§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 6 (Constitution of the Hebdomadal Council).
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he wished to propose an Amendment, to insert at the end of the clause, with regard to the appointment of the seventh professor, the words, "which other professor shall be always chosen from among the professors of theology."
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he could not assent to the proposition. He thought that when the election was to be made by a very considerable constituency, which constituency represented the whole moral and intellectual power of the resident University, and was to be intrusted with the choice of the whole of the Hebdomadal Council, that constituency could fairly enough choose a professor of theology, if it thought fit to give such a distinction to the faculty of theology. Now, however, the case was entirely different. The election of the heads and professors was no longer to take place by the suffrages of that constituency, but it was proposed that they should be elected by the body of professors. It was, therefore, necessary to inquire how far the body of professors formed a fitting constituency for the election of professors of theology. He 1253 could not see anything less likely to recommend the Bill as a whole by the consistency and propriety of its provisions than to intrust the professors as a whole with the election of a professor of theology. There were six professors of theology, a professor of moral philosophy—who might be considered a sort of amphibious animal, holding on to theology with one hand and secular knowledge with the other—and all the rest of the professors were persons without the slightest relation to the choice of professors of theology. The body of professors had much less to do with theology than the bulk of the University. If a professor of theology were wanted, let him be chosen by the bulk of the University; but to set a professor of anatomy or a professor of Sanscrit, a professor of chemistry, a professor of natural history, a reader in experimental philosophy, a Savilian professor of astronomy, or a professor of geometry to choose a professor of theology, appeared to him—he could almost say, a farce—but certainly something between that and a serious and sober action.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he now rose to move an Amendment, of which he had given notice at the close of the proceedings on Monday, to alter the last word of the clause. He proposed to substitute for the word "Congregation" the word "Convocation;" and it seemed to him no more than consistent, after the resolution come to on a former evening, that the House should arrive at that decision. If the Amendment were adopted, he had no doubt that, practically, the proposal of Government would be carried out in the great majority of cases. In nineteen cases out of twenty the six members of Convocation would be chosen by the resident members of Convocation, which would, in effect, come practically very near the intention of Government; but, in the twentieth case, it might be most desirable that no such limitation upon the constituency should exist. In such an exceptional case some question of great interest, and affecting the feelings or the interests of the University, might be at stake, and it might be most desirable that the whole constituency of the University should at least have the power of exercising their rights. He held that, in consistency with the whole elective principle of the country, Congregation ought not to be excluded from exercising that power. He did not deny that he viewed the new body called the Congregation with great 1254 jealousy and dislike, and he wished to see it got rid of from the Bill. He had stated on Monday evening at considerable length the objections which he entertained against that body. It was not simply a novelty, but the framers of the Bill professed that they were reviving an old power in the University. That was not, however, wholly correct in fact, for the Congregation with its former powers, and the Hebdomadal Council never co-existed, and by the creation of the new Congregation a third body would be created hitherto unknown in the constitution of the University of Oxford, and the working of which would, he firmly believed, be injurious and mischievous to the interests of the University. He was apprehensive that the practical working of the Congregation would be neither more nor less than to throw the power of the University mainly into the hands of the prevailing party, whatever it might be. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a former evening said that he (Sir J. Pakington) had exaggerated the probable numbers of the new Congregation. He had estimated them at between 200 and 300, and his hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) at about 156. The fact was, by the arrangement proposed in the Bill, Convocation would be practically set aside, and the independence of the University would be materially affected. And that conclusion was distinctly laid down in the evidence of Mr. Merritt, and was contained in the Report of the Commissioners. True, indeed, power might be exercised at one time by one party, sometimes by another. Still it would be a great evil to incur the risk of party feeling stepping in to influence the management of the University; and he believed that party feeling would be brought to bear on this body to a very dangerous extent, and that members of the University, whose time might be far better employed in other ways, would virtually become members of a mere debating society. Now, he was not disposed to see the affairs of the University exposed to such a risk, nor was he disposed to see Convocation thu practically set aside. He felt persuaded that the Congregation could not exercise its powers without possessing a degree of control over the administration and legislation of the University that was inconsistent with its independence, and inconsistent with the action of Convocation on the University at large, which was not limited within the walls of Oxford, but was spread over the whole country. Practically he was sure 1255 that, in the great majority of cases, the elections would be carried on by the resident masters of arts; but cases would occur in which the University at large might desire to exercise their franchise, and in that case, consistently with their own principles, he thought Convocation at large ought to have the power, if they desired to exercise it, of joining in the election of this one-third part of the Hebdomadal Council. For those reasons, then, he considered a change ought to be made in the Bill, and he would move that at the end of the 6th clause the word "Convocation" be substituted for "Congregation."
§ Amendment proposed, at the end of the Clause, to leave out the word "Congregation," in order to insert the word "Convocation," instead thereof.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, the direct object of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment was to exclude altogether from the Bill the body which the Government proposed to call the Congregation. The right hon. Gentleman proposed that Convocation should choose two members of Congregation, and omitting any discussion on the former part of the clause, the Amendment substantially was that no such body as the Government proposed should exist. He thought the real question in that respect was, whether it was desirable to have a body composed of all those who were residents in Oxford conversant with the business of teaching, whether they taught as professors, or whether they taught as tutors. That was a very important part of the Bill, and one which the Government were disposed to press upon the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman said that this Congregation would be liable to be carried away by party feeling of various kinds, more especially by party feeling on the subject of religion. He owned he heard with very considerable dismay a statement to the same effect, though in stronger terms, of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) on a former evening. It seemed to him, if there was any truth in that statement—he certainly could not pretend, from his own knowledge, to deny it—that the question was altogether hopeless, because, if the persons who were the principal persons—nearly the whole of the persons engaged in teaching in the University of Oxford—were persons so deeply imbued with party feeling, and with party feeling which might vary from day to day—for, according to the right hon. Gentleman, 1256 one time it might be Tractarian, another time it might be a rationalistic spirit—he owned, if he entirely believed that statement, he should look with apprehension to the future condition of the youth of this country. He should say if that were the case, the question would be whether they should either put this University under the management of another body altogether, or whether it would not be better still to abolish the University of Oxford altogether. As a body, the University of Oxford had hitherto maintained a spirit, though not a spirit which he very much admired, yet a consistent spirit in history. In the time of Lord Chatham it was said to be the spirit of Jacobitism, and in later times certainly a strong Conservative spirit. If that spirit was so totally variable and evanescent that it might change from day to day, and there was danger, and the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) supported that allegation, that a year or two hence all the youths of this country, its nobility, its gentry, and its clergy, would be educated in a rationalistic spirit, in the rationalistic doctrines of German professors, who could but feel despair with respect to such an institution? He did not believe it; he did not believe any such danger existed, or that the body of teachers at Oxford had been fairly described. The statement was not well founded, but if it rested on the best foundation, the most effective security with regard to teaching must be to have a body composed of all those who were concerned in teaching, with whom teaching was a business—who had studied it in all its aspects—who had before their eyes from day to day the practical effect of teaching, and to intrust those persons with the power of election to the Hebdomadal Council. He could well understand that if there were questions of parochial teaching, of teaching by the clergy from their pulpits, the clergy of the country should be brought together to give an opinion on such questions; but it seemed to him far from advantageous—it seemed to him most disadvantageous—when the question of improvement in education arose, that they should bring together, or be liable to bring together, a body of 3,000 persons, 2,800 of whom had not turned their minds to the subject of education, perhaps, for ten, twenty, or even thirty years. Men brought up at Oxford some thirty or forty years ago would have the opinions which they then imbibed at the University of Oxford. 1257 The whole 150 or 250 men residing at Oxford might come to the conclusion that a great improvement in teaching was to be made. The questions to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midhurst (Mr. Walpole) alluded the other night—whether young men should be brought up to learn only classics and mathematics, or whether or not the physical sciences should be added to that education, and how much time should be given to each study—were most important questions, on which he should be very sorry to give an absolute opinion, but he did say it was evident to him that great improvement might be made in what had hitherto been the practice of the University of Oxford, and when those improvements were to be made, he should like a decision to be in some degree swayed by the opinion of those whose business was education, whose thoughts were upon education, and whose daily practice and daily experience turned upon education. To bring from Cornwall or Northumberland some 400 or 500 clergymen, who had not attended to the subject at all, who had imbibed some prejudice from circular letters, wherein they had been told there was a dreadful innovation about to be made, that something was going to be taught at Oxford which actually was not taught, for such would be the representations; and for those men, with their votes and numbers, to put a bar to such improvement, would be, he thought, a great misfortune. He hoped the Committee would assent to the proposed plan of having a Congregation, though it might be a serious matter of debate as to those of whom Congregation should consist. Let them admit everybody educated at Oxford who was competent to give an opinion on the daily business of Oxford; but let them not admit, except on rare occasions, those who were continually absent from Oxford. He did hope, also, that the representations made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Droitwich (Sir J. Pakington), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), of the dreadful state into which Oxford was fallen, that there was a great chance they might be carried away by some rationalistic doctrine, were not well founded.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, that the noble Lord had given a colour to what he had said different to what he had meant in the observations he had just made. He never said the University of Oxford was likely to be led away by rationalistic doctrines. 1258 The hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman), however, said he was afraid such a thing might happen; but what he (Mr. Henley) did say, and what he repeated was, that if they narrowed down to a small section, which might not he more than 100 persons, they might find 100 young men in Oxford, or in any other place, he did not care where, who might give an impetus to a particular set of principles. Particular views had weight with the residents at one time, and might have influence at another. There had been small sections floating in the University from time to time, composed of young men, who, with their ardent spirits, naturally entertained strong opinions. What check was there against the too great prevalence of those opinions but by bringing to bear the general opinion of the great body of the University? If the power was given to the professors, of whose trustworthiness in matters of theology the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given such a graphic description, the younger members of the Convocation would sweep everything before them. They would have some fifty or sixty, and, including professors, there might be ninety members of this new congregation, and he suspected all the rest would make up something like 150 or 160 more. His belief was, that Congregation would be composed of about 250 persons:—the heads of houses, about twenty-four; the canons of Christ Church and professors, about ninety; the tutors of colleges and halls and college officers, not less than seventy or eighty (of which a very considerable number were very young men); masters of private halls, and residents, who had filled any college office, and residents qualified under certificates of study, it was impossible to fix with certainty, but there would not be less than forty or fifty of that description. That would be the governing body, and he did not think it satisfactory. The Commissioners, to whom the Government ought to pay some respect, considered a body of something like 100 would fall, necessarily, into a mere debating society, and, therefore, anticipated objectionable difficulties on that ground. With a body of about 200 and upwards, all those evils would in a great degree be aggravated. They would necessarily fall into parties, and, as far as he could see, would not be likely to exercise any very sound judgment. The great majority of men who entered into the busi- 1259 ness of the University were between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five. About thirty-five they generally moved out for livings or various other matters; perhaps some wanted to get married; but they would not find many residents after that age. He had yet to learn that a man who had had his judgment matured by eight or ten years' experience in the world was a worse judge than the man of twenty-five, who had just begun to teach, which was the case generally with the great body of residents. They were generally men of high attainments, who had distinguished themselves in the schools—they had begun to feel the powers they possessed, and, it may be, were not unjustly elated by their success; but he did not know that that was a matter altogether calculated to make them take an enlarged view of the subject of education. They were naturally chained down a great deal to particular views of the branch of education they were teaching, and were not able to take so large a view of the question as after having passed fourteen or fifteen years away from the University. He saw before him two Members of the Government, both highly distinguished for their University careers. Would any one believe that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), or the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Lowe), were not as competent now to form an opinion of the studies proposed for consideration as they were two or three years after they had taken honours? He should be very willing to rest the Amendment upon that ground. It was not a very easy matter to get the non-residents to come up. It must be a very strong inducement. Nineteen cases out of twenty were left to the decision of the resident body; but there might be, and there would be, cases in which it would be unwise and unsafe to leave it to that body; and he believed, also, that if they knew and felt that there was the power outside to keep them right and straight, they would never attempt to do, by means of a small majority, that which they knew would not be acceptable to the whole body of the University. Upon these grounds he thought the Amendment proposed by his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington) a sound one. He thought, as the clause stood, they would only be creating a narrow oligarchy, which would be a direct impediment to the free action of the University, instead of setting up, as was professed to be the object of the Bill, a 1260 proper representative system. He should, therefore, heartily support the Amendment.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
said, he had been listening with very great attention to the observations proceeding from both sides of the House, but whether it was from a want of apprehension in himself, or from any improper suspicion of others, he was unable to determine, but he could not help feeling that the combatants upon both sides were fighting with gloves, and that there was something kept back on both sides, some question which he suspected it was desirable to avoid. Now, he did not know what, after all, there was to apprehend. He suspected that each one was endeavouring, through the Bill, and especially through that clause of it, to strike a blow at some particular party in the University, whom they would not name; for he conceived that the mere numbers constituting the board could not be of such vast importance as was imagined. He observed that one said, that if there was a great number, that the board would be divided into two factions. Why, was it not perfectly clear that, whether the body consisted of ten or of one hundred men, that there would be two factions, and that it would simply be a larger or a smaller debating society, and that the two opposing principles would be in continual collision; and what did it signify, as far as that went, whether the body was composed of the larger or lesser number. But then it was said, and it was a good argument, that the persons living solely in the Universities came to have contracted views, and that it would be infinitely better that their actions and judgments should be controlled by others who were not always so resident. There was, however, another point of far more importance than the mere teaching, whether it was by professors or otherwise, and that was the moral discipline of those who were sent to the Universities. Now, he was prepared to maintain, as an incontestible conclusion, that the board, as proposed by the Government, was far more likely properly to conduct that part of the business of education than if it were composed of strangers, who never resided within the University, or who had never devoted themselves to the consideration of such a subject.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he thought that the hon. Member for West Surrey had a little misunderstood the exact bearing of the question now before the Com- 1261 mittee relative to the alternative of intrusting these powers to Convocation, the present Legislative Assembly of the University, in preference to intrusting it to Congregation, the new body to be created by the Bill. All those who were masters of arts and have manifested their attachment to the University by retaining their names in the books, were members of Convocation, whether resident at Oxford or not; such of these only as were resident would be members of Congregation. The heads of houses, as the Hebdomadal Board, who are the best qualified to maintain discipline, were opposed to the constitution of the Congregation, but were in favour of being associated with a body of members of Convocation selected by the great body of Convocation. The members of Convocation were those who, in a great number of instances, have sons or relatives to be educated at Oxford, and, of course, could not be suspected of favouring lax discipline. The hon. Member did not seem to apprehend the objection of his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Pakington), namely, that time clause, as it stood, would for the first time give Congregation an absolute control over the University of Oxford, over Convocation itself, because this body, by the influence it would exercise over its nominees in the Hebdomadal Council according to the Bill, would control the subjects which were to come under the consideration of Convocation. There was, therefore, much more than a mere veto asked for this new body; for, if the original clause passed, on the one hand, this Hebdomadal Council would be a mere delegacy of Congregation; on the other hand, this Council would be able to debar Convocation from ever considering any subjects to which it objected. Now, that was a bar upon the action of Convocation which he did not think the previous history of the University would justify. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) said, that if party feeling were to influence the discussions of the governing body, he questioned whether it would not be better to abolish the University altogether. The noble Lord, in arguing thus, was but saying, "If the University cannot be governed under our scheme, let it be abolished." He (Mr. Newdegate) would say, in reply, that the University had never yet been governed under the noble Lord's scheme, and he hoped that it never would be governed under such scheme. The history of the University conveys a serious warning that 1262 the residents, however well qualified by their position, and by being fully conversant with all the details of the University to discharge their important duties as teachers of youth, were, nevertheless, liable to great bias and sectarian feeling, and to run into extremes, in matters connected with religion especially, while the whole history of the University likewise proved, that the action of Convocation and the deliberate judgments it enunciated tended to correct this tendency to extreme doctrines whenever it was manifested. He need only refer to two instances set forth in the Report of the Commission. The one was that in which there was an apprehension that Dr. Hampden's opinions were too lax. Convocation met and objected to the laxity of these opinions. The second instance was that of Mr. Ward's Tract XC., which had obtained an unhappy notoriety, as the embodiment of the Romish schism then manifesting itself in the Church of England. The Convocation assembled, and indicated their condemnation of this tract. Those who knew Oxford best on his (Mr. Newdegate's) side of the House, therefore, believed that Convocation had done nothing to call for its supercession, which this Bill tended to effect.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, he thought that, in addition to the à priori argument that the expense and waste of time would prevent that large body, of whom the noble Lord appeared to be so much afraid, consisting of the clergymen in Cornwall, Cumberland, and Chester, and other places, coming up to control the other bodies, he might appeal to experience to show that such would not be the case, for only two months ago, when the very important question was mooted at Oxford upon the project of the noble Lord for the reform, or, as some termed it, the destruction of the University, becoming known, only 400 members assembled. Hon. Members might say that was apathy, but that remark could not apply to the recent election for the University of Oxford, when every engine of party policy and tactics was employed to bring up as many members as possible, and yet upon that important occasion, out of a constituency of 3,400, no more than 2,000 could be got to come up. That was an extreme case, and one in which it was more likely they would come up than in another, because it involved a question of strong party interests, notwithstanding which that was the 1263 only result. It was not upon questions of detail, such as teaching, or discipline, or morality, that it was desirable Convocation should speak, but on those larger questions with which the University had to deal, and upon which its traditional influence and long standing in the country gave it an authority far beyond any mere formal authority it might possess. Upon such questions as the introduction of a totally new system of study, and upon the introduction of new branches of study, such as physical science, &c., even although to some extent they might be matters of detail, was it not fitting that those who took an interest in the University should speak? Were questions involving the teaching of a large portion of the classes from which the future rulers of the empire were to be taken unimportant questions? Were they not questions upon which bishops, and peers, and statesmen ought to speak, as well as tutors. It was not merely to condemn Dr. Hampden or Mr. Ward that Convocation was summoned; in 1834 the Hebdomadal Board proposed a measure of no mere local interest, namely, to do away with the subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. Surely that was a question upon which other than mere residents were capable of judging. There were many other occasions upon which it was desirable that the University should express an opinion; the Jew Bill and the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill were of such a nature, and no one could doubt that upon such questions the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) himself, and many others, were more competent judges than tutors, many of whom might have just taken their degree, for it was a mistake to suppose that the tutors comprised the greatest talent in the University, though there were undoubtedly many brilliant examples of talent among them. On those grounds he should support the Amendment.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, it appeared to him they were in danger of forgetting some circumstances necessary to the right apprehension of the present discussion. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) spoke of Congregation as if they were discussing the proposal for putting into its hands the full power projected and designed by the Bill. That was not the case. The principal part of the electoral power had, by a vote of the Committee, which he greatly regretted, been taken 1264 away from Congregation. The question now was, whether, with respect to a small portion of that electoral power, it should not be placed in the hands of the Congregation. The speech of the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) was calculated to produce another misapprehension. The whole tone and language of that speech would have conveyed to any one who was not acquainted with the exact bearings of the question, the impression that the proposal made by the Government would deprive Convocation of the powers it at present possessed. No such proposal had been made at all. Convocation was to be deprived of no power which it now possessed. It was said that Convocation was to be subject to the interposition of the Congregation—that the Congregation was to have the power to determine whether this or that particular question should come before Convocation or not. But was that a new proposal? Had there been no body which, up to this time, had exercised that power? Undoubtedly there had. The Hebdomadal Board had exercised precisely that very power. What, then, was the difference between the exercise of this power by the present Hebdomadal Board and the exercise of the same power by the Congregation? Why, the difference was this, that whereas the Hebdomadal Board consisted of the proctors and of twenty-four gentlemen who were heads of private societies, and were elected to manage the private concerns of their colleges, which college concerns were, in a great many instances, dissociated from education altogether, the proposition with respect to Congregation was to constitute a body which should comprise the whole working power connected with the University. He wished to know whether it was best to have this veto in the hands of gentlemen who were the private and irresponsible heads of private societies, and who did not carry on either the tuition or the discipline of the University, or to have it in the hands of a body in which every working man in the University would be included? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had objected to the animadversions which his (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) noble Friend (Lord John Russell) had made upon his speech. He thought that those animadversions were deserved. He must confess that he had never listened to so disparaging a representation as that which the right hon. Gentleman had made in reference to the University of which he was 1265 a member. He had heard, in the midst of political strife, and in the midst of religious animosity, he had heard observations made in reference to the University of Oxford which he had not been altogether surprised at, because he had felt that they were such as might arise naturally, under such circumstances, in the minds of men who felt sore at what they deemed an unjust exclusion. But he had never heard a speech so disparaging to the University, and that by one of her sons, as the speech which the right hon. Gentleman had made. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he had not spoken of Convocation. It was true that he had not. The right hon. Gentleman might say that Convocation was, by law, the University. That was true also. It was "the Chancellor, master, and scholars," that constituted in law the corporation of the University. But the right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the resident body; and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) maintained that, for all practical purposes, the resident body was the University. He wanted to know who were to educate their children—who were to teach them, to exercise discipline over them, and to form their minds? Was it upon hon. or right hon. Members of that House—upon the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Lowe) or himself—upon the Bishops on the Bench, or upon Judges in their Courts, that they depended for the teaching of the University of Oxford? No; but they looked to the University itself, and to the resident body of the University—to those who were expressly and constantly engaged in carrying on the work of tuition. Now this was the body which the right hon. Gentleman had described; and how had he described it? Why, he had stated that among that body every question was carried amid religious heats and animosities, and that it was always in one dangerous extreme or the other. The right hon. Gentleman had thus spoken of that body. He now said that there were some young men among that body. No doubt of it. And if there were not some young men among them the University would be very inferior to what it was. But the right hon. Gentleman—speaking of the resident body of the University—had said that it was always in one extreme or in the other; that in the last fifteen years it had been in the Tractarian extreme, and that in the next fifteen years it was to be in rationalising extreme. That was the opinion of the 1266 right hon. Gentleman of the University of which he himself was a member.
§ MR. HENLEY
I will not be misrepresented in that way. What I said was, that it had been Tractarian; and the right hon. Gentleman knows that better than I do; and that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) had said that it was rationalised, but that I did not believe that it was so to the extent that had been suggested. That was what I said; and the right hon. Gentleman might misrepresent it as he pleased.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the right hon. Gentleman had no right to tell him in that House that he might misrepresent him as he pleased. If he chose, he should have a right to appeal to the Chairman for protection against the angry taunts of the right hon. Gentleman. It was the first time, in an experience in that House of twenty years, that he had ever heard a Gentleman—and especially a Gentleman of age and gravity—imputing to another that he had wilfully misrepresented him. This was what the right hon. Gentleman had thought fit to do towards him; but he trusted he did not require to be defended against such an imputation. Reverting, however, to the subject of his observations, he maintained that he had neither misrepresented nor misapprehended the right hon. Gentleman's speech. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that for fifteen years the University had been in one extreme—he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) did not care in which extreme—which had been past, or which was to be future; and he had gone on to express his opinion that if power were committed to the resident body of the University, it would always be in one or other of these dangerous extremes. Again, he said that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was a speech most unjust towards the University, a speech proceeding from a Gentleman who, he would venture to say, after seven years of very intimate acquaintance with the resident members of the University, knew nothing of their character. If he had known it, he surely never would have made such a statement of them. The fact was, that the spirit of party, which unfortunately prevailed to so great an extent in the Church of England, did not at this moment exist within the University of Oxford with one-half the virulence with which it prevailed outside the University. He spoke in the presence 1267 of Gentlemen who knew that this was so; and the reason was not very difficult to be devised. These gentlemen at Oxford had something more to think about than mere party disputes; a more laborious and hard-working body would not be found in any part of the country; and surely something was also to be attributed to the humanising and elevating influence of the pursuits in which they were engaged. For these reasons he did not hesitate to say that the spirit of party, whether religious or political, was less strong within the University at this moment than without it, and that it had been so for the last seven years, during which time alone he professed to know anything about the matter. He said this without fear of contradiction by any one who knew the University; and he made the statement, not as matter of opinion, but as one which could be supported by facts. They had been told that the tutors were not a distinguished body at Oxford—that they did not represent, in point of attainment, the best members of the Convocation. Now, what he said was this, that the tutors, at the present moment, were not equal, as a body, to what they would be ten years hence, if Parliament should pass this Bill, because there were certain colleges in Oxford which were what were called close colleges, and which he hoped the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord R. Cecil), who had complained of the low state of attainments amongst the tutors, would assist them to open. The close colleges somewhat lowered the standard of attainment amongst the tutors connected with them. With respect to the open colleges, however, he maintained that the tutors, with respect to character, and with respect to attainments also, were the very flower of the men educated at the University. He was satisfied if the House would open the rest of the colleges, which the Government was going to call upon it to do, the same result would follow with respect to them, and the élite of the University would thus be represented by the tutors. The fellows in the open colleges were chosen by examination; and the Government desired to have a system by which, in every college, without any serious or considerable limitation, open election should be the rule throughout. Now, he wanted to know, looking, as they were bound to do, to a long course of years, what security they could have so complete 1268 against the long continuance of party colouring, be it of what character it might, as a system of open election? It was not pretended that the elections of fellows in the open colleges at Oxford were ever tinctured by religious or party feeling. There was no instance on record of any such feeling entering into the case of an open election. Was it for them to say of the resident body of the University that it was likely to be tinctured by religious party? He maintained that it was not, and that it was not at all warranted by the facts. But as the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) had spoken disparagingly of the tutors, he was bound to say that he had received a statement the other day, he did not know from whom, but it was given with much detail, and the results were certainly curious. Taking the three classes—heads of houses, professors, and tutors—it showed that of seventeen heads of houses who had been examined in the schools, six had taken first-class honours; that of sixteen professors who had been so examined, twelve had taken first-class honours; and that of twenty-one tutors who had been examined, the number who had taken first-class honours was fourteen. He thought that, under these circumstances, the noble Lord ought not to have made any observations disparaging to the class of whom they were now speaking. But the noble Lord had spoken of the decisions of Convocation being preferable to the decisions of the working resident body of the University. He said the working resident body, because the Congregation proposed by Government did not include two classes of residents with respect to whom it might be said that there could be no security against their being under party influence. These were the resident clergy of Oxford and the chaplains of the colleges, who, not being connected with the working of the University, although resident, were not included in the plan of a Congregation. He did not agree in the opinion that the decisions of Convocation were wiser or better than those of a body such as that which it was proposed to constitute by this Bill, because he knew full well that the reform movement in the University was owing almost entirely to the younger members of it. No man who knew Oxford would deny this. No doubt, among the older members of the University there were very able men, and very earnest reformers; but, speaking in the mass, he repeated that it 1269 was almost entirely to the younger members that the movement within the University in favour of reform and improvement was to be ascribed. It was not proposed by this Bill to deprive Convocation of its powers. If Convocation chose to petition against the admission of Jews into the Legislature, or in favour of this measure or that, it would still be at liberty to do so. If a wrong proposal were made, it would still have the power to reject it; and, if a right one, to accept it. But they had recently had examples of resident and non-resident voting. They had no need to go back to 1834. On two occasions this year petitions had been proposed for the acceptance of Convocation, upon which divisions had taken place. One was a petition to the Crown to allow certain constitutions, which no Gentleman had thought proper to propose in that House. What became of that proposal? No doubt, Convocation accepted the petition, and its acceptance might be thought by some a proof of its wisdom. He must be allowed, however, to entertain a different opinion. If the question had had to be decided by the working members of the University, the petition would have been rejected by two to one. The other petition was against this very Bill, and it was carried in Convocation by a majority of two out of 400—the resident and working members of the University voting by a large majority against it. It seemed to him that the argument of the right hon. Baronet (Sir W. Heathcote)—that the University required the occasional visits of the non-residents to correct the errors of the residents—was founded in fallacy. The non-residents, most of them, lived at a great distance; they could only come up at considerable expense and trouble, and sacrifice of time; and when there was a strong feeling prevailing, and a state of excitement in the University, who among these would be most likely to come? What description of non-residents did they expect to get? Were they the most quiet, the most sober-minded, the most circumspect? Were such the men who were most likely to go up to mix in a fray? On the contrary, they would undoubtedly find, if they examined into the matter at all, that those who did go up were those who were most strongly influenced by political and party feeling. He was convinced that, if a register were obtained of the names of the non-residents who voted on the two occasions to which he had referred in the present year, it would be found that they were men 1270 who entertained very strong party and political opinions. He must say he considered that the charges which had been made by the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire, and, in some degree, though in a very different manner, by other hon. Members, against the resident and working body of Oxford were most unjust. The Committee had determined to recognise classes; they had recognised the heads of houses and the professors, but neither the heads of houses nor the professors did the work at Oxford. The public tutors and the private tutors carried on the great bulk and burden of the work; and he thought it was fair to appeal to the Committee, when they had given electoral power to the heads of houses and to the professors, to give electoral power likewise to those who did the work of the University. The Committee had chosen to recognise classes, and he asked them, therefore, to recognise that class which, by reason of the work it accomplished and of its disposition to entertain intelligently every proposal of improvement, had, he thought, a strong claim upon their attention. He might further mention that he held in his hand a paper in favour of the Bill signed by forty-two of the resident members of Convocation, twenty-three of whom were actually engaged in the tutorial work of the University. Upon the publication of the proposal of the Government almost the whole of that junior body in the University, which had been so severely stigmatised as always running into extremes, joined bands in favour of the scheme. On these grounds, he hoped the Committee would refuse their assent to the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Midhurst.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, he wished to say that nothing was further from his intention than to speak in disparaging terms of the tutors. What he had said was, that, considering the average talent of those members of the University of Oxford at the Bar, in the Church, or in other professions, who had left their names upon the books, the tutors were not men of the highest distinction. In proof of the accuracy of his statement, he might refer to the Judicial bench, the Episcopal bench, and the Treasury bench.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, he regretted that what he had said the other night had been misunderstood. It seemed to be supposed that he had said that the University was assuming a rationalistic character, but he 1271 entertained no such opinion. He agreed with what had been stated by the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord R. Cecil), that while every tribute of praise was due to the college tutors, still, as a body, they did not hold that high place or enjoy that amount of literary reputation which they might. He founded that opinion upon the fact, that up to the time of taking a degree the life of a student at the University was one of great labour and exertion, but that when the highest honours were obtained, and a fellowship as a necessary consequence followed, all motive for further exertion ceased. On that ground he had stated, that unless some incentive to exertion were devised, it could not be expected that the tutors would enjoy any considerable literary reputation. It appeared to him that, as far as he could collect the meaning of the clause, it was of no great consequence whether Congregation, deprived as it would be of electoral functions, continued to exist or came to an end.
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
said, that it was extremely difficult, after the tone which the debate had taken, to know what Congregation really was. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had spoken of it, and without any expression of dissent from the Treasury bench, as if it were of no importance whether it continued to exist or not.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, he wished to say that he thought the opinion expressed by the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) was erroneous. He had not himself stated that the Government had any proposition to make on the subject different to that contained in the Bill; what he had stated was, that the matter was worthy of the utmost consideration when that part of the Bill came before the Committee.
§ MR. ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he was glad to hear that statement made by the noble Lord, but he should be glad to know what Congregation really would be. It appeared to him that the private tutors took too considerable a part in the business of the University to be excluded, and he could not imagine that any declaration of study could be enacted. He considered that the education received at the English Universities, whatever might be its defects, was happier in its results than education received anywhere else; and he must strongly deprecate the custom of regarding with jealousy the working of the Uni- 1272 versities themselves. He doubted if there would be no danger in making the heads of houses and professors elect the remaining members of Congregation. The consistent mode would be to let six members of the governing body be elected by the other resident members of Convocation.
§ MR. HILDYARD
said, if the electoral power was to be extended to all the residents, he should like to know what justification there was for making an exception that would exclude Masters of Arts who were non-resident. He could not help thinking that the noble Lord the Member for London must have felt some embarrassment to-night when arguing in favour of the oligarchy, and objecting to the 3,000 Masters of Arts of Oxford. That was not the tone in which the noble Lord usually advocated measures of reform. And he must say that he was rather surprised to find that the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) could sit quite still as he listened to the noble Lord's argument in favour of the propriety of confining the right of voting to 150 or 200 out of 3,000 electors. Let the Committee remember that they were adopting a principle which affected, not only the University of Oxford, but perhaps the whole question of the representation to a certain extent. Were there no persons, non-residents, who were entitled to vote? Were these persons to be excluded when every resident was admitted to vote? The simplest mode of dealing with the question was to agree to the Amendment, and allow every member of Convocation to vote. He knew this would have small practical effect on questions; but he was sure if non-resident votes were admitted, that sometimes these votes would present themselves at the University, not to control, but to modify, the votes of the resident members. If the Bill, amended as it would be, were sent down, the body at Oxford, he felt confident, would show the same support to it as they did to the Bill as introduced under the right hon. Gentleman's (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) influence.
§ MR. ROBERT PHILLIMORE
said, he thought the hon. Member who had just addressed the House must have forgotten the way in which he gave his vote on a previous occasion. Would not any one have believed that the hon. Gentleman had voted that the six heads of colleges and the six heads of professors were to be elected by the Convocation, whereas, as the Bill stood, they were to be chosen by 1273 a close body, although it was proposed that the six tutors should be chosen by Convocation. Why should that distinction exist? If it was fair that the third body should be chosen by Convocation, surely it was fair that the other two bodies should also be chosen by Convocation. He was anxious that the Committee should not divide under a mistake, which he was afraid they might have been led into by the speech of the noble Lord opposite (Lord R. Cecil), who appeared to apprehend that by this Bill the power of Convocation would be limited. It was no such thing. The Bill would, from the first, give the Convocation a power of acting in cases in which it had never before had any authority.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, he wished to explain the grounds on which he was disposed to vote for the word "Congregation" rather than "Convocation." He had given notice of an Amendment in Clause 18, which constituted the Congregation, by which he should endeavour to enlarge the bounds of the Congregation, and it was with that view that he intended now to vote for the word Congregation.
said, he would appeal to the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) as to whether he could not prevent the necessity of a division on the present Amendment by assenting to the suggestion just made by his hon. Friend, namely, that of enlarging the boundaries of the Congregation?
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, that, with regard to the present question before the Committee, he should certainly divide upon it; but in respect to the proposition of the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Heathcote) he should like to see in what way the hon. Gentleman could devise a mode to effect the object he proposed.
§ Question put, "That the word 'Congregation' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 192; Noes 176: Majority 16.
THE CHANCELLOR, OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, there was one person who seemed to have been rather forgotten with respect to the Hebdomadal Council and the Convocation, and that was the Chancellor, who, when in Oxford, was the head and president of everybody which acted for the University. He would therefore put upon the votes a notice of his intention to bring up a clause to this effect—That, notwithstanding anything in the Act contained, the Chancellor of the University shall be a Member of the Hebdomadal Council and of 1274 the Congregation, and, when present in Oxford, shall have the right to preside therein, as well as in the Convocation.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 7 (The Vice Chancellor is to continue a Member after the expiration of his term of Office).
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the object of this clause was to prevent inconvenience, it being most important that the Vice Chancellor should continue a member of the Hebdomadal Council, in order properly to carry on the business. It had been observed that, under the clause as it stood, the Vice Chancellor's office might cease immediately before the triennial election, and he proposed, therefore, at the end of the clause to insert the words "or for the space of one year, if such election should take place at an earlier period;" so that a year would be the minimum of time for which the outgoing Vice Chancellor would retain his seat in the Council.
§ Amendment agreed to; Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 8 (Professors not ineligible).
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER,
in reply to a question of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), said that the object of this clause was to prevent the raising of a legal question, as to whether under certain of the Statutes which prohibited professors from holding any other offices, they might not be excluded from the Hebdomadal Council. He did not apprehend that this clause would qualify any person who was not fully qualified as a member of the University, nor did he believe that any one could be a professor who was not so.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 9 (Hebdomadal Council may appoint Committees).
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he wished to propose the following proviso—Provided always that nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to give any executive functions to the Hebdomadal Council or its Committees, except such as may be required to provide for the preparation and proposal of Statutes for Congregation.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that there was no probability that any Board in Oxford would encroach on the duties of the executive. The functions of the Hebdomadal Board were transferred by the Bill to the Hebdomadal Coun- 1275 cil, and as the Board had never made any encroachment on the executive, there was no reason to think that the Council would do so.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he objected to the clause, on the ground that it would permit the Council to devolve the performance of its duties upon persons who were not responsible, and would therefore recommend that it should be expunged.
§ Clause struck out.
§ Clause 10.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, he wished to move an Amendment to leave out certain words, and insert—not reside for eighteen weeks during term time, or attend eighteen times at the meetings of the Hebdomadal Council in each.The object of the Amendment was, that distinguished persons who were not permanently resident might, with the facilities for travelling now existing, be able to be members of the Hebdomadal Council.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the term of twenty-four weeks had been inserted in the Bill, with the perfect knowledge that eighteen weeks was the term of academical residence. He thought it would have been well if Government had prolonged the term of residence. They thought it reasonable and desirable that the members of the Hebdomadal Council should be resident.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he thought the clause should mention the person or persons who are to declare a vacancy at the Hebdomadal Board, when a seat became vacant by the absence of a member during the period specified for attendance.
§ MR. WALPOLE
wished to know whether the vacancy, when declared, was immediately to be filled up, or whether they were to wait until the regular period for election should come round again?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
apprehended, that when a vacancy should be so declared, the case would come under the clause that refers to occasional elections.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ House resumed; Committee report progress.