§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 13.
reminded the Committee that on Tuesday last he had moved an Amendment to the clause, that after the words "officer thereof" there should be added the words "or any body corporate or public body, or any part thereof," and he would now again move it. The effect of the Amendment would be to take away from the town council of Edinburgh, or any other public body, the right of appointing University professors.
MR. E. ELLICE (St. Andrews)
said, he did not think that any sufficient ground had been alleged for their taking the strong step of depriving the Town Council of Edinburgh of the right of nomination they had hitherto exercised in that matter. They had, as far as he could learn, used the right in a manner which had given rise to no complaint on the part of the public. He was aware, however, that the present practice was open to the objection that a Town Council was not the fittest body in the world to which that patronage could be committed; and, after having given to the subject the best consideration in his power, he had arrived at the conclusion that the best thing they could then do would be to adopt an intermediate course by which they would partially recognize the claim of the Town Council to be continued in the possession of a right which they had hitherto probably used, while some partial restriction would be imposed on the unchecked power which they had 731 hitherto enjoyed upon that subject. He believed that the adoption of the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for the Wigton Burghs (Sir W. Dunbar) would enable them to effect a compromise of that description, and he trusted that that Amendment, or some similar proposal, would receive the sanction of the Committee.
§ MR. BLACK
said, he did not believe that the House had a right, under any circumstances, to deprive the Town Council of Edinburgh of the patronage they had exercised so long and in so judicious a manner. He should, however, be ready to give his best consideration to any compromise that might be proposed for the settlement of that question; but he would not offer an opinion upon any particular suggestion until it should have been brought under the notice of the Committee.
said, that the proposal he had made was one of a general character, but it would, no doubt, chiefly effect the patronage of the Corporation of Edinburgh; but it would also have the effect of abrogating that small amount of patronage which was possessed in the University of Aberdeen by the Town Council and by the Synod of that city. He was ready to acknowledge that, as regarded the patronage of the Town Council of Edinburgh, the proposal put on the paper by the hon. Member for the Wigton Burghs, possessed some advantage over that he had himself submitted to the Committee, inasmuch as it would be much less sweeping in its operation. In the abstract he preferred his own Amendment, but for the sake of peace and in order to conciliate his hon. Friends the Members for Edinburgh, he should not be indisposed to substitute for it the Amendment of the hon. Baronet. He should add that he thought the Committee, in any measure they might adopt, ought not to have the patronage of the Town Council and of the Synod of Aberdeen restricted, while they interfered with similar patronage in Edinburgh.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he should enter his protest against the abolition of a patronage which had existed for so long a time, unless it could be proved that from the manner in which it had been applied, or from some other cause, it had failed in securing the objects for which it had been instituted. As far as he could judge, there had been no such failure in that case; and he did not see why any change should be made in the matter.
§ MR. DUNLOP
said, be thought it would be unwise and unjust on the part of the Committee to adopt the sweeping proposal of his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie). There were two public bodies in Edinburgh which exercised patronage of that description, and which manifestly ought not to be deprived of the right. He alluded to the Faculty of Advocates, which virtually, by means of their recommendation to the Town Council, nominated the Professor of Law, and the Writers to the Signet who nominated the Professor of Conveyancing. It was easy to see that these two bodies were better qualified to make a proper choice in those cases than any University Council. He was not indisposed to be a party to some compromise upon that subject; but he should offer his most strenuous opposition to the proposal of his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he was somewhat unwilling to take any part in that discussion, which seemed to have originated in a desire on the part of the representatives of the various parties into which Scotland was divided upon this subject, to arrive at a settlement of the question by means of a compromise, which they stated all consider more or less satisfactory. If they could succeed in that point, he should be most happy to give his assent to any suggestion for carrying into effect their wishes. He was anxious, however, to observe that the proposal of his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock was clearly open to the objection which had been made to it by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. Dunlop). It should be observed that the Bill as it stood dealt with no large patronage, except that which had hitherto been exercised by the Senatus Academicus, or some portion of their body, and that it left all their patronage untouched. He understood that neither his right hon. Friend nor any other Member of the Committee wished to interfere with what was called private patronage—that was to say, the right of presentation to chairs vested in individuals who represented the founders. The right so acquired was considered too sacred to be abolished. But the Amendment of his right hon. Friend would invade rights of a similar kind, although they were vested not in individuals, but in corporate bodies. For example, in one of the cases to which his hon. and learned Friend 733 the Member for Greenock had referred, the Writers to the Signet in Edinburgh nominated to the Professorship of Conveyancing in the University of that city, and members of their body, had contributed funds for that endowment; so that it would manifestly be unfair to deprive them of that patronage. He could not, therefore, support the proposal of his right hon. Friend; and with regard to the patronage exercised by a corporation of Edinburgh, he would only say that he would not then enter into that subject, because it had not yet been brought formally under the consideration of the Committee.
MR. ELLICE (St. Andrews)
said, he was much gratified with the statement of the Lord Advocate. In these days people seemed to aim too much at merely Utopian perfection. If his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock could prove that any of these bodies had abused the power which had been vested in them, he should willingly join him in any attempt to remedy the evil. He would go further, and say, that if he were then asked for the first time to vest that patronage in corporate bodies, he should most probably refuse his assent to such a proposal. But as it had not been shown that any abuse had arisen in that case, he was not prepared to deprive men of a privilege which they had enjoyed from remote times, and which they had exercised to the general satisfaction of their fellow-countrymen. He was very happy to find that the Lord Advocate was prepared to adhere to the principle laid down in the Bill; and he would ask his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock to consider the position in which they were then placed. They were making a great experiment for the improvement of education in Scotland. He entirely approved of that experiment; but he thought it was desirable that, in carrying it out, they should conciliate as many interests as they could, consistently with the attainment of the object which they had in view.
§ MR. FINLAY
said, that the Town Council of Edinburgh were not the founders of those professorships. The fact was, that they were merely trustees for royal grants given in the time of James VI. They could not, therefore, be at all placed in the sumo category with private individuals who had given, or whose ancestors had given, their own money for the purpose of creating educational endowments. Then, again, as regarded the mode in which the 734 patronage had been exercised by the Town Councils, he entirely differed from those gentlemen who had spoken upon that subject in terms of such unqualified approval. He was prepared to maintain, that in many cases that patronage had been exercised in a manner which had given very great dissatisfaction; and that the public felt no confidence in the ability of those to whom that trust was committed to appoint the fittest men. He did not mean to say that all the appointments were bad; but he believed that many of them were open to great objection; and he should, therefore, be very sorry to see that patronage continued in the Town Council of Edinburgh.
§ MR. H. BAILLIE
said, that he too could not admit that the Town Council of Edinburgh had never abused that patronage; but he believed that that question was not then formally before the Committee.
said, that after what had fallen from the Lord Advocate and from his hon. Friends around him, he would not put the Committee to the trouble of dividing on his Amendment. He should say, however, that he drew a broad distinction between the rights of private patronage and of patronage vested in a public body such as the Town Council of Edinburgh. Private individuals had an absolute right in such a case, and could use it as they might please without a responsibility to any parties. But corporations, on the contrary, were mere trustees acting in behalf of the public, to whom they were responsible for the mode in which they discharged their duties; and the Legislature could transfer those duties to other hands at any moment they might think proper.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that when the members of a corporation were mere trustees for the public, Parliament might take away their right. But the case of the Writers to the Signet who nominated to the Professorship of Conveyancing in the University of Edinburgh was of a different character. That body had a special interest in the nominations to that professorship, which had been founded for the benefit of the profession to which they belonged.
§ MR. BLACKBURN
said, he entirely approved of the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock; but he could not of course prevent the right hon. Gentleman from withdrawing it. He did not see how they could take away the patronage in this case from any existing body, unless all the holders of 735 the privilege, including the Corporation of Edinburgh, were to be regarded as mere trustees for the public.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SIR W. DUNBAR moved the following Amendment to the clause:—
Clause 13, line 15, at the end insert, 'Provided always, that before exercising such right of nomination or presentation to any professorship, the University Court shall, in each case, require the Senatus Academicus to examine the testimonials, if any, and report upon the qualifications of the candidate or candidates for such professorship; and the right of nomination or presentation to all professorships in the University of Edinburgh, in times past and presently exercised by the Town Council of Edinburgh, or by one or more of the members thereof, shall be transferred to, and in all time coming be exercised by, seven curators to be nominated as follows; within two months from and after the date at which this Act shall come into operation, as hereinafter provided, the Town Council shall nominate four curators, and the University Court of the said University shall nominate the remaining three curators: and the curators shall continue in office for three years; and in the event of vacancies in the office of curator occurring from death, resignation, or any other cause, the vacancies shall, as respects the four nominations made by the Town Council, be filled up by the Town Council, and shall, as respects the other nominations, be filled up by the University Court, for the remainder of the period unexpired.'
The hon. Baronet said, that that Amendment differed in two points from that which he had placed on the notice paper by his hon. Friend the Member for Perthshire (Mr. Stirling). In the first place, he had omitted certain words by which no Member of the Town Council or of the University Court, except the Lord Provost could have been eligible as a curator; and in the next place he wished to limit the term of office by the curators to three years, instead of four years, as he had originally proposed. He brought forward that proposal as a compromise, to which he believed all the parties interested need have no hesitation in assenting. It would put an end to that degrading system of canvassing of which candidates at present complained. He thought that was a system which it was impossible to defend. No one could defend a mode of proceeding under which appointments were bestowed by forty men, the great majority of whom were, to say the least of it, inferior in point of intellectual attainments, to those who solicited their support. He believed that the Amendment would further have the effect of removing that sectarian bias which was supposed by many persons to operate to some extent in the selection of
candidates. It might be satisfactory to the Committee to know, that the proposal was in principle the same as one which had been suggested some five or six years ago by the late Sir William Hamilton. He trusted that it would then meet with the approval of the hon. Members for Edinburgh, and he could state that it had been framed with a sincere desire upon his part to do justice to the Town Council of the city which they represented.
§ MR. COWAN
said, he could not help regretting that any attempt was made to interfere with the patronage at present exercised in the appointment to professorships in the Scotch Universities. He found that the Bill, as it had been framed by the Lord Advocate, sanctioned no such interference. There was a proverb in the North, that "a man ought not to put his foot farther than he could draw it in again." He thought it would be well if the lesson conveyed in that maxim had not been forgotten in the present instance, and if the main experiment proposed in the Bill were allowed to have a fair trial, without any attempt being made to alter the mode of making appointments to the Scotch University chairs, he could afford the House a most satisfactory illustration of the admirable manner in which the patronage in that case was at present exercised. Not later than Monday last a Professor of Chemistry had to be nominated in the University of Edinburgh; there were three or four candidates, and the one chosen—and chosen by 25 to 9—was Dr. Lyon Playfair, with whose professional reputation they were all acquainted. He had to state, however, that if it was the feeling of the Committee generally, that the compromise proposed by the hon. Baronet, the Member for the Wigton Burghs, ought to be adopted, he would not stand in the way of its acceptance.
§ MR. STIRLING
said, that as he believed the Committee generally were disposed to adopt the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for the Wigton Burghs, he should not press his own Amendment.
§ MR. DUNLOP
said, he believed there was nothing to justify their adoption of the proposal of the hon. Baronet the Member for the Wigton Burghs; but as the Committee generally were manifestly of a different opinion, he should, under the compulsion thus placed upon him, cease to oppose it.
§ MR. J. S. WORTLEY
said, that the 737 arrangement proposed by the Amendment of the hon. Baronet, the Member for the Wigton Burghs, appeared to him to be one of a very admirable character. Before the proposal of the hon. Member for Perthshire was withdrawn, he should be glad to know what was the opinion of the other Member for Edinburgh upon the subject.
§ MR. BLACK
said, he wished to state the exact position in which he was placed. He felt lie was like a captain of a ship in a storm, and in danger of being totally submerged; and he was prepared to save as much as he could out of the wreck. He believed he could not obtain more than was proposed in the Amendment of the hon. Baronet, the Member for the Wigton Burghs.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. BLACK
moved an Amendment, providing that it should not be competent to elect any member of the University Court to any office in the University while a member of the said Court, or within twelve months after he had ceased to be a member thereof. He thought some check ought be imposed of that description.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
could not conceive the grounds on which such a proposal was made; and if there had been any reason for depriving the members of the Court from offices in the University during the time they remained in office, there was no reason to continue such restriction twelve months after they had ceased to be members of that Court. He should oppose the Motion.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 14.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
proposed to fill up the blank left for the names of the Commissioners with the following names:His Grace JOHN GEORGE DOUGLAS CAMPBELL, Duke of Argyll; the Right Hon. GEORGE HAMILTON GORDON, Earl of Aberdeen; the Right Hon. WILLIAM DAVID MURRAY, Earl of Mansfield; the Right Hon. DUNCAN MCNEIL, Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session; Sir WILLIAM GIBSON CRAIG, of Riccarton, Baronet; JOHN INGLIS, Esquire, Lord Advocate for Scotland; JAMES CRAUFURD, Esquire, one of the Senators of the College of Justice; WILLIAM STIRLING, Esquire, of Keir; JAMES MONCREIFF, Esquire; ALEXANDER HASTIE, Esquire.
§ LORD ELCHO
expressed a doubt whether the state of the Earl of Aberdeen's health would allow him to devote his attention to the subject. He thought it would be very desirable to have some man of in- 738 fluence among the Commissioners connected with the north of Scotland.
MR. J. ELLICE
suggested, that the name of Earl Stanhope should be added to the list of Commissioners. Although his Lordship was an Englishman, he was much respected in Scotland, and he was sure it would give great satisfaction if he were made a Commissioner. He thought, however, it would be better to leave the whole question to the learned Earl, in whose judgment he had the most perfect confidence.
§ COLONEL SYKES
concurred in that suggestion; but, at the same time, he might take the opportunity of stating that the name of Earl Stanhope would be received with the greatest respect in Aberdeen.
§ Motion agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 15 (Commissioners' Power to Revise Endowments).
moved the insertion of a provision, that any such alterations should be in consonance with the main design of the founder.
thought, that more power was conferred upon these Commissioners than the Home Secretary would be allowed to confer upon any similar body in England. Many of the endowments were very small; and if the Commissioners, in the exercise of the powers granted them by this Bill, choose to say that a larger sum of money than was now paid was necessary to enable the young men to subsist with dignity and comfort at college, the effect might be very detrimental. The small bursaries at these Colleges had been of great assistance to the sons of farmers, country ministers, and others, and if they were interfered with, great danger would be done.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, there were similar powers given in both the Oxford and Cambridge Acts; but, by subsequent clauses, restrictions were placed upon the arbitrary exercise of those powers; and that the Lord Advocate would insert similar restrictions in this Bill on bringing up the Report.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, that as they had now come to the end of the powers of the Commissioners, this was the time at which he ought to submit to the notice of the Committee a point which a friendly interest in the welfare of the Scotch Universities induced him to believe was one of the greatest importance. As a person connected immediately with one of the English 739 Universities, he ought perhaps to make some apology for introducing himself on this question. He had felt great reluctance in interfering in matters which were sharply contested by persons belonging to, or interested in, the Scotch Universities, and had felt it to be rather his duty to abstain from entering on the discussion; and the only reason he did so now was, because lie felt a desire to place the Scotch Universities in a position of greater prominence than they had hitherto occupied. The proposition he had to submit to the favourable consideration of the right hon. Gentleman was this. The Lord Advocate had framed, with great care and ability, a Bill for improving the present condition of those Universities. He quite concurred in the general eulogium bestowed upon the Bill; but, at the same time, he wished to make a remark upon its effect—not in the way of hostile criticism, but as an instance of what he thought could not be denied—namely, that up to the present day there had been a great distinction between the value, in public estimation, of the degrees conferred by Scotch and English Universities. The principal functions of Scotch Universities had hitherto been to ascertain qualifications, and that of the Colleges to operate as teaching bodies. This Bill, undoubtedly, tended to obliterate what remained of the distinction between the Colleges and Universities. Up to the present time it was doubtful whether, in law, the University of Edinburgh was a University at all, and whether a proper view of it was not that it was a College which had acquired a prescriptive right to grant degrees. On the other hand as respected the University and the Colleges in Glasgow, the distinction could be undoubtedly traced in the records between those portions of the machinery which belonged to the functions of a University, and those which belonged to the functions of a College; while, of course, it was very marked as regarded St. Andrews. He did not allude to this as a mere matter of antiquarian interest, but as one in which he had for many years felt a deep interest; mid it being his duty, in common with other Members of the House, to take into consideration whatever tended to advance the interests of literature, and to produce high intellectual qualifications, he could not help asking himself whether by this Bill they were doing all they could do to produce a high class of education in the 740 Universities of Scotland. He owned frankly that he wanted to see the degrees conferred in Scotland—not merely on medicine, or any particular school dependent upon their excellence upon any favourable circumstances like those existing at Edinburgh—but the Scotch degrees generally, brought fully up to a par in point of dignity and social effect with the University degrees granted in England. The question was, how could they ensure that? He had a strong impression that that could not be done effectively so long as Scotland maintained four Universities. He fully admitted his belief that no other country upon the face of the earth, the population and natural advantages being equal, could show such an amount of intellectual power as could Scotland. At the same time, he did not think that it was possible it could maintain four Universities, and in his opinion, so long as it did, do what they could to encourage and foster them, it was not possible that the degrees which they granted could be brought up to the point he desired. The very effect of what they were doing now was to some degree adverse to the permanent elevation of Scotch degrees, for it was most essential that the examining and certifying power should be as distinct from the College machinery as possible. The more closely they united the College machinery and the University certifying power, upon which the value of the degree depended, the more they were trying to assimilate functions which were not alike in kind. Their object should be not to bring the University and the Colleges as nearly together as possible, but to keep them clearly and widely apart, in order that those who taught the young men might teach them subject to the supervision of an independent power which was not mixed up with the teaching machinery. With that view he was anxious that they should do everything for the ultimate consolidation of the four Universities of Scotland into one great national University; leaving them to rule themselves under that national University as a central body, at which they should be duly represented; but essentially maintaining the character of Colleges, and discharging the functions of Colleges in educating and teaching. He could not help thinking that, presuming a willingness was found to combine in this way, it was most desirable that such a combination should take place. There need be no cry of surrender to be made, for the Universities would be deprived of nothing 741 which was of the least value to them. What they required was the efficiency of their teaching staff; and the sending young men up to a central University for examination would be a positive advantage instead of a loss. The real question was, whether there was an anxiety among the population in the Universities of Scotland to attain this end. If they were disposed to enter into such an arrangement he should not understand that any serious difficulty in carrying into effect could arise. He Was sure it would be a great encouragement to the authorities that now existed, and which were to be set in action by this Bill, if they could do something in the measure which should indicate the view it entertained upon the matter. Perhaps that could best be effected by making some addition to the powers of the Commissioners. The first point would be to give them a new object. They might be directed to inquire into the desirability and practicability of constituting one national University in Scotland. That would make it the duty of the Commissioners to inquire and report to the Crown, and so far the direction would be a positive one. But beyond that he would authorize the Commissioners to proceed and take measures for the purpose—dependent upon—dependent upon consent of parties—of constituting such national University. If the present Universities, and the parties connected with them, were desirous to array themselves as Colleges under a central University, who would be the examining body in Scotland, then he said, let the Commissioners, with the consent of the Universities, and subject to the restrictions provided in the ordinances proceed to the accomplishment of this object. He was persuaded that it would be a great work for Scotland, and that the whole business of education and learning in Scotland would derive advantages greater than they had ever yet possessed. He had put the proposition into words in order to convey the clearest idea of it which he possibly could. It would be presumptuous in him to press the proposal on the Committee, unless it met with such support, especially from hon. Members for Scotland, as would induce Her Majesty's Government to give it a favourable consideration. It was therefore not his intention to challenge any discussion upon the question until he was backed up with greater authority than his own in the matter. The form of words which he thought best suited to carry out 742 this suggestion, and which might come in at the end of the powers of the Commissioners, would be,—That the said Commissioners also have power to inquire and report to Her Majesty how far it would be practicable or expedient that one University should be constituted, to be called the National University of Scotland; and in case Her Majesty should be pleased at any time within the duration of the Commission to grant a charter for the creation of such University, it shall be lawful for the Scottish University named in this Act, or any of them, to surrender the powers of examinations for and granting degrees with or without the exception of theological degrees, and become Colleges, one or more as the case may be, of the said National University. And it shall be lawful for the Commissioners, by and with the consent of such Universities respectively, to make arrangements for such conversion into Colleges, mid for the representation of such Colleges in the governing body of the National University. No such surrender or consent to be valid unless such consent is signified in writing from the Chancellor of the repective Universities, nor except it shall be declared by him that such surrender and consent has the approval of the Senatus Academicus. And any such scheme for converting such University into one or more Colleges shall be subject, before taking final effect, to the same conditions and forms as other statutes and ordinances.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
acknowledged with great pleasure the exceedingly friendly spirit with which this Motion had been introduced by the right hon. Gentleman, and was glad to hear that his (the Lord Advocate's) humble efforts in the cause of high-class education in Scotland were considered entitled to have the praise of the right hon. Gentleman. What be had now said was worthy of great consideration; but it was obvious that the insertion of such a clause as this would involve a great Many considerations which, even if the Committee agreed upon the general principle, would so delay the proceedings, that it would have the effect of throwing over the Bill. He suggested that the right hon. Gentleman should withdraw his Motion for the present, and bring it up on the presentation of the Report.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, that be had no objection to the adoption of that course; at the smile time, as he believed that many Iron. Members took a deep interest in the proposition, he hoped they would give some expression of opinion upon it.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that he had long entertained the same idea upon this question, which had been enunciated by the right hon. Gentleman, but he wished to reserve anything which he had to say on the subject until it was brought up on the Report.
§ The Question having been put,
§ MR. DUNLOP
thought, that it was not right that so important a proposition should be passed over without discussion. He rejoiced that the right hon. Gentleman, who was entitled to speak with so much authority upon this subject, had brought it forward. He had a strong opinion that if in England they had committed the error of almost sinking the University in the Colleges, in Ireland they had fallen into the opposite one of sinking the Colleges in the University. He thought the course which had been suggested of having the Motion printed and brought up on the Report was the proper one, and he hoped upon that occasion it would be fully discussed.
§ After a few words from Mr. STUART, Mr. STIRLING, Colonel SYKES, and Mr. E. ELLICE, in commendation of the proposal,
§ Amendment withdrawn, upon the understanding that it is to be brought up upon the reading of the Report.
§ MR. E. P. BOUVERIE
then moved an Amendment.In page 8, Clause 15, line 33, to leave out from 'provided' to 'approved,' in line 41, and insert and all statutes and ordinances to be made by the Commissioners shall be laid before Her Majesty in Council without any unnecessary delay, and be forthwith published in the Edinburgh Gazette; and it shall be lawful for every University, or any College thereof, and for the trustees or patron of any foundation, mortification, bursary; donation, or endowment, and for any other person directly affected by such statutes or ordinances within one month after such publication as aforesaid, to petition Her Majesty in Council, praying her Majesty to withhold her approbation of the whole or any part thereof, and every such petition shall be referred by Her Majesty by Order in Council for the consideration and advice of five Members of Her Privy Council, of whom two, not including the Lord President, shall be Members of the Judicial Committee, who shall be named in such order, and such five members may, if they think fit, admit any petitioner or petitioners to be heard by Counsel in support of his or their petition.His simple object was to introduce into the present Bill the same checks as were adopted in the Oxford and Cambridge Acts in respect to the statutes or ordinances. There were no such checks in the Bill as it stood. It merely provided that the ordinances should be laid before Her Majesty for Her sanction; but it made no provision for giving effect to the objections of those who considered themselves aggrieved by those ordinances. The learned Lord Advocate merely provided a check of observation, and not a check of action. He maintained 744 if those strong powers were to be given to the Commissioners, if they were to have the power of dealing with the revenues of the colleges, they should be subject to the same checks as were adopted in the English Bill. He hoped that no serious objections would be raised against his propositions.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, as the clause now stood, the Committee would observe that it contained two excellent checks upon the proceedings of the Commissioners. The one was the obligation of publishing all the ordinances in the Gazette, and at the same time the necessity of laying them then before both Houses of Parliament. The other was the fact that they should be approved of by Her Majesty's Council before they could be acted upon. The effect of the latter requisition would be to make the Government responsible for them. It appeared to him that those were in themselves most important checks, and were quite sufficient to prevent any abuses on the part of the Commissioners, who would thus be restrained from exceeding their powers, or of misunderstanding the nature of their functions. When the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the precedent of the Oxford and Cambridge Act, he should recollect the great practical difference that existed between the subject with which they were now dealing, and that which the Oxford and Cambridge Act legislated for. If the right hon. Gentleman had proposed to establish a Court of Appeal in Scotland itself, he thought such a course would have been a great deal more consistent and far more analogous with what was done in the Oxford and Cambridge Act than the Amendment he had just moved. To say the least, he was of opinion that the system of appeal suggested by the right hon. Gentleman was wholly unnecessary, and that it would only have the effect of adding to the Bill a piece of useless machinery.
§ Mr. DUNLOP
concurred in the principle of the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Kilmarnock. He could not understand when it was considered that the powers to be given to the Commissioners under this Bill were even greater than those allowed under the Oxford and Cambridge Act, and why those gentlemen should not be placed under the same checks as those enacted with regard to the English Universities.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, if his proposition did not meet with the approbation of the 745 Committee, he would be unwilling to detain them with further discussion of it. But he looked upon the so-called checks in the present Bill as a perfect farce; and for all the good they could effect, he thought they might be struck out of the measure altogether. What was the use of requiring those ordinances being placed before Parliament, if Parliament were not to have the power of saying that they ought not to be approved of?
MR. C. BRUCE
said, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to have forgotten this important fact, that if those matters were to be laid before Parliament, it would be competent for any hon. Member to call attention to the particular subject; and it would be quite open to him, when those documents were laid upon the table, to object to them, or to call the attention of the House to the subject, or to make an address to the Crown in relation thereto.
§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, it appeared to him that the Bill contained no real or proper check over the Commissioners, and seeing no reason why these parties should be placed upon a different footing than those discharging similar functions under the Cambridge and Oxford Act, he should certainly support the Amendment of his right hon. Friend.
§ MR. WALPOLE
was of opinion that the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman would not, if even adopted, carry out the objects which be had in view. The clause, as it stood, he believed would operate most effectually in preventing any abuses that might arise. The Crown must be consulted as to their ordinances, before they could become valid; and Her Majesty would, of course, be advised by the members of Her Privy Council, upon any points of a doubtful or objectionable character.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
agreed in the few observations made by his right hon. Friend opposite upon this question. He could bear testimony to the fact of the provisions in the Oxford and Cambridge Act being framed with the greatest care and attention to the great interests involved. He was quite certain that those provisions had, up to the present time, worked exceedingly well, and that they imposed the most salutary checks upon all parties. The functionaries under the English Universities Act conducted all their proceedings with a full knowledge that they were working, as it were, in the open day, and that their acts could 746 be brought before the special Motion of Parliament. It was true that those ordinances in the Oxford and Cambridge Universities had never as yet been brought before that House; but he took that fact to be a strong proof of the great success of the particular provision in question. The object of imposing those cheques upon the Commissioners was not to require information of their proceedings for the purpose of making them the subject of any contested or noisy discussion; but, in fact, that all parties should be induced to work to the best of their powers in the spirit of conciliation. Well, then, the object of the provision was thus carried out, and therefore the House had never considered it necessary to interfere. The question now was, whether it was also desirable to reserve in this Bill the power of interference by both Houses in extreme cases. He must confess he thought, with great submission, that it was desirable. They were now creating by this Bill a body of functionaries in whom a large amount of confidence would be reposed, and who would have to deal with a multitude of questions involving a variety of interests; and, therefore, in his opinion, it was the more important to establish the cheques provided for by the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ COLONEL SYKES moved an Amendment, compelling the Commissioners to make compensation to professors whose offices shall be abolished.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, it might be convenient for him at that time to state the alteration he proposed to make in this clause. As regarded the first subdivision of the clause, he proposed to insert certain words to make it clear that the Commissioners should have the power, in such cases as they deemed necessary, to have a double chair in any of the branches or faculties prescribed. After the word hereby, in line 13, he should propose the insertion of certain words, giving the Commissioners such a discretion, and also the power of determining when and where the said professors shall assemble. Then again, in line 26, after the word "professorships," he would propose the insertion of the words "making full compensation to the owner or owners of such for the loss of their emoluments by such abolition," &c.
expressed his opinion that the propositions of the learned Lord would not remedy the mischief, especially in the colleges in Aberdeen. In the Marischal College it had been found that the most useful course of education had been the joint education in mathematics and physics. The learned Lord's proposition would probably establish single professorships, whereas he thought there ought to be double professorships for each college.
§ COLONEL SYKES
thought the learned Lord Advocate was going rather too fast, and was putting the cart before the horse.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
then moved an Amendment, namely, in line 26, after the word "professorships," to insert "making full compensation to the holders of such offices for all losses of emoluments," &c.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. BAXTER
proposed to omit the words from the clause "the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom." He said he had strong objections, on principle, to such charges being placed upon the Consolidated Fund. He objected to any body of Commissioners, however respectable they might be, having it in their power to dispose of the funds of the United Kingdom without the direct sanction and control of Parliament. He might be fold that everything that would be done by the Commissioners might be brought before Parliament, and that any hon. Member might even propose an address to the Crown, condemnatory of any objectionable act upon their part. He did not, however, think that this was at all a sufficient check or control to have over them; and, therefore, in order to test the House or the opinions of Members generally upon this subject, he would move the insertion of the words in place of "the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom,"—"to be granted from time to time out of monies granted by Parliament for the purpose."
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, he would at once disarm all opposition by stating that it was not the intention of the Government to place the charge upon the Consolidated Fund.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clauses 17 and 18 agreed to.
§ Clause 19, (Retiring Allowances, &c., charged on the Consolidated Fund.)
§ MR. G. A. HAMILTON
said, that as 748 the Government did not propose to charge these payments on the Consolidated Fund, he would move a clause providing that the sums necessary should be laid before Parliament and voted in the Estimates.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that under this clause the Commissioners were authorised to accept the resignation of Principals and Professors, and to give reasonable compensation in the shape of retiring allowances, to such persons for the loss of their emoluments by such resignation. What he wanted to have clearly understood was, whether the proceedings of the Commissioners would be entirely conditional on Parliament, subsequently to voting the money to carry out their measures, or whether the proceedings of the Commissioners would take effect first, and then the Government would come to Parliament and take a vote of money in consequence of those proceedings. As he understood the Bill in its present form, the proceedings of the Commissioners would take effect immediately, and then, when the Government afterwards came to Parliament to ask for a vote, those who wished to oppose it would he told that it is of no use to do so; that the Professors had resigned on the faith of the arrangements which the Commissioners had made as they were authorised to do, and that there was nothing remaining but for that House to vote the money necessary to carry out those retirements, and to pay the retiring pension which the Commissioners had awarded to the Professors who had resigned, for he wished it to be clearly understood that, when a Vote is proposed, that House would have full freedom to say "aye" or "no" to it; and that they would not be embarrassed in their decision with respect to it, by the proceedings of the Commissioners appointed to regulate these matters.
§ MR. G. A. HAMILTON
said, that it was quite clear that the Lords of the Treasury could not pay money until Parliament had voted it. Of course it is quite competent fur Parliament to deal with any Vote that came before them in the Estimates with perfect freedom. According to the previous provisions of the Bill, these and all other arrangements were to be laid before Parliament, and it would then be competent for Parliament to deal with them as they thought fit.
MR. BAXTER moved the addition of the following proviso:—
Provided always that it shall not be lawful for the Commissioners to apply any part of such
money for the endowment of new Professors of Theology, or for additional endowment of existing Professors of Theology.
He wished to take the sense of the House whether any of the public money should be expended in the endowment of theological chairs. He had considerable confidence in the Commissioners, yet he could not but see that out of ten seven were Churchmen, while three only represented the Dissenting and Nonconformist denomination of Scotland. Now, he spoke on behalf of two-thirds of the people of Scotland, who belonged to the Free Church, to the United Presbyterian Church, and to the Dissenting Churches, and he believed that they would strongly object to any portion of the money to be afterwards granted by Parliament being applied either to the additional endowment of the Professors of Theology already existing, or to the erection of additional chairs of such description. It is necessary that the gentlemen holding these chairs should be members of the Church of Scotland, and that they should take the test. Now, he held that that House, as representatives of the people, dealing with the money of the entire population of the United Kingdom, had no right to take any step which could influence Parliament in, at any future time, granting money for the further endowment of any particular religious denomination.
seconded the Motion. He hoped that the House would support this Amendment, and prevent any portion of the public money being expended in the endowment of Theological Professors. The Free Church had now three Colleges, and thirteen Professors of Theology; the United Presbyterians had five Professors of Theology; the Independents had two Theological Professors of their own. While these bodies, possessing two-thirds of the population of Scotland, paid their Theological Professors out of their own pockets, he did not think that the Established Church ought to receive out of the public funds additional endowments for their Theological Professors.
At the end of the clause to add the words, "Provided, also, that it shall not be lawful for the Commissioners to apply any portion of such moneys for the endowment of new Professorships in Theology, or the additional endowment of existing Professorships in Theology.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that he hardly thought that the hon. Gentlemen 750 who had moved and seconded the Amendment understood the necessary consequences of what they were doing; because, if the House inserted in this Bill an enactment to the effect that no portion of the public money voted by Parliament could, under any circumstances whatever, be applied either to the formation of new Professorships, or the improvement of existing Professorships in Theology; the legitimate and consistent course would be to direct the Commissioners so to remodel the Universities of Scotland, as there should not be in any one of them a Professor of Theology at all. Now, he (the Lord Advocate) could not consent to anything that led to such a consequence as that. He could not conceive anything more inconsistent with the nature and constitution of these institutions than to suppress that faculty which of all others was the most distinguishing feature of every University with which he was acquainted. Was there any of the ancient institutions of Europe which did not teach theology, not only as a faculty, but as the first faculty—the faculty of greatest dignity and importance? Was it not notorious that, as regarded the Universities of Scotland in particular, they were founded originally, mainly for the purpose of teaching theology, so that it would be subverting the primary objects for which they were founded if the faculty of theology were taken away. Such would be the necessary and legitimate consequence of the proposal which had been made; for, of course, when his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) proposed to tie up the hands of the Commissioners and Parliament from hereafter giving any money for the endowment of new professorships in that faculty, or in improving existing chairs, he must contemplate this, that the Commissioners might find in the course of their inquiries that some one or more of the theological chairs in the Universities were inadequately endowed? Were they, then, to go on keeping up that half professorship in the University, and would not the more consistent course be to say, "It is insufficiently endowed, and therefore let it be suppressed." The two propositions appeared to depend on the same reasoning, and he opposed one for the same reason as he should the other. The Motion of the hon. Gentleman, and those who agreed with him, appeared to be, that by assenting to the endowment of 751 the professorships they would be compromising their principles in regard to an Established Church or to an establishment for religious purposes out of the public funds. This, however, was quite a different thing from supporting an Established Church or a religious establishment, properly so called, out of the public funds. The institutions which he was now discussing were institutions for teaching a branch of learning—a branch of learning surely the most important of any, a branch of learning taught in all institutions that professed to diffuse a higher education; and the proposal now before the House would strike at the very foundation of the Scotch Universities, for it would destroy that religious teaching which was an essential part of every University—which had always been a constant part of a Scotch University—and without which the maintenance of a University would stand on a different ground from that on which it had ever before done.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
feared that unless they agreed to the proposal of the hon. Member for Montrose, they would have a renewal of those acrimonious theological discussions which were so painful. It might be said that the grant to Maynooth College in Ireland stood on the same ground on which it was now proposed to grant additional endowments to the theological chairs in the Scotch Universities. But that was not so; for the Maynooth grant was supported on the ground that there is a highly-paid Established Church for the minority of the people, therefore a great minister endowed Maynooth for the majority. But that state of affairs did not exist in the present case. He did not know, indeed, whether, if it were now proposed to begin the Maynooth grant, he should support it, notwithstanding the argument to which he had alluded. That grant now existed, and it is one thing not to seek to disturb it, and another to ask the British Parliament, for the first time, to vote additional endowments for the Professors of Theology in the Scotch Universities. It did not follow, then, the Theologians would, after all, be teaching what is true, or, at all events, what they believed to be true in that House. It might be truth of the wrong kind, and he must say that he did not think it fair to call upon the inhabitants of the United Kingdom to pay for teaching that which a great portion of them must believe not to be true.
752 There is, moreover, a great danger of their Theological Professors inculcating views which were opposed to science. But admitting that it is right that theology should be taught, he questioned whether it is right to tax the people of this country for the inculcation of a particular kind of theology. He should, therefore, support the proviso.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
thought the hon. Baronet had misunderstood the question before the House. He had not made any proposal whatever. This is an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Montrose, to tie up the hands of Parliament on the question.
§ MR. BLACK
said, it was true that there was nothing in the Bill to say that money should be appropriated for professors in theology; but there was a clause in it directing the Commissioners to have great regard to the Report of the Royal Commissioners who had inquired into the state of the Scotch Universities. Now that Commission had recommended that the salaries of the Professors of theology should be increased, and it is most probable that that recommendation would be carried into effect. It is also recommended that the theological professors, including those of Hebrew and of the Oriental languages, should be ordained ministers of the Church of Scotland. Now, it should be recollected that other religious bodies, quite as numerous as the Church of Scotland, had theological professors, and were able to maintain them. Why, then, should that church seek assistance from the State? It is true that the salaries of their professorship were not large; but, nevertheless, one of them reached between £500 or £600, nor did he see why these salaries should not be augmented by students' fees, as is the case with other professors.
§ MR. HADFIELD
was opposed altogether to State grants for religious purposes or to religious bodies. The bitterest opponents of the Maynooth grant were the people of Scotland, and they should be the last persons to put their hands into the public purse for the support of religion.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 94; Noes 102: Majority 8.
§ Question put, "That Clause 19, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 125; Noes 76: Majority 49.753
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Bill reported, as amended, to be considered To-morrow.