HC Deb 28 July 1834 vol 25 cc635-53

Mr. Hume moved the third reading of the Universities Admission Bill.

Mr. William E. Gladstone

said, that having received his education in one of those venerable institutions, the constitution of which the present Bill proposed so materially to alter, he craved the attention of the House whilst he endeavoured to expose a few of the fallacies which were entertained by the public as to the fitness and expediency of legislation on this subject. In the first place he could not but observe, whatever might be the propriety of the present measure, the House and the country were decidedly labouring under a delusion if they fancied that such an enactment could be practically carried into effect. He did not mean to say, that the authorities of these Universities would resort to any subterfuge for the obstruction of its provisions; but by the natural exercise of the discretionary powers with which they were invested, and in the ordinary course of the forms to which applicants for admission must in all cases conform, persons of obnoxious character or principle could not hope to be admitted. The law might enact that the new student should be subject to no test of faith on his admittance, and to that law the Universities would be obliged to bow obedience. But it should be recollected, that before the ceremony of matriculation could take place the Vice-Chancellor had to inquire of the new corner what College he belonged to. Here they were all abroad at once, for the tutors and heads of Colleges, holding and being resolved to act up to the opinions they now entertained, would invariably refuse admittance to their respective Colleges in the first instance. The Bill would consequently be inoperative, and it might be asked of him, therefore, why he should now rise to oppose it, since it could do no harm? But though the present measure was not one which could work out the objects which were held in view by its promulgators it was one which, if passed, must inevitably lead to great dissension and confusion, and eventually to endless applications and legislation in that House. He would, therefore, endeavour to vindicate the character of the University establishments of the country, and to show, upon principle, why the present attempt to subvert their object and destroy their efficiency should be resisted by the House. It could not be denied that the object of the founders and benefactors of these institutions was, the maintenance of the Established Church, and the cultivation of its doctrines in the rising generation of the country. For 800 years that wholesome object had been kept in view, and the Universities had become the preparatory seminaries to the Church Establishment. Now in a country where there were seminaries for all her professions, was it too much to demand that the Church should be allowed her seminaries too? The Universities had been spoken of as national institutions. He admitted the term, but not in the sense with which it was generally put forth. They were undoubtedly national institutions, but only in so far as they were connected with the National Church. The vital principle of these collegiate foundations was to provide a course of education which should attend to the moral character as well as the scientific attainments of their pupils. To attain this a certain fixed course of study and of discipline must be observed. But how could this be done when by the Bill before the House it was proposed to throw open their doors not only to Dissenting Christians of every sect and denomination, but also to all sorts of persons, be they Christians or not? This he hoped the House would never allow. In the course of the various arguments which had been put forth in support of this measure the University establishments of the continent, and especially those of Germany, had been cited, and a comparison drawn between them and those of this country. But the case between them was very different, and he would beg to cite the authority of M. Cousin to show in what that difference consisted. The Universities of Germany did not pretend to hold that important place in the moral constitution of the State which our Universities had by long and established usage been admitted to. The business of the former institutions was merely to provide for matters of general and scientific instruction, and M. Cousin had distinctly stated, that they objected to include religious instruction in their course, because it would bring within their walls a subject of continual difference of opinion. Now, these were the dissensions which were avoided by the German Universities, and which it was now proposed to force within the walls of the Universities of England. If the Parliament of this country sent Dissenters of every denomination into the Universities, they reduced them to this dilemma: either they must destroy the system of education hitherto pursued in those Universities, or they must degrade the Dissenter by obliging him to conform to parts of that system which he did not concur in. Under the present state of things—what he was about to say, he spoke in no offensive sense—the Dissenters were allowed to remain in, and participate in the benefits of, the Universities during good pleasure; that was, whenever there might occur anything in the forms and regulations of the University, which the Dissenter did not choose to comply with, there was this sole alternative: the Dissenter had to comply, or to leave. With regard to the course of education which a Dissenter would receive at Oxford, it was not solely of that scientific and classical nature which, as was pretended, men of every sect and shade of belief might equally participate in; the lecturer on moral philosophy, for instance, would find himself placed in almost as delicate and unpleasant a predicament in regard to his various pupils as the lecturer on divinity itself; and, indeed, throughout the whole schemed instruction, including the classics themselves, there was or should be a constant aim at the one grand object of Christian and moral improvement kept in view. Now, as to the abuses which, it was pretended, had crept into the administration of the affairs of the Universities. He did not stand there to defend those establishments and all that was connected with theta as complete perfection; but could any one pretend to say, that the abuses complained of flowed out of the institutions themselves? Was the practice of daily prayer for instance (a practice observed to this day), in that House before the commencement of public business—was daily prayer a bad practice in itself, and such as ought to be prohibited? A noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Palmerston), who was himself a member of one of the Universi- ties, said on a former occasion, that it gave him pain to see the students of the Universities going from wine to prayers, and from prayers to wine. Now, he (Mr. Gladstone) had not so bad an opinion of his fellow-collegians as to believe that even in their most convivial moments they were unfit to enter the House of Prayer. He believed that nine-tenths of those who entertained contrary opinions of the practical morality of the Universities knew nothing about the matter, though of course, he must conclude, that there were some who knew by experience what they were saying. But, however the practice might be subject to abuse, surely the principle was not a bad one. It might be modified; the prayers might be shortened; but they could not with any show of reason or expediency be entirely done away with. How could the system, however modified, of the College be preserved when once Dissenters of every denomination were admitted, a class of persons, who would be universally, and by their own tenets, expressly excluded from these devotions? To show still further the dread with which the present measure was looked upon by all the respectable individuals concerned in the government of the University of Oxford, he would beg to read one passage from the Memorial they recently drew up upon the subject. The greatest unanimity prevailed amongst the members of that University; out of nearly 100 of the heads of Colleges, and others immediately connected with the instruction and discipline of the place, there were only two dissentient voices. Let not the Government suppose that this was a party question at Oxford between the adherents and the opponents of the Ministers. The adherents of the Ministry were undoubtedly in a minority at Oxford—but upon this question men of all parties were agreed. The following passage he would take the liberty to read from this memorable Declaration. The above learned and respectable individuals said, "That the University of Oxford has always considered religion to be the foundation of all education, and they cannot themselves be parties to any system of instruction which does not retain this foundation. They also protest against the notion, that religion can be taught on the vague and comprehensive principle of admitting persons of every creed. When they speak of religion they mean the doctrines of the Gospel as re- vealed in the Bible, and as maintained by the Church of England as settled at the period of the Reformation; and as on the one hand they cannot allow those doctrines to be suppressed, so, on the other, they cannot consent that they should be explained or taught in any sense which is not in accordance with the recognised tenets of the Church of England." What, he would ask, was he to gather from this solemn declaration? What did it mean but this, that if the House were to attempt to compel these respectable teachers to act contrary to their conscientious and fixed resolutions, they would virtually abrogate their functions? Hon. Members might smile and sneer at this notion; but he would ask what other construction could they put upon the declaration, that "they could not themselves be parties to any system of instruction which did not rest on the purest foundation?" In his opinion no other construction than the one he had suggested could be given to those impressive words. It was said of the ancient Romans, that they Made a solitude and called it peace: He very much feared that the House, in establishing their present principle of religious liberty, would drive from their functions men who had so long done honour and service to their country, and thus inaugurate their reign of religious peace by an act of the grossest tyranny.

Mr. Vernon Smith

could not believe that the effect of this Bill would be to subvert the Established Church of this country. On the contrary, he thought that such a measure must be beneficial to the Church. The preamble of the Bill removed the necessity of subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles upon entrance to the University of Oxford; and the practice of compelling subscriptions to the Thirty-nine Articles upon entrance at Oxford was very prejudicial to the interests of the Church. When he went first to the University of Oxford, he appeared before the Vice-Chancellor of that day, the late Dr. Hudson, a learned and excellent individual, who of all men would be the last to administer carelessly or negligently the prescribed forms of the University. He had subscribed a variety of things usually put before young men upon matriculation—such, for instance, as that he would never appear in the High-street except in blue breeches and yellow stockings, and many other things of the same sort, until, at length, he was asked, whether he was aware that he had subscribed the Thirty-nine Articles. He replied, that he was not, and thereupon the matter was a little more clearly explained to him. Could any one think that such a course could tend to promote the interests, or to add to the stability of the Established Church? He applied the same argument to another system of the University, of which the hon. Gentleman who spoke last had undertaken the defence—namely, the daily attendance at chapel. He would not say, that daily worship was not a proper institution for a University, but the daily attendance upon divine worship at Oxford was not insisted upon or enforced upon grounds of religion; it was only enforced as a matter of discipline. The Bill was rather to be considered as a compliment to the Dissenters, than as affording them any substantial benefit; because, though that Bill should become a law, the Universities might make such internal regulations as would completely prevent the admission of any Dissenter within their walls. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that the admission of Dissenters to the Universities would be a national evil. He entertained directly the opposite opinion. It would be a national good The Dissenters—an active and intelligent body of men—asked to be admitted to the same privileges as their fellow-countrymen—to participate in the same advantages of education—to exercise their vigorous understandings in the promotion of science, and the advancement of the literature of the country. Was there anything unreasonable in such a request? Was it possible that any danger to any institution in the State could ensue from acceding to such a request? If the request of the Dissenters was reasonable, the Universities ought to prove, that mischief could result to society at large, or to the institutions of the country, from its being acceded to. He could not see any mischief to be apprehended. The hon. Gentleman said, "The army, the navy, and other professions have their places of education, why should not the clergy of the Church of England have their place of education also?" If the University of Oxford were only a seminary for parsons, he should agree with the hon. Gentleman; but Oxford professed to be a national institution for general instruction in literature and the arts. The hon. Gentleman himself acknowledged that the University was a national institution. Admitting that, he thought, it would be impossible to refuse persons entering those institutions, upon the ground of their dissenting from the doctrine of the Church of England. He knew that there might be practical difficulties in the way of adopting any scheme for procuring the admission of Dissenters into the College; and, therefore, his hon. friend did right in proposing only to establish the principle by the present measure. Unfortunately, the ground upon which the Legislature had proceeded for many years had been to refuse concessions until concessions had been extorted from it. Such was the course pursued with respect to the Roman Catholic claims, until, at length, the Legislature was obliged to yield to the agitating energies of the hon. and learned member for Dublin what it had refused to the statesman-like eloquence of Mr. Pitt. Smugglers had driven us into free trade, and poachers into an abandonment of the Game-laws. If the cry of "the Church is in danger" should ever assume an appearance of truth, he would take his stand in its defence, for the sake of religion itself, and of domestic peace, to the preservation of which he believed an Established Church to be essential. At the same time, he was perfectly ready to admit, that every Dissenter who understood his own interest, was for the separation of Church and State. If the Dissenters, however, in seeking for the present measure, thought that they were taking a step towards the separation of Church and State, it did not abate the force of his argument. He was not prepared to refuse a demand which, upon the face of it, appeared to be just and reasonable, by degrading the Established Church, supposing that it was nothing but a hue and flimsy fabric raised up for the purposes of the State, and for the mere sake of adding grace and dignity to a religion that was purely ornamental. He believed the Church of England to be based on a firmer foundation than to be overturned by a measure of justice. It was strong in itself, and would be strengthened by the admission of Dissenters to the Universities, where they never would gain any influence. He should vote for the Bill, hoping that it might receive the support of the other House of Parliament.

Mr. Baines

said, that he should claim the attention of the House to a few observations, and he was the more disposed to do this, as he had not declared his sentiments on the Bill in any of its former stages. The hon. member for Newark (Mr. Gladstone) had said, that this Bill, in its present form, would not benefit the Dissenters. It would, however, do one thing—it would remove the religious test at the Universities; and if that was effected, a step in advance would be made towards their admission to those national seats of learning. The object of this Bill was, to allow persons of ail religious denominations, who had the means within their power, to enjoy the benefit of an University education. This, he thought, must be admitted to be a just claim, whether considered as to the original foundation of the Universities, or as to the present state of society. The original statutes admitted all, and excluded none; and it appeared by the earliest records of Oxford, that as early as the year 1231, Henry 3rd issued an ordinance admitting to that University the master and scholars of the University of Paris, who had been driven from their University by persecution. The Statutes of those early times showed, that there were then no tests, nor did any exist at Oxford, in either the time of the Lollards, or of Wickliff. In the University of Cambridge, as early as the reign of Edward 1st, that Monarch had been called in to arbitrate upon the point, to what part of the country, and to what classes of the people, the benefits of this University should extend; and his decision was, "that they should extend to all who repaired thither for instruction." This showed the intention of the founders of the Colleges; and in that state they remained till the period of the Reformation, at which time, as appeared from a paper in his hand, there were thirteen Colleges at Oxford, which were increased by three pending the Reformation, making sixteen out of the nineteen Colleges at that University; while at the University, there were twelve out of the sixteen Colleges in existence before the time of Henry 8th, and two others were erected before the order of James 1st was issued, directing that tests should be imposed on the taking of degrees in that University. The term University had in it an argument for the general use of these seats of learning, which were meant to be universal, both as to the subjects taught, and the persons to whom they were communicated. In this sense the term was understood and applied in other countries, and it was an extraordinary fact, deserving of attention, that the Universities of Oxford and of Cambridge were the only Universities that were closed to a large proportion of the middle classes of the people in any country in Europe. This, the Dissenters of England, on whom the exclusion operated, felt as a grievous indignity, and they thought it unjust that Englishmen should attempt to degrade Englishmen by excluding them from the best seats of literature and science. This exclusion was justified on the ground, that the Colleges were Ecclesiastical Corporations—that they were schools of theology—and that the morning and evening services of religion were indispensable to the Colleges. As to the first of these points, Sir William Blackstone said expressly, that they were not Ecclesiastical but Lay Corporations; and Professor Pusey the present Regius Hebrew Professor at Oxford, had declared: "One fortnight comprises the beginning and the end of all the public instruction which any candidate for holy orders is required to attend previous to entering upon his profession." He had also another authority upon the same point, equally strong; it was that of Professor Thirlwall, of Cambridge, the martyr to his principles, who said, in the face of the whole University, who could have contradicted him if he was wrong—"We have no theological Colleges—no theological tutors—no theological students." How, then, could the Universities be a school of theology? As to the daily morning and evening services, the Professor said—"That to an immense majority of the congregations they are no religious services at all, and to the remainder they are the least impressive that can be conceived." And yet these were the arguments that had been insisted upon so much for excluding Dissenters from the Universities. But it was said, that, by giving instruction to young men of various religious opinions, heterodoxy was promoted; and the Colleges of Daventry, Manchester, York, Hackney, and Lady Hewley's charity were quoted as proof of this, though they had no affinity to the case. Nor had the experiment been tried in the London University. But an experiment had been tried at the college at Homerton, over which that learned and excellent divine, the Rev. Dr. Pye Smith presided, where there had been a religious test imposed for eighty years, which test was abolished twenty-two years ago, without any prejudice, as he was authorized to say, to the College or its students. The petitions against the admission of Dissenters to the Universities had been relied upon; but how stood the fact? There were, according to the last-published votes of Parliament, 418 petitions against the admission of Dissenters, containing 40,881 signatures; and 1,103 petitions, containing 344,000 signatures for the Dissenters' claims, of which admission to the Universities was one. He had said, that the Dissenters, if admitted to the University, would claim equal privileges with the members of the Established Church, and to that declaration he adhered. They sought no superiority, and they thought that they ought not to be subject to any inferiority. As to the Bill of his hon. friend, the member for South Lancashire, he should give that Bill his most cordial support. It would abolish the tests, and by showing the disposition of the Legislature, would, he hoped, prevent any measure, either in the Colleges, or in the Universities of Oxford or of Cambridge, that might contravene the liberality of Parliament.

Mr. Hughes Hughes

said, that the hon. Member, one of the Lords of the Treasury (Mr. Vernon Smith), in his support of the Bill, must be considered as having made a very ungracious and ungenerous return to the University of Oxford, whose education had enabled him to address the House with so much ability. Notwithstanding the remarks he (Mr. Hughes Hughes) had several times taken occasion to make (as the hon. Mover was aware) on occasion of presenting petitions to the House against the Bill, he could not content himself with giving an entirely silent vote, and the more so as the hon. Lord of the Treasury had referred to the annual grant made by Parliament to defray the charges of the salaries and allowances to certain Professors in the Universities, as entitling the Dissenters to the admission sought by the Bill. Now, as he had, on a former opportunity, stated to the House, it appeared by Returns laid upon the Table, on a Motion made by him, that the amount annually received from the Universities, as duty on matriculations and degrees, was upwards of five times as large as the annual grants to which reference had been made. Not, however, to dwell upon a minor point, he could assure the House, and was most anxious it should be fully understood, that his opposition to the present measure did not proceed from aversion to the Dissenters, towards whom, as a body, he entertained the most friendly feelings, and with many of whom, as the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Baines) well knew, he lived on the most intimate terms. He had no hostile or illiberal feeling whatever towards the Dissenters; nothing could be more foreign to him than anything of the sort; he wished every facility to be afforded to every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. He opposed the Bill for two reasons, one of which respected Dissenters, the other the Established Church. He could not conscientiously accede to the measure on behalf of the Dissenters, because he believed it would delude the expectations it would create, by proving perfectly inoperative and ineffectual for its professed objects; unless the House were prepared to go much further than the Bill, in its present shape, sought to do, and to meet the Declaration of the Oxford tutors, to which his hon. friend, the member for Newark (Mr. W. Gladstone) had referred, with an enactment, that they should instruct the youth committed to their care, not agreeably to their own religious opinions, but according to the ever-varying views of the parents and friends of such youth, Dissenters might, under the Bill, successfully claim admission to that University on one day, but would, as certainly be prepared to quit it on the next, and this the hon. Lord of the Treasury had virtually admitted. With reference to this point, as he had on a former occasion stated to the House, he had repeatedly inquired of intelligent Dissenters, whether they would consent to relax one iota of the laws and rules by which their Colleges of Hackney, Hoxton, or Cheshunt, were regulated, in order to accommodate themselves to the introduction of the sons of Churchmen, and had uniformly received for answer, that if admitted, it must of course be in the ordinary way. Now, he would put it to the House whether, after such an admission, it was reasonable that Dissenters should require that the University should abrogate the laws which governed them, and in so doing also trample upon the wills of the Founders of the various Colleges. He likewise felt it to be his duty to object to the Bill on behalf of Churchmen, who had what he considered to be a vested interest in the Universities, as places for securing to their posterity a sound education in the doctrines and principles of the established religion. On these grounds, and seeing it was not calculated to give satisfaction to the party it affected to benefit, while it greatly wounded the feelings of the other party, he considered it his duty to conclude with a Motion, that the Bill be read a third time that day six months.

Mr. Sinclair seconded the Motion, which was put from the Chair.

Mr. Goulburn

—They had now a Bill different from the former one: the present Bill was not the same as that called for by the petition, or the same as that brought in by the member for Lancashire. And was the House of Commons now called on to pass in its third stage a Bill different from the Bill introduced in the former stage? The hon. Member gave no reason for the change. If there were not some finesse designed, he would have explained the cause of the change. His objection to the Bill was founded on the inconsistency, if not the mischief, of separating religious from literary education. He would never assent to give up as a compliment the utility of training up the youth of the country in religions instruction, according as the petition from Cambridge advised. If they abandoned the form of religion they would soon learn to abandon the essence of religion. If Dissenters accepted of the terms of admission they were bound to conform to the rules of the College to which they obtained admission. Again, he would say, that if he found one individual who would open the Colleges to Dissenters under existing circumstances, that man had a more pliant conscience than he had. He intended only to say a few words in reply to the arguments advanced; but these he would utter honestly. Those Gentlemen had no right to supersede the statutes and principles of the University. Sane of the arguments went on the assumption, and it was nothing else, that the Colleges were national institutions for the national good, without reference to religion. He could not see it in that light. If they did not train the minds of the youth of the country to the principles and habits of religion, it would be hard to say, to what end their morality would tend. He should regret to see the practice of the London University adopted in the two established Universities; but as even then they could not extinguish the practice of religious instruction, it was a strong argument why it should not be abolished in the Universities of Cambridge or Oxford. The hon. member for Leeds said, as a proof of the former toleration of Cambridge that persons expelled from the University of Paris were admitted there. But, then, be it recollected, that the religion of both countries was the same. The hon. Member had mentioned the case of Edward 1st, having gone to the University of Cambridge, and declared, that it was an open University—open to all; it might be well, however, if the hon. Member who relied upon that fact had taken the trouble to look at dates, Edward 1st, let it be remembered, died in 1307. Now, at that time, the only College that existed in Cambridge was Peter-house; every one of the others had been founded since, the next oldest not till nearly fifty years afterwards. The coming of Edward to Cambridge, had therefore nothing to do with the question [Mr. Baines: Peter-house College was at that time the whole University]. He admitted, that but that had no bearing on the present question because there was then but one University in the country? The hon. Gentleman also said, that the majority of the Colleges did not belong to the Church of England; but could he really be ignorant that the second article in Magna Charta recognised the establishment of the Church of England? He would tell the hon. Member that there was no period of our history in which the Established Church of this country, as an institution sanctioned by the nation, was not recognised. The former Bill went to admit all to matriculation and degrees, but reserved fellowships for the members of the Established Church; whereas the present Bill went further, and did not exclude Dissenters from any preferment, but threw all the emoluments of the Colleges open to all indiscriminately. Whatever regard that House might have for the encouragement and promotion of science among Dissenters and every portion of the community, it appeared to him a monstrous proposition, that in order to indulge that disposition the system of religious education should be destroyed. Let hon. Members consider the effect of this Bill with respect to the grammar-schools. He had before adverted to that topic, and so strongly did he feel its importance that he could not avoid doing so again. The only test of fitness to preside in one of those schools was the fact, that the candidate had taken a Master of Arts degree at one of the English Universities. If this Bill, therefore, passed into a law, the intentions of the founders of those establishments would be violated, their wills would be perverted, and their bounty used for purposes wholly in opposition to their wishes. He knew the House, especially at that late hour, was little disposed for further discussion: but still he could not avoid remarking that he had on every opportunity protested against a Bill of such great importance being discussed at a late hour, and at a late period of the Session, when many hon. Members were necessarily absent, and all were desirous of being so. He would not, therefore, longer trespass on the House, for he felt that in its present temper [The House had called repeatedly, "Question," and so interrupted the right hon. Gentleman that it was with difficulty he could proceed] he could not hope to do so with any good effect, but would conclude by again protesting against the measure as one which must, if efficient to its declared purposes, destroy religious education in as far as the Universities were concerned.

Viscount Palmerston

(who spoke amidst cries of "question" and repeated interruptions) contended, that the only argument used by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) was, that the Bill must destroy religious education at the Universities. Now, if that assertion were disproved, the whole of his argument fell to the ground. Then he (Lord Palmerston) asked, were not Dissenters admitted without hindrance to Cambridge? They were. [Mr. Goulburn said, "No."] He begged to say, that Dissenters did partake fully of the whole course of education at Cambridge. There were no inquiries made with a view of preventing them from pursuing their studies. It had been invariably the practice to avoid inquiries; therefore, if any bad effect was to result from the admission of Dissenters, that bad effect must have been already felt by the University of Cambridge; but it had not been felt by that University, and therefore, it was not true, that the purpose for which the University of Oxford was founded, would be frustrated, if Oxford were placed on the same footing as Cambridge was placed by prac- tice. It seemed to him, that the argument answered itself, and that the right hon. Gentleman was placed in a dilemma from which it was impossible he could escape. The hon. Gentleman who spoke first in the discussion, alluded to an opinion expressed by him on a former occasion, with respect to the compulsory attendance of students at Divine worship. It was almost unnecessary for him to make any remarks upon that part of the question, because he concurred in the conclusive defence made by his hon. friend, the member for Northampton. He had no hesitation in repeating what he stated on the former occasion. Admitting as fully as the hon. Gentleman, the benefit of daily attendance on Divine worship, he maintained that when that attendance was compulsory, and when large bodies of young men left those meetings of winebibbing to which allusion had been made, and which, however the case of the hon. Member might have been, he must say, from his own experience, were not the best preparations for serious meditation, or the proper observance of Divine worship, the wisest course was not adopted for the promotion of piety, and the increase of religion. The hon. Gentleman argued that this Bill would be an instance of persecution, by compelling men who thought that it was contrary to their religion to admit Dissenters to the Universities, so to admit them. That argument of the hon. Gentleman was founded, undoubtedly, upon truth, but it was founded upon a painful truth, with respect to the constitution of human nature; because it was certainly true, that there was nothing which mankind resisted more stubbornly than any attempt to compel them to cease from acts of intolerance. In that respect, it would be persecution, but it would be a sort of persecution which he was not afraid to join in, and which he would gladly concur in inflicting upon some of the professors at Oxford. He could understand how those who entertained the opinion, that religious distinctions ought to be the foundation of all political and civil rights and privileges, could think that the present Bill would be subversive of the principle of Church and State; but he could not, by possibility, understand how those who thought that religious distinctions ought not to be the foundation of civil rights could resist this Bill. Those who emancipated the Roman Catholics, and abolished the Test Acts, by which they admitted Catholic and Protestant Dissenters to enjoy civil and political rights could not oppose the present measure, with any consistency. He supposed those Gentlemen would affect to say, that the instruction afforded by the Universities was calculated to qualify men for the discharge of their duties, as members of a particular religious community, and for the discharge of duties peculiarly belonging to the clerical functions. But it was not true to say, that these were establishments to educate persons for holy orders. The reverse was the fact. Only see the inconsistency to which those hon. Gentlemen were reduced! They admitted Dissenters to sit in that House, and to discharge the highest functions of legislation; they admitted them, together with members of the Church of England, to perform every duty, civil and political, which could be performed, in every class and relation of life; and yet they said, that Dissenters should not be admitted, in common with the members of the Church of England, to those institutions of the country where the best education could he obtained. They, in effect, therefore, said, that Dissenters might be placed in situations which should require every degree of political knowledge, and the highest cultivation of the mind, and yet they should be denied the means to qualify themselves for the discharge of the duties which such situations might impose on them. This did appear to him the grossest absurdity and inconsistency of which public men ever were guilty. In the name of common sense, all those persons, who had most properly, and most advantageously to their own character, as well as to the country, enabled Dissenters to take a share in all the civil duties, and to partake of all the civil rights which the Constitution recognizes, were bound to give theta their support on the present occasion, if they were prepared to act up to their own principles. He did not value the argument which had been advanced, that this Bill would be ineffectual; because he could never bring himself to believe, that if the Legislature should admit the principle, that religions dissent should not form a ground of exclusion from the benefits of a good education to be attained at the Universities, however the Universities might, by the strict exercise of their particular privileges, defeat the object of the Legislature, he could never, he said, believe that enlightened, intelligent, and honourable men, such as the persons charged with the government of those Universities, whatever might be their private opinions, would endeavour by any new regulations of their own, to defeat that which should receive the deliberative sanction of the Legislature.

Sir Robert Inglis

rose amidst cries of "Divide." He had before had the indulgence of the House extended to him; it was not abused; and if it were now again extended to him, it should not be abused. The noble Lord had entirely misunderstood the argument of his right hon. friend (Mr. Goulburn), which was, that under the present system the heads of the Colleges at Cambridge did not know, through any of the College laws or regulations, that there was a distinction there. The fact was, that no exception was made at Cambridge in favour of Dissenters, and there was but one discipline for all students. Now, this Bill would entirely alter that, and expressly provide, not a system of discipline for the University, but a system for the admission of Dissenters. The hon. member for Northampton (Mr. Vernon Smith) had said, that no doubt when the Bill was passed, the heads of Colleges would be found to concur in its provisions rather than sacrifice their places. That hon. Member knew but little of the principle which animated those honourable men. He could well admit, that a Whig might be ready enough to sacrifice his principles for his place; but he was more confident that the heads of the Houses in the Universities would never make any such sacrifice, but would ever maintain their principles, even though they should lose their places. He was indeed astonished to hear such an imputation against those honourable men from one who had been educated by them. Had the hon. Member forgotten how Magdalen sent forth her fellows when the tyrant James attempted to force upon them a new principle? Such men would again be found if a similar occasion occurred. If that Bill passed, it would speedily appear, that there was in Oxford a power to awake in every College a resistance that would reject it, and he had good reason to believe, that a like spirit of high and pure principle would not be found wanting in Cambridge. The hon. member for Leeds had said, that the Universities were national establishments, and that then they ought to be open to every sect of the community. Why, every College almost demanded qualifications of a peculiar character. Under one founder, a benefit was limited to persons born in a particular county, under another, to persons born in a particular diocese, and under another to persons born in a particular parish. How, then, could the hon. Member say, that they were purely national establishments, and ought to be open to all? Then the hon. member for Northampton had talked of petty details; but if attendance at chapel was a petty detail, then must religion itself soon become a petty detail. The hon. member for Northampton had also said, that the Bill would only be a compliment to the Dissenters, for that in fact it would give them no substantial rights, but only facilities for leaving sectarianism. If that was the way the hon. Member complimented, he (Sir Robert Inglis) hoped, he should ever be exposed to his attacks. Nothing which had been said had altered his opinion of the measure, and he should continue to give it his unqualified opposition.

Mr. George Wood

was inaudible for some time, owing to the cry of "Question." The hon. Member continued standing for a considerable time, but could not obtain a hearing.

The Speaker

suggested, that perhaps some one of the hon. Members who were so much opposed to the debate going on would, on reconsideration, move its adjournment to some future day.

Mr. George Wood

was then allowed to proceed, though not without interruption. He contended, that the Bill had not been altered either in its principles or its enactments. If the Bill should pass, and the heads of Colleges should wish to defeat it by enacting bye-laws, the remedy was easy, and would consist in the foundation of new Colleges. The Bill threw the Universities open, but it interfered with no private College. The Bill would only make Oxford do that which Cambridge practically did, and Oxford and Cambridge do that which Dublin did. He had not brought forward the Bill for sectarian purposes, for he really believed that, instead of promoting sectarianism, it would make it less offensive, by making the Church more tolerant and comprehensive.

Mr. Estcourt

said, the hon. member for Leeds had attributed a statement to Professor Pusey wholly at variance with the fact. He had stated that Professor Pusey had declared that before a student took holy orders, the only theological discipline he went through as to study was to attend lectures for a fortnight. Now, the fact was, that every student before taking holy orders was obliged to attend those lectures, but he also went through a continuous course of theological study from the period of his entering the University.

Mr. Baines

had quoted the words of Professor Pusey.

The House divided on the Question, that the Bill do pass—Ayes 164; Noes 75: Majority 89.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Admiral Evans, G.
Aglionby, H. A. Ewart, W.
Althorp, Lord Ewing, J.
Attwood, T. Fenton, J.
Bainbridge, E. Ferguson, Sir R.
Baines, E. Fielden, W.
Barham, J. Fellowes, W.
Baring, F. T. Fleming, Admiral
Barnett, C. J. Fox, Lieut.-Colonel
Barron, W. French, F.
Barry, S. Gaskell, D.
Beauclerk, Major Gillon, W. D.
Berkeley, C. Grey, Colonel
Bernal, R. Grey, Sir G.
Bewes, J. Gordon, R.
Biddulph, R. Gronow, R. H.
Blamire, W. Hall, B.
Blake, M. J. Handley, B.
Briggs, R. Harland, W. C.
Brocklehurst, J. Hawes, B.
Brotherton, J. Hay, Lord
Brougham, W. Hawkins, J.
Buckingham, J. Hill, Lord M.
Bulteel, J. C. Howard, R.
Burton, H. Howard, P. H.
Byng, G. Hudson, T.
Calvert, N. Hurst, R. H.
Campbell, Sir J. Hutt, W.
Carter, J. B. Kennedy, J.
Chapman, M. L. Labouchere, H.
Chichester, J. P. B. Lambton, H.
Childers, J. W. Langdale, C.
Clay, W. Langston, J. H.
Clements Lord Lennard, Sir T. B.
Clive, E. B. Lennard, T. B.
Codrington, Sir E. Littleton, E. J.
Cookes, T. H. Lumley, Lord
Crompton, S. Lushington, Dr.
Dalmeny, Lord Lynch, A.
Davies, Colonel C. Macleod, R.
Denison, W. Macnamara, Major
Dillwyn, L. Mackenzie, J. A. S.
Divett, E. Maitland, T.
Duncombe, T. Marjoribanks, S.
Dundas, J. W. Methuen, P.
Ebrington, Lord Morpeth, Lord
Elliot, Captain Moreton, A.
Etwall, R. Mostyn, E. L.
Mullins, R. Stanley, E. J.
Murray, J. A. Stawell, Colonel
O'Connell, D. Stewart, P.
O'Connell, M. Stewart, R.
O'Connell, J. Sullivan, R.
O'Dwyer, A. C. Talbot, J.
Oliphant, L. Tancred, H. W.
O'Reilly, W. Tennyson, C.
Oswald, J. Thicknesse, R.
Palmerston, Lord Thomson, C. P.
Pease, J. Troubridge, Sir E.
Pelham, C. A. Torrens, Colonel
Pepys, Sir C. Tooke, W.
Perrin, L. Todd, R.
Petre, W. Tower, C.
Philips, M. Turner, W.
Pinney, W. Waddy, C.
Potter, R. Walker, C. S.
Poulter, J. Wallace, R.
Price, Sir R. Warburton, H.
Pringle, R. Wason, R.
Pryme, G. Waterpark, Lord
Pryse, P. Watson, W.
Rice, T. S. Wedgwood, J.
Richards, J. Whalley, Sir S.
Rider, T. Whitmore, W.
Rolfe, R. M. Wigney, J. N.
Rooper, J. B. Wilks, J.
Russell, Lord J. Williams, W. A.
Russell, J. F. Williams, G.
Ruthven, E. S. Winnington, H.
Ruthven, E. Wood, C.
Scholefield, J. Yelverton, W.
Scrope, P. Young, G. F.
Seale, Colonel TELLERS.
Shawe, R. N. Wood, G. W.
Stanley, H. T. Smith, R. V.
List of the NOES.
Archdall, M. Grimston, Lord
Arbuthnot, Hon. H. Harcourt, G. V.
Attwood, M. Hanmer, Colonel
Bankes, W. J. Hayes, Sir E.
Baring, A. Henniker, Lord
Baring, H. B. Herbert, Hon. S.
Blackstone, W. S. Herries, Rt. Hon. J.C.
Bolling, W. Hotham, Lord
Bruce, Lord E. Hughes, W. H.
Brudenell, Lord Inglis, Sir R.
Buller, J. W. Irton, S.
Campbell, Sir H. H. Jermyn, Earl
Chandos, Marquess of Jones, Captain
Colborne, N. W. R. Kerrison, Sir E.
Cole, Hon. A. H. Knatchbull, Sir E.
Corry, Hon. H. T. L. Langston, J. H.
Daly, J. Lefroy, T.
Dare, R. W. H. Lefroy, A.
Darlington, Earl of Lemon, Sir C.
Dugdale, W. S. Lincoln, Earl of
Duncombe, Hon. W. Lowther, Lord
Estcourt, T. G. B. Lowther, Colonel
Finch, G. Lyall, G.
Gladstone, T. Manners, Lord R.
Gladstone, W. E. Marryat, J.
Gordon, Hon. Capt. Maitland, T.
Goulburn, Rt. Hon. H. Meynell, Captain
Greene, T. Neale, Sir H.
Nicholl, J. Scarlett, Sir J.
Norreys, Lord Shaw, F.
Peel, Sir R. Sheppard, T.
Penruddocke, J. H. Sinclair, G.
Perceval, Colonel Somerset, Lord G.
Phillips, C. M. Stormont, Lord
Reid, Sir J. R. Trevor, Hon. It.
Ross, C. Villiers, Lord
Sandon, Lord Wall, C. B.
Sanderson, R. Young, J.