HC Deb 22 June 1854 vol 134 cc511-95

On the Order of the Day for the consideration of this Bill, as amended, being read,


said, that he had on the previous day conferred with the hon. and learned Solicitor General upon the subject of the clause which he had proposed to introduce into the Bill, with the view of checking the extravagance of young men at the University, and that, having received an assurance that the Government would undertake to introduce a general measure on the subject, and remembering the opinions expressed in the House that that mode of dealing with the question would be preferable to exceptional legislation, and, therefore, conceiving that there would be no difficulty in passing such a measure during the present Session, he should not press his clause. The clauses of which he had given notice in regard to the Vice Chancellor's court he should propose upon the third reading, his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General having promised in the meantime to consult the authorities and assessor of the court, there being some difficulty in regard to the officers whose privileges it was proposed to abolish.


then rose to move the introduction of a clause of which he had given notice, providing that from the first day of Michaelmas Term, 1854, it should not be necessary for any person, upon matriculation at the University of Oxford, to make or subscribe any declaration or take any oath except the oath of allegiance, or an equivalent declaration. The object of this clause was to place the University of Oxford on the same footing as that of Cambridge. At Oxford students were at the time of matriculation expected to sign the Thirty-nine Articles, and take the oath of supremacy, this being, he believed, the only University where any such ceremony had to be gone through at the time of matriculation. The present system at Oxford was not beneficial to the University, for it prevented parents sending their sons there. Nor was it very beneficial to the young men, for very few of them, he believed, had ever read the Thirty-nine Articles, some of which were very difficult to be understood, and they generally, therefore, subscribed them in ignorance, or without sufficient consideration. The subject was not a new one, for it had been brought before Parliament in 1772, when a petition was presented from a large number of clergymen on the subject of an alteration in clerical oaths, and in 1834 the late Mr. Alderman Wood brought in a Bill for the abolition of matriculation and degree oaths in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which passed this House by a large majority, but was lost in the other House. The practical result of the defeat of this Bill was the establishment of the University of London, but, notwithstanding the success of that great institution, the Dissenters still considered they had a right to send their sons to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge if they pleased. The Duke of Wellington, when Chancellor of Oxford University, endeavoured to persuade the University to consent to some alterations in these oaths, proposing that the Thirty-nine Articles should be laid aside, and that all students should be required to subscribe themselves members of the Established Church. The Hebdomadal Board laid the proposition before Convocation, which, however, rejected it. In 1843 the subject was introduced into Parliament by Mr. Christie, and now it was brought forward again. He thought he was justified in saying that there was nothing to be expected from the University itself on this subject, nor from the operation of a mere enabling Bill. Such an alteration as he now proposed was not one which could be expected to be made by an exclusively clerical body such as the University of Oxford; and he thought it was a question with which it was particularly the province of Parliament to deal. The absence of any test at the time of matriculation worked well at Cambridge and at Dublin; and he never heard any member of either of those Universities express a wish for the imposition of such a test. On the contrary he believed that all the members of those Universities would be extremely unwilling that such a test should exist. The noble Lord the Lord President (Lord J. Russell), when Prime Minister, instructed the Oxford Commissioners that they were not in their Report to go into the Dissenters' question. No such restriction was imposed upon those who gave evidence before the Commission; and many distinguished Oxford men expressed themselves entirely in favour of the abolition of the test. Among these were Professor Browne, of King's College, London, and Sir Charles Lyell. When the Articles, after being framed by the thirty-two Commissioners appointed for the purpose by King Edward VI., under the Statute passed in 1549, were sent down to Oxford, the visitors merely ordered the doctors and bachelors in divinity and the masters of arts to subscribe to them, and when they were revised by Archbishop Parker and presented to Parliament in the thirteenth year of the reign of Elizabeth, Parliament ordered that ministers should sign those articles only which concerned faith and the sacraments. It seemed quite evident that there was no intention at the commencement of the Reformation to insist on any general imposition of these particular tests. When the popular party came into power in the Long Parliament, these tests were abolished, but at the Restoration they were reimposed. He did not remember any movement within the University itself for the repeal of religious tests, and for his own part he did not expect it; it was rather for Parliament itself to originate a measure to remedy the evil. The Thirty-nine Articles which the students of the University were required to subscribe to were by no means a finished body of religious doctrines. They were drawn up in ancient times, they contained old Roman Catholic dogmas, and they embodied some of the doctrinal errors of the middle ages. It must not be forgotten that in course of time opinion might change, and that the Articles themselves were only variable substances. The set of Articles drawn up by Archbishop Cramer, in 1539, had been very much altered and modified since. The Thirty-nine Articles no doubt represented the spiritual views of learned men 300 years ago, and they were acceptable to the nation at that time, but they by no means represented the opinions of the same class of men of the present day. He could see no valid objection, under any circumstances, to the right of students of any denomination whatever going to Oxford as freely as to any other University or educational establishment. Oxford University was certainly one of the first institutions of the country, and great credit was due to the Government for the courage with which they had undertaken to reform it and adapt it to the requirements of the age. He regretted that the Government lied not ventured to tear the network from Oxford, and make that University accessible to the whole nation, and he would urge the House to adopt the course which he proposed to it, as a necessary following up of its repeal of corporate and other tests. He denied that that House ought to shape its legislation according to what might or might not occur in another place; but he was at the same time ready to admit that for the production of a good measure it was desirable that the two Houses of Parliament should concur. He believed that the University of Oxford would derive great advantage from the measure which was before the House; and he thought that this was the time for that House to make terms with the University and gain some advantage for the public. As an evidence of the feeling of the country upon this subject he might refer to the fact that there had been presented to the House 400 petitions, signed by 37,000 persons, against this test, while he believed not one had been presented in favour of its maintenance. He trusted, therefore, that his Motion would be agreed to.


in seconding the Motion, said, he regretted to find that every proposal for extending education amongst the people of this country invariably met with objections in that House, either sectarian or fiscal, and the consequence was that large masses of our population remained uneducated, crime flourished, and property was unsafe; and the present question, although it related to the education of the higher classes, appeared to be equally unfortunate. The question before the House was how this great national educational institution could be made useful to the country. He called it a national institution, because if Oxford University were not such, the time of the nation was wasted in discussing this Bill. He knew there were those who said the question was not what would be most fur the general benefit of the nation, but that they were tied down by the wills of the founders of the colleges, and that the University was an ecclesiastical corporation, intended for education exclusively in the doctrines of the Church of England. Now the wills of many of the founders were made before the time of the Reformation, and it was an extraordinary stretch of imagination to suppose that Roman Catholics, who founded these colleges for the benefit of their fellow-countrymen at large, if they could be resuscitated in our days, would adopt the Thirty-nine Articles of the Established Church as a test of admission. It was snore reasonable to suppose that these pious Roman Catholic founders, if they could have foreseen the heresy embodied in the Thirty-nine Articles, would have, left directions to burn rather than to matriculate those who professed to believe in them. The fact was at this distance of time it was impossible to tell exactly what were the intentions of the founders; and even if we knew their intentions, it would be exceedingly difficult to apply them to the circumstances and requirements of our own times. The proper course, therefore, was to assume that they designed that which would benefit their fellow-countrymen generally; at all events, it was impossible to believe that they would have preferred one form of Protestant heresy to another, whether that patronised by the State, or that adhered to by the Dissenters. It was said that Oxford University had for its object the education of students in the doctrines of the Established Church, and that it was an ecclesiastical corporation. Now, he (Mr. Collier) denied that proposition; and it was laid down by Blackstone, Lord Coke, and other high authorities, that the Universities were lay corporations; and, if so, it was as competent for Parliament to deal with them as with corporations of a municipal or other character, which had already been subjected to legislative control. If Oxford was exclusively intended for the manufacture of clergymen and bishops, then no doubt the raw material employed in the process ought to come from the Church of England, but it produced lawyers, physicians, state magistrates, and statesmen. The criterion in choosing a lawyer was not his orthodoxy, but his skill in his profession; and a man was not necessarily a better physician because he believed in all the Thirty-nine Articles, or in a less number of them, or even in none. The noble Lord the President of the Council had put this point forcibly, some twenty years ago, when speaking in support of a similar Motion to the present. He said, "You might as well examine a bishop in law or in medicine, as a lawyer or a medical man in divinity, and that there was a marked distinction between that part of the instruction which was of an ecclesiastical and that which was of a secular character." There was nothing, therefore, in the connection which existed between the Universities and the Established Church which should prevent Parliament from interfering with them for the general good. If there was nothing in the will of the founders, and nothing in their necessary connection with the Established Church, which proved that Parliament had no right to deal with the Universities as national institutions, the question resolved itself into this—was it expedient and for the general good that the Thirty-nine Articles should be upheld as the test for admission? It was said that the secular education given was so mixed with religion that to admit Dissenters would create confusion, weaken discipline, and introduce the warfare of contending creeds into the quiet halls of the University. Now it had not been necessary for disciplinary or educational purposes to insist on subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles in the sister University at Cambridge, where students not intended for holy orders were not required to be taught in polemical doctrines, but simply to study the Scriptures and read Paley Evidences, to either of which no Dissenter cared to object. The only grievance felt by the Dissenters at Cambridge was the compulsory attendance at chapel; and he (Mr. Collier) did not know that that enforced attendance would not on some occasions be more honoured in the breach than in the observance. No man would think that public attendance at daily prayer was a true test of the devotional feelings of an individual. If that practice were made a test in that House, he feared that Her Majesty's Ministers would stand in a perilous situation, and in the broad road which it was not necessary to particularise; and yet he ventured to assert that a more orthodox Government than the present never sat on the Treasury benches. Of all the Members of the Government none were more pious than the whippers-in, and yet, instead of inducing hon. Members to attend the prayers in that House, it was well known that they often used their best endeavours to keep them away. Dissenters, then, he held, ought to be exempted from compulsory attendance at chapel in the Universities. Thus, when properly looked at, all the alleged difficulties in the way of admitting the Dissenters melted away. The proposition of his hon. Friend (Mr. Heywood) was no innovation, but simply a return to that which existed in the sixteenth century. But while they satisfied themselves that there was no force in the objections of those who were opposed to the admission of the Dissenters, it might be asked what advantages would result from admitting them? Now he thought that the Dissenters themselves ought to be the best judges upon that point, and they were anxious for the Some said that the Dissenters would be all converted to the Established Church. He (Mr. Collier) might not, perhaps, be sorry if such a result were to ensue, but that would be their concern only. It had been suggested that they might so modify the Thirty-nine Articles as to remove the objection to subscribing to them, but that would be a subject of much difficulty, and one which he suspected that House would scarcely be disposed to go into Committee upon. Some few nights ago the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) showed conclusively that although the studies at Oxford were almost exclusively confined to the classics and theology, yet that that University must yield the palm in the classics and in theology to the German Universities, whose studies comprised not only these two branches, but a hundred others besides. Why was there this inferiority on the part of Oxford? The main cause of it was, her own exclusiveness. She excluded not only Dissent, but the advancing knowledge of the age and its new ideas; treated with indifference, if not with contempt, modern science and art; and, ignoring progress, chose rather to rely on the wisdom of the ancients, preferring the physics of Aristotle to the Novum Organum of Bacon. The close atmosphere of Oxford required ventilation. Let her casements, then, be thrown open, and the healthy fresh breeze of the nineteenth century play through her sequestered cloisters. They might amend the constitution of the Hebdomadal Board, and remodel that of Convocation; but he ventured to think that all that would do nothing, as compared with the measure of his hon. Friend, towards infusing new vigour and vitality into the languid body of the University, and rendering it a national institution more worthy of the country and of the times in which we lived.

Clause (From and after the first day of Michaelmas Term, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, it shall not be necessary for any person, upon matriculating in the University of Oxford, to make or subscribe any declaration, or to take any oath, save the oath of allegiance, or an equivalent declaration of allegiance, any law or Statute to the contrary notwithstanding)—brought up, and read 1°.


said, that he was anxious, before the House proceeded to a division, to address a few words to it on this subject, to explain the course which he and his Colleagues intended to take on this occasion. He was certainly not going now to argue at any length the question whether or not Dissenters ought to be admitted to the University of Oxford. After the protracted discussions which had taken place in that House on subjects connected with the University, he thought they would be disinclined to enter further into lengthened debates upon this portion of the question. Yet it was important for them to consider this proposition not only on its merits, but with a view to the effect which the particular mode of procedure might have upon the attainment of those objects which he, he apprehended in common with the great mass of Members on that side of the House, had at heart. This question had been but seldom argued in that House of late years, and recently great changes had taken place, not only in the tone of feeling on all subjects connected with religious liberty, but in the aspect and bearing of society in regard to religious questions. It was therefore impossible, he thought, at the present day to maintain the exclusive system which had so long prevailed at the University of Oxford. There had risen to the upper ranks of society great numbers of men who had sprung from the middle classes, and who, by their energy and force of character, had assumed, and most justly, a prominent position in the country, and also in that House, and they were entitled to say that no artificial restrictions should be imposed tending to prevent them from being thoroughly fused and amalgamated with the class to which they had been admitted, and with whom they were now associated. Now, he confessed, looking at the interests of the Church of England in reference to this question, that the maintenance of this exclusion was no longer either politic or necessary, whilst, with regard to the interests of that large class, the Dissenters, whom Parliament was bound to consider, he felt that their exclusion from these institutions, at the same time that it did not add to their stability, was a grievance and a natural ground of complaint. But the question was, how could they best attain the object they had in view? He had said that they had already had very lengthened and very difficult discussions on the question of University reform. The Bill now before the House had not fared so well as he could have wished, and as he had once hoped it would in that House. He did not think, therefore, that when the Bill left that House their anxieties for its fate would be at an end; and he confessed that he should deeply lament to see the introduction into it of any additional matter that would still further imperil its ultimate success, he was not willing that, by the rejection of this measure elsewhere, they should have a repetition in that House of all these interminable, and difficult discussions in a measure of this kind; and he was not anxious, certainly, for the sake of the University itself, to see new strength given to that retrograde portion of the University who were opposed to the measure of the Government, which would be the case were this Bill to be defeated; whilst such a result would offer discouragement and discomfiture to the more enlightened part of the University, who were friendly to wholesome and well-considered reform in that institution. On these grounds, therefore, knowing that the introduction of the clauses of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Heywood) into the Bill must most materially affect and jeopardise its chances of ultimate success, he should regret if this Bill were taken as the means for pressing this particular reform, of which the hon. Gentleman was, like himself (Mr. S. Herbert), the advocate. There was another reason why they should hesitate to legislate on this subject at that very moment. That portion of the Bill originally introduced into the House which related to the remodelling of the constitution of the different bodies who were to select the governing body for Oxford University had, subject to certain modifications in details, passed through the House hitherto, he might say, comparatively speaking, almost intact, and the Government yet trusted to see carried out those other and further reforms indicated in the Bill in the shape in which it was first brought in, but which had been excised from the measure because neither time nor the hope of carrying them in a satisfactory state justified their further proceeding with them. Well, then, having constituted the new governing body, and taken from the old body, the Hebdomadal Board—a body consisting of men elected for purposes quite different from the government of the University—that was, for the mere regulation of the colleges, and certainly not for their special fitness to govern the University—having taken the power from them, and placed it in the hands of those who were the really working men of the University, and who comprised its strength, its spirit, its ablest and most effective life, he said they would do wrong, at the very moment they had created this body, and intrusted to them these new functions, to mark their distrust of them by expressing an unwillingness to leave them to decide one of the most important questions that could affect the welfare of the University. He did not agree with the hon. and heartiest Gentleman who spoke last, as to the state of feeling in the University. It might be true that in certain regions of the University there was a great want of sympathy with the public mind, and a stagnation of intellect, and an unwillingness to go forward at the pace at which public opinion ran in the country; but in the body of the University which was about to be intrusted with its government he ventured to say that they would find men as enlightened and liberal, whose sympathies were as generous, and who took as lively an interest in all questions that concerned our social state, as any body that could be found either in that house or out of it. Well, then, knowing that there existed in the University of Oxford so strong a feeling in favour of practical reform, and that there also existed a body in whom there was no illiberality of mind, but quite the reverse, and who were themselves anxious to see this very reform carried out, although he did not go the length of telling the House that they would do so, he said, let that body have the opportunity of doing what was required before they proceeded to legislate upon the anticipation—which might be an unjust anticipation—that they would not take the course which he believed, and he thought they would also believe, the interests of the University pointed out to them. Let them have an opportunity of considering for the first time this proposal, which had been so long agitated in that House, and which he believed had made much way in the University; and if that body should come to the desired conclusion, and themselves make an alteration in the Statutes to admit Dissenters to the University, depend upon it that would ensure much more than that House could do, even if it carried this Bill with the proposition of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Heywood) inserted in its provisions. Now, certainly, the clause of the hon. Gentleman would do away with subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles upon matriculation; but it did not follow from that that it would secure the admission of Dissenters to the University. The body who had the making of the Statutes of the University could meet them, and, if so minded, would defeat them at every turn. They might frame Statutes for examination which would prove fully as distateful to Dissenters as could subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. They might insist on a curriculum of studies which would be as repugnant to the Dissenters as the Articles of the Established Church, and we should be powerless to effect our object; whilst by taking this matter into its own hands, Parliament could only prevent those who possessed the real powers from doing voluntarily what they would have full power to do, if they were so inclined. Well, then, after all, what would happen if the hon. Gentleman's Motion were not adopted? The House would give no sanction to the opposite principle. He (Mr. Herbert) and his Colleagues were of the opinion, and were ready to express it, that so far as the interests of the University were concerned, no harm could arise from the admission of the Dissenters. Well, if the University were left to deal with this question upon due consideration, and should unfortunately, after all, disappoint their expectations in their decision upon it, Parliament would hereafter be no less powerful to act in this matter than it was now, and to settle the question by opening the doors of the University to the Dissenters. Therefore he said that, so far from advancing this question, they would only retard it by attempting now to deal with it as the hon. Member for North Lancashire proposed. For the reasons he had stated he hoped the House would not adopt the present Motion. What they had to consider was, how they could best attain the hon. Gentleman's object, and secure to themselves the assistance of those in whose hands the real power resided, namely, that new governing body which this Bill created; and he thought it would be ill-advised and impolitic, as that body was just constituted, to condemn it before it had even the opportunity of showing how it would deal with this question, if Parliament in a generous spirit confided to it the necessary powers for that purpose.


said, that he did not possess the same Parliamentary experience as the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, but he should have fancied that the best way of carrying their object into effect would be by voting for this Motion; and not by waiting, as the right hon. Gentleman suggested, until they saw what the new governing body would do for them. The right hon. Gentleman agreed with the views which his hon. Friend wished to see carried into practical legislation, but he wished the House to wait and see whether the new governing body at Oxford would not act of themselves, and then, if they did not, the right hon. Gentleman said the House of Commons would not be in a worse position than they were at present. He knew that the same argument had been used in Parliament years ago. Twenty years ago, a similar appeal to that of the right hon. Gentleman was made to hon. Members favourable to this Motion, and it was said that the governing body of the University could, and probably would, make alterations in their tests to admit Dissenters, as public opinion was growing in favour of that proposition. That doctrine was at that time combated by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), who said he admitted the power of the Universities to throw open their doors to the Dissenters, but doubted their disposition to do so if left to themselves, and that was his (Mr. M. Gibson's) feeling on this question now. It was assuredly the duty of that House to take care of the public interests, and not to delegate that duty to any corporation or body whatever. They had been warned by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sidney Herbert) of what might be the fate of that Bill in another House, if this proposition were made to form a part of the measure; but he (Mr. Milner Gibson) thought it was not becoming the dignity of the House of Commons to decline to do what was demanded by public policy, on the ground that it might not be acceptable to noble Lords sitting in another place. Let that House pass the measures they believed to be for the public interest, and let the other branch of the Legislature take the peril of throwing out the present measure if they thought fit. If the House of Commons had waited until their measures had been acceptable to the other House, where would have been those great measures of reform which had been obtained in past times? The argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War might console the consciences of sonic of his Friends, who might be desirous of giving a vote in support of this Motion and against the Government. But he made an appeal to the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), and he thought that after the noble Lord's speech of last night it was their turn to-day, and that, so much having been said by the noble Lord for another interest, something ought now to be said in behalf of the Whig and Liberal party, of which the noble Lord was leader. He, therefore, made an appeal to that section of the Government which represented the advanced feeling of the Liberal party. He knew they would feel it acutely if they were compelled to vote against this Motion. If there was any question upon which the Whig party were more bound by their traditions and their principles than another, it was to allow no religious test to stand in the way of the civil privileges of any class of their fellow-subjects. He (Mr. M. Gibson) had himself been a subordinate Member of a Government, and knew what it was to go into the lobby in support of a Minister and vote against one's own convictions and pledges. He would now make an appeal on behalf of Members of the Government, that they should be permitted to vote for his hon. Friend's Motion, and that this should be treated as an open question; for why should it not? They had not then the Government of a party formed upon any particular set of political principles, and it could not be said that there would be any danger to any particular set of political principles through the temporary insubordination which might be occasioned by Members belonging to the Government voting for the Motion of his hon. Friend. He, therefore, asked that hon. Members might be allowed to vote as they thought fit and proper on this occasion, and that no Member of the Government should incur the displeasure of his chief on account of his vote on this occasion. If that were understood, he felt confident that the noble Lord the Member for the City of London himself, the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, and all the Members of the Liberal section, at least, would give their votes in favour of the Motion; and from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, he hoped they would have also the support of the followers of the late Sir Robert Peel. He had no doubt there were Gentlemen on the other side who did not agree that it would be good policy to extend the benefits of University education to persons not belonging to the Church of England, and on that point he should say a few words. He viewed these religious tests as forming no part whatever of the original constitution of the Universities. They were originally imposed for political objects, and had reference to questions of the legitimacy of the Sovereign and of the dynasty—questions of no interest at the present moment, the circumstances of the present times being entirely different. Without expressing any opinion, therefore, as to whether, in past days, such policy was right or wrong, it must be admitted that at the present moment, with a settled succession, there could be no earthly reason why they should maintain these tests. Was it not, he might almost say, disgraceful that they should be at that moment arguing whether it was right to extend the means of a liberal education to all classes of the community in the national Universities of the land? After the fierce declamation they heard in respect of education, and after the mouthing that went on throughout the country in favour of religions liberty, was it not strange to think that at that moment they should be positively arguing whether it was right or wrong to keep men out of the national Universities, which were public property, or to prevent any class of Her Majesty's subjects from getting education within the walls of their colleges? That they were public property—that they were lay impropriations—there could be no doubt whatever. Their privileges had all sprung from Parliament, and money was yearly voted and freely paid by all classes in the country for the support of professorships in this University. ["No, no!"] He begged pardon; there were votes of money for professorships, there were various civil privileges extended by Parliament and various institutions in the country to persons holding degrees obtained in the Universities, and, therefore, he contended that all classes were entitled to the benefits of these Universities, and ought not to be precluded on such grounds as they had heard front taking degrees, and obtaining all the social advantages the University could give, and sharing, as far as was practicable, in the emoluments of these Universities. They should give their immediate assent to the abolition of such a system, without waiting for the opinions or views of another place. It was said that boys going to Oxford before the age of twelve years were not required to give their assent to those theological propositions that went by the name of the Thirty-nine Articles; but it was conceived that when they were twelve years old they were sufficiently matured and sufficiently good theologians to give their assent to these propositions. An hon. Friend of his had said it was just as well to do it at twelve years old, for, no doubt, they understood it as well at twelve years of age as at any subsequent period of their lives, and he (Mr. M. Gibson) was afraid the observation was true. These were theological dogmas on which men might differ, and to call upon young men to give that kind of unconditional consent was to sap the foundation of morality. It was carrying on a kind of solemn mockery to ask them to give their assent to this set of theological propositions. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had written ably with the view of showing that a State had a conscience. Surely, the right hon. Gentleman would agree with him that individuals had a conscience as well as a State, and ought not to be called upon in that kind of hasty and precipitate manner to give a solemn adhesion to propositions they could not understand. He did not believe they would hear from the right hon. Gentleman any kind of approval of such a system. But getting rid of the test at matriculation in Oxford was not sufficient. It was not sufficient to allow persons to enter the University; they must abolish the religious test that stood in the way of a degree, and allow the student to have the inducement the honours of the University would hold out to him to carry on his studies. They should not even have to stop short at a degree, but should be allowed a participation in the emoluments of the University, so far as those emoluments were of a lay character, and could be held by persons not expressly trained up for the duties of the Church. At the time these tests were imposed, similar tests were imposed upon all kinds of education. The schoolmaster could not be employed by a private family unless he was approved of by the bishop, and there was a penalty on young persons educated in a foreign University, wholly on account of political objects; but the circumstances of the present day called upon them not to continue them, at least upon these grounds. Some persons were very much afraid of the Dissenters getting into the Universities, fancying, from their numbers and influence, that they might share ultimately in the powers of the governing body of the University, and so gradually affect the interests of the Established Church; but upon that point he would take the liberty of reading a few passages from a work of the Right Rev. Connop Thirlwall, Bishop of St. David's, in which he gave his views of what the effect would be of allowing Dissenters to enter into the Universities. The right rev. Prelate said— For my own part, I am not one of those who, while they consider this measure as one of policy, liberality, and justice, care little about its operations. I heartily wish, if carried, it may have the effect of directing many Dissenters to receive University education. I wish it, not for their sake only, but for our own. I think the substantial interests of the University—literature and science, morality and religion—would all gain by such an accession to our number. This belief is more than plain surmise. All observation and analogy lead us to expect that the sons of Dissenters of the middle classes, and such alone we look to have, would add strength to that part of our students which we desire to see growing until they absorb all the rest—to that part which includes the quiet, the temperate, the thoughtful, the industrious—those who feel the value of their time, and the dignity of their pursuits. Such Dissenters we have had and have now amongst us, and I wish we had more of them, and we should think the advantage of their presence was cheaply purchased by a share of the endowments which, if thrown open to competition, they would be able to obtain. That forcible statement of a bishop of the Established Church ought to go forth to calm the apprehensions of Gentlemen when they heard that the admission of Dissenters to the Universities would be dangerous to the Establishment. But he (Mr. M. Gibson) would discharge the question of danger altogether from his mind, for he felt that, let there be danger or let there not be danger, the Church must stand upon its own merits; it must not be supported by injustice to others. He should go no further than the simple proposition that the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin, and other Universities, were national institutions; that all classes of Her Majesty's subjects were entitled to the benefit of these institutions; and that it was wrong, and absolutely immoral, to exclude any portion of the people of the country from the benefits of these institutions by the imposition of any religious test whatever. The Universities were not mere schools for teaching theology, and persons might learn there religion, and be trained in the Established Church, without the slightest interference on the part of those who were taking degrees in the same University, and who had purely secular objects in view. He hoped the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell) would give them not only a vote, but a speech. He hoped the noble Lord would make them some reparation for what he bad done on the preceding night. He could quote to the noble Lord the speech he had made on Mr. Christie's Motion, and he begged to refer hon. Gentlemen to that speech. Perhaps the noble Lord was going to use that night the weapons of which he had availed himself on the occasion of Mr. Christie's Motion, and he (Mr. M. Gibson) would not anticipate him by quoting his arguments, though they were most powerful, but he would sit down after quoting the words in which the speech of the noble Lord concluded, and which were to this effect—that he cordially supported the Motion of Mr. Christie for the abolition of all oaths and tests which would prevent persons who were Dissenters from taking honours in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.


said, that, notwithstanding such a declaration as that mentioned by the right hon. Member who had just sat down, the noble Lord the Member for the City of London had given sufficient reasons why he thought it highly inexpedient on the present occasion to introduce into a Bill for the regulation and improvement of the University of Oxford a subject which had no necessary connection with the rest of the measure, and which was sure to excite differences of opinion, to distract attention, and probably create an angry discussion. The noble Lord's arguments were, in his (Sir W. Heathcote's) opinion, quite sufficient to justify his intended vote; but, as he had intimated then, and his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War had intimated to-day, that in the minor question be agreed with the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood), it was necessary for him to explain why he thought the question involved rather deeper considerations, and why his objections were inherent to it, and not merely dependent upon the circumstances of the time to which the noble Lord and his right hon. Friend had adverted. The hon. Member for North Lancashire had introduced to the House two clauses, which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) rightly considered were connected and formed one continuous and inseparable clause. By that clause it was intended to introduce into the University of Oxford applicants for admission of two different descriptions—first, undergraduates; and, secondly, graduates in arts, law, or medicine, but not in divinity. He (Sir W. Heathcote) wished to guard the House from supposing that the first clause would really put the undergraduates on the same footing as undergraduates admitted to Cambridge. It was one thing to admit men without tests into a University, to the regulations of which they conformed, and the instruction of which, religious or secular, they received, and for the arrangements to be, at the will of the University, subject to revocation if inconvenience arose; but it was quite another thing, by the stringency of an Act of Parliament, to enforce their admission, not on the conditions he had described, but as Dissenters, to be received and treated as such, with all the consequences of their religious worship, religious observances, and instruction involved in that recognition. With regard to the second clause of the hon. Member (Mr. Heywood), he would also wish to guard the House from supposing that, in conferring a degree without the test, they were in any way supported by the practice of the University of Dublin. It was quite true that in that University they could admit them to a degree; but it should be remembered that in that University degrees conferred no powers, and their possessors exercised no authority in the University at all. It consisted of one great college, and, according to its constitution, the members of the foundation of that college were also governors of the University. In the two clauses now brought before them the divinity degrees were not touched, they were to be left to the colleges and the University to deal with by their own authority. Whether it was intended by that, that divinity degrees were still to be confined to members of the Church of England, or whether it was expected that, when a sufficient number of men of different belief had been admitted to the governing body of the University that professors of all shades of belief might be admitted to degrees of divinity of various kinds, either by the extinction of all religious tests, or in some other manner, had not yet been explained. It might be that the omitting to deal with the degrees of divinity was a passive recognition of what he believed to be an undoubted fact, that the instruction in religion was so essentially connected with the very idea of Oxford University, that if it were violently disassociated from it, it would so decrease the future value of the University in the eyes of the country—its authority and influence in society would be so reduced—that those who were trying to make their way into it would find something very different from what they expected, and that the institution had been damaged in consequence of their success. He apprehended that the intention of the clause was to provide that the religious education should be according to the tenets of each separate sect to which the members belonged, but the question was, whether such a course was practicable. They had one very noted example of the failure of an attempt made by a most eminent man to engraft into an institution in which various sects were comprehended a system of religious instruction. The attempt totally failed when the University of London was established. No one was more anxious upon that point than that highly gifted man the late Dr. Arnold, and he attempted to introduce in a practicable form a system into that University, in which he (Sir W. Heathcote) would not say a full education could be obtained in connection with the peculiarity of each form of belief, but, at least, some religious instruction, which he took to be common to all. But how did his efforts end? In nothing but a demonstration of the entire futility of his attempt. After very great efforts and a continued struggle with the Council, he found himself unable to carry his propositions, and retired from the position he held in the University. The Council were more clearsighted than Dr. Arnold as to the difficulties to be encountered in endeavouring to carry out a measure inconsistent with the conditions upon which the University was established, and refused to admit the suggestions which he made. If, then, a general religious instruction was found so difficult, it would be clearly impossible for the professor of any one creed to convey to his pupils the peculiarities of other men, and young men who were not of the communion of the Church of England, but who, under the arrangements, came up for instruction, would often find in the University of Oxford not a single tutor or professor of their own opinion; the difficulties in the way of their receiving the instruction which it was intended they should receive would be found insuperable; and even if after a time there were professors and tutors of their own creed, it would often happen that members of the Church of England would be in the condition he had described with reference to the Dissenters. It was suggested that all this would be got rid of by having separate colleges and halls, but he should like any one who had a plan of that sort in his head to consider how it would operate on this Bill if it were carried into effect. There would be an end at once of the plan of extending professorships; it would be more than ever necessary to confine within the strict limits of each hall or college the young men belonging to it; they would not be able to resort to professors and lecturers, except where the professors were of their own creed; and it would often happen that tutors and governors of halls and colleges would have a not unfounded jealousy —even on subjects with which they were not directly connected—in trusting their young men to the instruction of some eminent, highly qualified, and strong-minded professor, who unfortunately differed from them in opinion, and whose hostility to their creed might have been openly pronounced. He knew an instance, in a colony in which a University of this comprehensive character had been established, of the evils of such a system. One of the managers told a person from whom he (Sir W. Heathcote) heard it, that if in that University the Greek professor, when lecturing, should go one inch beyond the language, he would be censured by the Council. Besides, if colleges were to be kept separate and denominational, how were they to have any competition for fellowships, unless, indeed, they confined the Dissenters to the colleges, and allowed only the members of the Church to take the range over them all, which would be felt to be extremely unjust and offensive? There was also another point which the House should take into consideration. If the Motion of the hon. Member for North Lancashire were adopted, places of worship for persons of different denominations must be established, under the sanction of the University, for the students connected with the various halls and colleges. All these places of worship, having the sanction of the University, would possess, so far as the students were concerned, equal merit and authority. Persons must therefore send their sons to a University where there would be a number of conflicting preachers, many of whom would doubtless be men of very high talent. He supposed the hon. Member for North Lancashire did not propose that a measure which professed to be national should exclude Roman Catholics from the University. [Cries of "No, no"] It was not intended to exclude them? [Renewed cries of "No!"] Well, then, he supposed it was not intended to exclude them, and in that case any man who should send his son to Oxford must consider what would happen in the present state of affairs, particularly when the great abilities and undoubted zeal of most eminent persons—he would say, considering all that was past, too eminent and too distinguished—who had gone out from them, would be reinforced by their knowledge of the place, and they might apply themselves to purposes which hon. Gentlemen would undoubtedly object to. He had not said one word about the Established Church, but he would say that it would be inconvenient for the members of different religious creeds to meet for the first time to form new Universities without any single one of them being armed with any prescriptive right. But surely, in such a case as this, if it be true, as he assumed it was, that religious education must be a prominent feature in the University of Oxford, there would be an almost insuperable objection to have it intrusted to the hands of persons of different forms of belief; and if the Established Church were to be displaced, it must not only be by the substitution of some other which they might think better, but it must be by one equally extensive. The right hon. Member for Manchester had pointed out the time when all these things were handed over from the Church of Rome to the Church of England; but if any Gentleman would look through the Statutes, he would see how continually, long before any questions of differences of practice or belief were made prominent, the Legislature of the country, with the most zealous care, guarded the national and independent character of the Church of England, and if they looked into some of the most important documents, they would find the recognition continually of the very name of the Church of England. They would find by the summonses to Parliament before the Reformation, in the reigns of Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI., that the Prelates and Peers were summoned to advise the King not only on the affairs of the State, but on the affairs of the Church, and not only of the Church in general terms, but of the Church by the name specifically of the Church of England. And continuing so to exist, the Church of England had proceeded to deal with its institutions, and, as they thought, reformed itself by shaking off—whether rightly or wrongly formed only part of the question—its subjection to the See of Rome, and the practices that are still continued in the Church of Rome, but it retained the identity of existence and the same name that had always belonged to it, and none of those who dissented from them on any ground could say that the change was not accepted by the Church and the nation on the whole. It would be as impossible to deny the identity of the Church as an institution before and since the Reformation, as to affirm that the States of New York and Massachusetts had not an identity of existence under which a settled policy was administered because some seventy years ago they, like the Church of England, shook off their subjection to foreign dominion, and changed some part of their internal government. He believed, notwithstanding what was alleged to have occurred at the Reformation, this was the very first instance of an attempt to divorce the University of Oxford from the Church of England. If that divorce were to be effected, let it be complete, and let it be avowed, but let them not pretend that they left the University of Oxford in possession of the Church when they deprived it of the power of turning that possession to the religious welfare of the country. He would beg of the House to consider that it would be a most hazardous and dangerous experiment to attempt to combine in the University of Oxford all forms of religion in a system of religious instruction. It would be hopeless to attempt it, and would put an end to it as a Christian University for the result would be that it would infallibly cause an explosion of the whole system in acrimonious controversy, or cause it to expire in indifference or infidelity. He should, therefore, feel it his duty to oppose the Motion.


said, that in the previous discussions on this Bill, he had refrained from taking any part; not from any want of interest in the questions affecting those Universities with which his own associations were so recent, but because he felt that suggestions for their reform came better from those Members whose experience entitled them to speak with an authority to which he could not pretend. But the question which had been brought before the House by the hon. Member for North Lancashire involved a principle to which every man who was fit to aspire to a seat in that House must have given some thought, and have come to some conclusion; and as the conclusion to which he had come was a very strong and decided one, he hoped he might be permitted to express to the House his reasons for the vote which he should feel it his duty now to give. The hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood), as a Dissenter, speaking for himself and for those who, with him, owned no allegiance to, and acknowledged no sympathy with, the Established Church, had treated the question very naturally and very feelingly. The hon. Gentleman had shown what great importance the Nonconformist bodies of this kingdom attached to the question now raised, and how deeply and how painfully they were stung by their exclusion from the national Universities. He (Sir J. Ramsden) looked at this question from a different point of view to the hon. Gentleman. He was a member of the Established Church, and as a member of the Established Church he thought that he had an interest in this question fully as great as the Dissenter—nay, in one sense, the injustice of which the Dissenter complained—if, indeed, it were an injustice—affected the Churchman more deeply than the Dissenter, inasmuch as the perpetration of an injustice was more dishonourable than its endurance. The Dissenter might be aggrieved by an injurious exclusion; but the Churchman, who inflicted and maintained that exclusion, was the person really degraded by it. For it was a degradation that, under pretexts however specious, and from apprehensions however sincere, a great body of his fellow-subjects, lowered by no moral disqualification, were subjected to pain and disability which, because inflicted upon religious grounds, were unjust, impolitic, and oppressive. If it was really of great importance to the Dissenter to have access to the most valuable schools of education which this country can afford (and no one had ever yet denied that it must be so), it was of greater importance to the Churchman that the establishment of which he was a member should not incur the reproach of excluding from them upon a narrow system of intolerance and fear. It was of still greater importance to the nation at large that those controversies which the difference of opinion among the various religious bodies was so apt to engender, should not be further embittered by the fact that the most valued of our national institutions, intended originally for the benefit of all, were converted by legislative partiality into engines of undue favour to those of one creed, and of unmerited injustice and mortification to those of another. In listening to the objections urged by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote) to the proposition before the House, he found that they rested mainly upon two grounds, and it was a remarkable fact that neither of these asserted an objection of principle. The first objection was one of convenience, affecting the existing internal arrangements of the University. The hon. Baronet argued that the admission of Dissenters would render it necessary to abandon those religious observances which now formed part of the system of collegiate discipline. The other objection raised by the hon. Baronet was one of policy affecting the Established Church. It was urged that the admission of Dissenters was to be opposed, not as hurtful to the University, but as destroying that identity of feeling and of action which had hitherto subsisted between the University and the Established Church, and thereby weakening and injuring the Established Church itself. Now, if these two objections could be satisfactorily met—if securities could be given against these two causes of alarm—if it could be shown that the admission of Dissenters would not interrupt the religious observances at present existing in the University, and was at the same time consistent with the stability of the Established Church, he (Sir J. Ramsden), did not see that there was any distinct affirmation of principle upon which the exclusion of Dissenters from the national Universities was attempted to be maintained. In order to see how far the first of these objections held good, he would ask what were those religious observances which would be interrupted by the admission of Dissenters? The only religious observance of which he was aware, to which this objection of the hon. Baronet would apply, was the attendance at the daily service in the college chapels. But before they considered this question with reference to Dissenters, he thought they should inquire how that attendance affected members of the Established Church. He thought they should ask themselves how far compulsory attendance upon religious worship really promoted the ends of religion, and how far it was really desirable even in the case of those undergraduates who were members of the Established Church. His belief, which he wished to express with all deference to the House, was, that the compulsory attendance upon religious worship, not unfrequently imposed as a punishment for some breach of discipline, had a direct tendency to destroy that reverential feeling with which so sacred an ordinance should be regarded. Could any one really think, on consideration, that they were justified in degrading their religious services to an instrument of collegiate discipline, submitted to, in one instance, as an irksome formality, and, in another, as an unavoidable but vexatious duty? Would it be a change really to be regretted if, by substituting voluntary for compulsory attendance at the college chapels, they increased the respect felt for the services of the Church, even at the expense of a numerical diminution of the congregation? He hoped he might be excused for saying that, for his own part, he would far rather see a small attendance of those who were met together under that sacred roof, brought there by feelings of devotion, and entertaining a right sense of the reverence due to the occasion, than a far larger congregation collected suddenly from the various occupations and pleasures of the day, entering there, perhaps, with feelings of impatience and irritation at the unwelcome interruption of their amusements, taking little thought of the true nature of the service, and remembering only, that this observance must be gone through a stated number of times in the week for the sake of keeping out of disgrace with the college authorities. And, if he had justly estimated this system of compulsory attendance upon religious worship, if its effects were indeed more than questionable even upon those undergraduates who were members of the Established Church, then he thought it would hardly be a valid objection to the claims of the Dissenters, even if it could be shown that their admission to the University would render it necessary to abandon the system entirely. Then with regard to the objection that the admission of Dissenters to the University would be injurious to the connection of the Universities with the Established Church. It could not, he thought, be denied that there would be some inconveniences attending the destruction of that religious unity—that close and intimate connection and identity—which had hitherto been maintained between the University and the Established Church. He conceived, however, that the question the House bad now to decide was, not whether this union was or was not beneficial—not whether inconvenience would or would not result from its dissolution—but whether it was better to maintain this union, and, by maintaining it, to exclude one-half of the nation from the national Universities, or to relax this union, and, by relaxing it, to restore to the Universities their original character as institutions for the general cultivation of knowledge, science, and literature. Looking upon the question in this light, weighing one alternative against the other, and considering both the good to be hoped and the evil to be feared from either plan of action, he thought the House could not hesitate as to which ought to be preferred. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford had contended that by sanctioning the admission of Dissenters to the University they would destroy that close and intimate association which had hitherto been maintained between the Established Church and the Universities, and that by thus loosening the ties between the Church and the Universities they would strike at the very foundations of the Established Church itself. He (Sir J. Ramsden) hoped the foundations of the Church of Endand—of which, in common with a majority of that House, he was a member—were too surely laid to be endangered by a measure of justice. If, however, the Church did require support other than that which was inherent in the purity of her doctrines, in the learning and piety of her ministers, and in the love of the people, he thought that support could surely be obtained by some means less questionable and more praiseworthy than by the system of imposing oaths concerning her doctrines upon those who sought admission to the Universities, which all, whether they were of an age to have studied and understood those doctrines or not, were compelled under severe penalty to subscribe—oaths which a pure-minded and conscientious Dissenter would refuse to take, while the Atheist and the scoffer at all religious obligations would embrace them without scruple or hesitation. The Church could derive no strength from such formalities as these; but she could derive both character and strength, by setting an example of charity, of magnanimity, and of justice; by proclaiming to the world that she had nothing in common with that intolerant and persecuting spirit which would rest on law and secular authority for that influence which should be derived from the spontaneous affection of all whom she would bring within her sphere. He believed that social as well as religious advantages would result from throwing open the Universities to Dissenters. He believed it would be an advantage to bring young men of different religious denominations to sit at the same table and to study in the same class. He believed that men would thus be led to form juster conceptions of one another's character, and that friendships would be established which would exercise an influence in after life, substituting better feelings for that asperity and hostility which were now too often the fruits of injustice and exclusion. He believed that those who, in their maturer years, as religious teachers, exerted so great an influence over their respective flocks—the parochial clergyman and the dissenting minister—educated together at the same University, learning there to estimate and to do justice to each other's characters, when they met in after life in the wider field of their respective duties, would contend rather as zealous labourers in the cause of Christianity than as rival champions of sectarian hostility. On these grounds he conceived that so far from the admission of Dissenters being hurtful to the University by disturbing the religious services of the Church, or dangerous to the Church from in any way impairing her influence or stability, no measure could be more calculated to strengthen both University and Church, inasmuch as by substituting voluntary for compulsory attendance at the holy services of the college chapel, it would exalt and purify that attendance; and by removing a perpetual and well-grounded complaint of grievance and injustice now preferred against the Church, it would increase the respect with which the Church herself was regarded. Having attempted to notice—and he hoped nut in too presuming a spirit—the objections urged against the admission of Dissenters to the Universities, he now came to that which was really more important—the argument in favour of their admission, and this argument was founded, as it seemed to him, on a clear, intelligible principle. In the first place, he would ask, what were the Universities? Were they national establishments or not? Was a degree conferred by the Universities a civil or an ecclesiastical distinction? Were the Universities mere schools for supplying clergymen to the Established Church, or were they institutions for the general cultivation of knowledge and for the enlargement of the field of literature and science? If it were said that the Universities were national establishments, how could they deserve the name so long as they excluded one-half the nation? If a degree conferred by the Universities was a civil, and not an ecclesiastical distinction, if it might be of great practical advantage to men studying for the faculties of law or of medicine, on what plea of reason or of justice could it be refused because of a merely theological opinion? If the Universities were something more than training schools for clergymen, if they were the great fountains from which the pure stream of knowledge should flow down, pervading all classes of the nation, and diffusing in its course the refining and elevating influence of that highest intellectual culture which it was the peculiar boast of our Universities to instil, was it wise, was it just, was it expedient, considering the importance of the Dissenters, in numbers, character, and position, to condemn them to an inferior system of education, antagonistic to our own, and this, too, at a time when the very anxiety they manifested to be admitted to those intellectual advantages which the members of the Established Church now monopolised demonstrated how highly they appreciated those advantages, and, by appreciating, how worthy they, were to enjoy them? It had been for now, happily, many years the great principle of legislation in this country to remove all civil disabilities which had been imposed on religious grounds. This principle had been carried out to a great extent in all departments of the State, and there had been ample opportunities of witnessing its results. He would therefore ask, what did ail experience on this subject prove? Did it show that this system of liberality had been so detrimental to the welfare of the nation, that it was impolitic to pursue it further? Or did it show, on the contrary, that every step in the removal of these restrictions had been attended with great and unquestionable advantage to all the best interests of the nation? If all experience did indeed force upon them this conviction, and if they were to act on this conviction, on what principle, he would not say of justice, but even of consistency, could they defend the exclusion now in question? At a time, indeed, when the Dissenter was incapable, by law, of holding a commission in the Army, or of filling the lowest employment under the Government, or even of being elected to a municipal office in a provincial town, then this exclusion was, at least, consistent. But now, when the Churchman and the Dissenter sat side by side in that House, when all, without distinction of religious opinion, were alike eligible to the most responsible offices in the State, on what principle of justice, of consistency, or of expediency, did they refuses to the Dissenter admission to the Universities, and thereby deprive him of those means of education which would best qualify him for the high duties which he might afterwards be called upon to fulfil? If, indeed, it could be asserted, with any pretence to truth, that the Dissenters were, as a body, notoriously deficient in that morality of life and propriety of conduct which it was the aim of our Universities to inculcate and sustain, and so, on that account, a pernicious influence might follow from their admission, then, indeed, it might be difficult to combat an objection so grave and so well-grounded; but no Member of that House, he was sure, would resort to an argument so ungenerous and so unjust as that. However much they might differ from the theological views of the Dissenters, it was impossible for them to deny that, as a moral and a religious body, the Dissenters would bear comparison with the best portions of Her Majesty's subjects. In past times, England had been largely indebted to the Dissenters for their defence of that religion and of those liberties of which they were the pious champions; and now, in our own day, what men were more distinguished for the morality of their lives, for the sincerity of their religion, for their active charity, for their zeal in every good work, and, above all, for their unwearied and valuable efforts in the cause of education? And, so far from tile character of the Universities, their morality, or their religion, being in any degree lowered by the admission of Dissenters, he believed they would be improved and elevated by it. He, therefore, submitted that, by admitting the Dissenters to the Universities, they would attain these most desirable results:—In the first place, they would be carrying out to its direct and logical conclusion that great principle of religious liberty which, already wisely affirmed by Parliament, had conduced to the peace and good government of the realm, while at the same time, they were doing an act of justice to the Dissenters, whom all must acknowledge to be a great and growing element in the State. In the next place, they would benefit the Universities by enlarging the sphere of their usefulness, and by bringing within their influence a powerful and meritorious class who now regarded that influence with jealousy almost amounting to hostility; and then, as regards the Established Church, they would relieve her from that most fatal reproach of sustaining by injustice and exclusion that influence which she should owe to public confidence and respect. And if, as regards the Dissenters, the Universities, and the Church, every consideration was in favour of concession, still more did he think that it would raise the character of that House to give effect to the principle embodied in the Motion of the hon. Member for North Lancashire, in favour of which he tendered him his thanks for having given him the opportunity of recording his very cordial vote.


said, he would not follow the hon. Baronet on the arduous ground that the Universities were national institutions; for if what was done in the Universities was not justifiable on that ground, it could not be justified at all. The hon. Member, in his able speech, told the House that the Dissenters—and no one differed from him in that respect—were a body distinguished for their morality of conduct and sincerity of religious principle. That, indeed, for which they were so eminently distinguished, and which, in fact, made them Dissenters, most, of itself, if rightly considered, almost give a conclusive answer to the question now before the House. It was said that the University was a place for the purposes of national education, and that it had no right by tests to make exclusion at a period when no civil disabilities should be allowed. Carrying that proposition out to its legitimate conclusion the University being a place for the purposes of education, there would be no religious education at all; and that system would have to be carried out in every school as well as in the Universities. Was that desirable? It was said with some force by hon. Members that compulsory attendance at the college chapel did no make young men religious; but would any one venture to maintain that it would be wise and well to make no provision in the Universities, as places of education, for attendance upon religious worship, whether on week-day or on Sunday; or that young men should be left to themselves, without religious instruction, to act as they chose, and lead a heathen sort of life? The question whether or not religious instruction should form a part of education at the University and in schools lay, therefore, at the root of the whole matter. If hon. Gentlemen could make up their minds that the youth of this country ought not to receive a religious education, then all the difficulties in dealing with the question would be done away with. But no one had attempted, nevertheless, to show that it was right or fitting that young men, at the time of life they entered the University, should have religions education withheld from them. On the contrary, that question was thrown over; and the hon. Gentlemen who spoke in favour of the Motion had gone upon the subject of tests. It was imperative to have the present system, therefore, or no system of religious instruction at all. He (Mr. Henley) believed the various religious communities of the country would prefer that their children should have a religious education. It might, he was aware, be said, that there could be means devised for that purpose in the new halls. But how could that be reconciled with the University? It was not the halls, but the University, that was a national institution, and the University it was, and not the halls, which had the system of instructing its members in their religious duties. No man, however, pretended that the University should teach all religions; if it taught any, it should, therefore, be the religion of the Established Church, so long as there was an Established Church in existence. Hon. Members were consequently compelled to come back to the dilemma of religious teaching as it stood in the University, or no religious teaching at all of any kind whatsoever. In the latter case, however, to pass the Bill would be to enact an untruth, because the preamble clearly stated that it was for the interest of religion and learning. In his (Mr. Henley's) opinion, the clause of the ken. Member for North Lancashire would strike at the very root and foundation of the prosperity of the University, by attacking the system of religious teaching in that institution. For he believed that the great and lasting fame of the University and the cause of the anxiety to get into it arose, not so much from its excellence in literature and science, as because, at all times and in all seasons, she had held fast by what she believed to be true, and had never shrunk from performing her duty in teaching the laws of God to man. All this hon. Gentlemen wanted to break down; all this system they wanted to give up. As far as the Church was concerned, he (Mr. Henley) believed it would stand where it was now in the event of the Motion being adopted. But the Church had always held it to be her first duty to teach religion to the people, and the University had always held that it would surrender its first privilege if it gave up religious teaching. If religious teaching was given up, the connection with the Church of England should be abandoned; and the University would also have to abandon its present form of examination. if it were adopted, they would have the greatest educational institution of this Christian land—instead of a place for religion and learning—converted into one for science and literature. He did not think the country wished that to be done; sure he was that the great majority of Dissenters would oppose the present Motion if they knew it would have such an effect. Was religion to be entirely dropped at the most critical period of a young man's life, and was he to be cast, as it were, among a chaos of opinions without any guide to point which way he should turn at a time of life, he would add, when too many were disposed to go nowhere, and when one bad habit led on to another, and eventually to widespread infidelity or indifference? He did not know whether the right hon. Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert) spoke the opinions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), but he understood him to say that he (Mr. S. Herbert) and all his Colleagues approved of the proposal of the hon. Member for North Lancashire, but opposed it now, because they thought that was not the proper time to bring it forward. He (Mr. Henley) voted against it on no such ground. He objected to it on principle, being determined, at all times and under all circumstances, to vote against that which he believed would destroy the University as a place of religious teaching.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has made an appeal to me with respect to my opinion upon this question, and he is quite entitled to make that appeal, because he is, though I am am afraid much against his will, invested with that right through his position of being one of my constituents. Therefore he is, both as his representative and as a Member of the Government, entitled to call upon me explicitly to declare my views with respect to this question; and while that constitutes his title to demand the explanation, I trust it will give me the same title to the indulgence of the House while I enter, as clearly as I can, into a statement of my views upon this important question. At the same time, I must say that there are some pleas, to which allusion has been made in the course of this debate, which it has been supposed the Government would urge in this discussion, that I wish at once and altogether to discard. I shall not plead that the claim of the Dissenters for admission into the University of Oxford ought to be withdrawn, or that it has been in any material respect weakened, on account of the circumstance that within the last twenty years there has been founded what, in some sense, may be called a University of their own. I allude, of course, to the establishment of the London University. Neither shall I plead, as the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. Collier) apprehended I should, that the Dissenters ought not to be admitted into the University of Oxford because the halls and colleges of that University are ecclesiastical corporations, for I do not believe that proposition is a true and a sound proposition, either in reason or in law. Neither will I plead that on account of the wills of the founders the present system of exclusion ought to be maintained, because of all grounds on which exclusion could be maintained, that is to me the weakest when we recollect that the greatest change which has occurred since the foundation of the colleges relates to this very subject-matter, and involved the greatest possible change with regard to the religion of those who are admitted—I allude, of course, to the change which was effected at the period of the Reformation.

The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down—with whom I anticipate the satisfaction of voting—has given reasons for that vote, with regard to which I am sure I shall not surprise him when I say that I am not convinced by them. But there is great force in much of what he has urged, and all the more, if I interpreted correctly the cheers which reached my cars from one quarter of the House following sonic of his observations, and which cheers I interpreted to mean—I shall be happy to find that I have put a wrong construction upon them—that this vote is intended to be the first of a series of Parliamentary interferences by which the system of religious instruction in the University is intended to be altogether broken down. It may be all very well for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) to say that on this occasion he discards altogether the question of the Established Church. He not only thinks that we may enter upon this question notwithstanding its hearing upon the Established Church, but he is disposed to say that we have no right to bring the interests or the position of the Established Church into the consideration of this question at all. Now, Sir, I confess, when I recollect the title by which I sit here—when I recollect the character and the capacity of that function by which the right of sending Members to Parliament has been granted to the University—I feel that I, at least, should betray the solemn and sacred trust which has been committed to me, if I were to hold the doctrine that the interest and the position of the Church of England had no place in this discussion. It may be all very well to say that the University of Oxford is a national institution, and that therefore we ought to admit all parties to the enjoyment of its advantages, irrespective of religious persuasion. Sir, it is equally true that every parochial benefice in the country is also a national institution; but there is no immediate or necessary sequence in the proposition that therefore we should admit to their possession the holders of all descriptions of religious opinions. You may say, and you will say truly, that the purpose of a parochial benefice is one thing, and that the purpose of a University is another thing. Sir, I am far indeed from saying that they are identical, but the purpose for which I contend is not their identity; it is this—that to be national the University must be founded on a principle that is dear to the hearts of the people of this country—the principle that the education communicated there is a religious education; and that if these things be so, you are not only entitled, but absolutely bound, to take into view the interests and the position of the Established Church of the country with regard to this question. As I have already said, I feel that, as far as I am concerned, this is a matter of personal duty; and if I were to adopt the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester, I should feel that the next step which it would be incumbent upon me to take would be the rather difficult one of making application for the Chiltern Hundreds, that I might either exclude myself from Parliament or seek the suffrages of some other constituency. I hold the relative position of the Church and of the University of Oxford to be this—that while the Church is in the position of a national establishment, so long as the people of this country insist on a connection being maintained between religion and education, so long the Church is entitled to expect that the interests of the University—that the discipline of the University—that the government of the University—shall be moulded in conformity with the principles of religion, and with the principles of religion in that specific form in which they are held and taught by the Church of England. I would not go so far as to say that it appears to me a line ought to be drawn between admission to the University itself and admission to the endowments of the University. If a line were drawn at all, it ought, perhaps, to exclude those endowments that are connected with the government of the University. But with reference to the other classes of endowments, such as exhibitions and bursaries—endowments that do not partake of any connection with the government of the University—I would place them on the same level with access to the University itself; for it appears to me to be most desirable that, in making this change, we should be careful not to leave this great institution under the imputation of indulging in such a sordid advantage as that of a pecuniary monopoly. Having said thus much, Sir, upon the claims of the Church—having said that I do not think the claims of the Dissenters are satisfied or put an end to by the fact that another University has been founded, to which they have free access if they want a liberal system of education—I have next to consider what practically we can do, or enable others to do, compatibly with the fair and legitimate claims of the Church of England with respect to the admission of Dissenters to the University of Oxford. I may remind the House, as I proceed, that though hon. Members have spoken much of the claims of Dissenters in this matter, and of the admission of Dissenters to Oxford, as being highly popular in the country, yet there are other parties whose case cannot be separated from theirs, and the mention of whom it would, in my opinion, be in the highest degree dishonest to suppress. Independent of the Dissenters, with respect to whose admission I may state honestly and frankly that I entertain no objection whatever, you have other classes to deal with—I allude to the Roman Catholics. I am sure there must be few Members—if there be any in this House—who are prepared to state that any distinction is to be taken between the title of Dissenters to be admitted to the Universities and the title of Roman Catholics. Whether such a distinction would be popular or not at the present moment in the country, I shall not stop to inquire; but in my opinion it would be a distinction incompatible with justice or even with common decency, and the examination of the question of the admission of Dissenters I consider essentially and necessarily involves the admission to the University of Roman Catholics. Sir, upon this subject I must express my concurrence in the views, as I understand them, which have been stated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary at War. I certainly am not authorised to explain or to put any construction upon his sentiments, but I must say that I think the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) has put an interpretation upon those sentiments much too rigorous and precise. He thinks that my right hon. Friend intended to give in his adherence to the terms of the present Motion. Now I do not understand my right hon. Friend to refer to those terms; but I understood him to say, and I concur with him in the opinion, that, supposing due regard should be taken for the security of the religious teaching and discipline of the Church in the University of Oxford, then I consider there would be great advantage—advantage to Dissenters—advantage to the Church—advantage to the nation—if provision were, and I think it can be, made for the admission of Dissenters to the benefits and advantages of education at the University of Oxford.

I now come to the terms of the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood). He is not satisfied with the general profession on the part of my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) and of the Government, that the Dissenters should have the door set open and clear to them for their admission to the University. He insists that a plan for so admitting them shall be made a part of the present measure. I hope he will consider the peculiar position of the Government with respect to this question. In 1850 my noble Friend, then at the head of the Government, drew a distinction between the question of University reform and the admission of Dissenters to the University. I do not say that my noble Friend then made, or was understood to make, a pledge, that the two questions should always be kept separate. Up to the present time, however, the Government undoubtedly have kept them separate. By doing so, I am free to own we have now the acquiescence, the assent, the warm and intelligent support of many members of the University of Oxford, whose support has enabled us to carry the Bill thus far, modified, it is true, in many particulars, but yet still embracing most of those objects for which it was originally framed; and I do hope my hon. Friend will feel—at least speaking for myself as one deeply interested in the progress of the measure I should feel—that I was making a most unworthy return for that support, were I to assent to a change so vital at the last moment, after the provisions of the Bill have been so thoroughly discussed—now, on the bringing up of the Report, were I to assent to a change so vital, so essential, and so unexpected from all that the Government have hitherto said and done on the subject. That, however, is a matter which I freely admit affects the position of the Government rather than the duty of this House. I at least, as an individual, feel that it would be an ill return for us to make for the support we have hitherto received from Oxford —support which we should never have had unless we had kept separate those two questions, and without which support, I own, I am perfectly satisfied we never should have been able to induce the House to accede to the propositions contained in this Bill. But I would go further, and would press upon my hon. Friend (Mr. Heywood) considerations which are applicable to the House as well as to the Government. My hon. Friend invites us, by his Motion, to defeat the very provisions on which this Bill is founded. The introduction of his clauses into the Bill would be to make them different, I may say discrepant, with every other clause which the Bill at present contains. The Bill is essentially an emancipating Bill; it is to give the University of Oxford something like a liberal and free constitution. What do we do by this Bill? We propose to alter the constitution of the University so far as to require that all properly qualified persons, being graduates of the University, should be allowed, without restriction or stint, to open private houses for the education of the young. But, in effecting this, we only propose to undo what the intervention of the State has already done. It was the intervention of the State that saddled the free University of Oxford with a constitution of which I will not say that the working was dishonest, but it certainly was to give the University the character of an oligarchical constitution. The result of that act of the State was to absorb the whole of the University in the colleges, and completely to destroy the extra-collegiate element. So far as we have proceeded, our interference is to give the University a free constitution, and that no absolute compulsion shall be maintained to preserve the collegiate monopoly. All the rest we leave to the University itself. Everything that regards its prosperity and its government we leave to the undisputed and unlimited charge of the governing body.

Some hon. Members may be inclined to say, "That is all just, but this question of admitting Dissenters ought to be made an exception." But, I ask, is that a wise—is it a practicable—proposition? Is it, in the first place, a simple or an easy matter to provide by coercion for the admission of Dissenters to the University? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester says, "If you arc friendly to the admission of Dissenters, the best way of showing it is to vote for this Motion." That proposition may be very clear to the right hon. Gentleman; but it is far from being evident to my own mind; and I think it is far from being what is called a self-evident proposition. I venture to say, on the other hand, that as a practicable proposition the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for North Lancashire would not secure the admission of Dissenters to the University of Oxford at all. I do not now enter upon the question of subscription as affecting the members of the Church of England—the real question touches the admission of Dissenters to the Universities; and I say that, so far as they are concerned, the terms of the hon. Gentleman's Motion would not admit Dissenters to the University. What does it signify that you seem to open a door for the admission of Dissenters, if, when it is opened, you find a Cerberus that stands ready to devour the man when he enters? The hon. Gentleman argues as if there was nothing in the world but the matriculation test which interferes with the admission of Dissenters. I thought the contrary would have been within the hon. Gentleman's own knowledge. I thought that, even from his residence at Cambridge, he would have been aware that persons can be effectually excluded whenever it is desired, without having resort to the matriculation test at all. The fact has been stated to me that it was desired by a gentleman to send a person in whom he was interested to one of the Universities of this country. The person was a Roman Catholic. The gentleman made inquiries what would be his position if he was sent to Cambridge, and he was told that the young gentleman would be expected to attend chapel regularly. I believe—but I cannot pledge my own personal knowledge to the fact—that this inquiry was addressed to all the colleges in Cambridge, and the answer from all was the same, that in all the colleges and halls of Cambridge he would be expected to be a constant attendant at chapel. The hon. Member himself is evidently not surprised at this, because it was within his own knowledge that this exclusion could be practised at Cambridge. What is the use, then, of resorting to a legislative proposition, of resorting to legislative violence, to effect the admission of Dissenters, if, after having recourse to this violence—this breaking down of the system of self-government—you find that after all you have enacted a law which is inefficient for its purpose? I put it to my hon. friend whether, seeing that, even if his clause passes, he would still be indebted to the good-will of the governing body of the University of Oxford for the admission of Dissenters, whether it would not be the better and the wiser course to trust to that free-will and generous feeling in the first instance, and see what it will produce, rather than him the authority of Parliament to bear upon the point, and expose that authority to contempt, by engaging it in a contest in which it is sure to be worsted. I know that this question does not now present itself for the first time to the mind of the hon. Gentleman. He must himself own that those whom he admits by the force of a Parliamentary en- actment would find their admission neutralised by being put under the rigid and stringent rules of attending the religious services of the Church of England. Why does the hon. Member not attempt to cure that? Because it is obvious that with every fresh step of this coercive legislation that you take, you increase the difficulties of your position. Is the hon. Member prepared to prohibit compulsory attendance at chapel? That would certainly cure the evil so far. But I think my hon. Friend is not prepared for such a strong measure as that proposition would involve. Whether he is or is not so prepared, I think his powers of calculation and his Parliamentary knowledge are sufficient to assure him that he has not the slightest chance of inducing this House to adopt it. Then he says that, though he would not interfere with the compulsory attendance at chapel with regard to under-graduate members generally, yet that Dissenters should be exempted. Here we stumble upon an other difficulty. We know from the debate of yesterday, and from many other sources, that there is the strongest objection felt by this House to Dissenters being marked out from the rest of the community—to their going about, as it is called, "ticketed on their backs." The hon. Gentleman is not prepared to exempt Dissenters; the consequence is, that he has left the clause a futile and inoperative clause. After all, this is not the only difficulty, for, with regard to lectures, the hon. Member knows perfectly well that every under graduate is required to undergo; a special religious training in the Articles of the Church of England, as well as in the Gospels, in the Old Testament, and in the evidences of religion. My hon. Friend does not propose that that examination shall be stopped, neither does he provide that Dissenters shall be exempted from it, because here again we encounter the old difficulty in drawing a distinction between Dissenters and the members of the Church of England. The examination for degrees is precisely the same case in an other form. My hon. Friend thinks that he has attained his point by saying that there shall not be a religious test before the taking of degrees. He knows very well that the taking of degrees is accompanied by certain forms and services of a religious nature; and I have no doubt he feels that it would be unseemly and indecorous to have an examination for degrees without some religious service, and there- fore he does not venture to strip the taking of a degree from its religious appurtenances, neither does he venture to exempt Dissenters.

Now, I hope I have made it intelligible to the House why I dwelt so long upon the importance of leaving this matter to the discretion of the University. It would be a perfectly easy thing with willing parties to draw such distinctions and to make such adjustments as would admit Dissenters. My belief is, that it would be entirely within the power of the University and of the colleges, by judicious regulations, so to adjust the system of discipline and teaching as to admit Dissenters to-day without insulting them to-morrow, which would be the only consequence resulting from the clause of my hon. Friend. We have often heard the same difficulty discussed with reference to schools. Is it not well known to all—is it not patent to all who are practically conversant with education—that, notwithstanding all the theoretical divisions on the subject of mixing the religious element in common education, yet that in practice, where the desire for conciliation exists, those theoretical difficulties are found to melt and vanish away? If the difficulty with regard to the admission of Dissenters can be met and arranged—and I firmly believe that it can—it can only be by the action of the University itself. It is only by the adjustment of difficulties which arise out of a system of religious instruction offered in a special form that the admission of persons of various creeds can be obtained. You may possibly hope to succeed in accomplishing this task. But I must again remind you that it would be unworthy of this House to pass a measure by which Dissenters may be able to creep into the University while Roman Catholics remain excluded. It would be unworthy of this House to say, "Look here; we have passed a large measure of religious liberty," while the law is altogether inoperative with regard to those who consider themselves to bear a special relation to the founders of our colleges. If you think that the Dissenters may reconcile it to their consciences to attend chapel, do you think that the Roman Catholics will do so? No; and therefore I say that, if ever the time should come when it is necessary for Parliament to interfere, I trust they will do it honestly—I trust they will do it explicitly—I trust they will do it thoroughly, The question now before us is, in my opinion—I do not say that it is not an honest measure, for I know the honesty of the intentions of my hon. Friend, but do say it is not an explicit measure, and I am certain that it is so far from being a thorough measure that it will be entirely inefficient and useless for the object which my hon. Friend has in view. My right hon. Friend the Secretary at War referred—and I thought with considerable force—to the probable result of my hon. Friend's achievement, supposing him to succeed in inducing this House to adopt his clauses, and to send the Bill with these clauses annexed to the House of Lords. My hon. Friend may say, as the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) has said, "I do not care what the House of Lords may do; the Bill may be lost without regret—we shall get a better Bill next year." But I think the Dissenters of this country would be adopting a language which is new in their history, and which would not redound to their credit, if they were to say, "We are indifferent to the improvement of the University unless we are admitted to share in its advantages." I do not think that that language will be held by them. I think I have heard the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. W. J. Fox), who holds a distinguished position among the Dissenters, hold language of a very different and of a much wiser character; he has expressed great anxiety that good should be done to the University, founding himself on this conviction, that good to the University could never be the means of doing harm to Dissenters; that if the claim of Dissenters were just, it could not but be forwarded by every improvement which took place in the constitution and government of the University. I fear that great mischief will be done it my hon. Friend's Motion is successful—if his clauses are incorporated in this Bill. I do not hesitate to say that, as far as I am acquainted with the University, I gather this information—that while the University has made great progress and gone through many changes with respect to the disposition of its leading members to admit Dissenters, there is yet one principle which is deeply and widely cherished in the University, altogether irrespective of particular opinions on this particular question, and that principle is a love of the independence of the University. I tell my hon. Friend, and I tell him in no unfriendly spirit, that those persons whose minds are the most perfectly open to the consideration of this question—and I trust I have shown the House that they are the only persons to deal with it effectually—they will be driven back from its consideration—they will rally round the other friends of the liberty and independence of the University—they will be driven back from making any serious efforts for the adjustment of this question, if you involve it in an attempt to interfere with the free and unfettered action of the University.

There is only one other point on which I wish to say a word to the House. It may be fairly asked, what is the meaning of this plea of trusting to the action of the University? Do you intend that we are to trust to them for ever? Do you intend that if, after all, the University should be unable or unwilling to act, Parliament is perpetually to hold its hand? I may be allowed to say in answer, that while nothing in the shape of menace would be expedient—and if menace would not be expedient in others, I may be allowed to say, considering the position in which I stand as representative of the University of Oxford, that it would hardly be decorous in me—yet I have no intention of holding any such doctrine as to say that Parliament is to hold its hand for ever, and to allow matters to remain as they are for an indefinite period. It would doubtless be a hard and sore choice, indeed, if we were told to choose between the breaking down the principle of religious education on the one hand and the admission of Dissenters to the University on the other. But I do not believe that we are reduced to that alternative. My belief is, that there is a solution of the question which involves neither the one difficulty nor the other. My hon. Friend has not found that solution. I believe the only persons who can find it are the persons who are responsible for the management of the affairs of the University. It may be I all very well for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) to come forward and say, "Don't let us be intimidated by the House of Lords. What would have come of all the good measures if we had waited till the House of Lords had come up to the standard of those measures?" Sir, I do not think that it was by violence or by overawing the House of Lords that the good measures of the last twenty years have been carried. I believe that it was by the judicious forbearance of this House, by its good feeling, by its watching times and seasons, by its sedulous attention to every opportunity that prudence dictated. It was in this way, and not by violence, that those measures were carried. I certainly think that the greatest mischief will result if these clauses are incorporated in the Bill. You may say, though the Bill is rejected now, we shall get a better measure next year. I don't think, Sir, if this Bill is rejected, that you will get another Bill next year, or the year after that; I don't think this House has the time to afford, year after year, for a measure of this kind, which it has so generously afforded this year. But the mischief will not stop there. It will alienate the minds of many members in the University who might have been disposed to forward this object. You will in the first place, and needlessly, do the mischief of applying the strong hand of centralising power to override the local academical rights of the University of Oxford; and, in the second place, you will find that this wanton exercise of power is also an imprudent and a useless exercise of power, and that after you have brandished the whip in the face of the University, you must still depend upon its good-will; because your enactment, unless by the good-will of a free University, will be useless for the purposes which you have in view.


in explanation, said, he must state that he had brought this question forward on account both of Churchmen and Dissenters; and with regard to the chapel question and other details, he had consented to postpone the discussion until the Report, upon the clear understanding that, if the Motion were carried, the Bill should be recommitted for the purpose of having the necessary alterations made in it.


said, two members of the Cabinet had spoken upon this question, and the House had obtained from them all the information respecting the intentions of the Government which it was now likely to receive. And he must say that the course they had taken in reference to the question was precisely that which might have been expected from the manner in which, during the present Session, they had dealt with almost every question of principle, and especially with every question of religious principle, that had come under the consideration of the House. They had not accepted the responsibility of opposing the present proposition upon any broad or intelligible grounds. They only accepted the responsibility of evading the hostility and encountering the opposition which they were aware they must meet with if they were to accede to the Motion. Such a result might be convenient to them as a Government, but to the country the issue would, he thought, be unfortunate. The question might be suspended, but it would be assuredly renewed; and the result would afford another, and he must say a most superfluous, instance of the policy of that indefinite delay which seemed to be the only definite policy of Gentlemen opposite. The House had been told that if this clause were to pass, and to be incorporated into the Bill, the measure would not be suffered to pass elsewhere. Now, he did not know what peculiar knowledge, or what peculiar sources of information the Government possessed to enable them to decide that question; but, for his part, he was by no means so certain that the Bill would not pass through both Houses of Parliament. There were some Members of the House of Commons, some Members of a Liberal Government, who ought to feel extremely indebted to the House of Lords; for whenever a pledge was to be abandoned, a measure withdrawn, or a Motion indefinitely postponed, there was no more convenient excuse than to say that, although it would most undoubtedly obtain the sanction of the House of Commons, that sanction would be perfectly useless, because the measure would not be accepted in another place. The next argument that had been used by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, certainly struck him (Lord Stanley) as being one of rather a strange character to come from such a quarter. It was, in fact, but a repetition, with some modification, of that previously used by his Colleague, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War. "Respect," said he, "the independence of the University, and do not attempt to dictate to the University." This sounded very much like the echo of that which lie (Lord Stanley) had heard four years ago from the Opposition side of the House; and four years ago he could readily understand the argument, and should have acceded to it, that it was right to respect the independence of the University, and not attempt any Parliamentary dictation to it. But they were at this very moment attempting by Parliamentary authority to frame a new constitution for the University. The case was altered. "Do not," it was added, "distrust the governing body." Well, he did not distrust the new governing body; he neither trusted nor distrusted it; he knew nothing of what its working would be; but he must say this, that the Parliamen- tary authority which was sufficient to frame a new constitution for the University, and to change the depositaries of power, had also the right—and it ought not to be deterred by any fastidious notions from exercising it—to give to that governing body such general directions as it deemed right in order to guide its conclusions. He was not, however, for a single moment, contending that it would be wise or expedient for the House of Commons to take upon itself the management of the academical affairs of the University; no course could be more unwise or more inconvenient both to Parliament and the University; and this argument told rather for than against his case, because it relieved him from the necessity of replying to the objections—some of large importance, but others of most minute detail—which had been raised by the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) and the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Heathcote) the two Members for the University. He did not think it would be wise or well for Parliament to interfere with the details of academical affairs. But the present question was not one of detail; it was a large and general question of principle; it was one of those questions of national interest and importance which, if you admitted, and it had been admitted, that Parliament possessed any power at all over the University, could not in fairness and in common sense be avoided. Then they were told that if these clauses were embodied into the Bill, and they became law, they would be nugatory, because it would still be in the power of the University to refuse admission to Dissenters. He (Lord Stanley) had not the slightest doubt that if there was a general agreement in opinion adverse to the present Motion among those who had the principal conduct of affairs in the government of the University, it would be in their power to throw every species of obstacle in the way of carrying out the Resolution, and of preventing it from having practical effect: but he contended that, though technically it would be possible for the University to interpose such obstacles to the working of the Resolution as would render it practically inoperative, the expression of the national will, and of the national opinion, contained in a deliberate and formal Resolution of the House of Commons, would convey to the governing body an indication of public feeling which he suspected they would not think it safe, or wise, or expedient to quarrel with. Then they were told that the University, if only left alone, was quite ready to undertake this species of reform—the admission of Nonconformists—upon its own account. Now, he must say that this assurance was a little inconsistent with the long catalogue of minute objections which the right hon. Gentleman had thrown in the way of the present proposition. For example, he said it was the most difficult thing in the world to make a way by which Nonconformists should be admitted practically to the University; and then, as if forgetful of that argument, he told the House that the University, or a large portion of it, was quite willing to make this reform, but if its independence were not respected, its friendship would be turned into hostility. He (Lord Stanley) certainly entertained no unfriendly spirit towards the University of Oxford. He believed there was a desire for reform in Oxford as well as in Cambridge. He believed that in many matters the Universities were perfectly ready to accept large and important changes without being coerced into them, and without receiving admonitions from Parliament; but, in his opinion, the question of the admission of Nonconformists was just one of those questions with which there would be the greatest difficulty in dealing if it were left barely to the will and discretion of the University. It would have in that case to be decided upon by an assembly composed exclusively of members of the Church of England, and composed, too, in a very large degree, of the clergy of the Church of England. He did not like to refer to the state of parties and opinions in particular places; still he could not forget, for the fact was notorious, that the University with which it was now proposed to deal was, as it were, the head-quarters of that party in ecclesiastical matters which had invariably looked with the greatest disfavour upon the Protestant Dissenting interests, and which had shown the least possible wish to admit the claims which that interest might have. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University ought to be a good authority upon that matter; and he had given the House one practical him, which ought not to be lost sight of. He went into a statement of the difficulties which would attend the working of this proposal; and among other things he said it would make it very difficult to establish there a system of Dissenting professorships. Why? Because, he said, there would be such a feeling of antagonism be- tween one interest and another, that the heads of existing colleges would be very reluctant to allow their pupils to attend the lectures of Dissenting professors. That might or might not be the case; it was a matter of which he (Lord Stanley) could only judge by report; but the hon. Baronet was certainly good authority upon the subject: and, if this were to be the case, if this was the feeling to be displayed by the University, and by the persons intrusted with authority in it, what became of the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that if the University was only let alone, and Parliament did not interfere, Nonconformists would be admitted by the University? With regard to the first clause, he confessed that few persons who had received their education at Cambridge would be inclined to entertain any great difference of opinion as to the propriety of adopting it. Some tests and declarations might be necessary at some time, but if there was a time and occasion when it was more necessary than another to pass them by, it was when the opinion and judgment of the parties were necessarily unformed. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred a man, in his profession of faith, followed that which his parents had held before him; but suppose, and it was no impossible case, a young man came to the University, and upon being asked to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, or to subscribe himself a member of the Church of England, implying assent to those Articles, he said, "I have been educated in the opinions of the Church of England, but here is a mass of very complicated propositions, propositions upon the meaning of which many learned persons are not agreed, and I confess I should like some time to make up my mind, I should like to have some little time for reflection, some opportunity of studying this subject, before I commit myself to an opinion upon them." And he had some right to ask this, because the argument of those who were most strenuous for maintaining the continuance of tests rested upon this basis, that the University of Oxford was a school of theology. if it were a school of theology, there was an end to the proposition; but what an inversion it was of ordinary theological processes to tell a man that he must arrive at certain conclusions in the first instance, and that when he had done so, and pledged himself to them—perhaps not irrevocably, but no man wished to revoke a pledge of that kind—he had to find out, with all the assistance the University could give him, what were the arguments upon which those conclusions were based. having declared himself a member of the Church of England, he must also declare whether he intended to remain one or not. He thought that the argument which was so prominently put forward, that the University of Oxford was intended as a school of theology, was to his mind just the strongest reason why those who came to study it should not be asked to give pledges upon unformed opinions. He had only a few more words to say. The second clause had undoubtedly a wider scope than the first; it was a proposition of much wider import, and one for which no precedent was to be found in the present state of the University of Oxford; but, although there were many objections against it, he believed it involved a principle to which the House ought to give its assent. The one topic most touched upon by those who opposed the admission of Nonconformists to the University was the difficulty of giving a united religious education in an University admitting members of all opinions. If you were to centralise education, and to merge theology in the University, then you would find these difficulties—first, the impossibility, for such it was, of giving an united religious education; and secondly, the strong objection to giving an education not religious; and these difficulties would meet you everywhere, till they became almost insuperable. He did not see how, unless you made a tabula rasa of the whole arrangements of the University, it would be possible to admit persons not members of the Church of England to hold offices in the various colleges. He believed it would be found necessary to retain those colleges, as they now were, in exclusive connection with the Church of England. He had come to this conclusion with some regret; but he believed the difficulty of dealing with them in any other manner could not be obtained. There was nothing, however, except the one single case of degrees in divinity—there was really no difficulty in the constitution of the University—which should render the admission of Non- conformists impossible. He believed that, without any material difficulty, without any difficulty that should stand in the way of such a reform as this, it might be effected by retaining the colleges for the exclusive use of members of the Church of England, and opening the University to members of all sects. This of course got rid of the difficulty about religious worship, because students attended the services, not of the University, but of their own colleges. In conclusion, he would only say that he was glad the subject had been brought before the attention of the House. His own convictions of it were clear and strong, and he hoped the House would not, by leaving it unsettled for an indefinite period, shrink from the responsibility which devolved upon it, of settling the question now.


said, that though he had the honour of sitting on the same side of the House as the noble Lord who had just addressed them, yet he had looked upon the sentiments of the noble Lord on questions of this description with distrust ever since he had read his pamphlet on church rates. The doctrines which the noble Lord had propounded tended, in his (Mr. Wigram's) opinion, to the subversion of the Church of England. The noble Lord, however, though he had made an able speech, had not applied himself to the real difficulties of dealing with this question as they were put by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had not considered the consequences of the Resolution not only upon the Church of England, but upon Protestant Dissenters generally, nor had he discussed the strongest point of all, the teaching of religious principle. How were they to deal with this last question? Was there to be one religion taught in the University, or a multitude? To teach many religions in one University would be teaching nothing less than infidelity. The difficulties which would be produced would, he felt persuaded, be found very great, and, in the first place, directly they admitted the principle of trying to accommodate everybody's religion, they would say that the matter of religious instruction was one of no importance at all. These were the difficulties which encumbered the question; and he contended that no solution had yet been offered. With regard to Cambridge, it was the system there, and no doubt there was a similar disposition at Oxford, to promote the attendance of students of all sects at the University lectures. But what had been the consequence at Cambridge? Why, that only those Dissenters were received who were content to receive the religious instruction offered, and who conformed to the discipline of the University as respected attendance upon religious services. The University did not sacrifice the great principle of requiring religious instruction, and he certainly could not but entirely dissent from those who spoke with disrespect of compulsory attendance upon religious instruction. There could be no more real objection to this compulsory attendance than to the attendance of a family upon religious worship. The cases were exactly analogous. Although Cambridge wished to possess as many Dissenters as possible, the result had been that their attendance was not very large, and he did not believe that any system would thoroughly succeed in inducing them to come so long as the discipline of religious instruction in connection with the Established Church was kept up. He thought, therefore, that the Government had acted wisely in leaving this question to the University. He could not understand why the Universities should be the only corporate bodies in the country whose independence should not be respected.


I think the House will allow me to say a few words on this question with respect to the position of the Catholics in regard to it; and I am happy to find myself in a position in which, although religious interests are involved, I am able to give a perfectly impartial vote. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Gladstone) has spoken as if the peculiar position of the Catholics caused a peculiar difficulty in the statement of the question. So far as I am concerned—and I have no right to speak for any other Catholic gentleman—so far as I know the opinions of the Catholics of this country, there is no wish whatever—certainly I have no wish whatever—to give my vote in favour of the Resolution with any idea of Catholics taking advantage of the alteration of the law which is proposed. If the door is to be opened to Catholics and Dissenters, I should be glad (so far as Catholics are concerned) to find that behind the door there is that Cerberus to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded: for I believe it would be extremely injurious to Catholic interests, for which alone I speak on this occasion, if Catholics were to take advantage of any such right of admission to the University of Oxford, as by this Resolution it is proposed to offer. Sir, I perfectly agree with those who say that the Church of England has a right to have a system of religious education for her children, whether clerical or lay, and I should never desire to interfere with that right of the Church of England which I claim for the Catholics of this empire. But, Sir, the whole cause of the Church of England has been surrendered by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) by his argument on this occasion. The right hon. Gentleman admits that there is a right on the part of Dissenters, and that the present law does them injustice. He admits that they have a claim to enjoy some benefit from the funds which the colleges and University of Oxford hold in trust for the nation. He admits that the present law denies to the Dissenters of England right and justice; but he says that there is a remedy for the wrong: and what is that remedy? He has not told us—he has not even intimated to us—nor do any of his statements show that any remedy is to be looked for from the course which he would have the House to adopt on this occasion. He says that the only hope of remedy is from the good-will of the University, under the new governing body the Bill proposes to establish. But he holds out no hope, nor any reason to hope—he states no facts nor arguments, nor lays before us any considerations, to induce us to hope that the new governing body of the University will adopt any different course from that which the old governing body of the University has adopted on this question; and he throws us, therefore, back on that which the hon. Member who moved this Resolution wishes us to resort to in the first instance—the authority of Parliament. Ultimately, it would appear, even from what the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) said, that you must come to the authority of Parliament for redress. He admits the justice of the demand; he says it must ultimately be conceded. If he had any reason to hope that the University would make the concession the Dissenters demand, he would not have failed to assign his reasons for entertaining that hope; but, having stated no reasons for such an expectation, having shown no ground for it, he certainly has no claim to the vote of any Member on the supposition that if legislative interposition be delayed any longer, a change will take place in the action of the University, by which the remedy he admits to be necessary will be conceded, and the wrong he acknowledges will be redressed. Sir, although unwilling to delay the House, I think I have some claim to state the position of the Catholics as to this question. The position they hold upon it is this. They believe that it is necessary to have a religious education for Catholics, and they wish to establish, and are about establishing, a University of their own. They make no demand on the University of Oxford. There is no wish on the part of the Catholics of Ireland or England that any demand should be made on their behalf. But they know that on the part of the nation at large there is a right to the benefit of the funds of the University for national education, so far as they can be properly applied for the benefit of others than those of the Church of England. And if the Dissenters, entertaining different views from the Catholics, wish to participate in the benefit of those funds; if they see no difficulty, according to their religious views and opinions, in participating in the education which is afforded at Oxford; and if it is possible to have arrangements made—as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer admits is possible—to allow them fairly the advantage of those educational endowments, then, although I, on the part of the Catholics, make no claim whatever, and should consider the practical enforcement of such a claim as the greatest disaster that could befall the Catholic community, I claim it as a matter of right for those who do not entertain the same opinion, and I insist upon it for those whose claim is practically admitted by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), and I hope that the House will show that it is the intention of Parliament to enforce that just and reasonable claim.


said, he had not heard from any quarter or from any hon. Member any reason why it was morally or intellectually necessary to sign the Thirty-nine Articles as the commencement of the educational course at Oxford. But it was incumbent upon those who supported the continuance of the present system to establish this necessity. What, he asked, was the good of this operation, which all young men were called upon to perform? Where was its wisdom as an educational matter? Some good arising from it ought at least to be pointed out. A young man of sixteen or eighteen signed a vast body of divinity which, though it was compressed into the form of Thirty-nine Articles, contained between 400 and 500 distinct propositions, many of which related to the most abstruse and mysterious subjects— propositions which have been matters of debate for a long succession of centuries, which had been debated by the wisest and the most learned men, and about which pious and godly men had ranged themselves upon different sides; and, he asked, what could be the good, intellectually or morally, of requiring a youth just commencing his education to subscribe to them? He must do it negligently, indifferently, or hypocritically. There was no other alternative. It was scarcely possible that a young man should be able to decide upon points of this description. Suppose he signed them; what was the probable consequence? Why, that that which he signed in ignorance he might be driven from by sophistry. By the very process of calling upon him to pledge himself to certain opinions, he was laid open to the attacks of the first objector he might meet with, and thus his faith would be more liable to be shaken than confirmed by the operation. Suppose he signed the Articies indifferently; did they wish that their religious training in the Universities should be commenced with a practical lesson on the value of indifference to all religions? Why, he was reading the other day of a gallant colonel, formerly a Member of that House, who said that he had subscribed the Articles without knowing it. He was told that he had signed, and when he asked when and where, the answer was, "Why, don't you remember a man brining you a book to sign, and asking you for 13s. 4d.?" It was by no means a good introduction to a course of "religious training" that a young man should be taught to regard such a form as a mere ceremony, which might be gone through in this careless way. Did they wish the course of education should be commenced in hypocrisy? If the young man did not coincide exactly with all the propositions set before him, to what course was he driven? Why, unwilling to relinquish his position or prospects, he equivocated in his own mind—he took the first lesson in casuistry, which soon became Jesuitism, and he assented to words about which he cared nothing in his honest thoughts. Was this a proper training for a young man? Was this a fit commencement of education for those who were to be the future administrators of the law and the future teachers of the people of this country? When he said that these were complicated and inexpedient propositions to place before a young man, he thought thus far coincidently with the Church of England, that in no other case did that Church impose any such shackles on its laity; as to what it might require of its clergy that was a different case. There were thousands who attended the services of the Church of England, and who did so with the perfect acquiescence of the ministers of their respective parishes, who would on no account affix their signatures to the Thirty-nine Articles. In fact, the Church of England gave more freedom of speech and action to its lay members than did many of the Dissenting bodies to theirs, yet to require this signature from students entering the University was to announce to the youth of the community that if they wished to enjoy the benefits of a University education, they must renounce the common privileges and general religious liberty of the laymen of the Church of England. He might remind them that from time to time the clergy also expressed their desire to be released from this yoke, through the medium of petitions to that House, and it was not many years since a Bishop in the other House declared that he had never known a single clergyman who believed every iota of the Thirty-nine Articles. That statement of Edward Stanley, the late Bishop of Norwich, was no hasty assertion made in the heat of debate. The right rev. Prelate published his statement afterwards, affixed notes to it, and with this reiterated declaration, that it was impossible any person could believe the whole of them, because some portions were in direct contradiction with others. Now, if such were the opinions of a Bishop of the Church, he asked, was it right to ask young laymen to sign so solemn and multifarious a declaration? Dissenters in Cambridge were not subjected to the test, but they were not allowed to take honours, which seemed an ill-judged and a churlish exclusion. It was objected that the religious customs and views of Dissenters would not harmonise with those which they would find prevailing at Oxford; but the great mass of Dissenters from the Church had no such objection to its services as would prevent their attendance in the college chapels. The University of London made no religious provision for its students, yet Dissenters sent their children there, and took measures for their religious instruction whilst there, and the means which they took in London they might with equal facility adopt at Oxford. He perceived great disadvantage in fettering the mind of a young man at the beginning of his course of educational training on such a number of important subjects. Oxford might be regarded as the conservator of religious opinions and doctrines, and a young man would find himself breathing an atmo- sphere impregnated with this spirit, which he could not avoid imbibing; but to fulfil its functions adequately, and make itself a complete representative of the national mind, there was something else it must attend to—progress as well as conservation. But it was argued that these tests ought to be kept up in consequence of the will of the founders. The will of the founders! Why, most of those founders were most anxious that masses should be said for the repose of their souls—that the faithful should pray for them. But was this done? Nay, it was now held to be a heresy to do so. They could not from their graves recall the money power they had given—their opinions now found no response there, their request no heed. The only practical result of this proposed devotion to the wills of founders would be that the heads of houses should forthwith form themselves into an assembly, and lay their keys at the feet of Cardinal Wiseman. Nor could it be pretended that the faith now inculcated in the University was that of the majority of the people of this country; that had been of late demonstrated by that language of figures which could not falsify or deceive. There had been no period in this country since the Reformation at which there was anything like unanimity of religions faith. He asked, therefore, on what ground the University of Oxford could possibly resist the decided opinion of the majority of that House, that its gates should be thrown open? Not certainly on the ground of subscription to the Articles, nor on that of conformity to the will of the founders, nor on that of having already communicated the advantages of their institution to the great majority of the community. In fact, the only pretence on which they could rest their opposition, was that well-known one, For why? Because the good old rule Sufficeth them; the simple plan That they should take who have the power, And they should keep who can. The supporters of the Motion asked for a better, a more liberal and comprehensive system, in the names of this country, so many of whom were debarred from the advantages of the academical system, and for the sake of that cause of literature and learning which had suffered from its exclusiveness. They asked it as a right; they did not want to come in by the back door, nor were they disposed to wait for that lingering acquiescence which some might expect from the University authorities, who, if they had not regarded the deliberate decision of that House, given twenty years ago, would scarcely regard the modified expression of opinion which seemed likely to be the result of this debate. They asked for it on grounds calculated to raise the University in the estimation of the world, for certainly it could not be said to have attained that high degree of fame and pre-eminence in learning which it ought to have in order to accord with the position and reputation of this great empire. They demanded not only the admission of Dissenters to the University, they demanded also the admission of the spirit of nationality and of that great distinctive principle of Protestantism—the right of private judgment in matters of religion.


said, that the hon. Member who had last addressed the House had stated that in his opinion the question under their notice was one to which the old rule was applicable— That they should take who have the power, And they should keep who can. Now, if the hon. Member had not set him the example, he might have thought it uncourteous to have made that quotation with reference to those to whom it might apply. But as the hon. Gentleman had so stated the question, he would appeal to the candour of the House to consider upon what side, upon that occasion, were those who would "take," and upon what side those who would "keep." Those who would "take" were the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who had come forward to claim that an existing institution should be destroyed—an institution which answered highly important purposes to those who were in possession of it; while those who would "keep" were the persons who said, "Whatever we can do to improve that institution consistently with the maintenance of it, in the promotion of its existing uses and purposes, we shall willingly endeavour to effect; but for the sake of those uses we assert that we shall defend that which we consider to be our right—that institution of which we are now in the enjoyment, and which we have so long possessed." If he thought the question before them was one which related to the withholding of some right unjustly from the Dissenters—if he believed it to be a question of the removal of penalties and disabilities which still existed in their case—if it were a question of religious liberty, the progress of which was retarded, or of civil rights which were denied—he trusted that he should be among the last to refuse his concurrence to any measure intended for the removal of such grievances. If that were the view he took of the subject before them, he should undoubtedly be disposed to coincide in the opinions which had been put forward by the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) and the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), and to say with them that it would be better at once to come to a decision upon a principle upon which some day or another it was their intention to legislate. But the question before them was not one of a right withheld from, or of a civil penalty or disability inflicted upon, the Dissenters—it was not a mere question of how far, consistently with the maintenance of those public purposes which it had hitherto answered in connection with religion, Dissenters could be admitted to the University of Oxford; still less was it a question of how far it might be expedient to maintain the particular test of subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. The question, indeed, was one of a totally different character—one which, without entering into the consideration that ulterior legislation with respect to it must, as always in the case of every public institution, be vested in the House of Commons, might properly be remitted to the decision of the University itself. Now, while upon that point, he should endeavour to answer a question which had teen put by the hon. Member who had just sat down, in the course of a speech of great power and ability—namely, what were the Universities of this country? Now he would ask, what did we mean when we called those Universities national institutions? For in the words "national institution" be thought there lurked a fallacy, upon which a claim of right to admission to the Universities was urged upon the one side, and resisted on the other. He could not answer the question, "What are the Universities?" except by referring to their history, both past and present. What was their past history? Why, from a period of the remotest antiquity—tradition said from the reign of King Alfred—the University of Oxford had always been a great public school for religious education in connection with and upon the principles of the Established Church for the time being. He said for the time being, because the University had always followed the fortunes and changes of the Church; and it had always maintained that specific and dis- tinctive character. It had been national because the Established Church was national, and had ever been so, and because it had ever been actually, historically, and practically connected with that Church. The Universities, from their very origin, had existed as well for the promotion of religion as for the spread of education. There was no period in our history in which Dissenters had been in the enjoyment of any rights or privileges in connection with these institutions. To say, therefore, that to keep up a state of things which had hitherto prevailed, was to take from the Dissenters something to which they were entitled, was simply to beg the whole question upon which the House of Commons was called upon that night to determine. Now, passing from the Historical character of the University of Oxford in ancient times, he must proceed to ask how it had fulfilled its mission? Whence had its endowments been derived? The endowments of the University, properly so called, were small indeed. Its main endowment arose from the profits which were derived from the monopoly which it enjoyed of printing the English translation of the Bible—a monopoly which had been conferred upon the University expressly in consequence of its connection with the Established Church and its ecclesiastical functions and character. That constituted the main source of emolument in the case of the University as distinct from the colleges. Whence, then, he would ask, were the college endowments derived? They were derived, not from a grant made by the State, but from donations and bequests sanctioned by the law; and which, in almost every instance, had emanated from the liberality of some great ecclesiastic who belonged to the Church of England as established by law for the time being. Now, whatever their mode of dealing with the question before them might be, it was perfectly evident that the Church, as well as the nation, had been subjected to considerable changes under the operation of historical causes, but that neither lost its historic identity in consequence of those changes. The argument upon which his opinions with reference to the case before them were based would be equally applicable if it should be thought by the Legislature expedient to abolish the Church of England altogether, and to set up another on its ruins, constituted out of a mixture of the doctrines maintained by the various dissenting bodies, in its stead. The endowments which of right belonged to the Established Church, and which were granted for the promotion of a system of education in connection with that Church, would, of course, be transferred by the change; and the doctrines which should be established instead of those of the Church of England would be upheld by the possession of all the parochial tithes and of all the other rights of property which now belonged to the Established Church. Among those rights would, of course, be included the endowments with which that Church were connected by law. To such a change, of course, it could not be denied that the Established Church was liable. But be that as it might, the principle that the Universities should be connected with the Established Church for the time being still remains untouched. In the reign of Elizabeth they would find that principle asserted. The laws by which the Statutes of the Universities had then been confirmed set forth that it was "not for good only, but for godly learning." that the Universities were to be maintained, and the office which those institutions had, ever since that period, fulfilled towards the Church, had been that of furnishing a system of education in accordance with its doctrines. From the Universities had sprung all the great lights by which the Church of England had been adorned in religion, in virtue, or in learning, and to those institutions resorted all her clergy to receive, under the system of instruction prevailing within her walls, the true conception of that mission which they were called upon to fulfil. Now to tell him that the University of Oxford was an institution—national because it had been a means of contributing to the nation's honour and the nation's glory—national because it was connected with the Church of England—was not an institution in which members of the Established Church had important vested interests, would be, he thought, to contradict a proposition which was too self-evident to admit of denial. Then what was the claim of the Dissenters? If the Dissenters meant to say that no institution could be national unless the members of all religious persuasions might enjoy the privileges which it conferred, they must follow out that principle, and either seek the abolition of every institution that did not comply with that condition, or insist upon their being so modi- fied as that that condition should be fulfilled. Well, but if that were the case, what, he should ask, were they prepared to do with the Established Church? He could never separate this question from the maintenance and existence of the Established Church. The Established Church must have its University; and if it were driven from Oxford and Cambridge, it would be driven to establish similar institutions elsewhere. If they were to assent to the admission of Dissenters to Oxford, he believed the effect of the alteration would be, that they would have succeeded in rendering it unfit for members of all religious persuasions, and fit for none; but most undoubtedly it would come to pass that it would no longer be adapted to carry out the objects of the Established Church. The observations which he had just made were directed, not to the large and general question as to how far the admission of Dissenters to the University might be allowed without losing the functions of conscription, but to the larger and more general question, whether Dissenters had the locus standi which, in the course of the debate, it had been contended they possessed—namely, an equal right with the members of the Established Church of admission to every national institution? To that proposition he should altogether demur. That proposition nobody would attempt to apply to the case of the national Church. Many hon. Members, he was ready to admit, would be consistent enough to advocate the abolition of the Established Church; but he hoped that neither upon the one side of the House nor upon the other were they prepared to support a conclusion of that character. If that were so, then the question was one with respect to which it was important that no false step should be made. He had said before, and he should say again, that he disclaimed from the bottom of his heart the existence, so far as he was concerned, of the least particle of feeling of a hostile or even of a bigoted nature against the Dissenters. He had the pleasure of being acquainted with Dissenters, whom he valued as highly as he did any members of the Church of England, and he would not hesitate to state that he should regard it in the light of a positive advantage to have an intercourse facilitated with them in every way which did not interfere with the necessary functions of that Church. But he would not, however, for the sake of carrying into practical effect a feeling of conciliation towards the Dissenters—who, after all, he really believed would derive little or no benefit from the proposed concession—consent to sacrifice an institution which in his conscience he was convinced belonged of right to the Established Church, and the possession of which was absolutely necessary to the maintenance and continued existence of that Church. He laid no stress on the particular form of tests, but on the maintenance of the University in connection with the Church, and he therefore implored the House—especially those Members of it who characterised themselves by the name of Conservatives—to reflect long and deeply before they gave their assent to one false step in connection with the question before them. The arguments which had been put forward by the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) and the hon. Member who had spoken last, with reference to that question, were of a character the most intelligible and undisguised. They had expressed themselves upon the subject with candour and ability. They had stated that they did not seek to obtain admission to the Universities by a back door; that they required, first of all, the right to enter these institutions; then, that degrees should be open to them; that they should be enabled to take a share in their government; and that they should be entitled to their proportion of the college emoluments. The noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) advocated the admission of Dissenters to the Universities, and yet the noble Lord was the son of the Chancellor of the University of Oxford. But the noble Lord had shrunk from the consequences of his own principles. He was willing to admit Dissenters to the University, but not to the enjoyment of the college endowments. Was that the view of the question which was taken by the right hon. Member for Manchester and the hon. Member who had just resumed his seat? No; they were well aware of the length to which the principle of admission of Dissenters would necessarily lead. They said, "if Parliament grant our first principle, you must go the whole way." That such would be the result there could be little doubt. If the right of admission were conceded to the Dissenters, then they should be prepared to grant them degrees, a share in the government of the University, and in the emoluments of the colleges. All college instruction in theology would be got rid of. Those only who wished to be instructed in that particular department of knowledge would receive instruction, and they might enter as much or as little into the study as they pleased, while clerical professors would be expelled altogether from the University. The step which they were asked that evening to sanction, was the first in a career of revolution, and he should call upon them, therefore, to make a stand upon that occasion against the proposition under their consideration, for it was of much more importance than the question debated yesterday—the abolition of church rates. Let them, therefore, under all circumstances, maintain their stedfast adherence to the principles of the Established Church. Having said thus much on the principle, he would say a few words as to the practical distinction between the immediate question before the House and the case of the Universities of Cambridge and Dublin, which it was sometimes supposed to resemble. The immediate question was different from Cambridge in two respects. First, as had been several times said, at Cambridge they applied the test in another way, that the students should come under one condition of conformity, and they did so; and, secondly, they had now established at Oxford what they had not at Cambridge, the system of private halls. Now, whether these private halls could be made subservient to admitting Dissenters without detriment to the University was a serious and important question, which he would not prejudice by anything he might say. But this he would remark, that it was absolutely necessary the subject should be considered in connection with all its bearings and the practical regulations by which they could introduce that change, for if they passed this Resolution, that the subscription should be abolished, he did not see what was to prevent the establishment of Roman Catholic halls or Unitarian balls to-morrow. That would be a different thing from anything known in Cambridge, and it was an important consideration whether they did not require safeguards hitherto unnecessary. At Dublin all residents were obliged to go to chapel. ["No, no!"] He believed he should not be corrected if he said the main portion. ["No, no!"] Well, the Commissioners, at all events, had recommended that it should be so. They recommended that regular attendance should be made a condition of the continuance of students in chambers in the University. But however that might be, hon. Members must be aware that the number of students who resided within the walls of Trinity College, Dublin, was very small; that the great majority of its students were non-resident; and that they lived in their own homes, surrounded by all the restraints and advantages of domestic discipline. It was, in short, quite obvious that the state of things which must prevail in the case of the students at Trinity College, in a great metropolis like Dublin, must be entirely different from that which existed in the case where a large number of students were concentrated in a small city like Oxford, at a distance from home, and freed from all the restraints of domestic discipline. Having made these observations, he did not feel that he was called upon, in the discharge of his duty, to trouble the House at much greater length. He, however, thought they had received an instructive hint from the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) as to the practical effect of carrying out this principle. He said, "If the Roman Catholics feel as I do, they will not go to the University where there is no religious teaching at all, or not Roman Catholic teaching." He ventured to say the same sentiments would be entertained by the great body of Dissenters throughout the country. There might be some moderate Dissenters not unwilling to send their sons to Oxford, but he did not think the body of Dissenters would recognise such a state of things, which left such an ascendancy in the bands of time Church as to make it in tile highest degree probable that the result of going to that University would be to detach their children from the tenets of their own denomination. The result would be one or other alternative—either urging the claim of secular, as against religious instruction, as in the case of national education, or the Dissenters would see that, after all, the concession was of no use to them. If either of those alternatives would follow, it was a good reason why they should not accede to time Resolution, because practically it would not remove the alleged grievance—in other words, it would be destroying the University, its use and value to the nation, and even to the Dissenters themselves; it would be destroying its religious character for the sake of admitting Dissenters to that which was now valuable as a place of religious instruction, and, as had been well said in the course of the debate, it would be depriving them of all those circum- stances which, in their eyes, as well as in the eyes of members of the Established Church, would eventually be found to constitute dissent.


Sir, as the opinions of the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat clown are so very different from those which I entertain, although we may probably be found in the same lobby when we come to divide, I am anxious to distinguish my opinions from those which he has just delivered to the House. There are, as it appears to me, two questions involved in the present debate—one is as to the admission of Dissenters to the University of Oxford, considered as a measure fit to be adopted; the other is, whether, there being a Bill before the house for the better government of the University of Oxford, it is desirable and expedient that such admission, if it is right, should be enacted by one or many of the clauses in that Bill. sow, these questions being quite distinct, I will endeavour to keep them so in the observations that I shall have to address to the House. With respect to the first question, I own I cannot think that any argument which has been urged in this House to-night, or any which I have heard on former occasions, has any conclusive weight against the admission of Dissenters to the University of Oxford. Let us look first to that which has been so often referred to—the main designs of the founders. We must suppose the founders—those, at least, of them who founded colleges in Catholic times—to be in one of two conditions—either we must suppose them to retain the faith and the opinions which they held during their lifetime, or we must suppose that, wishing that the colleges they founded should conform to the opinions of other days—that they would be ready now to entertain the views and opinions which are the prevalent opinions of this day, as they acted according to the prevalent opinions of their own. Upon either of those suppositions can we properly defend the exclusion of Protestant Dissenters? If we take the first case, when such founders were told of the important doctrines of the Catholic Church which were denied by the Church of England; and when they saw the difference between the Church of England and the great majority of Protestant Dissenters, those founders would say, "This first question on which we differ from the Catholic Church is of immeasurably greater importance than any upon which the Church of England and Protestant Dissenters agree, that it is impossible we can assent to the proposition that one class of these heretics shall be admitted, and the other class shall be excluded." They would consider that those who differed on questions of transubstantiation, of the supremacy of the Pope, and upon other matters, differed on questions so important and so affecting the foundation and root of their faith, that they never could admit that persons belonging to the Church of England should be included in the benefits of the foundation. But if we take the other way, and suppose—and I think it a fair supposition to make—that the founders would wish, if they had the whole state of opinion before them, that the colleges and foundations should conform to the opinion of the present day—then, in that case, they would be disposed to conform to the policy of the present day; and that policy is in favour of admission, and against monopoly and exclusion. The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken said the University of Oxford ought to remain connected with the Church of England, that it was so before the Reformation, that it had been so since, and that it ought to remain so now. Why, Sir, with regard to the period since the Reformation, we must consider that the University of Oxford, like many other institutions, partook of that system of exclusiveness—it may have been necessary exclusiveness—which considered the Roman Catholics and the Protestant Dissenters enemies of the State. If you refer to and examine the arguments made at the time of the corporation and test laws—those laws which excluded Roman Catholics you will find that that is at the bottom of the objections to the admission of these two classes, that they were considered hostile to the institutions of the State, and consequently unentitled to the benefit of those institutions, and that therefore they should not be admitted. But is any such opinion held now? Is that the opinion of the present day? On the contrary, in regard to all the offices of the State, with one or two exceptions, the Roman Catholics and the Protestant Dissenters are generally admitted to those offices. And let us see how this applies to the University of Oxford. I think it will be generally agreed that the doctrine of exclusion, the doctrine of monopoly, should not be carried further than is absolutely neces- sary. Now, what is it that is necessary in the University of Oxford? I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman, that with respect to the offices in the Church, with respect to bishops and to persons holding the cure of souls, it is absolutely necessary that those who hold such offices should be persons conforming to the standard of the Church to which they belong. But how much further can we go in this direction? I think if we go so far as this, and say that, as it was enacted by the Act of Uniformity that the heads of colleges—that is, the persons governing the colleges—should be members of the Church of England, and should give religious instruction according to the standard of the Church of England, we should go quite as far as is necessary in that direction. I agree certainly that it is desirable that religious instruction should be given in the University of Oxford. If I am asked what religious instruction should be given, I must revert to opinions which I think were quoted by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote), which opinions I held when the University College, then called the University of London, was founded. That college was founded for persons of different religious opinions. There was a proposal made by some of those who founded it that there should be lectures given on general Christian topics, but that those lectures should be so general and so vague that persons of all Christian denominations could attend them. It was my opinion that it was much better to have no religious instruction at all than to have a professor so qualified. I, therefore, was one of those who, against the opinions of several persons I highly respected, objected to the institution of such professors and fellowships, and I said it was better only to teach classics and sciences than attempt to meddle with religion at all, if we could not be a religious body. I quite agree that the religious instruction to be given at the University of Oxford should be religious instruction according to the doctrines of the Church of England. When I have said so much, I think I have said all to which the rule of exclusiveness should apply; but when I come to others questions—when I come to such a question as was argued by my noble Friend near me the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) in 1834, when he asked if it was necessary that persons should not receive a diploma enabling them to cure fever or perform surgical operations unless they made a profession of faith according to a particular Church—I own it appears to me that regulations might easily be made (if they were willing to make them) by the authorities of the University and by the authorities of the colleges that those persons who belong to families, whether of Protestant Dissenters or Roman Catholics, should receive all that instruction in science, all that instruction in classics, and all that instruction in arts, which persons belonging to the Church of England receive. Why, Sir, this is, after all—I don't care whether it is a national institution or not—this is, after all, a great national object, that if you have a University with a revenue of 150,000l. a year, and have connected with that University men specially qualified to teach, men in the possession of great acquirements in science and learning, it is desirable, as far as possible, that the nation should partake of the benefits of such an institution, and that you should not, by setting up a bar at the very entrance of the University, deprive a great portion of the people of those advantages. Take a young man who is qualified to become a very eminent lawyer, or a very skilful physician. Is it not a great evil and a great grievance that, because that man is the son of a Roman Catholic or a Protestant Dissenter, he should be thereby debarred from the advantages which such a University holds out, and be unable to acquire that learning and skill which would enable him to practise his profession with success? I own I cannot find that there is any reason whatever in the objections made by the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last, and others, to admission, so far, of Dissenters to the benefits of the Universities. A young man under those circumstances certainly could not have the benefit of instruction in the doctrines of the Church of England. At the same time there is some truth—though men in these days would hardly agree in such an opinion—there is some truth in the opinion more than once expressed by Dr. Johnson, that the differences of Christians among themselves, after all, are more political than religious—that there have been great political differences among Christian sects, but that the religious differences are not so important as they at first sight appear to be. That is the opinion of Dr. Johnson. It is impossible, I think, to subscribe wholly to that opinion, but at the same time it is quite obvious that political influences among Christians have greatly aggravated and embittered these religious differences. But, Sir, with regard to the young men who would then be unable to receive the religious instruction of the Church of England, it is a matter for their parents and guardians rather than for us, to consider if their religious faith would be safe in the University of Oxford. An hon. Gentleman who has spoken to-night—the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas)—has said that if Roman Catholics were admitted to the University of Oxford, he does not think they would be disposed to take advantage of that admission. I have heard with respect to Cambridge, where Protestant Dissenters were admitted for a long period, and where, whether it was from the fashion of the day, or from the feelings and customs of the colleges to which they belonged, from whatever cause it might happen, some young men, the sons of Protestant Dissenters, conformed to the Church of England when they were in that University. But as I have already said, that is a matter for the parents and guardians to consider. What is the duty of the State, and what I think more peculiarly the duty of the University as a national institution, is, to open the door, and whether these persons choose to enter or not is a matter entirely for their own consideration. I do not deny that the general character of the University of Oxford would still remain Church of England, and therefore most of those who went there would go to an institution of their own creed. But, Sir, with regard to the second clause of my hon. Friend (Mr. Heywood). I must say I cannot see the policy or even the justice of the distinction which was taken by the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn, when he said he agreed that Dissenters should enter the University of Oxford as students, but he would not allow them to proceed to take degrees in the University.


What I said was, that I thought it impossible to admit the Dissenters to hold office in the colleges, but I wished to admit them to all other privileges.


I certainly understood the noble Lord to say that he would not permit Dissenters to take degrees; but of course his own intimation is sufficient to remove any misapprehension upon that point. But the second clause says that— It shall not be necessary for any person, upon taking any of the degrees in arts, law, or medicine, usually conferred by the said University of Oxford, to make or subscribe any declaration, or to take any oath, save the oath of allegiance, or an equivalent declaration of allegiance, any law or Statute to the contrary notwithstanding. Of course the noble Lord did not object to that Resolution; it appears to follow naturally and logically from the first. It would otherwise be saying, "I think it a great hardship to exclude Dissenters from the University, and if I admit them, I know their proficiency, and that they will outstrip all competitors in learning." In such a case, to say they shall not proceed to take up degrees would be a much greater hardship than the present exclusion that exists. I would go so far as to say that, though they should not be admitted to the immediate governing body of the colleges, yet with respect to any fellowship which does not immediately concern the government of the University, and with respect to any emolument which might Citable them hereafter to pursue the different professions of law or medicine, or any other branch of study that would aid their progress in life, there is no objection to the admission of Dissenters. I think the line might be drawn there. The governing body of the University and the colleges should be composed of those who belong. to the Church of England, but the exclusion and monopoly should not go beyond that. The hon. and learned Gentleman who last addressed the House said, that Trinity College, Dublin, was not a case in point. It is only not in point because the young men there do not reside in the college, but it is in point so far as you have young men differing in religious faith from the University studying there, and obtaining degrees in that University. So far—and that seems to me the greater portion of the case—so far it is an example extremely in point. I have now said that I think the admission of Dissenters should be conceded, and I have even pointed out the extent to which, in my opinion, it should be conceded. I come now to the question as to whether or not the clauses of my hon. Friend the Member for North Lancashire should be inserted in this Bill. Sir, I am certainly somewhat restricted upon this question by the opinions which I have stated in former years. I stated in former years, that I thought the questions of the admission of Dissenters, and the improvement of the governing body and the studies of the University of Oxford, were two totally distinct questions, and that it would be desirable to keep them so. I retain that opinion now. If my opinion were altered, I should certainly be at liberty so to declare it, but I retain that opinion now. I think we have a Bill before us which tends very greatly to the improvement of the University of Oxford, which is not only a considerable reform in itself, but which is intended as the commencement of reforms to be carried into effect in this and succeeding years. I can, however, understand the declaration which has been made to-night by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson). He says, "Here is a Bill that is of no value; indeed, it would be rather better, perhaps, for the improvement of Oxford, that it should be thrown out, and another Bill brought in." Now, Sir, I certainly take a different view of the question. I wish the Bill, which improves the University system, to pass in its present shape. The measure as it stands keeps clear of the question whether Dissenters shall be admitted to the University at all—whether they shall be admitted to all its benefits or to only a portion of them. Besides, the hon. Member for North Lancashire admitted that the clauses he has now proposed would not effect his object, and that for that purpose it would be necessary to recommit the Bill and propose other clauses in Committee. I am sure the hon. Member means nothing but what is perfectly fair, but I think it would have been doing only what was right and respectful to the House, if the hon. Member had explained the machinery by which be expects to carry his object into effect. There can be no doubt, that the success of the present Motion would delay the Bill for another week at least, and that the mere efflux of time would endanger the passing of the measure. Besides, I think it very probable that the insertion of the clauses would ensure the rejection of the Bill on the second reading in the other House. The noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) holds this matter very cheaply; he thinks we ought not to attend to it at all, and conceives it to be a reflection on our courage to refrain from enacting what we think politic and right; yet, Sir, I remember some twenty years ago standing by another noble Lord who; proposed to strike out a clause from a Bill to which he attached great importance—the Church Temporalities (Ireland) Bill—although he laid great stress on the clause and dilated on it on introducing the measure. Why did he act thus? Because he thought that the retention of the clause would endanger the second reading of the Bill in the other House, and therefore he struck it out, although at the time of doing so he continued to approve of it. The noble Lord who did this bore then the name which the noble Member for King's Lynn now bears. I stood by him upon that occasion, and I certainly did not conceive that the noble Lord showed any want of courage, because he acted upon prudential considerations. In the present case, however, the question does not regard the striking out of a clause which the Government deliberately introduced into the Bill when they framed it, but the admission of a clause proposed now for the first time, and supported by some who are not at all friendly to the Bill in its general provisions. The right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) tells us to do what is right, and says that we shall be wanting in dignity if we do not assert our opinions and leave the other House to assert theirs. That may be a very grand maxim, but I hope it will not be listened to in future days, as it has not been listened to in days which are passed, by the House of Lords. Does the right hon. Gentleman suppose that the House of Lords, when they adopt a Bill, always act in accordance with their own opinions? No such thing. In many instances they adopt Bills in deference to the opinion of the country, as represented in this House? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that in assenting to the repeal of the Corn Laws, the repeal of the Navigation Laws, and to many other measures, the House of Lords were merely following out their own opinion and asserting their own dignity? If the the House of Lords should adopt the right hon. Gentleman's maxim and follow his advice, frequent disputes would of necessity occur between the two branches of the Legislature. As it is, the House of Lords frequently, indeed I may say invariably, defers to the opinion of the House of Commons and the country; but in order to carry on the legislation of the country it is necessary that the House of Commons should, from time to time, and upon questions that are not of vital importance, consult what may be the opinions and feelings of the other House of Parliament. For these reasons, I think it would be inexpedient to risk the success of the Bill in the other House by adding the clauses now proposed. I think that, having a Bill which has been considered with very great pains and labour by this House, which has been attended to by many of the ablest Members of this House in a manner which showed that they were desirous to consider every detail of it, it is not expedient to risk the fortunes and success of the Bill for the purpose of carrying a measure of a different description. I think it would be desirable, also, that the University of Oxford, with its new and improved institutions, should have an opportunity of considering this question, and of providing for the admission of Dissenters. I believe that if they take up that question in a willing spirit they will be able to carry the proposed change into effect with far more efficient provisions and far more consideration of details than we should ever be able to give to such a measure. I hope they would not attempt, even if these clauses should be inserted in the Bill, to thwart the intentions of Parliament; but I do certainly believe that they would undertake that task with far more unwillingness if it were not to be put upon them by compulsion. But I am quite ready to say that if that should not be the case—if the House should be disappointed in that expectation—I think it would then be right that we should not allow this grievance to continue, but should be prepared to introduce a Bill for securing that great public advantage—the admission of the whole people of the land to the benefits of the University. What should be the provision of that Bill I cannot say, until I have considered the provisions which my hon. Friend (Mr. Heywood) proposes, and until I have considered other measures for the purpose; but of this I feel convinced, that a Bill for that purpose ought to be introduced. Let the House, however, consider that, although this question has been before Parliament many times, many years have elapsed between the periods at which it has been brought forward. It was urged in 1834. I took part in the debate at that time, and voted for the Bill as then introduced. It was not introduced again for a considerable period. It was only introduced, I think, after an interval of six or seven years. That shows at least that those who dissent from the Church of England have not thought this a question of such pressing urgency that they should ask for its immediate settlement. It shows, at least, that they have been willing to wait for the present period. Having waited for the present period, why should they not wait. [Laughter.] Why, I say, should they not wait a year or two longer, when their object is much more likely to be attained? I believe that, if they press the question now, they will utterly fail in carrying it. I believe that, if they press it a year or two hence, they are pretty certain to succeed in carrying it, and I say that it ought to be their object to prefer success to failure. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Gentleman who cheers me perhaps thinks that failure will be better. ["Oh!"] For my part, I have always voted for the admission of Dissenters to the Universities whenever the question has been brought on. It is not my fault that the question has not been pressed every year; if it had I should have voted for it, but I cannot consent to the introduction of the clauses into the Bill, because I think it would cause the measure to be defeated.


said, the noble Lord appeared to have misunderstood what fell front him. He did not say that he wished the clauses to be introduced in order to cause the defeat of the Bill, but that the loss of the Bill might be repaired by the introduction of a better measure in a future Session.


amidst cries for a division, was understood to say that, upon the present occasion, he was chiefly anxious that the principle involved in his clauses should be established.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the said Clause be now read a Second Time."

The House divided:—Ayes 252; Noes 161: Majority 91.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Brady, J.
Aglionby, H. A. Brand, hon. H.
Alcock, T. Bright, J.
Anderson, Sir J. Brocklehurst, J.
Annesley, Earl of Brockman, E. D.
Atherton, W. Brotherton, J.
Bailey, Sir J. Brown, H.
Ball, E. Brown, W.
Ball, J. Bruce, H. A.
Barnes, T. Burke, Sir T. J.
Barrington, Visct. Butt, I.
Bass, M. T. Byng, hon. G. H. C.
Bateson, T. Cairns, H. M.
Beamish, F. B. Campbell, Sir A. I.
Bell, J. Castlerosse, Visct.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Cavendish, hon. C. C.
Biddulph, R. M, Cavendish, hon. G.
Biggs, W. Cayley, E. S.
Blackest, J. F. B. Challis, Mr. Ald.
Blair, Col. Chaplin, W. J.
Bonham-Carter, J. Cheetham, J.
Bouverie, hon, E. P. Christopher,rt.hn. R.A.
Bowyer, G. Clay, Sir W.
Boyle, hon. Col. Clifford, H. M.
Cobden, R. Ingham, R.
Coffin, W. Jackson, W,
Cogan, W. H. F. Jocelyn, Visct.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Johnstone, J.
Crook, J. Keating, R.
Crossley, F. Keating, H. S.
Currie, R. Kendall, N.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Kennedy, T.
Davison, R. Kershaw, J.
Denison, J. E. King, hon. P. J. L.
Dent, J. D. Kinnaird, hon. A, F.
During, Sir E. Kirk, W.
Divert, E. Knightley, R.
Dod, J. W. Lacon, Sir E.
Duff, G. S. Laing, S.
Duff, J. Langston, J. H.
Duke, Sir J. Langton, H. G.
Duncan, G. Laslett, W.
Duncombe, T. Layard, A. H.
Dundas, G. Lee, W.
Dunlop, A. M. Lennox, Lord. H. G.
Dunne, Col. Liddell, H. G.
Egerton, E. C. Lindsay, W. S.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Locke, J.
Ellice, E. Lockhart, A. E.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Lucas, F.
Emlyn, Visct. Macartney, G.
Ewart, W. Mackie, J.
Feilden, M. J. M`Cann, J.
Fergus, J. MacGregor, John
Fitzgerald, W. R. S. M'Mahon, P.
Foley, J. H. H. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Forster, C. Maguire, J. F.
Forster, J. Mandeville, Visct.
Fox, R. M, Mangles, D. R.
Fox, W. J. Manners, Lord G.
Franklyn, G. W. Marjoribanks, D. C.
Freestun, Col. Massey, W. N.
Frewen, C. H. Miall, E.
Gardner, R. Milligan, R.
Gaskell, J. M. Mills, T.
Geach, C. Milner, W. M. E.
Gibson, rt. hn. H. T. M. Michell, W.
Gilpin, Col. Mitchell, T. A.
Glyn, G. C. Moffatt, G.
Goderich, Visct. Montgomery, Sir G.
Gower, hon. F. L. Morris, D.
Greenall, G. Mostyn, hon. T. E. M. L.
Greene, J. Mullings, J. R.
Gregson, S. Muntz, G. P.
Grenfell, C. W. Murrough, J. P.
Greville, Col. F. Naas, lord
Grey, R. W. Noel, hon. G. J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Norreys, Lord
Hadfield, G. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Hall, Sir B. North, F.
Hankey, T. Oakes, J. H. P.
Hastie, Alex. O'Brien, Sir T.
Hastie, Arch. O'Brien, C.
Hayes, Sir E. O'Connell, J.
Headlam, T. E. Oliveira, B.
Heathcote, G. H. Otway, A. J.
Heneage, G. F. Pechell, Sir G, B.
Heyworth, L. Pellatt, A.
Higgins, G. G. O. Percy, hon. J. W.
Hindley, C. Perry, Sir T. E.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Peto, S. M.
Horsfall, T. B. Philipps, J. H.
Horsman, E. Phillimore, J. G.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Phinn, T.
Hudson, G. Pilkington, J.
Hutchins, E. J. Pinney, W.
Hutt, W. Pollard-Urquhart, W,
Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Potter, R. Stuart, Lord D.
Price, W. P. Tancred, H. W.
Ramsden, Sir J. W. Thicknesse, R. A.
Ricardo, J. L. Thompson, G.
Ricardo, O. Thornely, T.
Rich, H. Thornhill, W. P.
Robartes, T. J. A. Tollemache, J.
Robertson, P. F. Tomline, G.
Roebuck, J. A. Traill, G.
Rolt, P. Uxbridge, Earl of
Russell, F. C. H. Vane, Lord H.
Sawle, C. B. G. Vane, Lord A.
Scholefield, W. Vansittart, G. H.
Scobell, Capt. Vernon, G. E. H.
Scott, hon. F. Vivian, J. H.
Scully, F. Vivian, H. H.
Scully, V. Walmsley, Sir J.
Seymour, Lord Whitbread, S.
Seymour, H. D. Wickham, H. W.
Seymour, W. D. Wilkinson, W. A.
Shafto, R. D. Willcox, B. M.
Shee, W. Williams, W.
Sheridan, R. B. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Smith, J. A. Wise, A.
Smith, J. B. Woodd, B. T.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Wyvill, M.
Stafford, Marq. of
Stanley, Lord TELLERS.
Stirling, W. Heywood, J.
Strickland, Sir G. Collier, R. F.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Du Pre, C. G.
A'Court, C. H. W. East, Sir J. B.
Adderley, C. B. Egerton, Sir P.
Archdall, Capt. M. Egerton, W. T.
Arkwright, G. Elmley, Visct.
Bailey, C. Evelyn, W. J.
Baldock, E. H. Farnham, E. B.
Baring, H. B. Farrer, J.
Barrow, W. H. Fellowes, E.
Beckett, W. Ferguson, Sir R.
Bective, Earl of Filmer, Sir E.
Bennet, P. Floyer, J.
Bentinck, Lord H. Forbes, W.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Galway, Visct.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Gladstone, rt. hon. W.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Goddard, A. L.
Bethell, Sir R. Gore, W. O.
Bramston, T. W. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bruce, Lord E. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Buckley, Gen. Graham, Lord M. W.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Granby, Marq. of
Burroughes, H. N. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Cecil, Lord R. Gwyn, H.
Chelsea, Visct. Hale, R. B.
Clinton, Lord R. Hamilton, G. A.
Clive, R. Hamilton, J. H.
Cobbold, J. C. Harcourt, G. G.
Cocks, T. S. Harcourt, Col.
Codrington, Sir W. Heathcote, Sir W. M.
Coles, H. B. Heneage, G. H. W.
Colvile, C. R. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Compton, H. C. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hervey, Lord A.
Cubitt, Mr. Ald. Hildyard, R. C.
Deedes, W. Hotham, Lord
Denison, E. Hughes, W. B.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Irton, S.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Johnstone, Sir J.
Duncombe, hon. O. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Jones, Capt.
Knatchbull, W. F. Portal, M.
Knox, hon. W. S. Powlett, Lord W.
Langton, W. G. Pritchard, J.
Lascelles, hon. E. Pugh, D.
Lawley, hon. F. C. Repton, G. W. J.
Legh, G. C. Russell, Lord J.
Lennox, Lord A. F. Sandars, G.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Seymer, H. K.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Shirley, E. P.
Lisburne, Earl of Smijth, Sir W.
Lockhart, W. Smith, W. M.
Lovaine, Lord Smith, A.
Lowther, Capt. Somerset, Capt.
Luce, T. Sotheron, T. H. S.
MacGregor, Jas. Spooner, R.
Maddock, Sir H. Stafford, A.
Malins, R. Stanhope, J. B.
March, Earl of Starkie, Le G. N.
Masterman, J. Sutton, J. H. M.
Maunsell, T. P. Taylor, Col.
Meux, Sir H. Thesiger, Sir F.
Miles, W. Tudway, R. C.
Morgan, O. Tyler, S. G.
Mowbray, J. R. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Mundy, W. Villiers, hon. E.
Napier, rt. hon. J. Vyse, Col.
Neeld, John Waddington, H. S.
Newark, Visct. Walcott, Adm.
Newdegate, C. N. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
North, Col. West, F. R.
Ossulston, Lord Whitmore, H.
Packe, C. W. Wigram, L. T.
Pakington, rt.hn.Sir J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Palmer, Rob. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Palmer, Round. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Palmerston, Visct. Wynn, Lt. Col.
Parker, R. T. Wynne, W. W. E.
Peel, Sir R. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Peel, F. Young, rt. hon. Sir J.
Peel, Col. TELLERS.
Pennant, hon. Col. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Phillimore, R. J. Mulgrave, Earl of

Clause read 2°, and added.


said, he could now move the adoption of the second clause.


seconded the Motion.

Clause (From and after the first day of Michaelmas Term, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, it shall not be necessary for any person, upon taking any of the degrees in arts, law, or medicine, usually conferred by the said University of Oxford, to make or subscribe any declaration, or to take any oath, save the oath of allegiance, or an equivalent declaration of allegiance, any law or Statute to the contrary notwithstanding) brought up, and read 1°.


The House, Sir, having declared its opinion so unequivocally on the first clause of the hon. Member, I beg to state that it is not my wish to take a division on the second.


A word, and only a word, with regard to this second clause. At the present moment the House has simply affirmed this proposition—the ground taken by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that for the purposes of education there shall be no bar to the admission of Dissenters to the University. The question involved in the second clause, which is now going to be put to the House, is this, whether, for the purposes of government—["No, no!"] The right hon. Gentleman who cries "No," cannot have considered the distinctive effect of the two clauses. By the admission of Dissenters under the second clause to the degrees which will enable them to vote in Convocation, a distinct power will be given to the Dissenters to take part in the government of the University. But that is not all. If you pass the second clause, not only will you give to the Nonconformists the powers of government in the University, but you will give them a claim to endowments, which were not left with that intention. I am surprised at the noble Lord's giving up this principle, as he seems to do; but before it is done, I appeal most earnestly to the Government to persevere in their opposition to the second reading of this clause, and I do not despair that, if they will hold firm to the position which they took up at the commencement of this evening, they will be able to carry into effect their own proposition, which is, that since you have given freedom to the University, and freedom to the colleges, you shall leave to them an option, and intrust to them a discretion as to whether Dissenters are to be admitted into the University for the purposes mentioned, upon what terms they are to be admitted, in what way they are to be admitted, so as not to interfere with the general discipline of the University, or with the religious education which alone ought to be continued within the precincts of the University. Whether the noble Lord will now cry "Aye," after having hitherto cried "No," I do not pretend to say—whether I shall go into the lobby alone I know not; but I will raise my voice and give my vote against this second clause, and the only words which I will add are, that the Government are bound to support me.


I beg to say that what I said was, that I did not wish to divide the House, after the unequivocal expression of its opinion. But having argued against this clause, if there is a division, I shall most certainly vote against it.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the said Clause be now read a Second Time."

The House divided:—Ayes 196; Noes 205: Majority 9.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Fox, W. J.
Aglionby, A. Freestun, Col.
Alcock, T. Gardner, R.
Anderson, Sir J. Gaskell, J. M.
Atherton, W. Geach, C.
Ball, E. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Ball, J. Glyn, G. C.
Barnes, T. Goderich, Visct.
Bass, M. T. Gower, hon. F. L.
Beamish, F. B. Greene, J.
Bell, J. Gregson, S.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Grenfell, C. W.
Biddulph, R. M. Greville, Col. F.
Biggs, W. Grey, R. W.
Blackett, J. F. B. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Bonham-Carter, J. Hadfield, G.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Hall, Sir B.
Bowyer, G. Hankey, T.
Boyle, hon. Col. Hastie, Alex.
Brady, J. Hastie, Arch.
Brand, hon. H. Headlam, T. E.
Bright, J. Heyworth, L.
Brocklehurst, J. Higgins, G. G. O.
Brockman, E. D. Hindley, C.
Brotherton, J. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Brown, H. Horsman, E.
Brown, W. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Bruce, H. A. Hutchins, E. J.
Burke, Sir T. J. Hutt, W.
Butt, I. Ingham, R.
Byng, hon. G. H. C. Jackson, W.
Castlerosse, Visct. Johnstone, J.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Keating, R.
Cayley, E. S. Keating, H. S.
Challis, Mr. Ald. Kennedy, T.
Cheetham, J. Kershaw, J.
Clay, Sir W. King, hon. P. J. L.
Clifford, H. M. Kirk, W.
Cobden, R. Lacon, Sir E.
Coffin, W. Laing, S.
Cogan, W. H. F. Langton, H. G.
Collier, R. P. Laslett, W.
Craufurd, E,. H. J. Layard, A. H.
Crook, J. Lee, W.
Crossley, F. Lindsay, W. S.
Currie, R. Locke, J.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Lockhart, A. E.
Denison, J. E. Lucas, F.
Dent, J. D. Mackie, J.
Doring, Sir E. M'Cann, J.
Divett, E. MacGregor, John
Duff, G. S. M'Mahon, P.
Duff, J. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Duke, Sir J. Maguire, J. F.
Duncan, G. Mangles, R. D.
Duncombe, T. Marjoribanks, D. C.
Dundas, G. Massey, W. N.
Dunlop, A. M. Miall, E.
Egerton, E. C. Milligan, R.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Mills, T.
Ellice, E. Milner, W. M. E.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Michell, W.
Ewart, W. Mitchell, T. A.
Fergus, J. Moffatt, G.
Foley, J. H. H. Morris, D.
Forster, C. Mostyn, hon. T. E. M. L.
Forster, J. Muntz, G. F.
Fox, R. M. Murrough, J. P.
Norreys, Lord Seymour, W. D.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Shafto, R. D.
North, E. Shee, W.
O'Brien, Sir T. Sheridan, R. B.
O'Brien, C. Smith, J. A.
O'Connell, J. Smith, J. B.
Oliveira, B. Smith, M. T.
Otway, A. J. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Strickland, Sir G.
Pellatt, A. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Perry, Sir T. E. Stuart, Lord D.
Peto, S. M. Tancred, H. W.
Phillimore, J. G. Thicknesse, R. A.
Phinn, T. Thompson, G.
Pilkington, J. Thornely, T.
Pinney, W. Traill, G.
Pollard-Urquhart, W. Uxbridge, Earl of
Potter, R. Vane, Lord H.
Price, W. P. Vivian, J. H.
Ramsdell, Sir J. W. Vivian, H. H.
Ricardo, J. L. Walmsley, Sir J.
Ricardo, O. Whitbread, S.
Rich, H. Wickham, H. W.
Robartes, T. J. A. Wilkinson, W. A.
Roebuck, J. A. Willcox, B. M.
Russell, F. C. H. Williams, W.
Scholefield, W. Wise, A.
Scobell, Capt. Wyvill, M.
Scully, F.
Scully, V. TELLERS.
Seymour, Lord Heywood, J.
Seymour, H. D. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Coles, H. B.
A'Court, C. H. W. Colvile, C. R.
Adderley, C. B. Compton, H. C.
Annesley, Earl of Cowper, hon. W. F.
Archdall, Capt. M. Cubitt, Mr. Ald.
Arkwright, G. Davison, R.
Bailey, Sir J. Deedes, W.
Bailey, C. Denison, E.
Baldock, E. H. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Baring, H. B. Dod, J. W.
Barrington, Visct. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Barrow, W. H. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Bateson T. Duncombe, hon. O.
Beckett, W. Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Bective, Earl of Du Pre, C. G.
Bennet, P. East, Sir J. B.
Bentinck, Lord H. Egerton, Sir J. T. B.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Egerton, W. T.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Elmley, Visct.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Emlyn, Visct.
Bethell, Sir R. Evelyn, W. J.
Blair, Col. Farnham, E. B.
Bramston, T. W. Farrer, J.
Bruce, Lord E. Feilden, M. J.
Buckley, Gen. Fellowes, E.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Ferguson, Sir R.
Burroughes, H. N. Filmer, Sir E.
Cairns, H. M. Fitzgerald, W. R. S.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Floyer, J.
Cavendish, hon. G. Forbes, W.
Cecil, Lord R. Franklyn, G. W.
Chaplin, W. J. Frewen, C. H.
Chelsea, Visct. Galway, Visct.
Christopher,rt.hon.R.A. Gilpin, Col.
Clinton, Lord R. Gladstone, rt. hon. W.
Clive, R. Goddard, A. L.
Cobbold, J. C. Gore, W. O.
Cocks, T. S. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Codrington Sir W. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Graham, Lord M. W. North, Col.
Granby, Marq. of Oakes, J. H. P.
Greenall, G. Ossulston, Lord
Greene, T. Packe, C. W.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir C. Pakington, rt. hn.Sir J.
Gwyn, H. Palmer, Rob.
Hale, R. B. Palmer, Round.
Hamilton, G. A. Palmerston, Visct.
Hamilton, J. H. Parker, R. T.
Harcourt, G. G. Peel, Sir R.
Harcourt, Col. Peel, F.
Heathcote, Sir G. J. Peel, Col.
Heathcote, G. J. Percy, hon. J. W.
Heathcote, Sir W. Phillimore, R. J.
Heneage, G. H. W. Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J.
Heneage, U. P. Portal, M.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Powlett, Lord W.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Pritchard, J.
Hervey, Lord A. Pugh, D.
Bildyard, R. C. Repton, G. W. J.
Hotham, Lord Robertson, P. F.
Hudson, G. Rolt, P.
Hughes, W. B. Russell, Lord J.
Irton, S. Sandars, G.
Johnstone, Sir J. Sawle, C. B. G.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Seymer, H. K.
Jones, Capt. Shirley, E. P.
Kendall, N. Smijth, Sir W.
Knatchbull, W. F. Smith, W. M.
Knightley, R. Smith, A.
Knox, hon. W. S. Somerset, Capt.
Langton, W. G. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lascelles, hon. E. Spooner, R.
Lawley, hon. F. C. Stafford, A.
Legh, G. C. Stanhope, J. B.
Lennox, Lord A. F. Starkie, Le G. N.
Liddell, H. G. Sutton, J. H. M.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Taylor, Col.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Thesiger, Sir F.
Lisburne, Earl of Thornhill, W. P.
Lockhart, W. Tollemache, J.
Lovaine, Lord Tudway, R. C.
Lowther, Capt. Tyler, Sir G.
Luce, T. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Macartney, T. Vansittart, G. H.
MacGregor, Jas. Vernon, G. E. H.
Maddock, Sir H. Villiers, hon. F.
Malins, R. Vyse, Col.
Mandeville, Visct. Waddington, H. S.
Manners, Lord G. Walcott, Adm.
March, Earl of Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Masterman, J. West, F. R.
Maunsell, T. P. Whitmore, H.
Meux, Sir H. Wigram, L. T.
Miles, W. Willoughby, Sir H.
Montgomery, Sir G. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Morgan, O. Woodd, B. T.
Mowbray, J. R. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Mullings, J. R. Wynn, Lt. Col.
Mundy, W. Wynne, W. W. E.
Napier, rt. hon. J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Neeld, John Young, rt, hon. Sir J.
Newark, Visct. TELLERS.
Newdegate, C. N. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Noel, hon. G. J. Mulgrave, Earl of

said, he proposed that they should postpone the further proceeding with this Bill until to, morrow, taking it as the first thing at five o'clock. In the meantime he would take the liberty to say that it was most desirable that the Bill should go up early to the House of Lords; and he therefore hoped that the House would consent to its being read a third tune on Monday next.

In answer to a question from Mr. L. WIGRAM,


said, that the Government would not propose any more Amendments on the Report, excepting those which they themselves and the House also would consider to be conformable to the understanding that had been come to on the subject. If the Government should, however, have any material Amendments to propose in the Bill, they would propose them on the third reading, and of course they would give clue notice of their intention to do so.


said, he did not know whether the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood) would be disposed to take the sense of the House over again on the third reading of this Bill upon the clause which the House had just rejected; but if the hon. Gentleman was not disposed to do so, he (Mr. Bright) begged now to give notice that he would bring it forward again himself. The division upon the second clause of his hon. Friend had been so peculiar that he hoped his hon. Friend would ask the House to reconsider its decision. He would be fully justified in doing so, because the noble Lord the leader of the House had told them that the second clause followed naturally and logically from the first; and after that expression of opinion from so high an authority, as well as after the unanswerable arguments of the noble Lord in two-thirds of his speech, accompanied only by one-third with which he (Mr. Bright) could not agree, he trusted that when the question came to be reconsidered on Monday next—if that was the day for it—the noble Lord would have found the means of converting one or two of the Gentlemen who sat very near to him; and then he (Mr. Bright) would have great hopes that the House would be able to settle this question. He would not speak of this clause as a thing of enormous magnitude—he did not conceive that it was such—but he thought the hon. Gentlemen who had voted against it would feel that it was hardly worth while to keep this question hanging over and in a state of suspense, till, perhaps, only next year, or some other time not very far off; and, having agreed to the first proposition of his hon. Friend, what so natural—[Laughter]—then, if hon. Gentlemen liked, he would say what so generous, because he was sure there were men on the other side of the House who no more desired to be exclusive, or to do what was illiberal or unfair, than many of those who had voted on his own side of the House; and he should not put it to them now in the way of argument, although he thought the discussion they had just had on the subject was an exceedingly interesting one; but as no doubt many hon. Gentlemen on the other side must have voted against the clause without any very strong opinions on the question, but because they generally desired, if possible, to support their party, he ventured to hope that in a few days they would be able to carry the second clause, perhaps without a division, or, at all events, that there would be a fair majority in favour of its being added to the first. He did not know if he was altogether in order, but he would make another remark. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell) spoke of the other House, and pointed out how it had often conceded matters of this kind in deference to the opinion of the country and of that House. Now, he (Mr. Bright) would recommend the noble Lord and that House to invite the House of Lords to take the same very admirable course upon this question, and he doubted if anything would be more calculated to strengthen their position with the country than their assenting to the principle of equality and generosity on topics of this description.


said, he begged to state that he intended to move his second clause again on the third reading of the Bill. The more the question was discussed, the better he believed it would be for the cause he advocated.


said, he was convinced that a great number of hon. Members did not exactly understand the connection that existed between the first and second clauses. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members might cry "Oh!" but he trusted and believed that those hon. Members not in London at present would be in their places on Monday, and, instead of the majority they had seen in favour of the clause, there would be something more like a legitimate expression of the feeling of members of the Church of England on this point. He was quite confident that such a change would be seen in the numbers of the two divisions as would indicate clearly that there had been a misunderstanding on the subject.

Further proceeding adjourned till To-morrow.