§ Order for Second Reading read; Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, he had several objections to the details of this measure, but as he felt the principle 673 to be sound, he should assent to the second reading, trusting that he might prevail upon the Committee to alter those features in the Bill to which he objected. The interest which he felt in the Bill induced him to take this early opportunity of explaining the vote which he intended to give on the present occasion; and he was the more desirous of so doing because his sense of duty and a consideration of the best interests of the University which he had the honour to represent constrained him to give a vote which was not entirely in accordance, although it was not entirely in opposition, to the petition from the University which he had presented against the Bill. He should hardly consider himself a good friend to the University if he were to shut his eyes to the urgency of the circumstances in which it was placed, and if he were to refuse to recognise the great importance of speedily solving the questions with which it was perplexed. The continued discussion of those questions operated to an unwholesome diversion of the energies of the University from their accustomed course. She could not afford to spare from study and from tuition her best and ablest men, in order that they might be absorbed in controversies concerning the amendment of a system of which the administration was their more proper and congenial employment. And of still more importance than the promptitude of the remedy was the probability that its application would be entrusted to friendly hands, and he could not but admit that the names of the Commissioners announced by the noble Lord were, in his opinion, a guarantee not only that the powers to be entrusted to them would be administered in a friendly spirit; but also that the Bill conferring those powers had been framed with no hostile disposition, and that it ought to be criticised in a spirit of fairness. If, on looking at this Bill, he had found it involved great principles to which he was entirely opposed, then, notwithstanding the urgency of the circumstances, he should have felt it to be his duty to oppose the second reading; but when he found that his objections, which were important and considerable, and which he should, as he had previously stated, endeavour to remove by proposing Amendments in Committee, were objections not to principles, but to the erroneous or excessive application of principles which he admitted under certain limitations, then it was clearly his duty to assent to the second reading of the Bill. The great principles which were 674 mainly involved in the Bill were whether the enactments should be compulsory or enabling, and whether the limitations under which founders gave their benefactions might be altered. The question as to the use of compulsory or enabling enactments was to be considered with reference to the University and the colleges as distinguished from each other, and on somewhat separate grounds. He did not deny that it was the right of the supreme Government of the country to deal with a great corporation like that of the University, so far as regarded the regulation of its constitution and its modes of action; but it ought to be dealt with with a very tender hand, especially as it was in the power of that corporation to apply a remedy if it should think fit to do so; and he had not disguised his opinion that the Government had not shown sufficient consideration for the governing body at Oxford, and that more frank and confidential communication from the Government to the Hebdomadal Board might have produced acquiescence in the course indicated. But, however that might be, he was bound to confess that so far as the University was concerned, if legislation was required at all, it was only on an hypothesis by which it was also necessary that the legislation should be compulsory. It was clear that the University could carry into effect all the changes which were desirable without an enabling Act, and if it did not think fit to do so, an enabling Act would not meet the case. With respect to the colleges, no doubt some legislation was required, but the question was whether it should be compulsory or enabling. The rights of the Legislature to interfere with them was, in his opinion, to be confined within much narrower limits than in the case of the University, but within those limits he thought that the interference must take the form of compulsory enactments to some extent, or that it would be nugatory. There were nineteen colleges at Oxford, nearly all of which had Statutes which seriously embarrassed their proceedings. Two of the colleges had power to alter the Statutes themselves. The remaining seventeen could not move a step unless they were enabled to do so, and one-half of these could not move even if they were enabled, because they were bound by stringent oaths which prevented them from initiating alterations. It was clear, therefore, that they could only receive improvement in the form of a compulsory imposition by an external power, having the force of positive law. 675 He felt no difficulty in admitting that any enactments with regard to the University must be compulsory; and in the case of the colleges, it would be nugatory with respect to one-half of them, unless it should be compulsory also. He had much more difficulty in dealing with the question relating to the property of the colleges and the Statutes, and the expressed intentions of the founders. Legislation with respect to the colleges ought to be applied under more strict limitations than in the case of a great corporation like the University. It ought only to be applied in extreme cases to make the intentions of the founders more effectual. There were four matters requiring consideration—the question of the founders' kin, the question of local preferences, the question of preferences to schools, and the question of the diversion of property. He did not agree with those who considered the matter in the light of a contract, and that the least alteration of the Statutes would form a breach of contract, and create a claim of restoration to the heirs of the original founders. Let the House consider how these arrangements were made, and whether there was anything like a contract under which the State could be said to have guaranteed these foundations for ever from all regulation by legislative power. It would almost appear from some of the Statutes that the Government made a bargain with the founders, and said, "If you will give your property to a great public object, we will guarantee its validity and permanence." But the real state of the case was this—that landed property in those days, being subject to all the incidence of feudal tenure, the Crown had a direct interest in keeping it out of mortmain, and in surrendering that interest received nothing, but, on the contrary, made a concession. The Crown gave charters of incorporation, and those charters empowered the persons incorporated to make by-laws, which, in such cases, were called Statutes; but that these by-laws were to be subject to the general law was so clear and elementary, that it must have been obvious to the founders at the time that these powers were given to them, subject to such surveillance. He did not view the matter as one of contract, but desired to look into each of the grounds on which the founders had established their preferences on their different merits. To the abolition of some he had no difficulty in assenting; but with respect to others he thought they had been dealt with by the Bill in a very reckless 676 manner; and it was his intention to place certain Amendments on the table, to be considered, as he had previously stated, in Committee. With respect to founders' kin, he thought the recognition of lineal descendants without stint, and of collateral relations for one hundred years from the foundation, was liberal and ample. It was not to be thought that founders contemplated that the claim of kindred would be set up indefinitely and for ever, but rather that the word "consanguinity" had in their eyes the definite and restrained meaning which both the canon and civil laws would in those days have made familiar to them, as at the present time a bequest of money in the most general words to relations would be construed by our courts to mean only those relations who would be recognised under the Statute regulating the distribution of personal property. It was also to be observed that our law would not now allow any man, even in a settlement specially intended to provide for his family, to do so for more than existing lives, and twenty-one years, and it was hardly reasonable that he should be allowed to provide for them permanently under colour of a charity. With respect to the subject of local preferences, there was more difficulty—a difficulty which he should in some respects have found insuperable, were it not that he thought that the purposes of local preferences might be carried out more efficiently by a school in the neighbourhood, than by giving the preference to birth or residence, because two or three exhibitions given to a large district could have hardly a perceptible effect in stimulating exertion. In general, too, when preferences were given to districts, except in special cases, such as that of a preference given to the birth-place of a founder, they had been given for reasons which had long since passed away, or for reasons arising from the existence of preferences elsewhere. If these preferences were uniformly abolished, there would be as much gain in one case as loss in the other; and he had, therefore, felt that justice required that if these preferences were interfered with all should be abolished, since the compensation to a district whose preference was abolished would be that you opened it to the preferences of other districts. It was certainly better for the districts as well as for the University that the best men of all districts should have a chance over an enlarged field, than that second-rate men should, from want of competition, obtain 677 prizes which they would not otherwise have obtained. So long as the fellows were merely students—the recipients of the bounty of the founder—there was no reason why, in their selection, local preferences should not be admitted; but now that, by the lapse of time and change of circumstances, the fellows had become the great instructors of the young men of the University, to a certain extent filling the position which was filled in foreign Universities by the professors, and now that they were at Oxford, as he hoped they would long continue to be, the regulating power in regard to instruction, it was of more importance that they should be eminent and distinguished men, and preferences which would not have been injurious under former circumstances became so under present ones. This afforded a strong reason for departing from local preferences with regard to appointments to fellowships, though not with regard to appointments to scholarships and exhibitions. He next came to the question of schools, and here he must confess that his objections very much preponderated over his approval of the provisions of the Bill. He believed that a great deal would be lost to the interests of the University and of the country at large by cutting up the great schools root and branch, as it had been designed to do; and that great care would be required in dealing with the smaller schools, by the destruction of which you might do serious local injury and much impede the expansion of education in remote districts. One of the efforts which ought to be made in these days was to push education into every place where you could find standing for a school; and it was a very cheap way of doing this if by means of a few exhibitions you could tempt persons to send their children to a school which otherwise would not exist. This applied not only to the small schools, but to some of the great ones. Take the case of the Merchant Tailors' School, which was a school of very great celebrity, turning out scholars of considerable reputation, and succeeding very well in attaining the object for which it was established. That school, however, was kept upon its legs entirely by the fellowships of St. John's, which the pupils there might look forward to. The situation of Merchant Tailors' in the heart of the City was not a favourable one; parents might rather be disposed to send their children into the country than to it; if, 678 therefore, these advantages were taken away, the school would have no foundation on which to rest, and an institution now educating some 200 or 300 boys with great success would dwindle down, and finally would be destroyed. The school had not abused these advantages, for a reference to the men who had been educated at St. John's College would show that, notwithstanding the closeness alleged against this foundation, they had distinguished themselves very remarkably both at the University and in the world. This was a case which deserved great consideration, and he hoped it would receive it at the hands of the country and of the Government. Another case was that of Winchester College, at which he was himself educated. That college, which had for 460 years maintained a distinguished place, did not stand merely in the position of a favoured school, but was, in fact, an integral part of New College, with which the founder of that college, by his Statutes, designed that it should be indissolubly connected. By the Statutes the fellows of that college were told to seek, not for those who were best skilled in letters, but for those who had been educated in his college at Winchester. Winchester College had always been restricted to a fixed, and that a small number; and could not, therefore, claim so many Members of this House as the kindred College of Eton, but there were hon. and right hon. Friends of his there whose names would show that it had borne good fruit, and when he remembered that he was then addressing one of the most distinguished ornaments of that school, and that both the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament were from Winchester, he hoped that it would not be considered presumptuous in a Winchester man to say that he thought that school was entitled to some consideration from the House. He would not trouble the House with details, but he hoped to lay on the table Amendments, which should secure the greater schools entirely, and the smaller ones, under due limitations, against abuse. With respect to the diversion of property from the colleges to the University, he felt very strongly; but there was one view of the case which would lead him to consent to dealing with such property to a limited extent. He thought, for instance, that it would be fair to tax the colleges, not to take away part of their property, not to suppress their Fellowships, nor to impose upon them extra fellows to take a share in their government, but to tax them 679 by money payments, so far as the young men of their own colleges were to be benefited by the expenditure for University purposes. If, indeed, the colleges persisted in a claim to be treated as identical with the University, he thought that they would have no right to complain of being taxed indefinitely for the support of that which would then, upon their own showing, be themselves; but this was not to be the case. By this Bill it was proposed to establish private halls, which would admit independent persons, and he did think it was monstrous to expect that the colleges should be taxed further than was necessary for their own members, in order to afford advantages to persons who came there without any reference to them, except as members of the University. He looked with considerable jealousy at many of the provisions of the Bill on this subject, and hoped to see it much modified. He should be very unwilling to see the number of fellows diminished, but he thought it quite legitimate to convert fellowships into scholarships; because he thought that by that course the intention of the founder would in most cases be carried out better than it was at present. The intention of the founder generally was to have well-educated persons living on his bounty, for the purposes of study, and not persons who were conveying instruction to others. He was afraid that the Amendments which he should have to lay upon the table would be rather voluminous; but his object would be to secure as much as possible the application of property in the direction indicated by the founder, and to provide that, where its disposition was altered or rearranged, this should be done chiefly and almost entirely with regard to college rather than University purposes, and that, above all things, no attempt should be made actually to take it away. From the whole statement he had made on the subject of the Bill, the House would see that he must vote for the second reading, and that all his objections were simply objections of detail. He trusted the Government would be disposed to listen to those objections, which, so far as he was concerned, he could assure them would not be raised in any captious or hostile spirit. He hoped they would discover that a spirit of candour and moderation with regard to this measure had been predominant in that House, and he intreated the Government to consider that if they insisted too pertinaciously upon their own view of the case, 680 and refused to give way upon points of detail, but made it a matter of party division, on them would rest the responsibility of damaging a Bill from which, if it were worked out and amended, as he hoped it would be, he for one really expected great benefits would result to the University and to the country generally.
§ MR. BYNG
said, he must express his deep regret that the University of Oxford should have been so insensible to the exigencies of the times as to render compulsory legislation on this subject necessary. He believed very few persons, either in or out of this House, would deny that some change was required in the system now pursued at Oxford. Indeed the University itself, so far back as the year 1837, speaking through its late Chancellor, had declared that steps were being taken for the amelioration and improvement of its educational system, as well as of its Statutes; and in a debate which took place in the House of Lords on the 8th of May in the same year, the Chancellor of the University used these words:—I am authorised to say that they, the governing body of Oxford, are prepared to bring forward those changes and improvements which the noble Lord has so eloquently urged upon the House.That promise the Legislature accepted, in the confident hope that these changes would be introduced at an early period, and had patiently forborne from interference; and yet, from the year 1837 up to 1854, one measure, and one measure alone, had been submitted to the heads of houses and carried into effect—he alluded to the new examination Statute; and even this scheme had worked so confusedly in its details, that changes had been, and were even now, introduced into its different bearings. With respect to the right of the Crown to appoint Commissioners, in his judgment the University could in no more graceful manner have testified their gratitude for the benefits and privileges which they enjoyed from Royal favour than by cordially co-operating with Her Majesty in the views which had been expressed in the appointment of this Commission. As to the measure now submitted to the consideration of Parliament, he thought the new kind of government which was to take the place of the board of heads of houses stood forward more prominently for approbation. The chief objections against the Hebdomadal Board were, first, the manner in which that 681 Board was constituted; and, secondly, the isolated position in which it stood for the most part as regarded the University. The heads of houses were too often chosen from some non-resident fellows who possessed rich college livings; and he thought that the man who spent his life at a distance from the University was the last person fitted to govern its councils or take part in the management of its affairs, for though a man might be exemplary as a minister, and most diligent in attending to his parish, this did not necessarily constitute a knowledge of passing events in a very distant sphere of action, or of being thoroughly well versed in Oxford Statutes and its educational requirements. Now, he thought that under the new system all classes were fairly represented—the heads of houses, the college tutors, the professors, and, lastly, a body of men as accomplished and as industrious, and to whom he would wish to tender his most earnest feelings of gratitude and respect—he referred to the private tutors of the University—for he could not help hoping that some from among that body would be chosen to assist in the government of Oxford. He hoped, too, that the residence of fellows would be more rigorously insisted upon, and that those who were best calculated to assist, if not in the education, at least in the social and moral improvement of the students, would not be permitted to spend the income which they derived from their college at whatever distance from Oxford they pleased. With regard to local exhibitions and scholarships, he believed great and incalculable good had arisen from these, and he should be sorry to see any change made in this respect. In very many cases able and distinguished men had been enabled to enjoy the benefits of a University education, which they could never have otherwise obtained but for the existence of these advantages; and upon this point he would venture to quote the evidence of the senior censor of Christ Church, who said:—I can point to many who have been brought here by local foundations; I am myself one of those, and I could instance many others who have not disgraced themselves, and whose thoughts were turned from school to college by the operation of this sole cause. And I venture here to call upon you not to give up silently this patrimony of the poor, and not to convert into prizes for 'merit,' as developed in examination, what was intended as a relief of poverty and the support of men who would not otherwise have thought of coming here. It is to the establish- 682 ment of local foundations, in connection with training, national, and other schools in towns, that I look for the extension of the University to the poor, and it is the means of providing for such classes which I have especially considered.There was one important omission in the Bill which he trusted the lapse of time would supply. He could assure the House most respectfully, sincerely, and unaffectedly, that he yielded to no man in his earnest respect and veneration for the pure and simple ritual of the Church of England, which he trusted never to see endangered or tampered with; but, at the same time, he could not help thinking that that would be a great and generous measure, and that the Legislature which produced it would be worthy of the thanks of all those who were not animated by feelings of sectarian animosity, which, while maintaining the undoubted claims and privileges of the Established Church, should, nevertheless, devise some means by which upwards of 5,000,000 of their countrymen—he alluded to the Protestant Dissenters of England—might be enabled to enjoy the advantages which a more extended educational system at Oxford would well supply, especially as they had lately been reminded that there was no surer road to honour and distinction in this country than an enlightened system of education. He would not have ventured to rise at so important a moment as this had he not felt compelled to express his hope that reforms might be made in the University, for which he felt sure every one who, like himself, had had the honour and happiness of being educated there, must always entertain feelings of gratitude and respect. It was because he felt that a wider field of education, and a more extended educational policy, was necessary both for the present and future well-being of the University, that he ventured to hope the measure now before the House might speedily become the law of the land.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he was unable to express opinions so favourable to the Bill as had been pronounced by the hon. Member who had just addressed the House for the first time, in a manner which, he was quite ready to admit, seemed a most favourable promise of his future career in that House, and showed the possession of very considerable ability on his part. He confessed that he felt desirous to enter at greater length into the provisions of the Bill, than his hon. Friend the Member for the University (Sir W. Heath- 683 cote). He, like his hon. Friend, was disposed not to offer any resistance to the second reading of the Bill, but to reserve the objections which he entertained to its provisions to be the subject of consideration when the Bill was in Committee; but at the same time he felt bound to state that he had arrived at that conclusion, and at the intention of not opposing the second reading of the Bill, after considerable doubt and hesitation. The present was, however, the appropriate time to consider and examine what were the principles of this Bill. He had heard that question asked, but he had never heard it answered without considerable hesitation and difficulty. In his opinion, that difficulty and hesitation arose from the fact of the principles of the Bill being not simple and uniform, but, on the contrary, manifold, complicated, and contradictory. Doubtless in a great measure, the principles of the Bill were for the purpose of reforming the University, and for the extension of its powers of action; and to these principles he did not take any exception; but were there no other principles in this Bill? He was sorry to say that, in his opinion, there were. In the first place, from the first to the last word of this Bill, he found pervading every clause, even pervading every line, a principle which was entirely unnecessary, unmerited, and uncalled for, and therefore unjust—it was a principle of distrusting every existing University authority. He next found a principle of what appeared to him to be an exceedingly arbitrary, not to say tyrannical, control over bodies which hitherto had been free and independent, possessing great powers of self-government, which now they were about to be prevented from continuing to exercise. Again, he found what he considered to be the worst and most objectionable principle of all—a principle which involved a violation of the rights of property, inasmuch as it interfered with the dispositions made by the founders of colleges, and it interfered, in an unjust and arbitrary manner, with the rights which had accrued under those dispositions. If he were justified in the opinion he had now expressed, that these were principles contained in the Bill, he was also justified in feeling the degree of hesitation which he had entertained as to whether he could, consistently with his sense of duty, give even a qualified assent to the second reading of the Bill. If he had, however, arrived at the conclusion which he had stated to the House, he had done so because he was desirous, before it 684 was too late, of remonstrating with Her Majesty's Government upon the manner in which the Bill, from beginning to end, had been drawn. If he was willing to abstain from making this most important measure the subject of a party conflict, he did so in the hope that the Government would accept in a fair spirit the criticisms and objections to this Bill—criticisms and objections which had been shadowed forth in a spirit, which every one must admit of the greatest moderation, by his hon. Friend the Member for the University (Sir W. Heathcote); and he himself was disposed to deal with the subject now very much, if not entirely, in the same spirit. Further, if he should feel compelled to criticise with some severity parts of this measure, he hoped that the Government would believe that those criticisms came from one who was not adverse to necessary change—that they came from one who was ready to admit that there was great room for improvement in the University of Oxford and in the arrangements of some of its colleges—but that, at the same time, they came from one who was of opinion that, in adopting any legislation which might be necessary to effect those objects, it was the duty of the Government to approach the subject in a spirit of conciliation, of moderation, and of justice, and not to frame a measure which must necessarily give umbrage and offence to the University with which it was to deal.
The first portion of the Bill, and that portion of it which related to the establishment of a Commission, was, as it appeared to him, the subject best adapted to be first treated of. It was intended to establish a Commission, and to place in the hands of that Commission powers of what appeared to him to be unusual and objectionable control. He must here express the surprise he had felt at hearing Gentlemen in that House who had entertained objections to the establishment of that Commission, say that their objections had been disposed of by the names of the parties who had been selected to serve on that Commission. He would most willingly subscribe to any compliment addressed to those persons composing the Commission, and although he considered them to be persons judiciously selected, who were well qualified for the duties they were required to discharge, still he felt bound to state that he could not see what security that House or the University had for the continuance of those gentlemen in the fulfilment of their 685 duties as Commissioners. On a former night the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell) gave the names of two persons whom he had selected to serve in this Commission—the Bishop of Ripon and Mr. Justice Coleridge—and he would at once admit that the names of two persons more competent could not have been selected; but, at the same time, considering what was the nature of the duties of a bishop, and also of those performed by a judge, he had no confidence that either of those eminent persons could spare time for four successive years at least, to deal with the complicated details of University reform. He found by the third clause of the Bill that—If any vacancy occurs in the number of such Commissioners, by means of death, resignation, or otherwise, Her Majesty may fill up such vacancy.Now it was well known that, in those cases, the Crown meant the Minister of the day, and, whatever confidence there might be in the names of the Commissioners, he doubted if the University would feel equal confidence in the Minister of the day, that Minister being the very same person who had drawn up a Bill which was open to so many grave and serious objections. He could not, therefore, think that the names of the Commissioners could be looked upon as a sufficient reason for reconciling the appointment of this Commission to the University, more particularly considering the arbitrary powers with which the Commissioners were to be intrusted; but, speaking of the University as distinct from the colleges, was it necessary to give these powers at all? He thought not, and had no doubt but that those powers were given in consequence of that feeling of distrust to all University authority to which he had already adverted. What was the power more especially delegated to the Commissioners? The power most prominently given to them by the Bill was the power in connection with the establishment of halls for the extension of the University. By the 41st clause it was enacted that if the Hebdomadal Council had not by a certain dayFramed and submitted, for the approval of the Commissioners, such Statutes or Ordinances as may, in the opinion of the Commissioners, be sufficient for carrying into effect the objects of this Act in respect of the several matters and things intended to be done by them respectively under such powers, it shall be incumbent on the Commissioners, as soon as possible after such day as aforesaid, to proceed themselves to frame Statutes 686 in respect of any matters or things so left undone or imperfect by the said University or by the said colleges.Now he asked, had the conduct of the University upon this subject been such as to call for or justify this arbitrary power being conferred on the Commissioners? What was the fact? He held in his hand a Statute not yet submitted to Convocation, but which would be submitted early in Easter term next, in which it was proposed toPermit colleges and halls to annex to themselves, subject to certain conditions, 'affiliated halls,' or houses for the reception of their members, such halls being under special regulations, in regard to economy, or otherwise, at the discretion of the college or hall to which they may be annexed; and to permit the establishment of 'independent halls,' to be exclusively placed under special regulations for diminishing the expenses of the students.By such a proposal the advantages of the University would be extended as effectually as they could possibly be by the appointment of the Commission, and the discipline of the University would be less impaired than by the measure proposed by the Government; and, in his judgment, Her Majesty's Government would have done well to leave the University to arrange this matter without the interference of a Commission. With regard to the colleges, he believed—and his hon. Friend the Member for the University had, if he had understood him aright, made the same admission—that, although even in that case he objected to the arbitrary powers given to the Commission, it was desirable that some external authority should be established, but at the same time he wished the Bill had been drawn up in the shape of an enabling rather than a compulsory Bill, although he thought that some external authority was desirable to encourage those colleges which were not in the first instance willing to make any change of themselves. That object could, he thought, be obtained without the establishment of a Commission, either by increasing the authority of the visitor, or in some other way, and he believed that this Commission was invested with powers so arbitrary and so extensive that the new constitution would not be acceptable to the University, and that the members of the University would not consent to be members of that constitution, which would be over-rode by the powers of the Commission.
Having stated the objections he entertained to the part of the Bill which pro- 687 posed to confer such extraordinary powers on the Commission, he would proceed to advert to the constitution of the new governing body of the University, and in that part of the scheme the Government again showed distrust of all the University authorities. The University itself had submitted the plan of an altered form of Government, to which, in his opinion, no fair, no just objection could be taken; but that plan had been peremptorily rejected by Her Majesty's Government—rejected without discussion, though there was not, he was assured, any disinclination on the part of the University to modify it. And he could not help remarking that it would have been more consonant with the principle which Her Majesty's Government professed to be actuated by in respect of the Bill, if they had done so, or at least left the University more freedom of action in the matter. But was the Bill of the Government free from objection on the score of the governing body of the University? On the contrary, he believed it would be found open to grave, just, and serious objections in that particular. The principle of this part of the Bill was, that the governing body was to consist of three classes in equal proportions. The first was to be composed of heads of houses; the second was to be composed of professors, and here he (Sir J. Pakington) might add that he thought members of the rank of tutors might be admitted to this class; the third was to be composed of members of the University, chosen generally. He would ask Her Majesty's Government whether the mode of election to this body was not obviously open to improvement? Would it not be far better, instead of electing them by means of a body, to be called the Congregation—(he was aware that a body of that name existed in the University, but it had no analogous functions to that proposed in the case of the body he had alluded to)—would it not be more acceptable to the University that those three portions of the governing body should be elected each by the class to which it belonged; the heads of houses, for instance, by the heads of houses; the professors by the professorial body, and the third portion by Convocation. He had reason to believe that, if the Government assented to this change, the constitution of the Hebdomadal Council would be more acceptable to the University, and would be more likely to act harmoniously. He thought, among other things, that the establishment of the body to be called the Congregation 688 would be found of very doubtful utility, if not positively injurious, and that it could therefore be very well dispensed with. It was, indeed, one of the most objectionable parts of the Bill, in his opinion. By the plan proposed as regarded that body, the Congregation would, in fact, ultimately subside into a useless—he might add a mischievous—debating society. He saw great danger to be anticipated from a body who would have the right to discuss everything, without the power of deciding anything; and, as a necessary consequence, he anticipated that it would keep the University in a constant state of agitation and disturbance, that it would be productive of great discord, and that, by the differences of opinion it would tend to create and to foster, it would end in the most pernicious results. He therefore called the attention of Her Majesty's Government in the strongest manner to this point. In connection with this subject, he believed it would be necessary to extend the present functions of the Convocation, but the mischief would be, if the Congregation was established, that the Convocation would in fact be almost entirely superseded. He would next call the attention of the House to the other branch of the subject—that which had been also adverted to as one of the objectionable principles of the Bill—namely, the spirit and mode in which the measure proposed to deal with the wills of the founders of the colleges, with existing rights of property and with the modes in which the fellowships and the emoluments of the University were hereafter to be obtained. To the preamble of the Bill in general he took no exception, but he wished to direct the attention of the House to one point in the preamble. It was there stated:—Whereas it is expedient, for the advancement of religion and learning, to enlarge the powers of making and altering Statutes and regulations now possessed by the University of Oxford and the colleges thereof, and to make and enable to be made further provision for the Government and for the extension of the said University, and for the abrogation of oaths now taken therein, and for insuring the enjoyment of fellowships and other collegiate endowments according to personal merit, and for promoting the main designs of the founders, both as respects the appointment to the said endowments and the continued tenure thereof.Now he would ask the House if those words were consistent with the way in which the Bill invaded the designs of the founders. It seemed to him that only one of two things could be done—the preamble must be struck out, or that part of the Bill 689 referring to the appropriation of part of the college funds for the erection of new professorships. He could show that over and over again the designs of the founders were entirely disregarded, and he would ask the House to look at the provisions in the 28th clause, which established the regulations as regarded fellows, and see if they did not bear out that assertion. That clause said, in substance, that no preference should be accorded to any candidate by reason of his place of birth, kinship, education at any particular school, or from any other cause, over any other person of superior knowledge. Was that what the Government called respecting the designs of the founders as regarded these appointments? The designs of the founders were clear and specific; they referred to all these things, kinship, particular schools, particular districts, particular colleges, and in very many cases to indigence. But these things, though designed by the founders, were disregarded in the Bill; and all gave way, with some few and unimportant modifications, which did not affect the general argument, to the one single principle of examination. The man who could therefore pass the best examination—in other words, to use a phrase well known in University life, the man who was best "crammed"—was to attain these fellowships. Was that a wise principle? Was it in conformity with the words of the preamble? Was there any man of experience who would venture to say that the examination of a young man of one or two and twenty could be taken as a trustworthy test of his future qualities. He (Sir J. Pakington) admitted the principle of examination was, if sufficiently guarded, valuable in itself. But it existed under the present constitution of the University in that form. Examination prevailed in the favoured schools. Above all, however, the principle, as sought to be applied in the Bill, was not in the intention of the founders. They had other objects in view, objects which had been acted on for centuries. Had they been attended with bad results? On the contrary. No man could say that Oxford was deficient of eminent men at any period; while, on the other hand, the intentions of the founders had been respected, existing rights had been regarded, and the principle of indigence, which was entirely set aside by the clause in question, had been specially recognised. What was the feeling excited by the attempt now made to invade the wills of the 690 founders, and change the principle on which these emoluments, as they were called, had been awarded? He had in his hand a pamphlet written by the Rev. Mr. Woodgate, rector of Belbroughton, an able and good man, an ornament to his profession, and in every way entitled to have his authority in a matter of this kind respected, and he referred to that portion of the Bill in which the fellowships and emoluments were dealt with. He said:—The strongest case, however, is that of Worcester College. Here, by the terms of the endowment, some of the scholars, from whom the fellows are chosen, are to be elected from certain schools in Worcestershire, the founder being a Worcestershire man; a preference being given to five schools with which he was more immediately connected; with remainder, so to say, to any other endowed schools in the county, in default of persons qualified from those first mentioned.Here, then, were endowments on liberal and comprehensive principles. Certain schools were to have a preference, but, in their default, the advantage was extended to other persons in the county. On what principle of justice could such a foundation be interfered with, the obvious intention of the founder having been to give a preference to the locality with which he was connected? He repeated that he could not see the reason or justification of such a flagrant act of injustice. Oxford, as he had previously stated, was not deficient in eminent men; though he maintained that the desire to send eminent men to the University was not a sufficient motive for this violation of the intentions of the founders. In the pamphlet from which he had just quoted there was another reference to Worcester College:—Six other fellowships at Worcester College were founded for the 'sons of English parents in the provinces of Canterbury and York, and none other;' a preference to be given, cœteris paribus, to the 'orphans of clergymen of the Church of England.' Seven other professorships were founded for sons of clergymen of the Church of England who want assistance to support them at the University.'The test of this want was a certificate from the clergyman of the parish and four respectable householders. But the 28th clause proposed to set aside that portion of the intention of the founder, as it did the other portions; and the claim of the sons of clergymen would be disregarded for those of the best crammed candidate. There was nothing like a personal illustration of a point; and this was furnished by Mr. Woodgate. In reference to the existing state of things and the proposed change, 691 the rev. author of the pamphlet thus states his own case:—Owing to a sudden change of circumstances in my own family, at the very moment when I was desirous of entering the University, I could not have done so but for the assistance provided by one of those 'close' fellowships, which it is now proposed to appropriate to other objects. To one which became vacant at that time, my fellow-townsmen elected me, and by the assistance thus given, was I enabled to receive the benefit of a University education. And my case is that of hundreds. I may venture to say, that in my own college, and other colleges similarly situated, there are very many who, like myself, would have been debarred the University, but for the assistance thus given. Small comfort would it have been to us to be told (as those boys at the same school must be told, should this measure of confiscation be carried) that this resource was now for ever cut off, in order that the funds may be converted into prizes for 'literary merit,' or to be bestowed on those whose parents' ampler means would enable them to complete their University course without such assistance.He hoped this illustration would not be thrown away on the noble Lord opposite. The case of Winchester School and New College, adverted to by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, was a strong one, and showed the necessity of reconsidering this part of the Bill; for of the seventy scholarships and fellowships of New College, thirty-five were enjoyed by Winchester men. He asked the House to recollect the words of the preamble, and he would inquire whether the main designs of William of Wykeham, who etablished Winchester School, would be carried out? In the petition presented from the warden and fellows of St. Mary's School, Winchester, they gave an extract from the 66th Rubric of the Statutes for establishing that institution; and from the words one might suppose that William of Wykeham had foreseen that some attempt like the present might one day be made to violate the purposes of founders:—In order to complete the number of seventy scholars, as above limited by us, we have ordained that in all future times should be elected and admitted, not those already learned, skilled in letters, and wealthy, or accomplished in arts, as we see generally elsewhere, but those only and exclusively who, as it were from their cradle—that is, from their childhood—must first in our College of Winchester (which, too, we have established and founded for this very reason) live continually on our bounty, and attend to and be instructed in the rudiments of grammar; and who, in their youth and to their old age, are to be supported by our bounty, giving themselves to the study of the liberal arts and sciences in our two colleges aforesaid.He believed that these rights and endowments would not be respected by the words 692 of the Bill as it now stood, and the alarm was great at Winchester and New College last, by the passing of the present Bill, these rights should be, at an unhappy moment, destroyed by the consent of Parliament, carried away by party considerations and the indifference of the moment. He would not detain the House by going into the particulars of other colleges, but he had seen memorials, most powerfully and conclusively drawn up, from Christ Church, one of the finest institutions in Oxford, and from Oriel, the latter college being directed to elect none as fellows but pauperes, humiles, et indigentes; and yet this claim, founded on "indigence," was, according to the Bill, to give way to "examination." His feelings on this part of the Bill were very strong, and he would quote with respect a higher authority than his own—that of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1850, when the noble Lord opposite proposed the Commission to inquire into the University of Oxford, the right hon. Gentleman dwelt with his usual force and power on the necessity of maintaining "local freedom and independence in local institutions." The right hon. Gentleman said:—Into the question of the restraints in the election of fellowships I will not enter at length. It is plain, however, that neither the House of Commons nor the Crown can assume a jurisdiction to remove those restraints. …. It is plain the principle of examination must have some limitation. I would not like to see a Prime Minister or any other Member of the Cabinet appointed by examination. I would as soon have thorn chosen out of a particular county or a particular diocese. And so in the case of fellowships—you may ascertain the competency of candidates by examination, but we all know there may be as much trick in passing through an examination as anything else; and I protest against examination being taken as the sole and only test of the fitness of candidates for those foundations."—[3 Hansard, cxii. 1498.That was the language of the right hon. Gentleman. How, then, could he reconcile it with his support of the present measure? The right hon. Gentleman then went on to say:—What was wanted was, to see the Universities embracing a large number of persons from the poorer classes; and if they wished that object to be attained, they must not interfere in this way with the Universities. The noble Lord had large means in his hands of doing good in communication with the Universities; but the course he now followed held out but little hope of that, because the course now proposed would be resisted by the members and friends of the Universities; and whatever might be said of those Universities, it could not be denied that they formed a great, 693 powerful, and conspicuous figure in the history of this country."—[3 Hansard, cxii. 1511.]What was meant by this was, the appointment of the Commission. The 28th clause, however, excluded indigence; how could the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, give it his support? The right hon. Gentleman then concluded with this proposition, that freedom and self-government were essential to the prosperity and welfare of the Universities. The Bill before the House did not say one word on that subject; it simply said to the colleges, if within a twelvemonth you do not do certain things, I'll step in, and make you do them. Was that the freedom and self-government which the right hon. Gentleman advocated as essential to the welfare of the University only four years ago? He (Sir J. Pakington) read these extracts because the interest felt by the University of Oxford on the question was intense, and because he had a right, when he found a Gentleman of the eminence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer using words so utterly irreconcilable with the principle of the Bill, to ask that right hon. Gentleman on what ground he had changed his opinions and views on the subject. He felt, also, that he had a right to claim the support of the right hon. Gentleman in virtue of what he had formerly advanced. If the opinions of the right hon. Gentleman had undergone that change—if they were in 1854 directly the reverse of what they were in 1850—he had a right to quote the words of the right hon. Gentleman against himself, and as an authority in favour of the views which he (Sir J. Pakington) was now advocating. He attached more weight to the opinions expressed by the right hon. Gentleman in 1850 than to those he now expressed, trammelled as the right hon. Gentleman now was by that strange alliance with a Government from which he was free when he first spoke on this subject. He wished, before he concluded, to call the attention of the House to the last words of the pamphlet of Mr. Woodgate, to which he had previously alluded, and which were as follows:—After looking at this scheme in all its bearing for several years, and trying it by all the tests which, in my opinion, honest men can recognise or prudent ones admit, I can only see in it perfidy towards the dead, injustice to the living, and cruel wrong to those who come after us.These were hard words; but if they were true, they were not too hard. It was no light consideration, even if these words 694 were not true, that men of high standing and ability, of acknowledged piety and worth, should believe them to be true. He appealed to the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) whether it would not be better, even at that time, and more likely to attain the object he had in view, if he were to attempt to frame the measure in a spirit of moderation and conciliation, so as to carry the support of the University along with him, and not allow it to feel that their feelings were outraged and their rights invaded. The noble Lord might, perhaps, boast of the division which had taken place the other day in the University of Oxford, when a trifling majority was obtained to petition against the Bill—a majority so trifling that some might suppose, if there had been a larger gathering of members of Convocation, that the division would have been equal. He would not stop to consider on which side of that division the greater weight of authority lay. The division itself was no matter for the noble Lord or the advocates of this Bill to boast of. Considered in the most favourable view, it only proved that the University was divided in opinion on this question. Was it well to have the University so divided? It would be far better, as he had already stated, to frame a moderate measure in a conciliatory spirit—a measure that would not outrage their sense of justice, less arbitrary in its character, less open to the objection of invading the rights of property, less tyrannous over the authority of the University than the present, and more in accordance with freedom, self-government, and the spirit of the Constitution. Admitting the necessity of change, he would, therefore, abstain—though he did so reluctantly—from resisting the Bill in its present stage. He clung to the hope that the noble Lord would still meet the opponents of the measure in a conciliatory spirit, and would make such concessions as would render it acceptable to those who disapproved of it. If the noble Lord should not do so, the opponents of the Bill must use their privilege, and endeavour in Committee to introduce the Amendments they deemed necessary. If they failed in these Amendments, he for one should not be able to assent to the third reading.
said, that his object in rising to address the House was simply to state the view which he thought a liberal, and one who approved of the recommendations of the late Royal Commission 695 might fairly take of the present measure. He never regretted more than he did on the present occasion the exclusion of Dissenters from the University, and he almost felt ashamed to invite them to consider the reformation of an institution, from the benefits of which they were so studiously excluded. He thanked the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell), not only for the labour which he had bestowed upon the present Bill, but also for the courage and wisdom he had displayed in issuing the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the University. It must always remain as an immortal contribution rendered by the noble Lord to the cause of academical reform that he first broke ground on this subject, and invited Parliament to aid in dealing with the wealthy corporations of Oxford and Cambridge. It was impossible to appreciate either this measure or the objects at which the Commissioners had aimed, unless they considered the state of things which the Commissioners found existing in the University. No one could consider that as either creditable or satisfactory. No one single liberal study was prosecuted in a manner which could be regarded without shame and sorrow. Every liberal science had been sacrificed to the one pursuit of theology and the one object of educating clergymen; and it was not surprising that under these circumstances theology itself shared the general caducity and decline. Some colleges, notwithstanding their splendid endowments, did not even attempt to give instruction in the rudiments of mathematics. Physical science, in spite of the splendid names of Buckland and Daubeny, who filled professorial chairs, was so totally neglected, that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Lowe), in the able evidence which he gave to the Commission, dwelt upon the notorious disadvantages to which Oxford men found themselves exposed in colonial life, on account of their astonishing ignorance of the most ordinary laws of the physical world. Medicine, again, was so entirely neglected, that he (Mr. Blackett) only recollected two gentlemen going through the academical course as a preparation for the medical profession during the seven years that he was connected with the University. The remuneration for law lectures was but scanty, but it was more than sufficient, when they looked at the small number of students who, in threes and fours, presented themselves for instruction. The study of Greek 696 and Latin was conducted through the medium of the works of German and French professors; and even in the favourite study of theology, the failure of the University was conspicuous. Dr. Pusey, in his evidence before the Royal Commission, said, with reference to this point, "Instead of extending our usefulness, we have been gradually losing the preliminary education of the clergy." The Commissioners, in their Report, entered more into detail; they said:—Oxford still educates a large proportion of the clergy; but learned theologians are very rare in the University, and, in consequence, they are still rarer elsewhere. No efficient means at present exist in the University for training candidates for holy orders in those studies which belong peculiarly to their profession. A University training cannot indeed be expected to make men accomplished divines before they become clergymen; but the University must be to blame if theological studies languish. Few of the clergy apply themselves in earnest to the study of Hebrew. Ecclesiastical history, some detached portions excepted, is unknown to the great majority. The history of doctrines has scarcely been treated in this country. It may be safely stated that the Epistles of St. Paul have not been studied critically by the great bulk of those in orders.Such was the state in which theology found itself in the great theological University of England. The Commissioners had no difficulty in tracing the failure of this institution to the suppression of the University, properly so called, and the substitution for it of a vast collegiate system; nor could they forget that the regulation first established by Archbishop Land, that each student should attach himself to a particular college, arose from his intention to suppress Puritanism in the University. It was remarkable that, from that moment, Oxford had more and more divorced herself from the progressive march of English thought and science. The first consequence of this step was, the government of the University was monopolised by the heads of colleges, and its teaching by the college tutors. It was to be remembered that the office of college tutor was generally filled by young clergymen, who, although in most instances, men of exemplary piety, zeal, and devotion, could, nevertheless, scarcely be expected to have acquired profound erudition on any one subject, yet they were called upon to teach on all. The effect of this was, to restrict the number of subjects on which the University professed to teach, and her inability to teach on more was only rendered more obvious by the recent endeavours to extend 697 the curriculum of studies. On this point the Tutors' Association said that there were two prominent defects in the University as regarded teachers and teaching; the first was the want of a body of instructors who, confining their attention to a single branch of study, should be capable of prosecuting it to its utmost limits; the second was the want of means to retain in the University men of eminence in a particular branch of knowledge, hardly any of the present tutors in Oxford looking on teaching as the business of their whole life, or as affording a preparation for future employment. As remedies for the two evils to which he had adverted, the Royal Commissioners proposed the establishment of a Board similar in its scope to that contemplated by the present measure, and the appointment of a strong staff of professors, endowed with funds sufficient to secure the services of the ablest men, and to make it worth their while to devote themselves to University teaching as the business of their lives. The funds for this purpose they proposed to provide by a suspension of fellowships in the different colleges. These principles had been accepted in the Government Bill. He thought the Government had done wisely in proposing to enact, that from the first day of next Michaelmas term, the authority of the heads of houses should cease; and it would have been well to apply the same principle to the college tutors and fellows. For he should no more think of leaving the Corporation of London to reform themselves, than of leaving it to the fellows of Oxford to strip themselves of their endowments to enrich a rival power, which they considered—he was sure most conscientiously—to be of a dangerous and most heterodox description. He thought it was most important that the House should see how professorial teaching, recommended, as it was, by the Commissioners, and adopted by the Bill, was disliked by the present authorities of the University of Oxford. The heads of colleges, in the Report they had lately issued, said that the scheme of the Royal Commissioners, with its ample staff of well-endowed professors, and its unattached students, was one which the University never knew, nor hoped to know, for it would tend, they feared, to substitute information for education and sciolism for religion. The Tutors' Association complained that the professors should be raised from a comparatively subordinate position, and should be invested with the almost ex- 698 clusive direction of the studies and examinations, while they (the tutors) would subside into mere channels for the dissemination of the professors' lessons. This was sufficient to show the House that, if they valued the establishment of professors at all, they must not leave their appointment at the mercy of a class of men who declared the jealousy and suspicion with which they regarded them. In fact, he had no hesitation in saying that a merely permissive enactment would be entirely nugatory. He must now invite the attention of the House to the clauses which related to the appointment of professors; but, before doing so, he must remark that he had never met with a Bill which it was so difficult to understand. A clause commenced with a liberal, sweeping enactment; but we then encountered checks and limitations to its operation which, he was sure, did not proceed from the hands of the noble Lord who introduced the measure. In fact, what was given with the right hand was taken away with the left, and too often the latter seemed to be the stronger hand. Take, for instance, the 38th clause; that enumerated a number of points on which the colleges were to be left free to make ordinances for the amendment of their Statutes, and the most important provision of the clause was that which enabled the colleges to contribute from their annual revenues a sum not exceeding a fifth part to the foundation or better endowment of professorships; and to diminish the number of fellowships or suspend payment of the emoluments of any such fellowships for that purpose. By the 41st clause, this power given to colleges was declared to cease at Michaelmas Term, 1855, and if the colleges had not by that time framed such ordinances for the approval of the Commissioners, then the Commissioners themselves were required to do it. But then came the 45th clause, which was perfectly unique in its kind, and a real marvel in legislation. After the powers given by the 38th and 41st clauses, the 45th clause literally negatived those powers, for it said that—.No statute should be proposed by the Commissioners, purporting to do any of the following things, with respect to any college, that was to say:—(1) Abolish any fellowship belonging thereto; or (2) Suspend the same for twenty years and upwards; or (3) Require the application of any fellowship to special studies when the whole number of the fellowships belonging thereto is not more than twelve; or (4) Cancel any Statute limiting elections to the headship to be from 699 among actual or past fellows of such college; or (5) Appoint any person extraneous to the college to exercise any authority therein; or (6) Abolish any oath other than such as may have been declared unlawful by the provisions of this Act—without giving to such college at least two months' notice of such intended Statute; and if the authorities of such college, including an absolute majority of the fellows, within the said period, declared in writing to the Commissioners that in their opinion such change would be injurious to the college, then no such change should he proposed by the Commissioners.Again, the 38th clause gave the colleges power not only to diminish the number of fellowships with a view to the foundation of professorships, but to raise the income of the remaining fellowships to 250l., and also to found scholarships in their own colleges. Now he would ask which step were the colleges likely to take first, to appoint professors, or to raise the income of the fellows? By the 44th clause, no college was to be called upon to contribute to the establishment of professorships unless it had twenty fellowships. If then they exercised their power of raising the income of their fellowships, he believed that no college, except Magdalen, would have twenty fellowships, and thus be liable to be called upon for a contribution. He had told the House what the tutors of Oxford felt, and in what way they looked upon the proposed new professorships. They had themselves stated how they intended to act in respect to the matter in which the Government invited their co-operation. A letter was addressed by the Home Secretary to the nineteen colleges at Oxford last year to ascertain how far they meant to act in conformity with the views of the Government. Out of the nineteen colleges eight sent no reply whatever; and this was not a case in which it could be said that silence gave consent. One of the colleges—Corpus Christi—had made a most handsome contribution, and had set a noble example by endowing a Latin professorship out of its own funds; Christ Church had offered an endowment of between 300l. and 400l. a year; and Merton College had promised to do its best in promoting this object. But what was the answer of the other colleges? Magdalen College offered to contribute in a proportion which it was hardly possible could be seriously intended. It offered to give 100l. a year to one professor and 50l. each per annum to two others, while the Royal Commissioners stated their opinion that it ought to support three professors at 800l. a year each. The other colleges 700 did not tender any contributions, but assigned various reasons for declining to assist in carrying out the scheme of the Commissioners. He thought this must show the House that it was utterly impospossible to trust to a measure so purely permissive as the present for the endowment of professorships out of the college funds. There was, he considered, one point connected with the regulation of the University with respect to which he thought all parties would agree—that was, with respect to the recommendation of the Commissioners that the idle and nugatory oaths that now defaced the college Statutes should be repealed. The Government attacked this question in the 24th clause, but they only proposed to remove those oaths which bound the authorities of the colleges to resist any change in the Statutes. Surely they could not be aware of what oaths there were in the college Statutes—that the fellows of Merton College swore to talk Latin at dinner in the college hall, and the Fellows of All Souls that the porter should shave them once a week. It was absolute profanation to continue the administration of such oaths as these. It was true that the 41st clause gave the Commissioners the power to make Statutes; but then the 45th clause forbade them to abolish oaths other than those to which he had adverted, without the sanction of the colleges. The obligation of these oaths had been made by some of the heads a pretext for resisting the Royal Commission, and he thought it was a matter too serious to be left to the determination of these parties. The next point was the abolition of local preferences, in regard to which the noble Lord had, in his opening speech, laid down most just and wise principles. The Royal Commissioners recommended that all such preferences should be abolished, and merit in examination made the sole ground of election. Clause 28 did abolish them with certain exceptions; Clause 29 excepted the founder's descendants for ever, and his collaterals for 100 years; Clause 30 excepted the heirs of future founders for fifty years; Clause 31 excepted the cases of close scholars, and of the inhabitants of districts having a population of less than 100,000. As an instance of the present effect of these local preferences, he might mention the case of Mr. Senior, who was elected to a Berkshire fellowship, although he had not been in that county since he was six years old; but he happened to have been born there, 701 and was therefore entitled to a preference. The late Mr. O'Connell used to boast that he could drive a coach-and-six through any Act of Parliament, and no doubt the fellows of Magdalen and New College would find means to drive through the present measure. The next point was most important of all, namely, the obligation imposed on fellows of taking holy orders. The Commissioners proposed to abolish this on the very proper ground that persons otherwise indisposed for them might be placed under the temptation to assume these sacred functions from pecuniary considerations; another reason was, that the multitude of these clerical fellowships tended to fill Oxford with theological controversies. Clause 34 proposed to do away with the obligation; it provided that no person should be liable to vacate his fellowship by reason of his not taking orders so long as not less than three-fourths of the fellows were in orders. The succeeding clauses as to residence, however, tended to diminish the attraction for laymen. Clause 35 provided that a lay fellow might be excused from residence for five years, but surely five years were not sufficient to start a man in the profession of law or physic. Clause 36 gave great privileges to fellows in holy orders as to non-residence; it exempted the incumbents of parishes within three miles of Carfax, and of those in which the college owned the great tithes or any property in land, and it named no limitation as to the value of them. Merton College held two livings in Northumberland, of which they owned the tithes; at present, a fellow accepting either vacated his fellowship, but under this Bill he need not. He held in his hand a document, signed by several members of the University, amongst others by two members of the Royal Commission and the secretary, which declared their conviction that the proposed provisions would only tend to preserve the exclusive ecclesiastical character of the University, and they especially referred to Clauses 34, 36, and 38. They expressed their belief that the number of college livings was sufficient inducement to the fellows to take orders. He wished to call the attention of the Liberal Members of the House to the fact that the noble Lord had deliberately departed from and run counter to the recommendation of the eminent individuals whom he had chosen to inquire into the state of the University, and who were Liberals themselves, as all persons selected by him ought to be. The pro- 702 posed measure must materially diminish the influence of laymen in the University, and diminish the meagre encouragement given to the prosecution of the liberal studies. If it was thought that this was a point of no importance, he would refer to the conduct of the opponents of the measure. They knew perfectly well the influence Oxford must exercise on education in England—that as they increased or lessened the predominance of the clerical element in the University so it would be through the country in general. Dr. Pusey had declared that this was the question, whether the education of the country was to be in the hands of the clergy or the laymen? In former days the work of education was in the hands of the clergy; as they then had the monopoly of learning, of course they had that of teaching. He felt that the maintenance of the clerical element in education would only tend to check the spread of the liberal sciences, which had grown up under the genius and industry of laymen. The susceptibility of the clerical character was not suited to calm investigation. An example had lately been set in the education of the individual in whom all England took the highest interest. He believed it was a fact that as soon as Mr. Birch took holy orders, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was removed from his care, and a layman selected to educate the future King of England. It might be said that Oxford was a place for the education of the clergy, but this was a dangerous argument; to attempt to keep Oxford as a nursery for the Church was incompatible with its position as a sanctuary of literature. Any one who had known Oxford for the last twenty years must be aware how it had been distracted with bitter theological discussion, often on such points as the lighting of a candle or the colour of a gown; sometimes, certainly, on points of great importance, but far better suited for a synod than a school of science. During the time that he had known Oxford, only two books of European reputation had issued from the University press—Arnold's History of Rome, and Liddell and Scott's Lexicon—whilst every little town in Germany, as Heidelberg and Gottingen, was pouring forth works that were to be the basis of Oxford teaching. The clerical inhabitants of Oxford were occupied in theological controversies that produced the persecution of Dr. Hampden, Dr. Pusey, and Mr. Gorham, and had lately shown their influ- 703 ence in the attack on Mr. Maurice. It appeared to him that there was one great omission in the Bill—it did not provide for the admission of Dissenters to the University. But they ought to take care not to do anything that would tend to perpetuate their exclusion; they would do so if they strengthened the clerical element. In the observations he had made, he believed that he had appealed to no principles which would not be recognised by hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House; he had attempted to show that it was utterly hopeless to suppose that the colleges would strip themselves of their endowments to enrich a rival college; he had pointed out the baneful effect of retaining a heap of profane and idle oaths to insult morality and to perplex weak consciences, and, above all, he had shown the bad effect of the Bill in increasing the clerical element of the University. Of course, he did not expect Conservatives and High Churchmen to agree with him in the opinions he had expressed, nor was he much moved by the satisfaction with which the measure had been received at Oxford, but, on the contrary, he looked upon it on that account with greater suspicion. When had the University of Oxford ever before accepted a measure of the noble Lord's with satisfaction? Did he think that Oxford had really abandoned her Conservative principles? He believed that the noble Lord had not well considered the effect of all the clauses in the Bill, and he hoped he would consent to expunge some of them in Committee; for, if not, he should be compelled to admit that this measure was a departure from the wise principles which had been laid down by the Royal Commissioners, and that it was not a measure which the Liberal leader of the House of Commons ought to recommend the Liberal Members of that House to adopt.
§ MR. ROBERT PHILLIMORE
said, he had taken great pains to attain an accurate knowledge of the measure, for it was one in which he took a deep interest. He and those most intimately connected with him owed all the advantages of their station and position in life to the University which was the subject of this debate, and if the Bill he supported would produce the result foretold by the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Pakington), he would be guilty of black ingratitude and the basest treachery, not only in supporting, but in not opposing it to the utmost of his power; but he did not believe that the measure was open to the grave objections so strongly though tempe- 704 rately urged against it by the right hon. Member for Droitwich. The Government had every reason to be satisfied with the reception it had met with in Oxford, and in the country at large. Two gentlemen had from the same premises arrived at the most opposite conclusions with respect to the measure now before the House. The right hon. Member for Droitwich charged the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer with giving up the University to the Commission, whilst the hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Blackett) made an attack on the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) for having given up the recommendations of the Commission to the prejudices of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The one accusation might fairly be set against the other, and the conclusion of reasonable men that the Bill was drawn in a spirit of temperate, wise, sincere, but conciliatory reform. He had heard with much satisfaction the dignified and temperate speech of the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote); it was worthy of the constituency be represented; and he was pleased to find that his only objections to the measure were such as might be obviated in Committee. He understood him to agree with the Government except as to the clauses relating to the schools and open fellowships. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Pakington) had opened a question of much difficulty, which would require much future careful discussion, as to the question of founders' wills. It was not without much consideration that he (Mr. R. Phillimore) had arrived at the conclusion that the Government were justified in introducing these clauses. But it appeared to him, after much reflection, that the right of Parliament to legislate upon this subject could not be denied upon any maintainable ground. He would ask the House to consider on what principle wills were held sacred in every country. People were accustomed to consider this as a matter of natural law, but it could not be placed on such a footing. Nothing could à priori be more extraordinary than that a man should be enabled to declare what should become of his property long after he had been mouldering in the dust. The truth was, that this power, however deeply rooted in the practice and habits of all nations, was a mere creation of positive law. It was limited in all countries of Europe, but in none more so than in this, where so many restrictions were imposed 705 on the testamentary power. On what grounds, in a case of eleemosynary bequest, is the bequeather to say, "My property shall be devoted for ever to such and such purposes, and any one who alters it in any one respect will be guilty of a violation of trust?" Can any one approve of such a doctrine? The whole matter was a question more of discretion and degree than of principle and right. He would not say that they had a right to tamper with such a bequest lightly, and without cause; but the Legislature had a right to consider the circumstances under which the original bequest was made, and, placing itself in the position of the founder, try to ascertain what, if he were now alive, would be his wishes with regard to the bequest. Two things were to be looked at, which must not be confounded—the main object and the specific character of the bequest. If they found that, in any instance, a minute attention to the specific character would conflict with the paramount object of the founder, the Legislature might step in and say, "We will do what the founder would do if he were now alive." It is admitted that time and circumstances have compelled a departure in many respects from the original System, and any further change is surely, therefore, a question of degree rather than of adherence to principle. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford had said that he was perfectly satisfied with the provisions as to the founders' kin in lineal descent, but not quite with those as to collateral relations; but it can easily be shown that they are justifiable. It is urged, with very great probability, that those making these bequests had in view the provisions of the canon law, which would limit the number so entitled. In the case of one college that view was taken by the visitors; and supported by the decision of a court of law. If they considered the circumstances of the time when the bequests were made, they would give power to the colleges to make alterations, as the only means of carrying into effect the paramount intentions of the founders: the Colonies were not then in existence; Scotland was at that time a separate kingdom, and the country torn by civil war; some districts were favoured on the ground of their poverty, which no longer had that claim to preference. It was stated in a pamphlet by Mr. W. Thompson, that some of the most valuable preferments in Queen's College were given to natives of the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland 706 on account of the devastation of the country, and the great difficulty of finding educated men in the district. These reasons no longer existed. Surely the founder would not persist in these restrictions if he saw these counties now teeming with mineral wealth, and heard of the eminent men they had sent forth, and found that the restriction did not promote general literature, but had a contrary effect. Moreover, with respect to the illegality of altering the provisions of the founder, it must not be wholly forgotten that when those provisions were made there then existed a dispensing power in the head of the Church, which is more than once alluded to in the Statutes of the different colleges. Any person looking calmly into the case must come to the conclusion that when cause for change is shown, it was a question of degree rather than principle. They ought not to be deterred from making a beneficial change by the fact that the institution depended on the will of a person who had been dead for 500 years. Another point to which many persons entertained a great objection was the proposed endowment of professorships in the University by the suppression of fellowships in the different colleges; but he did not think that the clause justified the conclusion to which some hon. Members had come. In his opinion it did not propose to take the fellowships from the colleges to endow professorships altogether independent of them, but in certain cases and under certain restrictions gave power to the colleges to establish professorships which might be confined to their own fellows. At present a number of the most important professorships were held by callous of Christ Church. In Magdalen and Corpus Christi the founders devoted portions of the revenues to support professorships for the benefit of the University at large. It was said that the interference with local and family preferences would dry up the sources of eleemosynary bounty. To this he would answer, if the future founder was a person of judgment and good sense, he would not desire that at no time, and under no circumstances, no alteration should be made; if he were a person who wished to exercise such an unreasonable power, he must say that the University would be better without such bequests, which had heretofore exercised, in some respects, an unfavourable influence on her fortunes. He did not believe, 707 however, that any person who meant to endow a college would be deterred by the reflection that his foundation, like every human institution, was liable to change. With respect to the clause relating to the abrogation of oaths, he held that the State was the imposer of oaths, and that if the great corporation might alter or repeal oaths, but could not empower the inferior corporation, like the college, to do so, a manifest absurdity would ensue. The hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Blackett) complained that Government had not adopted all the recommendations of the Commissioners. Now, he had a great respect for the Commissioners—he knew several of them personally—he had a high opinion of their talents; but he could conceive no course more tyrannical than that any propositions that were made by these four or five gentlemen should be subject to no modification by Parliament, but must be accepted or rejected as a whole. Then he thought it was very strange that the right hon. Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington) said he had no exception to take to the names of the Commissioners appointed by Government, but that there was no security for the character of their successors. For his part he could not see the force of this argument; or why if the right hon. Gentleman approved of the present Commissioners, he should suppose that the appointment of their successors would be made under the influence of worse motives than those which had dictated the selection of the present gentlemen. It was important to bear in mind throughout this debate the great distinction that there was between the University and the colleges—a distinction often forgotten, perhaps hardly recognised even, by many hon. Members present; and with reference to that subject the immense importance that attached to the establishment of private halls under proper academical restraints. He confessed he looked upon the establishment of these halls not with the certainty, but with the reasonable hope, that they would introduce to the University a large class of his poorer fellow-countrymen, and open to them the inestimable blessings of a University education. With regard to the question relating to the alteration in the scholarships now belonging to public schools, he agreed with the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote). He had himself been educated at the old school of Westminster, 708 and he could not forget that Christ Church derived its studentship in the time of Queen Elizabeth through Westminster, and that but for Westminster they would not have been granted. He had listened with great pleasure to the eloquent and the just eulogium which the hon. Baronet had passed upon the school of Winchester. He thought he could furnish a list of alumni nearly as splendid from Westminster. He at all events counted upon having the sympathy of the noble Lord below him (Lord John Russell), for he was one of Westminster's most distinguished scholars. He counted also upon having the sympathy of the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty for Westminster, and also might claim him as one of her ablest sons; and if he had time to run through the list, he believed he would be able to claim various other Members of the Administration as distinguished Westminster scholars. Therefore, when this question came before the Committee, when the hon. Baronet struck in for Winchester, he would strike in for Westminster, and he would do so with the more confidence, because her scholarships at Trinity College, Cambridge, and her studentships at Christ Church, Oxford, were open to all the scholars in the school; and he must say for himself, that the examination he had undergone, in order to obtain admission to St. Peter's College, Westminster, was more severe and arduous than any that he had been subjected to since. Upon the whole matter he was very anxious not to be misunderstood. Far be it from him to say that Oxford had either betrayed her trust or forfeited her privileges. That was the language of extravagant calumny, not of sober truth. The history of the country would refute the accusation. For his own part, he could never forget the magnificent hall of Christ Church, in which it had been his good fortune to be educated. He could never forget those walls, adorned with the portraits of those students whom that great house had reared to do illustrious service to the Church and State of these realms. He remembered well the effect which was produced upon his own mind, and upon the minds of his fellow-students, when they first looked upon the portrait of Grenville, associated as it was with all that was profound in civil wisdom, all that was erudite and elegant in scholarship, all that was manly in eloquence, all that was upright in moral character. He remembered also—he felt as if he saw 709 it now—the portrait of another student, the portrait of George Canning, beaming with all those rich and varied endowments which formed in rare combination the character of that most accomplished statesman. There, too, well fitted to excite the virtuous emulation of their successors, was a goodly array of other students, who had carried into the dust and fray of active life the inestimable advantage of the habits which they had acquired, the precious fruit of the studies which they had prosecuted within the fostering shelter of those walls.Quique sui memores alios fecêre merendo.There, too, he trusted would one day be—as he was absent at this moment he might say so—the portrait of another student whom it was his high privilege to call his friend, and with whom he had been a fellow-student at the University of Oxford—he alluded to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was sure it would be admitted on all sides of the House—even by his political enemies, for personal foes he had none—it would, he said, be admitted by all those on both sides of the House who heard his admired and admirable speech on the Budget last year—which, with the most enlarged statesmanlike views, combined a mastery over the most minute and complicated details—how false the charge brought against the University was, that she had men of classical acquirements indeed, and of elegant minds, but that she did not equip them for the hard practical business of the life of public men. It was not only his personal friends, nor his party, but the whole House who on that occasion—SensêreQuid mens rite, quid indolesNutrita faustis sub penetralibusPosset.He must say, in conclusion, that he supported this measure because he believed that the main scope and tendency of it was to increase the efficiency, to widen and strengthen the foundations of the University, to which he was deeply attached—because in the language of the Statute of Elizabeth, which incorporated the University, "it was to increase the good and godly literature, and the virtuous education of youth;" and in the language of the greatest of that Queen's councillors—Lord Bacon—"it was for the glory of God and for the relief of man's estate."
§ MR. WARNER
said, he thought the noble Lord might congratulate himself and 710 Her Majesty's Government on the fact that the House had had an opportunity of reading this Bill, for the objections against it were fewer now than had been urged on a former occasion. They had heard very little to-night on the subject of confiscation as compared with what was said when the measure was first introduced. Something had been said on the subject of the endowments of public schools. He thought the House ought to deal very gently with the scholarships attached to particular schools; but he could not at all agree with those who argued that the appropriation of University funds to college purposes was to be considered as a measure of spoliation. He thought enough had been said that evening to show the absurdity of supposing that the University either could or would reform itself. Not that he meant to attach much blame to the University, because he knew the difficulty in their way, on account of the oaths that were imposed upon the governing bodies, and, indeed, upon all the members of the University, which led to immorality and to difficulties of various kinds. It was notorious that when young men came up for matriculation oaths were put to them to observe the Statutes which it was quite impossible that any man could keep. And how did they get over this difficulty? Why the head of the college, surrounded by the tutors, called up the young men, and delivered to them an opinion, ex cathedrâ, that they were to observe these Statutes in a non-natural sense—that was to say, that they were to submit to the punishment provided for those Statutes which they broke. This might be said to be the first lesson they were taught, to disregard the sanctity of an oath. He thought it would be better to get rid of the whole system than to maintain a practice like that. He regretted that the Bill did not propose to remove the tests which proved only a stumbling-block to the conscience, and which excluded a large portion of the community from the benefits of the University. He hoped that this provision would yet be introduced into the Bill, for the present system was more injurious to the Universities than to those whom it excluded. Even for the purposes of the Church the tests were absurdly stringent, because, though all the students were at present members of the Church of England, yet all were not designed to be clergymen; but this system made no distinction whatever. He objected, also, to the continuance 711 of those provisions which compelled so large a proportion of fellows to take holy orders, and enjoined compulsory residence; the last provision having this effect, that it precluded the fellows from following any other pursuit than that of theology. A great deal had been said against the professorial system provided for in the Bill, as if it militated against the system of tutors. In his mind it did no such thing. He would vote in favour of this Bill, because he thought it would tend to break up the established system in Oxford, which he was afraid had become far too antiquated for the country. But at the same time he hoped that various points would be considered in Committee, especially those which compelled all the students to subscribe to a test that was rejected by half the population of England. However that might be settled, he hoped that the Bill would be passed, and that when the Commissioners were got fairly to work, the University would be brought into a more efficient state than it had ever yet been of late years. Still he could not avoid looking forward to the possibility that the intentions of the Legislature might, after all, be defeated by the resistance of those who were opposed to all change. If so, he trusted that Parliament would, in another Session, pass a far more stringent measure. Without some such measure of extensive and compulsory reform, he feared that Oxford would never be brought to bear a comparison, as a seat of learning, with her European rivals, nor would ever again be restored to the splendour and the world-wide fame of her earlier days.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, he rose to express the great regret with which he learned that no Member of weight in the House was prepared to divide against the Bill. The hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Blackett) rested his main argument for the appointment of professors on the ground that it would take the education of youth out of the hands of the clergy, and that it would tend to diminish theological controversy. The hon. Member quoted his own experience, and he appealed to the experience of others, to prove that theological controversy was more bitter at Oxford than in any other part of the country. Experience could only be met by experience; and he must say, that in his experience he had found that while controversy was bitter in other parts of the country, in Oxford it was comparatively mild. The hon. Member had cited several cases of theological controversy that of 712 late had agitated the country. But he begged to remind the House that the two last cases quoted by the hon. Member—those of Mr. Gorham and of Mr. Maurice—had no connection whatever with Oxford. He remembered in 1851, when he left Oxford, the whole country resounded with theological disputations—when every town was protesting against what was termed the Papal Aggression—and at that time he left Oxford calm, while he found London in a storm; and this not because there was any backwardness in Oxford—she had protested through her own constituted authorities—but simply because she had a larger knowledge of the subject, because the clergy were her teachers, and because the controversy having been well studied by them, they were able to take a calm view of it in all its various bearings. It was perfectly clear that the extension of the University and the institution of professors were within the power of the governing body of the University; and if it should be said that that body showed an unwillingness to act in the matter, then it might be very proper to infuse into them some fresh blood. Within the last few weeks the governing body of the University had put forth a scheme of reform, as matured and as well calculated to work efficiently, as that which had been introduced by the Government, and even if the Government had had some objections to minor points, surely a little negotiation, and a little less of a resisting spirit, might have produced some conciliatory propositions; but the Government were actuated by no such spirit, for when they sent their scheme down to Oxford, the only persons who were excluded from all knowledge of it, were those who had the government of the University. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER was understood to dissent from this statement.] He did not make that statement of his own knowledge, but he had been assured of it by competent authority. He must say it seemed to him that the institution of these professorships, the establishment of private halls, might have been effected by the governing body themselves, and without the dangerous precedent of Parliamentary authority, and a precedent, too, which was a violation of the constitution of the University. What seemed to him the main objection of the Bill was, that it swept away at one blow all the preferences which the founders of colleges had shown for the place of their birth, all the preferences for the schools with which they had been con- 713 nected, all the preferences for kindred, with the exception of one, the generosity of which could not fail to be appreciated—it proposed to admit the lineal descendants of the founders. This exception was little better than an insult, for, with two exceptions, he believed not one of the founders had left lineal descendants at all. One hon. Gentleman who supported the confiscation of fellows argued that the founders had no right to tie up this property for generations and for centuries. But then, if that were so, the analogy of private estates ought to be followed, and if the will of the founders was to be overturned, let the property return to the heir, in the natural course of law. It was a vulgar popular error to talk of these foundations as having existed for many centuries. It was true that some of them did, but it must be remembered that fellowships and scholarships without number had been established within the last 300 years. The hon. and learned Member for Tavistock (Mr. R. Phillimore) said it was a mockery to talk of the colleges as keeping their Statutes. Now, it might be true that some colleges might have broken their Statutes, but that was by no means the case with all. Magdalen and Corpus might have violated their Statutes, but was that a reason for punishing Worcester and All Souls, that had not? They might as well disfranchise Liverpool, because Hull was corrupt. Then it was said by the hon. and learned Member, that the altered state of the country would induce the founders, if they lived now, to alter their bequests. But it curiously enough happened, that within the last ten years a man had founded a number of fellowships upon precisely the same antiquated restrictions which generally prevailed. The hon. and learned Gentleman also argued that the founders contemplated an alteration in their Statutes, because there was a constant reference in their Statutes to the dispensing power, which was then admitted to reside in the Pope. It was very true that there was that constant reference to the dispensing power, but what was the nature of the reference? Why, the fellows of the different colleges were then bound by the most solemn oaths that they would never, under any circumstances, have recourse to the dispensing power. The right hon. Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington) had very ably argued the constitutional grounds on which this Bill ought to be rejected. He (Lord R. Cecil) would rather rely upon the 714 narrower and more commercial ground, but which he thought would appeal more closely to popular sympathies; namely, that if they squandered in this manner the endowments of the various founders, they would have no more endowments to deal with again. What Confidence could there be that some future Ministry, with the word Conservative on its lips, but destruction in its hand, would not drive home the wedge now introduced, and altogether destroy these endowments? The supporters of the measure might be prepared to state that they considered it a final one, but Parliament and the country must be aware by this time of the value to be attached to any such statement. In the year 1842, Sir Robert Peel had asked his Protectionist supporters to sacrifice a portion of their privileges for the sake of obtaining a final adjustment of the question then in dispute, but they all knew how long that adjustment had lasted. Then, again, they were at present asked to reform the final Reform Bill of 1832; and it further appeared, that although the main argument adduced in favour of Roman Catholic emancipation in 1829 had been, that it would set the Roman Catholic question at rest for ever, they were in this very Session called upon to pull down the last bulwark left by that measure against the attacks of the most relentless foes of the Established Church. He could not believe that the Bill then under the consideration of the House would satisfy those who wished to convert the Universities into pensioners of the State, and he feared that if it were to pass into law it would ultimately lead to the accomplishment of the views of those who were anxious to separate the Universities from the Church.
§ MR. G. E. H. VERNON
complimented the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) who had just sat down on the ability and argumentative nature of his first speech in that House. He differed from the noble Lord, however, in one material point. It was because he thought that this measure had been brought forward not in any hostile spirit to the University, but, on the contrary, in a just, generous, and conciliatory spirit, that he (Mr. Vernon) should support the second reading of the Bill, however much he might object to some of its provisions in detail. He rejoiced to find that there was a considerable difference between this measure and the Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners, on which it had mainly been founded. There were 715 differences, not merely of detail, but also of principle. He was ready and glad to offer his tribute of acknowledgment to the labours of the Commissioners, and to the ability with which their Report had been drawn; and, if he did not entirely agree with all their views, he gave them full credit for conscientious earnestness of purpose. Their Report had created much, and not unnatural alarm in Oxford. It had been at once assumed that the measure of the Government must necessarily embody all the suggestions of the Report, and some prejudice had been excited against it in consequence. Could any one wonder that some anxiety was entertained? Could any one who looked back to a place, which, despite of regrets for time mis-spent, and opportunities wasted, was endeared to him by a thousand recollections,—could any one who had formerly paced the High Street and the Long Walk, who carried with him the memory of his first responsibilities in life, of his early struggles, perhaps of his early successes,—could any one who still cherished, as one of his greatest privileges, the friendships first formed and cemented within some college quadrangle,—could any one influenced by these feelings and these recollections fail to have taken a deep interest in a measure vitally affecting that great institution? But there were men who for years had lived in the exercise of powers and in submission to restraints which the University imposed—men who looked up to her with a fond reverence which nothing less ancient, nothing less venerable could have inspired; and was it strange if they should be unable to contemplate propositions of great change without alarm? was it strange that they should be loath to see an institution which they so reverenced tampered with, and, as they believed, placed in danger? Those who supposed that the able and learned men who were concerned in the conduct of the University wished to hide her defects from the public eye, or to cloak over her sins of omission and commission, did the great majority of them an injustice, and he believed that this opinion could only be held by narrow-minded and illiberal men. He regretted, indeed, that the authorities of the University had not thought it consistent with their duty—he would not say with their interests—to have afforded more general, full, and complete information to the Commissioners. Whatever doubts there might have been—and grave doubts had existed as to the legality 716 of the Commission—however difficult might have been the position of the heads of houses, hampered and restricted as they were by old statutes, and by oaths involving "Anathema," "the wrath of God," and other dreadful penalties—however much crippled they might feel—still, he thought they would have taken a fairer and a more prudent course if they had contented themselves with a formal protest against the Commission, and if they had then given full information to the Commissioners as to every particular which they wished to ascertain. Such had not been the case, and he regretted it, since thereby the difficulties of the Commissioners were much increased. He must say that all who had the interests of the University at heart, must, under the circumstances, feel greatly indebted to the Commissioners for the Report which had been presented to Parliament. It would be a mistake, he should observe, to suppose that the University had been wholly inactive in the cause of improvement. Something had been done in this respect. Even since he had left the University, many restrictions had been withdrawn from colleges, and certainly the Examination statute which had been passed was a very decided improvement. The most remarkable sign, perhaps, of the reforming spirit of the University, was the association of a number of gentlemen who were tutors of colleges, and it was only necessary to refer to the able Reports which they had issued, to bear out his assertion. Still, though something had been done, and was being done, much more was wanted to bring the University to a level with the requirements of the time. The Government had judiciously profited by the opinions and information which they had received from various sources. Without entering into discussion of the details of the Bill in this stage of its progress, he would proceed shortly to notice a few of its leading principles. The first point to which he would advert, as a matter of principle, was the question of legislative freedom for the University. It was impossible for the University to move unless she were freed from the harassing restrictions which were imposed upon her and the colleges. The next point to which he wished to call the attention of the House was the formation of the Initiative Board, from which all questions of internal reform in the University must proceed, and upon which, in fact, would depend the management of the studies in the University. Upon it hinged the whole 717 question, not only of the details of the studies and examinations in the colleges and University, but of the manner in which those studies and examinations should be conducted. It involved the vexed question of the professorial and tutorial systems. In this respect he felt especially grateful to the Government for not having bound themselves hand and foot to the Report of the Commissioners. He was not prepared so to alter the direction of the studies, however much he might desire to see those studies extended, as to throw them entirely under the governance of men who, however able and respectable they might be, would have few objects really in common, and would not, he believed, constitute a body the most likely to give the safest direction to the studies of the University. For the best vindication of the two systems he would refer, on the one hand, to the able and striking evidence given by Professor Pusey to the Hebdomadal Council; and, on the other, to the evidence, and recently published pamphlet, almost unequalled perhaps in beauty of language and logical power of argument, of Professor Vaughan. He did not propose to engage in this controversy now; he would confine himself to one remark. Professor Vaughan said that "a professor is the science or subject vitalised and humanised in the student's presence," and that "the type is a poor substitute for the human voice—it has no means of arousing, moderating, or adjusting the attention." He (Mr. Vernon) could, however, conceive the case of a professor, a man selected for his great learning and attainments, but yet who did not possess the charm of voice or of manner which are necessary to arouse and arrest the attention; whose lectures (to use the words of a great poet)———neither ebb nor flow,Correctly cold, and regularly low;That, shunning faults, one quiet tenor keep:We cannot blame indeed, but we can sleep.His hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Lowe), who had been a great intellectual ornament to the University, and one of the mainstays of a system of private tuition which had prevailed for many years, had given some evidence to the Commissioners. His hon. Friend complained of the college tutorial system very much, but, he said, he had no great hopes of much being done by a professorial system. He evidently had a strong partiality for the system of private tuition, though, he admitted, there was an obvious objec- 718 tion to it on the score of expense. His hon. Friend seemed, however, chiefly to object to it because it had occupied him for some time at the rate of ten hours a day. He (Mr. Vernon) could speak from experience to this being the fact, for, when at the University and reading for honours, he had been desirous of securing the valuable assistance of his hon. Friend as a private tutor. He was informed, however, that Mr. Lowe was then already engaged with eight or nine pupils, and great as was his respect for the abilities of his hon. Friend, he had thought it better to secure a third or half of the time and attention of some one else, rather than be content with one-tenth of the attention of his hon. and learned Friend. He was most anxious that professors, as such, should have a proper status in the University, and that their teaching should enter into the regular course of University education; but he believed that, on the whole, an improved tutorial system in colleges ought to be maintained as of paramount importance; for each student required more or less individual assistance and explanation for his own particular difficulties. He (Mr. Vernon) thought that the Government had taken a just and temperate view of this question. With regard to close fellowships and scholarships, and the distinctions between local and school preferences, the time would come hereafter when they must enter minutely into this subject, and he, therefore, would, for the present, only say that, having been a student at Christ Church, and having belonged to Westminster School, he should be the last to consent to see that school deprived of what he believed to be its just rights. As to University extension, he could not say that he thought much would be done by the mere provisions of this Bill to effect that object, and he looked more to the general moral tone of the University to do this. Perhaps this was a fitting time for the expression of his opinion that he was unable to see why religions tests should continue to be required upon admission into the University. He had thought over this question with great anxiety, and he had come to the conscientious conclusion, that there was no real reason why they should not put Oxford on the same footing with Cambridge on this point. He could not consent to give up the endowments of colleges to members of sects dissenting from the Church of England, but, friendly as he was, warmly attached as he was to the Church to which 719 he belonged, he could not see that she would receive any injury by the admission of those who dissented from her to the general benefits of the University. In conclusion, he would say that he had no desire that the University should be a mere literary forcing bed, but he would excite her members to freer exertion in a more extensive range of science and letters. He wished that she might enlarge her sphere of usefulness without losing anything of her character as a place for training the youth of England in liberal studies—for the engendering of liberal and generous sentiments, for developing sound judgment, and for the encouragement of manly competition. He wished that high and lowly born might, even more widely than now, be there taught to be gentlemen in the highest sense of the word—to be men of gentle manners and gentle minds. He wished to see restrictions on the power of improvement removed—to see the University and colleges in the enjoyment of legislative freedom. He wished that new avenues should be opened for academical honours in many new branches of knowledge for which the special habits and tastes of studies might fit them. He wished that endowments should be rendered available for the assistance of poor and meritorious persons, for their encouragement in the prosecution of study, and their future advancement in life; and he wished to see the greatest number possible attracted to the teaching of the University. Much might be done, and much, he believed, would be done, through the instrumentality of this measure, without in any way hindering a main purpose of that noble institution—the education for the ministry of our national Church of a learned and pious clergy.
§ MR. WIGRAM
said, the Bill consisted of two parts, one of which related to the University, and the other to the colleges. Seeing that both the Members for the University of Oxford concurred in that portion of the Bill which related to the government of the University, it might seem presumptuous to make suggestions; but he could not help calling attention to that provision which gave the right to Congregation of assembling and speaking in the English language, and debating the Statutes. Bacon, in his Essay on the Advancement of Learning, pointed out the requisites for the constitution of a University, and, particularly mentioning the importance of perfect tranquillity, com- 720 pares the condition which should be sought to that of bees—Principio sedes apibus statioque petendaQuo neque sit ventis aditus.Now, what would be the result with respect to the constitution now proposed? The Congregation before whom the Statutes would be brought for debate would consist of about 250 members; and, considering the probability of such a body being split into sections and parties, he would leave the House to judge how far the scheme would be likely to check those tempests which Bacon deprecated as so injurious to learning. That was a point of the utmost importance, and one which particularly deserved the attention of those members of the University of Oxford who took an interest in its well-being. The second portion of the Bill related to the colleges. In that respect the measure was, in his opinion, open to the objection, that it would impair that collegiate system which had hitherto been the distinguishing characteristic of the English Universities as contrasted with the Universities of other countries. It was proposed, in the first place, that the teachers who were to be a part of the governing body should consist of the professors only, and not include tutors of colleges. He could not see why it was not left to the electors to select either tutors or professors, and he thought the effect of that provision would be to throw undue power into the hands of the professors as contrasted with the college tutors. Then with respect to private halls, they might or might not be good things, but private halls, connected with the old system of the University, would have answered the purpose, and have maintained the English system—a system which had conferred great advantage, and against which he had heard no charge. The 28th clause of the Bill prohibited preference by reason of any membership of any college. He was astonished at such a prohibition. He considered it most objectionable. He was surprised, because the college of Trinity, to which he belonged, had become distinguished by this very system, and there the scholars were selected entirely from the members of colleges, and the fellows from scholars. Under the collegiate system you had the advantages of competition between different colleges, and under the new system, these advantages would be lost. With regard to the proposed general abolition of preferences, he could not agree with the ingenious arguments of 721 the Member for Tavistock (Mr. R. Phillimore), who said that the protection conceded to these preferences was of an artificial kind. He must deny that assertion. It was a protection founded upon principles of justice, which were patent and plain, and which nothing could justify the violation of. The founder or donor gave property, annexing a condition to the gift, and you had no right to retain the property, and to reject the appropriation which he had made the condition of the gift. It was urged that in some of these cases the alteration of circumstances was such that there could be no doubt that in the proposed alteration you were doing right. Now the question was not whether circumstances might exist in a particular case which would justify you in making a change, but whether you were justified in passing such a law as this, and saying, without distinction or discrimination, that in all cases of this kind no preference should be allowed, except in cases of a very limited kind, to be approved of by the Commissioners at their sole will and discretion. It might be said that in some instances the condition was arbitrary, but this was no answer. The condition was the motive of the bequest, and but for it you would have never got the property. Nor was it as if these preferences necessarily were pernicious and introduced into the college a set of drones and idlers. Such was not the case. It had been judicially decided long since that the rule with regard to a right of preference was, detur, sed detur digno, and candidates might be and had been refused who had not sufficient attainments to fill the place with credit to themselves and to the college. There were several other clauses which were open to the like objection, especially the 34th, which provided that in a college in which three-fourths of the fellows were in holy orders, the remaining fourth need not be so. The effect of this would be to allow one-fourth of the fellows to violate the Statutes on condition that three-fourths should observe them. If the original terms of the foundation of a college required that all the fellows should be in holy orders, nothing could justify your departing from that rule. He agreed with Sir John Patteson in the opinion he had expressed before the Commission, that where alterations in the circumstances rendered changes necessary, there they were fully justified in making them; but that they were bound to have regard to the intentions of the founders as far as it 722 was possible to do so. He would not trouble the House by going through all the clauses that were open to the same objection. The parts of the Bill to which he had referred were so extremely objectionable, that nothing would induce him to give his acquiescence to them; and he hoped when they got into Committee these parts would be modified altogether. Another portion of the Bill which he thought to be very ill-advised consisted of the clauses which proposed to limit the tenure of fellowships. This subject was carefully investigated by both the University Commissions; and in the Report of the Oxford Commission there was a very able communication from Archbishop Whately, in which he pointed out clearly the manner in which, by such a course, you would destroy the real value of the fellowship, and the independence which it gave to a man while seeking a position in life. If they did this, they would destroy the value of the prize, and check competition for it amongst the class of scholars who now devoted their time to attain it. The Bill also attempted to insist on as many of the fellows as possible residing in the University. Of this he entirely disapproved. If persons had the taste and inclination for the pursuits and duties of office in the University, doubtless they would nowhere be so usefully employed as within its walls. But if they had no love for those pursuits, no greater mischief could be inflicted upon the University than to insist upon their residence there. Unless a man was actively employed in the duties of the place, he (Mr. Wigram) would prefer his being anywhere rather than idling in the University. He was sure he could do no good, but he might do a great deal of harm. And to that part of the scheme he should also object. He could not help thinking, in general, that the Bill attempted to go a great deal further into details than was advisable. It consisted of a mass of details—many of which were of so complicated a character, and the exact consequences of which it would be so difficult to foresee, that he was persuaded, if passed, the measure would require repeated amendments, and the necessity of frequent recourse to Parliament for that purpose. All that the framers had in view might, in his opinion, have been much better accomplished—and it would have been a safer course to pursue—if they had adopted even a more sweeping course, and given even larger powers to 723 the colleges, to be exercised with the approval of the Commissioners, under proper restrictions to be specified in the Bill, and then left those powers to be worked out by the colleges themselves.
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
It is impossible for me not to remember the feelings with which I first heard the announcement from the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell) of his intention to comply with the Motion of the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood), when he moved in this House, three or four years ago, for the appointment of a Royal Commission upon this subject. I believe, Sir, there is no feeling more powerful in the mind of an English gentleman than the attachment which he feels to the place of his education. Certainly, no man who has had the benefit of that education which, whatever may be its shortcomings, those who have been raised by it to the position they have occupied in after life, have no right to pronounce other than excellent and most liberal—no man who has had the benefit of that education in such a place as Oxford—a place surrounded by time-hallowed associations, where all the beauty of antiquity is combined with all the refinement and enjoyment of modern life—no one who has himself eaten the bread provided by the noble and munificent founders in the palaces of that city, could hear any announcement which by any possibility might tend to shake the stability of those foundations, or to interfere with their performance of the excellent work which, after all, they were nobly discharging, without sentiments of alarm and most serious apprehension; and I am not ashamed to record the feeling with which I personally heard from the noble Lord the announcement which he made unexpectedly on that occasion of his intention to comply with the Motion of the hon. Member. I certainly heard it with a feeling of great opposition and dissatisfaction. That feeling was undoubtedly in some degree mitigated when, upon a subsequent occasion, the noble Lord stated, with dignity and with temperance, that it was his intention to issue that Commission in a friendly spirit towards the University; and when he proceeded to develope the views—with a great part of which, indeed, I did not agree—but still views which actuated him in thinking that Commission necessary, I could not but recognise, in the speech then made, a spirit which aimed at nothing but the objects which all lovers 724 of the University must themselves desire; and though not at that time feeling political confidence in the noble Lord, and although certainly believing that some of his views were actuated by a partial, and only a partial, acquaintance with the subject of which he spoke, yet I felt less disposed than before to apprehend unmixed evil from the issuing of that Commission. Sir, the Commission was issued, and the Commissioners were men too much, as I thought then, and still think, committed by their known opinions to a certain view of the question; but still men possessing every qualification, in point of intellect, learning, character, and love for the University, which could be requisite to ensure both the efficiency and the honourable and creditable discharge, according to their own views, of the duties committed to them. And accordingly, when their Report came out, it was impossible, even for those who might widely dissent from many of the recommendations contained in that Report, not to feel that a valuable mass of materials had been brought together with almost unparalleled labour as well as ability, and that a great and useful work had been done in collecting and concentrating both facts and opinions, so as to enable public opinion to be brought to bear upon those points in respect of which, if at all, legislation and change might usefully be adopted. The effect of that Report was very marked. As soon as it was issued it immediately caused all those within the University upon whom devolved the duty of considering the subject—the noble Member for the City of London, and the noble Lord who was subsequently at the head of the late Government, suggested that which would have been done without the suggestion—but still it caused them immediately to entertain the subject in the same spirit and with the same independence of mind with which the Commissioners had themselves discharged their duties. The heads of houses, the Hebdomadal Board, appointed their own Committee; the tutors of the University formed themselves into an association, and they with great diligence, industry, and ability, also investigated the subject; and the result was this—both these bodies came unanimously to the conclusion that extensive and important alterations must necessarily be made. Here, then, was a definite and tangible result, from which escape became impossible. Some change, and that an important and extensive change, was agreed by the University— 725 was agreed by both the Hebdomadal Board and the tutors of the University—to be indispensably necessary. But it did not stop there. They were agreed also as to the principles of that change; not as to the process and methods, but as to the principles. For, let it be observed, it was first of all agreed, both by the Commission, the Hebdomadal Board, and the Association of Tutors, that the University government must be reconstituted, and that with a view to dissolve the exclusive collegiate system, and the exclusive power of the governors of colleges, and to admit professors to some larger share of power; and at the same time to preserve the principles of freedom and independence in the government of the University. They proposed different means of accomplishing that object; but in the object, in principle, they were agreed. And, therefore, one point was ascertained by the independent action of the University—concurring so far with the Commissioners; that it was necessary to reconstitute the government of the University, and to reconstitute it on these principles. The observation made by my hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down, the Member for the University of Cambridge, is therefore answered by the resolutions both of the Committee of the Hebdomadal Board and of the Tutors' Association, not less than by the Report of the Commissioners, when he objected to any encroachment upon the exclusively collegiate system which has hitherto prevailed within the University. Then came that other and much larger object, in which I venture to say the people of this country take more interest than in any other branch of this question—the subject of University extension. The people of this country have a right to say that a great institution like Oxford, with such magnificent resources, ought to be capable of answering any extending demand which the wants of the country may make upon it. Under the exclusive collegiate system as now administered, with all the virtues and merits of that system, it was not, and is not, capable of doing so; and that I have always thought the main point of the whole question. The country also thought, in connection with that, and most justly thought, that the system of expenses, the system of imperfect discipline which prevailed in the University, the excess of aristocratic habits, was also an impediment to its just and proper extension which it was imperatively necessary 726 to remove. On that subject also, the result of independent thought and inquiry in the University itself was the same as was that of the Commissioners' looking into the subject, for the Tutors' Association distinctly adopted the principle of extension by the admission of non-collegiate students, although they, I think most wisely and justly, recommended that that extension should be accomplished under the safeguards of private halls governed by masters of arts, responsible for their discipline, and for their moral and religious government. That, I think, was a very great improvement, which has been adopted into this Bill upon the suggestion of the tutors; but it was distinctly a conclusion in favour of a system enabling the University to be as largely as possible extended by the admission of students unconnected with colleges. Did the Hebdomadal Board come to a different conclusion? In the first instance it seemed they did; but the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington) has referred us to-night to a notice which they have given of a Motion to be made in Convocation in the present month, or in the month of May, for the extension of the University to non-collegiate students upon principles not materially distinguishable from the principle of this Bill. I give great credit and honour to the Hebdomadal Board for making that proposal, although I must say that such proposal having been previously made by the Tutors' Association, and having in the first instance been adopted by them, and since made in the present Bill, it is too late to say that the action of the Legislature and the Government upon that subject should be suspended, because the Hebdomadal Board has been in the latest stage of the question converted to that view of the subject. Therefore, we have this point also ascertained, that there is to be a large extension of the University to non-collegiate students, and, in the opinion of the tutors, by means of private halls. Then, with respect to the only other branch of the subject touching the University—that is, the arrangement of the studies, that is very properly omitted from the present Bill, because it is not a proper subject for legislation; but the University and the colleges have not been inactive upon that subject. We know that Statutes have been passed recently of the greatest importance, which the University are now engaged in acting upon and developing to the best of their power; but I venture confidently to 727 say, that that extension of the studies of the University will be altogether nugatory and fruitless, with reference, at least, to its larger and more important results, unless you can have such an extension of the University to a greater number of non-collegiate students as, according to the principle now established, is admitted by almost all, and is contemplated by this Bill. Now we have come to this point—that upon the important subject of University reform there is agreement by the Hebdomadal Board, the tutors of Oxford, and the Commissioners as to the necessity of doing something; and the Convocation of Oxford is almost equally divided. When you come to that, remembering that the University of Oxford is conservative—I use the word with satisfaction, because I sympathise with its conservative character—almost beyond any other corporation in the kingdom, remembering that it is a fault which attaches to conservatism of every kind that it is over-cautious and over-apprehensive as to the result of changes, I think the circumstance that, in a Convocation summoned for the purpose of considering a petition proposed to be presented against this measure, the petition should have been carried by a majority of only two, is equivalent in real truth to a very strong declaration by the University in favour of the general principle of the Bill. I have so far dealt with the question of the University—I mean as to the necessity of doing something of this kind. Then welcome to the colleges. Now here I am on delicate ground, because I am one of those who have taken—and mean both here and everywhere else most strictly to observe—an oath to obey to the utmost of my power and support the intentions and the institutions of the founders. But with respect to the colleges, I have observed by the papers laid before Parliament that a very large number of colleges, and very important colleges, have expressed their anxious desire to have larger powers, and to some extent alterations not made by themselves, introduced by authority of Parliament. I find such desires expressed by Brasenose College, by Merton College, by Exeter, by Corpus, by Jesus, and by several others. In that state of things, how can any one say that we must not entertain the question whether we shall legislate concerning colleges? In truth, there are several points which make such legislation, if not necessary, yet of grave importance, which are independent of the 728 Statutes of founders. One thing is, the difficulty, acknowledged by all, which arises from the mixture of obsolete enactments with those which are living and in force. The reasons of the one are often so inextricably intertwined with the reasons of the other, and the influence of the one upon the other was originally so great, that sometimes you have persons whose consciences are perplexed as to whether it might not be their duty to endeavour to maintain parts of institutions and ordinances which are really dead, and which have become practical anachronisms. In other cases you have the caput mortuum remaining, and maintained as if it were that which the founder intended, when it has lost all its vitality, and when in every point of view it has ceased to accomplish any one of the objects which the founder intended. Now I will illustrate that by a particular example. I will take it from the college for which I have a peculiar attachment, which I hope to evince before I sit down—I mean Winchester College, which, although not included in this measure, is really part of that academical system with which this measure deals. At Winchester the college consists of a warden, ten fellows, and seventy scholars, who are boys receiving education. The ten fellows were originally meant to perform divine offices in the chapel, with the solemnities which existed at the time of the foundation, and, at the same time, I believe, it was in part thought necessary to have them for the management of the college estates, which in the then circumstances of the country were difficult to manage, except under the personal superintendence of the heads of the society. In the lapse and change of time the chapel service no longer requires the attendance of these fellows, and the college estates are better managed without them. They no longer live under monastic rule, but they are married gentlemen, and do not live at Winchester. In point of fact, these fellowships have lapsed into absolute sinecure institutions, through no fault of the gentlemen who have held them; and they are mere prizes for the members of New College. But what man, dealing candidly and reasonably with the subject, can say that that is anything but the shell and outward crust of the institution of William of Wykeham? Is it not obvious, must it not be obvious to every man, that if you consolidate some of those fellowships with the masterships, or found additional masterships for the school by 729 means of them, or if you take part of the revenues which now go to these fellows and extend the school to a greater number of scholars, you will be succurrens fundatori—you will be not merely upon conjecture doing what William of Wykeham might have done if living, but manifestly making the endowment which he left subservient to his own purposes? That is one illustration of that class of cases. Then you come to the next class, in which the obstructiveness of legal interpretation has taken place, and really chokes up a great portion of the good which a college might do. The founder never thought of such things; but he has constituted the visitors his judges, and before them, or in the courts of law, some quibble or other has prevailed, and the consequence is that irrational laws have been engrafted upon the laws of the founder, which prevent his institution from being so extensively beneficial as it might be. I speak now of what is the subject of a special clause in this Bill—Clause 29—which gives a preference to lineal descendants of the founder for ever, but limits the right of preference of collateral kindred to the period of a hundred years. It might strike some Gentlemen, who take an excessively conservative view of this question, that that is an interference with the founder's intentions. Sir, it is practically a restoration, for it puts an end to a gross and preposterous abuse, which, through a perverse legal interpretation, has been enforced in some of the most important colleges of the kingdom for a long time. The whole system of founders' kin, as at present administered, is as flagrant an absurdity and abuse as it is possible to imagine. Sir William Blackstone, the great author of the Commentaries, did his best, when a young man—I wish he had done it when he had attained his subsequent reputation, for then it would have been successful—to put an end to that abuse, by a most unanswerable treatise, in which he demonstrated its absurdity. In that treatise, Sir William Blackstone, dealing with the case of All Souls, showed the ridiculous consequences of the system of collateral consanguinity, as recognised under the Statutes by the visitors of that college. In the first place, he showed that the founder spoke in his Statutes the language of his time and of the Church of which he was an Archbishop; that in the language of the law of the Church, collateral kindred ceased at the seventh degree; that in the language of the civil law, from which the canon law 730 was derived, it had also been held to cease at the tenth degree; and he showed that Lynwood, the great civilian, and the reputed author of the Statutes of All Souls, had laid down that doctrine in terms in his book on the ecclesiastical law of England. He also showed that the consequence of holding the infinite extension of collateral consanguinity necessarily was to prove that everybody was everybody else's kinsman, because we are all, of course, Christians, and believe in the Bible, which tells us that all mankind come from one ancestor—originally from Adam, and since from Noah. It is perfectly clear that all men must be kindred one to another, unless you adopt some limited sense of the word "kindred," because all are descended from one ancestor. As he says, "What is the use of telling men to make out their pedigree, when you already know for certain that they are related? In such a case, one text of Scripture is of more avail than thousands of heralds' visitations." Who can deny that? Then he goes on to examine the practical application of the doctrine. When he wrote this book, a descendant in the fifteenth degree from Archbishop Chichely, was claiming a preference as founder's kin, and he shows, by an arithmetical calculation with which no human being can find fault, that a person one of whose ancestors in the fifteenth degree is the founder's father, has 32,767 other ancestors in the same degree, and he proves that when you get to the twentieth he has 1,048,576 ancestors. Then he goes on to multiply the probable number of collateral kindred, and but for the happy accident of some relatives in this small world of ours intermarrying with each other, there would be a number to which I am not arithmetician enough to give a name. In that state of things, who can doubt that he had demonstrated his case? The argument was unanswerable; but, nevertheless, a perverse interpretation has said that to the end of the world, subject to the burthen of proving your pedigree, without any preference of nearer relations over more remote, the kindred shall have the preference. What is the practical result? Take New College. The same principle is admitted there; but to escape from its consequences a compromise is made, and although the founder has given his kinsmen a right to all the fellowships if they have a right to any, yet the visitors have said, "You shall only put in two founder's kin each year into Winchester 731 and two into New College." Is it not manifest that the whole principle is given up by such a compromise, if there was a principle? But, in truth, the principle is the other way, and the violence done to the founder's intention is by the custom which you now propose to abolish. Then I come to the third class of cases, in which there have grown up in colleges customs independent of legal interpretation, but which have become inveterate, which the founder never created, and which he would, I am sure, have rejected with indignation in some cases could he have foreseen them, but which the visitors have felt themselves unable to disturb, and which the colleges cannot, or will not, disturb without the order of the visitors. I will mention two cases of that sort; one in my own college of Magdalen. The founder of Magdalen has divided his foundation into fellows and demies, but has nowhere said that a demy should have the least preference in the world in any election to a fellowship, but almost from the time of the foundation it has been the custom of the college to give the demies the preference. The consequence is, that is adopted as law, but it is not the law of the founder. They cannot, however, be expected very easily to get rid of it unless they have some assistance to release them from it. Then I take the case of Brasenose, which is, I think, the strongest case of this kind that could be mentioned. At Brasenose, the founder has given the power of governing the college to the principal and six senior fellows, the whole number of fellows being twenty or thirty. He has given them the sole power of granting leases, and a custom has, I regret to say, sprung up and existed in the college so anciently that only a very few years ago that good man, the late Bishop of Lincoln, with the assistance of legal advice, no less than that of my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General, felt himself unable to alter it upon the appeal of the junior fellows. I will tell the House what that custom is, and I do not reflect upon the present or any recent generation of fellows, because, if the visitor could not alter it, I suppose they could not, and they are not to be blamed for taking the benefit of it. The custom is nothing short of this—that they actually receive all fines upon the granting of leases, and divide them amongst themselves as the governing fellows, without admitting the junior fellows to any share of these fines. The result is an enormous disproportion 732 between the incomes of the fellows—that while the senior fellows receive, I believe, as much as 400l. or 500l. a year, the junior fellows have only 70l. or 80l. a year. The founder, in this case, is totally innocent; he intended nothing of the kind; and I put it to the House whether this is a state of things which ought to endure. I now proceed to consider the question whether you can deal with this subject by way of enabling powers. Now, I say it is impossible you can adequately deal with it in the way of enabling powers in the case of colleges, the members of which have rules imposed upon them binding them from using such powers if you grant them. Several of them are so strictly bound by oath against change that they cannot use any enabling power whatever. If, therefore, those things are to be done, which, by scrupulous men, may be supposed to involve a change in the existing Statutes, which they have sworn to observe, they must be done by the Legislature, and not by themselves. I must also say, it is manifest to my mind that when the Legislature is once called upon, it is impossible for it to decline the duty of looking at the subject in a large way. The Legislature must see what are the public objects which it is desirable to accomplish; it must not only see that these very bodies may, if they please, accomplish them; but, as to principles at least, it must take precautions to secure that they shall be accomplished. Even those who, like myself, feel most strictly bound by founders' intentions, cannot possibly, standing in this place, deny that when a question of this sort comes before the Legislature, it is entitled to look at it upon large and public principles; that it cannot confine its view to any of those more narrow considerations which must necessarily limit the views of the members of particular societies. Besides that, it would be manifestly unsafe to extend enabling powers without control. Nothing could be more against the spirit of the founders, or more contrary to the policy of the law, than to give to any college in Oxford, even if it desired it, the power to suppress fellowships, to increase emoluments, or to alter the terms of the constitution of old foundations without any supervision. Enabling powers alone, therefore, at once go too far, and do not go far enough; consequently, if you deal with the subject at all by legislation, you must have some power which can control the local authorities. Having proved, then, 733 that it is impossible to avoid doing something, I now proceed to inquire what are principles upon which a conservative reform should be based. I think it must provide a machinery which shall be enabled, by extraordinary compulsory powers, under limitations for a definite and limited time, to introduce, once for all, such changes as are really required; and not any further or otherwise to interfere with the independence of academical self-government. The object and the principle of this Bill is to place things in a situation in which they cannot be placed without the immediate intervention of foreign authority; but having placed them in that situation, as soon as possible to resign to the University and the colleges perfect independence and freedom of action in self-government. This is a sound principle, and, so far, I give my approval and sanction to the Bill. Then I think, also, it would undoubtedly be necessary, for a conservative measure of reform, to proceed upon the ground of respecting the founders' intentions; and the preamble of this Bill professes to go upon that ground; and I am bound to say I believe its provisions to be framed with the utmost sincerity, for the purpose of carrying into effect the objects declared in the preamble. The judgments of men must necessarily differ as to the manner in which the principle is carried into effect in its details, and as to the changes which may advance or retard the fulfilment of the main objects of the founders, by retaining or interfering with particular subordinate provisions of the Statutes. I, therefore, although by no means agreeing with the mode in which that is proposed to be done in all parts of the Bill, am bound to say I recognise in it a sincere, cordial, and conservative spirit, a spirit manifesting true attachment to principles and foundations, and intending to proceed upon grounds consistent with the fulfilment of the main intentions of the founders. And in those very carefully-detailed provisions to which my hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Wigram) has referred, in some respects with apparent justice, I see in them great evidence of the desire of the Government to be as just, as temperate, as cautious, and as conservative as possible—not to give too large or unlimited power to the Commissioners, not to allow the Commissioners to do everything without the assent of the colleges which they might do with such assent. In all these points—whe- 734 ther they are right or not, whether they go too far or not, I do not now say—I see strong evidence of a bonâ fide desire on the part of the Government to carry into effect the principles stated in the preamble, which areFor promoting the main designs of the founders, both as respects the appointment to the endowments and the continued tenure thereof, and otherwise for maintaining and improving the discipline and studies, and the good government of the University of Oxford and the colleges thereof,I, therefore, have no difficulty in saying that it seems to me this Bill is in its principle worthy of support. I do not intend to detain the House by any lengthened comments upon all the matters of detail in the Bill, though upon one or two points I shall have some argument to offer. But, passing lightly over the part which relates to the University, I have already disposed of so much of the objection of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge as is founded upon the idea that the Bill interferes with the integrity of the collegiate system. It is quite clear, from the unanimous voice of the University, that it does not concur with his principle in that respect. I am convinced that, if the private halls are established in the manner proposed, they will be likely to afford at least as good a guarantee for proper discipline and good management as the collegiate system does at this moment; and, if you attempt to extend, by affiliation or otherwise, the collegiate discipline over a larger surface of the University, the connection with the colleges will be more nominal than real; and even if it be real, those habits which by lapse of time have tended to great expense and to a too aristocratic tone of mind, will extend to the students in lodgings or in the affiliated halls, and prevent the resort to the University of those classes of persons who are not quite so high in the scale of society as those that at present matriculate at the colleges. On this point, therefore, I have no doubt the principle of the Bill is right. With regard to the institution of Congregation, I feel the force of the observations of my hon. and learned Friend, that it might be too much like this House. I do not pledge myself to it, but I may point out that the change of one word in the 20th clause would answer the objection; if in that clause you take out the word "English," and put in the word "Latin," the objection is at once answered. Then I come 735 to the question as to the mode in which the Bill deals with preferences. Certainly there are very important questions, both of principle and of detail, upon that clause; nevertheless, it is a very fair question to consider whether the principle of respecting founders' intentions is or is not carried far enough, or whether it is carried too far. With regard to kindred, I have disposed of that part of the question, and I do not expect I shall be answered. With regard to the point of local preference, I view that in connection with the subject of indigence; and it is my intention, unless the Government adopt my view, to propose in Committee, not that local preferences shall be universally maintained, or that, under a nominal provision for indigence, you shall retain only a portion of them, but a proviso to the effect that it shall continue to be lawful in all cases in which the right of preference is now given by any Statute to any person who shall have the qualification of poverty or indigence, combined with any other special qualification, for the electors to give effect to such right of preference in favour of any candidate claiming the benefit of it who shall, upon his examination, obtain from the examiners the certificate referred to in the 33rd clause, and who shall have shown to the satisfaction of the electors (to be certified by them in writing at the time of the election) that he is, or is likely to be, unable to prosecute his studies in the University without pecuniary assistance from some charitable fund or endowment, Such a provision would meet cases of bonâ fide poverty, and I think it will be found to adhere to the true principle; for it is quite manifest that the qualification of indigence, if preserved at all, should be adhered to in cases of real indigence, and not where it is comparative only. With regard to local preferences, except in this respect, I do not express any opinion on this occasion;—the question touches the foundation with which I am myself peculiarly connected, and I do not desire to enter upon questions which may affect the obligations by which I am personally bound. But I come now to another point upon which I have a strong opinion in common with my Friend the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford. I allude to the provision concerning schools. I think that question has not been sufficiently investigated or considered with relation to this Bill. The question 736 has not been sufficiently investigated upon the school side. There is a school side of the question. The Commissioners who inquired into the Universities and colleges had no authority given them to look at all upon the school side of the question; and moreover, they had not that authority even in the eases of the colleges of Eton, Winchester, and Westminster, which are so closely connected with several colleges in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. We must consider it, then, in that point of view; and it appears to me we are bound to consider, first of all, the influence of those college endowments upon the schools connected with colleges, and whether the purpose of the founders was merely to make an University institution, or to establish University institutions, with a view thereby also to promote education in the places where the schools are carried on. If these endowments act as great prizes for the schools, then all we should do is to amend them by better management and by better regulations in the colleges and the schools; then we cannot justly forget the interests of the schools—by which I mean all the local and general interests which are bound up with them; because the public schools of this country—and every grammar-school has the chance of being elevated into an important public school—are no less deserving of the respect, the consideration, and the protection of the Legislature than the Universities. Our attachment to these schools, and to the general interests of school education, is not less than to the Universities; and I am sure that my right hon. Friend below me (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) feels even more warmly for Eton (were it possible) than he does for Christ Church; any attempt to divide these schools from the colleges, which have stood in this relation to them from their very foundations, would be most unwise and unjust. Let us look for a moment at the progress which our public schools have made. In our time the numbers of our important public schools have been increased. Formerly there were only Eton, Westminster, Winchester, and Harrow; but within the memory of some gentlemen now living, others, which were formerly secondary, have risen into the first importance. Rugby School, in Warwickshire, has become an important public school; Shrewsbury, the same; Birmingham, the same; Manchester, the same; and we have, besides, the schools at Macclesfield, Sher- 737 borne, Tiverton, and other places. I might easily multiply the number. All our grammar-schools, under the fostering care of the law, owing to the wise regulations made as to many of them by Parliament, and as to others by the Court of Chancery, in consequence of the research of the Charity Commissioners, have become institutions of growing public use and importance. I hope that system will be continued, and that we may see many more of them rescued from the comparative neglect and obscurity into which they have in times past unhappily fallen, and used as great centres of education, and thus promoting that most important public work which we have so much at heart. To take from these schools their great University prizes, to destroy their connection with their colleges, would be suicidal. If you desire to make them effective, important, and increasing instruments of education, by all means see to their improvement; by all means interpose such regulations as may make the prize effective for its objects; but do not destroy the prize; do not alienate that which is really part of the substance of the school endowments—of the school foundations. Having made these observations generally, let me observe, in addition, that the Court of Chancery, whenever a school has come before it for a scheme, has continually directed exhibitions in the University to be founded. It has always thought that one of the most necessary means for extending the usefulness of the school. But having so far argued the general principle, I now wish to investigate its application in one case which has been already mentioned, which may be taken as an example, but perhaps as the most defined example of this whole class of cases. I mean the case of Winchester and New College. If there is one foundation which more than another deserves such notice, it is the foundation of William of Wykeham, part of which is at Winchester, and part in Oxford. It is a foundation which occupies a most important place, and I put it before Eton and King's because it is the prototype of that institution. I confess I think that the elections into Winchester College should be by merit, and that the elections from Winchester should proceed by examination for merit to New College. I have no objection, speaking as I think, in the interest of the great founder, to the introduction of a longer and more efficient sys- 738 tem of probation at New College before a scholar is made a fellow, nor even to the introduction of a system of election from scholarships to fellowships, under which all the graduate scholars should be eligible by competition among themselves. But while I think it is fully open to Parliament, regarding the spirit of the founders' intentions, to consider such regulations as these or others, I do protest most humbly against any attempt to destroy the connection, or to diminish or to impair the connection, between New College and the seventy boys who are brought up at Winchester on Wykeham's bounty, in order that they may have their education completed, and their entrance into life provided for, by going to Oxford. I say I protest against the separation of the two institutions, which would prevent the founder's purpose with regard to the school from being fulfilled by means of the college. On what ground is this proposed? It may be said that the thing has not answered. Now what is the foundation of that statement? I will tell the House. Let us look, in this matter, to time. The foundation is now more than 460 years old; and, during that time, let me try it in comparison with other institutions in the University, by the contributions it has made to the English Church. I find that it furnished to the Church of England, since the date of the foundation, and before the end of the last century, excluding the present century, and only reckoning down to the year 1777, five archbishops and thirty other prelates—in all thirty-five. Christ Church, during the same period, furnished seventy-five prelates to the Church of England. But observe the difference in position. Only thirty-five prelates were furnished by Wykeham's foundation; but it had no commoners; it elected none from other colleges; it had no additions from extraneous sources; yet from its own resources it contributed five archbishops, and thirty other prelates, all genuine thorough-bred Wykehamists, to the Church of England. During this period, Christ Church had its hundred students, its many commoners, its deans and canons, often eminent men, adopted from other colleges; yet, taking them altogether, it barely doubled the number of Wykehamites, for it only furnished seventy-five prelates. There were only two other colleges in the whole University which produced nearly the same 739 number of dignitaries in the English Church—Merton (a hundred years older), which produced forty-four; and Magdalen, which produced thirty-six; all the rest were much below. It may be said, "But this is not sufficient." Let me, then, try another test. The system of examination for degrees was first introduced in Oxford in 1807; and it is a great misfortune to New College to have had a privilege of a mischievous nature, which exempted the scholars from the necessity of passing the examination for degrees, so that until within the last twenty years they were thus debarred from competition for the honours which those examinations produced. This entirely threw them back; and in consequence, during the whole period while the examination system prevailed, the institution lost ground. About twenty years ago they had the wisdom to give up this most unwholesome privilege; but they had then no tutors who had been educated under the system of University examinations, and consequently they had a great deal to do to make up the lost way. But I want the House to see, in order to judge of the intrinsic capabilities of New College, as a foundation, what was done during the thirty-nine years preceding the institution of the examinations in 1807, when there were Chancellors' and other University prizes, which, instituted in 1767, continued during that period. During those thirty-nine years of the University prizes, twenty-one prizes fell to Christ Church, thirteen to New College, ten to Corpus, and six to Queen's. All the other colleges were left in a ruck behind. Therefore we have New College, standing upon its own intrinsic merits, bearing off many prizes, and coming second in the competition with the whole University. Then, I ask the House not to conclude, because of the unhappy drawback which arose, during the last half-century only, from the working of the examination Statutes, that the college was not supplied with good blood, or that Winchester is not capable of competing for the University prizes under such regulations as may be provided without violation to the integrity of the principle of the foundation. I shall now confine myself to a few observations upon two other subjects—the one with regard to the clause in this Bill which relates to the tenure of fellowships. I think, with regard to the tenure of fellowships, there 740 may be a good many details on which we may differ. First, I would say, I concur in the opinion generally entertained, that too short a time is proposed to be given for those persons to hold their fellowships who are to enter into the liberal professions. I would suggest that further time should be given, not only to those designed expressly for holy orders, for law, and medicine, but for all intended for other learned or liberal professions. With regard to residence in the Universities, I would say that the certificate of study which it is proposed to require is in principle vicious, and ought to be given up. In this respect I differ from the suggestion of the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Byng), who to-night addressed the House with perhaps as much ability and good taste as I have ever heard in the first speech of any Member. I certainly think that, instead of making stricter this certificate of study, it ought to be abandoned; that we ought to be content with the voluntary declaration of the fellow of a college himself as to the purposes for which he resides; for gentlemen who have attained to years of discretion, and have gone through the University course, are not to be treated as children. Some regard should be paid to the dignity of the individuals. I must, however, take leave to express my astonishment at that part of the observations of my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Wigram) which had reference to the clause intended to make non-resident fellowships terminable. The hon. Gentleman spoke with great earnestness of the propriety of adhering to the intentions of the founders, and he complained of the Bill for departing from them. Now, this clause in the Bill is conceived in a restorative spirit, and in a belief that, if the founders intended anything, it was that there should be no sinecurists, but that the fellows should reside in the University and study or make themselves useful. Yet the hon. Gentleman was not in the least embarrassed by the fact that the founders enjoined residence; he said that he thought it would be more beneficial to the colleges that the fellows should not reside, and, therefore, he recommended that they should not be required to do so. Well, but this is exactly the principle, upon which all the provisions of the Bill, which he objects to, are framed. Where it interferes at all with the directions of the founders, it does so, rightly or wrongly, on the ground that such inter- 741 ference will be most beneficial to the colleges and the University; but when the hon. Gentleman differs as to the expediency of any particular deviation from the will of the founder, he says that the principle is wrong. Therefore, according to him, the Bill is wrong because it departs from the founders' intentions in one thing, and it is wrong also because it proposes to return to these intentions in another thing. Of course, if we go upon the absolute principle of merely regarding the founders' intentions, it is manifest that the founder has required permanent residence; and non-resident fellowships continuing not permanently, but only so long as may be useful to the introduction in life of persons who have distinguished themselves at the University, are clearly much more in accordance with the spirit of the founders' intentions than non-resident fellowships held for life; and they are also more useful, because the more quick the succession in them, the more competition you will have for the prizes of the University. Where persons are engaged in the study of law or medicine, for instance, if you continue such fellowships beyond the point that is adapted to the requirements of University purposes, you will be alienating the funds which might otherwise be extremely well applied in promoting those purposes. With reference to the property clause of this Bill, I think that those who support the measure on the general principle may reserve to themselves fully the free consideration of that part of the question in Committee. It does not follow, because I agree to the foundation of professorships, and concur in the principle that, beyond all doubt, the University and the colleges have that species of connection with each other that would justify the University, and the Legislature on its behalf, in calling on the colleges for a contribution towards University purposes and objects, that, therefore, I may not be extremely jealous of any invasion of the college foundations, or of anything which may affect the appropriation of a part of the funds of those foundations for University purposes, unless it be demonstrated to me that those purposes are absolutely indispensable, and cannot be otherwise provided for. As to the professors, I confess that I entertain no jealousy with regard to them. My sincere conviction is that the best arrangement would be that which unites the most efficient professorial with the 742 most efficient tutorial system. I think that either of these must be incomplete without the other; and, therefore, I think it is a just object of the Bill to make a provision for a more efficient professorial system than prevails at present. With these observations I feel that I have only discharged a duty in stating the grounds which lead me to recognise in this Bill a measure which is conceived on the whole in a really conservative and friendly spirit towards the University; and, although we are not now bound to enter into all the details of the Bill, I should certainly have felt great regret if I had not bad an opportunity of tendering to Her Majesty's Government my thanks, as an individual who is deeply interested in the welfare of Oxford University, for the spirit in which they have dealt with this important subject.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, that with many portions of the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down he certainly very much agreed. If he had understood him aright, the hon. and learned Gentleman had condemned any attempt to interfere with the resources of the colleges against their will, for the purpose of setting up professorships. The hon. and learned Gentleman had also declared that in his judgment the tenure proposed to be extended to the fellows in the colleges was too short; he distinctly stated that the proposed system with respect to studies was vicious. The hon. and learned Member had also altogether dissented, and that in the strongest manner, from the provision of the Bill with regard to the existing preferences in favour of particular schools; and he had perhaps only forborne to tell the House that he objected still more strongly to the abolition of the privileges of particular localities. The hon. and learned Gentleman had certainly dwelt on the question of kindred: but his argument on that point cuts both ways; besides he had quoted the authority of Justice Blackstone, and if that eminent man had possessed the authority that belonged to him in his later days, when he gave the opinion to which the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred, his views on the point of kindred would no doubt have been different.
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
, said, he must explain, that the point had been decided in the meantime against Justice Blackstone, by the visitors, before he became a distinguished man.
§ MR. HENLEY
No doubt when he became more distinguished, he saw reason for assenting to the decision which had been given against him. The rights of schools in connection with this subject had had powerful and able advocates in that House, but the rights of localities had been very much overlooked. It had been said, that benefit would accrue to particular colleges if the privileges of these localities were done away with. Now he (Mr. Henley) could quite understand, that an ambitious head of a college, or the fellows belonging to it, might desire to have a larger field of choice in order to render their society more distinguished; but what comfort was it to the small town, or other district which was to be deprived of the advantages which it enjoyed from these magnificent foundations? He thought that places which were to be made to take their chance in a competition extending over the whole country ought to be allowed a hearing on this matter, in order to let the House know if they thought that they would derive any benefit at all from this measure, or any benefit commensurate with the privileges of which they were to be deprived. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. R. Palmer), and the hon. Baronet the representative of the University (Sir. W. Heathcote) had completely exhausted that part of the question relating to the schools; and he (Mr. Henley) thought that the Government would find themselves pressed in Committee on this point in a manner which they would not be able to resist. He would quote the evidence of a witness of very great authority, because the Government had chosen him as one of the Commissioners to be appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Bill, should it be passed by Parliament. He alluded to Sir John Awdry, who stated that whatever ground there might he for the interference of the Legislature, the Legislature had no right to confiscate the college property; and in another part of his evidence he also stated his opinion that to confiscate the college funds in order to endow professorships would be sheer robbery. If, therefore, he (Mr. Henley) had used strong language on the introduction of this measure, the language above quoted was quite as emphatic. He was certainly not sorry that a gentleman of such sentiments was to be placed upon the Commission, because if Sir John Awdry's opinions did not (like those of sonic Gentlemen now on or near the Treasury bench) undergo a great change 744 in a very short space of time, he would no doubt take care that the operation of the measure should be rendered as little mischievous as possible. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. R. Palmer) expressed great alarm and distrust when the noble Lord first announced the appointment of the Commission to inquire into the University; but he seemed from some circumstance to look with no alarm at the present Bill, although he certainly condemned, in no very measured terms, every part of it, concluding, however, rather oddly by thanking the Government for having introduced a measure the details of which, he said, must be very prejudicial to the University. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Byng), who had addressed the House for the first time that night and with great ability, made an observation with reference to the heads of houses that was only part of a system which the Commissioners themselves were not altogether free from, namely, an unjust system of running down the present heads of houses. It was said that that body was elected not at all for literary merit, but for every other reason; and, in fact, jobbing had been insinuated against them; and it was even said that elections were frequently made to clear out a college in order that other fellows might obtain livings. Now, he happened to live in the neighbourhood of the University, and knew something of the heads of houses, and he could not hear the reference that had been made to them by the hon. and learned Member for Tavistock (Mr. R. Phillimore) without saying that his intercourse with them led him to believe that the reports were wholly unfounded. As to the Dean of Christ Church and Dr. Routh, the head of the college to which he belonged, it was not needed to speak of their learning and literary reputation. It was a great mistake to suppose that persons should be elected to these high offices merely for their literary acquirements. It might be a fortunate thing, both for the person himself and for the college, that he should not have been confined all his life within its walls, but should have moved about at some period of his life in the world, and going back to his college duties with larger and more correct views on many subjects. Now this Bill, although it might not be so intended, certainly evinced a spirit of jealousy towards the heads of houses; it took away the legitimate influence which they ought to exercise, and cast a slur upon them, and degraded them. The Bill 745 proposed to re-constitute the Congregation, but if its power of debating was to be taken away from that body, he did not know what it would have to do at all. The hon. and learned Gentleman who approved of this Bill said, "Just strike out the word English and insert the word Latin, and then I should like to know what would become of the Congregation?" Why, it would only become a sort of alter ego of the Convocation, and the next step should be to abolish it altogether, because it would certainly then be one of no use. It would be better to allow the heads of houses and the professors to elect their respective shares of the governing body, and leave the members of the Convocation to elect their own particular body, and thus do away with the Congregation altogether, because the mere election of some half dozen persons was hardly a matter for which it would be worth while making such a change as was proposed with regard to the Congregation. What was wanted appeared to be some greater facility for getting at the governing body, with the view of suggesting legislation affecting the University. He did not think a convenient mode for accomplishing this was pointed out in this Bill, It would be impossible to say when a measure would be finally decided if the machinery of this Bill were adopted. When a proposition was made to 200 of the sharpest wits of the University it would be very hard indeed if they could not suggest successive amendments in it which would then have to be promulgated; so that the whole process would have to be gone over again and again. This would therefore be anything but a working measure, but the subject would require to be fully considered in Committee. It was now four years since the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell) first thought fit to throw the University into a state of agitation and comparative confusion by appointing the Royal Commission, and ever since that Commission had been issued, every moving spirit in the University had been at work in some direction or other; and nothing like quiet would be restored until some measure or the other was passed. He confessed that this consideration weighed more heavily than any other with him in inducing him to refrain from voting against the second reading of this Bill. There was very little to find fault with in the preamble of the measure; and if the Government were honest they ought not to object to frame the enactments in con- 746 formity with that preamble. If they were not honest, it would be no discredit to anybody who supported the second reading, to vote against the Bill after it came out of Committee. The Commission issued by the Government was distinctly inconsistent with the letter which they sent to the late Duke of Wellington. He hoped now that the Government would not proceed in regard to this Bill in contradiction to its preamble. The hon. and learned Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Blackett), a University reformer, had rather oddly described this Bill. He had said it gave with one hand and pulled back with the other, and that it pulled away with the left hand more than it gave with the right. When such was the view of so acute and learned a Member, he (Mr. Henley) might be excused if he felt very uncertain as to how the enactments of this measure would practically work. There were so many clauses and provisoes, and so many things which the colleges might do, or which, if they did not do within certain conditions and restrictions, they would be done by the Commissioners themselves afterwards, that until they went into Committee to discuss the details of the Bill, he could not understand the exact bearings of its various clauses. He believed that legislation was necessary, for many of the colleges at this moment were existing under Statutes with respect to which they hardly knew whether they could be considered to be disobeying them, or whether the Statutes themselves might be regarded as so far obsolete that no disobedience could fairly be urged against them. There were many conscientious men, members of those colleges, who he believed would be very glad to have this point made clear. There were many persons, also, who thought that alterations might be made which would be within the scope of the intentions of the founder; but which the colleges now had not the power to carry out. Of course for such persons a mere enabling Statute would not do; because if a man believed that in consequence of an oath he had taken he had not the power to do a certain thing, they could not by an enabling Statute relieve that man's conscience. He confessed he thought it a very fine distinction—and he could not exactly realise the ground on which it had been put forward, but as it had been put forward they must deal with it; it was, he said, a very fine distinction which was taken by those gentlemen, who said—"We are 747 under certain obligations by which we consider ourselves bound; we wish to be relieved from those obligations; but the Legislature must do it." This seemed to him, he must say, something like "seeing a thief and consenting unto him;" yet it was in many cases the ground upon which a claim for legislation was put forward. Although he did not think this was a sufficient ground for legislation, he did believe that there were many things which came strictly within the intention of the founder which could not be carried out without an enabling power from the Legislature. The fate of this Bill must depend upon whether the Government would permit—he would rather say whether the Government would not resist—anything that might be fairly shown to be reasonable. It must be admitted upon all hands, that the measure had been received in a fair spirit—that there had been nothing like party opposition to it; and that every disposition had been shown to confine the discussion within the four corners of the Bill itself. There was enough there to call for grave and serious consideration. They had heard a great deal about whether this measure would most favour the tutorial or professorial system of education; but he thought that was a very short way of looking at the subject. In his opinion, any Government intending to remodel, as this Bill proposed to do, one of the first educational institutions of the country, had a much larger question to look at than whether the education given should be carried out according to the tutorial or professorial system. The great question which they ought to lay before the country was what should be the quality of the education which they should endeavour to secure to the people; and, having come to an understanding upon that point, it would be a fair subject for discussion, whether the tutorial or professorial system would be most likely to accomplish what they wished. Upon this point, unhappily, they were in a most unfortunate position. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had said he would have nothing to do with the education of dissent; the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord J. Russell) wished to educate dissent; and thus they had those two Members of the Government, to whom the country ought to look with confidence for information as to the principle of education and the quality of education which they thought it most desirable to carry out—they had these two 748 Members of the Government, who appeared to have most to do with the measure, judging from the part which they had borne in the discussions which had taken place, distinctly opposed to each other upon this important question. Between these two points what could there be but the widest latitudinarianism? It was impossible that that House could consider, with any prospect of satisfactory result, how education should be carried on, until they knew what the education was to be, and that was a point upon which the Government had not yet informed them. He thought that the system of private halls had been introduced purposely to favour the views of the noble Lord. The noble Lord smiled; he bad no doubt he felt that, in carrying that portion of the present measure, he would be getting in the small end of the wedge wherewith to effect his object. His right hon. Colleague (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) probably would say that he did not see the matter in the same light; but he (Mr. Henley) could not understand how that right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord could lay down together a common principle of education. The question which was really involved—and the question which would have to be decided—was, whether they were, or were not, going to give a religious education to the people. If they were to give a religious education, they must make up their minds what that education was to be, for they could not teach religion in the abstract. If they attempted to do that they would have infidelity on the one hand and superstition on the other, while latitudinarianism would sit smiling between. If they had a distinct proposal to carry out either the views of the right hon. Gentleman or the views of the noble Lord, they should know what they were about; but this measure having been framed, partly with one view and partly with the other, he could not look at it with the same confidence as he might do under other circumstances, and he feared they would not get what he was most anxious to get—a sound religious education for the country. He trusted that the University would for ever remain an institution to secure to the people of this country a sound religious education. Dissenters were as much interested in that object as the members of the Church of England. Persons dissenting from the Church were always sincerely religious persons—they would not dissent if they were not—and they had, therefore, a great interest in the people being religiously instructed. He believed 749 that a great national institution, like the University, holding forth to the country the necessity of educating its inmates in the religion which it believed to be true, did much to support the cause of religious education generally; and that if the places of education in this country were to be frittered away, as he believed this Bill was now laying the foundation of frittering them away, down to indifference to all those matters which education ought to concern itself about, the dissenting bodies would be less able to keep up the religious spirit of the country, and, in proportion to their numbers, would suffer equally with the Church. He regarded the University as one of the great causes of forming the national character, for from it came the teachers of the people; and the character of mind there acquired—the love of truth and justice, the habits of hard and severe study, which were there inculcated, and which not only enabled a man to acquire knowledge, but rendered him more capable to discharge effectually the active duties of life—were spread, imperceptibly perhaps, but certainly, among all classes of the people. He thought there would be great danger that the national character would be impaired, if our University system were superseded by any foreign system encouraging a habit of learning merely by rote, and that they would be running the risk of stamping Sheffield plate with a silver mark. He trusted rather to see the University extend its sphere and improve its usefulness, and continue, as it had been, one of the greatest blessings of this country.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, as representing another University, he had, perhaps, but little claim to address the House on this occasion; but he considered that the two Universities were so intimately bound up together, that it was highly important that, in considering measures which applied to one, they should not put out of view the effect which those measures would have if extended to the other. The Universities, rivals though they might be for public approval, co-operated for the benefit of the public; and it was necessary to consider their joint influence on the general interests of the people. It must be borne in mind that they differed materially in their original constitution. They differed not less materially in the principles of their several foundations; they differed also in the class of instruction which they imparted, and in the respective systems by which they strove to make, and did make, 750 their education effective as a preparation for the active business of life; and they differed also, he regretted to state, in this, that whereas the University of Oxford had not adopted what had been recommended to it in 1837, by modifying its institutions and enlarging its sphere of usefulness, the sister University from that period to the present, had been uniformly labouring to make improvements in her system of education, and to adapt herself to the varying circumstances of the times. Differing, then, as the two Universities did in these important points, it followed that any legislation designed for their improvement must necessarily differ also. If there had been a Bill on the table of the House for regulating the University of Cambridge, he should have been able to ascertain whether the framers of that Bill had attended to the distinction he had just shadowed forth. As that, however, was not the case, he thought he could not render greater service to the University he had the honour to represent than by pointing out at once, for the information of those by whom any such Bill might hereafter be drawn, what would be the necessary effect of certain provisions of this measure, to the University of Cambridge. If he had had the good fortune to address them at an earlier period of the evening, he might have gone into detail. At present, he should merely content himself with drawing the attention of the Government to particular points, in order that when a Bill for regulating the University of Cambridge came under discussion, it might be, as it ought to be, a different measure from this. It was his intention to support this Bill as far as the second reading was concerned, if he had had any doubt upon that point, the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer) would have convinced him. There were three provisions in the Bill, however, which, if they were introduced into the measure affecting the University of Cambridge, would impair its usefulness, if not altogether destroy its character and influence. The first of these was the provision with respect to the establishment of halls for members of the University not belonging to any college; the second was that defining the mode by which scholarships and fellowships are to be obtained; and the third, that by which the duration of fellowships was to be abridged. Now, the first of the three provisions to which he had referred was in direct opposition to the recommendation of 751 the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the University of Cambridge. If this and the other provisions to which he had referred were applied to Cambridge, the character and the benefit of the collegiate system would, in great measure, be destroyed. At present, an individual belonging to a college felt an interest in the institution with which he was connected. He felt not merely a personal pride in the honours which he might obtain; he was animated by a still stronger feeling—that of maintaining the character of his college. He recollected seeing the letters which some of the successful competitors wrote home to their parents in the year when the seven first men in the classical tripos belonged to Trinity College, and he had not forgotten that they dwelt not on the glory which they had themselves acquired, but on the strength and stability they had added to the college of which they were members. And when, in three successive years, the senior wranglers were from St. John's College, the same feeling animated those who had attained that high honour. They felt gratitude to the institution which had received them when poor, and which had nourished their youth; and they felt an honourable pride in being able to repay the obligation by contributing to its honour and glory. It was not wise to discard the incentives to exertion and industry which the present system afforded. By the 28th clause of this Bill it was declared that no preference in the competition for college fellowships was to be given to any member of the college foundation. Such a clause as this introduced into a Bill with respect to the University of Cambridge would necessarily excite alarm. He should certainly feel great surprise at hearing that Trinity College, to which he belonged, was, as this Bill would designate it, a close body. That college—which admitted everybody, whatever might be his birth or station in life, provided he owned allegiance to the Queen—that college, the scholarships and fellowships of which were only awarded after the strictest competition—that college, where merit and character always obtained its due reward—that college, which he always considered one of the most open institutions that existed in the world—would be entirely changed in its character, if this 28th clause were applied to it. It was said that the object of this clause was to secure competition. But where would they find stricter competition than in that college? On a vacancy in any one of its seventy-two 752 scholarships, there were 300 members of the college who might compete for it. There were four or five fellowships vacant in each year, for each of which there might be seventy-two candidates, who had already submitted themselves to the ordeal of a previous examination, who had since made progress in their studies, and who could only be admitted to the higher honour in consideration of good character and superiority in attainments, which they had exhibited during their college course and under the ordeal of a strict examination. They had here, surely, every security they could desire for the advancement of merit and the defeat of competitors of inferior attainment, while it seemed to him clear that if they admitted students living in halls to become competitors, they would be doing an injustice to those who had already entered the college and would defeat the intentions of its founder, that intention being to train up men from the commencement to the close of their University career, so as to be assured of their character and ability. He quite accepted the principle laid down by the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth that that House was at liberty to deviate from the scheme laid down by the founder of any one of these colleges, in order to give effect to his real intentions. But they were not to frustrate their intentions, nor to deviate for any other purpose or to a greater extent than was rendered necessary by the altered circumstances of the present as compared with past times. It was further proposed by the present Bill that the duration of a fellowship should be limited to one year. Now, he would ask, who would devote himself to laborious study for five years in order to gain a miserable pittance of 150l. for a single year? [Mr. R. PHILLIMORE: The fellowship might last five years]. That might be the intention of the framers of the measure; but let the House see the position in which the successful competitor for a fellowship would be placed. He would have a right to his fellowship for twelve months only, but the president of the college to which he belonged might give it him for five years. His enjoyment of it was thus contingent upon the will of the ruler of the college. Great uncertainty was thus introduced into the prospects of the man who received the reward; while great suspicion must necessarily be cast upon the conduct of those at the head of the institution, if they gave in particular cases the extension of time which they 753 refused in others. What was the effect of the fellowships as at present constituted? Persons who did not enter holy orders might retain them for seven years. During that period they launched themselves on that profession which they had chosen. Many eminent lawyers had thus, and thus alone, obtained the means of entering their profession; and if the term for which fellowships were held should be shortened to one year, he believed that the bar would be deprived of many of those who, under more favourable circumstances, would become its highest ornaments. Nor did this apply to the legal profession only. The effect of such a provision would be to impede the advancement of many most valuable members of society, who might rise to eminence and distinction in other professions, were the tenure of the fellowships not shortened in duration. He hoped and trusted he might receive some assurance from the Government that the provisions contained in this Bill, and to which those most intimately connected with Oxford, and best acquainted with what would be beneficial for it, saw no objection, would not be applied to the sister University. They were not required there by the circumstances of the case, they were not recommended by the Commissioners to whom was delegated the task of pointing out what reforms were necessary in that University, and he believed that if introduced there they would be detrimental, not only to the interests of the University, but to the higher interests of learning and religion. As he was only anxious to put the Government in possession of what he believed would be the consequences if, without regard to the difference of circumstances, they applied similar provisions to the University of Cambridge even though supposed by them to be conducive to the welfare and benefit of the University of Oxford, he would not detain the House any longer from proceeding with this measure.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said: I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend who has just addressed you, that in any legislation with respect to the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, we ought to have a careful regard to the distinctive character of those Universities; and although it is undoubtedly true, as stated by my noble Friend at the head of the Government in another place, that the general principle and outline of the legislation they require bear close resemblance 754 in the one case and in the other, yet also it is obviously true with respect not only to minute details, but several important provisions of the Bill, it is desirable Parliament should pursue a course somewhat distinct for Oxford and for Cambridge. I shall, therefore, think it quite unnecessary to follow my right hon. Friend in the discussion of the three points to which he has just adverted, but simply say I do not think he has exactly collected the purport of the provisions of this Bill even as they stand, while in respect to one point, the too great abbreviation of the term during which the fellowships may be held in conjunction with non-residence, surely I may remind my right hon. Friend that that point, if no other, may be regarded simply as a detail of the Bill, with which this House can deal according to its wisdom and judgment after due consideration. Now, it appears to me, that after from seven to eight hours' debate, Oxford, and all those interested in that University, have just reason to be satisfied with the tone of this discussion. Without a single exception, beginning with my hon. Friend the Member for the University (Sir W. Heathcote)—proceeding next with the right hon. Baronet opposite the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington)—that discussion has been conducted on the part of those belonging to Oxford in a tone of affectionate attachment and veneration for the place which it well deserved; and with respect to those who do not belong to Oxford, with a seriousness and calmness of consideration, and an entire freedom from any reference to party politics, which likewise eminently distinguished other speakers. And, Sir, if in former times—in times long gone by—Oxford has presented Parliament with the illustrious names of Mr. Fox, Mr. Canning, and Sir Robert Peel—it has been no common gratification to me to have listened to-night to the first efforts of two Members of this House, the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Byng), and the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord R. Cecil), whose first efforts, rich with future promise, indicate that there still issue forth from the maternal bosom of that University men who, in the first days of their career, gave earnest of what they may afterwards accomplish for their country.
Sir, having said this with perfect truth and sincerity, I must likewise say, when I listened to the noble Lord, it occurred to me that, though he has learnt much, I 755 may venture to assure him he has something to unlearn. For, when the noble Lord speaks of the levity and precipitancy with which majorities of this House deal with great interests and great institutions of this country—when he tells us we have one year a Ministry of the highest Toryism, and another year a Ministry at the lowest point of Radicalism—when he says the majority of this House is no more than a weathercock, swayed by every passing breeze—I venture to promise him that his future practical acquaintance with the constitution conducted within these walls, where I trust he will long remain, will give him in a short time, I doubt not, a better opinion of the British House of Commons. I feel that, though it may be liable to be influenced for the moment with gusts of passion and of party feeling, he will find Parliament does not deserve the character of representing in its deliberate decisions no more than the fancies of the passing hour. Certainly the noble Lord did oppose the principles of the Bill, and I am afraid I must consider that the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) likewise declared himself an opponent on many points of it. But I am bound to say, referring to the general character of the debate, not only the tone, but the opinions expressed, have been such as to satisfy me there is every hope and reasonable prospect that this measure will, after discussion and such modifications as appear to the House to be just, pass into law in the present Session. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Oxfordshire referred to one or two points on which I must briefly touch. He stated that one of the Commissioners whom it was proposed by the Government to appoint, Sir John Awdry, had distinctly declared an opinion with respect to the foundation of professorships by the heads of colleges, which he thought at variance with the Bill. I do not read the opinion of Sir John Awdry to be so, and the passage quoted does not imply any such contrariety of opinion. The passage, as I think, implied that confiscation of college property in order to found professorships to be filled up by the Crown, was a thing that could not be endured. No such confiscation is contemplated. There are no compulsory provisions requiring the separation from a college of any part of its foundation. There is no provision in the Bill enabling or empowering the Crown to intrude any professor, or appoint any professor to a college. Sir John Awdry, con- 756 senting to remain as a member of the Commission, made himself master of the provisions of the Bill, and his well-known character is a sufficient guarantee of his comprehension of those provisions, and his intention, should his name be inserted by the vote of Parliament, to give effect to them in good faith, and without diminishing their efficacy. Then, I think, the words fell from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman, that this Bill is purposely intended to throw a slur upon and degrade those high in authority at Oxford, as heads of colleges and halls. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to render it necessary for me to give an emphatic and even a warm denial to any such accusation, because I do not think he intended to impute any such intention to the Government. As to the question whether we give sufficient power to the heads of colleges and halls, or too much power, that is a matter, I think, which we can best discuss in Committee. The Bill proceeds on this principle, that the heads of colleges and halls is one very important and influential class, yet still only one class in the University, comprehending several; and, therefore, for putting an end to a state of things which places virtually the whole initiatory power, almost the whole legislative power, in that class, we invite the House in Committee to consider how best to frame a constitution which shall give the main elements that particular share of influence and power to which they are entitled. The right hon. Gentleman likewise referred to another subject—the subject of the admission of Dissenters—with respect to which he lamented to find a contrariety of opinion between my noble Friend the Member for the City of London and myself. There was no such contrariety. My noble Friend stated his opinion in favour of the admission of Dissenters to education and honours in the University of Oxford, but stated at the same time his intention to vote against any proposition for inserting such provisions in the present Bill. I, following the noble Lord, likewise stated I should give a similar vote. I did not enter into a discussion upon the subject of the admission of Dissenters, for this plain reason, inasmuch as we were promised full opportunity of discussing the matter when in Committee. I did think it in my position, having the honour to be one of the burgesses of the University of Oxford, more befitting me, and more respectful to my constituents, to reserve any declaration 757 of particulars, until I had the opportunity of stating them fully, than that, by speaking hastily on a subject so important, I should run the risk of causing any misapprehension. I think I shall carry the universal opinion of the House with me that that was not the time, but when that time comes, if the patience of the House will admit it, I shall be prepared to state with all the precision in my power the reason, the meaning, and the grounds of the vote I am prepared to give.
The debate, with the exception of certain particulars to which my hon. Friend and Colleague has referred, so far as it involved material objections to the present Bill, was opened by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich, in a speech which I have great satisfaction in saying was distinguished by perfect fairness and candour, as well as ability. But the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich earnestly and fervently conjured the Government to abandon all idea of proceeding by measures so violent and sweeping as those which are now before the House; and for once, if they could, adopt the method of conciliation. Conciliation, Sir! Why, look at the condition of this House. [There were scarcely forty Members present.] I say that we have conciliated, and conciliated until we have conciliated all animation out of this debate, and three parts of the Members who form the usual attendance of Members out of the House. And, however unsatisfactory that may be to those who rise to address the House, that the main recipients of their opinions are the empty green benches, it bears, nevertheless, emphatic testimony to the spirit of conciliation respecting the measure under discussion. The right hon. Baronet, however, falls back, as he is perfectly entitled to do, on a former speech of mine, and he has compelled me, by sending a message to Downing Street, to disinter a speech delivered four years ago. In that speech I expressed a strong opinion in favour of the freedom of government of the University. Sir, I still entertain those views. It is with reluctance that I have come to the conclusion that there is a case which really demands the consideration of Parliament, and I will not now enter into the grounds of that proposition, because I am perfectly ready to refer to the speeches made by my hon. and learned Friends the Members for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer) and Tavistock (Mr. R. Phillimore), with respect to the demonstration contained on that subject. I do not wish 758 to weary the House by what I have said of done on former occasions. More important matter is now before our consideration than such personal questions; at the same time, after what has fallen from the right hon. Baronet, I may say, when I did speak at that period, I did contemplate the time when, unless large changes were made in Oxford by other means, it would be necessary for Parliament to interfere. These words, and they are very few, were used immediately after the University passed the University Statutes, which introduced some important changes, and were pregnant with other changes. I said:—If the colleges fail to act in the spirit of the University, if they do not make it their aim to render their endowments available in the highest degree for the encouragement of learning, the reward of merit, and the enlargement of the circle within which their benefits are diffused, I grant the time may come when the interference of the State may be required, but at this time you have no justification.That is precisely the case. The colleges found themselves, generally from no want of will, actually disabled by these Statutes, or the customs which had grown up under these Statutes—to adopt changes that were necessary, and we propose to Parliament to attempt that intervention which is in consequence required; but I hope, with the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, intervention does not mean perpetual meddling by the Legislature. Nothing can be so fatal to the dignity and independence, and the repose, usefulness, and efficiency of the University. And if the Government now interfere with provisions of some scope, it is because we feel it is desirable, above all things, that this interference shall, if possible, be an interference once for all—an interference effectual for its purpose, and, being effectual for its purpose, one which will leave no disputes, and no necessity for a repetition, at any rate for an early repetition, of any such interference. The right hon. Baronet says he thinks there is great fault to be found, not with the Government, but with the Bill, on account of the provisions relating to University extension, and he says he thinks the plan which, as he said, is proposed by the University, but which, in fact, is not proposed by the University, but is about to be submitted to the University, a better plan than the plan of the Government. Now, I beg the right hon. Gentleman to understand there is no rivalry whatever between us. I must confess I am not so very sanguine of any great extension of 759 the University by means of affiliated or independent halls. That is not a new question. For the last eight years it has been the subject of incessant discussion and consideration, and though there has never been any practical plan, much has been said and written—there have been many good and wise intentions, but after eight years nothing has been done, nothing has been proposed to the University, except in the immediate prospect of this Bill. It is not for the purpose of imputing any want of appreciation of the subject in Oxford that I say this. On the contrary, I know its importance is appreciated, but it is unnecessary to say that the difficulties are very great. The purport of this Bill is not to determine in what way University extension shall be conducted, in connection with the colleges, or under the control of the Chancellor. That is a matter with which the University is dealing, and I have every desire that it shall be successful. Our extension of the University is not a mere extension; it likewise pertains to other topics and other objects more vital and important in our view. The Bill was introduced, because the Government thought the time was come when it was desirable to make an endeavour to give more freedom and power of expansion to the system of instruction pursued at Oxford. We propose that the conditions of the expansion should not be dependent on the discretion of the University or colleges, but that they should be fixed by law for regulating the discipline, order, and quality of instruction, and that that instruction should not depend on the college system alone. For that purpose we propose under conditions—not in the discretion of any executive officer whatever, but on conditions to be fixed by the laws and rules of the University—that it shall be the right of any properly qualified person to open his house and convey instruction to all who might choose to attend. We have no wish to see any plans of extension in connection with the colleges hampered or interfered with. We wish them to succeed; but we also wish to see whether they could not have a freer and more elastic system established at Oxford—to see if it was not possible for the University of Oxford to expand her energies, to unbend herself somewhat, and to rise to the wants of this teeming age. Therefore I hope the right hon. Gentleman understands that it was not our intention to set aside the existing legislation of the University, but it is our intention simply 760 to ask Parliament to legalise a system of expansion. We only interfere by intervention from without, to undo what was done by intervention from within. It is not more than three centuries ago since, not by the will of the University, but by the influence and by the interference of the Chancellor, acting as the Minister and organ of the Crown, that the close system was introduced which placed the University under the control of the colleges; we seek, by the aid of the Legislature, to strike off the fetters which were forged with its assistance. This is the principle on which these clauses are founded.
I will not, at this late hour, attempt to enter into a discussion on the proper method of constituting the Hebdomadal Council—whether it should be elected by a body like the Congregation, or in sections, by the different classes in the University—this will be discussed with more advantage in Committee; but I wish to make one general observation: the plan as now proposed, is founded on the expectation that the generous and temperate spirit which now pervades all parties in Oxford, under this pressure, will always continue. Our expectation is, that the business of the University will be conducted, under the proposed provisions, with a spirit in every class to respect the fair claims and rights of every other class. If we cannot trust the University, this Bill is a bad one; it proceeds on the principle, that if we start the University with good institutions, it may be trusted to work out the plan. If we said to the heads of houses that they were to look forward to a perpetual election by heads of houses, if we told the professors that they were always to be chosen by professors, and other members of the University by their own classes, we would only perpetuate the distinctions which have been thrown over for a moment, and which I hope and trust will be lost in the general desire to promote the common work and great purposes of the University. Well, Sir, the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Pakington) on one point seriously misunderstood the Bill. He argued on it as if it proposed that all offices in the University, or (I am not sure if I use the technical term) emoluments in the Bill, were to be disposed of on the sole test of examination, as a mode of ascertaining qualification and competency; and he then quotes a speech of mine in 1850, in which I stated that examination alone was an unsafe and unfit test of this. I am still, Sir, of the same opinion, and I do not think, when we consider the usual 761 character of this condition, that it was safe or prudent to make the result of an examination the sole criterion; but, Sir, the Bill does not in any way lay down the rule that examination shall be the only test. Clause 28 provides expressly for superior fitness in character and attainments; and it is also provided that the examiners shall be satisfied, by examination or otherwise, of the fitness of the candidate. I do not think it was possible to make the condition of qualification more liberal. I must say that it is not wise to make examination the sole and indisputable criterion of qualification; but if we wish by regulations to secure a permanent and vigorous succession of subjects, we must call in the aid of examination, and give it a principal place in the determination of competency. This is the principle of the Bill; and the right hon. Baronet, when he impeached its provisions, did not state them with accuracy.
Passing from the speech of the right hon. Baronet, I come to another speech, delivered from the other side of the House and in a very different spirit—I mean the speech of the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. Blackett). I must pay both Gentlemen the tribute of saying that both their speeches, though differing in spirit, displayed that warm and lively interest in the fortunes and welfare of the University which distinguished all her children who have taken part in this debate. The objections of the hon. Member were directly counter to those of the right hon. Baronet, and I was struck with the fact that he said in commencing that he would take no notice of the objections of the right hon. Baronet; he did not, but directed his criticism wholly against the Bill of the Government. It might, perhaps, be more convenient for the House if, instead of referring first to the argument of the right hon. Baronet, and then to that of the hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne, I was to put one in one scale, and the other in another, and see which would weigh most. The hon. Member states various objections, but I think they were mainly four. The first is, that the colleges will not reform themselves. Now, Sir, I hope that many of them will; but whether they do or do not, this Bill provides machinery under which those who are disposed will be enabled. I hope that will be sufficient; if it is not deemed so, we shall have an opportunity of considering the matter in Committee, and I hope to be able to make it plain to the 762 hon. Gentleman, that if the colleges will not reform of themselves they will on coercion. The second objection is, that the Bill leaves a mass of profane and idle oaths; but it does not. I will not deny that there are some oaths which may merit the term he applies, and these the Bill abolishes. One general oath to the observance of the Statutes may be considered as inexpedient, but it cannot be pronounced idle; even of these we do not require the maintenance. The colleges may abolish them, but the hon. Gentleman knows that a great deal of religious feeling is mixed up with this matter, which cannot be overlooked, consequently we were of opinion it was better to leave the matter to the discretion of the authorities under the control of the Commissioners. Then the objection is that the Bill does not diminish the influence of the clerical element which the hon. Gentleman pronounces to be the bane and pest of Oxford. Where has the hon. Gentleman derived the principle that the clerical element is the bane and pest of Oxford? I ask him, as a practical man, what chance he thinks there would be of passing a Bill through this House which stated in its preamble "Whereas the clerical element is the bane and pest of Oxford," and so on. It appears to me that the predominance of the clerical element at Oxford is only in accordance with the genius of the country, and that it is not very desirable to attempt by the mere force of Acts of Parliament to constrain our institutions into a line which their own genius did not impel them naturally to take. I do not believe it would be possible to induce Parliament to pass any Bill altering the clerical influence of Oxford; the expansion of studies will act upon it, and, if incompatible, will dislodge it. We have provided clauses under which these who desire it may obtain fellowships without assuming the clerical character, and at present we do not think it wise to go further. Individual opinions are not worth much, therefore I will not press my own upon the House at length, but I doubt whether we can separate the large clerical element from the collegiate system. I doubt very much if any legislation could effect it. The feeling of the parents is in favour of having education conducted by those who have taken holy orders, and that is not affected by the clerical character of Oxford. If we look to those schools through the country which are most approved of, and patronised by parents in this country, we shall find 763 them conducted by clergymen. Parents in this country do not look to the mental character of their children only, but also to their moral disposition, and they feel that the clergy of this country, as they now stand, are the persons best calculated to develope the moral faculties. For these reasons the Government have not thought fit to attempt any violent interference with the clerical character of a large number of fellowships.
But the principal objection of the hon. Gentleman is not so much to anything within the four corners of the Bill as to the fact that it has been well received at Oxford. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich told us to conciliatet—the hon. Member for Newcastle says we have conciliated too much. The fact that the measure has been well received at Oxford has been to me a source of the most lively satisfaction, and I think it important it should be so received. I do not know how the hon. Gentleman's correspondence is carried on, but I have received letters from Oxford, not, indeed, representing the majority of the constituency, but containing a choice selection of racy and vigorous terms applied to the provisions of the Bill, which would meet the argument of the hon. Member, that the Bill should not pass unless objectionable to Oxford. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Wigram) has started a most important question with regard to the Bill; his objection went entirely to the root of all the provisions affecting the colleges; he laid down very high doctrine, and said it was no longer a question of prudence or of policy, but of honesty. The founders have left certain funds, but have left them subject to conditions. You now violate the conditions, but seek to retain the bequests. Yet, after making this charge, the hon. and learned Gentleman says he does not intend to divide against the second reading of the Bill. If such were the character of the Bill, it would require explanation; but that it is not is proved even by the conduct of the hon. and learned Gentleman himself. My hon. and learned Friend says that we are going to violate the conditions of the bequest, and yet to retain the property; and when he spoke of the sole motive of the bequest, I think he had in view some of the local preferences to which an allusion has been made. Now, I deny that local preferences formed the sole motive of the Oxford endowments, and that they influenced the minds of the founders in 764 the slightest degree. The main object of the local limitations was to make the bequest more effective for the general interests. We are speaking of times when communication between one part of the country and another scarcely existed, and when, in order to make the Oxford benefactions efficient, it was necessary to attach them to a particular spot, where they were known to exist, and where their operation was felt. But that state of things has entirely passed away, and I must say that I trust the whole of these local preferences, except such as represent some peculiar feature in the character of the locality, will be brought under the operation of the provisions of this Bill. I would ask my hon. and learned Friend, are those conditions observed at present? He is shocked at this Bill, but he does not appear to be shocked at the present state of things. Are the Statutes of William of Wykeham observed? Who relaxes those Statutes? By what authority are they dispensed with? Are the Statutes of William of Waynfleet observed? What is done with the conditions of Archbishop Chichely at All Souls? Why, Sir, all interfered with, and yet the House of Commons is told that it has no right to make the slightest alteration. This is not the first time that that sort of argument has been made use of here. Exactly the same line of reasoning was adopted last year in regard to the University Tests Bill for Scotland. We were told at first that it would be a violation of the Treaty of Union, and then we were informed that the then existing tests did no harm, because the Senatus Academicus had the option of dispensing with them. So that the argument really amounted to this, that the House of Commons had no right to touch the tests, while the Senatus Academicus might deal with them as they pleased. The same argument has been urged tonight; but, I would ask, what is the case of All Souls? I say that there the laws of Archbishop Chichely are not only broken, but broken in a manner the most objectionable, because the visitor not only exercised a function which Archbishop Chichely never intended to give him, but he likewise exercises that power, as the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord R. Cecil) well knows, under what I may be permitted to call, without offence I trust, false pretences; for under the plea and in the name of interpreting the Statutes, he alters, he mutilates, he cuts in pieces, he does exactly what he pleases. That is an esta- 765 blished practice, a practice which absolute necessity has established, and which does not spring from the caprice or the levity of any body of men; and, that being so, all I can say is, that if the visitor of All Souls is intitled to take such liberties with the Statutes, surely it would not be a stretch of power for the Legislature of the country to exercise the same privilege. My hon. and learned Friend entirely overlooked the present state of things; but having done so, he went on to admit that all necessary changes might be made. But who is to judge what is a necessary change? I can hardly quarrel with my hon. and learned Friend, after he has made so liberal an admission as that.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Just so. Changes rendered necessary by a change of circumstances. I can assure my hon. and learned Friend that I could not find it in my heart to desire a more liberal licence than that. It will cover everything in the present Bill, and if necessary a great deal more. Who is to be the judge of the change of circumstances, and of what has been rendered necessary? My hon. and learned Friend will not tell me that the Oxford founders constituted the governing body of the colleges the judges. They have given them no such power. He will not tell me that those founders constituted the visitor the judge. They have given the visitor no such power. The power of the visitor is to enforce the observance of the Statutes, not, under the name of interpretation, to pare and construe them away. To whom, then, can belong the right of judging of this necessity, but to that body which is the fountain of law in the country, and which alone has the authority to give sanction to such changes as are rendered necessary by a change of circumstances? The right, in short, belongs to the Legislature of the country—to that body to which it appears to me alone my hon. and learned Friend is inclined to deny the power of interfering in any way whatever. It is hardly necessary to refer to the extraordinary application which my hon. and learned Friend made of his own doctrines when he came to speak on the subject of residence. He talks of the main object of the founders. If there was one thing more than another which the founders did contemplate—which was interwoven and 766 intertwined with every idea in their minds, and with every requisition of their Statutes—it was that the members of their colleges should reside. There is not a page of these Statutes which any man could read without observing that, above all, residence was the only condition which they were intended to enforce, and upon the basis and foundation of which the whole collegiate system was raised. It is a question of honesty, says my hon. and learned Friend. I hope it is not so; because, if it is, there are a great many worthy gentlemen in a very disagreeable predicament. But I say it is no question of honesty. I hold that these changes have been forced by time upon the judgment of individuals. It is a question of necessary and legal improvement, and in bringing that question to the test of parliamentary discussion we are bringing it, not to a lower, but to a higher sanction, and that which has hitherto been an unauthorised licence we seek now to place upon the ground of law and regulated order.
I need hardly detain the House any further at this late hour, because I feel that we shall have ample opportunities for discussing the Bill in Committee. This is a Bill whose main provisions should be taken up and discussed one by one; and when we come to the Committee, I hope we shall be able to discuss satisfactorily all the important features of the measure. Therefore I shall say no more upon any of those points to which allusion has been made. I must, however, before sitting down, be allowed to express my satisfaction at finding, upon the whole, so general an acquiescence in what I shall call the real principles of this Bill, namely, the recognition of the necessity for parliamentary interference; the wisdom of using the instrumentality of a Commission for conducting and regulating that interference; the desirableness of making enabling powers available, and of putting those powers into the hands of the University and collegiate bodies; and the necessity, for the interests of the University itself, of providing that the Commissioners shall be armed with sufficient legal authority to give effect to the views of the Legislature, if, through the unhappy operation of disabling oaths, the colleges themselves do not furnish the means of doing so. These are the real principles upon which this Bill has been framed; and I am bound to admit that, so far as I have observed, no disposition has been shown to question the motives or 767 the intentions with which the measure has been constructed. I venture to say, whatever else it may be, it will, above all things, be an emancipating measure. It emancipates the University from the influence of institutions which of itself it has no adequate power to correct, which came upon it from an extraneous source, and from which it is but fair that the power of the State should relieve it. It emancipates in like manner the colleges of fetters which they cannot of themselves undertake to break, bound as they are by conscience in many cases, and by strong social and personal influences in others. I think it is undeniable that this Bill, though it contemplated a great interference for the moment with the powers of the University and the privileges of the colleges, is not framed upon any principle of animosity to the University or colleges of Oxford. It is not a Bill which aims at maiming or fettering the University; on the contrary, it founds the government of the University upon that representative principle which we know from experience to be the source of almost immeasurable strength. It aims at enabling the University to provide for a want which it has never hitherto been in a condition to meet, thereby increasing the power and influence of Oxford, and deepening its hold upon the heart and mind of this great community. It proposes to make the endowments of Oxford really available for the purposes for which they were intended. I am sure my hon. and learned Friend or any one acquainted with the situation of Oxford, will not deny that at the present moment a large portion of those endowments are almost entirely dormant. I believe my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer) will not deny that if we take the working of New College for the last half century, we shall find it to have been very unsatisfactory; and I am afraid the endowments of William of Wykeham are not applied in the manner in which they ought to be applied. That is the case, I do not hesitate to say, with the great mass of the endowments at Oxford. We are aware that at Oxford there are a great many men who work hard enough. I believe Oxford enjoys the respect of this House, because it is known that there is there an able and intelligent body of men, engaged day and night taxing their energies to the utmost in carrying on the work of learning and education. We do not want to increase the labours of these 768 men; we want that all the arrangements of the University shall be made to yield those precious fruits which part of them yield at present. I will only add one more word, and that is with regard to the professorial system. In regard to that system, we would like to see it brought into a condition worthy of a University occupying the elevated position of Oxford. We do not believe that it would be possible for Parliament to organise a professoriate in the precise manner which is recommended in the Report of the Commissioners. I do not think a measure of that kind would be at all acceptable to Parliament. if we were to come down and ask an endowment of several thousands a year for thirty or forty professors—and you would no doubt get very able and learned men; but you must not place them under any restraint—you must not expect them to lecture too much, but must trust to the richness of the prizes to produce the necessary result—I think it would be an obvious answer to say, that if we constituted these professorships at the present moment, the next question will be, where are the gentlemen whom these professors are to teach? We cannot raise a large class to receive professorial instruction in a day. That must be a work of labour and of time. The professorial body must be organised by piecemeal and in detail; but, at the same time, I trust, that it will be organised thoroughly, and that it will be amply and adequately endowed. I believe the existence of such a body is eminently favourable to the pursuit of profound learning. We know that the present system at Oxford is not so favourable as we could wish to profound learning; but the first clause of this Bill has been so framed as to provide, in a circumspect and judicious manner, for the gradual organisation of an efficient professorial system; and I am sure, with the candid spirit which the House has shown without exception in regard to this Bill, and with the desire which I can truly say animated the Government, we shall be able to place Oxford in a better position than she has ever hitherto occupied. The present Bill is not so much a measure for curing an evil as for developing and extending what is good; and I am persuaded that, if carried, it will effect what will prove a permanent increase of the fame, of the strength, of the prosperity, and of the usefulness of Oxford.
§ MR. WALPOLE
Sir, I ought to apologise to the House for rising to address them at this late hour; but the speech of the 769 right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down conveys so much of argument that is applicable and so many observations that are of importance to the University of Cambridge, that I, for one, being a member of that University, cannot even now consent that this discussion should close without pointing the attention of my right hon. Friend and of the Government to the very serious manner in which, as I think, the principles announced by my right hon. Friend makes this, not an enabling measure, but a Bill of unnecessary compulsion, uncalled for by the necessities of the case, and undemanded either on the part of the University or of the country. My right hon. Friend commenced his speech by stating that the principle of this Bill was applicable to the University of Cambridge, though he certainly said the measure to be applied to that University might be somewhat different in its details. At the end of his speech he tells us that the principles of the Bill comprise the necessary intervention of the Legislature—the appointment of Commissioners to direct and superintend the reforms of the University—that enabling powers should be given to the University and to the colleges to alter their Statutes if they think fit—and that still larger powers should be conferred on the Commissioners in case the University and the colleges do not agree to carry into effect the reforms contemplated in this Bill. Looking, then, at the Bill with these views, I say that this is, in point of fact, not an emancipatory measure, but a compulsory measure of the strongest description. It is true that by the charters, statutes, and oaths, imposed upon members of different colleges, there are impediments which require to be removed out of the way of those members, in order to enable them to work out and complete the requisite reforms; but is that a reason why you should impose other impediments in place of those you remove? is that a reason why, in knocking off one set of fetters, you should put others upon them? is that a reason why, in removing one set of barriers which prevent the members going in one direction, you should erect others which compel them to move in another and a contrary direction, and which absolutely prevent them from walking in that path which alone is prescribed by their Statutes and their oaths? Now, what is the power that you bring to bear upon the University and colleges? You bring to bear upon them the power of Parliament—the power of a 770 body that is singularly ill-calculated to devise reforms of this description, imperfectly acquainted with the needs and requirements of those bodies, which can only be ascertained from local information, the power of a body which acts from impulse, and according as it is moved by party spirit operating upon it from time to time—the power of a body which is admirably adapted from its mixed constitution to lay down general rules for the government of the courts, but remarkably ill-adapted by the same constitution for prescribing a particular code of regulations to any particular society which can only be governed upon the spot and by those who know everything relating to its affairs—that is the power which you propose to bring to bear upon the Universities. And how does my right hon. Friend propose to apply his emancipatory process in the material parts of the Bill? I allude first of all to the point which he took first—the introduction into the University of licensed halls. With regard to them my right hon. Friend said that they were necessary for the extension of education in the University at large. But my right hon. Friend knows that these licensed halls, which are merely, after all, licensed lodging-houses—will not more extend the means of education than the system of extension which now exists in the University of Cambridge, where between 700 and 800 of the students attached to the different colleges reside in lodgings. These students, however, are attached to colleges, and not left at large, as my right hon. Friend now proposes according to his new system; a system, indeed, which, he truly says, prevailed 300 years ago, but which was then given up, because it was found to produce a sectarian and Puritan influence in the University. My right hon. Friend will find that his system, if introduced, will, as I firmly believe, break up the principles of salutary discipline on which the colleges are framed, namely, that the students should go together to the same lecture-room; that they should meet together in the same common hall; that they should worship together in the same chapel; and that, being constantly under the eyes of the same tutor, with the same influences operating upon all the young men so associated together, they might learn together the same discipline which they never would learn if they were left alone in separate halls. And the argument that is used for these licensed halls is the necessity that a poorer class 771 of students should participate in the advantages of a University education. Sir, no one knows better than my right hon. Friend that, judging by the analogy of the public schools of this country, this advantage will not be conferred upon the poor, but it will be taken advantage of by the rich; it is the rich, and the rich alone, who have private tutors in our public schools, instead of being contented with the public tutors whom the schools provide. I say, therefore, in the first place, that this, instead of being an emancipating clause, is a compulsory clause for the University; and I say in the second place, that if the Universities were left to themselves, they are ready at this moment to admit students to reside out of college whenever there is no room for them, and therefore there is no necessity for the introduction of such a clause as the present, except perhaps for the better working of the professorial system which you are about to institute. The next part of the Bill which was noticed by my right hon. Friend was the interference with the endowments of particular founders. My right hon. Friend admitted that these particular endowments are held on particular conditions. And it ill becomes this House to step in and say that these conditions shall not only be broken, but that the property which is held for one purpose Shall be applied to another and a different purpose. Yet this is what you propose to do in the present Bill. I agree, indeed, with those provisions of the Bill which are applicable to the next of kin. I think that the reasons given for the limitation of the benefit of those endowments to the lineal descendants, and not to the collateral descendants, except within the last 100 years, are sound, and for this plain reason, that if you extend the limitation further, you defeat instead of carrying out the intentions of the founder; because, in all cases of collateral descent, the advantage to be obtained from such endowments, must depend upon proof of such descent, and in that case those collateral descendants who are not fortunate enough to possess, or not rich enough to procure, the evidence of their pedigree are deprived of the advantages to which they would otherwise be entitled. But with regard to schools, this argument does not apply. I observed that my right hon. Friend in the course of his speech omitted all allusion to the case of schools, and I hope I may derive from that omission this consolation—that the expression of opinion by the House 772 to-night in favour of the continued connection of schools with the University and with particular colleges will have its weight with the Government, and that that connection will not be broken up but that the provisions of the Bill in that respect will be altered. When the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell) first introduced this Bill I understood him to say that the public schools of the country would be left as they are at present connected with the colleges, and nothing excited greater surprise in my mind when I came to peruse the Bill than to see the complicated clauses which, under the plea of keeping up the connection between the schools and the colleges, do really break up that connection altogether, or make it depend, as in open scholarships, upon merit alone. My right hon. Friend has argued strongly against a preference for localities. He says, why should not Parliament interfere, and, for the benefit of the colleges themselves, alter the mode in which their property is held? I trust my right hon. Friend will consider well the principle upon which this argument proceeds. If he is to proceed upon the principle that the purposes of property may be altered whenever it may appear to be for the advantage of the community, then he will be placed in this difficulty, that upon the same ground and plea he may take away any corporate property whatever, and apply it to any national purposes whatever. The only principle upon which you should proceed in this case should be that which pervaded the whole system of our law, namely, the principle which allows the owners of property to resettle and redistribute that property after the lapse of a certain period. You cannot interfere with corporate property in any other way, or to any other extent, than with the property of individuals. This House could not come in and say to individuals, "You are applying your property in a way which we disapprove of, and therefore we will interfere." Let your Bill, then, be made an enabling one, and say to the colleges, "You shall have the power, as any individual has power with respect to his property, after a certain period of time, to vary the term upon which it shall be held, and the different conditions which, according to circumstances, it may be right to impose or fix upon. This you may safely do under those restrictions, but more than this is confiscation." Now, allow me to add a few words with respect to the professorial system. If there is one fault 773 more than another connected with this system, it is that it destroys profundity of knowledge, while, on the other hand, the tutorial system is best adapted for the training and discipline of the youthful mind. No one can doubt that the great point of early education is the discipline of the mind, and this discipline can only be attained by habits of close reasoning and long study, and continuous thought; and such habits can never be produced under the professorial system of teaching, the effect of which was to fill the memory with large masses of vague, desultory, and undigested learning. Most cordially do I hope, that the professorial will be so regulated as not to interfere with the tutorial system. Upon the whole, then, I am fully convinced that all that you ought to attempt in this Bill would be the enactment of enabling or permissive powers. Commissioners should be appointed, not possessing controlling authority, but advising, superintending, and assisting powers. It should rest on the expediency of enlarging the powers of the University and colleges, for improving, extending, maintaining, and upholding their discipline, studies, and general good government, and it should proceed to enable such bodies to effect these great objects with the authority which Parliament alone can confer on them. You should then appoint a Hebdomadal Board, composed, however, in a very different manner from that which is now suggested. You should next proceed to the establishment of Congregation, not such as that which is now introduced, and which in practice would be nothing more than a mere debating society; you should then do away with the oaths which prevent them from making any changes, and declare in simple terms the "preferences" which ought still to be continued, and the terms upon which those "preferences" should be held. Having done that, I would simply enact that a general power should be given to the colleges to alter their Statutes or charters so as to adapt them to the circumstances of the times, but with the consent of their visitors, subject to the sanction of the Commissioners, and ultimately with the allowance and approbation of the Crown. If you were to do this, you would have simply an enabling Bill, and not a compulsory measure, and depend upon it, you can never reform the University satisfactorily unless you proceed in some such manner as this. By acting otherwise you would be establishing, as my right hon. Friend the Chancel- 774 lor of the Exchequer described it about four years since, "an authority for wrong." The Universities have not been negligent. Cambridge had already done almost everything which was necessary to promote the best system of education in the whole of the colleges connected with that University. A Bill of the sort I have described would be more acceptable than the one now proposed, more in harmony with the institutions of the country, and better adapted to the general accomplishment of those objects of extended education which in order to be successful must be voluntary and progressive. Proceed in this way, and much good will be done; give to the colleges your trust and confidence, and do not say, as you seem to be saying, "We cannot give you our confidence, for the time has come when we must coerce and restrain you." Say rather to the Universities and colleges, "We will enable you to advance yourselves, self-governed, self-moved, acting freely by your own internal power, and that indwelling vigour and energy which alone can make reforms advantageous to yourselves, and to those whom you will have hereafter to educate." These are the views and these the objects with which I shall apply my mind to this Bill when we go into Committee, in the hope that we may give to the measure that character which alone can, in my opinion, make it an useful and effective measure for the accomplishment of the object for which it professes to be framed.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Sir, I did not expect, after the speech of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the debate would be further prolonged. But as the right hon. Gentleman who last addressed us has thought it necessary not only to comment on the provisions of the Bill, but to protest against its provisions and character altogether, I must endeavour, in a few sentences, to vindicate the measure which we have proposed. Let us recollect what was pointed out by an hon. Friend (Mr. Byng), who has spoken with so much ability for the first time, and whom I was delighted to hear deliver a speech of so much usefulness combined with so much temperance. My hon. Friend stated that, in the year 1837, the colleges of Oxford declared, by the mouth of the distinguished Chancellor whom they had the honour of seeing at their head, that they were then setting about plans of reform, and that they expected to make great progress with those 775 plans. Parliament would, I have no doubt, have been delighted to hear that the only obstacles which Oxford had in the prosecution of its voluntary plans of reform were in certain restrictions, which, without the help of the Legislature, they could not overcome, and that, therefore, they had determined to apply to Parliament for the removal of those restrictions, in order that they might be able to carry out those reforms. I have no doubt that such powers would have been readily granted, and that by the year 1850 they would probably have had time to carry into effect all those excellent plans of improvement and reform which they contemplated. But this House is well aware that the course of the University has been totally different. When it appeared that the attention of the public and of Parliament slumbered, the zeal for reform grew slack, and we heard little or nothing of these great intentions. In the year 1850 a plan was adopted, very commendable in its way. I think it is not likely to produce such fruits as were expected from it, but still it showed a wish to improve at least in one part of that University. At the same time I thought it advisable that the Crown should issue a Commission of Inquiry. That Commission has produced a vast deal of information, and has shown that although the Hebdomadal Board and the authorities of the colleges were not stirring, yet that there were a great number of men of most active minds, of accomplished learning, and of very general information, who had occupied themselves with the reform of the University. It was said, however, when the Commission was first issued, that the information would be all on one side—that none but one party, who were zealous for reform, would produce their views before the Commission—and that, of course, Parliament would be imperfectly informed, if not entirely misinformed. However, I trusted that when that information was produced—when many persons came forward with voluntary zeal to give their evidence—that those who took a different view, and were against the plans proposed, would find it incumbent on them, in order to obtain the aid of public opinion on their side, to lay before the Commissioners the information which they possessed, and the views which they held. I was not disappointed in that expectation, and the Hebdomadal Board has given us a Report, and has produced most valuable evidence on the part of those who took a contrary view from the view 776 taken by the Commission. We have received information from the Tutors' Asociation and other persons connected with the University. By these means we have been put in possession of a great deal of information of which Parliament was not before aware, and we have the evidence of enlightened men to which we can refer in our debates, who can supply any want of knowledge respecting Oxford which it was said the House of Commons did not possess. I will not at this late hour enter into the various points on which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole) has touched, but I will say this at once—that, although the general outline of the plan for Cambridge may agree with the general plan of the Bill for Oxford, yet I certainly should not think it necessary servilely to copy the provisions of this Bill. For instance, Oxford entirely differs from Cambridge with reference to the first point he mentioned—the undergraduates living out of college. We propose the plan of private halls for Oxford—a plan that I believe will tend to the extension of the University in a very safe and gradual manner. The University of Cambridge has adopted the plan of allowing young men to live in private lodgings with the security of a licence from the college, and such other securities as they think proper to take, and as no less than 700 undergraduates are lodged in that manner, it would scarcely be necessary to propose the plan of private halls for Cambridge. This, however, I will say, that if any such plan had been adopted at Cambridge—if the plan of private halls had existed there, and we had proposed that young men should live in private lodgings, I can conceive the indignation which we should have brought upon ourselves, and we should have been charged with a want of discipline, and with instigating to immorality for sanctioning an untried system. The right hon. Gentleman, in his denunciation of the plan, has gone very far in his assertions. He has denied not the power, but the moral right of Parliament to interfere with corporate property, and deems its application as sacred as that of private property. I should have thought there was this great distinction between them—that whereas private property is settled on no other conditions than those of general compliance with the law and those duties which every loyal subject owes to the State, there are attached to corporate property certain implied or express conditions, and the Legis- 777 lature of a country in whom power is lodged—whether in a despotic State it is lodged in the Monarch—whether in the United States it is lodged in the Congress—or whether in this country it is lodged in Lords and Commons—I have always thought that the supreme authority has a right to see that the ends of that corporate body are attained, and that that property is rendered beneficial to the public. The right hon. Gentleman speaks as if we had not acted on this principle. Why, Sir, what have we been doing of late years with regard to the property of the Church? Much of that property, no doubt, was granted for the benefit of a particular bishopric, or chapter, or benefice. But we have said that the great ends of the Church are to be looked to—that the instruction of the people in religion and in the doctrines of the Established Church was the end for which that Church was maintained—and that the diversion of property given to Canterbury or Durham, to Yorkshire or Lancashire, would better serve those ends if Parliament would sanction an application of the revenues to other places. This is nothing but acting on the principle on which a State always has the power to act. I was glad to hear from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Wigram) the admission of the principle that a change might take place when circumstances changed. The admission of that principle would cover a great deal more than this Bill proposes. Gentlemen talk of these institutions—of this property—as being so sacred that Parliament ought not to meddle with it. Now, without going into the case of particular colleges, let us see what was the general purpose, and what has been the general use, of these colleges. As far as I can see, they were generally intended, and wisely intended, according to the state of society at the time they were founded, in the first place to form a provision for a number of students, generally speaking of poor students, and persons who could not otherwise pay for their education, and who would not be able to provide themselves with sufficient maintenance. They were intended to give general instruction, in the University of Oxford, in divinity, moral philosophy, natural philosophy, the canon law, and logic. In the third place, they were intended very often to keep up the performance of religious services, among which masses for the souls of the dead were not uncommon. 778 What do we find with respect to these things? Is there any one of these general conditions which is observed? So far from there being a number of fellows and students living in the University, and devoting themselves to the study of certain sciences and of books of learning, we find that a great number of the fellows are not resident in the University at all—that they are pursuing other studies—qualifying themselves for professions, or employing themselves in other occupations. Others, again, were engaged, not in studying for the benefit of their own minds, but as tutors in teaching in the University. With respect to the saying of masses for the dead, that has not only been neglected, but has been prohibited by Parliament. Indeed, as to the original conditions imposed by the founder, there is hardly a trace remaining of their actual practice or existence. These changes have been made according to the view of the Crown by the Laudian Statutes, and by the colleges with reference to the better usages to which the funds might be applied. I say, then, if there has been that change, and a change made by those of whom the founder was particularly jealous, namely, the recipients of his bequests, surely we have a right to say, "We will not oblige you to go back to the exact fulfilment of those original conditions; but you having entirely departed from those conditions, we, the Parliament, consider ourselves equally at liberty to depart from them also." We are doing this, because we believe the general object of the founder was the promotion of religion and sound learning; and we believe the cause of religion and sound learning will be promoted by such a measure as the one now before the House. With respect to an enabling Bill, such as has been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole), to give the University and colleges of Oxford power to reform their own institutions, I should think such a measure would be inadequate to such a state of things. I should say there had been no general disposition shown to induce us to admit the long delay which would be sure to follow the adoption of any such plan. I cannot, therefore, join in the recommendation of such a measure. While the right hon. Gentleman has thus spoken against the Bill on the side of its going too far, some hon. Gentlemen, especially the hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Blackett), have complained that it does not fulfil all the objects which the Royal Commissioners 779 had in view. My belief is, that this measure does, in its main provisions, comply with the objects which the Commission had in view. I stated last year that these objects were, in the first place, the extension of the University; in the next, the alteration and improvement of the governing body; in the third place, the endeavour to apply some of the revenues to the general instruction in the University; and, in the fourth place, the removal of those restrictions which gave preferences to particular studies. Undoubtedly many observations have been addressed to the House in the course of this debate, which are well worthy our consideration; and, without saying that the clauses of the Bill may not be defended as they are, I think the Government is bound to take into consideration all the suggestions of the Commission. To any suggestions with the view to the improvement of this Bill, come from which quarter they may, the Government will be most ready to listen. I consider this is a question of national importance; and if those who pay attention to the subject will devote their minds to a calm consideration of the different clauses of the Bill, I believe that, instead of destroying, as it is said we mean to destroy, the real foundations of the University of Oxford, or that excellent collegiate instruction which has been hitherto given in that University, we shall, on the contrary, superadd to the present worth of that University by a more expanded and extended instruction, in conformity with the science of the age; that we shall be able to give to a greater number of persons than at present enjoy it the benefit of that instruction, and that the nation at large will for a long period derive advantage from this improvement of one of its greatest educational institutions.
§ Question put and agreed to:—Bill read 2°.
§ The House adjourned at Two o'clock till Monday next.