquiry was necessarily to strengthen his position, which he continued to hold till towards the end of 1869, when he was given the C.B. and promoted to be permanent secretary of the treasury, the highest post in the home civil service.

Gladstone was then prime minister and Lowe chancellor of the exchequer. Lingen was well qualified to preside over the treasury under a government which carried almost aggressively into practice the old liberal doctrine of economy. He was head of the treasury under the first Gladstone government, then under Disraeli's government from 1874 to 1880, and again under Gladstone's government from 1880 to 1885. On the fall of that government he retired. During the conservative tenure of office he had as chancellor of the exchequer his old Oxford contemporary. Sir Stafford