HC Deb 28 April 1852 vol 120 cc1228-60

Order for Second Reading, read.

MR. MONCREIFF moved the Second Reading of this Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


said, he had hoped that the hon. and learned Gentleman the late Lord Advocate, in making this Motion, would have stated the grounds upon which he asked the House to assent to it. This was no new question either to the House or the country, but yet it was not one in which the people of Scotland and England had so little interest that it might be allowed to pass sub silentio upon the mere naked and unsupported Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The petitions that had been presented in favour of this Bill were numerically insignicant as compared with the population of Scotland; whilst, on the other hand, the petitions, together with the weight of the signatures attached to them, presented against the Bill, ought to make the House pause before it adopted a measure like the present, so subversive of the character of the Scotch Universities, of the position of the Church of Scotland, so detrimental generally to public education, and so adverse to the national feeling. This question must be regarded in various, aspects: first, as it regarded the Church of Scotland; next, as it regarded the parochial establishments connected with that Church; thirdly, as it thereby affected the Universities; and, finally and principally, as it affected the moral and religious education of the vast body of the people. In the year 1688 the Presbyterian form of Church Government was established in Scotland, and was ratified and confirmed by the Act of 1690. Subsequently to this came the Treaty of Union and the Act of Security in 1707, which was not an ordinary Act of Parliament, but a solemn compact between one Kingdom and another, containing guarantees and engagements which were mutually agreed upon. By that Act greater security was provided for the Protestant religion, and for the worship and discipline of the Church of Scotland, by ordaining that the Universities and Colleges of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh, as then established by law, should be perpetuated within this Kingdom; and that in all time to come no professor, principal, teacher, or other person, bearing office in either of these institutions, should be capable of being admitted to exercise their functions unless they subscribed to the Confession of Faith of the Established Church, conformed to its practice, were subject to its discipline, and promised never, either directly or indirectly, to do anything that would subvert the same. That was an essential part of the solemn engagement entered into by the Legislature, upon which the Union of the two countries was based; and nothing short of the most irresistible reasons should induce that House to break through that engagement. He was aware that it might be said that the tests imposed had not at all times been rigidly enforced; but the original object was to obtain for the people of Scotland some guarantee that the teachers in the Scotch Universities should have sound religious principles, and be attached to the faith of their forefathers; and the effect produced by the practices which had existed for 150 years in that country had shown that the practical working of the system had proved most beneficial to the country. To what country could they refer where the education of the people was more moral or religious than it was in Scotland? What country had produced so many signal instances of moral worth among the lower ranks of the people, or greater success in the branches of industry to which they applied themselves in all parts of the world? The character of a people was always strongly moulded by the institutions under which they lived; and he believed that no institution in Scotland was so valuable as the parochial schools in connexion with the Universities of that country. In the year 1826, some relaxation having taken place in the enforcement of these tests, a Royal Commission, consisting of the most eminent persons connected with Scotland, was issued to inquire into the mode of inducting to the professors' chairs of the Scotch Universities; and the result of that inquiry was, that the Commissioners, with one exception, unanimously reported in favour of the continuance of the tests which it was, the object of this Bill to abolish; and not only so, but the Commissioners made a special recommendation that the tests should in all cases be enforced. The hon. Gentleman, who had introduced the Bill last year, quoted a passage from the Report of the Commission appointed in the year, 1830, from which he appeared to deduce a most extraordinary argument to urge before a body of English gentlemen. The hon. and learned Gentleman, finding from that Report that the Scotch Universities were not (like those in England) "appendages to the Church, nor mainly adapted for the education of the clergy," had inferred that, therefore, religion ought not to form a main and principal portion of the education at those Universities, and that the professors and teachers of the people of Scotland need not subscribe to any particular religious creed or articles of faith. He (Mr. F. Scott), on the contrary, rather concluded from the fact that these Universities were not solely or mainly intended for the education of the clergy, that, therefore, the Legislature of Great Britain ought to take special care that religion was carefully instilled into the minds of the laity, and more particularly into the minds of those teachers to whom the people of Scotland had to resort for their education. There could be no sound moral training unless it were accompanied by religious instruction; and the Universities in Scotland had been so carefully connected with the Church, that while, on the one hand, they were not allowed to assume too close a resemblance to monastic institutions, they were saved, on the other hand, from the dangers of latitudinarianism and materialism, and had taken that just middle course which was so well calculated for the education of a moral and religious people. In England there was no complete parochial system of education like that long pursued in Scotland: there were indeed in many, perhaps in most, parishes, village and other schools founded and supported by the benevolence and charity of individuals; but there was in England this great defect, that there existed no legally constituted system similar to that provided in Scotland, where there was a schoolmaster appointed in every parish in connexion with the clergyman officiating there, and which, in point of fact, gave to the Church a large control over the schoolmasters of each parish on the one hand, and over the professors in the Universities on the other. What reason, then, was there for dissolving the intimate connexion that had long subsisted between the Church and the established educational institutions of that country? Had the Church exercised influence harshly, or arbitrarily, or in a tyrannical manner? No proof whatever of such an allegation had been adduced. On the other hand, it would be said that the test had been relaxed in certain instances, and therefore might be abandoned altogether. Had it been alleged that subscription to these tests was required on all occasions, he should have considered that as a valid and sufficient reason for inquiring into the exercise of the powers of exacting such subscription by the hands in which it was placed; but as it was admitted that the enforcement of the right was in practice relaxed, he thought that a good reason for allowing the Universities to continue in the useful course they had hitherto pursued, leaving in their hands the power of enforcing subscription, and of considering whether it should be exercised or not. Then it might be said that the Church was not now so powerful as in former times, and did not embrace within its pale so great a proportion of the population as she formerly had done. If so, he would call on the House not to adopt a measure which would still further weaken its influence. The Church was still adhered to by the vast majority of the people of Scotland, and even those who have separated themselves from it, dissent rather from its discipline and form of government, than from its doctrines or its creed; and whilst its members continued warmly and deeply attached to it, he thought that House should not sanction any measure which would weaken its power. He thought these were special reasons why they should not consent to this Bill. What was there that had befallen the Church that should call upon that House to make this alteration? First, as regards the students at the Scotch Universities. Was it that the Universities were not now the resort of the youth of England and Scotland? Was it that those who attended them were not well instructed in all branches of science and knowledge? He contended that at no former period had those Universities been more efficient than they were at present. They were still as much as ever the resort of the youth of Scotland, where, in matters of religion, science, and literature, the instruction was as sound as in days gone by. Next, as to the effect of this measure upon the professors. It was requisite that they should select those to fill the chairs of the Universities who were best qualified. He desired to know whether adherence to Christianity and the holding sound doctrine according to the forms of the Church of Scotland, was not a qualification which it was very material that the teachers of youth should possess? All other religious bodies, the Associate Synod, the Free Church, and other communities, had seminaries for the education of youth. Did they not require subscription to their tests; and was it to be said that the Established Church of Scotland alone should not require any test as a security for the youth committed to their charge? It might be argued that these tests would have excluded from the chairs of the Universities the philosophy of a Locke and the science of a Newton. True, but they had also excluded the scepticism of a Tom Paine, of a D'Alembert, and a Voltaire. Abolish subscription, and what guarantee could be offered against the chairs being filled by persons of any or no religion whatever. Another argument in favour of the present system was, that, in those Universities there had been no exclusiveness. The students had open to them all branches of literature, and prizes and distinctions in each were freely awarded to them. It seemed to him that when chemistry or geology was taught by persons who were not themselves Christians, great risks were run of the students embracing materialist or sceptical doctrines. Tuition was but a small portion of education. Its highest aim and most important province should be deemed the education of the heart; and he thought that the development of the phenomena of chemistry, and the attractions of natural philosophy, afforded the most delightfully instructive opportunities of cultivating the understanding by direct- ing the attention of youth to the supervision of an Almighty Providence. He, therefore, thought the Universities would suffer if this measure were carried; and even those who were its originators would find that they had inflicted a very great blow on those venerable bodies by admitting into them as instructors persons who were not attached to any form of Christianity. The Universities will lose in numbers as they will decline in character, if you avowedly profess that the scoffer, the atheist, the Socinian, the blasphemer, or the materialist, was as free to occupy the chairs of learning as the orthodox believer of a Christian creed. Think of the effect of sanctioning and promulgating such doctrines: will parents send their children to run the risk of such contamination? and if they do, reflect upon the effect upon society generally, the mischievous effect upon the character of the people. It seemed to him that these were not times in which they ought to dismiss all their securities for the pure moral and religious education of the youth of this country. The first oath with which it would be needful to dispense, was that taken by the Sovereign, at her accession, to maintain the Protestant religion as settled in the Established Church of Scotland, which was so remarkable in its terms that he would take the liberty of reading it to the House:— I, Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, do faithfully promise and swear that I shall inviolably maintain and preserve the settlement of the true Protestant Religion with the government, worship, discipline, rights and privileges of the Church of Scotland as established by the laws made then in prosecution of the claim of right, and particularly by an Act entituled, 'An Act for Securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government,' and by the Acts in the Parliament of both Kingdoms for the Union of the two Kingdoms. So help me God! VICTORIA R. Did we feel, then, that the Protestant religion was so secure from all attacks at this time, that we should absolve the Sovereign henceforth from taking that oath? Was this a time when we should open the floodgates of infidelity, and let loose a stream of pollution on the morals and manners of the rising youth of this country? He regarded the proposition as an assault upon the Church of Scotland, quite as much as upon the Universities, and when they had robbed the Universities of Scotland of the securities now existing for the good government of the youth entrusted to their care, he believed that those of England and Ireland would speedily be assailed in their turn. Remove those tests, and he thought they would do much to unchristianise the people of Scotland. It was one thing to relax those tests in practice, and another to abrogate and repeal them; the former only proved that the Universities had moderately and wisely, not intolerantly, exercised the power placed in their hands. He called on the House to beware how they admitted such an influx of latitudinarian doctrine into the very source and fountain of national character and education. For these reasons he should move as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."


said, it would be recollected that as far back as 1845 this question had undergone a very full discussion, and from the indications of opinion then given by the late Sir Robert Peel, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham), it looked as if after some lapse of time there would be no great objection in any quarter to passing a measure of this kind. Although he feared that anything he could urge would be but a feeble recapitulation of what the House had then heard from his predecessor in the situation he had lately the honour of filling (Mr. Rutherfurd), and from the right hon. Gentleman who then represented Edinburgh (Mr. Macaulay), he would endeavour as shortly as possible to explain the grounds on which he thought this measure should be adopted by the House. He must fairly own he was rather disappointed that Her Majesty's Ministers did not see their way to consent to the second reading of this Bill. He had some hopes of this, because he recollected that the hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Treasury (Mr. F. Mackenzie), and the hon. Member for Stirlingshire (Mr. Forbes), suggested that time should be given to ascertain the opinions of the people of Scotland on the question. He did not find anything in the result of that appeal to render it incumbent on Ministers, if not otherwise inclined to do so, to repudiate this Bill. Fifty-two petitions had been presented in its favour, and, including fifteen presented that day, forty-eight against it; the signatures to the fifty-two petitions were upwards of 5,000, whereas those to the forty-eight petitions did not amount to 100. He did not found upon that as a criterion of the merits of the petitions; but the reason why the signatures against were so few, was, that, with the exception of a petition from the students of Marischal College, Aberdeen, he was not aware that there was a single petition against the Bill from any quarter excepting from the Presbyteries and Church Courts. He only maintained that the appeal to the people of Scotland proposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite had been answered, and that it was not unfavourable to the Bill. Petitions in favour of the measure had been presented from the most respectable municipal bodies in Scotland, including those of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee, and from the Convention of Royal Boroughs, which included delegates from every municipal town in Scotland. Petitions in favour of the Bill had also been presented from public meetings called in several large towns, as from Aberdeen, signed by upwards of 1,000 persons, and also from Edinburgh, as well as from the church judicatories of the dissenting bodies, the Free Church, the United Presbyterians, &c. It was perfectly certain, therefore, that they would find no ground in popular feeling for resisting the proposition; on the contrary, though it was not a subject calculated to excite great popular agitation, it was quite clear that the people of Scotland had no desire to maintain those tests. He thought he could show that his countrymen set no Value whatever on those tests, and would be willing that they should be swept away; as also that the Established Church of Scotland did not value them in the slightest degree, and considered that it would not be injured by their repeal. If he could suppose this measure to be an attack on the religion of the people, or that he should be weakening in the slightest degree the security for the orthodox religious and moral instruction of the community, this might create a material doubt; but he did not propose to affirm in the abstract that religious tests ought not to exist; he proposed to do away with a great practical evil. A religious test that had grown up in a University for a great number of years, and had stamped its character on the institution—whatever opinion might be formed as to its expediency—had something of the respectability and consistency of age; but a religious test that was religiously disregarded, and only used to exclude those whom its framers themselves would have been the first to admit—a test that conferred no strength, and was only used for the gratification of an intolerant and persecuting spirit—such a test was useless as a security, and remained a scandal to the Statute-book. Let him say a word as to the history and purposes of the test, and also as to its nature and character. The Universities of Scotland were not ecclesiastical institutions, and the test was not within the power and control of the Established Church of Scotland in any way. The Church had not the power of requiring professors to take the test; each professor was subject to the Senatus Academicus within the walls, and sometimes to the patron beyond the walls, but was not so in any degree to the Established Church. Again, they were not ecclesiastical institutions in this sense—for students of all denominations attended them. There was no domestic discipline within their walls, and they had no analogy in their origin, powers, and privileges with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Each student attended the professor's prelections in his class-room; and when he quitted it, was as free from the superintendence of the professor as of any other person. These tests were established by two Acts passed in 1690 by the Scotch Parliament, and in 1707 by the Imperial Parliament. They were intended to exclude Episcopalians, and that was their sole object. Every one knew the attempts made to convince King William that the establishment of Presbyterianism in Scotland would be injurious to the Kingdom, but that Principal Carstairs, by his influence at that time, succeeded in establishing Presbyterianism; and it was in consequence of these intrigues of Episcopacy that the Church party in the Parliament of Scotland passed the first Act in 1690. The Episcopalian party were unceasing in their endeavours to persuade the Government to establish Episcopacy; and the controversy was at its height when, in 1703, the first proposition for the Union was made. One of the main arguments against the Union was, that they would come under a Parliament where bishops sat in the House of Lords. In Defoe's History of the Union, he said— It happened then, as it had happened before, that the cry of security to the Church of Scotland was made the stalking-horse of all parties, even those who did not care for the Church. This brought the Jacobites to cry out for the Church, and the Tories to cry out a breach of the Covenant. The sole aim and object of these tests had been to exclude Episcopacy from power at a time when Presbyterianism, but for some such guard, seemed in danger of having its youth corrupted, in their seats of learning, by the nominees of prelacy. It was for this purpose alone that the Act of Security provided that all the professors in the Scottish Universities should subscribe not only a profession of the faith, but a strict adhesion and obedience to the doctrine and discipline of the Established Presbyterian Church of Scotland. This fundamental Act was to be unalterable also; yet not more than four years had elapsed after its passing, when the Ministry of Bolingbroke, in 1711, brought in a Bill for restoring lay patronage in Scotland, which was hurried through the House of Commons in three weeks, so that it was not till the Bill had reached the House of Lords that the General Assembly had even time to make a remonstrance against the proceeding. He only asked for redress in the smallest degree of the great injustice done by that measure, which had been the fruitful source of the calamities that had befallen the Church of Scotland. As the law now stood, the professors in the Universities were obliged to declare their adherence to the doctrine and discipline of the Church of Scotland as settled in 1707, under the Act by which lay patronage was abolished. The effect of the great disruption which took place in 1843 had been to put the Established Church of Scotland in a minority as regarded the whole population, and also in reference to those who had embraced the doctrine which prevailed in 1707, and differed from their brethren on the one subject of the law of patronage. As matters now stood, then, he asked if they were to continue to exclude from the chairs of the Universities one-half of the population of Scotland who agreed in maintaining every point of Presbyterian doctrine? The result would be to exclude themselves from a large field of choice in filling up the professorships, without one advantage gained; for what did they gain by excluding a man who was well qualified for the duties of such an office, when they knew that he was a sound Christian? It was perfectly clear that the tests were obsolete; they were no longer useful as safeguards for religion, and must be regarded as a crumbling bulwark, dangerous only to those who were behind it. It was said we must have some security against infidelity and scepticism. There was a period when dangers of that kind might have been apprehended. Fifty or sixty years ago, when great scientific discoveries were being made, and when the chairs of philosophy were sometimes filled by men not distinguished by zeal for the truths of revelation, such apprehensions might have been reasonable. But did the tests then exclude scepticism? The fact was notoriously otherwise. Look, again, at the consequences if the test were to be rigidly enforced at the present day. Who was it that now sat in the chair of Playfair and of Leslie? A man not less famed for his talents than respected for his piety; yet enforce the test, and Professor Forbes, a man of European reputation, must be lost to the University of which he was so conspicuous an ornament, and where he be eminently aided the education of the youth of Scotland—that education which the abolition of the tests, it was said, would so terribly compromise. There was another who had attained the highest eminence in the pursuits of literature, who was not more remarkable for the brilliancy of his genius, than for the strong religious feeling which ran through his writings. John Wilson also would be a proscribed man. If all heretical opinion were to be purged out, the Universities must be deprived of their brightest ornaments. Sir David Brewster must be dethroned from his principality at St. Andrews. Such men as Aytoun and Forbes, and even Simpson and Miller, in the medical school, must be excluded. Out of eighty professors in the Scottish Universities there were no less than twenty-four—more than one-fourth of the whole—who had not subscribed the test. This was an example of the existing practice. The enforcement of these tests would limit the Scotch in the choice of a professor, a restriction for which he saw no reason. It might, however, be said, that although these tests should not be maintained in their integrity, still there should be some tests to secure the religious belief of the professors. But, in the first place, he objected altogether to the system of tests. It was the vice of fetters for the intellect and conscience, that they bound when they should not, and did not bind when they should. But if her Majesty's Government or the opponents of the Bill had any improvement to suggest in the system of tests, there was no reason why the House should not agree to the second reading of this Bill, if he had proved that the present tests were objectionable. With respect to the objections to the repeal of these tests, founded on the Act of Union and the Act of Security, he maintained that it was impossible to legislate for a perpetuity, and that they were entitled, with the concurrence of the people of Scotland, to sweep away those tests, which, if they ever had been of service, were so no longer, but had become and were felt to be an incumbrance. If these tests were maintained, the consequence would be that sectarian Universities would be founded for sectarian teaching, and that a ruinous competition would take place between them. He thought, then, that he was entitled to appeal to the House whether the time had not come when, without the slightest injury to religion, and with great benefit to literature and science, these obsolete tests might be swept away.


said, that the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just resumed his seat, showed that the existence of the tests did not practically prevent the youth in the Scottish Universities from the benefits of the highest professorial ability; and in this point of view the tests could not, therefore, be said to operate injuriously; while, on the other hand, they must certainly operate for the security of the Church of Scotland, since professors such as those who had been named by the hon. and learned Gentleman, though they might not actually belong to the Church of Scotland, afforded a guarantee, in their general characters, that they would do nothing to injure that Church, or the general cause of religion. Those who might be misled into giving their assent to the Bill, because a clause was introduced providing that the theological chair was not to be filled, except by a member of the Established Church, ought to be aware of the very slight nature of the security offered; for in such another speech as he had just delivered, the hon. and learned Member for Leith would probably propose to abolish in the ensuing year that last remaining test. At least, the legal ground on which the present system rested, would have been removed. The ground on which he (Sir R. Inglis) resisted the measure, had no reference to any question whether the majority of the Scotch people objected or not to the imposition of tests—neither did he take into his consideration whether the members of the Established Church consisted of one-third, the ad- herents of the Free Church of another third, and those belonging to other denominations, of the remaining third of the population of the country. His proposition was, that a body called or recognised as the Established Church of Scotland, had certain privileges secured to them by a solemn treaty between two independent nations, before that treaty was noticed or incorporated in any Act of Parliament, and that they had a right to adhere to any principle of exclusion which that treaty gave them, and which they at present enjoyed. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Moncreiff) said, as the tests were imposed by an Act of Parliament, they could be altered or abolished by the same authority which enacted them. He (Sir R. Inglis) denied the force of that proposition. He repeated, that the rights given to the Universities were not established by Act of Parliament, but by a solemn treaty between two independent nations. They were so recognised at the time—they formed a fundamental article in the Treaty of Union—and they were afterwards incorporated in an Act of Parliament. It was said to be unworthy of the present age to impose these tests. He would ask any Roman Catholic Member of that House if he would give his sanction to the withdrawal of a test which prevented any but persons of his own persuasion from holding office in a Roman Catholic University? Or would he allow his children to be educated in a college where a Roman Catholic was excluded by a test from occupying a professor's chair? Were they to allow men of any or no communion to be teachers in Scotch Universities? If so, infidelity might eventually be taught by the professors of theology. But it was not necessary to go so far: it was enough to state that infidelity might easily be taught, even by the very silence of a Professor, where Christian principle would speak out. There was scarcely a branch of knowledge which ought not to be imparted by persons who were guided by pure religious principles. He admitted in the strongest manner the great claims which Sir David Brewster had upon their consideration; but 500 Sir David Brewsters would be of no avail in convincing him of the necessity of the Bill, because the existing system had not deprived them of his services, or of the service of other eminent men like him. The claim of the Church to maintain these tests was recognised by the prescription of 150 years, at the commencement of which period it was granted by the highest authorities who represented England and Scotland. To pass the Bill would be to virtually abrogate the oath taken by Her Majesty at her coronation, and required to be administered to every succeeding Sovereign respecting the maintenance of the reformed Presbyterian faith in Scotland. There could be no doubt that the general security and peace of Scotland depended more on the proper inculcation of religious learning than on any scheme which human ingenuity had devised. For these reasons he could not agree to the Bill.


said, that the existence of these tests, if they were not imposed, could be no security that professors would do nothing to injure the Church of Scotland, for if they were not taken at the time of election, and the professor was once in possession of his chair, there was no power by which he could be deprived of his office, or be compelled afterwards to submit to the imposition of these tests. The hon. Baronet who had just resumed his seat had also objected to the repeal of these tests, on the ground that they gave a security for the moral and religious education of the people of Scotland. He (Mr. Bethell) thought, however, that that argument was derived from a knowledge of the working rather of the English than of the Scottish Universities. The Scotch Universities were formed on the old model, while in England the collegiate system had altogether usurped university education. In English Universities the young men were subject to surveillance, and the result was that their education was conducted on what he might call the domestic principle, which was in direct opposition to the old university system; while in Universities conducted on that old system, as in Scotland, no attention was paid to the habits of the students, nor was any test or discipline required. Why, then, should they require the professors to be subject to a test from which the students were exempt; why should they require in the former a particular religious belief, which they did not require from, and took no particular pains to inculcate upon, the latter? The fact was, that this Statute remained a dead letter, unless when it was raked up to become a weapon in the hands of religious animosity. To the petitions which had been presented against the measure, he would oppose the intrinsic reasonableness and necessity of that to which the House was now called upon to assent; and the fact that the people of Scotland had actually found it necessary to dispense with the enforcement of these tests, in order to obtain a more extended and more thorough literary and scientific education. The hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) said that a professor in giving instruction in classics or science might teach infidelity. But these tests were no security against an infidel obtaining these chairs; and why then should they be maintained? With respect to the objection founded on the obligation imposed by the Act of Union, he contended that it would be better obeyed by passing a Statute in accordance with public reason, utility, and convenience, than in maintaining tests which the experience of a century had abrogated, and which had been and could be continually set aside, as often as necessity or convenience required, and as long as there was no religious controversy pending. On these grounds he trusted that the House would no longer permit the Statute-book to be disgraced by a law which was violated as often as there was any reason for violating it, which there was no power to enforce, and which the very necessity of the case showed the necessity of expunging.


said, the hon. and learned Member for Leith (Mr. Moncreiff) in his able speech, had remarked, and before any Member of the Government had spoken, that they were going to oppose this Bill. It was perfectly true that they felt it their duty to do so; and considering the objections which this Bill was open to, he thought that no Government could take any other course. In the first place, the measure was a direct violation of a national compact, made at the time of the Union between England and Scotland; and no national compact ought to be broken through, except upon cogent and satisfactory reasons. In the second place, its principle, if it were recognised, must necessarily undermine the principle upon which our ecclesiastical institutions, not only in Scotland, but in other parts of the Kingdom, were founded and endowed as establishments for the national education and instruction of youth. Now, supposing that this Bill was open to those objections, and no strong or urgent case had been made out for the proposed alteration, it was surely not only the duty of the Government, but also of Parliament, to take care that existing rights and principles were not hastily violated. His first objection ap- peared so strong, that the hon. and learned Member for Leith had even admitted its force. The House would bear in mind that what the Bill asked them to do was this, namely, to prescribe that those who filled the chairs in Scotch Universities, should no longer subscribe to the Confession of Faith, as their confession of faith. Let it not be forgotten by the House that the Act of Security contained these preliminary conditions on which the Act of Union was afterwards founded. The Act of Security distinctly enacted that the Commissioners who were empowered to make the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, were precluded from making any alteration in the worship and discipline of the Church of Scotland as by law established. They were precluded from treating on any other terms different from these; and the Act itself went on to state that the four Universities and Colleges of Scotland—those of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and St. Andrews—as then established by law, should continue within the Kingdom for ever. It then enacted that no professors should be admitted to the chairs of these Universities and Colleges unless they subscribed to the Confesssion of Faith, as a confession of their faith, and promised to conform to the practice and worship of the Church, to submit to the government and discipline thereof, and never to do anything which, either directly or indirectly, would prejudice or lead to the subversion of the same. It further ordained that these provisions should be "held and observed in all time to come as a fundamental part of any Treaty of Union to be concluded between the two Kingdoms, without any alterations of any sort whatever." These were the preliminary conditions on which the Act of Union was made; and he contended that they had no right to bring in any measure upon that Act of Union, unless strong, urgent, and conclusive reasons could be shown for adopting such a course, so that the House might be justified in making an alteration of a Treaty thus binding and obligatory on both countries. However, the hon. and learned Member for Leith and those who supported him had failed to convince him that the House was warranted in adopting such a one—passing such a Bill. The hon. Gentleman said that the number of petitions pro and con were not materially different. Unquestionably the majority was in favour of the Bill; but was that a reason why they should alter an important article in the Treaty of Union, especially when it appeared, as the hon. and learned Gentleman himself had shown, that the practice was relaxed where a good reason existed for such relaxation? A weaker case could not possibly have been made out. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that by applying the test, the choice of professors was limited. Unquestionably that was so to a certain extent; but he must remind the House that, almost in the very next breath, the hon. Gentleman answered his own argument, for he showed that, out of the number of professors in the Scotch Universities, no fewer than twenty-four were unable to take the test. [Cheers.] He understood the meaning of that cheer. He understood it to mean that if the test was relaxed in twenty-four instances, why was it not done away with altogether? The obvious answer was, that the test was maintained to give the power of preventing those who were not members of the Church of Scotland, and who might abuse the trust that was reposed in them from educating the youth of the country contrary to the principles which that Church proposed. But when they had confidence int nem, and were satisfied that they would not endeavour to do so, then the rule was judiciously relaxed. He held it was the bounden duty of the Government and of Parliament to take care that those fundamental articles were preserved, unless conclusive reasons were shown for relaxing or modifying them. There was also another question to be considered, namely, whether these tests had inflicted any injury upon the education of the people of Scotland. On that subject he was open to the correction of Members much more acquainted with the country than himself; but he always understood that no complaints were ever made, either of want of ability or of deficiency of knowledge among those who occupied the professorial chairs. Nay, he had always understood that education in Scotland was conducted in a manner so creditable to the people, and that the parochial schools were maintained in a state so efficient, that Scotchmen, where-ever they went, might, from the fact of their being Scotchmen, almost be considered fit for any kind of employment, because it was generally known that the education they had received was considered a guarantee for their learning and their ability. It would be impossible, if a violation of the fundamental articles of Union between England and Scotland were sanctioned, to draw a distinction between England and Ireland; and, consequently, the ecclesiastical institutions of both countries might be materially altered. In all academies and seminaries founded by private parties, established by Act of Parliament, or incorporated by Royal Charter, religious and other tests were imposed; and they had no more right to call upon Parliament to interfere with those great public institutions, and do away with the tests, than they had to abolish the tests which the establishments either of Episcopalians or Dissenters thought fit to use, in order to secure the education of their people according to their own faith and principles. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Moncreiff), contended that the Act of Security was not so fundamental as to preclude its being altered; and he gave an illustration of one way in which it had been departed from, namely, in the alteration of the law of patronage; but a more unhappy instance he could not have mentioned, for the alteration of that law had been the cause of all the calamities which had befallen the Church of Scotland. The object of the Bill was to exempt from tests persons qualified to hold professorial chairs; but there was also a provision for some exceptions. The Bill did not apply to the chairs of divinity, theology, or church history, in order that their occupants might not take advantage of their position to teach doctrines in reference to religious matters which were contrary to those of the Established Church; but were those the only chairs from which such doctrines and tenets might be instilled into the minds of the people gradually? Such was the apprehension. But might not similar apprehensions also be entertained as to the conduct of the Professors of Oriental Literature of Biblical Criticism, and Moral Philosophy? This part of the Bill appeared to him to be a direct admission of the promoters of the Bill against their own measure. But the first clause of the Bill was still more objectionable, for in endeavouring to effect the object of enabling members of the Free Church to hold these chairs, as well as members of the sister Establishment, the promoters of the Bill had taken away all tests whatever. To carry out that object, would be to allow the admission of Roman Catholics. [Mr. MONCREIFF was understood to express his dissent.] He believed that an Act of Parliament threw a doubt upon the point; but certainly, if the tests were abolished altogether, an infidel might be admitted. Persons of any or of no creed, might fill these chairs. The grounds, therefore, on which the Government thought it their duty to oppose the future progress of the Bill were—first, that it was a violation of the Treaty of Union; in the second place, that it made a material alteration, which struck at the vital and fundamental principles of our ecclesiastical institutions; and, thirdly, that according to the showing of the promoters, it was neither called for, nor required, nor shown to be expedient. In conclusion, therefore, he would ask the House whether, under these circumstances, they were prepared to say that the national educational institutions of the country should no longer maintain the national creed? If they had made up their minds upon that point, there was an end of the question; but if they had not, then he called upon them to pause and reflect before they consented to the second reading of the Bill.


said, that the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis) had asked whether Roman Catholics and Nonconformists would agree to send their children to Roman Catholic and Nonconformist colleges, if offices in them were held by persons of a different creed? That Roman Catholics had no objection that their children should be instructed by professors of another religion was shown by the progressive increase in the number of students at the four colleges in Ireland which the hon. Baronet had styled "godless colleges," and this, too, notwithstanding the late excitement and the opposition of the priests. And yet Roman Catholics held scarcely any of those chairs which were said to be theological by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, who seemed on this occasion to have borrowed his arguments from the Vatican. The hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) should not, however, have asked whether Roman Catholics would have confidence in colleges endowed with their own funds, in which others than Roman Catholics held office; but whether great national institutions like the Universities of Scotland were so essentially sectarian that every chair (even the most secular) must be filled by persons holding the same faith, and whether Roman Catholics thought it just that the benefits of bodies enjoying such privileges as they did, so connected with the State, and so supported by the public funds, should be confined to a small fraction of the population. He could, however, state an instance which would show what were the feelings of Roman Catholics on this point. In a Catholic college with which he (Mr. C. Anstey) was connected, the chair of history was bestowed on Dr. Dunham, the Protestant historian of England. He admitted he was speaking of the past, and that that system was at an end; because as there were bigots in the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, there were also bigots in the Church of Rome. He would say, however, that the liberal Roman Catholics were not bound down by such blind obedience to the will of the priests in respect to education, that they were obliged to disgrace themselves by walking with them through the mire.


said, he had listened with attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department; but he must say he was not at all satisfied with the arguments which the right hon. Gentleman had adduced against the present Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the object of the Bill was contrary to the Treaty of Union; but his (Mr. Ewart's) hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leith (Mr. Moncreiff) had shown that the Articles of Union had already been altered in several instances, and he might mention another, for the Reform Bill of 1832 was in conflict with the Articles of Union, which provided that the number of Scotch Members should be forty-five, whereas the Reform Bill increased them to fifty-three. The second point insisted on by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was, that the abolition of the tests would be an invasion of the religious safeguards and institutions of the country. But was not the abolition of the Test and Corporation Act described in similar terms? And yet the House of Commons did not hesitate to pass that measure. In the third place, the right hon. Gentleman said that the change was not required. On the contrary, he (Mr. Ewart) said that it was required, because the law was habitually violated, and it was necessary to make the law in conformity with the existing practice. But, said the right hon. Gentleman, "I admit that the strict letter of the law is violated, but that is because the parties who administer the tests (the Senatus Academicus) have a discretionary power to insist upon them or not, as they shall think fit." But was that a satisfactory state of things, to let the administration of a law rest upon the casual and uncertain opinion of the administrators, who when a majority of them happened to be Free Churchmen, would admit Free Church professors; but when the, majority happened to be composed of the old orthodox High Church party, would exclude Free Churchmen, and admit none but members of the Established Church?. In his opinion a case had been made out in favour of the Bill, and he should certainly vote for the second reading of it.


said, he would join issue with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down on the subject of the violation of the Treaty of the Union. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the Reform Bill of 1832, which had added to the number of Members of Parliament for Scotland. In reply to the argument of the hon. Gentleman, he begged to remind the House that the 22nd Article of the Treaty of Union, establishing the number of Peers and Members of Parliament for Scotland, contained these words: "Until the Parliament of Great Britain shall make further provision therein." He denied also that the Treaty of Union had been broken by the Act of 1711, which altered the mode of exercising ecclesiastical patronage in Scotland. He did not find in the Treaty of Union a single word relating to patronage. With regard to the other point to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, there was a similar clause. The modifications of the Act to which, the hon. Gentleman had alluded, even supposing them to be alterations, stood upon quite a different basis from that which was now proposed to be made. The, Act of Security was passed in the Parliament of an independent country previous to its union with another independent country, and, therefore, any alteration made in it must be considered an infraction of the terms of that union. He believed that if, this Bill were to pass that and the other House of Parliament—a result which he; should deeply regret—Her Majesty would have great difficulty in giving the Royal Assent to it in consequence of its being a violation of her coronation oath. He would go further, and say that he greatly doubted whether the Judges of the Court of Session would not, if applied to, grant an in- terdict against the admission of any professor under the provisions of the new Act—holding, as he believed they would, that they were bound by the old law of Scotland, instead of the new law passed by the British Parliament. The hon. and learned Member for Leith (Mr. Moncreiff) had said that there was a great excitement in Scotland relative to this Bill. He wanted to know from whence the movement came which called upon them to make this alteration. If they could judge of the feelings of the country by the petitions that were presented, he did not think there was any desire for it. He begged to observe that the only petition which had come from any portion of the Free Church of Scotland—a body whose numbers and respectability entitled its opinions to the fullest consideration—had been presented by his hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mr. W. Lockhart), and that was from the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr against the Bill. The other petitions, he believed, had come from persons who were opposed not only to the Church Establishment in Scotland, but to the principle of Church Establishments generally; and he asked the English Members present whether they would sanction a measure which was intended to introduce a change into the Scotch Establishment to the prejudice of that Church? The Scottish Universities existed for the benefit of the whole country, and admitted pupils of all denominations; but at the same time they retained the power of imposing tests, not for the purpose of having the pupils instructed in the tenets of the Scottish Church, but in order to prevent the admission of persons who were opposed to that Church. There might be, he admitted, some modifications hereafter made, by which they would retain all the advantages of the present system, and remove what was objectionable.


said, he did not rise for the purpose of replying to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, for he really did not think it worth attention. The hon. Gentleman had told them that if Parliament were deliberately to alter the law with regard to any of the institutions of Scotland, he did not believe the Judges of the Court of Session would carry the alteration into effect. After such an allegation as that, he (Mr. Hume) did not think it necessary to trouble himself with replying to the arguments of the hon. Gentleman. The able speech of the hon. and learned Member for Leith (Mr. Moncreiff) was, in his opinion, conclusive on this question; and he was sorry the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had not directed his attention to that speech, and dealt with its facts. But what he (Mr. Hume) had risen principally for on the present occasion was to answer the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman as to whether Roman Catholics would send their children to Colleges where the professors did not take the tests required by Roman Catholics. In reply to that appeal, he would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the return of the attendance of students at Queen's College, Cork, from which he would find that although the professors had not taken any tests, the majority of the students were of the Roman Catholic persuasion. [Here the hon. Member quoted the figures for the years 1850–51, and 1851–52.] With respect to the present Bill, he would only say that it was the duty of the House to make the institutions of the country consistent with the wishes, the wants, and the interests of the community at large; and, believing as he did that the existence of University tests was opposed to the feelings and interest of the people, he should give the Bill his cordial support.


would remind the House that the Parliament of Scotland had adopted those stringent enactments connecting the educational institutions of Scotland with the Established Church of that country, to guard against the designs of the Jacobite party, who wished to see the exiled family restored to the Throne of Scotland. It was a great mistake to suppose that the law had been in abeyance from the time of the Union, and had only just been revived under peculiar circumstances. The Royal Commission which was appointed in 1826 to inquire into the system of education in the Scotch Universities reported in 1830 that they had found in some Universities—alluding especially to Edinburgh—that subscription to a formula was not uniformly required on the appointment of professors, but that in most of the Universities it was required; and they recommended that in future the law should be strictly enforced in all cases. That Commission was composed of persons of various religious denominations of every shade of political opinion; and yet, with the exception, he believed, of Mr. Cranstoun, the members were unanimous in recommending that the law should be uniformly enforced. Now, among the members of that Commission there was one whose name he could never mention without the highest respect, and one whose authority he thought the hon. and learned Member for Leith must always be prepared to defer to—he alluded to the late Sir James Moncreiff, one of the Lords of Session. No man was a more ardent lover of civil and religious liberty than he was; but he saw nothing of bigotry in the enforcement of the tests. He saw nothing more in it than the security of that Church of which he was one of the warmest, ablest, and most attached sons. When the Commission made that recommendation in 1830, was any dissatisfaction expressed by the people of Scotland? None at all. And yet the House would recollect that that was in days of great excitement, when every grievance, real or imaginary, was brought under the consideration of Parliament. He believed it was the wish of the people of Scotland that the tests should not be abolished, because they were the only links that connected the educational establishments of Scotland with the Established Church of that country. Unfortunately, at a more recent period a melancholy change of circumstances took place. He was sure that no man connected with Scotland would cease to deplore the secession of 1842; and it was entirely owing to the heat engendered by that secession that the agitation for the repeal of the tests had been commenced. He was not prepared to justify all that was done or said at that time on either side of the controversy; but he was sure that the House could hardly be surprised at the attitude of self-defence which was assumed by the Church of Scotland when they were informed that that Church was denounced by some of the highest and gravest authorities of the Free Church as a "moral nuisance," which they were determined to overturn. He (Sir G. Clerk) regretted extremely that any of the Presbyteries of the Church of Scotland should have been induced to take proceedings against a man of such eminence, for instance, as Sir David Brewster, and no one more rejoiced than he did when those proceedings were terminated; but he thought that, after all, those proceedings were little to be wondered at, after the violent language to which he had referred. It was under the strong feelings which existed at that time that the right hon. Gentleman then Member for Perth (now Lord Panmure) brought forward the first Motion in that House for the abolition of the tests. He rejoiced to think that those angry feelings to which he had referred had now greatly subsided; but still he must contend that no case had been made out to justify the House in severing the connexion between the Church and the Universities of Scotland, as the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Leith, if adopted, would do. He believed that no case of real grievance had been made out against the existing system. He did not think that the declaration that the Confession of Faith of the Church of Scotland was the confession of his faith, and that he would do nothing to weaken or injure the Establishment, was one which could not be taken by any conscientious member of the Church of England. Many of them, indeed, had taken it, and of the number who had done so he need only mention the names of Sir D. Sandford and Mr. Lushington, of the University of Glasgow. He begged hon. Members connected with England to observe that this was the first step in advance. The House had been told that no tests were required from the students attending the Universities of Scotland—that they did not live in the Colleges as did the students in the two English Universities, under the immediate superintendence and control of the professors and heads of Colleges. The Universities of Scotland were open to all classes of religionists, and he was glad that they were so. He rejoiced to be able to state that when he attended the University of Edinburgh, he was intimately acquainted with several Roman Catholics, who having been unfortunately prevented from attending English Universities, had availed themselves of the benefit of the Universities of Scotland. But it was one thing to admit students to the Universities without a profession of faith, and another and very different thing to admit the instructors and teachers of those students without a declaration of their religious belief. He trusted that whatever differences of opinion might exist on minor points, the instruction of the youth of Scotland would never be intrusted to persons who were not prepared to subscribe their belief in the great doctrines of the Christian faith. If that were the case, it would be the commencement of a vast change, not only in the educational system of Scotland, but also in that of England; because they might depend upon it that if they broke down the outworks which at present guarded the Universities of Scotland, they would very soon find it impossible to maintain that strict adherence to the Established Church of their own country which now distinguished the English Universities. This was only part of a system which, commenced in Scotland, would soon be extended to England; and if the House recognised the principle of this measure, it would very shortly be applied not only to university education, but sooner or later to the primary schools. They had now a system of parochial schools in Scotland, from which that country had derived the greatest benefit; but if they broke off all connexion between the teachers of those schools and the Universities and the Church as established by law in Scotland, they would soon dissever all connexion between the institutions of that country and its Established Church. To the Universities and parochial schools, they were indebted for the proud position they at present were enabled to hold; but if they broke down that system, depend upon it that shortly they would introduce such a latitudinarian system as would be most mischievous, and they would create a principle of no subjection that would prove most destructive. Indeed he thought that no strong case had been made out for the measure, and he believed it never would have been brought forward but for the unfortunate heats occasioned by what was called the disruption of the Scotch Church in 1842. He was most anxious to preserve intact that connexion between the Universities of Scotland and the Established Church of that country, which, he thought, was absolutely necessary both for the welfare of the people themselves, and for the character of the Universities. He wished to say one word with regard to the appointment of the professors in the Scotch Universities. All the most important professorships in the University of Edinburgh were in the gift of the corporation of that city; and he was bound to say that the corporation had been most anxious, in the administration of that patronage, to bestow office upon individuals whom they thought best qualified to maintain the high character of the University. At present, however they could not choose dissenters or seceders from the Established Church; but, if that restriction was once removed, the corporation, most of whom dissented from the Established Church, would very naturally select persons as professors who were opposed to the Established Church. Now, at the time the English corporations were reformed, it was provided that, as the new I corporations were likely to include many Dissenters, they should part with their church patronage at once; and, if the House was prepared to adopt the principle of this Bill, it must go a great deal further, and take care that the patronage of the Universities was not allowed to remain in the hands of those who might be the strongest enemies of the Established Church of Scotland. He might observe that the late Government had declined to bring forward any measure on this subject, because they felt the inconvenience of agitating the question, and were satisfied with the existing state of the law. Upon these grounds he must oppose the second reading of the Bill.


said, he was surprised at the observation of the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Clerk), that no case had been made out for interference; for he must say that he thought a more complete and convincing argument than that of the hon. and learned Member for Leith (Mr. Moncreiff) he had never heard. For his part, he thought it was so full and complete that if all the Members then in the House were present at the time that statement was made, he should hardly have said a word, and even now he should trespass upon the House but a very short time. The right hon. Baronet had alluded to a fact which he seemed to think ought to have great influence with the House—namely, that the Commissioners appointed to inquire with respect to the Scotch Universities had recommended that the tests should be enforced, and that among those Commissioners was the late Sir James Moncreiff. But the case upon which a practical grievance arose had occurred since the time when those Commissioners reported; and he believed that Sir James Moncreiff himself would have been excluded from office in the Universities by the very test now in operation in Scotland. It was true that the tests were reqnired by the existing law of Scotland, and such being the case, he considered that they ought to be enforced; but it had been urged that this was a law which was not obeyed, which was constantly violated, and the House was asked what was the need of repealing a law which was so systematically broken? He had been surprised to hear the right hon. Home Secretary say that this was a convenient state of things, when a relaxation of the law depended upon the authorities of the Universities. The case of a gentleman had been mentioned who had lately been appointed to a Professorship at Edinburgh, but who did not choose to take the test—who would not declare that his belief was in consonance with the Confession of Faith, and that he conformed to the worship of the Church of Scotland as it at present existed. Well, what was the way out of this difficulty? Was this gentleman told that he was not a Professor—that he was not to teach Greek, which he was so well qualified to do? Not at all. The Senatus Academicus did not choose to apply the law. They had had in that House the case of a Member who came to the table and proposed to take the oaths in a certain manner; and he (Lord John Russell) thought there was no point upon which the right hon. Home Secretary and himself were more agreed than this—that it was not fitting that that House should take upon itself to lay down what should be the interpretation of the law, and should take the law into its own hands, as it were, by deciding whether the oaths had been taken or not. But this was just the course taken by the Universities. If they thought fit to dispense with the law, it had no practical operation whatever; but if they thought fit to enforce the law against any particular persons, or against any one man, from feelings of intolerance, or it might be from caprice or resentment, the test was brought into operation. He would ask, was this a state of the law which ought to be continued? It must be observed that those against whom the law operated were the very persons against whom it was never intended to operate. It had been shown that the intention of the law was to exclude Episcopalians; but it was admitted that there was no difficulty in the admission of Episcopalians, while Presbyterians, fully concurring in the Confession of Faith, were excluded by the operation of the test. The law operated, then, for the admission of those whom it was intended to exclude, and for the exclusion of those whom it was intended to admit. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford said that he was satisfied if the law, being meant to exclude, excluded any one at all. The law was meant to exclude Episcopapalians; but by the present working of it, members of the Presbyterian Church were excluded; and the argument was, that so long as the law existed, it ought to exclade somebody. He (Lord John Russell) did not agree in that opinion. He thought that if the object the law was intended to effect was not attained, it would be much better to repeal it. The right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Clerk) had said that this Bill would be a step in advance, and that, if they adopted the measure, they must take some step with regard to the English1 Universities. Now, he asked the right hon. Baronet how he reconciled that opinion with the statement he had made, that at present the students in the Scotch Universities might be Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, or of any other faith? The right hon. Baronet said he was rejoiced that there was so much liberality. But, surely, if it was a matter of so much rejoicing to the right hon. Baronet that the students were not obliged to profess any particular faith, it did seem rather extraordinary to require the professors to declare their adhesion to a faith to which the students did not belong. He owned that this appeared to him to be a state of the law so anomalous and absurd, that the sooner they got rid of it the better. If it had not been brought under the notice of the House, they might have left such an anomaly to exist; but as it was otherwise, and as the effect of the law was to exclude those persons who belonged to the Free Church of Scotland, while it did not exclude others, he owned he thought it desirable that they should put an end to such a mark of intolerance. He could not see why a person might not be allowed to teach Greek or Hebrew in the Scotch Universities without subscribing the Confession of Faith. The right hon. Home Secretary had truly said, that many of the sciences taught by the professors were connected with religion. That was an argument he had seen stated on the part of the Pope with respect to the Irish Colleges but it was an argument he did not think of any great value. He would, therefore give his support to the Bill.


said, that no practical inconvenience arose from the existence of those tests, was clearly proved by the circumstance that persons were from time to time elected to the highest offices in the Scotch Universities, who were not called upon to subscribe to them; and a memorable example of that was found in the case of the late Sir Robert Peel on his election to the rectorship of the University of Glasgow. Sir Robert Peel knew well he might be called on to take that test, and he must also have been perfectly well aware of the state of the law on the subject; yet he did not hesitate to accept the high honour which that University conferred on him. The cases mentioned by the hon. and learned Member for Leith (Mr. Moncreiff) had been accounted for by the right hon. Member for Dover (Sir G. Clerk) as a consequence of the irritation and angry feeling which existed in Scotland immediately after the disruption which took place a few years ago in the Scotch Church, and the violence displayed by the seceding members against that Church. These feelings had now, however, happily passed away, and such cases as those which had been referred to were not likely to arise again. He was convinced that no practical inconvenience had been occasioned by the present system, and only two cases of grievance had been mentioned during the discussion; therefore, he felt that he was called upon to offer his most decided opposition to the further progress of the Bill. If one thing more than another was deeply impressed on the minds of the people of Scotland, it was the conviction that religion should not be separated from education. The present measure he regarded as an attempt by certain parties to effect the separation; and the people of Scotland were determined that such a system should not be introduced. The system of parochial education in that country, for which they were indebted to the Scottish Church, was based upon the union of religion with education, and the people entertained a grateful recollection of the benefits they had derived from it. On this account, therefore, he trusted the House would not sanction a measure which was universally opposed by the clergy of the Church of Scotland, who he believed fairly represented the opinions of the parishioners over whom they presided; for it was a noteworthy fact, that out of a population of 3,000,000 in Scotland, there were only about 4,000 who had petitioned in favour of the Bill now before the House—a number utterly contemptible if taken as affording any indication of a popular desire on the subject. But he looked upon the Bill, not only as an attempt to get in the thin end of the wedge for separating religion from education in Scotland, but also as an attempt to separate religion from the State, and in fact to put an end to all Church Establishments whatever. He did not wish for one moment to underrate the great benefits to be derived from an intellectual education; but he believed that the opinion of the Scottish people was that education should include, not merely the improvement of the intellect, but the culture of the soul. Believing, then, that they were bound to resist every effort to separate religion from the education of the people, he should give his most cordial opposition to the Bill.


said, he quite agreed with his hon. Friend who had just sat down that this was a momentous subject. But it was because the House neglected the crisis of 1843, that they now had in Scotland the Free Church, which had taken from the Established Church one-half the people of the country; he, therefore, did not for a moment doubt that the subject was a momentous one, and one which called on that House for a most deliberate discussion. He confessed when he came down to the House, he was by no means decided as to the course he should take; but he must say that, after listening to the arguments of hon. Members on the Treasury bench, he had been totally unable to find in their arguments a reason for rejecting this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had urged two reasons for rejecting the Bill: one, that it was a violation of the Act of Union; and the other, that it would endanger the established religion of Scotland. He (Mr. Oswald) was not, like the right hon. Gentleman, a lawyer; but he could not help saying, he thought that every atom of that ground was cut from under the right hon. Gentleman's feet by the speech of the late Lord Advocate (Mr. Moncreiff), who had brought to the discussion of this subject abilities so striking and pre-eminent. With regard to the Act of Union, he had in private brought the question under the notice of persons who had since risen to the most exalted stations in Scotland, and the answer he had received from them had uniformly been that the Act of Union must never interfere with anything that was for the welfare of the people of Scotland; and indeed the very words of that Act told them as much. English Members, no doubt, very much misunderstood the meaning of the word "University" as applied to Scotland, and thought that the Universities of Scotland bore some analogy to those of England. There was, however, scarcely a single point in which such analogy could be established. The Universities of Scotland were neither more nor less than Colleges similar to those which had been lately established in Ireland. They were mere lecture-rooms; there was no parental—no tutorial system connected with them; and there was no provision for the religious training of the students. The Commissioners upon the Universities and Colleges of Scotland stated, in their Report, that in some cases the students were assembled on Sunday, and, with the professors, went to a place of worship provided for them; that in some of the Universities the arrangements for this purpose were then altogether inadequate; that in Edinburgh, and at Marischal College, Aberdeen, the University authorities had ceased to take any measures to ascertain whether divine service was attended by the students or not. The Commissioners suggested that, in cases where the arrangements for the purpose were deficient, a College chapel should be provided for the students, or at least special accommodation for them in the parish church. Notwithstanding statements like that, hon. Members were still told that if they abrogated the system of tests at those Universities, they would take from the people of Scotland the only guarantee they had for the purity of their faith. Had they any longer that guarantee at all? Nay more—had they any right to ask for it with respect to their Universities? They brought from every part of the world persons of every possible religious denomination to be educated there; and if they did that, could they enforce on the professors what everybody admitted they could not enforce on the students? If he might be permitted to use a homely proverb on this subject, he would say that what was sauce for the goose was surely sauce for the gander. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last seemed to apprehend that this Bill might lead to the separation of religion from the State. But that would be a matter which could not be settled in that House, but by the people of Scotland themselves. He (Mr. Oswald) should have been glad if, instead of a Bill brought in simply to abolish those tests, the Crown had been moved to appoint a new Commission, with a view thoroughly and completely to sift the state of those Universities, very much altered as they had been by the circumstances that occurred in 1843. When he looked at the Report to which he had referred, he was tempted to ask if that House was a great manufactory of waste paper. He would not refer to the eminent men by whom that Report was drawn up; but he should like to know what portion of it had been acted upon? Nay more, he would venture to ask the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department if he had read and considered that Report? He felt perfectly convinced the right hon. Gentleman had not, because if he had, knowing his candour and abilities, he (Mr. Oswald) felt certain he would not have based the opposition he had given to the Bill on the grounds which he had selected. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. C. Bruce) said there were only two cases in which any grievance existed; but he forgot to state that those grievances referred to every conscientious member of the Free Church, and of every dissenting sect in Scotland. He (Mr. Oswald) would challenge any man who had read the Articles of the English Church, to say whether it was not impossible for the same man to sign those Articles, and also to sign the Confession of Faith, without subscribing to doctrines diametrically opposed to one another? He knew that it had been done, and he knew what subterfuges men would sometimes resort to when they had to reconcile their consciences to the receipt of a good salary. Now, let there be no mistake. Religious parties in this country now understood each other better than they formerly did. He respected what the Free Church had done in Scotland; but don't let Members come down to that House and say they might sign all these things; for if they did sign in both cases, then in one case they subscribed to a doctrine which they did not believe. If the Crown had said they would issue a new Commission, he should not have voted for this Bill; but that not being so, he would take the only course that was left to him, and vote for the abrogation of a grievance which apparently the Government knew no other way of abolishing.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 157; Noes 172: Majority 15.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Berkeley, hon. H. F.
Adair, R. A. S. Berkeley, C. L. G.
Alcock, T. Bernal, R.
Anstey, T. C. Birch, Sir T. B.
Armstrong, Sir A. Boyle, hon. Col.
Armstrong, R. B. Bright, J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Brockman, E. D.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T. Brotherton, J.
Bass, M. T. Bunbury, E. H.
Bell, J. Campbell, hon. W.
Clay, J. Lemon, Sir C.
Clay Sir W. Lewis, G. C.
Cobden, R. Locke, J.
Cogan, W. H. F. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. M'Gregor, J.
Collins, W. Matheson, Col.
Cowan, C. Melgund, Visct.
Crowder, R. B. Milligan, R.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Milnes, R. M.
Dawes, E. Molesworth, Sir W.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Morris, D.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Mowatt, F.
Divett, E. Murphy, F. S.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Norreys, Lord
Drumlanrig, Visct. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Duff, G. S. O'Connell, M. J.
Duff, J. Ord, W.
Duncan, Visct. Oswald, A.
Duncan, G. Owen, Sir J.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Peel, F.
Ellice, E. Perfect, R.
Ellis, J. Peto, S. M.
Elliott, hon. J. E. Philips, Sir G. R.
Euston, Earl of Pilkington, J.
Evans, Sir De L. Pusey, P.
Evans, J. Rawdon, Col.
Evans, W. Ricardo, O.
Ewart, W. Rice, E. R.
Fergus, J. Rich, H.
Ferguson, Col. Romilly, Col.
FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Romilly, Sir J.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Russell, Lord J.
Foley, J. H. H. Russell, F. C. H.
Fordyce, A. D. Salwey, Col.
Forster, M. Scholefield, W.
Fortescue, C. Scobell, Capt.
Fox, W. J. Scully, V.
Freestun, Col. Seymour, H. D.
Geach, C. Seymour, Lord
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Glyn, G. C. Smith, J. A.
Greene, J. Somers, J. P.
Hall, Sir B. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Hardcastle, J. A. Spearman, H. J.
Harris, R. Stanton, W. H.
Hastie, A. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Hatchell, rt. hon. J. Stuart, Lord J.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. Tenison, E. K.
Headlam, T. E. Tennent, R. J.
Heneage, E. Thicknesse, R. A.
Henry, A. Thompson, Col.
Heywood, J. Thompson, G.
Heywood, L. Thornely, T.
Hill, Lord M. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Hindley, C. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Hobhouse, T. B. Vivian, J. H.
Hodges, T. L. Wakley, T.
Horsman, E. Wall, C. B.
Howard, P. H. Watkins, C. L.
Howard, Sir R. Wegg-Prosser, F. R.
Hume, J. Westhead, J. P. B.
Humphery, Aid. Williams, J.
Hutt, W. Williams, W.
Jackson, W. Willoughby, Sir H.
Johnstone, J. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Keogh, W. Wood, Sir W. P.
King, hon. P. J. L. TELLERS.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Moncreiff, J.
Langston, J. H. Craig, Sir W. G.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Arbuthnot, hon. H.
Arkwright, G. Gore, W. R. O.
Bailey, C. Granby, Marq. of
Bailey, J. Greene, T.
Baillie, H. J. Gwyn, H.
Baird, J. Hale, R. B.
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Halford, Sir H.
Barrington, Visct. Hall, Col.
Barrow, W. H. Halewell, E. G.
Bateson, T. Hamilton, G. A.
Benbow, J. Hamilton, J. H.
Bennet, P. Hamilton, Lord C.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Hardinge, hon. C. S.
Bernard, Visct. Harris, hon. Capt.
Best, J. Heneage, G. H. W.
Blair, S. Henley, rt. J. W.
Blandford, Marq. of Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Bowles, Adm. Hervey, Lord A.
Bramston, T. W. Hildyard, R. C.
Bremridge, R. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Brisco, M. Hill, Lord E.
Brooke, Lord Hodgson, W. N.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Hope, Sir J.
Bruce, C. L. C. Hotham, Lord
Buck, L. W. Hughes, W. B.
Bunbury, W. M. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Burghley, Lord Jermyn, Earl
Burrell, Sir C. M. Johnstone, Sir J.
Cabbell, B. B. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Knox, Col.
Carew, W. H. P. Knox, hon. W. S.
Chandos, Marq. of Lacy, H. C.
Child, S. Langton, W. H. P. G.
Christopher, rt. hon. R. Lascelles, hon. E.
Christy, S. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Clive, hon. R. H. Lewisham, Visct.
Clive, H. B. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Cobbold, J. C. Lockhart, A. E.
Cocks, T. S. Lockhart, W.
Coles, H. B. Long, W.
Collins, T. Lowther, hon. Col.
Conolly, T. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Cubitt, Ald. Manners, Lord C. S.
Currie, H. Manners, Lord G.
Davies, D. A. S. Manners, Lord J.
Deedes, W. Maunsell, T. P.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Duncombe, hon. A. Miles, P. W. S.
Duncombe, hon. O. Miles, W.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Moody, C. A.
Dunne, Col. Morgan, O.
Du Pre, C. G. Mullings, J. R.
East, Sir J. B. Mundy, W.
Edwards, H. Mure, Col.
Egerton, Sir P. Naas, Lord
Egerton, W. T. Napier, J.
Emlyn, Visct. Neeld, J.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Newdegate, C. N.
Evelyn, W. J. Newport, Visct.
Farnham, E. B. Noel, hon. G. J.
Farrer, J. O'Brien, Sir L.
Fellowes, E. Ossulston, Lord
Floyer, J. Packe, C. W.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Fox, S. W. L. Palmer, R.
Frewen, C. H. Portal, M.
Fuller, A. E. Prime, R.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Pugh, D.
Galway, Visct. Reid, Gen.
Gilpin, Col. Repton, G. W. J.
Goddard, A. L. Richards, R.
Gooch, Sir E. S. Rushout, Capt.
Sandars, G. Verner, Sir W.
Sibthorp, Col. Vesey, hon. T.
Somerton, Visct. Villiers, Visct.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Spooner, R. Waddington, H. S.
Stafford, A. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Welby, G. E.
Stuart, J. Whiteside, J.
Sturt, H. G. Wigram, L. T.
Taylor, Col. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Thesiger, Sir F.
Tollemache, J. TELLERS.
Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J. Scott, F.
Tyler, Sir G. Forbes, W.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Bill put off for six months.

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