HC Deb 26 March 1835 vol 27 cc279-301
Mr. Tooke

asked if it was the intention of the Government to oppose the Motion of which he had given notice—namely, for an "Address to his Majesty, beseeching him to grant his royal charter of incorporation to the University of London, as approved in the year 1831, by the then law officers of the Crown, and containing no other restriction than against conferring degrees in divinity and in medicine?"

Mr. Goulburn

had no objection to state that it was his intention to propose an Amendment to that Motion.

Mr. Tooke

begged to inquire the nature of the Amendment. If the right hon. Gentleman would answer the question, it might have the effect of saving the time of the House.

Mr. Goulburn

said, he had no objection to do so; but it was difficult to state an Amendment without stating the reasons on which it was grounded. He would say, however, that the Amendment would be to the effect that his Majesty would be graciously pleased to order copies of the memorials which had been presented against this charter, together with an account of the proceedings before the Privy Council.

Mr. Tooke

was glad to hear that such was to be the Amendment. The question it involved might be very briefly disposed of by the House. He considered that the memorials were of little, if any, weight, and that the proceedings before the Privy Council were in fact no better than a blank sheet of paper. He said that he should content himself with laying before the House a plain statement of facts. In 1833, he brought forward a similar Motion to the present, but, on that occasion, he was induced to withdraw it under circumstances that would not, he hoped, cause the University to suffer any detriment by that withdrawal. Since that time the University of London had greatly increased in utility and in the number of the students that attended it, and this he looked upon as an additional reason for granting the charter for which he now applied. The charter was not sought for any sectarian purposes, but for the advantages of general education in the metropolis. Indeed, there were many members of the Church of England in the Council of the University, and this was sufficient to show that it bore no sectarian character. The charter applied for on the former occasion had actually been prepared, and had received the sanction of the three Law Officers of the Crown, and had passed through the offices of the Privy Seal and of the Secretary of State; but it was stopped in its progress by the refusal of the Great Seal. It was a matter of surprise that it had not been granted according to their recommendation. Time passed on, however, and memorials were, in 1833, presented from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, from the College of Surgeons, and the College of Physicians, and counsel was heard on both sides before the Privy Council, but no minute was made. The University did not desire to have any chair of theology, because it was considered the pupils might be instructed in their religious tenets and duties at home; nor did it desire to have the power of conferring degrees in divinity or in medicine. All it wanted was, the right to grant degrees in arts and in law, with probably the same initials as in the Universities at present recognised. These degrees they looked for in the expectation that they would be received by the public with that respect to which they were entitled from the value of the instruction therein. As to the proceedings before the Privy Council, they were of a very extraordinary character. He would not, however touch upon them, as they could be so much better explained by his learned Friend, the Member for the Tower Hamlets. Indeed he wished to reserve all that he might have to say on the subject for a reply in answer to any objections which, might be urged to his Motion, but there was one point to which he felt it necessary to advert immediately. An imputation had frequently been thrown out against this University, as belonging to a Joint Stock Company, as being a commercial speculation, and that, therefore, it should not have the privileges of the established Universities. Now, the fact was, the London University was not the property of a Joint Stock Company, in the ordinary sense of the word, nor was it a commercial speculation, because four per cent was the extreme limit of the interest they could receive upon their money. He considered that the claims of the institution to a charter were increasing daily. There were now 400 pupils. There was also a medical board, not to be surpassed by any other institution in the country. He trusted that London would be granted that privilege which was possessed by almost every other capital in Europe—the privilege of having a recognized University. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Address to the Crown.

Mr. Secretary Goulburn

observed that the hon. Gentleman had omitted the main point, which was, whether the House, without receiving any information as to what had taken place before the Privy Council and the proceedings which had followed, should, under the circumstances in which they stood, vote an address to the Crown, praying his Majesty to confer a Charter on this institution, and expressing in that Address the restrictions with which they wished that Charter might be granted. It should be recollected by the House that the hon. Member brought forward a similar Motion last Session, and that, on the recommendation of the noble Lord, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, he withdrew it, and the Question was referred to his Majesty, and to the responsible advisers of the Crown. The Question had undergone anxious investigation. It had been referred to the Privy Council, and this at a time most favourable to the interests of those concerned for the University, and then those parties who conceived that they were likely to be injured by the grant of this Charter stated the reasons which appeared to them conclusive against the grant. Yet, now the hon. Gentleman came forward again to ask them—without any knowledge of the proceedings before the Privy Council, or the objections to the grant that had been there stated—without any knowledge of the views of the Government, further than that they were aware that the charter had not been granted—to agree to an Address to the Crown respecting the exercise of its prerogative. He did not think it necessary to recommend to them by any lengthened argument an amendment which only required, before any further step was taken, that they should have that information which the hon. Member possessed, and perhaps some other hon. Members, but which was not known to the House collectively. He would move as an amendment that they should humbly address the Crown for a copy of the memorials in this case to the Privy Council, and a statement of its proceedings. He begged not to be considered as giving an opinion upon the question. It had been deliberated upon by the Privy Council and had received all the consideration compatible with the real nature of the case.

Sir Robert Inglis

hoped, that the House would not, upon the bare statement of the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion, agree to an Address of this nature. He did not intend to make this an occasion for going into the general question of the disabilities of Dissenters to enter the Universities, nor did he mean to say anything whatever that might be considered disrespectful to the Dissenting body. All he should deal with was, simply the Resolution before the House. He first objected to this Resolution, on the ground that it went to infringe the immediate prerogative of the Crown. ["Oh," from Mr. Hume.] He knew that this doctrine of the King's prerogative was not very popular, and that it was peculiarly unpalatable to the hon. Member for Middlesex. In the last year, this Charter was applied for under the most favourable circumstance in which it could be brought forward. The then Lord High Chancellor of England, was a member of the Council of the London University, and three other Cabinet Ministers besides, were also members of the same Council. Was there not, therefore, reason to suppose that everything that could be urged in its favour, was urged at that time? And yet it was found that the Charter was not granted, and that no decision was come to by the Privy Council upon it. Under these circumstances, he did not think that the House would be justified in addressing the Crown in such a case. But he opposed the Resolution upon another ground, which was, that the Motion was in direct variance with the declarations made in that House by Henry Brougham, when he brought in a Bill for the foundation of this very London University. The declaration was then made that no power was intended to be sought for to grant degrees of any sort. He might, indeed, be told, that what Henry Brougham had said in that House, or what Lord Brougham said in the other House, was not to be attended to.

Mr. Tooke

begged to correct the hon. Member. The London University, as it really existed, did not at all emanate from the proceedings of which the hon. Member spoke. It originated in a meeting that was held long subsequent to those proceedings.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, if the hon. Member was disposed to throw overboard what Henry Brougham or Lord Brougham had said, the time might come when what Mr. Tooke said might also be thrown overboard, as not binding this year any more than what Henry Brougham said six years ago. But it appeared that the present Motion applied for a Charter to grant degrees only in arts and in law. This, however, was merely an attempt to get the small end of the wedge in, when the rest was sure to follow in time. He objected, also, to the incorporation of this establishment, because it was calculated to interfere with a system of sound education in the metropolis. He felt convinced the result of granting such power, would be injurious to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. There was a petition presented from Oxford on the subject, in which it was stated that they would have no objection to the privilege of granting certain degrees. What they wanted was, that the degrees conferred by the London University, should not circulate as having equal authority with theirs. They might have equal value when the new University should become as distinguished for all the qualities that ought to belong to such institutions, as the old were. There was another consideration worthy of attention. He did not mean to impeach the solvency of individuals, when he said that property was one of the original elements of the London University. There were shares in it which were now as marketable as shares in any other speculation or business. Now, was a Joint-stock Company, that sort of body which ought, or could with propriety, be vested with the privilege of conferring degrees? What was the opinion expressed upon this point, not by one or two fellows of a College, but in a memorial delivered in to the Council, from the medical faculty of the City of London, by Lord Lansdowne. The memorialists there observed, that the London University was a Joint-stock Association, in which shares were bought and sold, and might, therefore, fall into the hands of any person, no matter how unfit. In the same memorial, it was stated, that when this institution was first suggested, it was spoken of as a scheme. Now, did not the word scheme, imply something not very respectable in its nature? There was nothing in the nature of this institution, whatever name it might assume, or under whatever initials the degrees might be conferred, that would imply the same standard of excellence, as those conferred by the old Universities. Even the M. A. of the Scotch was not considered an equivalent for those of the English Universities. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Tooke) said, no more was asked than the privilege of conferring degrees in arts and in medicine. He seemed to think it much that they did not ask to give degrees in divinity. Was he aware that the degrees in divinity conferred at Oxford and Cambridge, were few in number, compared to other degrees? Not being fully prepared for this question, he was not furnished with sufficient Returns. However, in the year 1832, there were 281 Bachelors' degrees, and 168 Masters' degrees, conferred in Oxford, while the degrees in divinity were not more than twelve. The hon. Gentleman, therefore, relinquished only that which was valueless, and retained what was of the greatest importance. Feeling that it would be inconsistent with the prerogative of the Crown, to grant such a Charter, contrary to the original declarations made when this institution was first proposed; that it would be injurious to the interests of the other Universities, unfair, also, to King's College, where there was as good a medical school, and as able professors, as at the University of London; that it would be injurious to the general course of education, and to grammar schools, established upon the faith that the present system was to continue, he must oppose the Motion. It must have the effect of doing great injury to the cause of education, if the same degree, which at Oxford was a test of religious education, could be conferred by a University which had no religious education in its system of instruction.

DR. Lushington

said, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) opposed the Motion on the ground that the House was not in possession of sufficient information. The right hon. Gentleman said the memorials laid before the Privy Council upon this subject, and the proceedings which arose out of them, the arguments and discussions, ought to be first before the House. The right hon. Gentleman had ample time for perusing all these documents. Had he produced any arguments from these documents they might perhaps afford reason for rejecting the Motion altogether, but their absence afforded no reason for delay. The right hon. gentleman was well aware that the memorials or arguments of Counsel would have no effect upon the House, otherwise he would have availed himself of them upon this occasion. The Members for both Universities were in that House, and if there were any solid objections to this Motion they could easily have stated them on the part of the Universities. His hon. Friend (Sir Robert Inglis) said, it would be interfering with the prerogative of the Crown to grant the Motion. What interference was it with the prerogative of the Crown to ask his Majesty to exercise it for the benefit of the country? Would it be said that Oxford and Cambridge were sufficient to fill up the void which now existed in the public education of this country? Were they extensive or economical enough? They were notoriously so expensive that education in them must be confined to persons in a high rank of life. They could not effect the purpose proposed by the University of London. What was that purpose? Why, to afford the opportunities for education to the children of the vast population of London, consisting of all sects and persuasions. How many persons were there who, having witnessed the expense, the inconveniences, and evils, of education at a distance from home wished to have their children under their own eye? As his hon. Friend (Sir Robert Inglis) would exclude the great body of the Dissenters from education in Oxford and Cambridge he ought, in common justice and humanity, to be disposed to grant the privilege now sought for. His hon. Friend said, the value of the degree would be less. No person ever thought a degree in a modern as valuable as one in an ancient University; but grant the power and the Professors would naturally feel anxious so to exert themselves in the cause of education as to bring respect to the degrees conferred by the institution. If the degree of Oxford and Cambridge was entitled to such high distinction, they need not apprehend any injury from a rival institution. The hon. Baronet and his Friends might depend upon it, that it would be no disadvantage to the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford to allow another institution to compete with them in the race. Excellence in degrees of learning was best obtained, as in other objects of human desire and exertion, by competition. It had been urged that a degree conferred at the London University would be obtained without religious education. This was hardly a fair representation of the case, for although degrees obtained at the London University would not be, as they were, at the other Universities, a test of education in the established religion, it did not follow that it was a principle of the University of London to throw religious education entirely out of the question. Instruction in a particular form of religion, it was not insisted the students should receive; but they were left to be placed under the religious guidance of such instructors as their parents or guardians might select in their own homes. His hon. Friend (Sir Robert Inglis) said the charter was now under consideration, that the question was sub judice. [Sir Robert Inglis: I did not say sub judice.] No, but something equivalent. The late Government had no objection to grant a charter, and it would he an extraordinary course if the memorials and arguments which were addressed to a Privy Council under a former Government were to be decided on by another Privy Council. He was quite willing to leave the question on its own merits. If there was any one thing more conducive than another to the general welfare of the people of England it was that they should be left freely to cultivate the talents which God gave them.

Lord Francis Egerton

said, that as he intended to vote for the Amendment of his right hon. Friend, he was anxious to guard himself against the supposition of being disposed to quash the proposition of the hon. Member for Truro. Enter- taining the highest respect for the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, he must confess that if he had to judge of this question by the speech delivered by him compared with that just delivered by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, he must vote with the latter. In fact, he did not apprehend those dangers and inconveniences which had been so much dwelt upon by the hon. Baronet, nor did he think that the interests of sound education would suffer from the incorporation of the University of London. He could not forget, however, that acceding to the Motion would, in effect, be to found a dissenting University. He confessed that he was unfortunate enough to entertain scruples—he said unfortunate, because he considered it a misfortune—to entertain scruples which he did not see any likelihood of being removed, to the admission of Dissenters to Oxford and Cambridge: and, for this reason, he was disposed to countenance some central institution for the education of the Dissenters; and he did not doubt, were such an one established, that their numbers and wealth would enable them, whilst their knowledge induced them, to give it greater support than, as far as he could ascertain, they had yet given to the University of London. What, however, determined him to vote for the Amendment in preference to the original proposition was, that he had not information sufficient whereon to ground his opinion. It was the favourable feeling he entertained to the general proposition, that made him anxious to obtain information to guide him in his course. As a subscribing Member to the University, he could not now say, that he even had information enough to induce him to consent to the exclusions the hon. Mover was willing to make. Till he had further information, he was unwilling to decide that this institution had not qualifications for bestowing the very degrees the hon. Member was willing to take from under its control. For this reason he should vote for the Amendment.

Mr. Warburton

said, that although the noble Lord had concluded by expressing his determination to vote for the Amendment, he confessed, considering the views generally taken by the hon. Gentlemen who now occupied the Treasury Bench, and with whom the noble Lord was associated, upon the subject of education, he had not heard the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord without some feeling of mitigated satisfaction. It was true, that noble Lord, in common with those with whom he acted, was determined to oppose the Motion, but still his opposition had been expressed in terms infinitely more liberal than the House was accustomed to hear from the Treasury Benches. He (Mr. Warburton) would venture to affirm, that a similar proposition, made in behalf of such a body as that of the London University, would have been very differently treated by any Government that might have been in power 150 years ago. After the discussions that had already taken place upon the subject—after the course adopted with respect to it in the last Session of Parliament, he confessed he was surprised to hear the objections that was now urged against the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Truro. It was asserted by the hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the London University was a mere stock-jobbing concern, and that the professors and other parties interested in it looked only to the amount of profit that might be derived from it. Never was an assertion made more completely destitute of foundation. The profits, if any, derived from the Institution were limited to four per cent, so that, under any circumstances, it could not be regarded as a speculation into which parties would enter with a view to pecuniary profit. Yet it was constantly thrown in the teeth of those who came forward to advocate its interests, and to endeavour to obtain for it a charter, that it was a mere stock-jobbing company, and that the only object in empowering it to confer degrees was to make it more profitable. This was one of the chief grounds upon which the charter was objected to. Another argument used by the hon. Gentlemen opposite was, that the Report, if it were deemed of such importance, ought to have been more strongly pressed in the last Session of Parliament, when the parties generally supposed to be most favourable to the London University were in power. "Why," said the hon. Gentlemen, "did you not press the question under the former Administration?" The answer was obvious: the parties then in power were generally favourable to the admission of Dissenters to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and, consequently, the incorporation of the University of London was not deemed a matter of so much importance; but now that the Government was composed of persons known to be directly hostile to the admission of Dissenters to the other Universities, it became of paramount necessity that no time should be lost in pressing the claims of the University of London. If there were anything in the argument that had been advanced, that the chief desire of the friends of the London University, in obtaining for it the power of conferring degrees, was to increase its profitableness; if the sole motive were considered to be one of profit, the same argument would apply with equal force to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, because those Universities had throughout the whole of the discussions upon this subject been most anxious to maintain their monopoly of granting degrees in the arts and sciences. "Do not interfere with our monopoly in this respect," exclaimed they; "we do not care about degrees in divinity and medicine; but touch not our degrees in the arts—that is the source from which we derive our profit—that is tabooed ground—touch it not." But if the right hon. Gentleman opposite thought that the professors of the London University might have too great an interest in multiplying degrees, let them come forward with a proposition to establish one general University for London, comprehending the King's College, as well as the London University, and let them appoint a set of examiners of their own to determine upon the granting of degrees wholly independant of the professors of the two Colleges. If the right hon. Baronet, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would pledge himself to adopt that course, he (Mr. Warburton) would withdraw his support to the proposition now brought forward by the hon. and learned Member for Truro; but unless he had an assurance to that effect, he should certainly recommend his hon. and learned Friend to press his Motion to a division.

Mr. Baring

, notwithstanding the sweeping charge of illiberality which the hon. Member for Bridport had brought against those who sat upon the Treasury Bench, begged to remind the hon. Member that he was one of the earliest subscribers to the London University; and having been one of the earliest subscribers, he certainly was enabled to confirm one of the observations that had fallen from the hon. Member. The idea of the University having been established with a view only to the profit of the subscribers, was wholly unfounded. Those Gentlemen were actuated by a generous desire to diffuse the benefits of education, and he rejoiced that their proceedings had caused the establishment of King's College. If three or four similar institutions were hereafter to be founded, he should experience still greater gratification. But he begged to call the attention of the House to the real question for their consideration. It was whether it would be useful to these establishments to have the privilege of conferring degrees exactly the same as those conferred at Oxford and Cambridge? Now, he did not understand what it was, that prevented the London University from giving other academic distinctions, which would be of equal service to the students. The Universities wanted no charter to do this, and they might entitle the distinction in whatever way they pleased. The Question had several times been brought before the House, and in what position did it now stand? It was brought forward when the hon. Gentlemen opposite were in power—it was referred to the Privy Council, of which the great patron of the institution was a member—it was, of course, very maturely considered by them, yet up to the removal of the late Ministers from office, no step had been taken upon the subject. Surely, then, it was fair for him to presume that the late Government had found some difficulty standing in their way which prevented them from immediately recommending the Crown to grant a Charter of incorporation to the University; and if such a difficulty interposed between the Members of the late Administration, and the object to which they were all supposed to be favourable, surely it was not too much to say, that the present Government ought to be allowed to pause before such an address as that proposed by the hon. Member for Truro were presented to the Crown. At all events, the House ought to know what took place when the question was examined by the Privy Council before it called upon the Crown to grant a Charter in precise and express terms. He (Mr. Baring) would suggest to the Gentlemen who sat upon the Liberal benches, whether the concession of this power to the London University, to the exclusion of the other schools in the metropolis, would not be to give it that very monopoly which they complained of in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Never having entertained the slighest hostility to the London University, he must still fairly confess that that part of it which had since grown up, and which was not contemplated by those by whom it was originally established—he meant education unaccompanied with religious instruction—he could not approve of. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by expressing his determination to vote for the Amendment moved by his right hon. Friend, the member for the University of Cambridge. [Cries of "Question!" and "Divide."]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

rose and said, I take it for granted, from the general demand that is made in the lower part of the House for an immediate division, that the Gentlemen assembled there are perfectly acquainted with the nature of the Motion on which they are going to divide, that they have maturely weighed the proposal upon which they are going to address the Crown, and, therefore, that they consider there no longer remains any necessity for further discussion; but, to those who are not exactly aware—to that portion of the House which not having heard the argument [a number of Members had just entered the House] cannot be acquainted with the nature of the proposal upon which we are going to pronounce an opinion, I take the liberty of reading the Motion. It is in these words: "That the House do agree to an Address to his Majesty, beseeching him to grant his Royal Charter of incorporation to the University of London, as approved in the year 1831 by the then Law Officers of the Crown, and continuing no other restrictions than against conferring Degrees in Divinity and in Medicine." No man who has not read the Report of the then Law Officers of the Crown, or does not know the contents of it, is very well qualified to press the restrictions specified in the Motion upon the Crown. The address is to grant a charter of incorporation, but to grant it upon the principle approved of by the Law Officers of the Crown in 1831. Now, I ask the House of Commons whether it be decorous to proceed on a certain night to address the Sovereign of this country to grant a charter to a certain body according to the mode approved of by the Law Officers of the Crown some years since, without having maturely weighed the scheme of which the Law Officers of the Crown so approved? Will hon. Gentlemen consent that I should examine them severally upon the opinions expressed upon the Report of the Law Officers of the Crown, in order that I may ascertain, out of the 300 or 400 Members who are about to pronounce an opinion upon it, how many have maturely considered the recommendation of 1831? The Law Officers of the Crown, who were consulted in that year, proposed these restrictions upon the charter—that it should convey no power to the University to grant degrees in divinity and medicine. It may be very obvious and right, in the opinion of many Gentlemen, to restrict the right of giving degrees in divinity, but why impose the restriction with respect to medicine? Why address the Crown to exercise its discretion in the grant of a charter, but limit the grant by the expression of some opinions to-night, and exclude the Crown from granting a charter for conferring degrees in medicine? I have an account in my hand of the state of the University of London in 1831. It had then 480 students, of whom 293 were students in medicine, 113 students in the arts, and 74 students in law. Am I to address the Crown to-night to give the privilege to the University of conferring degrees upon the 74 students in law, and upon the 113 students in the arts, but to exclude the 293 who are students in medicine? This question has been brought before the House on former occasions. No longer ago than last year it was submitted to Parliament, and taken into consideration by the Crown, and by his Majesty it was referred to the Privy Council. Suppose the House should agree to address the Crown again on the present occasion, what course is the Crown to pursue? Is it again to refer the matter to the Privy Council? Or is the Crown, having once referred it to the Privy Council, and having received no Report from it, to disparage the labours of the Privy Council, and to grant the charter without reference to it? that is the question which the Crown must determine if this address be presented. The matter was referred to the Privy Council because the King thought it was but right to give the parties who were adverse to the proposition, an oppor- tunity of being heard. What course is now to be adopted? If the Crown is not to exclude the Privy Council, is it to refer the matter again to the Privy Council? The hon. Member for Bridport says, he thinks that some better mode might be devised than granting a charter to the University of London. If the hon. Gentleman is of opinion that some better course might be pursued than that which is proposed to-night, why should not the House of Commons take his advice, and at least pause before it agrees to such an address as that now proposed? The hon. Gentleman says he thinks it would be better not to confer any exclusive charter upon the University of London, but to establish one general and common University for the metropolis, including the King's College and other schools, as well as the particular establishment now under consideration. Then, why am I to be called upon to-night to present an address to the Crown, praying that a charter may be conferred upon the University of London? The hon. Member for Bridport says, that those who sit on this side of the House are not in the habit of adopting liberal opinions. [Mr. Warburton: Were not.] Does the hon. Gentleman mean in the course of the last year? In the course of the discussions that have taken place upon this subject, the strongest opinions have been expressed against granting a charter to this University. I do not recollect ever having expressed a strong opinion upon the subject; but the strongest objection that presents itself to my mind to the proposition now before us is to be found in the proceedings adopted last year at the instance of the hon. Gentlemen then in the Government, but who now sit on the opposite side of the House, and by whom this very question of granting a charter to the University of London was submitted to the Crown, and by the Crown referred, as I have before stated, to the Privy Council. A committee of the Privy Council was appointed—they received the petition of the parties adverse to the grant of the charter, or at least anxious that it should be accompanied with certain qualifications—they heard the evidence—they heard the speeches of counsel on both sides—they heard a very able speech from my learned Friend Sir Charles Wetherell—they heard a speech from the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Dr. Lushington)—they took the whole subject into their consideration, but to this hour they have never given any opinion upon it ["Hear, hear!"]. "Hear, hear!" says the hon. Gentleman opposite with a sort of triumphant laugh. I am only answering the charge he has made upon the hon. Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House as to the great obstructions that they have ever been disposed to throw in the way of education. I presume, from what I have stated, that there must have appeared some good and valid ground for withholding the grant of the charter, especially as the late Lord Chancellor was one of the committee of the Privy Council which was appointed to inquire into the matter. I find, by a paper in my hand, that the members of that Committee were the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Brougham, the Archbishop of York, Lord Lansdowne, Lord Ripon, the Duke of Richmond, Earl Grey, Lord Eldon ["Hear!"], the Earl of Carlisle ["Hear!"]. Surely if the hon. Gentlemen opposite cheered the name of one of those noble Lords, they ought to groan at the other. I continue: Lord John Russell, the Bishop of London, Lord Holland, Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Denman, Chief Justice Tindal, Lord Melbourne, and Lord Stanley. This committee was constituted by the late Government; it met, and gave the greatest attention to the subject. It sat upon the 26th of April and on the 3rd of May. The late administration did not quit office until the 13th of November. And why, having considered this matter fully, having heard the speeches of counsel on both sides—speeches which certainly did justice to the subject, in point of length, as well as in ability—why, having heard all this, and closed their proceedings on the 3rd of May, they never took a single step upon the subject up to the 13th of November, I confess, I for one, cannot understand, unless they felt that there was some serious difficulty, legal or constitutional, that stood in the way of granting the charter. If that were really the case, what course is the Crown now to pursue? Is it again to refer the matter to the Privy Council? ["No, no!"] It is not to do so; it is not to ask again for the opinion of Lord Brougham or Lord Denman?

Mr. Tooke

rose to explain. The right hon. Baronet had alluded to several Reports of the Law-officers of the Crown not having been produced. He thought that the right hon. Baronet was hardly aware that the paper which had that day been printed, and as yet but very imperfectly delivered to hon. Members, did instance a charter which was issued upon the Report of the Attorney and Solicitor-General, which passed through the Home Secretary's office, through the Signet office, through the Privy Council, and which twice received his Majesty's Sign Manual. It was to carry into effect the recommendations of that Committee, that he (Mr. Tooke) brought forward his Motion.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

The hon. Gentleman refers to a paper which he admits has been very imperfectly delivered. Was there ever such a farce. He holds in his hand a paper which he admits has been very imperfectly delivered this afternoon.

Mr. Tooke

I am not fairly treated by the right hon. Baronet.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

Then I must have misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. I understood him to say, that the paper was not printed until to-day, and that as yet it had been but very imperfectly distributed. But I will not dwell upon the point. I proceed. I have described the proposition of the hon. Member for Truro. Now what is the proposal of my right hon. Friend, the Member for the University of Cambridge? He proposes an amendment, praying his Majesty to give directions that there be laid before the House, not merely the proceedings before the Privy Council, but copies of the Memorials presented to, and the proceedings had before, the Privy Council, in the matter of the London University. I conceive that the House, being in possession of all those documents, will be better able to determine what course it will be proper to pursue, than it can be at the present moment. The hon. Member for Bridport says, that he shall feel it to be his duty to press the question to a division, unless I will pledge myself to take the adoption of a particular plan which he has pointed out, into my serious consideration? I will not, for the purpose of evading the temporary difficulty, give any pledge of the kind required by the hon. Member. If the House shall think it decorous to proceed to an Address to the Crown, praying that a Charter may be granted to the University, as settled by the Law-officers in 1831—if it shall be prepared to say to-night, that the Charter when granted, shall include a restriction on medical degrees, let it pursue that course. I say openly, that, in my opinion, it will be an unwise and an improper course. I believe that the course pointed out by my right hon. Friend would be much more safe and much more satisfactory. It precludes nothing—it prejudices no future proceeding—it only enables the House to form a better judgment upon the question. But feeling my objections to the Motion of the hon. Member for Truro to be well founded, I say on this occasion, as I say on every other, rather would I be found in a minority, and throw the responsibility of what I conceive to be an unjust and unwise proceeding upon the majority, than acquiesce in any proposition for the purpose of escaping an occasional or temporary difficulty. I feel, Sir, that it is not proper for the House to present this address to his Majesty. I feel that the presentation of such an Address will not in any way facilitate the object which the hon. Member has in view. My past experience convinces me of the justness of these feelings; and, therefore, upon these combined grounds, I cannot give my consent to the Motion before the House. At the same time, Sir, while I say this, I do feel that the position of that portion of his Majesty's subjects who do not conform to the Church of England, and who, in consequence of their not submitting to certain religious tests, are excluded from the Universities, is deserving of attention. It is a ground of just complaint for them, and their claim to academical honours is not fairly and fully met. As to what may be the proper mode in which these honours should be conferred. I am not prepared to say, but I do not make this statement for the purpose of entrapping the House, nor will I give any pledge on the subject. Let the House take that course which it, in its wisdom, thinks fit, without my interposition. But, at the same time, it is right that I should not withhold the expression of my opinion; or refrain from declaring that I myself have no objection to some provision being made that should accord to Protestant Dissenters, who are excluded from the Universities, the power of acquiring academical distinctions. But that is a question which will demand very great consideration; and which, in my judgment, is very different from what is now proposed to be acceded to by the House. I do not ap- prehend, Sir, that the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge which now object to granting a Charter to the London University, ever objected to that University granting degrees, and that the objection was narrowed to that Charter conferring the power to grant honorary titles which might be confounded with the University honours of Oxford and Cambridge. I believe, Sir, there exists no objection to the London University granting degress in the arts and in the law, specifying, in the diplomas, upon what authority those grants are made. At all events, this is a matter worthy of consideration. I hope, Sir, that I have dealt with the House perfectly fair. I repeat, I make no pledge, and give no assurance upon the subject; because I have not yet given the matter the consideration which it deserves. I think the Motion of the hon. Member for Truro an unreasonable one; and I prefer the Amendment of my right hon. Friend, because I conceive it to be the only course which the House can with propriety adopt in the present state of this question. I shall conclude by declaring, with great deference to the authority of the House, my respectful opinion that its decisions will acquire much greater authority if adopted after mature deliberation, and much greater weight will belong to them, if they are known to be the result of dispassionate discussion, and formed after the House shall have received the information that is within its reach. I hope the House will not come to a hasty resolve in favour of the terms in which the Charter should be granted to the London University, especially when the hon. Member for Bridport has stated, that those terms ought to be more extended, and when it is very doubtful whether medical degrees should be excluded from the Charter or not.

Lord John Russell

said, that when the right hon. Baronet acknowledged that the claims of the Dissenters to admission to Universities were well grounded, and when he said that those who did not conform to the Church of England should have an opportunity of obtaining academical honours, he wished that the right hon. Baronet had, at the same time, pointed out some way in which the House could have expressed its acquiescence in his opinion. But while the right hon. Baronet allowed the justice of the claim under consideration he did not point out any mode by which it could be satisfied. The right hon. Baronet could not say, that the Motion "took him by surprise." The notice was sufficiently long before the House, and time enough had been afforded for the production of the Memorial. If it were the opinion of the right hon. Baronet that some better, some more enlarged course should have been adopted, he had had full time for taking the matter into consideration, and for developing the plan which he should recommend the Government to adopt. The present position of the House with regard to this question, he begged to say, was not that in which it stood last year; because the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge having opposed the admission of Dissenters into those two Universities, and having succeeded in their opposition in the other House of Parliament, and having the power, by their rules and regulations, to exclude Dissenters, they thus stood forward and said, that not only should these persons be excluded from the ancient Universities, but that an institution which had been established at the expense of 150,000l., and which was fully capable of teaching learning and the arts, should not have the power of conferring honours and degrees. This was deemed a grievance by the Dissenters, and ought to be remedied. The House had been told by the right hon. Baronet, who had argued the case with ability, that what the Universities objected to was, that the London University should confer the title of master and bachelor of arts. He know that there was a certain degree of honour attached to these names, and that they conveyed with them the idea of proficiency and skill; but if new names were to be employed in the London University, for the mere purpose of making a distinction between the degrees which were conferred in Oxford and Cambridge, and those which were conferred in London,—and if the new names were not to carry with them the weight attached to the old ones,—persons who were prevented from entering into the old Universities would still be deprived of those distinctions to which they were entitled, although they might be able to obtain all the academical honours which could be conferred by the new. The right hon. Baronet and the right hon. the President of the Board of Trade had referred to what had passed on this subject before the Privy Council. He (Lord John Rus- sell) bad been present at that Council, and he had heard with attention the arguments of his hon. and learned Friend near him (Dr. Lushington), as well as the hon. and learned Gentleman who had spoken on the part of the ancient Universities. The great objection appeared to him, and he believed all the Council thought so, to be not so much on the part of the two Universities as on the part of the medical schools of London, and he thought that the other schools of London would be entitled to confer medical decrees, if that power was given to the University of London. The Member for Bridport had said, that it would not be desirable to give the London University the power of conferring medical degrees, and the objection which he (Lord John Russell) had just stated was the principal ground of the proposed restriction. On the whole, the matter appeared to be of so much importance, that the Council did not come to an immediate decision. But he was surprised that the right hon. Baronet should have been ignorant of the fact, and should have believed that the Council had done nothing on the subject. Why, Lord Brougham had been employed almost constantly on the subject. A fortnight did not pass without his (Lord John Russell) receiving a communication from his noble and learned Friend on the subject of granting a Charter to the University of London, and how it could be reconciled with other institutions. During the noble and learned Lord's journey into Scotland, he had been very much employed on this subject, and the noble and learned Lord had sent him a voluminous paper on the question. It was not a matter of ridicule or of scorn that a person of high legal station should occupy himself in advancing literature and science. He could say of Lord Brougham, that whatever were his political or legal pursuits, he (Lord John Russell) never knew a time when that noble and learned Lord did not evince the greatest anxiety for, and was not ready to devote a large portion of his time to, the advancement of science and of art. Then it came to this, that the late Government, and Lord Brougham especially, had been anxiously occupied in considering, first, whether it was possible to obtain the consent of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to Protestant Dissenters taking degrees in those Universities; secondly, if that failed, whether a charter should be given to the London University, to enable Protestant Dissenters to take degrees therein; and thirdly, whether any other large and combined plan could be devised which should extend to the London University and other schools; and he had not heard from the right hon. Baronet that there was any disposition on the part of Government to pledge itself to introduce a measure which would afford to Protestant Dissenters a prospect of obtaining the literary honours they naturally coveted. He might mention many names of men eminent for learning, though not endowed with rich pluralities, who were gratified by literary honours; he would only mention the name of one such, Dr. Lardner, who, at the end of his life, received a degree from a Scotch University, and acknowledged that it could not but be agreeable to literary men, whatever their religious tenets, to receive an honour of that kind. Protestant Dissenters who dedicated their talents to the fame of their country, and to the promotion of its literature, might, indeed, receive an honour from Scotland; but there should be a place in England where they might obtain literary honours, although they could not sign the articles of the church of England. He admitted that there might be some objections to the charter of 1831, and he wished the hon. Member for Truro had omitted some of his observations on it; but still, having no hope afforded him by the right hon. Baronet that Government would adopt any measure on the subject, and having to choose between two alternatives, he should concur in the motion of the hon. Member.

Mr. Estcourt

wished to correct a misapprehension which had run through the whole discussion, on the part of the hon. Member on the other side of the House. But before he did so, he must say, that he hailed with satisfaction the observations of the noble Lord, for he thought there could not be a stronger reason for acceding to the proposition of the Secretary of State for the Home Department than the noble Lord's statement of the assiduity which the Privy Council had applied to this question, and he thought that the House would be unjustly treated, if it was not put in possession of the result of the consideration of the Privy Council. The paper which had been exhibited to the House, and of which it had had an account from the hon. Member for Truro, he had never heard of before. The Gentlemen on the other side had argued the case as if the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were adverse to the institution of the London University, as a place for diffusing education. That, however, was not the case. They had no wish to prevent the grant of a charter to that institution, or that the charter should not contain a provision to enable it to confer academical honours. When gentlemen pressed the point so strongly, it was but just to the University of Oxford to read the sentiments expressed in the petition of the University to the king, and which had been referred to the Privy Council, wherein they stated that they were by no means desirous that an institution formed for the promotion of education and science should be restrained from bestowing marks of honour on its members; but such marks of honour, they said, in civil law and theology, should not bear the same titles as those conferred by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Why not?—because the degrees conferred by the Universities of Oxford were adopted as a criterion for placing individuals in situations of great trust. That view was, he thought, correct, for many bequests were made, with the condition that, having a degree in arts, an A.M., was a qualification to their enjoyment. Now, it was obviously contemplated that the advantage should be confined to those possessing a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, while this object would be defeated if another establishment were privileged to confer the same honour under the same title. The hon. Member concluded, amid reiterated cries of "Question question," by supporting the Amendment.

The House divided on the original Motion: Ayes 246; Noes 136—Majority 110.

List of the AYES.
Acheson, Viscount Brotherton, J.
Adam, Admiral Bannerman, A.
Aglionby H. A. Barham, J.
Agnew, Sir A. Brocklehurst, J.
Ainsworth, P. Bish, T.
Angerstein, J. Barry, G. S.
Astley, Sir J. Buller, E.
Attwood, T. Bowring, Dr.
Barclay, D. Bernal, R.
Bridgeman, H. Bulwer, H. L.
Brodie, W. Byng, Sir J.
Berkeley, Hon. C. Beauclerk, Major
Blake, M. J. Bodkin, John James
Burton, H. Baines, E.
Blamire, W. Bowes, J.
Berkeley, Captain Buckingham, J. S.
Byng, G. Heathcoat, J.
Bewes, T. Howard, E.
Biddulph, R. Howard, P. H.
Barnard, E. G. Ingham, R.
Beauvoir, Sir J. D. Johnston, A.
Bellew, Sir P. Johnston, H.
Bellew, R. M. Kennedy, J.
Chichester, J. P. B. Labouchere, H.
Crawford, W. S. Lennox, Lord G.
Cavendish, C. Lennox, A.
Clive, E. B. Lemon, Sir C.
Crewe, Sir G. Locke, W.
Carter, B. Lambton, H.
Crawley, S. Leader, J. H.
Clements, Lord Littleton, Rt. Hn. E. J.
Cowper, Francis Lennard, T. B.
Chalmers, P. Loch, J.
Colborne, R. Lefevre, C. S.
Collier, John Lopes, Sir R.
Cavendish, Hon. G. H. Long, C.
Codrington, Sir E. Lushington, Dr.
Denison, W. J. Lushington, C.
Duncombe, T. Lynch, A. H.
Dalmeny, Lord Methuen, P.
Divett, E. Morpeth, Viscount
Dobbin, L. M'Taggart, J.
Denistoun, A. Macleod, R.
Etwall, R. Maxwell, J.
Ebrington, Lord Musgrave, Sir R.
Euston, Lord Mackenzie, J. A. S.
Ewart, W. Murray, J.
Fergusson, J. Martin, J.
Fergusson, C. Marsland, H.
Ferguson, R. Maher, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. Mosely, Sir O.
Finn, W. F. Marjoribanks, S.
Fleetwood, P. H. M'Cance, J.
Fitzsimon, C. Mullins, F. W.
Fitzsimon, N. Maule, C. Fox
Fitzroy, Lord C. Murray, J. A.
Fort, J. Marsland, T.
Fielden, J. Nagle, Sir R.
Fellows, N. North, F.
Fazakerley, J. N. O'Brien, W. S.
Gaskell, D. O'Brien, C.
Gully, J. O'Connell, D.
Grattan, H. O'Connell, J.
Gisborne, T. O'Connell, M. J.
Grey, Sir G. Bt. O'Connell, M.
Goring, H. D. O'Conor, Don.
Grattan, J. O'Dwyer, C.
Gordon, R. Oliphant, L.
Gillon, P. O'Loghlen, Serjeant
Grote, G. Ord, W.
Heron, Sir R. Oswald, J.
Hindley, C. Oswald, R. A.
Hardy, J. Price, Sir R.
Hobhouse, Sir J. Perrin, Serjeant
Hoskins, K. Phillips, M.
Holland, Edward Pinney, W.
Harvey, D. W. Parnell, Sir H.
Hodges, T. Power, J.
Hume, J. Pattison, J.
Hutt, W. Potter, R,
Hodges, T. L. Pease, J.
Hay, Colonel, L. Parrott, J.
Hawkins, J. H. Plumptre, J. P.
Harland, W. C. Phillips, G.
Palmer, Gen. Strutt, E.
Pepys, Sir C. Tynte, C. K.
Ponsonby, G. Thornely, T.
Power, P. Trelawney, Sir W. L. S.
Ramsden, J. C. Tennent, J. E.
Ramsbottom, J. Tracey, C. H.
Rundle, J. Talbot, J. H.
Rice, Rt. Hon. T. S. Troubridge, Sir T.
Richards, J. Tancred, H.
Rickford, W. Tulk, C. A.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Vivian, J. H.
Rippon, C. Verney, Sir H.
Robarts, A. W. Vivian, Major
Roche, W. Villiers, C.
Rolfe, R. M. Williams, Sir James
Ronayne, D. Williams, W. A.
Russell, Lord J. Williams, W.
Russell, Lord W. Wilks, J.
Ruthven, E. Walker, R.
Ruthven, E. S. White, S.
Scholefield, J. Westenra, Colonel
Scott, E. D. Wallace, R.
Scott, J. W. Wemyss, Captain
Scourfield, W. H. Wood, C.
Seale, Colonel Wood, Ald. M.
Sharpe, General Warburton, H.
Sheppard, T. Wilbraham, G.
Sheil, R. L. Welby, G. E.
Simeon, Sir R. Whalley, Sir S.
Sinclair, G. Wrightson, W. B.
Smith, B. Wigney, I. N.
Smith, T. Wilson, H.
Smith, Hon. R. Winnington, H. J.
Smith, J. A. Williamson, Sir H.
Spiers, Captain Wakley, T.
Spry, Sir S. Walker, C.
Stewart, Sir M. S. Wyse, T.
Stewart, R. Younge, G. F.
Stuart, Lord D. TELLERS.
Stuart, Lord J. Stanley, E. J.
Strickland, Sir G. Tooke, W.