HC Deb 01 June 1854 vol 133 cc1186-215

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clause 26 (Power to open Private Halls).


said, he wished to move an Amendment to allow lodging-houses (subject to the licence of the Vice Chancellor), as well as private halls, to be opened for the reception of students. He believed it was part of the ancient constitution of the University that the respectable resident householders should be allowed to receive students as lodgers, and he conceived that such a course would be extremely advantageous to the poorer class of students. He believed that at one time there were no fewer than 300 hostels or lodging-houses open in Oxford. But the great recommendation of his Amendment would be, not that it was a return to the ancient system, but that it would be the best way to enable poor students to obtain a University education. The Commissioners recommended this system in their Report, and some of the most valuable witnesses who appeared before the Commissioners were in its favour, among whom he might cite Professor Vaughan, Professor Wall, Rev. Mr. Patterson, Sir Charles Lyell, and the Rev. Mr. Jowett. But, while he recommended the opening of these halls, he was not in favour of the establishment of what was called poor halls. He thought the separation between rich and poor was already too great in this country, and he thought the climax of that separation would be reached if they were to open halls expressly designed for poor students. The best system, in his opinion, would be to allow the students to lodge where they pleased, as was done in Scotland. No evil resulted from the sys- tem there, and he did not see why any evil should be anticipated in Oxford. He was aware it might be said if these lodgings were allowed young men would be subject to greater temptations, but he thought the richer class of students would be well taken care of by their parents, who would place them either in a college, with a private tutor or with some professor, who would look after their moral conduct and assist them in forming religious habits, while the poorer class of students would not. from their narrow circumstances, be liable to encounter the temptations referred to. They had evidence as to the poorer students in the Scotch Universities, many of whom were obliged to return home in the recess and work at farm labour, in order to enable them to come up next Session to attend college. He could cite cases in which many young men and good scholars had so betaken themselves to honourable labour in that manner, and the Report of the Commissioners, in mentioning the fact, stated truly that young men, trained in such a manner as that, were capable of going through great hardships and difficulties. He thought some such system of lodging-houses might be well adopted at Oxford—of course under the security of the licence of the authorities. It might be objected, if they did so, they would injure the colleges; but he believed it would largely increase the number of students in the University, and whatever tended to have that effect would in the same proportion increase the influence of the colleges. By refusing to adopt such a suggestion they were really not following the recommendation of the Commissioners; but, believing as he did, that by making such a provision both the University and the nation would derive great advantages, he should move to insert the words "resident householders" in the clause.

Amendment proposed, in page 6, line 11, after the word "Convocation" to insert the words "or any resident Householder in Oxford."


said, the speech made by his hon. Friend tended in some degree to forestall the discussion on the clause as it stood, upon which, though he feared he could not anticipate the unanimous consent of the Committee, he hoped to get a large majority. The hon. Member proposed to go back, without modification, to a state of things which existed at a remote period. But it was a dangerous thing for one age to imitate, or, if he might use the word, to ape the manners of another on the ground of precedent, without first ascertaing that all the circumstances of the two cases were alike. He for one was not prepared to recommend the establishment of the ancient system of the University in its full freedom. That was a state of things which belonged to a turbulent period, in which ideas of discipline were of a different character, in which there existed a religious discipline exercised by an ecclesiastical system. No such system existed now, but, notwithstanding the strength of that ecclesiastical system, when it was in full power, the Universities were among the most turbulent places in the whole kingdom. At that time frays and fights, attended with bloodshed, and tending to disturb and break up the peace of the whole city and neighbourhood, were of frequent occurrence, and, although he did not mean to say that would be the precise effect of his hon. Friend's Amendment, the immediate result of its being carried would, he had no doubt, be that the corporation of the city of Oxford would make a considerable addition to its police force. The case of the Scotch Universities had been quoted by his hon. Friend, but he thought such an argument was inadmissible, from the habits of the country, for he said it to the credit of Scotland, the power of individual self-control was far greater there than in England, and it was most dangerous to say that, because a certain system was tolerable in Scotland, it should be introduced wholesale into England. They proposed going as far by the Bill as they dared with a due regard to the question of discipline. The discipline of the University and colleges, even at the present moment, was doubtless far from perfect, but it was a real system of discipline, and it exercised a very salutary and beneficial control over the conduct of young men, which he felt convinced the Committee would not assume the responsibility of breaking down. Now, he would ask the Committee whether they thought the Amendment was compatible with the maintenance of this system of discipline or not? The Bill proposed that members of Convocation of a certain standing should of right, provided they conformed to strictly legal statutory conditions, be entitled to open their residences in Oxford as private halls for the reception of young men, who would, to all intents and purposes, fully enjoy the privileges of the University. He thought the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart) would admit that that was a material, though he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) felt satisfied that it was a safe variation from the existing system. The Bill provided that a person should have this right provided he conformed to certain conditions, to be fixed by the University, with regard to his standing and other matters, and the 41st clause of the Bill laid down certain regulations with regard to the government of these private halls and the instruction and discipline of the students residing therein. This provision ensured to the University the means of restraint and control over the persons to whom the privilege of establishing private halls was granted, for the University could strike those persons off the books, could deprive them of their degrees, and could require guarantees for the proper conduct of their houses. The Amendment of his hon. Friend would, however, enable any person to open a lodging-house for students in Oxford, without any guarantee that the person opening such house was qualified in any degree to superintend or to be responsible for the morals and discipline of the students who resided with him. It would, in his (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) opinion, be most unsafe to go so far beyond anything now existing either at Cambridge or Oxford with regard to the lodging-houses for students. His first objection to the Amendment was, that the persons to be authorised to open lodging-houses were not presumably qualified by character, position, or acquirements, to exercise any moral influence over the young men; and his second objection was that the restrictions which were applicable to members of the University who would be enabled to open private halls under the Bill would not be in the slightest degree applicable to the owners of ordinary lodging-houses. Even in the case of the Scotch Universities, he could not conceive that any person who chose to go and live in Edinburgh or Aberdeen would be entitled to open his house as a private hall for the reception of students. He really thought it would be much better to say to every lad of sixteen or seventeen years of age who was sent to Oxford, "You may look after yourself, and be the supreme guardian of your own manners and morals," than to resort to the delusion and imposture—he did not use the word offensively, for he was sure the hon. Member for Dumfries meant nothing of the sort— of investing with certain powers of discipline over the students persons who were altogether unfit for such a trust.


thought that his hon. Friend who proposed to restore the University to what he considered its original condition could scarcely be aware of the violent contests which, under that state of things, constantly took place between the members of the University and the townsmen. One of the extracts with which he had met thus described the morals of the time— In unâ autem et eâdem dome scholæ erant superius—prostibula inferius. In parte superiori magistri legebant; in inferiori meretrices officia turpitudinis exercebant. He found, in a writer of considerable authority, an account headed, "De Infortunio inter Scholares et Laicos Oxonienses," which described "Maximus conflictus, plures vulnerati, viginti occisi, duravitque dictus conflictus quasi per duos dies," the conflict being eventually stopped by a religious procession. Sir William Hamilton, a very able writer in the Edinburgh Review, said— The Nominalists and Realists withdrew themselves into different 'burse-bursch,' whence they daily descended to renew their clamorous and not always bloodless contests in the arena of public schools. Thus Ingolstadt, Tubingen, Heidelberg, Erfurth, were divided. Henry, in his History of Great Britain, also said— The Universities of England were frequently disturbed and almost ruined by violent quarrels among the scholars, or between them and the townsmen. In the quarrels among the scholars, the southern English, Welsh, and Irish commonly formed a party against the northern English and Scots. Many of the members of both Universities, being desirous of avoiding both these quarrels, retired to Northampton, A.D. 1260, and began to form a new University. Thirty years afterwards the University of Stamford began, and terminated in the same manner. He (Mr. Phillimore) thought there was a desire to restore things to their original condition without at all considering what that condition was, and he conceived that the clause, both as it stood, and as it would be altered by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dumfries, would certainly disregard that order without which a University must fail to effect its main object. For his own part, he never passed through a German University, which was a public pest, without congratulating himself that the English Universities were conducted in a different manner. He did not dispute the amount of attainments occasionally acquired in German Universities, and which enabled men to apply themselves to critical studies, but the object of our Universities was to qualify men for the duties of active life, and in the noble lan- guage of Milton, to fit them to perform skilfully and magnanimously all the offices of peace and war. He considered that the high feelings and the sentiments of honour instilled at our Universities into the minds of English gentlemen, were mainly attributable to that system of discipline which, he believed, this clause would tend to destroy, and he should, therefore, feel bound to offer it his opposition.


said, he had no objection to the clause as it stood, except that he did not think it went far enough. He believed it would tend very materially to facilitate the access of poor students to the University, and that any provision which relaxed the present college monopoly would lead, if not now, at all events in future years, to the solution of the difficult question respecting the admission of Dissenters to the Universities. He would, therefore, vote for the clause, although he would do so more willingly if the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart) were adopted. The right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) objected to the Amendment, mainly on the ground that it would relax the discipline of the University, but he (Mr. Blackett) would remind the Committee that the proposal of the hon. Member for Dumfries was fully approved by the Royal Commissioners, including some of the most eminent men in the University. With the example of the students of University College and King's College, London, before them, there was certainly no fear that if they agreed to this Amendment we should have a revival of the tumults which characterised the Universities in the middle ages.


said, that as the opinion of the Oxford Commissioners had been referred to, he hoped the Committee would without dispose of the question with bearing in mind the opinion of the Cambridge Commissioners, for they had given it their matured and deliberate consideration; and their opinion was, that the introduction of any such system would be fatal to the discipline generally of the University itself. Reference had been made to the state of things which prevailed at Cambridge; but he begged to observe that no such system was to be found in existence there. The system at Cambridge amounted to nothing more than this—the masters of colleges had, in their discretion, the power of giving liberty to the young men to reside in the town, under such restrictions and conditions to secure discipline as they in their judgment might think it necessary to impose. By requiring a regular return to be made every morning of the hours at which the young men in lodgings came home on the previous night; by requiring them also to attend chapel in the morning, and to be present at the halls in the colleges, as effective a discipline was preserved amongst these young men as amongst those who were resident in the colleges themselves. The measure proposed by the hon. Member for Dumfries, therefore, would introduce a system to which the system now established at Cambridge would not bear the slightest similitude. He thought hon. Members might put it to themselves whether they would like to incur the responsibility of sending a young man to a University conducted upon a system under which they would have large bodies of young men resident in the county town of Oxford, not subject to any system of discipline whatever, but merely governed by such good sense as they might upon the whole possess at the age of seventeen or eighteen years. He trusted the Committee would reject the proposal.


said, he was most anxious that every means should be adopted for extending the privileges of the University, but though he would have great satisfaction in supporting the clause, he could not give his assent to the Amendment. He wished at the same time frankly to declare that one of the principal reasons which induced him to support the clause was his earnest desire to see Dissenters admitted to the Universities. It appeared to him that the system of independent halls would eventually afford facilities for obtaining University instruction to those who dissented from the doctrines of the Church of England, but he thought it was most desirable for the moral welfare and discipline of the students that, at the age of from sixteen to eighteen, they should be subjected to more adequate supervision than could be exercised over them in lodging-houses. He doubted whether students who took lodgings in Oxford would be better situated, in point of expense, than those who lodged in the colleges, and he believed that if they lived together in independent halls, they would live at a cheaper rate, and that a greater spirit of emulation would be excited among them with respect to learning than if they lived apart from one another.


said, he concurred in much that had fallen from the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Ewart), but he hoped that he would withdraw his Amendment, and allow the Committee to proceed to a discussion upon the main question involved in the clause. If the clause was agreed to, it would he very easy then to attain the object of the Amendment by adding a proviso. The advocates of the present system talked of the discipline of the college as if it were perfect; but it only amounted to this, that a student, whether in or out of a college, might amuse himself up to twelve o'clock at night—at least, this was the case in the college to which he belonged—by paying a small fine to the porter. The Cambridge University Commissioners stated that there was better discipline kept up among those who resided without than among those who resided within the college; and the reason for this was obvious. If students resided in a college, they remained up in their own rooms, gambling and drinking and doing what they pleased up to two or three o'clock in the morning; but, if they lived in separate apartments, they were obliged to break up their orgies at an earlier hour. He thought that the University of Dublin was a model of what a University ought to be, and he appealed to the hon. Gentleman who represented it to state what had been the results of the system which was there in force? At that University residence was not compulsory, but any one who could pass a competent examination was entitled to take a degree, and he hoped that the Committee would adopt the principle, with respect to Oxford, that private halls ought to be established.


said, he also would recommend that the Amendment should be withdrawn; but he differed from the hon. and learned Gentleman in thinking that we ought to be guided, with respect to the University of Oxford, by the precedent of the University of Dublin. The resident members and tutors of the University, who were the best able to form an opinion upon this point, considered that the number of persons belonging to or unconnected with the University who wished to alter or modify the present system by allowing a number of the students to lodge with the townspeople was very inconsiderable, and they did not express an opinion in favour of any such change. He was of opinion that the proposition of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ewalt), if carried into effect, would destroy the moral and spiritual discipline of the University.


said, he should sup- port the Amendment, which he considered was a first attempt to do justice to a large class of Her Majesty's subjects—the Dissenters—who, although they were now excluded from the University, ought not to have their liberty of conscience unnecessarily interfered with. It was only by the erection of places of residence upon a new principle that the evil of keeping constantly in the same routine could be obviated, and fresh blood infused into the University. We had no reason, in these civilised times, to apprehend the occurrence of tumults such as those which had formerly taken place, and he would refer to the example of Edinburgh to show that the alterations proposed would not produce any ill effects. He believed that the present system of college discipline did not affect the morals of the students, but merely kept up an ecclesiastical monopoly and encouraged prejudices which ought to be relinquished.


said, a great principle was involved in the hon. Gentleman's Amendment, but he objected to it upon several grounds, for he believed it would altogether break down the University discipline, although he did not think there was much to apprehend with respect to rows and tumults, for the fact was, that these things were not now in fashion—their day had gone by. The case of the University of Edinburgh, to whom the hon. Gentleman who spoke last had referred, did not bear at all upon the question now under the consideration of the Committee, for in a large town like Edinburgh the number of members of the University bore no proportion to the number of inhabitants, just as in London no one knew anything about the members of the University of London, for if they got into a row they were taken to a police office like other people. In Oxford and Cambridge, on the contrary, the members of the University formed a large proportion of the inhabitants of the town. Much better order prevailed now than was the case thirty years ago, and the habits of society had improved there as well as elsewhere, but he certainly looked forward with apprehension to the breaches of good order which might be committed if this proposition were carried into effect. At present, if a student jumped into a farmer's corn-field, for instance, and did any damage, the farmer directly asked, "What college do you belong to?" And he answered to college A or college B. The person who asked the question felt that he was speaking to a gentleman, and if he deemed it necessary to seek a remedy, he knew where to find him. But if the reply were to be merely "I am Mr. A. or Mr. B., and I belong to the University of Oxford," the person would say, "There are some four or five thousand gentlemen in the University of Oxford, and I will keep you in custody until I can make sure of whom you are, for looking for Mr. A. or Mr. B. in the University of Oxford, is like searching for a needle in a bundle of hay." He saw no object in the hon. Gentleman's Motion, except to enable any person, whether Jew, Christian, or heretic, to open one of these houses, and he should therefore oppose it, as he thought that, although the proposal in time Bill was bad, the Amendment was a great deal worse.


said, he should cordially support the Amendment, and he thought there was no force in the illustration of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, because a member of the University could be traced just as well if he resided at the house of some respectable tradesman as if he belonged to a college.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 41; Noes 112: Majority 71.


said, he wished to ask whether it was intended that the Vice Chancellor was to have the entire power of granting or withholding licences, without reference to any other person? If so, it would appear to be a very great power to place in the hands of one individual.


said, that the intention of the clause was to give to the University the fullest possible power of laying down by Statute fixed conditions of qualifications, without which there should be no title to a licence; but every person who was possessed of those qualifications would be entitled to require one from the Vice Chancellor, who would, therefore, be merely a functionary to grant the licences under certain conditions.


said, he did not think that the clause, as it stood, embodied that view. It should be so altered as to make it clear that nothing was to be done by the Vice Chancellor except in accordance with the regulations of the Statute.


said, he thought that some discretionary power ought to be left to the Vice Chancellor, who might other wise be called upon to license persons of immoral habits or notoriously dissolute lives.


said, that by the 41st clause it was expressly provided that the University should by Statute fix the terms and conditions of granting licences, and that that Statute would bind the Vice Chancellor. No rule could be more explicit.


said, that there was a want of responsibility in this case, and yet that there was no discretion. He thought it better to vest the granting of licences either in the Hebdomadal Board or the Chancellor, and then it would be the duty of the Vice Chancellor to inquire into the character and position of the persons applying, and to report upon them to the Board or the Chancellor. As the clause at present stood, the duty cast upon the Vice Chancellor would be a very invidious one.


said, he saw nothing at all invidious in it. His duty would simply be to certify that the persons applying for licences were possessed of the qualifications which were required by the 41st section.


said, he wished to move, its an Amendment, in lines 14 and 15 to leave out the words "as a private hall." The clause proposed to destroy a system which had hitherto worked most advantageously, and to revert to one which had been tried before and failed. There was no real want of accommodation in the University at present. There were about 100 rooms vacant at the present moment. It might be said that this accommodation was within the reach of richer students only, and that it was desirable to provide accommodation for students of a poorer class. This plea, by the way, was inconsistent with the enactment which followed at a short distance from the present clause—namely, that which took away from poor students all the preferences at present accorded to them on the ground of indigence. After all, however, the system of private halls was not likely to prove as economical to poor students as the existing system. Masters of arts, who were to be at the head of these private halls, would generally be married men, and no doubt could be entertained that they would live by the students. Perhaps there was no place in which lodging accommodation was so cheap as in the University of Oxford. Take the college in which he had the honour to be educated—Christ Church—as an example. There time rent of rooms ranged from eight to fifteen guineas a year; and for the latter sum a student could get as handsome a set of rooms as he could obtain in London for 100l. For these reasons, then, it might be doubted whether private halls would afford any advantages to students in respect to economy. unless, indeed, the persons placed at their head should be zealous theological partisans, and be inclined to forego pecuniary considerations from a desire to make converts. The strongest objection to private halls was founded on their tendency to impair the moral and spiritual discipline of the University. No security was taken that the master of arts should have the proper moral qualifications for being the head of a private hall. Then, again, no provision was made for the appointment of a successor in the event of one of these heads of private halls dying or retiring. Was there to be a recurrence to the old and free system which had formerly been tried and failed, as was stated by the Commissioners themselves? The mode of extending the University recommended by Convocation on the 23rd of May last was infinitely better adapted to effect that object than the system which the present clause would establish. it was recommended, on that occasion, to enlarge the power of the Vice Chancellor to permit students to reside with their relatives and other approved persons in the town, under certain regulations; to permit college halls to annex houses to themselves on certain conditions, and to authorise the establishment of independent halls under special regulations. Strictly speaking, the last recommendation was rejected for the present on merely temporary grounds; but there could be no doubt that it would ultimately be approved. As the additional accommodation thus recommended would be provided out of the college funds, the arrangement, on economical grounds, would be more favourable to students than that proposed by the Bill. The reference which had been made to the University of Durham was not in point, for the private halls there were the speculation, not of private individuals, but of the University itself. The clause before the Committee was open to the suspicion of being intended to let in Dissenters by a backdoor. On the 27th of April the noble Lord the Member for London said that those who advocated the admission of Dissenters to the Universities would stand on better ground after the Bill passed, because, in consequence of the establishment of private halls, it would not be imperative on Dissenters to do any act which would offend their consciences. This was not a straightforward way of meeting a great and important question which would effect a fundamental change in the University of Oxford; this question should be fairly met and considered. They ought not to have it said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to his Friends, on the one hand, that they left the question of the admission of Dissenters untouched by the present Bill, and then have the noble Lord turning round to his Friends and saying, "Support this Bill; the 26th clause contains an admirable provision to pave the way for the admission of your sons to the University—this clause will be the means of introducing so much laxity of discipline and of theology that in a period of five years the most zealous advocates of the Church of England will not desire to keep up the present exclusive system." This was not the way in which the question ought to be met; it was opening a backdoor for the admission of Dissenters, who, on their part, would, if they were to enter the University, rather do so after the question had been fully and fairly discussed. The hon. Member for Dumfries had cited the Commissioners as authorities in favour of permission being granted to the students to reside in lodging-houses, but in opposition to such authorities were the opinions of Archbishop Whately, the present Vice Chancellor, and the Cambridge Commissioners, who were decidedly opposed to such a system. They said that there would be danger of men of loose morals setting up halls, with great laxity of discipline. Thus the Archbishop deprecated and denounced the very system to be established by this measure. The present Vice Chancellor of Oxford was a great friend of University extension, but he had expressed a similar opinion, asking what could prevent any adventurer, irreligious and unprincipled, from opening halls under such a system as that proposed by Government? The Cambridge Commissioners had reported against the proposition, stating their opinion to be that it was the extension of the collegiate system, and opening the door to the largest number of students, rather than to such a measure as the present, that the friends of University extension ought to look. The proposed system was one condemned by the highest authorities—it was a recurrence to a system which had been tried and had failed; a system which would lead to evils as great in another form—a system which, for three centuries past, the Universities had abandoned, and to which he hoped the House would not recur by adopting the clause in its present form. As the proposition contained in this clause was objectionable in itself, and not sanctioned by the authorities of the University, but condemned by those high in authority, he trusted the Committee would not sanction it.


said, he should oppose the Amendment. The 28th clause stated the qualifications and conditions of licensed masters, and gave the University full power of meeting the cases and difficulties mentioned by the hon. Member for Durham.


said, he was desirous of stating that the issue raised was not a convenient one, as the omission of the words proposed would not affect the substance of the arrangements; and, as a matter of arrangement, he did not care whether the words were omitted in the present clause, as they could be inserted in the following clause, in which the qualification of the licensed master was defined.


said, he should support the Amendment, as it appeared to him that the question as to the admission of Dissenters had not been fairly raised by the present clause, and that the attempt to admit them by a backdoor was not a statesmanlike way of dealing with the question, but a mere subterfuge. He could not conceive means by which the discipline of the University would be more effectually broken up than by these private halls, for the enforcement of discipline depended much more upon the colleges than the University. He was quite certain that if anything would destroy the feeling of equality which prevailed in the University system, it was the new system which they were about to introduce. He did not believe that it would afford the advantages to poor students, which the endowments of colleges, aided by the greater economy of providing for larger numbers, enabled colleges to extend to the indigent. Nor did he believe that by this means the commercial and mercantile classes would be induced to send their sons to pass several years at the University for education, since they were usually required to commence practising and learning by practice the primary elements, together with the detail of business, at the very age when a University education commenced. One fact, however, was sufficient to determine his vote, and, he thought, ought to decide the opinion of the Committee; and it was, that several of those, who were distinguished members of the University, and who were officially connected with its teaching—men, who, having been poor when themselves students, had obtained their education by the aid afforded to them from the endowments of the colleges, and by the college system of instruction, had come forward and had given evidence, based on their own experience, against this proposal. Among those who had thus at some sacrifice of private feeling endeavoured to inform those with whom the decision of this question would rest, stood honourably prominent Mr. Gordon, of Christ Church. Thus those who by interest, by position, and by connection were best qualified to judge how to promote and extend the advantages of the University among the middle and poorer classes were of opinion that it was not by means of private halls that those advantages could be obtained.

Amendment agreed to.


said, he had an Amendment to propose. It was to strike out certain words in the clause. The clause ran thus:— It shall be lawful for any members of Convocation, upon obtaining a licence from the Vice Chancellor, to open his residence for the reception of students, who shall be matriculated and admitted to all the privileges of the University, without being of necessity entered as members of any college or existing hall. The words he proposed to leave out were these—"admitted to all the privileges of the University without being of necessity." Those words appeared to him to involve the principle of the clause. He had forborne hitherto taking any part in the discussion of this Bill, because, belonging as he did to the sister University, he did not consider himself competent to express any opinion as to the amendments which the system pursued at that University required, it being a system entirely dissimilar from that which was adopted at the University which he had the honour to represent. Nor should he, on the present occasion, have taken any part in the debate had he not believed that, by proposing to establish by law a new course of education at Oxford (such as this clause would do), there was an implication that a similar principle ought to be applied to the University of Cambridge. Had it been proposed that the University of Oxford should have the power in itself of deciding upon the institution of private halls, or upon the admission or non-admission of the system of such halls, he should not have had a word to say upon the question. If there were any value in the changes which had been made in the governing body of the University, it had become so much more popular in its nature, and comprised within it so large a majority of those who were best qualified to express an opinion either as to the University system or as to the college system, that the question as to how far private halls might be allowed might be well left to the discretion of that body. But that course not having been adopted, and fearing, as he did, with reference to the University he represented, the great danger to its discipline which this clause would necessarily effect, he felt himself compelled to move the omission of the words which constituted the very essence of the danger which he apprehended. Judging from the discussions which had taken place upon this subject, both in that House and elsewhere, it would appear that Gentlemen had come to those discussions with a feeling that the University and the colleges were necessarily antagonistic. But his view of the case was essentially different, and he believed that the prosperity of the University was dependent upon the united efforts of the University and the colleges, each in their proper sphere contributing together to form the character of the and educated and trained by their conjoint labours. That, however, was not the feeling of those who were favourable to the present clause. It was not the feeling, he feared, of the Commissioners who were appointed to inquire into the state of the University of Oxford; for those Commissioners had evidently proceeded on the assumption of that antagonistic principle. They had suggested, as a remedy for what they considered to be the defects of the existing system, three several propositions. The first was to establish affiliated halls connected with the colleges; the second was to establish halls under some kind of limited collegiate control; and the third was, that there should be independent small private halls, under the control of a master of arts, licensed and qualified as had been before recommended. With respect to the first and second propositions he had no objection whatever to offer; but he was decidedly opposed to the proposal of separating from collegiate discipline and instruction the members who were permitted to go to the University. It seemed to be the object of the Commissioners, as stated in their own Report, to open one class of private halls for no- blemen and gentlemen of large fortune, and another for a class much poorer than that which at present resorted to Oxford. Now, what was the principal advantage of a collegiate education as at present conducted? It was that moral discipline which was exercised within the different colleges, where men of all ranks and orders in society moved on a footing of equality. Meeting on a perfect footing of equality in the colleges, assembling to-gether at certain periods, attending the same lectures under the same instructors, and meeting daily in the college hall and college chapel, they acquired that degree of intimate connection and friendship which was essential to the formation of their character. What would be the situation of these different classes when they came to rank themselves in separate bodies under separate and independent masters? Each would be confirmed in those opinions and habits which were most adverse to a union with a class distinct in itself. If there was anything in England which it was desirable to encourage, it was union among the different classes of society, that the rich might be taught to know that the poor had feelings and qualifications which entitled them to rank among the highest, and that the poor might learn to appreciate the merits of those on whom they might otherwise look with envy. Some persons appeared to imagine that extravagance and dissipation were the only vices against which it was necessary to guard; but there were vices of a meaner class which were apt to affect the lower orders of society if educated in separate institutions, and which were as dangerous and as fatal to their moral character and to their usefulness in the world, as were the extravagance and dissipation of those of a higher rank than themselves. He very much feared that the tendency of this clause would be to embitter the differences between the different classes of society, and to foster in both of them the qualities which, of all others, it was desirable that neither of them should possess. Of the fifty-two gentlemen who were examined before the Commissioners upon this particular point, nine of them expressed an opinion in favour of private halls, twenty-seven expressed an opinion against them, and fifteen expressed no opinion at all. It has been said that the tutors approved of the system. Well, of the seventeen tutors who were examined before the Commissioners, only four approved of the plan, while thirteen dissented front it. It was, therefore, rather singular that in the paper published by the Tutors' Association, they recommended the establishment of private halls; and that the Rev. Mr. Lake, one of the ablest tutors in Oxford, who was not only a member of the Association, but one of the Committee by whom its constitution was drawn up, had expressed himself strongly against the establishment of private halls, on the ground that any system of superintendence, either morally or intellectually, would in them be impracticable. The simple question, then, for the House to consider was, whether they would give a Parliamentary injunction to adopt a particular course with respect to education in the University distinct from that which had hitherto prevailed, breaking up that system of collegiate discipline which was alone effective for the purpose of producing moral restraint, or whether they would leave the matter to the decision of the University itself, which must be supposed anxious for the extension of education, and which had now, under the present Bill, obtained a constitution so framed as to give to every element in the University, whether belonging to the University or the colleges, its due weight and consideration. He held it to be essential to order and discipline that a system of this kind should not be adopted in the University which he represented. He might remind the Committee that the Commissioners for inquiring into the University of Cambridge stated, he might almost say in affecting terms, the reasons which induced them altogether to repudiate as highly dangerous a system of this nature. He had no objection to the imposing on halls or lodging houses any control which might be thought necessary; but their connection with the colleges he held to to be essential to the moral and religious training of the students. Men were not sent in early life to a University merely to acquire knowledge, but also that, by means of moral and religious training, they might be fitted for the religious of after life. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in line 16, to leave out the words "admitted to all the privileges of the University without being of necessity."


said, he differed, not from the principles laid down by his right hon. Friend who had just moved the Amendment, but from the manner in which he had applied those principles to the consideration of this subject, which was one of real difficulty and some anxiety. He concurred with the right hon. Gentleman, and with his hon. Friend the Member for Durham (Mr. Mowbray), in the principle that they ought to maintain at Oxford the essential characteristics of the present University system as there administered; and especially on two grounds —first, of that being a resident University, and secondly, of all its residents being governed on a system of religious and moral discipline. Nothing, certainly, could be further from truth and justice than to represent this as a sort of subterfuge for seeking to introduce Dissenters to the University. That question would be fairly raised by the hon. Gentleman who had given notice of his intention so to do: and it was unfair to attempt its discussion in an incidental way, in considering a subject with which it had no necessary connection. He, therefore, contended that his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn) had confounded things essentially distinct in their character and their practical tendency; and a more striking proof of that could hardly be afforded than by the circumstance that he had cited evidence laid before the Royal Commissioners for which, as he (Mr. Roundell Palmer) read that evidence, there was absolutely not the slightest foundation. In point of fact, those who had read that evidence might have observed that the subject of private halls was nowhere distinctly or specifically touched upon from the beginning to the end of that evidence. The Commissioners were totally silent upon that point throughout; and they did not even notice it as forming one of the plans which came under their consideration. The Commissioners did not touch the subject; they gave no opinion in its favour; and they gave no opinion against it. It was a very remarkable circumstance, too, that Mr. Lake was himself not only one of the members of the Tutors' Association, who recommended the plan of private halls, but, he believed, one of its most active members. The want which those private halls would supply was this —the present colleges could not accommodate more than from fifteen hundred to two thousand men, with the utmost extension of which they were capable. He would ask the House to test the sufficiency of the existing system by a familiar illustration. When railways were first introduced he could imagine that the persons attached to the old system might say, people would never afford the expense of travelling by railways, that the country did not want them, and that the stage-coaches were not half full. The truth was nothing more than this—that the existing system in the University had suited itself to the particular wants of a particular class of persons, and that class was necessarily a limited class, from the peculiar nature of the system; and the other classes whom the existing system did not suit felt themselves practically excluded from it, and did not attempt to press into it. The present collegiate system had many and great excellences; it was excellent in itself, and it would be a great pity to destroy it; but, in point of fact, it was an aristocratic system, not wishing to use the word in any bad or invidious sense. It had also some of the inconveniences which must attend on such a system, especially that of the habit of expense. Hon. Members ought never to forget that when the sort of expense was mentioned of which the country complained, it was the habit of unnecessary and extra expense which the aristocratic system of the colleges and the difficulty of introducing a proper system under that traditional system must necessarily perpetuate. Now, in the private halls the whole system of expenditure would be regulated on principles of domestic economy by the master, and the atmosphere by which they would be surrounded would check rather than encourage extravagance. Besides, it appeared to him highly probable that in a large proportion of those halls there would be absolutely a better discipline than in the colleges; for in the colleges, after all, giving them credit for all their merits, what were their guarantees for discipline? They were very slight indeed; the liberty was extremely great; and the guarantees chiefly consisted in the moral example of the tutors, and in the better class of young men whom they attracted. The 31st clause provided for the maintenance of worship and religious and moral discipline; and he really did not share in the feeling or the belief that such persons as the University thought fit, as a class, to intrust with the responsible duty of presiding over these private halls, would be less willing to discharge that duty, and less capable, for the moral benefit of the students, than the authorities in the colleges. For those reasons he was strongly of opinion that it was worth while to try this system; they might, at the same time, try their affiliated and independent halls, but he could not believe that they could attain any other system at once so elastic us this would be, so capable of meeting the demands of the country for University education, and also so likely to secure good discipline.


said, he felt great regret that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Plymouth had thrown his weight into the scale of the Government on this occasion. Up to that time he had been the only Member who had defended the principle of private halls; and he trusted the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) would explain the advantages expected to be derived from these private halls, and the grounds for believing those advantages would outweigh the obvious and grave objections to them. He considered this to be one of the most anxious parts of the present Bill, and one which gave the greatest alarm to those who took a sincere and lively interest in the discipline of the University. This being so, he wished to know why it was considered necessary to press the subject so irksomely upon the attention of the University at the present time? and thus to give assurance to that feeling of animosity against the authorities of the University which he had previously described as being but too evident throughout the whole scope and tone of the measure. It was important to consider what the University of Oxford itself had done. In the course of the last month the University had passed a Statute on this very subject, after long notice, so that the Government, when they introduced this Bill, must have been well aware of the intention of the University. That Statute. consisting of four parts, had been considered by Convocation. Three of its parts had been unanimously adopted, and the fourth, for the establishment of independent halls, was rejected, not from any objection to the proposal itself, but only because there was a difference of opinion as to the mode of appointing the principals of those proposed halls. He submitted that the Statute, as it now stood, in some respects went further towards extending the benefits of the University than this proposal of the Government, though it avoided those dangers to the discipline of the University which must be the result of this plan. As an evidence of what was really the opinion of the efficiency of these private halls, he would refer to a pamphlet which was familiar to most Gentlemen in that House, and which, although written by an anonymous author, was known to be from the pen of a most eminent authority, he meant the pamphlet that appeared under the title of Notes on the Oxford University Bill, in which it was clearly shown what difficulty there would be to bring the discipline of the University to bear upon the studies of young men at those private halls, and how, in fact, the expenses incurred in those places would most probably not be less than those at present incurred. If this were so, it would overthrow the great argument in favour of these halls, which was, that the expenses in them would be materially less than those at the colleges and halls at present existing; an argument which was contradicted by the opinion of almost every one who really knew anything about the University and collegiate system. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) had stated to the House that it was only a minority of the Tutors' Association, four out of seventeen, who approved roc these private halls, but he had not stated to the House the very strong opinion that some of them had expressed on this subject, to the effect that such a system of halls would admit as candidates for scholars men of every variety of character, who would hold out to students all kinds of immunities as to collegiate discipline, which might conduce to win the favour and secure the good will of young men attending the University. He confessed he thought that such a consequence would be much more likely to result from this provision of the Bill than that charitable individuals would be found, who, merely from philanthropy, and with no hope of gain and advantage, would press forward to become presidents of these private halls. Knowing well what the feeling of the leading members of the University was upon this subject, he could truly say that they viewed the institution of these private halls with the greatest alarm and the most serious disapproval, that they thought such halls would materially lower the character of the University, and that nothing could be more fallacious than to suppose that the establishment of the halls would tend either to increase the scope and utility of the University, or in any way advance those liberal notions which the present Government professed so deeply to venerate and propound.


said, that he did not consider a very fair use had been made of the opinions which he had expressed on the institution of these private halls. He had, on the introduction of the present measure, stated why he wished to stand and adhere to this portion of the Bill; and the views which he had then expressed were the same as he entertained at the present time; namely, that it was most desirable that a larger number of persons, by means of this Bill, should receive the advantage of a collegiate education, and that parents should have an opportunity of giving their sons the benefits which the University extended—at present to only a limited number of students. If this were the opinion nut only of himself and other Members of the Government and the House, but also, as he believed, of the community at large, it was indubitably the duty of Parliament to see how best such opinion could be met. It was proposed that persons who were householders at Oxford, well known, and well approved, should be called in to assist in this object, and the subject had in every way received the most serious consideration of the Government in all its bearings and importance. The system at present in use at Cambridge had been also considered, under which it was very well known that there were many men living out of college and in lodgings who were but in a very slight measure under the control or influence of the colleges to which they professedly belonged. What the effect of such a system was, however, any one might form an opinion for themselves, by reading the evidence of Dr. Pusey on this subject. These means, then, being inconvenient or questionable, the only resource left was the establishment of private halls, which possessed at once most of the advantages and supervision of the present colleges and halls without the necessary entailment of such expenses as were at present all but inevitably found to be attendant upon them. That some system of curtailment was necessary, and could be effected, was made manifest and proved by the testimony of Mr. Colley before the Commissioners, from which it appeared that at Durham the whole expense of a person going through the course of his collegiate career, obtaining his degree, and taking holy orders, amounted to only about 300l.; while at Oxford the very lowest sure at which a degree could be obtained, reckoning all attendant expenses, was upwards of 800l. This difference was so great that it must have considerable effect on the choice made by a parent of the University to which he would send his son. The question was one not for young men, but for parents. It would, no doubt, be a great temptation to a man of moderate means to send his son to Oxford, if be was sure of finding there a hall where there would be no rivalry of expenditure such as prevailed in the established colleges, presided over by a person respectable in character, of well-known attainments, and well able to maintain its discipline. It was said, however, that if there was a man who would open a hall for gay, thoughtless young men, they would naturally flock to such a place, and the general morality and discipline of the University would be weakened; but those who used this argument forgot that it was not generally young men themselves, but parents and guardians who made choice of colleges; and there would be no temptation to those to send their sons or wards to halls of that description. He thought that if they succeeded in establishing these halls they would have obtained their object of extending the benefits of the University of Oxford without impairing its morality or discipline. He must confess he thought there were evils connected with the University education which neither this nor other legislative enactments which would be entertained by that House would be likely to overcome. There were evils which belonged to the manners of the country, which allowed so much liberty to young men, that it would be very difficult by any discipline to prevent that extravagant and luxurious living which young men of fortune led at our Universities. Much mischief, he believed, was done by their example, and he wished it were possible that these young men of eighteen or nineteen could be kept under more effective discipline in this respect. With regard to the admission of Dissenters, it had always been said that they could not be admitted to the University, because if they were entered at colleges, and distinguished themselves there by their ability, they must naturally obtain a share in the government of their colleges, and thus discord would be introduced in the internal discipline and arrangement of the University. Not being admitted, therefore, into colleges, and there being no other places for them to go, they must continue to be excluded altogether from the University, but if these halls were established, the objection would no longer be good, and the Dissenters might be admitted to them without any of the evil consequences which were anticipated of their admission to colleges. But then it was said, this was admitting them by a backdoor, and that could not be allowed—rather a strange objection from those who had before objected to Dissenters being admitted at all to the honours and emolu- ments of the University. The result was, however, that at whichever door they sought to admit Dissenters, back or front, hon. Gentlemen opposite were for slamming it in their faces. He was of opinion—and it was no new opinion of his—that Dissenters should be admitted to the University. He believed the University of Oxford was fitted to diffuse great benefits in the mode of education all over the country, much more extensively than it did now, and, as the proposition contained in this clause was one of the modes in which these benefits would be more widely extended, he hoped the House would not agree to the Amendment of the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge.


said, that he objected to this clause, in the first place, because they had not left it with the University, who were by far the best judges, to decide what was the best method of extending the blessings of University education, consistent with the promotion of an efficient system of discipline. This objection would have had great weight with him at any time; but when they recollected that before this Bill was introduced, the Universities were actively engaged in promoting a scheme for the extension of University education and for bringing it within the reach of the lower and middle classes, that they were trying to do away with the extravagant expenditure, which was one of the great banes of the University, and that they had already passed a Statute which enabled them to do this to a great extent, he did think it was not fair to force upon them a plan against which they protested as interfering unduly with the collegiate system. With respect to the opinion which the colleges of Brasenose and Christchurch, amongst others, had expressed in opposition to the establishment of private halls, he would quote the following expressions of the Chancellor of the University, which, he said, expressed the opinion of the heads of all the colleges in the Universities:— It appears, indeed, by the Report and evidence, that to the general admission of students unconnected with colleges and halls very strong objections exist. Thus they had both the Universities and the colleges resisting this plan which the Government were forcing upon them; and still we are told that this is an emancipating measure. He would now call their attention to another object which seemed to him to be fatal to the clause. It was proposed by the 28th and 29th clauses to throw open the endowments and emolu- ments connected with the several colleges, to be competed for by all the students of the University; and by this clause masters of arts were enabled to take pupils who were unattached to existing colleges and halls. The consequence would thus be, that those persons who were not attached to any existing college or hall, and who did not contribute to any, would have open to them the emoluments and endowments of all. There was no necessity for doing what was proposed. If they did do it, they would be doing that which was opposed by the authorities of the University, and which was considered not only by the authorities of the University of Oxford, but by those of the University of Cambridge also, extremely detrimental to college discipline. Seeing, then, that there was no necessity for this change—that the object which they had in view—the extension of University education—might be obtained without it—he trusted that the Committee would not sanction the proposal which the Government had made.


who rose amid loud cries of "divide," said, he wished to state in a very few words why he should feel it his duty, notwithstanding the weighty observations of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn), to vote for the experiment proposed. When he looked at the growing population and the growing wealth of the country, and yet saw that the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge did not matriculate more than between 900 and 1,000 students in the course of each year, it appeared to him clear that there must be a vast number of persons desirous and able to provide such an education as those Universities would give, who were, unfortunately, deterred from doing so by something in their present condition. And when he observed also what had been urged upon the other side, that some of the colleges were not at present full, it appeared to him that they not only wanted more room, but some variety and some change. He believed, also, that they had not yet had pointed out to them what the want really was, and that the only way to ascertain it was to give freedom to persons who would endeavour to supply that want for them. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) had referred to a certain Statute recently passed at Oxford, as a reason why this experiment should not be tried. That Statute suggested a choice of two or three alternatives, and it contemplated the establishment of halls very much like these, except in one particular. It would facili- tate the lodging of the students in private houses in the town, which he thought was by no means an improvement. He thought that the facilities which this clause would afford would lead persons to establish houses with different views, upon different principles, and calculated to meet different descriptions of wants. Wants of different descriptions there might no doubt be—some of wealthy persons, some of poor persons, and some—which he thought had not been alluded to in the debate—of persons who might wish to give their sons an education at the University at an earlier age than they could do if they were obliged to put them into colleges with young men of twenty or twenty-one years of age. He thought that houses might be opened for these—beginning perhaps at the age of sixteen—in which a strict domestic discipline might be maintained, and which might be found very beneficial. For these reasons he thought it highly desirable that some such experiment should be tried, and, in doing it, he did not admit that they would be trying the experiment of "unattached students," alluded to by an hon. Friend. He thought it would be something very different from that. It would be the fault of the University, in making the necessary regulations, if it were not something very different from that; and, feeling that the objections of his right hon. Friend who had spoken in favour of the Amendment failed in their application to the case, he should give Ids vote for the clause.

Question put, "That the words admitted to all the privileges' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 205; Noes 113; Majority 92.

Clause agreed to; as was also Clause 27.


said, that, before the Chairman reported progress, and while the House was yet full, it might be well for him to state that the Government proposed to make considerable alterations with regard to the remaining parts of the Bill. The discussions which had taken place on comparatively easy points involved in the measure showed the very great length of time which would be occupied by discussing in detail the numerous clauses which remained. He did not propose at present to enter into any explanation or discussion of the clauses proposed to be substituted; but he would say in a few words that they proposed that the Commissioners should have certain power which, if the colleges agreed to, or unless they dissented from them to the extent of two- thirds, should enable the Commissioners to enact certain Statutes in regard to the colleges. The clauses which he proposed to introduce for that purpose were four or five in number, and the whole of the remaining clauses in the Bill would be fourteen altogether, including all those that were retained, so that the whole number of clauses in the Bill would be forty-two instead of fifty-eight, and sixteen clauses of very great detail would be omitted. It was not his intention now to state the plan proposed, still less to discuss it, until the clauses proposed were printed. What he now proposed, therefore, was either to add these clauses, omitting those that were to be left out, and going into Committee on the Bill afresh, or, if that course should not be thought convenient, to give notice of the clauses, to have them printed, and to let them wait until Monday week, when the Government would propose to consider the Bill again. Perhaps the most convenient course would be to go through the remaining clauses and recommit the Bill, printing all the Amendments already agreed to by the Committee. When the Committee went into the Bill again, there would be an understanding that those parts already discussed would not be rediscussed in Committee, of course reserving hon. Members the right to move Amendments upon bringing up the Report. He should now propose that the Chairman do report progress, and that they should go into Committee on the Bill to-morrow pro formâ.


said, he understood that, generally speaking, the Commissioners were to have power under the Bill of making alterations in the University and the colleges, unless the colleges commenced those alterations themselves. He wished to ask the noble Lord whether a longer period was to be given to the Commissioners to make these alterations, and whether more alterations were to be made than those shadowed forth in the Bill? It would be reasonable, he thought, to have the Bill put into such a shape as that the House should be enabled to judge of it as a whole, and then that they should resume with those parts at which they had left off.


was understood to say that the Commissioners would have an extension of time allowed them.


said, that the great objection he had always made to the Bill was that it did not leave sufficient freedom to the University or colleges, and he wanted to know whether, by the proposed alteration, a greater or less amount of freedom would be left to the University and colleges?


said, he thought they could hardly enter into a discussion of that point until they saw the actual clauses that were to be introduced. He understood the noble Lord proposed to recommit the Bill on the following day, to insert new clauses, and leave out the clauses which he meant to omit, and he (Mr. Goulburn) thought that would be a most convenient course for the House to adopt. All he hoped was, that care would be taken to reprint the Bill so that they should have it as soon as possible after recommittal, and not be driven to examine it within a day or two of the actual discussion.


said, he thought it would be convenient if the noble Lord would give an answer himself to the question of his right hon. Friend. The noble Lord was aware of the nature of the clauses, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, who answered for him, was not aware of them.


was afraid he might be misleading the right hon. Gentleman if he gave a positive answer to his question. He would say, however, as to the clause with respect to the University, and as to the clause respecting the colleges, that in his opinion greater liberty would be given to the colleges, but the right hon. Gentleman might complain hereafter if he misled him.


hoped that due attention would be paid to what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge. They were now asked to consent to alterations in this Bill which, in point of fact, would make it a new Bill; and the noble Lord wished them to go into Committee on the Monday after the recess; but that was scarcely fair, for as they would separate the day after to-morrow, it was not likely they would have the Bill before they separated, and it would not be reasonable to ask the House to go into Committee on so early a day as had been named by the noble Lord.


I propose, then, to take the Bill on Thursday se'n-night, instead of Monday week.


said, he understood that by the proposed alterations the powers of the Commissioners were to be enlarged, and begged to ask if the noble Lord would reconsider the composition of the Commission.


We propose to make an addition to the number.

The House resumed; Bill reported, to be printed as amended.

The House adjourned at half after One o'clock.