§ LORD LYNDHURST
presented a petition from the chancellor, masters, and scholars of the University of Cambridge, that the two canonries in the Cathedral of Ely, mentioned in the 3rd and 4th of Victoria, cap. 113, may be permanently annexed to two professorships of divinity in the said University, and said that it was a subject which well deserved the serious consideration of their Lordships. He could not do better than call their Lordships' attention to the Report of the Commissioners on the Cambridge University. In that Report the Commissioners stated the present inadequate provision of professorships—There are only three Professors of Divinity in the University, a number which is altogether inadequate either to teach or to represent this most important department of human knowledge. Of this number the first in our list is much occupied with various extraneous duties, and the efficiency of the third is diminished by the condition of his 979 deed of foundation, which requires him to interpolate readings with his lectures.They then stated the consequences of this inadequacy—It is almost a necessary consequence of these defective arrangements, as well as of the want of a sufficient lecturing force, that no proper school for professional instruction in theology has been hitherto formed in the University.They then suggested the remedy for these evils—There appears to be only one method by which evils of this nature could be effectually guarded against, which is, to increase considerably the number of theological teachers, and to give them such a share in conducting examinations as would secure a just influence to their teaching.But it appeared that the University had no funds by which to support these new professorships and teachers. There happened, however, to be two vacancies at this moment in the canonries of the Cathedral of Ely, and the object of the petitioners was, that the revenues of those canonries should be appropriated to the foundation of two theological professorships in the University of Cambridge. The Commissioners strongly recommended the appointment of additional theological teachers. They stated—The critical exposition of the New Testament and the wide province of ecclesiastical history, which are not at present undertaken by any of the three existing professors, would alone require the addition of two new theological chairs. … We are satisfied that the best interests of the Church are closely allied with those of the University in effecting an adequate augmentation of the staff of teachers in theology. If the permanent residence of a body of learned theologians could be secured, whether engaged in the prosecution of their own studies or directing and encouraging the studies of the great body of young men who are preparing for the Church, there would be no place where professional theological education could be more effectually carried on, or where students would be less liable to that danger of having peculiar and somewhat personal views impressed upon them, to which those who resort to smaller theological institutions are sometimes exposed. The University would thus in reality become the nursing mother of the Church.Such was the recommendation of the Commissioners, and the petition of the University was founded entirely on that recommendation. He would avail himself of the present opportunity of calling the attention of the noble Earl to a Motion adopted in the other House of Parliament in respect to the constitution of the governing and legislative body of the University of Oxford. The vote of the other House had sanctioned the principle which upwards of a year ago was adopted by the Cambridge 980 University as the foundation of the constitution of their governing and legislative body. This had been approved of in the strongest manner by the Commissioners to whom he had referred. The Commissioners stated in their Report—We cannot hesitate to express our pleasure to find such a proposal emanating from the University itself. It has evidently been framed with careful deliberation, and with an especial view as well to preserve a balance of power among the several colleges as also to prevent the excitements and rivalries of a more popular and unlimited mode of appointment. The suggested scheme has received the unanimous approval of the Syndicate; and we hope it may in due time receive the sanction of the Senate.It had since received the unanimous approval of the Senate; and he hoped that this circumstance, together with the various reforms which had taken place in Cambridge, and which were still being carried on, would lead the noble Earl and the Government to be of opinion that it would be better to place in the hands of the University the power of making reforms rather than to hand the University over to any extraneous body—adding only such powers, legislative or otherwise, as might be best adapted to enable them to carry those reforms into effect. His noble Friend (the Earl of Aberdeen) had told them that no Bill relating to the University was in contemplation; and he hoped to find that the more the subject was considered, the more his noble Friend and the Government would be convinced of the prudence and propriety of the course he recommended.
§ THE EARL OF ABERDEEN
said, he did not know that it was necessary for him at present to give any definite answer to the prayer of the petition presented by the noble and learned Lord. He was far from denying that the object of the petition was most important and desirable; but, at the same time, he must observe that the purpose for which these canonries had been suppressed would not altogether be accomplished by the proposal of the petitioners. The endowment of theological professorships might, no doubt, be of great use, but that was not the direct object for which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were empowered to employ the revenues of the canonries. He did not mean to say anything against the establishment of such professorships, but it might be a question whether the augmentation of poor livings and the accomplishment of other purposes under the management of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners 981 would not outweigh the advantages to be derived from the professorships. He must say that the appropriation of the two canonries already suspended and applied to professorships at Cambridge had not been altogether such as to contribute greatly to the progress of theological learning, inasmuch as one was appropriated to the professorship of Hebrew, and the other to the professorship of Greek, the most eminent professor of Greek they had ever known having been a layman. Of course, the object which the noble and learned Lord would have in view would be one directly tending to the increase and improvement of theological learning in the University, and the subject, recommended as it was in the Report, to which the noble and learned Lord had referred, very well deserved the attention of Parliament. Without giving any positive declaration on the point that evening, he assured the noble and learned Lord that the recommendations of the Commissioners, supported as they were by the noble and learned Lord and by the University, should receive the best attention.
§ Petition ordered to lie on the table.