§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON,) Bute
In moving the 323 Second Reading of this Bill, though it is one of great importance, I do not propose to make a detailed statement for two reasons: in the first place because its provisions are thoroughly familiar to every one interested in the subject. The Bill, in almost its present form, was before the House for a large part of last Session, and the Bill of last Session, like the present measure, represented substantially proposals which have come from successive Governments formed out of both parties in the State. My other reason is that I am not at all aware that it is necessary to overcome any opposition or to anticipate that there will be any prolonged discussion. The House will remember that in 1883 and again in 1885 a Scotch University Bill formed part of the programme of the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, and the present Government has on three occasions introduced Bills which were substantially on the same lines. The growth of the Scotch Universities since 1858, when the last Bill was passed, has been of the most striking kind. The total number of students in Edinburgh in 1859 was 1,302, and the total number in 1888 was 3,975. The students in all the Scotch Universities in the year 1861 numbered 3,389, and in 1888 6,799. I need hardly say that the affairs of the Universities had also grown in complexity alongside of the increased numerical attendance in their halls. The methods of study have been necessarily extended and modified by experience, and there has been for a number of years a very profound and general conviction that it is time that some large changes should be made in the way of giving increased elasticity to the studies in the University and of giving a higher and popularized organization in the department of administration. The proposals of the present Bill relates mainly to three subjects. In accordance with the recommendations of the Commission of 1876 we propose to establish an executive Commission with very ample powers to modify the internal arrangements of the University as regards the course of study the conditions under which degrees are given and as regards the faculties within the Universities. I will not enumerate the various ways in which the Commissioners are given a free hand; but I am sure 324 those who have studied the Bill will agree that it is of the essence of the proposals, which came from both sides, that there should be very ample and elastic powers given to the Commission in order to effect changes which cannot be done by direct statutory enactment. I will not dwell on that because I am not aware that except on the formulas that express some of the subjects with which the Commissioners will deal, there is any difference of opinion on the matter. We have had to consider, as our predecessors have had to do, not alone the most expedient way of describing the duties of the Commissioners, but the giving of powers which will express them with due latitude and will not restrict their action disadvantageously. Among the subjects which the Commission will have to deal with is the redistribution of the revenue of the University in cases in which it is not applied in the best way. They will consider the question of study, and they have a complete right to introduce new subjects for study. The growth of the Universities has pointed not only to the modification of the course of study in the Universities themselves, but also to their relations with extramural teachers being placed on a more definite footing in similar bodies in the country, and, accordingly, some recognition of extra-mural teaching will take place. There was a time when the circumstances of St. Andrew's University were regarded as so little encouraging that its extinction was contemplated but owing to the wise policy which is now accepted of establishing the University of St. Andrew's upon a wider basis by affiliating the college at Dundee, a bright future has been opened for this the most ancient of the Scottish Universities. There is one other subject—namely, the tests required to be signed by professors in Scottish Universities. With regard to those tests, it is proposed that the whole subject shall be referred to the Commission to report upon, so that Parliament may be furnished with all the facts and suggested modifications, and may subsequently deal, if necessary, with the subject without raising feelings of acerbity. This proposed reference of the subject to the Commission is in accordance with the provisions of the Bill which some years ago was brought in by a right hon. Gentleman whom I see opposite, and of the reasonableness of the 325 proposal I do not think there can be much doubt. The subject of tests must primarily be considered from the academic point of view, and it is most desirable that it should be settled without raising any shadow of political or sectarian feeling. The recommendations of the Commissioners in regard to other matters will be in the nature of ordinances which will be laid before Parliament, and obtain the force of law if not disapproved by Parliament, but their recommendations in regard to tests will be in the ordinary form of a Report to Her Majesty, which will be laid before Parliament. The Bill, however, besides dealing with temporary matters by the appointment of this Commission, also proposes to make permanent alterations in the constitution and to widen the powers of the University Courts. At present the finance of each University is in the hands of the Senatus Academicus; and, without any disparagement to this body and its past administration, it is deemed to be more suitable that all matters of finance should be transferred to the University Courts which represent wider and more various University interests. It is proposed to fix at £42,000 the annual charge upon the Consolidated Fund in respect of the Scottish Universities, such sum to be apportioned by the Commissioners among such Universities in such shares as they may consider just. No doubt £42,000 contrasts unfavourably with the sum of the £47,000 formerly granted, but the additional sum of £5,000 was granted to meet the expenses of the Botanical Gardens and Observatory which the Universities will not be charged with in future. This is, therefore, a mere cross entry. The calculated gain to the Universities in future will be something between £13,000 and £14,000. The grant from the Consolidated Fund will be in full discharge of all past and present claims based on present rights of such Universities to public moneys. After the expiration of the powers of the Commissioners the University Court of each University will have power to make such ordinances as they might think fit subject to the veto of the Universities' Committee, which will be a highly influential body in which all the Universities will place reliance. In conclusion I may say that in dealing 326 with this question all parties interested in Scottish University education have desired, as far as possible, to eliminate everything that could give rise to political or academic controversies, and I trust that the Bill will be met in this House in the same spirit. The subject is, no doubt, one of great delicacy, but there has been great delay in dealing with it, and it is most important that the Bill should now at last appear upon the Statute Book. It will be of enormous benefit to the country. I hope hon. Gentlemen will bear in mind that the Bill does not purport offhand to settle a number of controversial questions, but rather to provide for their settlement by a Commission which will be given full discretionary powers. I trust, therefore, that the progress of the Bill may be expedited, and that all criticism of the details of the measure will be reserved for the Committee stage. I beg to move the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I concur in the concluding observation of the right hon. Gentleman as to the progress of the Bill, and in the hope that there will be no attempt to enter into the discussion of controversial matters. If points of detail are reserved for the Committee, a considerable step in advance will be made and the prospects of the Bill will be improved. I do not propose to move the Amendment which stands in my name, because I am anxious to do nothing which can be adverse to the Bill, and the Amendment relates to a point which can be dealt with in Committee. But I cannot admit that this point is unimportant. I agree with the Lord Advocate that it is high time that the University question was settled, as it would have been if the claims of Scotland had not been too long neglected. If they had been duly recognised this Bill would have been upon the Statute Book several years ago. There is no subject in which the Scotch people are so deeply interested as their Universities, which are in an eminent degree popular. They are the Universities of the whole nation. There has never been a time when the Universities have been restricted to one 327 religious denomination. They have never become torpid and practically useless; they have never been disjoined from the highest political and social life of the country; and there has never been a time when the imagination of the people has not been fired by the idea of a University training. The three chief difficulties under which the Scotch Universities have laboured are—first, want of funds; second, defects in constitution and government; and, third, the inadequacy of the teaching staff and the somewhat antiquated methods which still prevail. As to the first, the House will have heard with some disappointment the figures which the Lord Advocate has given. £42,000 is a small contribution to be made by the State when the total revenue from Scotland is considered; and £13,000 is a very small increase when it is borne in mind how much greater are the demands on the Universities, how many new studies have grown up, how many salaries have been raised, and how much scientific apparatus is in these days required if a University is to do its proper work. This expenditure is not to be considered as something given for which afterwards there is nothing to show. On the contrary, it is an eminently reproductive expenditure, not only in the greater efficiency of the students themselves, but also in the discoveries and advances in knowledge and learning which may be expected. The distinguished history of the Scotch Universities is due, not only to the trained and educated intelligence which they have produced, but also to the scientific work which they have done. Money so spent may be expected to bear fruit thirty, forty, or even a hundredfold. I hope, therefore, that the Government will endeavour to be a little more liberal in their grants. I am glad that it is proposed to enlarge the University Courts, which are confessedly not sufficiently popular in character. But the proposal is somewhat timid and hardly likely to rouse the interest or command the sympathy of the people. I hope the Government will see their way to place on these Courts a larger number of persons representative of the general outside public. In Glasgow and Aberdeen in particular the Town Council should have the power of sending two representa- 328 tives to the Courts. That is not so necessary at St. Andrew's and Edinburgh, because St. Andrew's is small and the popular element in Edinburgh is already strong. In fact, the popularity of Edinburgh is largely due to the action of the Town Council of that city. In Glasgow there has always been a certain want of public interest in University matters, and with all its success and prosperity the University has never been sufficiently associated with the public life of the city. As an old student I feel a special concern with respect to Glasgow. I earnestly hope the defects of the Bill in this respect will be remedied in Committee. Questions relating to the teaching staff, the subjects and requirements for degrees, I will leave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds (Sir Lyon Playfair), who was a Member of the Royal Commission of 1878, and who is more cognizant of them than I can claim to be. I think the Government have done wisely in not bringing these matters within the scope of the Bill, but in handing them over to a Commission invested with sufficiently ample powers. The excellence of the Bill will, in fact, depend upon the excellence of the Commission; and the Bill will fail if the Commission does not consist of men of sufficient ability and knowledge to grapple with the very complex questions which will come before them. Is, then, the Commission satisfactory? I am sorry to say that it appears to me to be in the last degree unsatisfactory. It is an invidious task to single out names, but I would ask those who are acquainted with the subject whether they feel safe in entrusting the control of the Universities to this Commission? We have had experience of the great Royal Commissions which dealt with Oxford and Cambridge. I can only speak of Oxford, the Commission on which consisted of men of the highest ability and reputation. Yet that Commission proved a failure; and the general feeling of University reformers is that it would have been better if the Commission had never been appointed and its ordinances had never been passed. If such was the result of a Commission incomparably superior to the one now proposed, what can be expected from the latter? Very few of the names proposed are those of persons 329 who have any special knowledge or sympathy with Scottish Universities; and the whole character and experience of the Commission are w holly inadequate. It is possible many of the Commissioners may be unable to give the time and attention needed for the work to be cast on them. An uncertain Commission is worse than no Commission at all, and the result of having a number of men who are purely ornamental, is that you cannot secure regular attendance. I venture to believe that the Government would have done better to nominate a small Commission of five or seven of the best men, than a large and merely ornamental Commission such as they propose. There are one or two other points which I should like to deal with, and one relates to the question of patronage. It is proposed that the University Courts should retain the patronage of the chairs which they at present hold, and that there should be no alteration in regard to Crown patronage. I regret that the Government have not seen their way to deal with the question of Crown patronage. It is notorious that the Crown appointments in Scotch Universities during the last 30 or 40 years have not been well made, and it would be a great matter if the Crown patron-ages were with other patronages vested in the University Courts; but if that were not done it would be an improvement if steps could be taken to secure that before making appointments the Crown should have fuller knowledge of the circumstances. The University Courts might be empowered to send up a list of candidates to the Secretary of State for Scotland. Public opinion in Scotland is not sufficiently concerned at present with these educational appointments, and the Secretary of State might with impunity make such appointments as would not be tolerated in the legal profession. I now come to the question of theological test, and the House will perhaps allow me to state shortly what the law on the matter is. Before the year 1853 all chairs in Scotch Universities were subject to the test imposed by the Act of Queen Anne, which enforced a declaration of agreement with the confession of faith and conformity with the Established Church of Scotland. In 1853 an Act was passed by which the test was removed with regard to the non-theological chairs; and thus the old 330 test was still applied to the chairs of Divinity, Hebrew, Ecclesiastical History, and Biblical Criticism. The other professors had to declare that they would "never endeavour directly or indirectly to inculcate any opinions opposed to Divine authority," or exercise the functions of their office to the subversion of the Church of England or its doctrines. It is in fact a humiliating and embarrassing declaration which might well be omitted altogether under the Bill before the House. I can see no purpose to be served by keeping it there, and nothing could be simpler than to abolish it by one stroke of the pen. As regards Principals, the theological test was withdrawn in 1858. The Bill proposes to leave both the declaration and the test exactly as at present, and all the hope it holds out of the amelioration of the present condition is by asking the Commissioners to make inquiry and report on the subject. The Lord Advocate says that this course was taken for the purpose of avoiding a theological debate in the House, but I should think it would be impossible to hold out a more direct challenge to those who maintain that Universities should be national institutions than by referring to a Commission — a thoroughly partizan and one sided Commission—to report upon a matter which is ready for the determination of this House. There is no reason in the world why this matter should be left open. The only point on which an inquiry is necessary is as to what ought to be done with the Chair of Divinity or Dogmatic Theology. There are those who think it ought to be disjoined front the University altogether, while others think it ought to change its character to some extent, but ought to be continued in the University. On that point there may be some case for ascertaining the opinions of persons in Scotland, but as regards the other chairs, there is nothing whatever to inquire. It is perfectly plain that the declaration of 1853 is absurd, trivial, ridiculous; it has served no good purpose and ought to be abolished. The chairs of Hebrew, Biblical Criticism and Ecclesiastical History are chairs which ought to find a place in any University course, and chairs which clearly ought not to be governed by any theological test. The Lord Advocate has said that similar 331 proposals were contained in the Bill of 1884–5. Well, I should have opposed them then as I oppose them now; but I may remind the Lord Advocate that in the interval the people of Scotland have arrived at a far more distinct opinion with regard to the nationalization of the Universities and the so called Theological Faculty. I hope the Government will yet agree to insert in the Bill a clause altogether abolishing both the Declaration of 1853 and the theological tests now attached to those three chairs. I do not wish to take up more time, but I warn the Government that they will certainly imperil the passing of the Bill if they show themselves obstinate as to the theological question and the composition of the Committee.
MR. W. A. HUNTER (Aberdeen)
I have listened with some regret to the speech which has just been made by my hon. colleague, because, while in the latter part of the speech he gave a conclusive reason why this Bill should be opposed, he opened his address with remarks very favourable to its early passing. This Bill is nothing more or less than a blank cheque which is to be filled up by a body of Commissioners, and though he has condemned these Commissioners in unsparing terms, yet he is sanguine enough to suppose that the Government will alter that body of Commissioners while the Bill is going through the House. I, however, am not so sanguine. I perceive in the composition of the Commissioners a set purpose on the part of the Government to defeat all the objects which the University reformers in Scotland have really at heart. I cannot accept the jejune and perfunctory statement which the Lord Advocate has made as a satisfactory explanation of the Bill. The subject of the Universities is one of vast importance to Scotland, and although on a smaller Bill—the Local Government (Scotland) Bill—the Lord Advocate came down and explained it in a lengthy and elaborate speech, yet he deals with this important subject in a speech of a few minutes' duration. It is 30 years since the Scotch Universities had an Act of Parliament reforming their constitution, and in all human probability it will be 30 years again before any real amendment can be made if this Bill becomes law. Therefore, this is an occasion of vital importance, because if we pass a bad 332 Bill now we are injuring the highest interests of Scotland for a whole generation. I admit that in the cases of the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh there are some circumstances which give a certain urgency to the Bill. In these Universities they have overgrown classes and bloated salaries of professors; and if the Government would be content with a measure limited to removing the crying grievances of these Universities I would offer no opposition; but I cannot doubt for one moment that the end of this Bill would be to leave Scotland, as regards University education, in a worse position than that in which it found it. What are the blemishes in Scottish University education? Although in the Faculties of Law and of Medicine there is undoubtedly room for improvement, yet these faculties meet the wants of the people and the necessities of the time. But when we turn our eyes to the Faculties of Divinity and Arts a wholly different picture is presented to our view. The Government furnished us some time ago with a Return showing the number of students at different periods during the last 27 years. The Lord Advocate has referred to the aggregate figures, but nothing can be more delusive than the aggregate increase, because the increase took place only in the Faculties of Medicine and Law, and there is no such increase in Divinity and Arts. In the case of Divinity, what we find is, in the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and St. Andrew's, if we make allowance for the natural growth of population, the theological classes may be described as stationary. In Aberdeen there was a remarkable diminution, the average attendance having fallen from 64 to 30 between 1861 and 1885. Then, taking the case of Arts, we find that in St. Andrew's, making allowance for 'the increase of population, there has been no improvement in the number of students, and in Aberdeen there has been even a very slight falling off. Looking at the matter broadly, we find an enormous increase in the Law and Medical Faculties in the Scotch Universities, while the Arts Faculty are stationary. What is the reason for that? The answer is very simple. A hundred years ago the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Divinity were faculties which every Scotch man could look upon with patriotic pride and legitimate satis- 333 faction. To-day they present a spectacle of misdirected energy and wasted money. The programme in Arts is totally unsuitable as a preparation even for law or medicine, and still less for science. The Arts Faculty is adapted only—and not perfectly—to the wants of divinity students. It is a melancholy fact that every day the lay class is getting less and less attention, and we are rapidly approaching a period when the only educated class in Scotland will be the clergy. The old idea was that before a man took a degree in medicine he went through the Arts course, but in the present day very few men do so, because there is a door open by which they can at once pass into medicine studies, and the result is a scandalous state of things. The position in Scotland is a very simple one. The Arts curriculum was at one time fully up to the knowledge of the day; but now with the enormous strides which science has made in the present century the Scotch Universities are as far behind as formerly they were in advance. This is chiefly due to the innate conservatism which is always developed in Universities which foster vested interests; but it is also due in no small degree to the niggardliness of Parliament in not providing money for the expansion of the Scotch Universities as the occasion arises. Parliament has been a cruel stepmother to the Scotch Universities. If we had had a Home Rule Parliament, we should not have starved our higher education and stunted its growth. To a country situated as Scotland is, the importance of first-rate University education cannot be over-rated. We have few natural resources, not much iron or coal, not a particularly fruitful soil, and in times past, and in times to come, very much reliance on the part of the Scotch people must be laid on the education they are able to give to their children. I heard the other day an example which shows how enlightened a spirit prevails in some countries in respect to the question of higher education. The Canton of Zurich, which is not so populous as Aberdeenshire, has spent upon buildings, and the equipment of physical laboratories, £100,000, and now the Lord Advocate thinks that £13,000 a year is adequate for the future development of all the Scottish Universities. No better investment was ever made by 334 any Canton, because the school of the Canton of Zurich draws pupils from all parts of the world. There are there more than 1,000 men from all parts of the world, and the amount of money which these students bring to the Canton of Zurich must afford, even from a material and low standpoint, no inadequate return for the investment made. Let me point out to the House what is the character of this antiquated and totally inadmissible Arts programme. In the University of Aberdeen it requires 1,580 hours to make a man an M.A., if he can pass his examination. Of this no less than 600 hours are occupied by two dead languages, Latin and Greek, whilst English literature and English language only take 60 hours. In the Scotch Universities the subjects are arranged in the inverse order; dead languages are put first, mathematics comes next with 300 hours, physics (a much more important subject) is reduced to 160 hours, logic and psychology 140, moral philosophy, 220, and all other sciences 100 hours. I ask the House not to allow this Bill to pass until they have got an absolute security that this inversion of the true order of education will be rectified, and this scandalous state of things brought to an end. I would not, if I could, abolish a single chair in the Arts curriculum. I would not deprive anyone who desired to go through such a curriculum of the opportunity of doing so; but what I do claim is that modern subjects, which are of the highest importance to the individual in the struggle for life, shall not be relegated to a back seat, and that students shall have an opportunity of obtaining an education which will equip them properly for the work they have to perform. There was a time when Latin and Greek was taught in the Scottish Universities. We spent seven years of our lives upon Latin, and five years upon Greek; but I undertake to say there was scarcely one man in a hundred at the end of that time who could read an easy book in Latin, and not one in a hundred who could read any book in Greek. For clergymen, and those who intend to be clergymen, Greek is a useful subject, and that is one of the principal reasons why we find there is a cordial unanimity amongst that class in favour of the Bill. 335 A measure of University reform which does not touch this subject, and which gives us no provision or guarantee that any change will be made in this antiquated curriculum is not satisfactory, and to pass this Bill without dealing with this fundamental question is to trifle with the interests and to destroy the educational prospects of a whole generation of Scotchmen. Again, it is essential that we should get the right men to teach the right subjects, otherwise nothing will avail in the smallest degree if we are wanting in this essential foundation of a rational system of education. The University Commission of 1878 suggested some reforms in the way of giving greater elasticity to the curriculum, but these recommendations did not go far enough, because the Commission was impotent from want of money. It is idle to talk of University reformers doing what ought to be done if the financial means are not forthcoming by which alone the end can be accomplished. Sir William Thompson was asked how much he required per annum for class expenses, and his irreducible minimum was £1,000 a year. What did the Commissioners do? They recommended £250 a year. If that is the way in which when you do get a really first-rate man you cripple his resources, how is it possible that the educational system can be satisfactory? Now, where is the money to come from? Nothing like £13,000 will be of the smallest use for the purpose for which it is required. We require at least 25 new professorships, new class-rooms, &c., and if we are to teach physical science as it ought to be taught, the cost of the building and maintenance of laboratories will come to an enormous sum. I object to the provision of the Bill in respect to finance, because it puts the charge of the Scotch Universities on the Consolidated Fund instead of on the Estimates, and thus deprives this House of the opportunity of criticizing the administration of the Scottish Universities, and snaps the only link that now binds the people of Scotland to the management of the Universities. There is only one fund to which we can look for this money, and that is teinds which are now employed in paying a class of ministers of one Presbyterian denomination, and the application of the money 336 to the requirements of the Scotch Universities on a liberal scale would have the advantage of removing a political and social injustice. Now, let me say a word as to the mode of appointing professors. The importance of that question arises from the fact that the Scotch professor once appointed holds his office for life. The Scotch professor is highly paid compared with those who perform similar intellectual work in other walks of life. His hours are easy, and he has seven months holiday in the year, and yet how rarely we find that the opportunities are utilized either for the purpose of research, or for original work of any kind. If we look over the roll of Scotch professors we should undoubtedly find some who are fully worthy of their position; but it is a matter of notoriety that there is not a single University or a single year in which there are not some professors who are not even up to the level of mediocrity. Accordingly, the result is that for a whole generation the particular subject is a dead subject to the students of the University. My complaint against the Bill is this—that on a subject of first-rate importance like this it contains no provision at all. Turning to the Theological chairs, I find in the University of Aberdeen a remarkable disparity between the various endowments. I do not propose at this moment to deal with the question of the Theological chairs, but I wish to point out that there is one financial aspect of the question which the Government might, without contradicting their own principles, give some attention to. A Divinity student at Aberdeen costs the University £54 a year in endowments, whilst an Arts student takes only £4 10s. of the endowments. In St. Andrew's a Divinity student costs the University £72 a year; in Edinburgh he costs £24; and in Glasgow he costs £20 15s., as compared with £2 15s. for the Arts student. The House will see that whilst everywhere the Divinity student is an exceedingly expensive member of the University, there is a great difference to be drawn between Aberdeen and St. Andrew's on the one band and Edinburgh and Glasgow on the other, because whilst in Aberdeen and St. Andrew's a sufficient number of students do not come forward, in Edinburgh and Glasgow there is a larger attendance, and 337 consequently the total amount is reduced. I would suggest that the Theological chairs in Aberdeen and St. Andrew's should be dropped, and I may say I do not think it at all necessary that every one of the four Scottish Universities should be equipped in every branch of learning to the highest extent. It might be possible to make an arrangement by which those courses of study which attract but a very small number of highly - trained and distinguished students might be so distributed that the students who wished to follow them would always find one University to which they could go. By abolishing the Divinity chair in Aberdeen you would set free £2,000 a year, which would be sufficient to provide endowments for six new chairs in Arts and Sciences. To turn to another matter, I find that under this Bill the ordinances of the Commissioners are put on the same footing as the schemes of the Endowed Schools Commissioners. I think the Lord Advocate has heard from more than one Member on this side of the House how extremely unsatisfactory that arrangement is. The House has no alternative but to accept a scheme as it stands, or to reject it as it stands. The Government of the day almost invariably supports a scheme. They carry the majority with them into the lobby, and although grave defects may be pointed out in the scheme, nothing can be done to rectify them. This has been held in the past to be a most grievous defect; and if the Government will alter that portion of the Bill, and provide that these schemes shall be brought before the House in a shape that will admit of amendments being made, I think that many of the worst fears which are entertained with regard to the Commission will be removed; because although I do not anticipate that the House could or would, under any circumstances, make many changes in the ordinances of the Commission, the fact that there lay an appeal to the House of Commons would give the Commission the strength they required—and they would require much—to overcome the resistance of the vested interests in the Universities. I will not criticize the remarks of my hon. Friend and colleague in the representation of Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce), but I do not endorse everything he has said. On 338 one point there is no difference of opinion in Scotland. There is a unanimous conviction that this is a bad Commission, which is not to be trusted. Even the Scotsman, which goes greater lengths in supporting the Government than almost any Party paper conceivably could, is obliged to declare that this Commission is not satisfactory in its constitution. I do not think that fundamental questions ought to be left to such a Commission. My special grievance is on behalf of the University of Aberdeen. There are 15 Commissioners, and it so happens that the circumstances of the University of Aberdeen put it in a class entirely apart from the other Scottish Universities. Aberdeen is, in the first place, remarkable for the fact that there are so many bursaries open to competition that practically every boy who ought to get an education gratuitously does so. No less than one half of the entire number of Arts students in the University hold bursaries which yield more than the fees of the classes. In Aberdeen we do not suffer from the radical evils which, I believe, have given urgency to the demands of this Bill. Any person who is at all acquainted with the University of Aberdeen will admit that that University is adapted in a special degree for the development of physical science, and that, whatever arrangements may be made in other portions of Scotland, there ought to be a serious and determined effort so to equip the University of Aberdeen as to utilize this characteristic. I may say that although the situation of Aberdeen is so peculiar and distinct there is only one Commissioner out of the fifteen who has ever had any connection with that University at all, and he was a student before 1850, so that he knows nothing whatever about the system which has been in operation since 1860. And yet there are names of such eminence in connection with the University that they could not have been omitted from the list of examiners except on one of two grounds—either that the owners of those names were real University reformers or that they were Home Rulers. As to the University Court, the present Court is bad in its constitution, and the proposed constitution is ten times worse. The Court has but one function, the appointment of examiners, who are to operate as a check upon the 339 professors, and it is, therefore, essential for the proper work of the Court that the professional element should not dominate it. But, Sir, we know that in the existing University Courts no person is ever appointed who is not known intimately to the professoriate. That is the evil of the system in the present constitution of the University Court—the public are not represented, it is overrun by the professoriate. In looking at the composition of this University Court, we must consider how it works out practically, how many members are likely to be present at the meetings, and how many absent. The Rector will be absent, because usually the students select for the office some distinguished man, and in consideration of his inaugural address they forego the advantage of having him as a member of the University Court. Looking at the composition of the proposed Commission, we cannot doubt that the professorial element will be supreme, and the University Council is about the worst body to elect a Member of the Commission that the ingenuity of man could devise. They are a very largo and scattered body, who can only be communicated with by letter, and when a candidate is proposed, not one out of every ten graduates will ever have heard his name; they will vote entirely in the dark and will be governed purely by party considerations. As a representation of University opinion it will be most unreal and feeble. Indeed, I do not think that the warmest admirer of the Act of 1860 can approve the University Council. These, then, are the objections I have to the Bill. I do not find that its authors have considered the requirements of Scottish University education, and they have appointed men who possess in no degree the confidence of the public, or even of the warmest supporters of the Government, and I can come to no other conclusion than that it will leave the University curriculum in as miserable a plight as it is in now. If the Government had given any indication of its intention to adopt a more satisfactory view of the question I should have been as anxious to facilitate the progress of the Bill through Committee, as, as at present advised, I feel disposed to do all in my power to resist it.
§ * MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
The hon. 340 Member for North Aberdeen has drawn a very dark picture of the Bill and of its effect on Scottish University education, but I hope the House will not be carried away by his criticisms. He seems to think that nothing could be worse than the proposed constitution of the University Courts, but the fact is that the general opinion in Scotland among those who have been paying attention to the subject for years past is in favour of the Bill as a whole, and of this particular in it. The hon. Member's description of the sad condition of University education appears to me an argument in favour of passing the Bill rapidly, as supplying an instrument for correcting the terrible evils he depicts. The hon. Member has stated that the attendance of Divinity students at the Universities in Scotland shows a decided falling off, but I think he leaves out of consideration in instituting the comparison between the attendance of Divinity students now and the attendance years ago, the changes that have affected the attendance of these students. Years ago we had the attendance of large numbers of students at the Scottish Universities from England, because they could not find access to Oxford and Cambridge. But within the range of the years mentioned by the hon. Member additional colleges have been opened in the North of England and in Ireland, whence also many students formerly came to study at the Scottish Universities, and so it is that of late years we have been left to our home supply of students not supplemented by many coming from England and Ireland. Then, again, within the last 30 or 40 years, there has been instituted what I may call a competing system at home, in the theological halls connected with the Free Church, the United Presbyterian, and the Independent churches. It would be no small matter if in these circumstances the Divinity classes at the Scottish Universities held their own in point of numbers. In instituting a comparison between the increase of population and the increase of students we have to consider whether there has been any proportionate increase in the means of teaching the students. There has been no considerable increase in the number of chairs, and if we only find that there 341 has been as good an attendance at the Divinity Halls as formerly, then we may consider the Divinity Halls to have held their own, and that they are entitled to every consideration, so far as attendance of students is concerned. From the Return laid before Parliament, on the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend, I find that the state of the case is as follows: — In the year 1872–3 the attendance at Divinity Halls in the Scottish Universities was 188, in the next year 177, then 185, 197, 192, 175, and so on. In 1882–3, 265, and then 276, 274, 279, 290, 274, and this year I have ascertained it has been 285. So that there has been a considerable increase notwithstanding the additional opportunities given for theological education to young men in other places. The hon. and learned Gentleman has given us some statistics as to the comparative cost of theological and of arts students, but I hope he has been more careful with his figures than he was last Session, when he insisted that the attendance of Divinity students at Aberdeen University was 18, against my contention that the number was 32. I was afterwards able to show him from his own Return that he was mistaken, and that he had taken the wrong column, giving the students in the Faculty of Law instead of that of Divinity. I would thank the hon. Member for the other division of Aberdeen for his powerful plea on behalf of the Scottish Universities, and the services they have rendered to the cause of education. Though I could not go with him in all that he said, I found much to admire in his speech. I hope the House will accept the Second Reading of this Bill without a long debate. Long have we waited for the Bill. The last University Commission reported so long ago as 1878, and their Report showed the necessity for this legislation. A Bill was introduced but not discussed in 1883, and again in 1884 and 1885. It was only last year that a Bill was discussed and passed in another place, and the present Bill is substantially a reproduction of that of last year. It has passed through the ordeal of one discussion, and, although it only now receives discussion here, it deals with a subject which has been thoroughly considered in Scotland, where for a long time it has occupied the attention of those interested, not only as an acade- 342 mical question, but as affecting the whole progress of Scotch education. Allusion has been made to the action taken and the opinion expressed by the General Councils of the Universities, and perhaps my English friends need to be informed that these Councils consist of all the graduates of the Universities, and that they have an opportunity of meeting together every half-year, and discussing University subjects, and in this way these subjects are thoroughly discussed at the Council meetings and in the Press. Besides this, the more active reformers, especially in the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, have formed General Council Associations, and these Associations have dealt with this Bill, and it is something to be able to say that there is a general concord among all parties, in the Associations, and in the Councils generally, as to the substantial merits of the Bill, and the desirableness of its being passed into law. My hon. Friend made a remark which was rather disparaging to the General Councils as public bodies whose opinion was entitled to consideration. It is not the fact that the General Councils are mostly clerical. The medical profession is well represented in them, and that and the legal profession combined certainly place the clerical numbers in a minority. There is a general disposition to accept the Bill arrived at by concessions on both sides. No doubt some reformers would wish the Bill to go further than it does, while there are others who think it would he better if it did not go so far. There are proposals in the Bill which although many are willing to accept them for the sake of harmony and with a view of getting on with improvements in our University system, are looked upon with some degree of anxiety. For instance, take the transference of the administration of the finances from the Senates to the new Courts. The Senates have done their work well, and much of it gratuitously. It has yet to be proved that the Courts will manage the finances better, while their management will certainly be more expensive. There is danger, too, which will have to be guarded against, that the new body, which is larger and has more varied interests, may let the daily administration of affairs fall into the hands of the officials. As to the affiliation of colleges and 343 the subject of extra-mural teaching there has been much discussion, and the Bill presents what may be considered a practical agreement among those interested. These subjects are entrusted to the Commissioners to deal with, subject to certain conditions laid down for their guidance. I trust the Lord Advocate will accept an addition to the Bill such as is found in the Act of 1858, under which the Universities are at present managed, securing as much uniformity as possible in examinations and the conditions under which degrees are conferred. There is one part of the Bill as to which I may say there is general dissatisfaction in Scotland—I mean the financial provisions. I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury is not here, for it is to him rather than to the Lord Advocate I would address a word or two of remonstrance on this head. The financial provisions of the Bill are quite inadequate. We are, however, faring no worse at the hands of the present Treasury than we fared in former years from their predecessors in office. Ever since a Bill on the subject was introduced in 1883 there has been the same obduracy on the part of the Treasury to the claims of the Scottish Universities. But however inadequate these financial proposals, the friends of the Universities are prepared to accept them simply because the provisions are not final. There was a clause in an earlier Bill that made the proposed charge upon the Consolidated Fund a grant in satisfaction of all claims of the Universities for all time, but that finality clause is removed, and these financial provisions, inadequate as they are, cannot be considered as shutting the door against University claims in future Sessions when good cause can be shown for an increase. It has been said that we are offered an addition of £13,000 a year to the assistance now received. From that, however, must be deducted £800 already due to the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen to repair past omissions. There is, therefore, only £12,200 to divide among the four Universities, while they are at the same time burdened with new charges. For instance the pensions for professors and the cost of maintenance of buildings, although fluctuating charges are to he met out of a fixed amount based on the 344 average charges of past years. The Royal Observatory at Edinburgh is to be left a charge on the Treasury. I think the Observatory at Glasgow has equal claims upon the public funds, although it is attached to the University. It has the same claim as that of Edinburgh on the ground of public services rendered. In the Report of the last University Commission on which we may say the provisions of this Bill are founded there are numerous recommendations of desirable and, indeed, indispensable additions to the Universities. Those recommendations represent a charge which cannot be anything like met by the increased grant now proposed. At Glasgow alone the recommendations, although cut down below the demands which were urged, amount to above £4,000. Yet Glasgow is only to receive its share of £12,200. The mode of administration which the Bill sets up will be much more costly than that which has existed heretofore, for there will be less gratuitous service rendered under the new system, and the cost will have to be met out of the University funds. Then, what is to be done about compensation to professors whose interests are injuriously affected by ordinances passed under this Act—as is provided in Clause 14 of the Bill? Where is the money to come from? It may be a considerable amount. Is that sum to be taken from the University Fund to the sacrifice of University reforms? It is not unlikely that the Commissioners may have to report to the Treasury that there is a deadlock here. It is, at any rate, certain that to put a charge of this kind upon the general University funds will be to stop instead of to promote reforms. But it will be said that this grant from the Consolidated Fund is sure to be supplemented by private benefactions. I have no doubt that the stream of private benefactions to the Universities has been stopped for some time because of the uncertainty and the delay of legislation. When this Bill is carried people will know what the Universities are to be, and I have no doubt there will be considerable contributions from private benefactors. Benefactions, however, are given for specific objects—not for general purposes or for such things as pensions and compensation. 345 I am sure that liberal treatment by the Government of such institutions as Universities is likely rather to stimulate than to check private generosity. A public grant is a recognition of the importance of the institution, and a pledge that it will not be allowed to languish. The Universities of Scotland have already felt the results of what I may call spasmodic liberality on the part of Government. When, some years ago, £120,000 was granted for new buildings at Glasgow, it was supplemented by private benefactions to the amount of £280,000, and the grant of £88,000 to Edinburgh has like.wise been followed by very largo private contributions. I trust that similar favour will be extended to Aberdeen, where it is very much needed, and I feel sure it will be attended there also with similar results. Unsatisfactory as its financial provisions are, the Bill will be welcomed, because it will put an end to a state of suspense which is injurious to the Universities, and because it provides machinery and gives powers for effecting much desired improvements, especially in the addition of new Chairs and in giving greater variety to the curriculum of study. As to the curriculum, the recommendations of the last University Commission, which are given effect to in this Bill, will go some way towards satisfying the wishes of the hon. Member for North Aberdeen. Another argument for passing the Bill is that it introduces a system of administration and government which will give the public a greater interest in the affairs of the Universities, and thereby, it is to be hoped, will secure further support and cooperation from the public in the promotion of higher education in Scotland. Objection is taken to the Bill because it does not abolish all religious tests, and because it does not remove all restrictions as to Church connection in the Divinity Chairs. The Bill proposes that the Commissioners shall take evidence—With a view to ascertain whether any, and what changes, as to the subscription of tests by the principals, professors, and other University officers are necessary and expedient, and shall make a special report on that matter to Her Majesty.I know there are hon. Members who think we ought to have no Chair of Theology in the Universities at all. But 346 we must remember what the history of the Universities has been in relation to theological teaching. The Treaty of Union, although it may have been modified in particulars, has never been put aside altogether in the legislation of the country. The Act of Security, which is incorporated in the Treaty of Union, sets forth:—And further, for the greater security of the foresaid Protestant Religion, and of the worship, discipline and government of this Church as above established, tier Majesty with advice and consent foresaid, statutes and ordains that the Universities and Colleges of St. Andrew's, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Etinburgh, as now established by law, shall continue within this kingdom for ever.That means that in the opinion of those who legislated at that time, the Universities were to be maintained for ever for the sake of the Protestant religion. It is, therefore, going very strongly against the current of past history if the teaching of religion is to be excluded from those institutions. Then as to the subject of religious tests. What representations have been made to Parliament on the subject? They have come from a Committee of the Free Church, and from a Committee of the United Presbyterian Church. I do not think it is uncharitable to say that these representations form part of a disestablishment movement. In fact my hon. and learned Friend has plainly said that he thinks that the teinds of the Church of Scotland should be used for further endowing the non-Theological chairs of the Universities. Now, singular as it may appear, this objection on the part of non-established churches in regard to the Theological Chairs of the Universities is comparatively new. In 1876, Lord Ardmillan, who was one of the University Commissioners, said he thought he could say that there was no Nonconformist in Scotland who grudged to the Church of Scotland the entire possession of the Theological Chairs. This Bill does not object to some modification; it merely proposes the subject as one for inquiry and Report by the Commission. What does the Church of Scotland say, which is represented as holding a monopoly to which it is not entitled? The Church of Scotland makes no objection to this Bill, although there is this clause in it proposing an inquiry. The General Assembly has petitioned in favour of the passing of the Bill. But it may 347 be asked—Why should the Commission inquire into and report on the subject? It is because it is a delicate and difficult subject requiring careful handling. A good deal of evidence regarding it was given before the last Universities' Commissioners, but without the result that any practical reform was suggested which the Commissioners felt able to recommend. It may be seen by reference to the evidence that the theological professors who were examined showed no desire whatever to retain the present restriction of their Chairs to the Church of Scotland, provided there was some other satisfactory security for the interests of religion and the education of the students. What the Church required was security for the religious training and teaching of the young men preparing for its ministry. It is to be remembered that the University in Scotland is not merely a place for scientific research, it is a place for professional training as well. If we had theological professors about whose religious opinions we had no knowledge, or over whom we had no control, the question is, would the Church of Scotland send her students to them—would any Church send students to them? The Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church would not. So that we should run the risk of having professors without students. This subject was taken up by a learned Member of last Universities Commission, Dr. John Muir. He has left an interesting note in an appendix to the Report, in which he says—In the existing state of theological opinion in Scotland it would not be safe to exempt the professors elected to these Chairs from subscribing the Confession of Faith in some form or other.The question being thus a different one, the Government has done well to adopt the clause which was contained in the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Clackmannanshire in 1884 and 1885. Something has been said about separating the Chair of Systematic Theology from the three other Chairs in the Divinity Faculty, but there are differences of opinion as to whether that is practicable. This shows that the subject is one which has not yet been fully examined and discussed, and is in favour of leaving the Commission, now to be appointed, to in- 348 quire into and report upon it. As to the declaration still required from the professors in the non-Theological Chairs, I will not say there is a strong case for retaining it. But this I will say, that it has not been practically found to be any grievance. The Universities have members of various Churches in their lay Chairs, and I do not know of any instance in which the Universities have lost the services of a good man for one of their Chairs because of the declaration which he was required to make. These objections to this Bill, which may, I think, without offence be called sectarian objections, because they are aimed at the position of the Established Church—objections of which we have heard very little in Scotland outside of certain Church Courts, I hope will not be allowed for one moment to retard the progress of this Bill, so earnestly looked to by all who are interested in University education in Scotland.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
The tenour of the remarks of the hon. Member who has just sat down appears to me to show the absolute necessity for a reasonable amount of discussion on this stage of the Bill. In what he has said as to the abolition of tests in the Scotch Universities, and the small attendance of students at theological lectures, he appears to forget that in Germany, the only country where theology is scientifically taught, the students flock to the professorial lectures; and that in Germany there are no tests. I hope that in Committee some attempt will be made to deal with the question of principle in regard to tests. I shall feel bound to vote against every Amendment to the Second Reading of the Bill, which is founded on the subject of tests, because I regard the measure as one of too much importance to be rejected on the theological question that has been raised. The question of the details of the arrangement of the Theological Chairs, and the general subjects of instruction, as distinguished from that of the general principle, are matters for the Commission and not for this House. There are circumstances peculiar to the subject of this debate which account for the empty state of the benches opposite. The quadrangles of the Scottish Universities are so remote from the scene of discussion, that it is not surprising that English Members 349 find the subject a somewhat abstract one. Another source of difficulty to those who are anxious to learn something about it is that there are not only differences of opinion between those on these benches and the benches opposite, but that there are also differences between those who sit on these benches, such differences, for instance, as exist between the Members for North and South Aberdeen. But amid all the differences of opinion that arise it is undoubtedly true that there is a very great deal upon which all in Scotland are agreed. This is a more important question for Scotland than the reform of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge would be for England, because, while out of a population of nearly 30,000,000 Oxford educates only 2,500 students and Cambridge about the same number, Edinburgh educates 3,975, Glasgow 2,188, Aberdeen 918, and St. Andrew's 218, out of a population of something like 4,000,000. The Universities of Scotland, therefore, are matters of national concern—matters upon which the national life in a not inconsiderable measure depend. My hon. Friend, the Member for North Aberdeen has said that the measure is more important to Edinburgh and Glasgow than to Aberdeen and St. Andrew's, and if this be true it should not be without weight in determining the attitude we should take up on the Second Reading that Edinburgh educates three or four times the number of students educated at Aberdeen, and Glasgow between two and three times the number, while the proportion at St. Andrews is altogether insignificant compared with that at the other Universities. I have come to the conclusion that while this Bill is open to grave criticism in a few respects, the advantages it offers enormously preponderate. It will, therefore, be a source of profound dissatisfaction to a large number of persons in Scotland who were interested in the Universities, if the progress of the Bill be further delayed. At present the administration of the University revenues is in the hands of the professors, a distinguished body; but men cannot be made both judges and advocates in their own case without prejudice to the interests of justice. It is true the Scotch Universities have not very large endowments, 350 but there are enormous emoluments derived from fees paid by the students. There are very few Chairs in the English Universities where the professors receive more than from £700 to £1,100 a year; but in Edinburgh a very distinguished professor of anatomy receives £2,811 as net profits in 1886–87. That is a sum which would maintain seven German professors, and ought to maintain three Scotch professors. The professor of the practice of physic receives upwards of £1,600 a year, and in addition he has the largest private practice in Edinburgh. The heavy work of looking over the examination papers is done in many cases by the assistant, and the professor, who does very little new work, has five or six months holiday in the year. Of course, there have been professors who have done good work in the Scotch Universities, but they have done it in the teeth of the system, and not because of any stimulus they have derived from it. It may be asked "How comes it, if the system is not the best you could have, that the classes maintain their large numbers?" Well, the secret is to be found in one of the scandals this Bill ought to rectify — namely, the examination system. Under this system it is impossible for an extra-mural teacher to compete with the University professor, because the control of the examination for degrees practically is in the hands of the latter. I am aware that it is the practice to appoint for the purposes of examination for degrees along with the professor an assistant who is equally responsible for the papers; but this examiner is always the younger man, the professor speaks with authority, and as a result he has a preponderating and far too great a voice in the administration of the examination system, and while that is so it is impossible for the extra mural teacher to compete in any way with his more favoured colleague. I do not think it necessary to go into detail on this matter, as it has been the subject of a great deal of controvery in the Scottish press during the last few years. I would only point out that there have been constant complaints that the professors in setting the papers are always likely to frame them upon their own 351 text-books, and reports of lectures, which are in some cases delivered in the same words every year, but which a recent judgment of the House of Lords does not allow to be published. The inference is that a common University chest ought to be established into which all fees should go, and out of which the professors should be paid. This would get rid of the tendency on the part of the professors by various methods to enlarge their classes, and would reduce the competition between them and the extra-mural teachers. Another thing which is wanted is a complete reform of the examination system. I do not mean that it should be taken completely out of the hands of the teachers in the Universities; but I do mean that the extra-mural teachers should have some share in it. They should have at least an equal voice with the professors. You should also, as far as possible, and I am glad to think that the Bill recognizes this, separate the teaching from the business affairs of the University. The business ought to be exclusively in the hands of the University Court. Now, having said so much, I come to the Bill, and I should like to say a few words as to how far, in my opinion, it gives effect to the objects we all have in view. No doubt, as was said by the last speaker, there is great agreement in Scotland on the subject of the reforms that have to be made; but the hon. Member was wrong when he said there was comparatively little reason for the discussion of the details of the Bill. The question is, how far do the details give adequate expression to the demands that are being made throughout Scotland? The Bill ought, I think, in terms to extend the extramural system, to popularize University teaching, and make it accessible to a larger number of people in Scotland than at present, and to reform the constitution of the Universities. With regard to the first two of these points, the Bill leaves them to the Commission. The third it deals with. My criticism as to the first two, is on two matters. In the first place the Commission is not at all a satisfactory one Were it not that the Chairman is a judge of distinction and of most judicial mind who will approach the matter in a thoroughly fair spirit I should despair of the Com- 352 mission doing any good; but as the Chairman is, after all, the most important person on the Commission, it does seem to me that the character of this President gets over in some degree the disadvantages of the composition of the Commission in other respects. Then, I think, it is greatly to be deplored that recognising, as we are recognising, the necessity of extending the system of extra-mural teaching in Scotland, of reforming the examination system, and carrying out other points, there should have been no indication in the Bill to the Commissioners as to what their duty is to be in regard to these matters. They are left to exercise their own free will, not only with regard to details but the principles they are to apply. In the matter of religious tests, and in a dozen other matters, we ought to indicate the principles on which the Commissioners are to act, leaving them free as to details. I protest against the notion that it is satisfactory that it should be left to the discretion of any Commission to say what form the changes in our Universities are to assume without giving them instructions as to the spirit in which they are to approach the consideration of the matter. As to the third point—the reform of the constitution of the Universities—I must say I think the Bill is an excellent one. I speak in this matter, no doubt, with somewhat of an Edinburgh prejudice. I know this—that the University Council that is to send four members to the University Court will do its duty excellently. As to what the hon. Member for South Aberdeen said with regard to the absence of a sufficient Town Council influence in this matter, I must say that our experience of the interference of the Edinburgh Town Council in University matters has not always been satisfactory. In 1858 an Act was passed that took the control of the Universities out of the hands of the Town Councils, and because the new system has not been found satisfactory it is no reason why we should revert to a plan which, certainly, so far as Edinburgh is concerned, did not work well. The powers of the University Courts seem to me quite adequate. The students are to be represented, and that is a great feature, for I consider that a University should be regarded as a kind of democracy where there is citizenship and where all internal affairs 353 should be under the control of the various classes interested. The Students' Council is a thing the students have to thank the Lord Advocate for. It is satisfactory, I think, that there should be stringent provisions as to audit. Those provisions, I think, are most useful. Upon a careful review of the advantages and disadvantages of the Bill, I deem it my duty to support it, and I certainly should hesitate to put an obstacle in its way. I, however, hold myself free to initiate and support in Committee Amendments which will render the measure more effective for its object. I do not feel sanguine that we shall be able to get any more money, nor do I think we are in great need of money in the Scotch Universities. We have got large emoluments which come in the form of emoluments to professors, and fees, and we have a large number of small endowments in the form of bursaries, some of which are not applied to the best possible purposes; but, knowing the importance of University teaching in Edinburgh, I should have been glad to see another £10,000 a year go to the Scotch Universities. Recognising the demand and necessity there is for the Bill, while I agree with many of the criticisms of the hon. Member for North Aberdeen, I cannot, as a Scotch Member, take the responsibility of throwing the slightest obstacle in the way of the Second Reading.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
The hon. Member who has just sat down has proved himself on the whole a very strong champion of the measure. He considers the balance of advantage overwhelming. I am afraid I cannot take the same view, though in the end I shall probably tome to the same conclusion. I feel that the balance of advantage is very dubious. I wish to say a word or two first about the constitution of the Commission; and, secondly, about the group of ecclesiastical or religious questions likely to be raised in connection with the Commission. You are proposing not merely an executive, but a legislative Commission, which is to make laws and will settle the future of the Scotch Universities for the whole of this generation. Most of us may make up our minds that if this is passed we shall not again have an opportunity of bringing under Parliamentary criticism the 354 state of University education in Scotland. That fact invests the Commission with the highest degree of importance. In such a Commission there are two requisites we are entitled to insist upon in its membership. It should be constituted of men who have a large practical acquaintance with the Scotch University system, who have a knowledge of the wants the Universities are intended to supply, and of the way in which as at present constituted they supply these wants. In the second place, it should consist of men in thorough sympathy in popular feeling in Scotland in matters of education. Can it be said these requisites are met by the Commission now proposed? I do not think I can subscribe to that assertion. I find that the Commission, as a whole, is neither academically competent nor politically sound. I do not find either that the members are experts in education or that they are distinctively Scotch in feeling, either in the matter of education or in any other matter. There are, no doubt, notable exceptions. My hon. Friend (Mr. Hunter), who represents the Liberal Party in the constitution of the Commission, undoubtedly has a large acquaintance, not only with the University system of Scotland, but with that of England as well. The hon. Member for Manchester (Sir Henry Roscoe) unquestionably may be taken to represent, if not the ancient University system of England, at all events the modern system which has acquired so much importance. You are proposing to set up a Commission which, as a body, is more or less of an aristocratic character to make laws for a group of Universities whose main characteristic is that they are thoroughly Democratic. I do not think it would be fair or competent for me to inquire into the religious professions of the members of the Commission; but it is obvious at a glance that most of them may be suspected of being Episcopalians—and Episcopalians of the kind who will, no doubt, once more perpetrate the ghastly farce which they have perpetrated so often—that of seeking to perpetuate in Scotland Presbyterian tests in which they do not for one moment themselves believe. The hon. Member for South Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) has referred to the Commission that dealt with the English Universities. I happen to be one of 355 the comparatively few Members who have had practical experience of direct contact with that Commission, and I am bound to say that that experience makes me doubly sensitive as to the constitution of the one now proposed. That Commission was, as compared with the one now proposed, immensely strong; moreover, it was distinctly academic. Every Member of that Commission had been a member of Oxford University, while on this occasion very few of the Members know anything of the Universities of Scotland. That Commission, however, was like the present one in that it was more or less ornamental and more or less aristocratic. One of the most distinguished persons who sat on the Commission gravely argued that he saw no reason why the two subjects of anatomy and physiology should not be taught by the same professor. And this reminds me of a similar extraordinary fact in connection with the University system as left by the last Scotch Commission. In the University of St. Andrew's the Commission created, or sanctioned by permitting it to continue, this monstrosity, which the House will hardly credit. At that University in my day there was a professor whose modern combination was indicated by the words "Civil and Natural History." The Oxford Commission has created new vested interests, and has turned the whole resident University into a howling wilderness of Unionists. While, on the whole, it did a great deal in the way of satisfying the resident members of the University, in relieving their tender consciences by sweeping away most of the clerical restrictions, and in permitting matrimony and otherwise making things comfortable, I do not know that it has added greatly to the strength of the University. It has failed, and, I believe, of set purpose and intention, to throw open the great national endowments of the University to the children of the poorer classes. Well, I do not believe that from an inferior Commission like the present we can expect much better results when applied to the democratic system of the Scotch Universities. I will throw out the hint, however, to the Lord Advocate that the Oxford Commission was much smaller than the present one, and con- 356 sequently a much better one. One hon. Member has claimed recognition on the Commission for certain public bodies, and in that connection I do not see why, on a Commission of this kind, there should not he a representative of the teaching body generally in Scotland. Besides the constitution of the Commission, there is the controversy about the group of theological questions to which reference has been made. First of all, there is the question of the religious tests which are at present imposed on professors in the University; secondly, there is the question of the Theological Chairs; and, thirdly, there is another question which is not alluded to in the Bill at all but which demands attention I refer to the association of the Training Schools with the Universities. By a singular concurrence of evils, the whole education question of Scotland is in the hands of the House, at all events so far as its relation to religious teaching is concerned. The ingenuity of my hon. and learned Friend (Dr. Hunter) forced into the Local Government Bill the consideration of religious teaching in schools. We have the same thing raised as to the Universities by this Bill; and I venture now to add a third thing — namely, the state of the Training Colleges. Taking all these together, we have the whole religious character of the Scotch educational system in our hands, and if we are only prepared to do it we can deal with it at the present moment. The psychological moment has come, if I may use the expression, for relieving the educational system of Scotland from anything of a sectarian and denominational character whatever; and I greatly fear that if we have not the courage to seize upon the present opportunity, and if we allow the Bill to pass in its present condition, that opportunity will be lost; nay, more, the well-meant effort of my hon. and learned Friend (Dr. Hunter) will end in this, that instead of being extinguished all through the Scotch system, the sectarian character of the education will be re established—and more firmly re-established than ever—in the elementary schools of the country. With regard to religious teaching, I will not trouble the House again with the declaration which the professors are required to subscribe. 357 The professor of chemistry, or theology, or natural history, is required to bind himself—Not to teach any opinions opposed to divine authority, to the Holy Scriptures, or the Westminster Confession of Faith, and that he will not exercise his functions to the prejudice or damage to the Church of Scotland as by law established,and so on. Not only is that so, but it is the duty of the Lord Advocate to keep a sharp look out upon him to see that he does not, and if he thinks that the professor has failed in his obedience to these ridiculous declarations, it is his duty to apply to the Crown for the issue of a Commission which shall try the Professor who has been unfaithful to the Church of Scotland and the Westminster Confession of Faith, and shall deprive him or otherwise punish him. Sir, the hand of clericalism has been too long fastened upon the education system of Scotland, and it now ought to be removed. As far as tests are concerned, I cannot consent for one moment to treat them as a doubtful question. All doubt has vanished from our minds on that subject. We cannot consent for a moment to do what the Commission proposes. I have not named any member of the Commission yet; but if it is intended to select an hon. Baronet, who is a Scotchman by birth, but sits for an English constituency, and who is thrust into all Committees dealing with Scotch affairs, do you think for one moment that we on this side of the House will consent to authorise Sir Charles Dalrymple to take evidence on the question whether these tests should be imposed upon Scotch professors, and to report to this House such opinions as he might come to? The idea is preposterous. We must fight this question of tests to the last. The next point has relation to the Chairs of Theology. Although belonging to the same category, that is a question of a different kind to the question of tests. Here, again, I do not think we should trust the hon. Baronet opposite with the duty of taking evidence, though I am not sure whether that duty is imposed upon him. The defection is that the Chairs of Theology are subject to all the restrictions under the Bill that have hitherto prevailed. On this point, Liberal opinion is practically unanimous in 358 Scotland. For my own part, I believe that if a census of opinion were taken it would be found that the great majority object not merely to a Chair of Divinity but to a Chair of Biblical criticism also. The Chairs of Hebrew and Biblical criticism ought to be relegated to the Arts course, and Ecclesiastical History ought to be associated with some other branch of History, civil or natural. The tests and the Chairs of Theology as they now stand involve a condition of things which is dishonouring to learning and degrading to the Universities. Their existence and their restrictions tend to sap the intellectual honesty of men who ought to be patterns of intellectual honesty and courage to the whole community. There is one other point—that with reference to the Training Colleges of Scotland. Although elementary education in Scotland is not, unfortunately, entirely free from sectarian bias, (and I hope we have the courage on this side of the House to fight for its freedom) still, as between the great religious sects into which Scotland is divided, it may be pronounced to be undenominational. Practically, all your schools are Presbyterian. Your Free Church schools in Scotland have dwindled away, and of the Roman Catholic and Episcopalian schools there are very few, so that a vast proportion of the elementary schools are still Presbyterian in this one respect, while although Presbyterian schools they are unsectarian. But what is the state of the institutions which you have created for providing teachers for these unsectarian schools? It takes the schoolmasters through the agency of purely sectarian societies. Does the House realize how enormous a sum is spent in this way? You are giving the Scottish Universities an annual sum of something like £42,000, and the grant to the Training Colleges is very nearly of the same amount. Noth withstanding the abortive inquiry of the Departmental Committee, it is impossible to maintain that the efficiency of these institutions has been proved to the satisfaction of the House. Even in the opinion of a Committee so biased as I still think that Committee was, these institutions are not efficient for the purposes for which they are intended. That flagrant fact stands out. I hope that the Scotch Liberal Members when they get into Committee will take 359 this question of the Training Colleges into much more serious consideration than they have yet, and that they will insist upon these sectarian institutions being brought to an end. I trust that they will insist that this enormous Parliamentary grant, which is now being wasted on inefficient institutions, shall be applied to proper purposes. If they do this, they will not only effect an immense thing for the country by producing a better kind of elementary schoolmaster, and in that one thing alone doing an immense service to the Universities of Scotland, but if you eliminate from these three Universities the work of superintending the general training you will be endowing them with a fund which will go a long way towards relieving them of the pecuniary distress from which they have suffered. I have now said all I intend to say in the shape of criticism of the Bill at this stage. I perceive that it is useless for me to move the Amendment of which I have given notice, because it is the evident intention of those on this side of the House to allow the Bill to receive a Second Reading. I may, however, express a hope that our generosity in this respect will not be misconstrued, but that it will to some extent be rewarded by the Government; because if the criticisms that have come from this side of the House as to the constitution and powers of the Commission, and the question of tests, are Lot met in a frank and conciliatory spirit, the result will be that the calm passage the measure is now enjoying on the Second Reading will be turned into a very disturbed and stormy voyage when the Bill finds its way into Committee.
* SIR, A. CAMPBELL (Renfrewshire)
I am glad to find that as the Bill now stands it has in its favour a large amount of the public opinion of Scotland. I own that there are details which those who are more conversant than I am with the University system of Scotland are better able to criticise; and in all probability these will be so well looked after in Committee, that I trust we shall find that a measure will be framed such as we in Scotland have been looking forward to for a long time. Several hon. Members opposite have used somewhat strong expressions in the criticisms they have passed with regard to the constitution and powers 360 of the Commission to be appointed for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Bill. I have been told by those who have had the responsibility of framing this Commission, that it has been their desire to make it as strong as they possibly could, while it has also been their wish that it should be as responsible a body as can be constituted. One of the difficulties that have stood in the way has been, as we have seen, to get the assent of those gentlemen who were deemed most desirable to act on the Commission. I think I may say that the Government will be very glad to strengthen the Commission so that it may be as strong as we wish to see it, and fully able to do what all of us wish to see—namely, to ensure the good and efficient working of this measure for the best interests of Scotland. Reference has been made to the name of the hon. Member for Ipswich (Sir C. Dalrymple), and I think I am justified in saying there is no man in this House who would be found to enter into the work of the Commission more thoroughly, more conscientiously, or with a broader mind, and greater desire to do his duty than the hon. Baronet. I think, therefore, that the attack which I regret to say has been launched against him ought to be answered, and, for my own part, I cannot conceive why it should have been made at all. In every position of life in which the hon. Baronet has been placed, he has always done his best, and has been enabled to bring an extraordinary amount of ability to bear on all questions with which he has had to deal. With regard to what has been said in reference to the question of religious tests, I think it augurs well for the way in which this Bill has been prepared, that this seems to be the crux upon which all the speakers on the opposition side of the House have fallen foul of the measure. But even on their own confession this matter of tests has nothing to do with the educational question, and it must be remembered that, after all, it is the education of Scotland which we desire to improve, and for which we are anxious to pass the Bill, and not for any purposes of a sectarian character. When, however, I consider the necessity of maintaining the purity of religion which has so long prevailed in my country, and by which I believe Scotland has been raised up to 361 its present position, I strongly fear, from the personalities employed by the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson), that he is in favour of having no tests whatever on the part of those who are engaged in teaching the fundamental part of that religion which has done so much for the Scottish people. I must express my earnest hope that in the affiliation of the colleges to the Universities we may be enabled to see a great extension of the good which has already been done for Scotland by the University system. I am quite aware that in affiliating the colleges and thus bringing other bodies to bear on the government of the Universities we might be lowering the position those Universities have hitherto held, and the distinctions they have been in the habit of conferring; and we must bear in mind that it is the position the Universities hold throughout the country which makes the prizes they give valuable and really worth having when bestowed. Therefore, I trust that nothing will be done to derogate from the position in which the Scottish Universities now stand, and that all the safeguards which may be thought necessary for ensuring this object will be insisted on. I have always taken the greatest interest in the position of the Universities of Scotland, and I may be allowed to express a hope that if possible the Government may see their way to increase the grant of money now given to those institutions. We must not forget that from the very first they have done a great deal for the technical education of Scotland. We must remember that, owing to the Glasgow University, the germs of the steam engine, which has done so much for these countries and for the progress of the world at large, were eliminated by James Watt, because it was that University which enabled him to carry out the great work on which he was engaged, and to perfect the invention which has made so conspicuous a mark on the development of the present century. We know how largely science enters into every part of our modern system, and I, therefore, trust that the Government may be enabled to supplement the grant they are giving at the present moment to the Scottish Universities. The amount they give in this direction will, undoubtedly, be 362 of the greatest importance to my country. It may be that the results will not appear at once; but those who are able to take advantage of the training afforded by our Universities, and who derive the benefits to he reaped from their well-organized laboratories, eventually go forth to the world with acquirements that prove of the greatest service to the human race. But these things cannot be done without a large amount of machinery, and at the present moment that machinery is very costly, and is entailing increasing expense on the Universities day by day. I would entreat the Government to do what they can to supplement the endowments they give for these laboratories, so that the instruments used and the training given there may be found adequate to the needs of the country. I trust that this Bill will not only pass its Second Reading, but that when we are enabled to consider it in Committee it may be moulded into such a shape that it will not only redound to the credit of the Government, but will largely contribute to the well-being of Scotland.
§ * MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)
It is quite clear, from the character and tone of this debate, that its value consists in this—that a number of members have laid stress on the points in respect of which they desire to see the Bill amended, instead of indulging in anything like general opposition. The present Bill exhibits, both in its contents and omissions, improvements upon former Bills, and this is particularly seen in the clauses which, to a certain extent, provide a new constitution. I am glad that it is no longer proposed to hand over the Observatory and Botanic Gardens to the University of Edinburgh. The omission of that proposal in the present Bill is a distinct improvement. I am glad, too, that in the present Bill the finality clause has been abandoned, and that the declared object of the Bill is no longer to relieve the Treasury of future financial responsibility, but to meet the educational wants of the Universities of Scotland. These wants are greater freedom in teaching and a greater extension of teaching. I earnestly urge on the Lord Advocate during the progress of the Bill to endeavour, as far as possible, to widen the scope of the Bill in both these respects. There are certain restrictions still in the clauses 363 dealing with extra-mural teaching, and I think these restrictions might be properly removed. Then there is the widening of the curriculum, particularly in the Faculty of Arts and in the scientific branch of that faculty. If we are to widen the curriculum and introduce these new subjects we are face to face undoubtedly with this difficulty—that we want a much larger sum of money for the purpose than that which the Lord Advocate proposes in the Bill. I therefore hope the Lord Advocate will be able to give us a more liberal sum than he has promised. I think it would mark the improvement and the advance which has otherwise been made in this Bill, as compared with the previous Bills, if there was a greater advance in the sum of money proposed to be devoted to University education in Scotland. With regard to the question of tests, it is perfectly ridiculous to maintain the declaration that is taken by the great bulk of the Professors in the Universities. The test question, so far as it relates to the English Universities, has been settled long ago; and surely there will be no opposition in Scotland to any proposal to do away with what is an empty formality, as regards all the non-theological professors, and a doubtful benefit with regard to theological professors themselves. Then, as to the popular element in the University Court, I am disposed on this question to agree with the hon. Member for South Aberdeen rather than with the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire. The Lord Advocate himself is well aware, and anyone who is intimately acquainted with Edinburgh must be aware, that the great work recently undertaken by the University—namely, the extension of the medical school, the large support which that scheme obtained, and the way in which the public responded to the appeal—was greatly due to the fact that the matter was taken up not merely by the University itself, but by the University and the city conjointly; and the whole thing was worked by the Lord Provost and the Principal of the University at that time. Indeed, the Lord Provost was the most active member in the carrying out of that great work; and therefore, I think, as far as the experience of the University of Edinburgh is concerned, the introduction of the popular element represented by the Town 364 Council on the University governing body has proved to be a good thing for the University, and may fairly be extended to the other Universities of Scotland. With regard to the composition of the Commission I agree with much that has been said. The Commission is undoubtedly too large for efficient action, consisting as it does of fifteen Members. In order to have efficient and practical work, we want a body of Commissioners who can give constant and continuous attendance on the proposed Commission. There are certain Members who may be described as ornamental Members, and there are at least half-a-dozen of them from whose character of mind one can see that they will approach the questions laid before them from an identical point of view, whether they look at the matter from an educational, political, or ecclesiastical standpoint. It may fairly be said that one-third of the Commission represent one line of thought and one line of culture. I hope that element will be diminished, and the Commission made more effective. It is a matter for regret that as regards this particular point we have almost the same Commission presented to us this year as was presented to the House of Lords in the Bill of last year, and I earnestly urge on the Government to improve and strengthen the Commission before the Bill passes into law.
§ * DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Although I concur with a good many of the objections taken to this Bill, I think that, on the whole, we may congratulate ourselves that after a good many false starts the Bill has now got the length of a second reading. Notwithstanding its many defects I regard the Bill as the best attempt that has been made to settle the burning questions which so long have unsettled the Universities of Scotland. I congratulate the professors on the fact that they are to be relieved of a great deal of irritating work in the way of taking charge of the University funds, and that those funds will now be taken over by the University Court. As to the salaries of the professors, to which reference has been made by the hon. and learned Member for Haddington-shire, I have a word to say. The hon. and learned Member considers these salaries too large. It is too bad for lawyers, who make larger salaries, and 365 others who hope to do so some day, to grumble at the moderate incomes which other professional men are able to get as the only prizes of their special career. As long as human nature remains as at present, if we remove the pecuniary stimulus we shall cut off a good deal of that energy and exertion which make those men work hard and strain every nerve for the honour and renown of their Universities. A dead level of income would produce, no doubt, a dead level of perfunctory teaching. These professorships are the greatest prizes of the medical profession, whilst lawyers and others in Edinburgh are receiving from £3,000 to £4,000 a year. It is absurd to compare these salaries with what is paid in Germany to professors. We should consider incomes in relation to the social condition of the country and the incomes drawn by others occupying similar positions. If a professor in a German college accepted £500 a year that is no reason why an Edinburgh professor should receive remuneration on the same basis. It is idle to make such a comparison. As to the University of St. Andrew's, I do not think it so very effete and almost extinct as some Members want to make out. At the same time I must say that influence appears to be at work in the direction indicated, for the Bill of last year gave St. Andrew's a better position than the present Bill does, because now the ominous shadow of Dundee has cropped up. I consider St. Andrew's a far better place than Dundee for the seat of a University. It is a calm peaceful town, in which complete seclusion is possible. Besides, it is well equipped with numerous libraries and other paraphernalia for carrying out University work. I entirely dissent from St. Andrew's being simply gobbled up by Dundee, as it will be if the proposals of certain hon. Gentlemen are carried into effect.
§ * MR. CRAIG SELLAR (Lanarkshire, Partick)
Obviously it is not my intention to join in the general grumble from this side of the House as to the constitution of the Commission. I have the honour, unsolicited, to be one of those named as Members of the Commission, and, therefore, it is not for me to criticize my colleagues or myself. But I am entitled to say I think the Commission is a sensible one, a Commission com- 366 posed of practical men, men who will do their work conscientiously. Upon the Commission there are many who are acquainted with the work of the Scottish and of the English Universities, and of the general system of education in Scotland and England—men who know as much about the position as any of the critics who have spoken to-night. Having relieved my mind with reference to the Commission, let me say I was exceedingly glad my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) discouraged any discussion of the ecclesiastical question. That very properly is matter for discussion in Committee. Personally, I should feel relieved of great responsibility if Parliament decided what is to be done with reference to tests, and did not leave it to be discussed by the Commission. At the same time, if the matter is left to the Commission, I feel certain the Commission will approach the subject with open minds, listen carefully to the evidence on every side, and form their opinion unbiassed by any predilections one way or the other. Now, I congratulate the Government on the very great improvement this Bill shows on any of the Bills we have previously had submitted to us. This is the fourth Scotch Universities Bill we have had in seven years, and to my mind it is very much the best of the four. It is better drafted, clearer in its provisions, and stronger in its general bearing than any of the earlier Bills. It is better both as to what it contains and as to what it omits. For example, it has done well to omit the provisions transferring the Botanical Gardens and the Observatory to the University of Edinburgh. The first would have been a cause of quarrel between the people of Edinburgh and the University; the second would have brought financial ruin upon the University. But while I congratulate the Government on the Bill generally, I cannot congratulate them on the financial provisions of the Bill. It is a matter of happy augury, I hope that at this point of my criticisms the Chancellor of the Exchequer should happen to enter the House. I hope he has heard my appeal that he should deal more liberally with Scotch Universities than the Treasury seem inclined to do. I may remind the right hon. Gentleman of the distinguished position 367 he occupies in one of our most important Universities. I am sure the University of Aberdeen would be most grateful to their Lord Rector if he should at the eleventh hour consent to a larger provision than is here made. To my mind everything, the whole machinery of the Bill, the efficiency of the work to be done by the Commission, the whole system of University reform, hinges upon the financial proposals. The Scotch Universities are unlike the English Universities in that they are popular institutions in the widest sense of the word—that is, they are seminaries not for the wealthy and middle classes, but largely for the poorer classes of the community. Up to 1858 these Universities were not, perhaps, doing so much good work as might have been expected from them; but in that year an important Commission appointed under the Lord President of the Court of Session thoroughly remodelled the system, and from that time to this most important work has been done by the Universities,—work of the most important character, work almost as high as could be expected from any University. Attendance has more than doubled, and graduates enormously increased. The professors—for the work done is on the professorial not the tutorial system — are men of high literary and scientific attainments, and since 1858 the work has been thoroughly well done. But in 1878 it occurred to some interested in the subject that the work might be better done, and another important Commission was appointed. Upon this Commission, with many distinguished Scotchmen, were the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds (Sir Lyon Playfair), Mr. Froude, and Professor Huxley. The work of the Universities was examined by this Commission and pronounced to be very good, and the Commissioners proposed many emendations, most of which are embodied in this Bill. But in addition they proposed there should be eight new Chairs, five new Lectureships, and ten new Assistant Professorships, and the Commissioners declared that these were essential, that the system was incomplete without them, and that these must be provided if the Universities of Scotland were to become thoroughly efficient. They further recommended new teaching appliances and apparatus. These recommendations, twenty in num- 368 ber, involved enormous additional expenditure. Such were the recommendations of the Commission, upon whose Report this Bill is founded. The Bill proposes additions to existing charges, and in some six clauses proposes new charges upon University funds, and it is obvious that the increase of the State Grant to £42,000 will be quite inadequate if the Bill is to be carried out on its present lines. Of course, it is not for me to say what would be enough, but it is easy to see that the present proposal is insufficient. The Universities have now £29,000, and are to have £13,000 in addition, a little more than £3,000 each to carry out all the charges, and meet the new charges proposed by the Bill. To speak colloquially, this is trying to do University education on the cheap; but among the things that can be done in this way University education is not one. Other countries do not deal with Universities in this niggardly fashion.
§ * MR. CRAIG SELLAR
I will come to that presently. Let me give some instances of how Universities are dealt with on the Continent. In Strasburg, a town of 100,000 inhabitants, the Government of Germany spent £700,000 on University buildings, and has endowed that one University with £42,000 a year, that is more than we are to get for the whole four Scotch Universities. Prussia spends out of taxes about £390,000 a year on Universities. France spends half a million a year on its Universities out of the public money. Holland, with 4,000,000 inhabitants—about the same as Scotland—and with a revenue of £9,000,000, spends £136,000 on four Universities. Scotland gets £43,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer mentioned Oxford and Cambridge, and I am very glad to take them as illustrations. Oxford and Cambridge have an endowment of 320,000 acres of land; and from this they have an annual income of nearly £750,000 a year.
§ * MR. CRAIG SELLAR
True they get nothing from the State, but they have these magnificent endowments. In Scotland we have practically no endowments. In Ireland a large sum is given by the State to Uni- 369 versities—a much larger sum in proportion to the number of students than we have, and besides that they have £20,000 a year from the Church Funds. In Scotland the Universities get nothing from a Church Fund, and practically they have no endowments whatever except for bursaries and scholarships. They depend on what they get from the State and the fees of the students, which amount to about nine guineas a year a piece—a mere flea-bite to a man who attends Oxford or Cambridge, but a serious thing to the class of students who go to the Scotch Universities. In 1867 a Return was prepared for the Education Commissioners, and this gives the percentage of 900 students. One hundred and forty-three of these were sons of skilled labourers and artisans—smiths, shoemakers, masons, weavers, and carpenters; 13 were sons of ordinary labourers, 13 were sons of working miners, 16 were the sons of gardeners, 3 were the sons of shepherds, and 125 were the sons of farmers, most of them small farmers. That is to say, 35 per cent of the students in Scotch Universities belong to the poorer class of the community, and these lads pay nine guineas a piece. If the Treasury declines to give any additional endowment, one of two things must happen—either the educational status of the Universities will be lowered, or the poor students will be rackrented. But I hope the Treasury will deal more liberally with the Universities. You may give relief in two ways; you may increase the amount of the grant, or you can make charges, such as those for buildings and retiring allowances, the subject of a separate Vote. Of this we may be quite sure—that £42,000 will be wholly inadequate to meet the wants of the Universities. That amount will hardly meet existing charges, and certainly not the new charges proposed by the Bill, or anything like the recommendations of the Commission upon which the Bill is founded. I will not touch upon other matters, some of which have been well thrashed out and will be treated in Committee. As to extra-mural teaching, there was a very strong recommendation in the Report of the Commission of 1878 against extending it to the Arts and Law Faculties, which should be borne in mind. There is also the matter of the transfer of administra- 370 tion from the Senatus Academicus to the Court, but this is a matter for the Committee. I hope the House will take the Second Reading of the Bill to-night, and that we shall get into Committee at an early day. In some respects the Bill is more important than the Local Government Bill, and might well have precedence of that Bill in Committee. It is absolutely necessary, after this Bill has been for seven long years dangled before the people of Scotland, that it should pass this Session. If it does not pass it will be nothing less than a scandal; if it does pass, and we have more liberal treatment from the Treasury, I am sure it is a Bill that will confer great benefit upon Scotland.
§ * MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
I have not heard or read a speech from the hon. Member during the last three years that has given me greater pleasure than the speech I have just listened to. There is nothing in it to which I have to express dissent, except possibly an observation the hon. Member made in opening his speech, when he said he thought the difficulty about religious tests was one to be dealt with in Committee exclusively. I differ from him in that particular. No doubt the details are matters to be dealt with in Committee, but in the proposals in the Bill there is much matter of principle involved. Practically, the Bill perpetuates the tests as they stand, and the proposal to refer the matter to a Commission of Inquiry is a mere evasion. The question should have more serious treatment than the Lord Advocate seems disposed to give it, for it is the feature in the Bill upon which the people of Scotland have the keenest expectancy. The proposition to refer the question to a Commission is a ludicrous superfluity, should as soon think of examining the professors of mathematics as to the soundness of the multiplication table as of inquiring whether religious tests are or not out of place in a University. A University ought to be entirely under the control of the scientific spirit, and science must be free from intellectual shackles. The declaration which is required from the non-theological professors necessitates that the occupiers of the chairs of philosophy, science, and literature should make a complete confession of faith in a creed, the freshest edition of which was framed when men 371 still believed in the Ptolemaic system of astronomy. It is a most disastrous combination of folly and cruelty to pledge a professor of metaphysics or moral philosophy to always arrive at conclusions in harmony with the Councils of Nice and Constantinople, or to forbid a professor of astronomy or of geology ever to contravene the views of the Westminster Assembly of Divines. The professors, if fit for their posts, ought to have consciences sensitive to these tests, and there are men who thus, while capable of filling any position with honour, could never find their way to the chairs of the Scottish Universities. Mr. Herbert Spencer, the highest living authority in purely speculative philosophy, could not be a professor of metaphysics in Scotland; and Professor Huxley could not teach natural history or biology at Edinburgh; nor could the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle profess ethics at Aberdeen, if ever, despairing of his country, he should seek an asylum in the academic cloister. The highest utility of a University is the moral inspiration with which it equips its alumni for their work in life; and what moral inspiration can be given by men who have to think and teach to order? Then the pledge and covenant of constant and life-long adherence to their previously assumed doctrinal position which is exacted from Theological Professors is not indeed inconsistent with the peculiar principles of the symbol whose authority it acknowledges. But I maintain that it is utterly inconsistent with that scientific spirit which alone ought to dominate the University, for science is always ready not simply to alter, but even to reverse, its former opinions when new light is gained. I maintain that if theology is to continue to be taught in our Universities it ought to be taught by independent thinkers, and not by partizan advocates, bound under penalty of starvation to proclaim and defend a particular set of ancient opinions as the only possible truth. I do not wish to advocate this view upon disestablishment reasons. At the same time, I think those are relevant and invincible to a certain extent in this connection, but I wish to put the matter simply upon University ground, and I maintain that if theology is to be a part of our University teaching, it must be scientific, and to be scientific it must 372 be free. The question whether theology ought to continue to be taught in our Universities is a different question altogether. For myself, I think that something in the nature of a history and criticism of religion and religious opinions publicly furnished by our Universities upon University principles and according to University methods is demanded by the democratic necessities of the times. The masses, in my opinion, are always needing to be defended from the classes at every turn in life, and the sects, to my mind, in this connection, are the classes who are continually preying upon the body of the people by a one-sided proselytism to secure support for their own respective followings. I think the people need protection such as would be afforded by an independent utterance of opinion which proper University teaching alone can supply. In short, I think that free Universities are the natural champions of the people against the aggressiveness and narrowness of the denominations—they are the only public institution which is able, in the national interest, to put a bridle on those roaring lions of sectarianism which are continually going about seeking whom they may devour. I may possibly be told that the question of religious tests as thus presented is merely a point of overstrained theoretical fastidiousness. I do not, and cannot, so regard it. To my mind it seems to be a matter of the utmost practical importance, having the most direct bearing upon material interests. Where the public conscience is in a false position towards the deeper questions of human destiny and duty everything tends to get into a false position, and the practical standard of public morality tends to become depressed and deteriorated. In the present condition of our public moral teaching by Creed-bound Sectaries, whose minds are padlocked and whose mouths are gagged on the deepest questions of human destiny and duty, it is manifest that one great part of the community is driven into a more or less hypocritical attitude, a second into a spirit of flippant and jeering hostility to all serious things, and a third into indifference. I am at a loss to see which of the three is most fruitful of moral calamity, while to my mind the combination of them is I simply terrible. I believe that a freer 373 and opener and honester moral teaching among the people would do much to improve this state of things, would elevate the whole tone of public life, and would go far to wipe out some of the darkest stains which disfigure our social condition, that a nobler spirit would go forth among the people, that there would be less commercial knavery, less abandonment to the vices of the senses, less of selfish landlordism and capitalism, and less estrangement of class from class. It is because I feel that this Bill causelessly omits a great opportunity of promoting this amelioration that I cannot regard it on the whole with approbation. The second point on which I think, in point of principle, this Bill requires re-consideration is that it seems to be too conservative of academic as opposed to popular interest. It applies a feeble and reluctant hand to the question of extra-mural teaching as bestowing a qualification for degrees, while at the same time it practically puts University appointments, and especially examiner-ships, into the hands of the Professoriate. It also deals with foundation scholarships, and bursaries that hitherto have been used as helps to poor men who desire to prosecute a learned career in such a way as to apply them to prizes for a scholarship, which in most cases can only be won by men who have been rich enough to acquire a high preliminary training. It threatens, moreover, to raise the fees for attending University Classes, and in general its tendency is to make the ladder of learning less accessible to the poor, while at the same time enriching and aggrandizing University officials. I desire to see the path of learning made more easy, and not more difficult, to the poor. Time was when, as every soldier in the French Revolutionary Army was said to carry the Field Marshal's baton in his knapsack, so in the mediæval Church the poorest man might rise to the highest position in Church and State. That cannot he said to be any longer the case. In many respects the learned professions are simply barred to poor men — the profession of the law, for example, in which it surely is desirable that among those who are possibly to fill the judicial office there should be at least some who have had an experimental acquaintance with the wants, the feelings, and the tempta- 374 tions of poverty. But there is, and especially in Scotland, a ring-fence of preliminary fees and entrance charges which practically close the door to any one who does not possess a golden or, at all events, a silver key. I think this should not be; and accordingly I have put down an Amendment on the Paper, the effect of which would have been to make University degrees at all events accessible to any man who showed ho was possessed of the necessary qualifications in point of knowledge, culture, or skill, wherever or however he had acquired them. But as I do not want to bring forward such an Amendment so as to lengthen this discussion, I hope I may be allowed to dismiss it with some brief remarks. The proposal is not calculated to be hostile to a teaching University. I am not unmindful of the great advantage to be found in academic associations, or in contact with a living teacher of inspiring power. But in the ecclesiastical profession in Scotland, about 30 or 35 years ago, there were two classes of candidates who were eligible—namely, those who bad studied theology at the University for three years, and those who had read the same subjects at home for five years. By thus manipulating the element of time I think it perfectly possible on the one hand to avoid discouraging attendance at the University on the part of those who can afford it, and on the other not to shut out poor men from the possibility of obtaining University recognition. My proposal, further, was not intended, and, I believe, was not calculated, to encourage what is called cramming. I have always had the opinion that the professional cry against "cram" is very much the despairing wail raised by an incompetent and indolent examinership devoid of ingenuity and initiative. An able examiner who is willing to take pains can always defy the crammer, and, at any rate, the persons I am pleading for are so poor that they would not be able to pay for crammers, and a man who is in a state of preliminary ignorance of the whole subject is not able to cram himself. This Bill, however, by its poor encouragement of extra-mural teaching, by its threats to raise fees, and to confiscate poor men's endowments is really a Bill against the poor scholar and a Bill for encouraging and strengthening the professorial monopolies and the academic ring generally. Now, Sir, I for one 375 desire with all my heart to see University teachers not only comfortably but handsomely secured against privation and inconvenience. But I do not think it advantageous that the pursuit of learning should be vulgarized and degraded into a mere moneymaking business as has undoubtedly been the case lately in some Scottish professorial chairs. I, for my part, do not believe in shop keeping science or profit and loss philosophy. The constitution of the Commission is part of the spirit of the measure, an essential portion of the measure. Criticising the Commission from an educational point of view, I am sorrowfully obliged to say of it that it is, in my opinion, a feeble and reactionary Commission, and, if for no other reason, I feel almost tempted to wish that this Bill could be put off to better and more hopeful times. I admit there are two or three worthy names upon it, but they are in a hopeless minority. -When first saw the names, my preliminary difficulty was to know who several of them were and what they had done. It was only after protracted private inquiry I succeeded in discovering that while some of them stand perhaps a little higher in their own estimation than that of others, on the whole they are persons of respectability in private life, but nowhere in educational matters, while their political, social, and educational sympathies are in most cases in direct antagonism to the great body of the Scottish people. No doubt some of the less known of them are persons of Scottish birth, but then they are of English education. What advantage is it to Scotland though a man happens to have been born in that country if he has been caught young, and Rugbyfied and Oxfordized out of all decent shape and recognition. English University education, however much it may have been changed by recent modifications, is still essentially and pronouncedly of a mediaeval type, which I believe is more a blight than a blessing to the intellectual progress of the nation. In Scotland we have been less under that influence, though we have suffered from it. We have been more open to modern ideas, but I have no great hope that this Commission constituted as it is and especially Scoto-Anglican element, will ever achieve or try to achieve any of those great and sweeping reforms in the general conception of University 376 culture which to my mind are imperatively necessary, and which require a strong hand as well as a reforming spirit to carry them into execution. Another peculiarity of the Commission is the predominance of the Lunacy Commissioner or the "mad-doctor" element. The existence of this factor on the scale in which it presents itself is darkly suggestive. When the Commission was launched last year it had one Lunacy Commissioner, but when a vacancy occurred through the loss of that munificent friend of science, Lord Crawford, the Lord Advocate with breathless speed rushed to fill it up with another Lunacy Commissioner, and I have reason to believe that if a third vacancy occurred, it might fall to another eminent member of the Scotch lunacy staff. What does this mean? I have the greatest possible respect for "mad doctors" in their own peculiar sphere, but what are they doing in this galley? It strikes me as singular that experience in the treatment of idiocy and madness should have been put forward by the Lord Advocate as constituting a special recommendation for the task of reorganizing and re-constituting Scotch Universities. I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman meant to insult the nation which he helps to adorn, andTo show by one satiric touchNo nation wanted it so much.If he does I implore him to remember the melancholy fate that overtook the memory of a similar rash experimentalist on national self respect in another age and country. I prefer to believe that the Government, who are responsible for the situation, think that those experts in amentia will be intra-murally useful, and exercise an influence upon the deliberations and proceedings of this Commission, which may ultimately be conducive to the public benefit. With that opinion I am not concerned to quarrel, but I do feel that even with all this assistance this Commission is not likely ever to exhibit that comprehensive grasp and progressive spirit which the question demands. The two or three distinguished names upon the Commission are far too few to struggle against such a melancholy medley of modest merit, self-satisfied mediocrity, and reactionary weakness. I am unwilling that the genuine reconstruction of our University system should I be retarded for a whole generation, 377 which will be the result if such a Bill is passed, with such a Commission to carry it into execution.
§ * SIR L. PLAYFAIR (Leeds, South)
As yet no English Member has intervened in the debate, but I may perhaps be allowed to take part in it as having served an apprenticeship of 17 years as a Scotch Member and 10 years as a Scotch University professor. I am grateful to the Scotch Members for not having shunted the discussion into a theological siding. It is a fair educational discussion on the merits of the Bill. There is one argument which I have not heard used in the debate. The Scotch Universities have no theological tests for theological degrees which are given for knowledge of theological science. If that is so, why should there be theological tests for the teachers who prepare students for the degrees? In this century there have been six Royal Commissions to inquire how the Scotch Universities can be reformed, there have been two leading Acts which have done great good, and there have been executive Commissions which have given the greatest impulse to the progress of the Universities. The present Bill is founded upon the recommendations of the Royal Commission of 1878. Ten years have passed since those recommendations. That was a particularly strong Commission; it was presided over by the Lord Justice-General, who produced the great Bill of 1858. It included such men as Professor Huxley and Mr. Fronde, and having been a Member of it myself, I know how much attention they gave to the subject and how carefully weighed were their recommendations. But nothing has been done to carry them out. Their main purpose was to adapt the Universities to the altered condition of the world and of the various professions which have arisen in modern times. The Act of 1872 largely improved the primary and secondary education of Scotland. At the present time the primary schools send 40 per cent of the students to the Universities; the secondary schools send 40 per cent, and 20 per cent go from private schools. Unfortunately the adaptation of the degrees has not followed this improvement in the education of the people. Degrees remain much as they were two or three centuries ago. The University is not a technical school, but a school to infuse 378 culture into the professions. Unless that culture be introduced there is no justification for professional schools in the Universities. The via antiqua ought no doubt to be kept in repair, but there should also be running parallel to it a via moderna. The Commission of 1878 proposed to open, in addition to the present arts' course, five new gateways of knowledge — the gateways of literature and philology, of philosophy, of law and history, of mathematical sciences, and of the natural sciences. Now there is a great difference between the Universities of rich and of poor countries. The Universities of poor countries must rest on the professions. The rich men of Scotland go to Oxford and Cambridge, whereas those who attend the Scotch Universities have to earn their bread by a profession. Unhappily those professions are now being taught without culture; that is, with the exception of theology, the men go through the technical part of their education without taking a degree in arts, though there is a sort of matriculation examination, which does not represent a very high degree of culture. In that way the great medical schools are technical schools which give length but not breadth to education. One of the greatest reforms to be attained is to carry out the recommendations of 1878, so that, by proper courses in arts, culture may be restored to the professions. No doubt there has been some vis inertirœ which has led to the failure to carry out the recommendations of ten years ago. What is wanted is some vis ab extra, some vis a tergo to push on the Universities to the necessary reforms. What the Commission of 1878 recommended and what that Bill carried out was that there should be an executive Commission to apply the requisite force. That Commission is being appointed and has been criticized, and with much of the criticism I agree. I know the Government have had great difficulty in finding men who could spare time to go down to Scotland. They have been disappointed by the refusal of several gentlemen whom they would have liked to appoint. Still I believe the Commission will produce good results, because it will be subject to a public opinion which has been ripening on this question and which will oblige them to carry out the reforms which the people desire, but 379 which hitherto have been impossible for the want of money. The increase of £13,000 in the Vote is no striking example of Parliamentary generosity when measured by the efforts of other countries. My hon. Friend the Member for Haddington has referred to what has been done in Holland, a country with a revenue of nine millions and a population about the same as that of Scotland. Holland gives £136,000 to her Universities. The ease of France is equally striking. The French Institute discussed for a whole week why it was that the great crisis in the Franco-German War produced no men of ability in France. The decision they came to was that the reason was to he found in the decay of the provincial Universities. Since that time the French Government have spent £3,280,000 on rebuilding and equipping the provincial Universities, and vote half-a-million a year for their support. Then Germany has spent £711,000 in order to build and equip the University of Strasburg, which is endowed with £46,000 a year. This country must be prepared to spend more money on higher education not only in Scotland, but in England. Modest, however, as is the proposal of the Government, I am rejoiced at the disappearance of the abominable finality clause which appeared in former Bills. There is no finality in knowledge or the progress of science. Notwithstanding the stern aspect of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we cannot help ourselves. We must be prepared to adequately support our Universities, and to make sufficient provision for higher teaching in all our great towns. You have put your hand to the plough and you cannot draw back. Though I think the provision inadequate for what the Bill proposes, I have perfect confidence in the generosity of Parliament that, having begun the reform of the Scotch Universities, they will take care that the reform is thoroughgoing. Let us take some of the matters in regard to which there ought to be an increase of expenditure. In the Scotch Universities there is one teacher to every fifty students, while in the German Universities there is one teacher to every twelve students—taking professors and assistants together—and this difference enables the German students to be better taught than is possible where one professor has so many more to look after. In the 380 Scotch Universities we have one professor for a single subject. For instance, there is in the Edinburgh University one professor of chemistry—an office which I had the honour to hold when I was a professor at that University—but any moderate-sized German University requires four or five, taking up various divisions of the science. It is there held that many subjects of knowledge are too large to be dealt with by one man, and if it is desired to give the students the full benefit of a teacher's special qualifications it is necessary to add to the cost of the University staff. The poverty of the Scotch people and of the Scotch Universities prevent high scholarships in Scotland. Most of the bursaries are spent on the students attending the ordinary course for the degree of arts and the professional subjects; and there are no such fellowships as will retain the best men at the Universities and carry them on to high scholastic positions. It is true that Scotchmen do become learned and add to the scholarship of the world; but how? They do it like the cuckoo. They lay their eggs in English nests. They come to the English Universities and there lay those eggs of learning whereby England has all the lustre of the scholarship of poor Scotland, while Scotland is supposed to produce no learned men. A late Archbishop of Canterbury went to an English College from a Scotch College, and a head master of Westminster School came south in the same way. A minute or two ago I saw below the Gangway a learned professor who came up from St. Andrew's in a similar manner by securing a golden scholarship in an English University. We want some of these lucrative fellowships in Scotland with proper endowments for the purpose. There is one matter in reference to this Bill on which I should like to speak. The Bill provides for a Committee of Privy Council which is to be a Court of Appeal. This Court of Appeal is in Imitation of that provided for English Universities, and is quite different from the General University Court which the Commission recommended. It is not to be a Court of Initiation and Review, but is simply a Court of Appeal against ordinances and tests in each University. The Commission recommended a totally different thing. They recommended that there should be a 381 National University Court, and that all four Universities should send to it members of a representative character. Such a Court would determine general conditions for graduation, teaching, and examinations, so that there might be no kind of Dutch auction in University standards. You might have equivalent degrees without having uniform degrees, but equivalency in degrees is certainly what is wanted. Under the Bill there are no means of securing this; but if you established a National University Court you would be ensuring something like that which existed several centuries ago but which was dropped in a period of University sluggishness, when it was a purely consultative body; by reviving this with statutory privileges and duties you would be doing much to promote education in Scotland. I shall try in Committee to give the Commissioners power to consider whether a National University Court of this kind cannot be established in which the four Universities of Scotland could join. I quite appreciate the desire of the Government to have on this occasion only a short discussion, and I do not intend to take up much time in what I have yet to say, but I should like to point out the difference between the Scotch and English Universities and the importance of trying to get hold of the Universities in the national spirit in which they are viewed in Scotland. The English Universities, as I have previously said, in the debate on the Scotch Education Bill, may be roughly said to teach men how to spend £1,000 a year with dignity and intelligence while the Scotch Universities teach them how to make £1,000 a year with dignity and intelligence. That has been the success of the Scotch Universities. The teaching Universities in England have one student to every 3,500 of the population; in Ireland there is one student to 2,040 of the population; while in Scotland there is one University student to 580 of the population. Therefore, the roots of University education have gone wider and broader among the people of Scotland than they have done either in England or in Ireland. The object has always been to try and evolve brain power from all capable citizens, and it is this which has made Scotland what it is. Every man in Scotland knows that by the numerous bursaries and scholarships that are pro- 382 vided he can, if he has any brain power at all, get a University to develop it; and as my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen expressed it, this has done more to make Scotland peaceable and prosperous and the Scotch citizens successful in every part of the world than anything else in connection with our history. Yet in Scotland, with all our bursaries and means of sending young persons from school to the Universities, and where we find that 7 per cent are fitted to take higher education in primary schools, Scotland is decidedly behind England in University education. My Scotch friends of the Universities will probably not thank me for this deliberate opinion; but still it is my opinion that the English Universities have adapted themselves largely to the changed condition of the world, and that in this respect the Scotch Universities remain much behind. The lion rampant of Scotland has been standing on its hind legs pawing the air, while the lion passant of England with its four feet on the ground has been going ahead. It is because I want to see the Scotch Universities in adaptation to the changed conditions of professions that I am anxious to see this Bill passed into law. With regard to the work of the Universities, it would be foolish to build all the professions taught on one uniform foundation. If you take the degree of arts which is well fitted for the faculty of theology, and were to suppose you could build upon the same foundation the legal and medical degrees, or those that relate to engineering or agriculture, it would be as foolish as to suppose you could have the same plan for building a hospital, a school, and a gaol, all of which are intended to serve different purposes. If the Commissioners show themselves equal to their task, and if public opinion be brought to bear upon thorn, I believe the changes introduced by this Bill will add strength to the Universities and give new dignity and efficiency to the professions.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)
I desire, before dealing with the Bill now before the House, to refer to the history of the Scottish Universities. I am sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not in his place, but at any rate I may be allowed to remind the House of the fact that the Scotch Universities 383 stand on quite a different platform from those of England. Previous to the Act of Union, in consequence of their want of endowments, Scotland supported her Universities, but it was a part of the condition of the Union that the united exchequer should continue as was stipulated for ever to support the Scotch Universities. I deprecate our having thrown at us by the Chancellor of the Exchequer the fact that the English Universities being so richly endowed require no grant from the public Treasury, while a grant is considered necessary for the Universities of Scotland. We claim that the question of subsidy to the Scotch Universities should be considered on its merits and on a due estimate of the requirements of Scotland without reference to the different requirements of the English Universities. I join with those who have gone before me on this side of the House as well as on the other side of the House, in conceding to the learned Lord Advocate who has brought in this Bill, the fact that there is a general desire in Scotland that we should deal with University education. I deprecate, however, the position taken up by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, in saying that because we have been thinking and talking of bringing in Bills, and tentatively presenting them to the country for the last seven years, we should now pass the Second Reading of this Bill through the House without adequate discussion. The fact that these Bills have been on the stocks for the last seven years is, I think, a very strong ground why we should discuss them now. But though with great deference I may make suggestions to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Universities, I would at least take upon me to say this—that I think it would have been well, seeing that he is named as a Commissioner, to consider certain questions which we are asked to submit for consideration to the Commissioners appointed under this Bill. I think it would have been better if he had not intimated to this Clouse in regard to one question causing great jealousy of feeling, that he is an advocate of a continuance of theological tests, and that he deprecates the extinction of those tests.
§ * MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
My hon. Friend misunderstood me. I was de- 384 fending the remitting of this subject to the Commissioners for inquiry and report.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT
That is quite true, but I may point out that the hon. Member added a strong opinion that these tests ought to be continued, and he deprecated their extinction. But if he is somewhat repentant of having given an opinion in advance, I am glad of it. We, however, are in this position, that there are a large number of gentlemen who are to form this Commission, and who, we know from their history and their political tendencies, are decidedly and unmistakably in favour of the maintenance of these ecclesiastical preferences, and of these University tests, and we are unwilling to submit these questions to their consideration without protest. I do not require, Mr. Speaker, to say much in defence of the existing position of Scotch Universities. That we have need for University reform there can be no doubt. I have not the honour and privilege of speaking of these Universities with that knowledge, which I wish I had, for I am not myself a product of the Universities, but I may at least lay claim to this, that in all matters with which I have had to do with respect to education, I have always loyally supported the Scotch Universities, and while loyally supporting those Universities, I am painfully convinced of their defects. Why, for instance, should it be necessary that we should nowadays be keeping up denominational colleges for the purpose of training our teachers? Why should we not have a University system extending from the elementary schools to the Universities, and make the University the head of the educational system, thereby making it cue of its chief functions to train our teachers? Why should we be dependent upon other organizations while we have our Universities? I think in this matter we have evidence of the great defects of our University system—defects which call loudly for reform, and I did hope, therefore, that we should have had such a measure of University reform as would have remedied many of the defects with regard to education in Scotland which have been crying for reform for these many years. I am afraid, as a Scotch-man, and speaking as I do for the Scotch people, that we have too long prided ourselves that, with regard to 385 education, we are far in advance of other nations. We thought we had a system of education which was doing great things for our people, but the fact has been that under our parochial system and under the system of University bursaries, which permit a wholesome democratic education, we have allowed other nations to get ahead of us, and we have lagged behind and are still lagging behind in the race for education and general culture. This has been largely due to the somewhat fossilized condition of our Universities which we have had at the head of our educational system. I very much fear, Mr. Speaker, that many of our chairs are held under the idea of proprietary rights; that our professors accept and receive these chairs more as a proprietary right, that, on that account, they consider themselves quite entitled to make two or three or more thousand pounds a year, while not giving that amount of attention to the large classes under them which is necessary, and that, thereby, they receive their share of University fees without due consideration for the interests of the education of the large number of students who enter their classes, although I advocate more Imperial support. If we are to have University reform, all trading and mere moneymaking in education must cease. I can hardly give my right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate credit for having omitted the question of University tests in dealing with this Bill. I think he said it might cause some acerbity and ill-feeling if he attempted to raise this question of ecclesiastical distinctions, and he added he was prepared to submit this matter to the University Commission in order that it might be dealt with in the more serene atmosphere of judicial functions. In regard to these University tests, I do not think that it will be seriously denied in this House that there is good ground for saying that in recent years, there has grown up a strong feeling on the part of Scotchmen in favour of religious equality. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Aberdeen has shown on the mere question of economy that only one class of our students receive theological education at the University, and that it is a very expensive process to educate divinity students. It may be information for the learned Lord Advocate to know 386 that in the University of Aberdeen, with which I am best acquainted, it was found on one occasion that there were more bursaries than there were students to take them up, and I do not think it will be disputed that we could turn the endowments of these chairs to account in connection with arts, law, and medicine, without in any way inflicting hardship on any class of theological students. I share very f ally the general desire and feeling of the Scotch Members that Her Majesty's Government should have every opportunity of legislating for Scotland according to the wishes of the people of Scotland, and, therefore, while entertaining the very strongest feeling in regard to these ecclesiastical tests in the Scottish Universities. I hesitate to move the Amendment against Second Reading which I have placed on the Paper. I propose, however, in Committee, to move an Amendment which will embody similar views. I am convinced from numerous representations which I have received from all parts of Scotland, that Her Majesty's Government have a golden opportunity of dealing with the subject of University tests, and by that means of passing a measure which will be comprehensive and satisfactory to all parties in Scotland.
§ * MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.)
I think the business-like tone in which this Bill has been discussed may afford the Government some encouragement to give us in the future, other opportunities of discussing measures, in which, as Scotchmen, we are deeply interested, and may tend to remove that excessive timidity which is characteristic of their policy in regard to Scotch measures, and which has induced them to withdraw these measures at the slightest breath of opposition. As one of the proposed Commissioners. I feel that my lips are closed on more than one of the topics which have been raised this evening. If the discussion has been instructive to those interested in the education of Scotland, it must have been particularly instructive to myself and those Members proposed as Commissioners. We have been described as mediæval, bureaucratic, ignorant, aristocratic, and even ornamental. I hope the Commissioners will profit by the exceeding candour of the criticisms made by my hon. Friends to-night. I 387 am certain, however, that they will take these reflections upon them in good part, and I will only add that I am persuaded that the Commission would undoubtedly have been greatly strengthened if my hon. Friends who have so freely criticised it could have been persuaded to serve upon it. I am also debarred from entering on the question of the propriety of keeping up the theological tests. I will not follow the Member for Glasgow University, who undoubtedly has supplied a very important argument in favour of the retention of the tests—an argument which, when the question comes to be discussed before the Commission, will be invaluable to witnesses on one side. I would only say that I regret the Government have not left the question to the decision of this House, as that is a part of the duty of the Commissioners, from which, I am sure, they would all have been glad to be relieved. I confess I hardly think that the Bill has had so generous a reception from some of its critics on this side of the House as I think it ought to have received. I cannot but remember that it is substantially the Bill of the Liberal Government, and consequently, to a large extent, the former Members of the Liberal Government are responsible for it. I must go further, and acknowledge that many difficulties arising from natural sentiment and jealously among the various academic bodies which cropped up with much luxuriance on the appearance of former Bills, have, in my opinion, been to a large extent successfully met by the Government, and, consequently, the Bill is now a better Bill than when it left the hands of the Liberal Government. My hon. Friend the Member for Haddington has complained that the principles on which the Commissioners ought to proceed are not laid down with sufficient clearness. I am sure that that point has been fully considered, both by the Liberal Government and by the present Government, and I think that the Government have arrived at a right conclusion in not tying up the hands of the Commissioners more than they have done. There are points on which an indication should be given to the Commission, and on those it has been given, for they have been practically directed to provide for the admission of women into the Universities, and for their 388 graduation. In the same manner they are empowered, though not so fully as they ought to be, and practically directed to deal with the patronage of bursaries. Nor can I concur in the criticism of my hon. Friend (Mr. Wallace) who contended that the tendency of the Bill was to raise the fees for poor students, to divert the bursaries from the benefit of poor students, and altogether to place University education less within the reach of poor and deserving students than at present. I can see no trace in the Bill of any tendency of that kind. On the contrary I am satisfied that the object of the Bill—an object which I am sure the Commissioners, with all their imperfections on these heads, will do their best to carry out—is, in conformity with the established traditions of Scotland, to extend the benefits of education as widely as possible, and to place within the reach of the poor lad of promise an avenue for the acquisition of the highest knowledge. This leads me to a point on which I wish to say a few words. All the benefits which the Bill, if properly worked out, is likely to realize, cannot be had without money. An attempt has been made to embody all the recommendations of the Commission of 1876 which are valuable in the present Bill. The Commissioners recommended, no doubt, certain alterations in the constitution of the University, and those alterations it is attempted to carry out in the Bill. That the chief defect in the Universities, as it appeared to those Commissioners, was the need of expansion, the need of more assistance in the development of curricula of study, according to the widening sphere of modern knowledge. This is entirely a question of money, and my only serious alarm about this Bill is that the funds now offered will be so scanty that the real operative provisions of the Bill may remain a dead letter. We shall never get anything like a satisfactory solution of the question of University education until we get more money for it, and though I do not think this ought to be a party question, I trust the Liberal party will raise this standard that higher education is to be regarded as a matter of public concern, and that public money must be got for it when required. A grant of £13,000 is totally inadequate for the purpose. Sooner or later Scotland will get what she needs. 389 The only question is, whether the Government will deal with this question in a fair and amicable spirit now, or make it another of those grievances which are daily strengthening the demand for Home Rule. I still hope that the Government will make this a valuable Bill by increasing the sum of money to be placed at the disposal of the Scottish Universities. Too much emphasis cannot be laid on the point that we on this side of the House will never be satisfied with any settlement of the Universities question in Scotland which does not place a very much more liberal share of public money at the disposal of the Universities.
§ * THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. M. T. STORMONTU DARLING,) Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities
As a University Member and as a Member of Her Majesty's Government, I must acknowledge with gratitude the disposition shown by gentlemen opposite to facilitate the passage of the Bill, and I hope that disposition will be maintained throughout the subsequent stages of the discussion. I am sure they will not have reason to complain of any want of readiness on the part of the Government to cooperate with them in any reasonable suggestions which are in accordance with the general tenor of the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for South Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) seemed to regret that there were not more representatives of municipalities on the University Courts, but I would remind the hon. Member that the present Bill for the first time proposes to intro duce into the University Courts of Glasgow and Aberdeen the Lord Provost of each of those cities, and in the case of Edinburgh the Lord Provost has, since 1858, along with another Member of the Town Council, been on the University Court. I think, therefore, it cannot be said that any niggardly spirit has been shown by the Government towards those municipalities. I was rather surprised that any hon. Gentleman should disparage the University Council as a suitable constituency from which to elect members of the Court, and I rather gathered from what the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) said that he believes that body elect their representatives from Party considerations. I am in a position to say that that is not so. In the case of Edinburgh 390 an eminent medical man represents the University Council on the Court, though his political opinions are not in harmony with those of the General Council.
§ * MR. M. T. S. DARLING
I rejoice that so fair a spirit has been shown to the professoriate of the University. It would have been a scandal if hard words had been used about a body of men who have shed so much lustre on those ancient institutions. They have managed the finances with economy and skill, and now they are going to be relieved of that duty, I think it only fitting that testimony should be borne to the exceedingly faithful way in which the work has been performed. I am also glad that no undue jealousy has been shown towards the professors as regards their influence in University matters, and I do not agree with the hon. Member for North Aberdeen that they would be likely to have a preponderating influence on the new Courts. I must bear the most emphatic testimony against the hon. Member's observation that the duty of appointing examiners is generally exercised by the University Courts in a spirit subservient to the professors. I assure the hon. Member that I have found, from my experience on the University Court in Edinburgh, that the professors seldom actively intervene in the matter; but when they do, the Court proceed entirely independently of them. I have an instance in my mind in which we elected an eminent extramural examiner in medicine as against a highly qualified candidate who had been formerly an assistant professor. References of a not very favourable character have been made to the composition of the Commission. The fact is that it is not easy to get men to undertake so laborious a duty as that which will be thrown on the Commissioners, and having regard to this fact it does appear somewhat ungracious to disparage beforehand those who have consented to take upon themselves a laborious and, I am afraid, a thankless task. I must say I think the Commission proposed in the Bill possesses very multifarious advantages and qualifications. It was necessary to secure the services of men who have local knowledge of the Scottish Universities and of University business, and who at the same time are men whose horizon has 391 been enlarged by knowledge of English and foreign Universities, and such men the Government have been able to obtain. There are two ways of constituting a Commission such as this. One way is to select a number of men who are known to hold extreme opinions on one side or the other and allow them to fight the matter out; but the preferable plan, and that which has been adopted by the Government, is to select men of impartial mind and of moderate views who are not academic partisans. Hon. Members must remember that nothing is to be done by the Commission without inquiry. With regard to the question of tests, I am glad to find that hon. Gentlemen opposite appear willing to postpone the matter to the Committee stage as one not going to the principle of the Bill. The proposal of this measure is that the Commission shall report to Parliament on this important subject, and it can scarcely be denied that further information is required before any attempt is made at legislation. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are very confident of being in power before long, and therefore they may indulge the hope that the Report of the Commission on this subject will be ready in time to enable them to legislate upon it themselves. But whoever is to legislate, further inquiry is, as a preliminary, desirable. I will not discuss the question of tests generally, but I may be allowed to point out that the lay test does not impose any restraint on the consciences of the professors. The test does not require them to give in their adhesion to certain religious opinions, but merely to undertake that they will not use their office for the purpose of subverting the religion which is professed by the vast majority of the people of Scotland. That does not appear to be a very serious matter. But if upon full inquiry it is found that these tests do act as a deterrent, preventing good men from accepting professorships, that may be a very good ground for legislation. With regard to the Faculty of Theology, I think it would be a strange thing in Scotland of all places to abolish it altogether, but it may be matter for consideration whether it may not advantageously be thrown open to members of all Protestant denominations. Whether or not this arrangement will be acceptable to other denominations is a 392 vital point for consideration, and this is just one of those matters upon which the Report of the Commission will be very valuable. Now, the Member for West Aberdeen-shire (Dr. Farquharson) spoke as if in the Bill some change had been made that would have a prejudicial effect on the medical school of the University of St. Andrew's. The hon. Member is mistaken, for the present Bill, like the last one, leaves the question to be dealt with by the Commission subject to the consent of the University itself, and of the authorities of Dundee College. I desire to express the great gratification of the Government at the way in which the Bill has been received, and also a hope that the same spirit will be shown at a subsequent stage of the measure. I believe that the House by passing this Bill will earn the gratitude of the people of Scotland who are so deeply interested in everything that concerns the Universities of their country.
§ * MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN (Stirling District)
I promise that my remarks shall be very few, for we all agree that this debate ought to close to-night, and I dare say there are one or two Members who still have something to say. I approach the question of reform of the Scottish Universities, in one sense, in an extremely conservative spirit. I think the first object in our mind should be to maintain unimpaired the main characteristic of these Universities. That characteristic is, and always has been, that they are essentially national institutions in the fullest sense of the term—that is, Universities, not only of the Scottish people, but of the poorest of the Scottish people. This is the great ground of contrast between the Scottish and the English Universities. Those of us who have had the advantage of passing, possibly, the happiest years of our life at an English University, must look back with gratitude and affection towards it; but, at the same time, the fact remains that, with their great emoluments and all the advantages they possess, the English Universities have never succeeded in doing more than to scratch the outside of the national life of England, whereas the Scottish Universities have penetrated the very heart of the national life of Scotland and identified themselves with it. With the slenderest means the Scottish Universities have gathered within 393 their precincts the youth of all classes, spreading the light of learning to every part of the country. Recognizing these characteristics, we should do our utmost to develop the Universities on their old lines. I have seen of late years, with considerable dislike and suspicion, a tendency, expressed perhaps more in language than in action, to Anglicize the Scottish Universities and to make them, to use a detestable word, for which I know no synonym, more "genteel" than they have been in the past. The main purpose of the Bill appears to me to proceed in the right direction. In the first place, it endeavours to infuse a larger degree of the lay element into the management of the Universities by the constitution of a University Court on a somewhat wider basis. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said that when public opinion was referred to in connection with this Bill, it meant University public opinion, but there I venture to differ from him. We know what University public opinion is. I dispute altogether that the University exists for the professors or the old graduates, or the men who happened many years ago to have spent a few years within its walls. The people who are interested in the efficiency of the Universities are the great mass of the community, and I should, therefore, be glad to see some sort of municipal access to the University Court, so as to secure some kind of outside representation on the University body. The second proposal having the effect of extending lay control in University affairs is the appointment of an Executive Commission. I join in criticising the constitution of the Commission, and my chief objection is that it is too large. If you have a Commission appointed for a small and definite purpose, which will hold some half-dozen sittings, it does not matter much whether it consists of five or 20 members; but this is an Executive Commission, which will sit continuously for three years, and the result will be, practically, that you will have different Commissions sitting upon different branches of the same subject, according as particular members may attend. Some of those members whose names most attract confidence cannot possibly attend regularly at the Commission meetings, and I am bound to say that though the 394 list includes a good many friends of my own they are mostly taken from one class of opinion, and their names are not likely to secure the confidence of the Scottish people at large. The Bill further proposes to provide for the affiliation of colleges and the development of extra-mural teaching, and I think that the part of the Bill which affects extramural teaching should be accentuated more strongly. The fact is, when we speak of these Scottish institutions as Universities, we do not mean the English idea of a University; they are much more like colleges with the power of conferring degrees, and the professors are more like the lecturers in an English college; they teach in classes, and the system is more collegiate than like an English University. In fact, locally the University is always referred to as the College. What we have to do is to develop the University element in them, and to give them larger powers of conferring degrees to students in affiliated colleges. I see signs of difficulty in this association or affiliation, but I hope these difficulties will be got over. There is general consent as to the main objects of the Bill, and I think, on the whole, the Bill has benefited by the long delay. The good that is in it far outweighs the objections that may be urged. As to the great difficulty of the Theological Faculty, I think the sooner the tests are done away with the better. They are antiquated and valueless for any purpose. And even if tests were not in all cases out of place, why should Hebrew, more than Greek; why should Ecclesiastical History, more than civil history, be the subject of tests? Even Divinity itself—divinity in the abstract, as we say in Scotland—might be taught without any tests whatever, as in foreign Universities. But more than that, this is not merely a question of tests; the Divinity Faculty is the training school for the ministers of the Established Church of Scotland. But I hold it is no part of the duty of a national University, maintained by national funds, to train candidates for the ministry of a particular denomination. It is its duty, so far as its funds and its organization permits, to furnish instruction in all branches of human knowledge and research, but not to train apprentices for the defence and propagation of some particular form of religious belief or ecclesiastical organization. The present 395 system is therefore unsound in principle. But it is more—it is unjust in its practical results. The other Churches in Scotland have been obliged to set up training colleges which are fully equipped, and the number of students in those Colleges, excluding the Catholic and Episcopalian Colleges, is 459, as compared with 253 at the Universities. Yet no relief from this grievance is afforded by this Bill, and it will hardly be believed that the proposed Commission does not contain one single member belonging to the Churches which are thus aggrieved. The only true principle is to abolish these tests, and to let each Church, whether Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or otherwise, maintain some system for educating and training its own ministers in those parts of their education which require separate instruction. I dispute altogether the propriety of remitting a great question of principle such as this to the Commission. I know that this was proposed in former years by the Government to which I belonged, but I disliked the proposal then as I dislike it now. Parliament betrays its duty if it shrinks from saying aye or no on the subject. I believe there is a strong feeling on the question in Scotland. There is little enthusiasm for the Bill, but the moment this question is raised of the Theological Chairs there is plenty of enthusiasm. Subject to these observations, I have no objection to the Bill, and I think we may look forward to the passing of an amended and useful measure this Session.
§ * MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I will not prevent the Second Reading being taken to-night. I have but a few words to say, and my intimate connection with one of the Scotch Universities must be my apology for interposing. The Solicitor General referred to St. Andrew's, and I hoped he was about to correct the mistake into which the Lord Advocate was led when he spoke of that University. As to the merits of the clauses for the affiliation of colleges, I welcome those clauses cordially, but with regard to the affiliation of St. Andrew's and Dundee, my own opinion is that the clause is inferior to that which was previously introduced in the Bill which came down to us from the House of Lords. But the reason for the change seems now to me to be explained by the view expressed 396 by the Lord Advocate that St. Andrew's is in a moribund state. This is a mistake. The attendance at St. Andrew's is now twice as numerous as it was when I was a student there, and there are more students now than there have been at any time previously, except during the short time when Dr. Chalmers was such an attraction. Part of the work of Dundee is of a kind similar to that at present done in St. Andrew's, but the main function of Dundee is its evening classes, and this differs very largely from the main function of an University. And if the University of St. Andrew's be moribund, it is thus not possible that it can be resuscitated by fusion with Dundee.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
What I did was to express the impression that was given rise to by a section in a Bill introduced by right hon Gentlemen opposite, in which there was a provision made for the extinction of the University of St. Andrew's.
§ * MR. JAMES STUART
And nobody was more bitterly opposed to that clause than myself. I have a peculiar right to speak in regard to the affiliation of St. Andrew's and Dundee, having had to deliver the inaugural address at Dundee College, and nobody can have a higher opinion of the objects of that institution than I have. Still, as I say, a large portion of its functions are essentially different from those of St. Andrew's University. I do not wish to be mistaken; I am very desirous of seeing—no one more so—a close and intimate affiliation brought about between them upon a proper basis; that will bring advantage to all parties concerned on the money question. I wish to say that the sum proposed seems to me altogether inadequate. If the whole extra sum proposed to be granted to the Scotch Universities were capitalized, it would amount to £400,000; but even if every penny of that sum were expended on the plant necessary for laboratories and scientific teaching, Scotch Universities would still be miserably behind the Universities of Europe in respect of appliances for scientific teaching.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the debate be now adjourned."—(Sir G. Campbell).397
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I would earnestly appeal to the House to give the Bill a Second Reading now. We have had a most interesting and fair debate, and I believe the whole House desires that the division should be taken now, and any further discussion taken in Committee.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
There are four or five Scotch Members who are still desirous of speaking, and especially upon the financial aspect of the measure, and it cannot make much difference whether these speeches are made now or in Committee. I beg to support the Motion of the hon. Member that the debate should be now adjourned. It is really a very important matter, and it affects the political union between England and Scotland, and I do not think that the question we shall have to raise can be dismissed in this fashion. I believe, also, if the discussion be taken now, it really will tend to limit Committee discussions, when we shall be restricted to special Amendments.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House proceeded to a Division
§ Mr. Crilly was appointed one of the Tellers for the Noes, but no Member being willing to act as the Second Teller for the Noes, Mr. Speaker declared that the Ayes had it.
§ Question, "That the Bill be now read a second time," put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday next.