§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL,
in moving that the Lords' Amendments to this Bill be taken into consideration, said, generally speaking, the Government were prepared to agree to those Amendments, with three exceptions of no very great importance.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
proposed to alter one of the Lords' Amendments, which was evidently an oversight, inasmuch as it provided that the Hebdomadal Council should be elected on the fourteenth day of Michaelmas term, whilst the Congregation, which was to elect the Hebdomadal Council, did not come into operation till the fifteenth day of Michaelmas term.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, it was not competent for the House to entertain the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment, inasmuch as it sought to alter a part of the Bill which the Lords' Amendments did not touch.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, it was true that the "fourteenth" had not been altered by the House of Lords; but the whole effect of the clause and of the word "fourteenth" had 828 been altered by the alteration which the Lords had made. He would, therefore, submit that this was a case in which the whole difficulty arose from the Amendment of the House of Lords.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, unfortunately the word "fourteenth" preceded the Amendment of the Lords, to which the House was now asked to agree.
§ On the suggestion of Lord JOHN RUSSEL, a verbal alteration was made in the Lords' Amendment by which the difficulty was avoided.
§ On the Lords' Amendments to the clause relating to the sectional election of the Hebdomadal Board,
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, that he thought the Lords' Amendment, under this head, could not be adopted. One of the most important questions contained in this Bill was that relating to the constitution of the government of the University. Now, up to the time when this Bill was introduced, the constitution of the government of the University consisted of a Hebdomadal Board principally composed of the heads of colleges or halls. There were objections to such a constitution, and the principal objections were, as he had always understood them, that this constitution was too exclusive in its character, that it was confined to men who had been elected to the heads of their separate colleges or halls, possibly for special or peculiar purposes, and that the University, therefore, was not sufficiently represented in the government of its affairs by persons so elected by the colleges and halls. The Government, therefore, proposed to alter this constitution, and they had two modes in which, he thought, they could have done it. Either they might have altered the constitution of the University by giving to the University the fullest power to frame a more liberal constitution for itself; or, they might have undertaken through the advice of Parliament to pass a law which should impose upon the University a new constitution of a more liberal character. Now, the Government did neither one nor the other of these two things. The Bill as introduced into that House proposed a new constitution in which there were to be three classes of persons at the head of the government of the University; the one class consisting of the heads of houses or of halls, the other class consisting of professors, and the third of members of Convocation. This threefold classification, he thought, was a very wise one, for it brought the three 829 interests into play in the government of the University—the heads of houses representing the colleges, the professors representing the professorial element, and the members of Convocation representing, more or less, the University at large. But, when the proposition, as originally introduced, went on to say that these three classes composing the government were all to be elected by one constituent body, it was necessary to ascertain of what that constituent body was composed before you could determine whether you were giving a more liberal government to the University or not. The constituent body created by the Bill, as originally introduced, was the Congregation, consisting of resident members of the University, and was of a more limited nature than that which was now proposed. At first the constituent body did not exceed 150 persons; and as now proposed it would not exceed 250 members of the University. You were, therefore, going to intrust to 250 men the power of selecting the governing body of the University, when the whole of the members—the graduated members—of the University amounted to little fewer, probably to more, than 3,000. But the Congregation, or the constituent body, in whom you had invested now the power of selecting the governing body of the University, was composed of men who might, and who, as he was informed, would probably represent a peculiar and special class of opinions in the University to the detriment of the University at large, and in a manner which was not consistent with the wishes of the great majority of the graduated members of the University. Now, when you had once attempted to give a more liberal government to the University, your representative system ought either to have been put upon a much larger basis, or you ought to have taken security that the members composing the governing body were not confined to the representatives of one class of opinions, but that you should get in the governing body every class and every interest of which the University was composed. It was for that reason, and for that reason mainly, though not wholly, that he had proposed, when the House was last in Committee upon this Bill, that the different classes so constituted, and composing the governing body of the University, should elect themselves—that the heads of houses should be elected by heads of houses, the professors by professors, and the members of Convocation by Convoca- 830 tion, If that plan had been carried out, you would, in the first instance, have made your constituent body for each of these classes the best judges of the persons to represent that class; and, in the second place, you would have had the heads of houses electing heads of houses, and, as they were all elected heads of houses by their separate colleges, you would indirectly, if not directly, have brought to bear the feelings and the wishes of the University at large upon the governing body whom you had so appointed and constituted. The same might be said of the professorial element. You would have intrusted to professors the selection of members of their own body, and would thus have had men chosen who were best calculated to represent the professorial element in the University. That was the reason for the alteration which he had proposed when the Bill was in Committee, and that was the reason why that alteration had been sanctioned by the House. But the House of Lords had now altered back the Bill. It had made a representative system based upon the constituency of 250 men only, representing, or likely to represent, a particular class of opinions. Consequently you would have at the head of the University a governing body which might be in conflict with the members of that University; and then he should like to know how the affairs of the University could be conducted with harmony or with profit? But was this all? If you reverted to congregational election you had absolutely now, as your Bill was drawn, deprived the members of the University at large of all voice in the legislation of the University, except so far as that legislation might be conducted by, and might be agreeable to, this new and small oligarchy of the Congregation which you are founding in the University. The Congregation would elect their own delegates; those delegates would constitute the governing body, and make their own laws; and if a larger influence were brought to bear on them through Congregation they would never allow it to succeed. He appealed, therefore, to the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) whether the Amendment was one which he could sanction? The noble Lord, in liberalising the system, had placed it on a smaller basis, and one which, with reference to ecclesiastical and religious opinions, would be looked upon with great suspicion by the University at large. If he were to address the noble Lord by an 831 argumentum ad personam, he would ask him whether, in reforming municipal institutions some fifteen years ago, he would have been content to leave the election of the members of corporations to one-tenth of their body? or when proposing the Reform Bill, would the noble Lord have consented to limit the parliamentary constituency to the municipal body? That, however, was what the noble Lord was doing by this Bill. The result would be a body not in harmony with the University, and the Bill would fail because they had not adhered to the principle of sectional election, by means of which every class in the University would have been much better represented than they would be under the Amendment made by the Lords. He begged, therefore, to move that the House disagree with the Amendment made by the Lords in this clause.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, it was his opinion that the House ought not to concur in the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Member. He could not think that the right hon. Gentleman had stated the proposition of the House of Lords fairly, as compared with his own proposed constitution. If it had been proposed that there should be a very large body to intervene between the constituent body and the Hebdomadal Council, there might have been some plausibility in the argument which the right hon. Gentleman had used; and he thought that even then the argument with respect to municipal councils would have been defective. What the right hon. Gentleman proposed was, that instead of 250, which the House of Lords had made to be the number of electors, two-thirds of the whole of the Hebdomadal Council should be elected by about fifty-five persons. The right hon. Gentleman, having proposed that these fifty-five persons should have the nomination and election of two-thirds of the Hebdomadal Council, complained very much that this was a very restricted and narrow body, and called it an oligarchy. If it were a question of oligarchy, he could not but think that the proposed arrangement with respect to the heads of colleges would be more entitled to that designation than the one proposed by the House of Lords. He believed the body now proposed would be well suited for the purpose, because it was composed of persons conversant with the duties which it would have to perform. He thought that with respect to the case of small towns, 832 referred to by the right hon. Member, having, for instance, not more than 500 ratepayers, it would not be an improvement to add to them for municipal purposes the inhabitants of adjoining towns, in order to increase the number of electors. Such a plan would not necessarily be an improvement, because it would not secure that the larger body would feel so deep an interest in, or be so conversant with the wants of the town, as the smaller resident governing body. He thought the House of Lords had acted with great wisdom in making this Amendment, and he hoped the House would agree to the alteration.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he did not think the noble Lord was justified in casting upon his right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) the imputation of wishing to narrow the constituency in the University. As the Bill stood the new governing body at Oxford would, in reality, be chosen by 125 or 126 gentlemen. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: No, no!] Such would unquestionably be the case, inasmuch as the whole number of residents would amount to only 250, and of that number 126 would constitute the majority, into whose hands the whole power to deal with the affairs of the University would be transferred. He, for one, was by no means favourable to the government of an oligarchy, and he felt assured that the noble Lord would find that 120 or 130 gentlemen who entertained particular views would naturally associate together, and select such persons as they thought held opinions in accordance with those views. He could not believe that such a body would, in the long run, be found to work as well as one composed of different elements. He could not sit down without seizing the opportunity of adverting to a most unfounded charge which had been made in another place, to the effect that arrangements had been entered into among the heads of houses to elect by seniority. So much surprised had he been at learning that such a statement had been made, that he had instituted inquiries as to its accuracy, in a quarter upon whose testimony he could rely, and he had been assured, that it not only was not true, but that the question of election by seniority had never been agitated among the heads of houses.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, it appeared to him that the two right hon. Gentlemen had set out with the most mistaken principles in the view they took of 833 this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) regarded it as most desirable that the three sections of the Hebdomadal Council should be so elected as to be representatives, and to be chosen especially as representatives, of certain sections, and should be considered valuable principally in that capacity. Now, he thought this was precisely the reason why the Lords' Amendment was desirable. It would be extremely mischievous if the three sections of the Hebdomadal Council were sent there as deputies of any particular set of electors. The object of the enactment as originally framed and as it now stood was merely this—that the Hebdomadal Council should consist of men who were qualified in a somewhat different manner, and habituated to different trains of thought and different associations; and this you effected by requiring that it should be composed of different classes of men. But that they should be sent there in the antagonism which would result from their being the deputies of these different classes was a thing very much to be avoided. The right hon. Gentleman's fear that the residents of Oxford were likely to elect persons who would fall into any particular class of opinions, so as to come into antagonism with Convocation at large, was, he believed, unfounded. What you did by selecting Congregation was to take men who were a fair epitome of Convocation at large and who represented the views of Convocation—men habituated to watch the daily wants of the University, and who knew what sort of legislation it required. Congregation would be more likely than Convocation was to select men who would apply their minds to exactly what the circumstances of the University required, and who would provide measures which Convocation itself would be likely to approve. For these reasons he greatly preferred the Bill as it had come down from the House of Lords, and should certainly support their Lordships' Amendments.
§ MR. HEYWOOD
said, that as one who had voted with the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Walpole) before on this subject, he wished to explain the reason why he should now be quite willing to concur with the Lords' Amendment. Since the time when the right hon. Gentleman proposed his Amendment this House and the other House of Parliament had agreed to retain clauses which he looked upon as a very great improvement, and which had opened the University of Oxford to the 834 nation, so that now this legislative body in the University was no longer a body for the education of members of the Church of England only, but one which had charge of the education of students of all religious denominations. This made a very great change, and there would in future be such a force of public opinion brought to bear upon the University that even if, at first, their elections were not so good as could be wished, it would be impossible for them to resist public opinion in the long run. It appeared to him the more generous plan to place confidence in the University, and to give to it the constitution which was most desired by its Members.
§ MR. WIGRAM
said, he did not at all fear the antagonism which had been alluded to by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heath. cote), but he was afraid that if the governing body were to be elected by the same class of persons, it would consist of individuals acting upon the same principles and holding the same views, so that the advantage usually derived from discussion would not exist. The subject had been most seriously considered by the Tutors' Association, and they had published their views in a pamphlet which, he believed, had been very widely circulated. The opinion of that body was decidedly favourable to the sectional mode of election, which had formerly been adopted by that House, and at the University which he had the honour of representing the same opinion prevailed, and to such an extent that a scheme for altering the constitution of that University had been drawn up on that principle. There was the great advantage in having a governing body chosen by different classes, that different views would be advocated by different members of it, and discussion being thus occasioned would lead to more satisfactory results than if all the members of the governing body were actuated by the same views; he therefore trusted that the Lords' Amendment would not be agreed to by that House
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he felt very much surprised at the decision of the House of Lords upon the question under the notice of the House, and he very much regretted that they had deemed it to be their duty to assent to such an Amendment as they had introduced. It was his belief that the Amendment introduced by the House of Lords would act as a lock upon the freedom of the University, and would tend ultimately to destroy its high character. It might be very convenient 835 for the noble Lord the President of the Council to narrow down the question, and to say that the mode of election which the Bill as it stood proposed was more popular than the sectional mode of election. Surely the noble Lord could not have forgotten the reasons which caused the sectional mode of election to be sanctioned by that House. Under the old state of things prevailing at the University, the Hebdomadal Board was an independent authority—independent alike of the residents and of Convocation. For a long series of years that body had performed the duties committed to its charge in a manner which reflected upon it the highest credit. It was all very well for noble Lords to run down the heads of houses, but they it was who had been the barriers to the ambitious designs of a section in the University. A right rev. Prelate in another place (the Bishop of Oxford) seemed to participate in the desire to run down the authority of the heads of houses, but he (Mr. Newdegate) could only say that those heads of houses had for 100 years most efficiently carried on the government of the University. One step had already been taken to cripple the, action of Convocation by the interposition of Congregation, and now they were asked to give to that latter body the absolute power to create the Hebdomadal Council at its pleasure. When the measure was spoken of as a liberal measure, it ought to be borne in mind that it was but another clog upon the free action of the University. They were about to render the real governing body of the University more like a borough council, and less like the constitution of that House—they were about to make it, perhaps more academical, but less national. He was unwilling to let the discussion close without adverting to what had occurred in another place, in connection with the Amendment which had been there introduced, and whose merits they were then discussing. That Amendment had been moved by a noble Lord (Lord Ward), whose contemporary he had been at the University. Lord Ward was, no doubt, a man of great ability; but he (Mr. Newdegate) must protest against its being supposed that the noble Lord represented the opinions of his contemporaries at Oxford. The noble Lord rather represented the discontented portion of the University. But to return to the question immediately before them, what was it they were about to effect? The Hebdomadal Board had opposed Tractarianism at the University; 836 but they were about to destroy the last vestige of its corporate existence. Convocation had resisted Tractarianism; but they were about to double-lock the power of Convocation, by placing the initiative in the hands of men whom they proposed to constitute the rivals of Convocation, and were thus prepared to strike a blow against both the authorities which were opposed to Tractarianism, while they proposed to invest with great power that party among whom it dwelt. He trusted, however, that the Protestant Dissenters in that House would not be a party to any measure which should hand over nearly the whole authority in the University into the grasp of a faction; and that they would not give their consent to give up the Church of England, bound hand and foot, to the domination of a body which had done more to endanger her position in public estimation than any other body which had ever taken part in the government of the University.
Motion made, and Question put,
That this House doth agree with The Lords in the Amendment in page 2, lines 36 and 37, which Amendment was to leave out the words to be elected from b among themselves by such Heads of Colleges or Halls.'
§ The House divided:—Ayes 115; Noes 62: Majority 53.
§ MR. W1GRAM
said, he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the words which were proposed to be added to the 15th clause. The clause itself provided that the Vice Chancellor should make a register of Congregation, and the effect of the proposed words would be to render the register conclusive. He thought it was desirable that persons should be allowed to object to the register, and, if necessary to appeal from the decision of the Vice Chancellor.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he did not think there was any reason for disagreeing with the Lords' Amendment. Any well-informed resident in Oxford would be able to make out the register with tolerable accuracy, and the Vice Chancellor would have no difficulty in discharging the duty with substantial justice. There was no fear of exclusion to any serious amount, nor was there, in his opinion, the slightest danger of partiality, or favouritism, or neglect.
§ MR. WIGRAM
said, if the right hon. Gentleman was satisfied with the Amendment, he would not attempt to alter it.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The next Amendment considered was 837 that made in the 31st clause, empowering the colleges to make ordination "for the consolidation of fellowships, and for the conversion of fellowships attached to schools into scholarships or exhibitions so attached."
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the Amendment was a very necessary and material improvement; but having been introduced in the Lords for a specific purpose, it had been thought upon consideration to be exclusive of other objects which were obviously desirable. In the Bill, as it went up to the Lords, it was considered and assumed, whether too hastily or not, that the consolidation and conversion of college emoluments might be effected under the general powers of the colleges, subject to the restraints provided by the Bill; but in the Lords it was thought fit to insert words, first of all providing for the consolidation of fellowships, and secondly, providing for the conversion of fellowships in certain cases, namely, in cases in which they were attached to schools. Now, it might be desirable to consolidate fellowships; but it was quite clear that it was even more desirable and requisite to consolidate other emoluments, because with respect to other emoluments, and especially to exhibitions, there were a considerable number which were so insignificant in amount that they were of no reasonable value whatever, and it was necessary to put them together in order to derive any good or profit from them. He therefore proposed, that being an object which had always been contemplated, to substitute for the word "fellowships" the word "emoluments," which would cover exhibitions and other classes of endowments as well as fellowships. But, besides the consolidation, it was likewise very desirable to provide in certain cases for the division of fellowships. There were one or two cases in the University in which the incomes of particular fellowships were so large, relatively to the general standard, that, although he did not assume they ought to be divided, he thought the Commissioners should have the power of considering that subject. The words introduced by the Lords, which empowered the colleges and the Commissioners to convert fellowships attached to schools, would possibly have the effect of preventing the conversion of fellowships in any case except that in which they were attached to schools. He considered that it was of the greatest importance that power should be given to 838 convert fellowships into scholarships in cases other than those in which they were attached to schools. The words were introduced by the Lords with a particular view—namely, to satisfy those who were interested in schools, by giving them compensation, in case of opening a portion of the emoluments to which they had now an exclusive right, in the shape of scholarships and exhibitions. But the words, as they at present stood, would prevent the conversion of fellowships in other cases, and, therefore, it seemed wise to enlarge them in such a way as to embrace all the cases which might be desirable. He could not help mentioning also that a conversion of this description—of superior into inferior emoluments—was a mode of reform eminently in conformity with the views of the founders, because it was clear, from the Statutes of the colleges, that when the founders provided for the maintenance of fellows, they meant by "fellows" very much what were meant now by scholars and exhibitioners. They were persons who were to be students, and who, in point of fact, in a great many instances, were designated not by the word "socii," but by the word "scholares," in the Statutes themselves. He proposed, therefore, to take out the words introduced by the Lords, and to insert the following—For the consolidation, division, or conversion of emoluments, including therein the conversion of fellowships attached to schools into scholarships or exhibitions so attached, and of fellowships otherwise limited into scholarships or exhibitions, and either subject or not to any similar or modified limitations.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The next Lords' Amendment read by the clerk was that excepting fellowships or studentships from the operation of the 34th clause, which preserves the right of preference belonging to schools.
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he should move that the House disagree with this Amendment of the Lords. A great part of the most important endowments of the best schools in the kingdom consisted of University emoluments in the shape of fellowships, scholarships, and exhibitions. Now the present Bill was not founded upon any inquiry into the interests of these schools. The colleges, in the exercise of the power given to them were bound to consider the interests of the colleges as places of education alone, and if they dissented from anything proposed by the Commissioners, they could only do so on the ground that it would be prejudicial, 839 not to the interests of the schools connected with them, but to the colleges as places of education. For that reason, and to prevent emoluments being taken away from the schools for considerations unconnected with the interests of the schools, the House, at his recommendation, agreed to the 34th clause in the Bill, which referred to the governing body of each school, not only the questions relating to the endowments in which it was interested in the University, but the general questions of the abolition of any particular right of preference to which the school might be entitled. Now there could be no reason why they should except fellowships from the operation of that clause. The only plausible arguments which had been adduced in favour of that exception were founded upon an entire misunderstanding, if not misrepresentation, of the effect and object of the clause in question. It had been urged by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Lowe) that the clause in effect said that nothing should be done with the fellowships attached to schools without the consent of the governing bodies of the schools. There could not be a more complete misrepresentation of the effect of the clause; and an explanation of its true object and effect would serve as a full answer to another argument which had been used, namely, that it was of the greatest importance to the colleges to have these fellowships, offices of government and teaching, filled with persons of high qualifications. The clause did not in the least degree interfere with that, nor did it refer to the veto of the governing bodies of the schools any regulation which might be proposed for that purpose. It would be in the power of the colleges or the Commissioners in any case to establish as an indispensable condition of election to a fellowship, upon the ground of preference, any qualification soever which might he thought necessary to secure the election of a person of competent attainments and learning. Take the case of Pembroke College, which had been urged as showing the necessity of the Lords' Amendment upon the clause. Pembroke College was connected with a school never large, and now, he believed, incapable of supplying candidates of sufficient merit to fill the vacancies in the fellowships and scholarships which attached it to the college. Was it necessary, in order to remedy that evil, that they should say, when Abingdon School could send a fit person to be elected to a scholar- 840 ship upon that foundation, and when that person exerted himself in the University, and, after a meritorious career as an undergraduate, showed himself well qualified for a fellowship, that he should not be elected to the fellowship, but should be exposed to a general competition, and, perhaps, rejected as unworthy of the office, only because some one might possibly come forward more able and more distinguished than himself? It was quite clear that could not be necessary for any legitimate purpose of the college. What was really necessary was, that the college should have the power of establishing an adequate standard of merit, and excluding any one who claimed on the ground of school preference, but who did not come up to that standard, and then, if necessary, throwing open the office to general competition. Now, under the 34th clause in the Bill, it would be competent for the college, without interference on the part of the governors of the school, to say that no one from the school should be elected to a fellowship unless he took a second-class, or even a first class honour, if that were thought to be the proper standard; and therefore it was the idlest thing in the world to say that the clause, as that House passed it, took from the college, or the Commissioners, the power of establishing such tests of merit in successions to fellowships of the favoured class as would be necessary for any proper or legitimate purpose of the college. The only thing that could not be done under the clause was to abolish absolutely, the right of preference, without the consent of the school. It had also been said that scholarships and exhibitions were favourable to the schools, while fellowships were favourable to the colleges. There could not be a greater fallacy than that. No man could pretend to say that a scholarship held for one or two years would be of equal value to a fellowship, which might be held for life. The truth was, that the supporters of the Lords' Amendment confounded one abuse, which might easily be rectified, with the thing itself, and had consequently applied the remedy of destruction instead of that of reformation. There could be no doubt that there were some evils connected with the present system; but power was given by the clause to remedy them. One mode was that of requiring the claimants to take University honours, and that was a sufficient answer to the objection that they could not, under the present clause, apply any stimulants; 841 but they might, in addition, renew the competition after a certain time, throwing it open, if necessary, to the members of other colleges, who had been at the same school. No reason, however, could be shown for taking away the right of preference altogether. The case of the Merchant Taylors' School was a very strong one. The present head master, a competent and liberal-minded man, had expressed, in the most forcible manner, his conviction that the school was so dependent upon the particular endowment in St. John's College, and upon the special value which that endowment derived from the circumstance, that any meritorious young man elected by merit to St. John's, and continuing meritorious and satisfying any standard established there, would keep his fellowship for life—that he delivered the difference in value between a scholarship tenable for three years, and a fellowship tenable, subject to proper tests of merit, for life, was such, that the very existence of the school was involved in it. Winchester School might possibly be in the same position, and he was certain that the interests of New College would not at all be served by throwing open to general competition its senior fellowships, less valuable than any other in the University, although the esprit de corps would always give a particular value in the eyes of Winchester men. He hoped the House would not forget that this question derived great importance from the manner in which the three greatest schools concerned in it were affected. It so happened that in New College, St. John's, and Christ Church, where preferences in favour of Winchester School, Merchant Taylors' School, and Westminster School existed, there were no scholarships at all—they were all fellowships; and so they were by the Lords' Amendment entirely depriving those three great schools of the whole benefit of the protection given by the clause. It was true there was a proviso added to the clause, to the effect that the colleges or Commissioners, if they thought fit, might divide the fellowships into two classes, senior and junior, and that the senior only should be held to be fellowships within the meaning of the clause; but that was no protection whatever, because it made the whole matter depend upon an act to be done under the exercise of the uncontrolled power of the Commissioners, who might refer a large portion of the fellowships to the senior division. The Lords' Amendment, 842 in short, was a simple alienation and abstraction from the schools of the largest and most important portion of their emoluments, and he trusted the House would support him in rejecting it.
was understood to say that the heads of Pembroke College did not view the Amendments introduced by the House of Lords in an unfavourable light.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he had no doubt that the heads of Pembroke College would be glad to sweep away Abingdon School body and bone. He was glad his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. R. Palmer) had taken the course he had in giving those who agreed with him an opportunity of recording their opinions and sentiments on this clause. It certainly was a very strange alteration to be made by the House of Lords. That assembly had now consecrated the opinion that it was right to disregard the possession of a privilege for 300 years, and that the rule was henceforth to be detur digniori. That was, he considered, a very dangerous principle for the House of Lords to establish, and one on which he doubted very much whether they would like to hold their peerages. If endowments which had been enjoyed by certain persons for 300 years were to be set aside simply because it was thought that others more worthy ought to possess them, they might depend upon it that that was a principle which would not long remain unapplied in another direction; and that many who were now living would see it carried to an extent they at the present moment little contemplated. It would be fortunate, indeed, if none of those Gentlemen who called themselves Reformers, but who really desired change at any cost, should propose to apply the principle to the privilege of sitting in the House of Lords. The objection to the limited number of scholars among whom these scholarships and fellowships were to be given appeared to him to be perfectly groundless. Just in proportion as the area was small, just in that proportion was the privilege valuable to those who enjoyed it. If they chose to rob these schools (for that was the right word) of this property given to them hundreds of years ago, and to assign it to others, simply on the ground that those others were more worthy to enjoy it, it was, of course, in their power to do so; but it would nevertheless be a gross act of robbery, and it could be called nothing else, and that was the real principle of this clause of the Bill.
§ THE CHANCELLOR or THE EXCHEQUER
said, a noble Lord once, being indignant at the conduct of a small portion of the assembly he was addressing, threatened them that if they voted in a particular sense they would be called in a short time to vacate their seats. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) did not, in the very extraordinary language he had used, limit the threat to that minute and insignificant portion of the assembly, but said quite distinctly, if the House of Lords chose to rob and plunder, as they had done by the clause in this Bill, they must prepare to yield their places. The right hon. Gentleman, himself a distinguished Conservative orator, who was rather supposed to hold with tenacity smaller institutions of the country, did not hesitate, with hyper-Papal authority, to say to the House of Lords, "If you vote otherwise than I think right, you must be prepared to have your powers and privileges taken away from you." Now, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) ventured to state that the House of Lords, by the vote it had given on this occasion, had done nothing to weaken, but everything to strengthen, itself in public opinion. And, moreover, after giving at least as much attention to the subject as the right hon. Gentleman, he would venture to state that the Amendment sent down by the House of Lords was not an Amendment in favour of robbery and plunder, but was an Amendment in favour alike of moral and intellectual excellence as against ignorance and abuse. His hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roundell Palmer) had discussed this question with great temper and moderation, and he confessed he felt great regret dial his hon. and learned Friend was not satisfied with the victories he had already obtained, for he had already succeeded inducing this and the other House of Parliament to invest bodies for the most part utterly incompetent with an absolute power of stepping in between Parliament, between the Commissioners, between the Privy Council, and the work of legislation, and of saying, "We do not care one pin for public interests, for the interest, of learning, for promoting the diffusion o the streams of learning over the land; we look at this locality, and as, in our opinion, this locality is to suffer by the change you meditate, we say no, and forbid you to proceed." Well, the House of Lord had submitted to the pleasure of his hon. and learned Friend, so far as regarded all 844 Scholarships and fall exhibitions connected with the University of Oxford. All that the House of Lords had done was this—they had claimed, not to throw open all these fellowships, but to give impartial and dispassionate parties a power of considering, upon larger and more general grounds than the corporation of Abingdon, for instance, would consider, whether these endowments should be continued. The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded on the assumption, though he did not use the phrase, that both the Privy Council and the Commission—composed of the Earl of Harrowby, the Earl of Ellesmere, the Bishop of Ripon, and so forth—were a set of men totally incapable of discerning and of estimating the fair claims of these schools, and of allowing to those fair claims everything that was just and reasonable. It was the duty of the Commissioners to consider and weigh fairly all claims not overriding local interests and local rights, but estimating together the bearing one on another of certain local with larger and more general rights, and to consider the ultimate benefits to accrue from the course they might adopt. Those were the duties to be committed to the hands of the Commissioners; but his hon. and learned Friend said he was not satisfied with that, and that the corporation of Abingdon, being the best judges, should have the power to interpose with an absolute veto. Long before the Bill assumed its present form it contained the principle of compensation to these schools. The Government never proposed, with regard to exhibitions, that the privileges should be taken away. They were to pass under review, but all limitations were to be retained with regard to them, and in order to prevent the supposition that it was intended to sweep away these endowments irrespective of the rights of the schools, it was provided that fellowships limited might be converted into scholarships or exhibitions similarly limited. That was distinct proof that it was not intended to proceed on the abstract principle—the abstract principle, so excellent, against which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) had directed his powers of ridicule, of giving to the best man these advantages of the University. The Government did not intend to give scope even to that principle, but to provide the best machinery to satisfy every local claim. Was it true that these endowments now existed in such a form as would be most beneficial to these parties themselves? He 845 said, on the contrary, and to a very great extent, they existed in such a form that immense resources were wasted in producing an amount of local encouragement hardly perceptible. He would take a particular case, which would exhibit the matter simply. Let the House suppose that a school had a right of preference to three fellowships of 200l. a year each. That would represent a property of 600l. a year; but if the average tenure of those fellowships was fifteen years—which was somewhere about the usual tenure—it followed there would be only one opening once in every five years. That opening afforded a perfectly ineffective stimulus to the school; but supposing the Commissioners converted one of those fellowships into five exhibitions of 40l. a year, each tenable for five years, then there would be an exhibition available every year in the school, instead of a fellowship once in five years. He, therefore, put it to the House whether that would not give very much greater encouragement, at an expense of 200l., than the three fellowships at the expense of 600l. a year? And, therefore, he said that, in numbers of these schools, arrangements might be made which, augmenting the amount of local interests, would leave a large overplus for the benefit of general education. He asked the House to do—what? Not by a sweeping clause to declare that these privileges should be taken away, but to submit these matters to impartial persons in high stations, being worthy of the confidence of the House, to make the best arrangement they could after full examination of the case. If the Commission failed, they allowed them to go before the Privy Council, where there would be a hearing from parties acting judicially; and if the Privy Council failed, they might come down to that House, where his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. R. Palmer), with all his Winchester associates at his back, would be ready enough to ask sympathy, and find ability enough to command it, to induce the House to prevent the recommendations of the Commissioners becoming law. These matters having been so much discussed, he would not go at any length into them, but he wished to point out to his hon. and learned Friend that he was not entitled to the honour and pride of declaring himself in that House the preserver of the wills and intentions of the founders. The wills of the founders declared certain local preferences, and if it was mere sacredness of situation 846 that they were talking about, why not preserve the rights and the claims of the Channel Islands, of Wales, of the diocese of Lincoln, of the diocese of Exeter, and all the rest? They did nothing of the sort, and was it unjust to apply to schools the same principle they applied to counties? The intentions of the founders were exactly parallel. The only difference was, that in the one case there were persons ready to raise a great disturbance, and in the other there was no organisation—no means of raising clamour. So with regard to founders' intentions altogether. He should like to know in what case (where the founder had enacted anything inconvenient to anybody) his intentions had been allowed to stand in the way of putting that obstacle aside? And he should like, also, to know in what case it was possible to urge the founders' intentions against useful reform, intended for the interests of the public? The fact was, the Government were those who were giving effect to the intentions of the founders. Many of those founders were men of enlightened minds. The intention of William of Wykeham was to establish the best college at Oxford, to make it distinguished among others by its intellectual and moral excellence, and he trusted to a most elaborate system of control, examination, and mutual supervision. The force of those Statutes died out, and what was the case in that was the case in these close colleges generally. Did they fulfil the intentions of the founders? Could it be said that any of these close colleges were superior to the other colleges in Oxford? He thought not. He said it was the intention of William of Wykeham to have a superior college, but by circumstances his college had become entirely inferior. And when it was endeavoured to infuse into it the breath of new life, they came and talked of founders' intentions. These were the founders' intentions—to have the best college which legislation and human wisdom could obtain, and he hoped by this Bill and the Amendment of the House of Lords to give effect to the founders' intentions in that respect. Though he attached great importance to the specialties of the two Universities, with respect to this particular question, the general principle would apply also to Cambridge. There was no question about that, and it was admitted, also, that the object of the interference of Parliament in this matter of University education was to open and enlarge the Universities, not to narrow and restrain them. In Cambridge 847 he did not know how, but, in fact, this very thing was done which the Lords' Amendments gave power to do, with respect to one of the greatest and most distinguished colleges in that University. Trinity College had taken away from the Westminster scholars the absolute right to succeed to fellowships. That had been done without the intervention of Parliament; and now that Parliament was appealed to to facilitate the work of reform, that work would not be assisted, if, to use a term which had become fashionable during the discussion on this measure, they allowed themselves to be deluded by his hon. and learned Friend. If the House adopted the clause of his hon. and learned Friend, it would be impossible to effect for King's College at Cambridge, which was connected with Eton, the very thing which, without the aid of Parliament, Trinity College had effected with regard to Westminster. No doubt the rights in question varied in every possible way. No doubt there were special cases where the object of the founder was almost exclusively his interest in the school, whilst there were a multitude of other cases where his interest was in the college. With regard to Winchester, he thought his hon. and learned Friend fundamentally misrepresented the case when he said New College was made for Winchester, and that if he read the Statutes he would see Winchester was made for New College. Mr. R. PALMER: Both were made for each other.] Now, he thought the welfare of New College was the main object in the mind of William of Wykeham, and that he treated Winchester as a mere appendage. It was because of these many shades and varieties of interest that Parliament should refer the cases for review to an intelligent competent tribunal, in order to deal fairly by these parties. He was quite satisfied his hon. and learned Friend would not succeed in inducing the House to adopt his Amendment. It was quite true the House had twice voted in its favour, but by very different majorities, and the more light that was thrown on this question the more impossible would it be to induce the representatives of the people in this country to set themselves against the House of Lords in a case where the House of Lords had been voting on large views of public and general interests, and where the interests arrayed against them were, to describe them in the kindest manner, interests of personal and local feeling.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, 848 he thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown in his last, as in his former speeches upon this subject, something very much resembling the eagerness of a partisan, as well as considerable unfairness of argument. The right hon. Gentleman said that the opponents of the Amendment ought to be satisfied, because the tribunal which would have to carry the Amendment into effect was an impartial one. That, however, was assuming the question whether the powers given by the Amendment ought or ought not to be conferred upon the Commissioners. Those who took the same view of the question as he did might consistently refuse to grant a particular power to a tribunal without objecting to the composition of the tribunal. The Chancellor of the Exchequer also adverted to the advantages which would result from converting fellowships into exhibitions, but the House was aware that that could be done under another clause of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had likewise dwelt on the advantages of framing regulations for making the fellowships more available for learning in the University, but all those regulations could be made by the clause of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roundell Palmer), without the Amendment of the House of Lords. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to New College and Winchester School, and said that that college was not constructed for Winchester School alone. It was true it was not like the case of Abingdon School and Pembroke College, where the latter grew out of the former; but it could be seen from every part of the Statutes that the founder designed to build up a college on the school at Winchester, and it would be a complete overthrow of those intentions if they were to deprive the college of all connection with the school. It would be no answer to say a larger scheme of education was proposed; for if a school was founded with particular views for a particular class, Parliament could have no right to accept the gift, and then appropriate it in a way as different as possible from the intentions of the founder. He should certainly enter his protest against any attempt to overrule the decided and sufficient opinion already given by the House upon this subject.
§ MR. G. E. H. VERNON
said, that as he was one of those who had voted with the majority on the first occasion against the Government proposition, and in the 849 minority on the second, against his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth, he trusted the House would allow him to say a few words in justification of the course which he had thought it his duty to pursue. The first vote, be it remembered, involved the question whether the interests and rights of schools were to be absolutely set aside and ignored by the operation of this Bill. Now he (Mr. Vernon) entertained as strongly as did the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite the feeling that they had no right, while they were legislating for the good of the University, to throw out of their consideration the almost equal claims of the endowed schools. Even assuming, which it was perhaps fair to assume, that the schools did not in all cases perform the functions which they were intended to perform as adequately as might be desired—even granting that some of them did not furnish the best scholars to the University— he still maintained that they had no right, in a Bill which exclusively affected Oxford University, to put in the power of the Commissioners and of the University authorities, whose main object might be presumed to be the credit of the University itself, the fortunes of these various endowed schools. Well, the Government were beaten on that occasion. The rights of the schools were vindicated. Then arose the question whether they were to carry out the principle of school immunity from control to what he believed would be an unfair and mischievous extent? In the endeavour to reform the University they had not adhered strictly and exclusively to the actual terms of the expressed wishes of the founders, but only so far as those wishes could be maintained with due regard to existing and altered circumstances. It was impossible to carry out to the letter all the wills of the founders. They had endeavoured, in the efforts to improve the constitution of the University, to respect the main intentions of the founders with scrupulous, but not slavish, attention. Must they not, then, in some degree, carry out the same principle in reference to the relation of the schools with the University? In the modified proposition of the Government which he had supported, and which, though rejected by that House, had been restored to the Bill in another place, it was proposed to maintain the privileges of the schools in almost all instances with regard to exhibitions and scholarships—to leave, in fact, the position of undergraduates 850 unassailed and untouched—but it was considered fair, after the expiration of some four or five or six years of their tutelage, to look to the efficiency and merit of the scholars as members of the University. Their career was, as now, to be assisted in its outset—they were to be fully and fairly launched—but they were not to be permitted to have an indefeasible right to a perpetual monopoly of college emoluments, independent of distinctions of fitness and of merit, simply because they proceeded from this or that particular school. He was one of those who regarded with great confidence the Commissioners selected by Her Majesty's Government. He likewise approved of the various checks imposed upon the exercise of their authority. He was perfectly certain nothing would be ordered by those Commissioners, in a sense either unfair or severe, with reference to these schools; and he thought it the duty of the House to reflect before placing a power of veto either in the corporation of Abingdon, or even the school to which he was more particularly attached, that of Westminster. With regard to the allusion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Trinity College, Cambridge, and Westminster School, the right hon. Gentleman was completely in error, as the Westminster scholars never had the power of taking fellowships—it was a pure question of examination.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he had listened to the hon. Gentleman's explanation of the contradictory votes he had given, and must say—with all possible respect for the hon. Gentleman—that he never heard anything more hollow, inconsistent, and unsatisfactory. In the first instance, the hon. Gentleman had voted for the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer); and secondly, against it, because he was not prepared to carry the principle to an extreme extent. He should like to know how the hon. Gentleman expected men of sense to believe that, when he gave his first vote, he did not vote for that which by his second vote he negatived. The question had been fully argued, everything which could be said about it had been said, and therefore he would not have said a word on this occasion, had it not been for some expressions which had fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the Lords' Amendment was in favour of moral and intellectual excellence against ignorance and abuse. From that description of the Amendment he altogether dissented, but 851 at any rate, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the last person from whom such language might have been expected, looking to the declarations which he had made on this subject four years ago. It should be recollected this was not a question of expediency—it was not the case of something that might be good to-day and bad to-morrow—it was a question of principle, which rested now upon the same grounds as those on which it stood in 1850. The House should hear what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in 1850, and then he would leave the right hon. Gentleman to explain his inconsistency as he could.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he would not be responsible for the report which the right hon. Gentleman was about to read.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
The right hon. Gentleman now said, that the report of his speech was not correct.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that if the right hon. Gentleman, by using the word "now," meant to imply that he had not before disavowed the report, he must beg to set him right, for he had published a corrected report of his speech on that occasion.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he could refer only to the report which appeared in the usual record of Parliamentary proceedings; from that he would read some passages, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer could state what portion of those passages was incorrect. The question at issue was one of high principle. Like his right hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), he thought the Lords' Amendment would sanction unjustifiable spoliation, and he believed the country at large were of the same opinion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was reported to have used this language in 1850—Into the question of the restraints in the election of fellowships I will not enter at any length. It is plain, however, that neither the House of Commons nor the Crown can assume a jurisdiction to remove those restraints; but, in point of fact, those restraints are of a much more limited character than is supposed." [3 Hansard, cxii. 1498.]In 1850, then, the right hon. Gentleman was of opinion that the restraints upon the election to fellowships could not properly be removed by the Crown or Parliament. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: No, no!] He wished to know what error the passage contained?
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he must say he thought the right hon. Gentleman was thankful for small mercies. He must be hard pressed, indeed, when he drew such a very nice distinction. The right hon. Gentleman was now urging the House of Commons to deal with those very restraints to which he had then referred. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to say—The selection is usually made from the country, or in most cases from the diocese. But although I do not deny that there ought to be some relaxation of these restrictions, yet I do deny the assumption that they are altogether evil. It is plain the principle of examination must have some limitation."—[3 Hansard, cxii. 1498.]We were not now indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for any limitation whatever being put upon the principle of examination, or for scholarships not being dealt with in the same manner as fellowships. The right hon. Gentleman continued—I would not like to see a Prime Minister, or any other Member of the Cabinet, appointed by examination. I would as soon have them chosen out of a particular county or a particular diocese. And so in the case of fellowships—you may ascertain the competency of candidates by examination; but we all know that there may be as much trick in passing through an examination as anything else, and I protest against examination being taken as the sole and only test of the fitness of candidates for those foundations."—[3 Hansard, cxii. 1499.]Yet the right hon. Gentleman now said that the House of Lords had passed an Amendment in favour of moral and intellectual excellence, and against ignorance and abuse. What was that moral and intellectual excellence? Why, it was an excellence that was to be tested by examination. He did not deny the right hon. Gentleman's right to change his mind, but he thought the weight of the right hon. Gentleman's opinion upon this matter ought not to tell very much with the House, when he expressed such diametrically opposite opinions upon a question of high principle within the short period of four years. The right hon. Gentleman asked whether the colleges fulfilled the intentions of their founders; but he denied his right to enter into that question now, when they had such plain and unanswerable proof as to what those intentions really were. Why, this very morning the House had been led into an act of great injustice, as he considered, solely from their respect for the intentions of a testator. He alluded, of course, to Sir Thomas Wilson's Finchley Road Estate Bill. The 853 right hon. Gentleman also said that the intentions of the founders were to establish the best colleges; but he denied the hon. Gentleman's right so to distort their intentions. He would appeal to the case in which he was the most interested—that of certain schools in the county of Worcester, connected with Worcester College, and he would ask whether the right hon. Gentleman was justified in saying that the Worcestershire gentlemen who founded those fellowships and scholarships had solely in view the establishment of the best college? It was perfectly clear that the real object of the founders was to benefit the county, to give an advantage to particular schools, and they could not now deprive those schools of their fellowships, which were, in fact, their endowments, without committing an act of the greatest injustice. He denied that they were open to the accusation of having protected the interests of schools while they neglected those of localities, and such a distinction ought not to be drawn. In the case of Jesus College, the interests of the locality had been protected by the decision of the House of Commons. He must express his deep regret at the course which the Government had taken, as their object appeared to be to induce the House of Commons to stultify itself; but he would remind the House that they had already come to two different decisions upon this particular subject, not in a thin House at the end of July, but in a full House in the middle of the Session. With one of those decisions the right hon. Gentleman was dissatisfied, and therefore asked the House to review it, but they had refused to do so, and declared that they held sacred these endowments and respected these rights. He hoped the House would now come to the same conclusion at which they had twice before arrived, and reject this Amendment of the Lords.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, the House would recollect that the last time they had debated this question, there was a majority of ten only in favour of the hon. and learned Gentleman's (Mr. Roundell Palmer's) proposal, so that, if they were now to come to a different conclusion, they would not, all events, be reviewing a decision which had been arrived at by a very large majority. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Pakington) stated that his right hon. Friend (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had said, in 1850, that these endowments ought not to be set aside by the will of the Crown or of the House of Com- 854 mons. No doubt his right hon. Friend had said so, and he had no hesitation in saying the same thing now; but what they proposed was, that not the Crown or the House of Commons simply should decide this question, but that the whole body of the Legislature—the Queen, Lords, and Commons—should give their assent to a Bill by which that alteration should be made. He owned that he felt somewhat embarrassed in arguing this question when he heard the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote) and the right hon. Gentleman opposite arguing for a literal adherence to the wills of the founders, because, if they were to adhere to the wills of the founders, without looking at their intentions, how was it that they had allowed those wills to be set aside and different dispositions to be made in the case of localities? What was there in the case of schools which would justify their acting towards them in a separate manner? The question, therefore, came to this—whether, having adopted certain words with regard to these preferences in a former clause, which had been agreed to both by the Lords and the Commons, namely—And whereas it is expedient for the interests of religion and learning to enable colleges to alter and amend their Statutes with respect to eligibility to headships, fellowships, and other college emoluments, and the tenure thereof, and to ensure the same being conferred according to personal merits and fitness, and for that purpose to modify or abolish any preference, and to make ordinances for promoting the main designs of the founders and donors,"—whether, having agreed to that preamble, and given the Commissioners power to carry this purpose into effect, they had altogether parted with their right to touch any of the dispositions made by the founders, and were to preserve sacred and inviolate every endowment they had made, however mischievous might be its operation at the present time? The argument of the Government was that the founders never intended that the foundations which they established for the purpose of promoting religion and learning should be rather made a hindrance to the promotion of religion and learning. Let them take the case now before them—not that of fellowships, but that of scholarships and exhibitions from schools. There might be certain schools containing a large number of scholars who were perfectly fit to compete for the exhibitions to scholarships at the University; but the number of boys might also be so 855 small that a sufficient number could not be furnished who were able to obtain the fellowships that were by law assigned to them. Was the inferior person in that case to be preferred, and the young man of talent set aside? He owned it appeared to him that, if they gave the preference to fitness, they could not adopt the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The question had been placed upon a very different ground by the hon. and learned Gentleman; for he did not say he wished to stand exactly upon the will of the founders, but that they would obtain fitness if they took the scholars from these schools, as the examinations would ascertain whether they were fit for the emoluments which they wished to enjoy. But it was quite clear that if the number of scholars was very limited, they would find that these examinations would only ascertain a very low degree of competence, a very narrow standard of learning, and their general object would thereby be defeated. He hoped, therefore, the House would reject the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition and agree to the Amendment of the Lords.
§ MR. WIGRAM
said, he had no wish to use such harsh words as plunder and spoliation; but he must say, that if the clause were passed in its present form, it would enable parties to violate the rules under which property had hitherto been recognised in this country for a very long period. It was a deviation from the principle which the people of this country had long enjoyed, that those who bequeathed property for a particular purpose should have the right of defining the manner in which that property should be disposed of. That was one of the main principles on which all the rights of property were founded, and he trusted the House would not be induced to accede to such a proposition as was now before it, and which would reverse that principle. He denied that the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roundell Palmer) would in any way be a hindrance to the progress of learning and religion—they had a sufficient number of protections and safeguards to prevent any abuse of that sort. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had argued that they were committed to this course by what they had already done. He could only say that this did not apply to himself, for he had protested against the principle, and had voted against it. But besides this, the present clause went a great deal further than any of the others. Then they 856 were asked by the noble Lord whether they were prepared to adhere to the wills of time founders, even though those wills should hinder rather than promote the spread of religion and learning. He denied that they were reduced to this alternative, for even if the words introduced by the House of Lords were omitted, still they would have the fullest opportunity of enacting rules which would secure the advancement of religion and learning. In reply to another case put by the noble Lord President, he would say that in case of schools not sending up persons sufficiently qualified for scholarships, it would be competent for the colleges to reject them, and in that case the appointments would be open. It had been decided in the case of Catherine Hall, Cambridge, that the colleges had the right to refuse the election of incompetent persons. They had, therefore, no temptation to deviate from the principle of respecting the wills of the founders, and he hoped the House would not depart from it.
Motion made, and Question put,
That this House doth agree with the Lords in the Amendment in page 10, lines 23, 24, and 25, which Amendment was after the word 'and' to insert the words 'in cases where it is proposed by such Regulation or Ordinance to abolish any right of preference in elections to any emolument other than a Fellowship or Studentship.'
§ The House divided:—Ayes 110; Noes 68: Majority 42.
§ Several other Amendments were agreed to without discussion.
§ In Clause 42, which provides that the Statutes made by the Commissioners with respect to the Hebdomadal Council and the Congregation may be repealed by the University, with the approval of Her Majesty in Council, the Lords had added the words "and respecting private halls."
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
moved that the words "and respecting private halls," which had been added by the Lords, be omitted, as he believed they had been inserted by the Lords per incuriam, and without due consideration. No doubt the intention had been to place their proceedings in regard to private halls on a footing analogous to their proceedings with respect to the Hebdomadal Council and Congregation. With respect to the latter, however, they had provided by the Bill both for their existence and for many details with regard to them; and the present clause provided that the particulars and details of them might be altered by the University with the consent of the Crown. 857 The House of Lords had assumed that the case was the same with regard to private halls, and that they had provided by the Bill both for their existence and for a number of details respecting them. In place of this, the Bill merely provided for their existence, and laid down no details in relation to them, leaving it to the University to regulate all those details. The only thing, therefore, which would come within the scope of the words, "and respecting private halls," would be the very existence of those halls themselves. He did not think that this could have been the meaning of the House of Lords, and would therefore move that the Amendment be rejected.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, he did not believe that this clause had been inserted by the House of Lords per incuriam. In fact he had raised this very question, and moved an Amendment in these very words when the Bill was formerly before the House. He did so on the ground that this experiment of private halls was one of a very doubtful nature, and that it ought to be competent to the University at some future time to renew and, if necessary, to abolish it. Holding these grounds, he must oppose the Motion that this Amendment of the Lords be rejected.
§ MR. APSLEY PELLATT
said, that if the Amendment were agreed to, the benefits which Dissenters expected to derive from the establishment of private halls would be completely neutralised.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he understood the 42nd clause unquestionably to give powers to alter the 27th clause, which established the private halls; but the extreme limitation under which the private halls could be altered ought to be taken into consideration. They can only be altered in case they have completely failed, not merely in the opinion of the governing body, but in the opinion of the members of Convocation resident in the University. But since it was admitted that an experiment was being made, was it not right to leave the University, that was to say the governing body of the University, the powers to give a veto, which were allowed to Convocation, and further powers to prevent the University from hastily exercising their own powers if the University were inclined to do so? Suppose the private halls failed—suppose it became advisable to establish affiliated halls—why was the University to be debarred from superseding the regu- 858 lations or the provisions which might turn out not only a failure, but detrimental to the best interests of the University. He (Mr. Walpole) trusted that his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not persevere in resisting the Lords' Amendment on this point.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, that there were great interests bound up in the establishment and development of private halls, through which medium the great principle of University extension was to be carried out. If the words were not struck out, the great object of the Bill would be entirely nullified, and the Bill itself reduced to a mere temporary provision. This surely was not the intention of the House, neither was it the object of Imperial legislation. The whole Bill proceeded upon the establishment of two great principles. The establishment of private halls was one—the constitution of the University the other; and if any alteration was made with regard to one of these, the other, the constitution of the University, must certainly be subjected to the same rule.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, a restriction was imposed on the Queen in Council with respect to private halls, which did not exist with respect to the University, to the election, constitution, and powers of the Hebdomadal Council, or to the powers of Convocation. If the House would not trust the University, it certainly might trust the Queen in Council. All that the House of Lords had proposed in the Amendment was very obvious. They had said, why should not this experiment be subject to the same provisions as the other parts of the Bill—why should it not be subject to the Queen in Council at the suggestion of the University, in the same way as every other creation in the Bill? It was not to be expected that the House of Lords was likely to pass the Bill with such an anomaly as this, and he did not see why this portion of the Bill, which was avowedly an experiment, should not be subject to the same regulations as the other proposals contained in it.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, that so far as he could understand the Bill it was in a very confused state. It was absolutely necessary that the University should have these powers, and if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would attend he would show him why. The 30th clause gave powers to the University to make regulations for private balls; the 859 41st clause gave powers to the University to alter anything that they had done themselves; and the 39th section of the Bill gave powers to the Commissioners to frame Statutes, in the case of the private halls, to carry out any of the provisions with respect to which the University had made a default. But if these Statutes, after working five or six years, were found to contain inconvenient regulations respecting the matters to be observed in these private halls, surely the right hon. Gentleman did not say that these were to be law for ever. If they were matters of two grave a kind for powers to be given to the University, he (Mr. Henley) considered that the Queen in Council was a sufficient check. If the University did not see its way clearly to establish these halls, and left them to be established by the Commissioners, and the Commissioners having made these regulations, there would be no power to alter them at any future period, however inconvenient they might be.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, the meaning of the words as regarded the Statutes made by the Commissioners was, that they should be subject to revisal and alteration by the parties who created the private halls, and if the regulations with regard to private halls should be found upon experience to be inconvenient, there was full power under the Bill to alter them. What he wished should not be altered, however, was the provision of the Bill with respect to the establishment of those halls.
Motion made, and Question put,
That this House doth disagree with The Lords in the Amendment in page 14, lines 7 and 8, which Amendment was, after the word 'Congregation,' to insert the words 'and respecting private Halls.'
§ The House divided:—Ayes 130; Noes 70: Majority 60.
On the 46th clause, which provides that no oath should be necessary on taking a degree, the House of Lords had inserted the following proviso—
But such degree shall not as such constitute any qualification for the holding of any office which has been heretofore always held by a member of the United Church of England and Ireland, and for which such degree in the said University has heretofore constituted one of the qualifications, unless the person obtaining such degree shall have taken such oaths, and subscribed such declarations, as are not by law required to be made and taken on obtaining such degree, either at the time of taking such degree or subsequently.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he wished to 860 ask the noble Lord opposite two questions. The first was, why should not young men entering the University be called upon to make a declaration of their belief? He could not for a moment imagine why this was abolished. It could only be to enable foreigners to become Members. He well knew that the House of Lords were extremely liberal in their accommodations for the reception of distinguished foreigners, of which they had lately had an instance in the case of Count Pahlen; but he certainly did hope that there would be no time) found in our Universities. The second question he would ask was as to the meaning of the word "office." It was not in the interpretation clause; and he wished to know whether a fellowship was to be construed as an office within the meaning of that clause?
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, according to his apprehension the word "office" did not include "fellowship," although, in certain cases, a fellowship might have attached to it some particular office. "Office" and "emolument" were quite distinct, and in his opinion, the word "office" could not include either fellowship or emolument.
§ MR. HEYWOOD
said, he believed that the words alluded to by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) were intended to apply to the masters of grammar schools. He did not, for his own part, agree with the proviso at all, and he could not consider the matter settled so long as it remained upon the Statute-book, but he believed that it expressed the present opinion of the other House of Parliament upon the subject, and he had no wish at this period of the Session to raise a difficulty about it. Sir Robert Peel, in the year 1834, in speaking upon this subject, had, said—The Dissenters at the Universities never would remain contented with the mere empty degree of master of arts, but would continue to strive after—nay, peremptorily to demand—a perfect equality in all things not necessarily connected with ecclesiastical affairs. He would put the case of two students intending to enter upon the profession of the law, the one a Dissenter, the other a member of the Church of England; either might have, he would suppose, a lay fellowship, if the religious scruples of one of them had not happened to stand in the way. The Dissenter might stand more in need of such fellowship. He would then put it to the right hon. Gentleman to say how he could, upon his own principles, refuse the claim of the Dissenter to a collegiate advantage not necessarily connected with ecclesiastical 861 affairs? By what right could he establish such an invidious distinction on a matter merely of civil benefit and advantage? To his mind, it did appear infinitely more rational and consistent to proceed according to the recommendation of the hon. Member for Leeds, and grant to the Dissenters a full and equal participation in all the advantages of the Universities not necessarily of an ecclesiastical or spiritual character."—[3 Hansard, xxiv. 706.]He must say that he (Mr. Heywood) should very much have preferred that Parliament should have arrived at this, which was called by Sir Robert Peel "an infinitely more sound and rational conclusion" than that this proviso should have been introduced for the purpose of pushing out or keeping out Dissenters from the masterships of grammar schools. He was not at all satisfied with the matter as it stood; but he repeated that he would not at present make any opposition to the Amendment.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, he thought that, when the hon. Member for North Lancashire cited the opinion of Sir Robert Peel upon this subject, it was as well the House should know that upon the very occasion on which he had made that speech—in which he was arguing against the views of his opponents, and showing to what consequences they would lead—his vote, as they would see if they referred to it, had been given against the proposition to admit Dissenters to the Universities.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he understood that the language of Sir Robert Peel, which had been referred to by the hon. Member for North Lancashire, had not been cited by him for the purpose of informing the House of the opinions held by Sir Robert Peel on the subject of admitting Dissenters to the Universities, but had been read for the knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), and of other Gentlemen who sat near him, and in order to show them that what they had now done had established an irresistible claim upon the part of the Dissenters to have everything else they desired. He understood that that quotation expressed Sir Robert Peel's opinion, then speaking upon this very subject—that if what was then asked should be conceded, which was something very like what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had been instrumental in carrying now, the Dissenters would have in that concession an irresistible argument for demanding everything else. Now, with re- 862 spect to this proviso, it appeared to him that the only effect of it would be to strike at the schoolmasters; and that while it would shut out the Protestant Dissenters to a man, Roman Catholics would be let in by it. It applied to "any office which has been heretofore always held by a member of the United Church of England and Ireland." Now, many of these schools had, no doubt, been formerly held by Roman Catholics; and, therefore, the effect of this concoction by the Dissenting body on the one hand, and the right hon. Gentleman on the other, would be, that no Protestant Dissenter could benefit—that it was possible that Church of England schoolmasters might be shut out—and that Roman Catholics alone would derive any advantage.
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he did not think that the right hon. Gentleman's apprehension with respect to Roman Catholics was very well founded; but he admitted that the clause was very oddly worded. He believed that the "United Church of England and Ireland" had only existed since the Act of Union, and it would be obvious that, if that were so, hardly any office could be said to have been "heretofore always held" by a member of that Church; but, of course, a court of law would give a rational interpretation to the clause.
§ The Lords' Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, he would now move to restore the 47th clause, which provided that no member on account of his rank should be permitted to take his degree sooner than any other undergraduate.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he thought the hon. Gentleman was applying his Cambridge experience to the case of the University of Oxford, whereas the systems at the two Universities were entirely different. At Oxford there was no distinction made in the examinations on account of difference of birth. The clause had been introduced on the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member for Leominster (Mr. J. G. Phillimore), and no great question had been made about it at the time, but there was really this serious objection to it—that it referred to a matter of detail, and that, if they took upon themselves to legislate upon such a matter, they would be making themselves responsible, in effect, for a great number of other details which they might think ought to be amended. He 863 thought, therefore, that the safer course would be to leave this, as they had left a great many other matters, to be dealt with by the University itself.
On the 50th clause (saving the powers and privileges of the University and its officers, except in so far as they are expressly altered or taken away by the provisions of this Act).
said he wished to call attention to the subject of the Vice Chancellor's veto. When the measures to be submitted to Convocation emanated from the Hebdomadal Board, with which body the Vice Chancellor was constantly in harmony, there was no danger that the veto would be mischievously exercised in reference to those measures. But at present, for the Hebdomadal Board they had substituted a Hebdomadal Council, with whom there was no reason to suppose, but the contrary, that the Vice Chancellor would always act in harmony. It was a matter, therefore, of the greatest importance that the Vice Chancellor should not have power to interpose and neutralise the proceedings of the Hebdomadal Council, by vetoing those proceedings when submitted to Convocation. When he had spoken to the hon. and learned Solicitor General some time since upon the subject, the hon. and learned Gentleman had expressed his opinion that the veto of the Vice Chancellor was taken away by the operation of the clause which was now the 19th in the Bill. He therefore wished to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman now, whether the stringent words substituted would have the effect of maintaining the veto of the Vice Chancellor on all proceedings connected with Convocation, which it was formerly his opinion had been abrogated by the 19th clause, or whether he considered that it would be taken away in spite of the stringent words introduced by the House of Lords?
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, it was provided by the 19th clause that every Statute framed by the Hebdomadal Council should first be submitted to Congregation, and afterwards to Convocation; and, in his opinion, the exercise of the veto was, by that provision, effectually restrained.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to the Amendments to which this House hath disagreed.