HC Deb 26 June 1854 vol 134 cc671-96

Bill read 3°.

On Motion of MR. PHINN, clauses added:— That from and after the passing of this Act, the court of the Vice Chancellor of Oxford shall in all matters of law be governed by the common and Statute law of the realm, and not by the rules of the civil law. That it shall be lawful for any three of the Judges of the superior courts to make such rules as they may deem fit for the regulation of the procedure of the said court; and that the said court shall proceed in all matters subject to the said rules in conformity with the mode of procedure established in the county courts. On Motion of the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER, in Clause N, after "any emolument," the words "other than a fellowship or studentship" were inserted, and Clause addedProvided always, that all ordinances and regulations framed by the Commissioners, and objected to by two-thirds of the governing body or bodies of the college, school, or schools to which the same respectively relate, shall, in all cases where new ordinances and regulations shall not have been substituted under the provisions of this Act for such as shall have been so objected to, be embodied in a Report to be transmitted forthwith to one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, and laid before the two Houses of Parliament.


moved the following clause— From and after the first day of Michaelmas Term, 1854, it shall not be necessary for any person, upon taking the degree of Bachelor 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. The hon. Member said, that taking the decision of the House on Thursday night last as a fair expression of its opinion, that a large majority were in favour of opening the matriculation in the University of Oxford to all classes, and that the approval of a majority of the House could not yet be obtained for the opening of the governing body in the University; he had, therefore, deemed it prudent to modify the clause, so as to make it more likely to meet with general approval, for it was his wish that the changes in the University of Oxford should be moulded in concurrence with the general feeling of the House of Commons, for he considered even such an alteration as the present one a great improvement upon the existing state of the University. He had, therefore, modified the clause, and it would now stand, that no person should be required to subscribe any declaration on taking the degree of bachelor of arts; so that students who objected to making declarations, by being allowed to take the degree of B.A., would have some definite object to study for. Students taking the B.A. degree were generally in the position of candidates for fellowships; but here the Act of Uniformity, which required that all fellows of colleges should conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England, came into operation, so that, of the Dissenters admitted to the University, the Wesleyan Methodists would, perhaps, alone be able to profit by this clause so far as endowments were concerned, and, with regard to the great mass of Dissenting students, the only practical reward would be the B.A. degree. Still he was quite ready to avow that he considered the privilege which he proposed to confer by this clause was nothing more than an instalment of justice; and, therefore, if the House assented to the present Resolution, he would next Session move for a Select Committee to inquire generally into the subject, and into the nature of the distinctions between secular endowments and those that were purely ecclesiastical. The question was discussed before Parliament in 1772, and shortly after the University of Cambridge altered the old tests to a simple subscription of membership with the Church of England. There were, now, many Dissenters on the books of that University entitled to take a degree who had never been able to do so; and, although petitioned on the subject, the University had shown no disposition to assist them. The adoption of the system of tests almost seemed to have had for its object to ignore the laity, and these regulations in former years appear to have been to make Oxford altogether an ecclesiastical institution. It was highly improper that that great place of learning should take such a position;—the tests that existed there, for the degree of bachelor of arts particularly, were more stringent than in any other University in the world. So far from any great superiority of feeling with regard to religious matters resulting from this state of things, he believed that these tests and barriers had created a sentiment of conceit and pride in favour of their own opinions which was most injurious to the interests of true religion. At the present moment the students were obliged to learn the Thirty-nine Articles off by heart, and also the various Scripture proofs in support of those Articles, for their examination for the degree of bachelor of arts; and if the Resolution he now proposed were agreed to, he took it for granted that the Commissioners and the University authorities would effect some change in this respect. He hoped the example of the University of Dublin would be followed, and the degree of bachelor of arts be opened to students of all religious denominations. A great step was taken by the House on a former night, when they determined on throwing open the outer door of the University;—it would be a still more important step if they followed that up by opening this first degree. The degree of bachelor of arts was the one which the University recognised as the successful termination of a young man's career. And all he now proposed was, that they should allow that degree to be conferred without any test, and that it should be left to the Commissioners and the University authorities to perfect the details which were necessary for the accomplishment of that object. In Oxford itself there were many persons ready and willing to welcome these classes of students, and he looked upon their admission to take degrees as a matter of safety to the Established Church itself, because he regarded that Church as an institution which ought to be in harmony with the other institutions of the country. Municipal and other offices were open to Dissenters without a test, and the Motion he now made was merely the application of the same principle which the Lord President adopted in 1828, when he advocated the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. The degree of bachelor of arts was properly a secular degree, and in former times it merely referred to lay subjects; it was only of late years that it had been connected with theology, the reason being that the divinity students were but ill-prepared for their examination before the bishop. He looked upon the University of Oxford as an institution which had been kept nursed and shut up like a hothouse for the Church, and he considered that letting in a little open air and fresh vitality would be greatly to its advantage. To allow students to take the degree of bachelor of arts in the usual manner would be merely carrying out the Resolution agreed to the other day, and upon that ground he begged to move the introduction of the clause of which he had given notice.


seconded the Motion. He had voted in favour of the first clause proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for North Lancashire the other night, under the influence of a feeling which he believed was shared by a great majority of the Members of that House—namely, that it was not just or fitting—he had almost said that it was a mockery—to call upon young men on their first entrance at the University to subscribe thirty-nine theological propositions, on which it was not in the nature of things that they could have formed any mature opinion. He had voted in favour of the second clause proposed by his hon. Friend with great hesitation, and in opposition to the views of many Gentlemen for whom he entertained the highest respect. He confessed, however, that to his mind the argument had been irresistible, that if you asked young men to run the race of rivalry and competition at the Universities, the rewards of merit ought not to be withheld. There was one consideration which had been very much lost sight of in the course of these discussions, which appeared to him (Mr. Gaskell) to have an important bearing upon the subject, and which materially diminished any apprehension that he might entertain with respect to the practical consequences of this change. To hear some Gentlemen speak of religious teaching at the University, one would suppose that the academical authorities were themselves agreed as to what that teaching should be, and as to the construction that should be placed upon the Articles of the Church of England. But it was perfectly notorious that the direct contrary was the fact. Subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, however desirable it might be, was a poor security for Churchmanship. It was impossible to forget the fact that during the last fifteen years the ablest and most powerful opponents of the Established Church had not been members of the dissenting body, but members of the Church of Rome, who had signed these articles at matriculation, and who had afterwards been engaged in tuition within the walls of their respective colleges. If they were to have tests then, what was really required was some stringent declaration from the teacher and not the pupil. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? was the real question—the question most pressing for an answer at the University of Oxford. He (Mr. Gaskell) was by no means sure that the adoption of this measure would not produce a beneficial effect upon members of the Church of England, for he believed it would be the means of reconciling many differences which now prevailed, and concentrating many energies that were now dispersed and wasted. He also believed it would have the effect of bringing many Dissenters within the pale of the Established Church. It was im- possible to listen to such speeches as those which had been addressed to the House during the present Session by the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Byng), and by his hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Sir J. Ramsden), who had spoken for the first time the other night with so much ability and good feeling, without perceiving that there were many Gentlemen in that House, ornaments to the Universities and faithful members of the Church of England, who were earnestly desirous that these restrictions should be removed. And so far from concurring in opinion with an hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Wigram), he (Mr. Gaskell) might be permitted to say that he had rejoiced to hear the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn (Lord Stanley), when he had come forward in a manner so worthy of the name he bore, and of the position he held, to give a frank and full expression to his views upon this subject. It was said that this was not the time to legislate, because the University was disposed to apply itself to the work of reform without the intervention of Parliament, and was not disinclined to consider in a fair and liberal spirit the practicability of these changes. He (Mr. Gaskell) at once admitted that that was a conclusive reason against the use of harsh or irritating language towards the University—against the adoption of a tone of taunt or menace—but it seemed to him that the present was the time of all others for a temperate declaration of opinion on the part of the representatives of the people, that this was a concession to public feeling which ought to be made, and an act of substantial justice which ought not to be deferred.

Clause brought up, and read 1°.

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


said, he was one of those who had voted without the slightest hesitation for the retention of subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, because he had subscribed those Articles himself. When he did so, he had been duly informed of the substance of what he signed. He signed them in the sense in which the University understood them, as the rudiments of the religion of the Church of England. Hon. Members spoke as if no one was prepared for matriculation, and as if these young men of sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen years of age, were not aware of the religion they professed when they made subscription to the Articles; they seemed to lose sight of the Fact that these young men had passed the age at which they were admitted by the right of confirmation to all the responsibilities of members of the Church of Christ according to the religion and forms of the Church of England. It was idle to condemn the requirement of subscription because there were disputes as to the meaning of the Thirty-nine Articles—he should like to know the fundamental religious truth that was not disputed. Why, if the hon. Member for Wenlock were to travel in Germany, he would not go far without hearing of the existence of a First Cause—the existence of God himself—disputed. The first proposition of the hon. Member (Mr. Heywood) had been agreed to by the House, and he (Mr. Newdegate) regretted its decision, but he understood the purport and meaning of that decision. It was this—that the University of Oxford, so far as the educational advantages which she proffered and conferred in all matters of secular import—in literature, in science, and in art—were concerned, should be open to persons who were not members of the Church of England. Well, if that was the determination of the House, it was a matter of very grave import; and he thought that everything which had happened proved how well founded was the intention of the Lord President to introduce this subject in a separate Bill, so that its relations might be fully weighed, and the House come to a calm, deliberate, and well-informed decision on the whole subject. The House also decided on Thursday night, that persons who were not members of the Church of England should not be admitted to the degree of master of arts, because that degree conveyed on their part a right to share in the government of the University. He rejoiced at that decision of the House as some mitigation of the evil involved in their first decision, because the University of Oxford had hitherto been closely connected with the Church of England, and he thought it was not too much to ask that, of three Universities, one should remain in connection with the national Church. According to the proportion of religious creeds and denominations existing in the country, that was not too much to ask. By the denominational returns of the Census recently published, and which was based upon answers which need not have been given, and upon voluntary returns which need not have been made, it appeared that the members of the Church of England attending divine service on a particular Sunday amounted to one-third of the population engaged in public worship on that day. He did think, therefore, that of three English Universities it was not too much to leave one exclusively to the education of that one-third of the population, who not only professed to be members of the Church of England, but attended her service on the day named in the Census returns. To revert, however, to the proposition before the House. The clause before the House was simply the rejected proposal of Thursday last renewed, and the modification of the clause of which the hon. Member for Lancashire had just given notice, was, in principle, the same. The modification was the striking out of the proviso, and the proviso was merely an exception, which explained the stringency of the principle contained in the first part of the clause, and which principle was, that, for the sake of admitting Dissenters to them, the degrees conferred by the University of Oxford should no longer be the same thing that they had been. A master of arts of Oxford was well known for these 300 years to be a person who had passed the full course of University education, based as it was upon the religion of the Church of England—upon Christianity as embodied in the formularies, and according to the Articles of the Church of England—and who was also accomplished in certain other studies which were directed by the University. That, having been what constituted a master of arts, the bachelorship of arts was merely a step towards the attainment of the full honour and capacity of a master. The hon. Member for Lancashire did not now propose to admit those persons who dissented from the Church of England to the full honour, the masterships; but he proposed to let them attain the last step preceding the mastership—that was to say, that not having followed the course of education up to that point which had always been required, they were still admitted bachelors of arts on a footing of equality with those who had pursued the full course of study prescribed by the University. Now, let not the House confuse two matters. Let them not refuse that which constituted a bachelor of arts with this novel distinction intended for Dissenters. The Oxford degrees had always been accepted, and acknowledged distinctions and guarantees for proficiency in certain studies, and for competency in teaching the doctrines of the Church of England. If they wished to constitute a new system of studies at the University, then why not also constitute a new distinction? By not doing so, they were merely creating confusion. He hoped the House would gravely consider—and they had not yet had the opportunity—how great was the change they were about to effect. This was but the first step—this was but the sharp end of the wedge introduced for the purpose of separating the University of Oxford from the Church of England. He objected to the clause because it involved a fallacy, and gave a new and partial interpretation to an old distinction, which created confusion, and was not necessary to effect the object of the promoters of this change, that object being to admit certain persons to a literary and scientific education and distinction, without religious teaching. If, then, the House determined upon having a new system of education in the University, he trusted they would appoint some new distinction in order to prevent confusion between those distinctions which had hitherto assumed the names of masterships and bachelorships of arts, and the practically new distinction they intended to create. He should vote against the clause.


said, that no doubt the proposition had come upon the House somewhat suddenly—the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood) said that it was only a quarter of an hour before the House met fur public business that he determined upon the exact shape which his proposition should assume—still, he (Lord John Russell) thought it necessary that the House should come to some determination in pursuance of the clause which they agreed to the other night. The opinion of the Government was, that the two questions of the admission of Dissenters and the general government and conduct of the studies of the University should be kept distinct; but it was the opinion of the House that a clause should be introduced into this Bill for the admission of Dissenters. With regard to the merits of the question, he had never entertained the smallest doubt that the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge ought to be open to the Dissenters. It had always appeared to him to be right that persons who dissented from the Church of England should nut be debarred front receiving those in- structions in science, in art, and in literature, which were afforded by those institutions. At the same time he felt that the measure would be very incomplete if they only allowed those persons to run the race, and excluded them from the prize—if it allowed them to study at the University, and debarred them from all those marks of honour and distinction which were the usual accompaniments of success. He, therefore, regretted extremely, when the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Heywood) proposed his second clause the other night, that it was in such a shape that, when the House divided, it would have been most inconsistent on the part of the Government to have voted in its favour. The distinction which he (Lord John Russell) drew, when addressing the House on that occasion, was, that whilst they ought to enable Dissenters to enter the University, and to derive such honours and advantages as properly attached to the studies there engaged in, they were obliged by the very nature of the institution, as a teacher of the Church of England, to debar the Dissenters from the government of the University and all the offices that pertained to that government. He adhered to that distinction now; and he thought that if they meant to continue the University of Oxford as a teacher of the Church of England, according to the standard of the Church of England, they should enable her to give that teaching in such a manner as to be without confusion and without interruption. He could not, therefore, agree to the second clause proposed by his hon. Friend on a former night. But the hon. Member had now put the clause in an entirely new shape; and what it proposed was, that Dissenters should be permitted to take the degrees of bachelor of arts, law, or medicine, without any subscription save the oath of allegiance. During the short time allowed to him he had been looking to see how the law would stand if such a clause were adopted; and he found that by the Act of Uniformity there was a declaration established, which was afterwards repeated by the Act to which he referred the other day, namely, the 1 & 2 Will. & Mary. This declaration was in these words—"I A. B., do declare that I will conform to the liturgy of the Church of England as it is now by law established." He found also that this declaration must be taken by all masters and other heads, fellows, chaplains, and tutors of or in any college or house of learning or hospital, and every professor and reader in either of the Universities, at the period of their admission. It appeared to him, therefore, that a person could be admitted to the degree of bachelor of arts, law, or medicine, without having any right to succeed to or obtain a fellowship, or to have any part in the government of the University or of any college, unless he should subscribe the declaration he had just read. It was a further question which his hon. Friend (Mr. Heywood) had raised, whether or not there might not be other honours and emoluments that, without disorganising the University, might be thrown open to Dissenters and Roman Catholics; but that was a subsequent matter on which he did not now ask the judgment of the House. Considering the question before the House, in the short time he had had for that purpose, with his Colleagues near him, he had come to the opinion that, as they had adopted a clause legislating upon the subject, which applied to all persons who might matriculate at the University, it was desirable that some mark of honour should be allowed to Dissenters when they entered the University. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken (Mr. Newdegate) said, "If that be your object, invent some new mark of honour to which Dissenters may be admitted;" but it seemed to him (Lord John Russell), on the contrary, that the object which the Legislature ought to pursue, was, that the same marks of distinction which were given for proficiency should be given to Dissenters and to members of the Church of England He thought it would be invidious as well as inconvenient to propose any new mark which only persons who were not, members of the Church of England should receive. Of course this provision, as well as the other, would be subjected in the other House of Parliament to any further examination which that House might think proper; but taking the clause as it appeared at the present moment, he should certainly be ready to vote for its adoption. He trusted the right hon. Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) would be able to agree to the clause. If, however, the right hon. Gentleman stated that the House was taken by surprise by the proposition, and that he was not then ready to consider it, he (Lord John Russell) would not oppose a proposition for the adjournment of the question for a day or two. But he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would he able to give his opinion at once. At all events it was his (Lord John Russell's) intention to support the clause.


said, be thought every word that had fallen from the noble Lord a strong reason against assenting to the clause at the present moment. He begged to remind the House of the extraordinary position in which they were then placed. He thought they had great reason to complain of the course which had been taken by the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood). He by no means charged that hon. Gentleman with an intention to do anything that was unfair. The hon. Gentleman had always been very straightforward in his adherence to and advocacy of this question; and of course he (Sir J. Pakington) could easily understand that that portion of the House who had for years been willing—and were now willing—to admit Dissenters to the Universities, would give their consent to the minor proposition of the hon. Member. But having always felt an honest hesitation to admit Dissenters to the Universities, he (Sir J. Pakington) must protest, as a matter of Parliamentary practice, against being called on, as he was then literally, without an hour's notice, to give his assent to a change which, whether upon full deliberation they might think it advisable or not, must be admitted to be a change of a very grave and serious nature, and one that the House ought not to be required to debate or decide upon without full or fair notice. He thought the course of the hon. Gentleman was hardly justifiable by the rules of Parliament. On a former evening he submitted to the House two distinct clauses. By the first of these the practice of the University of Oxford was to be assimilated to the practice of the University of Cambridge, and upon that ground mainly he believed a very considerable majority decided in favour of the clause of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member then proposed a second clause of a totally different nature. By that clause he would have enabled Dissenters to become members of the governing body of the University; but the noble Lord and the Members of the Government voted against the proposition, and a large body of Gentlemen who were favourable to the first clause were adverse to the second, and it was accordingly thrown out. The matter having been decided, after full discussion, in a House of between 400 and 500 Members, it occurred to him that it was a question of grave and serious import, whether it was a wise or legitimate course to revive the subject during the progress of the same Bill. The hon. Gentleman had, however, adopted a different view. He had put a clause on the paper to the same effect as the one which had been rejected by the House, and they were now called upon a second time to pronounce their decision respecting it. When he (Sir J. Pakington) took his seat that evening, he was informed by a right hon. Friend near him that the proposal the hon. Member had submitted to the House was totally different to that which he had placed on the paper; and if the division bell were then to ring, he believed that a very large proportion of Gentlemen would vote without knowing what was the real question upon which they were giving their decision. He appealed to the noble Lord, then, whether this was a proper course to take. The noble Lord himself said, he had hail but a quarter of an hour's notice of the Motion, and that during that quarter of an hour he had been studying the law upon the subject. He (Sir J. Pakington) had not been able to do even that; and indeed the noble Lord had given them the results of his studies in terms which might will justify the House in not placing implicit confidence in his interpretation of the law. He did not mean to say that the proposition of the hon. Member was one to which he should not give his assent. Upon that point he withheld any declaration. He would not, however, give his assent to a proposal that had been brought before them absolutely without notice. He was by no means clear but that under this clause Dissenters could become the governing body of the colleges. He thought that the proposition was one which should be brought forward in a substantive way, and in the shape of a Bill in the next Session of Parliament. He would not now enter into the merits of the question, which had been submitted to them only upon five minutes' notice, but he would, under the circumstances, give to the proposition a decided negative.


said, he was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Droitwich was taken by surprise by the Motion now before them; because, if the question was not this—if the whole meaning of the Bill be not the introduction (4. Dissenters to the University—he confessed he did not know what the object of it was, from the first moment of the introduction of the measure to the present. He had opposed the Oxford Commission himself because he had a great suspicion that it would have been unfairly constituted; but he confessed that his suspicion was agreeably disappointed, and that the inquiry had been conducted with the most perfect fairness. On the present occasion let the House inquire, why was this Bill brought forward at all? Was it not the universal opinion of all parties that the Universities were not in harmony with the present state of English society? Why were they not? They were so originally. What had happened? Had the Universities themselves changed? No. Well, then, who had changed? The state of society had changed. What was the meaning of the state of society? Had the members of the Church of England changed? No; but the mass of the people had ceased to be attached to the Church of England. That was the altered state of society. [Cries of "No, no!"] Did hon. Members say "No" to that statement? Very well, he would trouble the House with further proof. At the time of the Reformation there was but one Church. All the inhabitants of England were members of that one Church, and the Universities were adapted for this one Church. At the time of the Reformation they all split into many sects. Every one did something peculiar, and therefore heretical, for himself. Since then they had had the Union with Scotland and the Union with Ireland. And he said, and it was a matter which they could not contradict, that the majority of the Queen's subjects were not members of the Church of England. ["Hear, hear!"] Well, that was the fact denied ten minutes ago. Well, then, the Universities were established for the exclusive manufacture of the clergy of the Church of England; and the question was now, whether they were willing to make those Universities places of education for all classes of Her Majesty's subjects. The House had already said, "Yes." Why did they say so? Because the majority of Her Majesty's subjects were not members of the Church of England; anti they must, therefore, alter the constitution of the Universities in such a way as to admit all those religious classes who were now prevented from entering them, to all the advantages which those Universities could confer. It was a monstrous hardship to the great majority of the people that they should be excluded. He would, however, on the present occa- sion, content himself by stating a fact for the purpose of showing the gross injustice of this exclusion. He happened to be in the position of a trustee to a young man of small property, and was consulted by his widowed mother respecting his course of education. Now, he would show how this exclusive system of the University practically bears upon young boys whose parents were deceased. This young man was for seven years at King's College School, namely, from 1842 to 1849, and at every vacation he brought home with him certificates of exemplary conduct. This young gentleman obtained there various prizes, both for classical and mathematical scholarship, which he carried with him to the University of Oxford. When in Oxford, in 1349, he obtained the first open scholarship in his college, and in 1850 he obtained the junior mathematical University scholarship. He took his degree in 1852, and was so notoriously the first man in mathematics in his college, that the tutor advised him to pay more attention to the study of classics instead of mathematics. The young man did so, and the consequence was, that he took a first class in classics and did not take a first class in mathematics, though thou he was notoriously much stronger in the latter than the former. After having taken his degree, the head of his college refused to put down his name as a candidate for an open fellowship, because, he said, his father had been a Scotch Presbyterian minister, although the boy had subscribed to the Thirty-nine Articles, and had always attended the Church of England service. And now what was the consequence? Why, in order to support his mother and sister, he was obliged to take a little dirty schoolmaster's office here in London, and to teach musa and dominus to little boys. Was it not, he asked, a disgrace to the head of the college to have so refused this young man? No doubt such a master would have granted much to some titled empty-headed thing, with a gold tassel in his cap. And he confounded the true aristocracy of the literary world with the aristocracy of the civil world. For that confusion he ought to be ashamed. He had always resisted the spurious feverish desire for universal schooling which was prevalent in this country, because it would, in his opinion, be productive of no national benefit, although it might be attended with some particular advantage; but when they had got a combination of the best literary and religious education which Europe could produce, he confessed he was exceedingly anxious to open the doors of the Universities as widely as possible for the admission of every one; and if by any circumstances whatever some individuals were excluded, he was exceedingly anxious that that exclusion should come from themselves, or at least from circumstances over which that House could exercise no control, Now he had a great mistrust for the expression that he continually heard falling from hon. Members—namely, that this proposition would introduce fresh blood, as it was called, into the studies of the University; and he had read with infinite disgust, not very long ago, some speeches made by some who called themselves political leaders—who thought that one column of the Times' newspaper was worth more study than all that Thucydides ever wrote—he suspected that the meaning attached to this expression of the infusion of fresh blood meant the infusion of German theology. He trusted that nothing would ever induce the Universities to depart from their present system of education. They all knew that that education was divided into two parts, one literary and the other scientific. The literary part was conducted through the despised system of Thucydides. The young men were taught to study the earliest records of the human race in a language matchless for its richness, its vigour, and its expression. They were taught by this study that all things most valuable to know could only be had upon human testimony; that they might reject or receive it as they pleased, but that they could not correct it. One kind of education alone might make a man superstitious, the dupe of every designing knave who chose to impose upon him; and therefore to this system of education was most wisely added the study of the sciences, by which the mind of the student was led to know exactly the opposite course, for he there learned to trust nothing that he was told, to despise all authority, and to believe in nothing but that which he could prove himself. It was with the mind as it was with the body. A young man is taught to dance, but he was not expected to stand in the third position in the public streets. Every portion of the body should be equally exercised, and it was only in the same way that the mind could be properly exercised. But some hon. Members were afraid of admitting Dissenters to the Universities; and when they were told that there would be no danger in admitting Dissenters, then they said—"Oh, but it will lead to the admission of Roman Catholics." Well, he heartily wished both Dissenters and Roman Catholics to be admitted; but he was sure that, though the Dissenters would enter the Universities, the Roman Catholics would not. They had been told by hon. Gentlemen of good authority in that House, that Roman Catholics would not come into the University, and he could bring still better authority to justify that conclusion, which was the answer of Bishop Gillies, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Edinburgh, when speaking of the Lord Advocate's Scotch Education Bill. Dr. Gillies said that nothing would ever induce him to submit the Roman Catholic youth to any education that was not carried forward by their priests, and be quoted several authorities to bear him out upon this subject, such as Dr. Lingard and others. Dr. Gillies alleged, as a reason, the perversion of facts by Protestants respecting not only those portions of history which had reference to Roman Catholics, but of the knowledge that was conveyed in such books as geographies, observing that in them he had seen Spain represented as a dark country and England as an enlightened one, whereas the truth was the reverse, in his opinion Spain being the country of enlightenment and England of darkness. He (Mr. Drummond) thought that there were many facts mentioned by Dr. Lingard in his History which the Roman Catholic priesthood would endeavour to suppress, as rather unpleasant truths—such as the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and other things. It was, therefore, plain that Roman Catholics were no inure willing to avail themselves of the Universities than they were to give them the opportunity, and he thought no fear of danger need be entertained on that point.


(who spoke amid some interruption) referred to the University of Dublin, in respect to which, before the Statute of 1793, Roman Catholics were allowed the full advantages of a good education; but they were not able to take degrees, in consequence of the impediments raised against them by the 2 Eliz., which provided, amongst other things, that they should not be at liberty to take degrees until they had taken the oath of supremacy. Dr. Todd, upon this subject, stated that— Dissenters and Romanists were admitted to education in the Dublin University, by the free act of the college, long before there was any enactment compelling such admittance. At the present moment there was nothing to compel the heads of the University to admit Dissenters; but as the Irish Dissenters in general were of so modified a kind as not to object to the oath, they have been admitted to degrees without any questions asked. Many Roman Catholics were educated there before 1794, but as they would not take the oaths required by law, they could not be admitted to degrees. It is surprising how few, whether Romanists or Protestant Dissenters, availed themselves of the privileges of the University. Any student who, with the sanction of his parents, attested by his tutor, enters himself as having a religious scruple against conforming to the Church, whether he be a Protestant or a Roman Catholic Dissenter, is excused chapel duties. But all other students resident in the college, or in the city and suburbs, must attend. Practically, the number of Dissenters of either class is so small that this system does not much interfere with discipline. But there have been cases of students entering themselves falsely as Dissenters to escape certain duties. Dr. Todd then goes on to say— with respect to the English Universities, it appears to me very desirable to admit Dissenters to education and to degrees, if it could be done without giving them a power of undermining the Church. In Oxford and Cambridge the M.A. degree gives a seat in Convocation or in Senate, and so confers power. I would not give Dissenters this, nor would I suffer them to be teachers, or office bearers of any kind; and I would not admit them to collegiate corporations. With these limitations I am an advocate for the admission of Dissenters to degrees. The Statute of 1793 enabled the University to dispense with all oaths except the oath of allegiance and abjuration in the case of Roman Catholics taking degrees. The Statute was the 33 Geo., III. c. 21, sec. 13, and was intitled "An Act for the Relief of His Majesty's Popish Roman Catholic Subjects in Ireland." The following was the provision referred to— And whereas it may be expedient in case His Majesty, his heirs and successors, shall be pleased so to alter the Statutes of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, near Dublin, and of the University of Dublin, as to enable persons professing the Roman Catholic religion to enter into or to take degrees in the said University, to remove any obstacle which now exists by Statute law; be it enacted, that from and after the 1st day of June, 1793, it shall not be necessary for any person, upon taking any of the degrees usually conferred by the said University, to make or subscribe any declaration, or to take any oath save the oaths of allegiance and abjuration, any law or Statute to the contrary notwithstanding. Now, his (Mr. Napier's) opinion was, though he was desirous that the provisions of the English Universities should be made as wide and as liberal as possible, that this question should not be determined by the legislation of Parliament, but should be left to the Universities themselves to settle. It was his conviction and belief, more especially at the present time, that the rude interference of Parliament now to force those provisions upon the University of Oxford was the most likely means of retarding and defeating the carrying out of that object which he confessed he had as much at heart as any one. The House was here touching upon the most sensitive point of the religious feelings of the University; and unless the authorities there were willing to assist Parliament in carrying out this object which they were now considering, their efforts would be in a great measure nugatory. He had abstained hitherto from taking part in those discussions, because he confessed he was not acquainted with the internal operations of the Universities. He, however, deprecated any interference of this nature with the University of Oxford. He thought they would be acting much wiser, and would much better aid the cause they were endeavouring to promote, by submitting this question to the decision of the University itself. The House ought to leave the governing body of the University under the action of gradual opinion, and endeavour, by the force of public opinion, well expressed, to convince them of the necessity of making a provision for other religious classes to partake of the general benefits of education, which were now confined to the one class. With regard to the present proposition, they ought to consider well what they were about to do. He admitted that the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Mr. Heywood) had adopted a safer course than what he had originally proposed. But the fact was this, they were beginning to lay a political siege to the University—they were filling the members of that University with apprehensions that this power now sought for, if granted, would be followed by further demands; and that siege after siege would be attempted until the very walls of the University should be dismantled. The proposition now before the House was one in the shape of a compromise. Now he (Mr. Napier) hated those compromises. Whatever they did, let them do it in a straightforward, manly manner. If they thought that the Dissenters were fully entitled to the power demanded fur them, let the House grant it to them at once. He was convinced that the way to treat the Uni- versity of Oxford was to leave this matter to themselves. "Do unto others as you would wish to be done by." If they, the Dissenters, had sole authority in the University, and wished to uphold a. peculiar system of education, would they like Parliament to interfere and to endeavour to subvert the whole principle upon which they acted? The late Sir Robert Peel met the case boldly upon this principle—he said that the system of education pursued in the University must be leavened with the religion of the Established Church of the country. He had heard the noble Lord the President of the Council say the other night that this was not a time, nor was it politic or wise, to mix up this question with the present Bill. He (Mr. Napier) fully concurred in that opinion of the noble Lord. The only thing he disliked in the speech of the noble Lord was his threatening the University, by saying in effect, if they don't do so and so, you should make them do it. Now, he thought that that threat was undignified and uncalled for. He was of opinion that the interference of Parliament was the very last thing that should be resorted to in a case of this kind; and, so far from threatening the University, they ought to do everything in their power to encourage her to effect this change herself. He, however, submitted that it would be impossible to maintain the primary constitution of the University, if it were occupied by Dissenters generally. There might, no doubt, be some Dissenters admitted with the most perfect safety; but if the University were filled with Dissenters, her constitution must necessarily be subverted. The noble Lord seemed to insinuate that the will of the founders would best be carried out by the admission of Dissenters; but it was evident that it was the intention of the founders that those persons who were educated there should be members of the Church of England. But the noble Lord said that the Church of England at that time was the Catholic Church, and he spoke as if there was no other Church at that period. Why, the Church of England was just as much in existence before the Reformation as it was now. It was evidently the intention of the founders that the persons to be educated in the University should be educated as members of the Church of England—and, so far, the will of the founders has been observed. Let them take, for example, the founder of All Souls. If he were alive, he did not think that he would have much sympathy with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, for he was the most formidable antagonist of the See of Rome. The University was first bound to satisfy the requirements of the Church—the University being closely connected with the Church. Then the University was bound to extend its sphere of liberality as largely as it could do, consistently with the maintenance of its principles. But that should not be done by Parliament, but ought to be left to the University itself to be carried out. The House was giving it no opportunity of introducing new elements into its government. This was a mere party boon to the Dissenters, who have availed themselves of their position to put a pressure upon the Government, and of proposing a compromise by what was vulgarly called "splitting the difference," and thereby securing a few stray voters by this modified proposition. He, for one, would say that he had deeply at heart the interests of the Universities; he wished to see them preserved in connection with the Church of England. He wished to see their government carried on in a friendly spirit, conferring their advantages largely and liberally on different classes. He thought, however, that that desirable object would be utterly retarded and destroyed by the interference of Parliament; and on those grounds, and with the very object of following out the analogy of the University of Dublin, and of enlarging the sphere of education, he would resist the present proposition.


said, he was exceedingly thankful for the opportunity the House had thus afforded him (as a new Member) of expressing his opinion upon the question under consideration. Having spent many years in a distant country, he felt himself better enabled to discuss such questions in an impartial and unbiassed manner. Having been an attentive listener to the Oxford University debates, and all other questions that had been brought before the House during the last few weeks, he had been struck with one phenomenon which appeared to him to run through all their discussions—he meant the extent to which religious differences afforded the groundwork of so many of their debates. On one occasion he observed the Dissenters join tile intolerant Church party to press forward an inquisitorial inquiry, which was obnoxious to a small portion of their fellow subjects, the Roman Catholics of England; on another occasion, he found a majority of the House deciding on excluding a still smaller section of their fellow-countrymen, the Jews, from Parliament; and now the turn of the Dissenters had come, and a great party was exercising all its ingenuity, talent, and influence to exclude them from the walls of the University of Oxford, which one would have thought would have been glad to open its doors to all the subjects of the realm without distinction of party and creed. It shocked him extremely to witness this display of intolerant feeling in the nineteenth century which had taken place in England lately. He had left England fourteen years ago for a distant country, and then the country was divided into the two great hostile camps of Whigs and Tories; and on his return, when almost everybody called himself "Liberal," and though there was no real division upon the broad questions of secular politics, yet it was startling, and also humiliating, to find that the character of the House of Commons was more intolerant in religion than the Government of any other portion of the civilised globe. The immediate question before the House was, whether Dissenters, including Roman Catholics, should be allowed to take bachelors' degrees in the first University in the world. Yet it was admitted in one of the clauses of the Bill, and acknowledged also by the opponents of this measure, that the University was a national institution; that nearly 150,000l. a year was obtained by the Universities in direct taxation upon the people; and the sale of Bibles was another source of the revenues of Oxford to which the Dissenters contributed very largely. England was certainly remarkable for the manner in which everybody but the members of the Established Church was denied the rights and privileges that were extended in most other countries to all classes of the community. He would not refer to the case of America, but confine himself to Europe. Even in what were called the most bigoted States, no such exclusion existed. In Prussia the Universities were open to Catholics and Protestants indiscriminately; and the same might be said of the Scandinavian nations. The Catholic countries also admitted Protestants and Jews to their national seats of learning; France viewed all religious classes in the same light; and in Flanders, the most strictly Catholic country in Europe, Protestant and even Jewish professors were to be found holding the highest chairs in the Universities. It was therefore extraordinary that Englishmen, who aspired to be the leaders of civilisation and to teach the nations how to live, should be found treating their fellow-subjects in a manner not much unlike the exclusive castes of India, who proscribed classes of their fellow-creatures as a pariah race, unworthy to live, to eat, or drink, or intermarry with them, or to enter the same schools. In a somewhat similar manner were the Dissenters treated by the Established Church and the governing authorities of this country. They were told by the right hon. Member who spoke last (Mr. Napier)—and he regretted that the same sentiment had come from the Treasury bench—that they ought to leave this matter to be dealt with by the University itself, and avoid any rude interference by Parliament with its proceedings. Now, whatever weight this argument might have had at the commencement of the debate, it had vanished into thin air by the progress of these discussions; for they had had the advantage of hearing what were the opinions on this question of the most enlightened Members of that House who belonged to the University of Oxford, among whom were the hon. Baronet the Member for the University (Sir W. Heathcote), the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer), the right hon. Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole), and others. Those hon. Members had stated that they were opposed to the admission of Dissenters to the degrees and honours in the University; and when liberal-minded men had so strongly expressed their opinions on the subject in the House of Commons, what could they expect from the authorities of the University? He and those who advocated the introduction of this class thought the time was come when Parliament must speak out on the question. It was not a mere question of detail, but one of bread principle. The details might be safely left to the University to deal with them; and he was sure if that House pronounced loudly that the Dissenters should not be excluded from anything which Church of England men might attain to, the University would carry out with honesty and cordiality all that the law required. It had been argued with great ability by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Friday night that, if Parliament enforced this clause against an unwilling University, it would be of no effect, because those who were opposed to it on principle would have the task of carrying it out, and it would be in their power to thwart it whenever they chose; but he (Sir E. Perry) would give complete answer to that objection by saying that he had confidence in the good faith and honour of the distinguished men who govern the University, and that if Parliament agreed to the principle, the authorities would give it a fair chance and exert themselves to carry out the law of the land. He bad hoard with delight the observation of the noble Lord the President of the Council, that he embraced this clause in all its points, and that having pronounced on the first clause it would be a want of logic on their part not to follow it up to that conclusion, and he was sure the Liberal party of England would rally round the noble Lord, and by a majority settle the point so that the Dissenters of England should not be treated with any such harsh exclusion as they are now subject to. There was one argument which had been used by the right hon. Member for the University of Dublin, to which he begged to refer. His right hon. Friend ' had asked if the independent Members on that side of the House would be contented with this half proposition, or compromise, as he called it. He (Sir E. Perry) would say frankly, he was met satisfied. He thought it was most unjust that a Dissenter should be treated in any way distinct from individuals belonging to the Established Church. He admitted that the Dissenters might reasonably be excluded from dealing with any question relating to the Established Church; but in every University theology was only one of the faculties belonging to the body. It had no right to play the important part with which Gentlemen chose to invest it. The University of Oxford was not established to teach theology alone, but in order that all the arts and sciences should be taught there by the best professors that could be obtained. Therefore he should oppose all exclusions, except in regard to Church of England theology. He was for advancing to that point, and he should therefore support the Motion.


then called the attention of the House to the Resolution of the 1st day of June— That on a clause being offered in the Committee on the Bill, or on the consideration of Report, or Third Reading of a Bill, Mr. Speaker or the Chairman do desire the Member to bring up the same, whereupon it shall be read a first time without Question put, but no clause shall be offered on consideration of Report or Third Reading without notice. The hon. Member's clause, as he had moved it, differed from the clause of which notice had been given; it had, in fact, been amended that very day. When an hon. Member wished to make a proposition it had been generally understood that one day ought to intervene between the giving of the notice and submitting the proposition to the House. According to the rule of the House, therefore, there had not been notice given of the clause.


asked whether he could amend the form of his notice, his proposition having been amended.


said, that the hon. Member had made a material amendment in his clause since he had given notice. If all the Members of the House consented to accept it there could be no objection to propose it. But if one hon. Member objected, that notice would be insufficient. The proper course would be that the further proceedings with the Bill should be postponed to a particular day, and that the hon. Member should give a new notice.


desired to know if it would be in the power of any other Member to move an Amendment on that clause without notice, if he should think it would be desirable for the House to adopt such Amendment; or whether the rule with respect to the alteration of a clause applied only to the Member who had given notice of it.


considered it was perfectly clear, according to the rule of the House, that no Member could offer any clause to the House without giving due notice of it, consequently no clause could be read a second time unless notice was given of the proposition before it was offered to the House. The House reserved to itself the right of amending the clause after it was read a second time, but they were not yet arrived at that stage, nor could they arrive at it unless due notice was given of the clause according to the orders of the House.


said, that in the present condition of the question the only course open to him was to propose the adjournment of further proceeding with the Bill until his hon. Friend had given due notice of his clause in the amended shape in which he wished to put it. He would therefore move that further proceeding with the Bill should be adjourned to Thursday; and he would ask the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Layard) to take the debate on the Motion of which he had given notice on the Friday instead of Thursday.


said, that he believed there was a desire on the part of the House that the bars and impediments which prevented Dissenters from availing themselves of the educational advantages of Oxford should be removed. He thought the hon. Member for North Lancashire did not intend to propose all Amendment which would interfere with the government or the endowments of the University. [Mr. HEYWOOD: Yes, with the government.] But all he wished to ascertain was, whether the hon. Gentleman intended to bring up the clause on Thursday in its present shape, or in any amended form. He (Mr. Walpole) asked the question because he thought they should endeavour to come as nearly as possible to an agreement on this subject, instead of entering into a long discussion.


was desirous to consult the feelings of the House on the clause, to frame it so as to represent the wishes of the majority. He was himself, however, satisfied with it as it stood. As regarded further amendment, there was one bachelorship which had been omitted, but he thought there would be no objection on any side to its inclusion—namely, the bachelorship of music. With the exception of that inserted he should leave the clause as it stood.


said, there were very important Irish land Bills fixed for Thursday, and he hoped the noble Lord would not throw any impediment in their way.


said, it was most important that the Bill before the House should be proceeded with as early as possible. He had thought it would be done with that evening, but he could not let it go beyond Thursday.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn:—Further proceeding adjourned till Thursday.

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