HC Deb 05 July 1858 vol 151 cc945-68

Order for Consideration, as amended, read.


rose to move, pursu- ant to notice, "That the Provost, Magistrates, and Council of the City of Aberdeen be heard by themselves or by their Council; upon their Petition against the Bill." At present there were Faculties of Arts in the two Colleges of Aberdeen, the Marischal and King's. Now, very considerable endowments had been left to the former College, by private individuals, on the faith of its maintaining a faculty of Arts. However, one of the clauses of the Bill now before the House would defeat the expectations of the donors; and in the language of some of the petitioners whose petitions he had presented to that House, "confiscate the endowments." The clause to which he referred, was that which would deprive Marischal College of its classes in the faculty of Arts. This would violate the terms of the private endowments, and occasion great inconvenience to a large number of the citizens of Aberdeen. Many of the youth would have to go daily from New to Old Aberdeen. Formerly this would not, at the outside, involve a walk of more than a mile and a half; but that was before the growth of the city. Many of the students and fellows now live at a distance of nearly three miles from Old Aberdeen; and these gentlemen would be obliged to go and come that distance daily in order to attend the classes in the faculty of Arts. The Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council wanted that no undue advantage should arise to either College from this Bill. They approved of the general objects of the measure; but they disapproved of the suppression of the faculty of Arts in Marischal College. That they thought wrong; as did also all the great bodies in the north-east of Scotland. He had that day presented a petition from the aggregate representatives of all these bodies, in which they prayed the House not to sanction what they called "the confiscation of the endowments of Marischal College, Aberdeen." At a numerous meeting held in Aberdeen, and at which the heads of the principal bodies were present, as also graduates and students of King's College and Marischal College, Aberdeen, it was determined to resist, so far as the law would justify such resistance, the clause to which he was now more particularly directing the attention of the House. The learned Lord Advocate had, on a former occasion, spoken of this objection as a "local prejudice"—a local feeling. A noble Lord, (Lord Elcho) who had spent forty-eight hours in Aberdeen, represented that the feeling was the other way. Was that to be believed after such a demonstration as the meeting to which he (Colonel Sykes) had just referred? A feeling manifested so generally, by so many different bodies, could scarcely be called a "local prejudice;" but even if it were, ought there not to be a concession to the wishes of so large a number, when such a concession could cause no wrong to any one? He felt that the petitioners were not asking too much. The learned Lord Advocate had cited authority in support of this clause; but was the opinion of the Gentleman to whom he had referred in support of the proposition to weigh against that of the whole north-east of Scotland? That part of Scotland was entitled to the highest consideration on the part of the learned Lord; and he would remind him of the old aphorism "that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." He (Colonel Sykes) held in his hand the Aberdeen Herald. In one number of this paper he found the report of a meeting of the learned Lord's constituents, many of whom were graduates of King's College; and in that report he found it stated that those constituents elected him on the understanding that he was favourable to their views. That was on the 26th ult.; but, there was another expression of the same sort in the paper of Saturday last, which stated that All throughout it had been obvious that the main prompters of the Lord Advocate's firmness or obstinacy had been the professors of King's College. Forgetting the pledge given in his name to the great body of his constituents, the graduates of King's College, as Lord Rector, he had become the agent of the Senatus. Now, he (Colonel Sykes) did not take upon himself to say whether this statement was true or false. It was not for him to determine whether or not such a pledge was given by the learned Lord when he was elected Provost; but there were the names of the parties who asserted that it had, and therefore he repeated that it behoved those who lived in glass houses not to throw stones. It was said, however, that the proposed measure was for the public good; that the limitation of the Faculty of Arts to King's College, Aberdeen, would occasion a great saving of money, and admit of improving the status of the remaining professors. But he was told that an arrangement could be made under which there would be no necessity for any additional expense as far as the Faculty of Arts in each College was concerned, and that the mere question of a Government grant would relate entirely to the establishment of the University or the governing body. If that were the case then he asked the learned Lord why he opposed himself to the universal wish of the people, when there would be no advantage to the public and no improvement in the statute of education in the north of Scotland? The graduates of the learned Lord's own College said to him, "we desire the Faculty of Arts to be preserved in Marischal College, because it will establish our honourable emulative rivalry, and will do the same good to education that is done in the College at Oxford, where one competes with the other, or at Cambridge as between St. John's and Trinity? Under these circumstances, therefore, he thought there was no occasion whatever for persevering in the clause to the extent which the learned Lord insisted upon. He came to the simple question whether the learned Lord and the Government would permit the Lord Provost, the Magistrates, and the Town Council of the City of Aberdeen to be heard at the bar of the House, that the House itself might hear from their lips or the lips of their Counsel, the real state of the case, which he feared he had so inadequately and imperfectly endeavoured to explain. In the hope that the Government would consider this point, he begged to move that the Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of the City of Aberdeen be heard by Counsel at the bar of the House.


said, he thought his hon. and gallant Friend ought to have offered some explanation as to the legal right or legal difficulty upon which the House required instruction, that it could not obtain from members of its own body. So far as he had been able to follow the observations of his hon. and gallant Friend, they appeared to be nothing more than a repetition of the argument which he had already brought forward on the subject; and he (the Lord Advocate), appealed to the House whether that argument involved any legal question or difficulty at all; or whether it did not resolve itself entirely into a question of the expediency or inexpediency of that union of the two Colleges of Aberdeen which formed part of the present Bill. In discussing that question, he was sure it would be impossible to find in that House a more able advocate than his hon. and gallant Friend; and he was as certain that the opponents of the measure would find none so zealous in promoting their cause—but he contended that no ground whatever had been laid for a Motion of this description. One word with regard to the observations which his hon. and gallant Friend had made respecting himself (the Lord Advocate) personally. Now, he thought his hon. and gallant Friend altogether misunderstood the information which had been put into his hands; and that the ancient proverb, which he had quoted, about people who lived in glass houses, did not at all apply. In the first place, he (the Lord Advocate) had never thrown stones at his hon. and gallant Friend, or anybody else, during the time he had been in office; and, in the second place, he begged to tell him that he did not live in a house of glass, if his hon. and gallant Friend meant by that he was liable to a charge of inconsistency. When he had the honour of being elected Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen, he was asked his opinion upon the question of the union of the two Colleges; and, in reply, he stated that he had not turned his attention to the matter, except in a very cursory way; that his present impression was in favour of the union of the Universities, and the separation of the Colleges; but that opinion was formed without anything like an adequate consideration of the subject. That was a very distinct and at the same time, a very sincere expression of the opinion which he then entertained with the light he then possessed. He had occasion subsequently, however, to study the subject a great deal more maturely, with a view to be examined as a witness before the Commission appointed for the visitation of Aberdeen University; and then he came to an opposite conclusion, though not without some difficulty, as he had experienced in his evidence. Still in the end, he certainly did come very decidedly to an opposite conclusion, and he left it to his hon. and gallant Friend to say whether, having so come to an opposite conclusion, it was more honest to act on that conviction or pretend that he was of the same opinion still?

Motion made, and Question, That the Provost, Magistrates, and Council of the City of Aberdeen be heard by themselves or their Counsel upon their petition against the Bill, put, and negatived.

SIR W. DUNBAR moved the following clause:— In each University the Assessor to be nomi- nated by the Rector, shall, in the absence of the Rector, be entitled to preside and vote in the University Court in like manner as the Rector, if present, might have done.

Clause brought up and read the first time.


said, that as the Bill stood, the clause was not at all necessary. He thought it better to leave the appointment of the President of the University Court in the absence of the Rector to the Court itself


said, that the fault of the University Court was that it was too small—in Edinburgh, consisting of only eight members, and in the other Universities of only seven. And when, moreover, they considered that the Rector, being generally a person who was chosen from among distinguished literary men, would be non-resident, it was highly important that some one should be appointed who was a constituent member of the Court to act in his stead. He would not have the Assessor, who was one of the Synod, but some person to act for the Rector in his absence, to be vested with his powers for the time being. He therefore highly approved of the clause proposed by his hon. Friend.


said, he had given notice of a clause which proposed that the Rector should appoint a Vice Rector, who should in his absence exercise all the functions of Rector, and preside in the University Court. By way of Amendment to the clause of his hon. Friend, therefore, he would have to leave out the word "Assessor," and insert "Vice Rector, not being a Principal or Professor in any University." He was of opinion that it would scarcely be decorous for the Rector's Assessor to be elevated to the position of President over all the other members of the University Court, some of whom were his superiors in rank—and if they did not allow the Rector to appoint a Vice Rector who should preside in his absence, it would lead to this: that the Rector's voice would be practically lost in the University Court; or the students, when they had to elect a Rector, instead of choosing a man of eminence, who on account of his attainments and position would be an honour to the University, would look out for a man who resided on the spot, and would be able to attend and give his vote at the meetings of the Court. Any such result as that was most undesirable; and if the Rector had the power conferred upon him to ap- point a Vice Rector, there could be no such object or motive in the election.


opposed both the clause of the hon. Member for Wigton (Sir W. Dunbar) and the Amendment of the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. Dunlop). He objected to the latter that the Vice Rector would only be a conditional or contingent member of the Court, acting in the absence of the Rector, but disappearing altogether when the Rector happened to be present; in his opinion a most undignified and anomalous position for any gentleman to be placed in. It appeared to him also that either proposition would have the effect of throwing too much power into the hands of the Rector, who already possessed the right to nominate one Assessor; for his part, he thought that any member of the University Court was just as well qualified to preside in that Court as any other person, and that, therefore, it was much better for the Court itself to elect its own chairman in the absence of the Rector. The members of the Court were invariably the best judges of the person who was most competent to preside over them; and his objection to the proposals of both hon. Members was, that they would create an anomaly, and place the person proposed to be Vice Rector in a very singular and disagreeable position.

Motion made and Question proposed,—"That the said clause be read a second time," put, and negatived.

MR. DUNLOP moved the following clause:— Offices of Principal in Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh not to be deemed 'Chairs in Theology.' The object of his clause was to remove the necessity which now existed for the Principals in certain Universities taking the test as members of the Established Church of Scotland. By an Act passed in 1853, a considerable change had been made in this respect. Up to that time it was necessary that every such Principal and Professor should make a declaration that the confession of faith of the Established Church was his confession of faith, and substantially that he submitted himself to the government and discipline of the Church of Scotland. In that year an Act was passed for regulating admission to lay chairs in the Universities of Scotland, which dispensed with the necessity of Principals and Professors making that declaration, and professing themselves members of the Established Church, and substituted for it a simple declaration that, in their teaching, they would not affirm anything which was contrary to the faith of the Established Church. That Act also contained a definition of what should constitute the theological chairs which were to be exempted from its operation, and the Professors of which were still to be bound to take the religious test. All the divinity chairs were expressly excepted, and the Principals of Edinburgh, Glasgow, King's College, Aberdeen, and St. Mary's College, St. Andrews. The latter college was entirely a theological institution and in that case the exception was certainly quite right. In regard to St. Leonard's College, St. Andrews, and Marischal College, Aberdeen, in which laymen might be Principals, the necessity of taking the test was discontinued; but the Principalships of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and King's College, Aberdeen, were declared to be theological chairs, and, as such, the parties holding them were bound to take the test. This was done on the assumption that the Principals of these Universities were Professors of Divinity; and it was quite true that at one time they were, and he believed that nominally they were so still; but in point of fact they had never taught Divinity. Under these circumstances, the Principals not being really and truly, but only nominally Professors of Divinity, the reasons for their exemption from the operation of the Act of 1853 were merely colourable; and it certainly was not reasonable or proper that the Principals of those Colleges should be confined to members of the Established Church, when there might be other Professors in the University who, from their character and eminence in the field of literature and science, were the most proper persons to be appointed to the office, but who could not now be appointed on account of some difference in their theological views, or their views regarding the discipline and government of the Church. Under the Act of 1853 there were at least two Principals who were exempt from the necessity of taking the religious test—the Principal of St. Leonard's and the Principal of Marischal; but the effect of the present Bill would be to merge the Principalship of Marischal College in the Principalship of King's. Now, the Principalship of King's was one of the offices which were exempted from the provisions of the Act, and, inasmuch as Marischal College was by the Bill to be merged in it, he took it that the Principal of the united College must be subjected to the restriction which attached to the Principal of King's College—so that St. Leonard's College, St. Andrews, would be the only one hereafter exempted from the test. This, he contended, would be a most unjustifiable arrangement, and contrary to the reasons which had induced Parliament to pass the Act of 1853. He begged, therefore, to move the clause of which he had given notice.

Clause (Offices of Principal in Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh not to be deemed "Chairs of Theology") brought up, and read the first time.


said, that he should oppose the clause. The whole question, as he considered, was settled by a compromise in the Act of 1853, the effect of which was to abolish by far the greater proportion of those tests which had existed from the very foundation of the University. That Act was certainly an arrangement between contending parties, and, as he thought, proceeded on very sound grounds. It was an arrangement in which he entirely concurred—namely, that every chair that could be properly and distinctly called a lay chair should be entirely exempted from those tests, or in other words, that it should not be indispensable that they should be taken by persons seeking to attain a chair; in fact, that candidates should not be compelled to take any religious test whatever. That Act also proceeded to define what were lay chairs, and what in all future time should be considered not lay chairs. There was an express clause in the Act to this effect—that the words "chairs of theology" should, for the purposes of the Act, be taken to be chairs of Biblical criticism, Church doctrine, &c., in any of the Universities or Colleges, and the office of Principal of the same should be filled by a theological professor, with the exception of Marischal College and the University College of St. Leonard's, so that the Principals in those two Colleges were to be principals of lay chairs, and on that footing the tests were abolished as regarded the lay chairs in Scotland. He should not have thought that his hon. Friend would have been the man to come forward, so soon after this arrangement, and propose to disturb it, unless some particular reasons induced him to take that course; and the only one which he (the Lord Advocate) could find was, that in the case of Aberdeen this difficulty was created, that whereas, formerly, there were two Colleges, the Principal of one of which held a lay chair, and the Principal of the other held a theological chair; those two colleges, being united by this Bill, his hon. and learned Friend assumed, though on what ground he knew not, that the Principal of the united University would necessarily be the holder of a theological chair. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Marischal College being added, as it were, to King's College, the Principal of the new University would necessarily come in the place of the present principal of King's College. He (the Lord Advocate) was quite at a loss to understand how his hon. and learned Friend arrived at that conclusion. In one sense both the Marischal College and King's College would be extinguished, in another, they would both be kept up; they would be equally merged and united into one University. What represented one would equally represent the other; and so far from adopting the construction put upon that merging into one University by his hon. and learned Friend, he should rather feel inclined to contend that the Principal of the United University would not be the holder of a theological chair, because he was not one of those provided for under the Act of 16 & 17 Victoria. However that might be, he thought that no sufficient reason had been alleged for disturbing the arrangement of 1853, and he could not help thinking that, if that arrangement were disturbed, it would give rise to much unpleasant discussion.


could not exactly allow the interpretation of his reasons just given to be accepted of the House without explanation. No doubt what he had stated was to the difference between the chairs in Marischal and King's College, was a strong ground for the Motion he had made, but he was sorry he could not put the same construction upon the effect of the Bill of 1853, which had been put upon it by his right hon. and learned Friend. All the Principals of the Universities alluded to in this Bill held theological chairs, except the Principals of St. Leonard's and Marischal Colleges; and if the Principal of the United College was not to be the Principal of the Marischal College, it could not come within the exception mentioned in the Act. He denied that any arrangement had been made in 1853 of such a nature as to preclude him or any other hon. Member from coming forward with this Motion. He had made a similar Motion in 1853, when the Bill was in Committee; but when the Minister turned round and said that they had agreed to make those two exceptions, he thought it better to take what they could get. He certainly assented to that arrangement, but he did not consider that it was to be a permanent settlement. He had always advocated this change, and as he saw a better chance of carrying it now, he should certainly press it. He believed that all parties thought that it would be a wise and liberal change, for the Professors in question were really nominal Professors of Theology, and did no duty as Professors of Divinity. The only effect of retaining the present system would be to exclude from the chairs as Principals of the University the very best men.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the said clause be now read a second time."

The House divided:—Ayes 82; Noes 58: Majority 24.

Clause read 2o, and added.

MR. DUNLOP moved the following clause:— That from and after the passing of this Act, no distinction shall be recognised among the Professors of the University of Glasgow, but the whole Professors thereof admitted to Chairs heretofore established, or which may hereafter be established therein, shall be deemed to be, and shall be, Professors of the University and College of Glasgow, and shall all equally exercise the whole rights and functions which have heretofore been exercised by any portion of such Professors: Provided always, that no claim is hereby given to any participation in the income or emoluments already appropriated to existing Chairs in the said University and College. For many years there has been a vast deal of heartburning among the Professors of the University of Glasgow, in consequence of there being a College of Glasgow, and a University of Glasgow, and the Professors being distinct—those who were Professors of the University, not being Professors of the College. Towards the latter part of the last century, the Crown appointed a considerable number of additional Professors who were received without objection, took their seats and participated in the administration of the property of the College. In the beginning of the present century, however, certain parties objected to the Crown Professors taking any part in the administration of that property, and a suit was instituted in which the Crown did not appear to defend its rights; the consequence was, that it was decided that they had no such right. Subsequently the attempt to exercise it occasioned great dissension which came under the notice of the Commissioners ap- pointed to inquire into the condition of the University; both of whom reported that the distinction was most injurious, and might be put an end to. Instead, however, of seeking to procure the concurrence of the Legislature to the passing of a Bill in Parliament which would settle the matter, they had raised another suit five years ago, which was still pending, the previous decision being now challenged by the Crown. He thought that the continuance of such a state of things was most injurious to the University, and therefore he moved this clause for the purpose of doing away with the cause of so much dispute.


could not agree to the clause. The truth was that there was in the University of Glasgow a College which had been endowed with property, which was of course divided among the professors and members of the College. Some sixty years ago, the Crown claimed the right for many additional Professors to participate in those endowments, but when the question came before the Court of Assizes, it decided against such right. It was held that the Crown had the right to appoint Professors of the University, but that it had no right to add any additional Professors to the College. The Professors of the College were appointed in the College, and divided amongst them its revenues; but the Professors belonging to the University, although they possessed all the other rights, had not the right of participating in the special property of the College. It might be disputed whether that was so, legally or not; but at all events, the question having been raised again, and its being for the law courts to decide what rights they possessed and what they did not, it would be quite contrary to the practice of Parliament to interfere by a Legislative enactment. As he understood the purport of this clause, it took away the property of the College and divided it among all the Professors of the University. If that was not the effect of it, he really could not tell what it was. He should suggest that the words "and College" be left out.


said, that no part of the reform of the Scotch Universities was more important than that contemplated by the hon. Member for Greenock with respect to this matter. It had been shown that, in consequence of the discussions arising out of this distinction, proceedings of the most discreditable character had taken place. The University had divided itself into two parties, taking opposite sides of this questions; and so bitter was the feeling that the members of different parties would scarcely condescend to meet each other. The course proposed by the hon. Member for Greenock was in exact accordance with the wishes and opinion of the people of Glasgow, who took the deepest interest in the University. Although, as was said, the question was still sub judice, it might be tied up for twenty years longer in the Scotch Courts and the House of Lords, and it was most important to the welfare of the University of Glasgow, that such a state of things should be put an end to altogether. He contended that the printed records of the University would show clearly that originally there never was any difference whatever between the University and the College; and the deeds which endowed them contained expressions that rendered it quite obvious that they were regarded as synonymous, the founders recognizing no such distinctions. He should, therefore, second the Motion of the hon. Member for Greenock.


said, that inasmuch, as the clause was not to interfere with existing rights, or with any emolument heretofore given, he had great pleasure in acceding to its introduction. He could not assent to any clause which interfered with existing rights, or the emoluments connected with the College, or which would have the effect of deciding by a single stroke of the pen a question upon which legal proceedings were pending. On the understanding, therefore, that the clause had reference to placing the Professors of the University and the College on precisely the same footing as respected all the functions and duties appertaining to the office, he gave it his cordial assent, and hoped that it would have the effect, concurrently with the equitable determination of the pecuniary rights of Professors, of putting an end to the heart-burnings complained of, perish all ill-feeling, and promote the interests of the University.

Clause agreed to.

On the Motion of Mr. BLACKBURN, it was agreed that the Chancellor of each University should have power to appoint a Vice Chancellor to discharge the duties of his office in his absence, so far as regards conferring degrees, but in no other respect.


proposed an Amendment on Clause 7, which relates to the election of the Lord Rector of the University by the students, the object of which was to give a vote in such election to the professors. He thought the Committee, in wholly confining the election to the students, had made a mistake. It was well known that in times of election discipline was relaxed, and more than usual license allowed. He thought that if the Professors presided over them on such occasions, and took part in the election, it would be conducive to good order.


thought that, considering the votes of the Professors would make little impression, from the smallness of the number, it would only be an unnecessary interference with the students, which would lead to no other result than that of creating ill feeling. If the election of the Rector was left to the students, that of the Chancellor was left to the Professors, so that there was no loss of influence by their not being permitted to interfere in the election of the Rector.


also thought this an unnecessary Amendment. There must be a certain degree of license in carrying on an election, and the Professors had better take no part in it. They might make any regulation they pleased for the purpose of preserving order and the regularity of their proceedings, but the students ought to be left in full, free, and unfettered exercise of their electoral rights.

Amendment negatived.


then moved an Amendment, the effect of which was to make the Lord Provost of Edinburgh for the time being, one of the assessors of the University Court of the University of Edinburgh.


reminded the House of the petitions that had been presented upon this subject.


was understood to say, that the people of Edinburgh were much excited upon this subject. He hoped that when they ascertained the real state of the case, their wrath would be considerably abated.

Amendment agreed to.

In the clause setting forth the names of the Commissioners, the name of the right hon. Earl Stanhope was inserted.


proposed—after the name of Alexander Hastie—to insert the name of the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. Dunlop). The Commissioners already appointed were eleven in number, four of whom were Peers, five lawyers, one country gentleman, and one magistrate. It appeared, then, there was only one of the Commissioners who represented the town people. He thought that the hon. Member for Greenock had greatly distinguished himself by his valuable suggestions and Amendments during the progress of the Bill, and he was quite sure that the addition of the name would tend to give the people of Scotland much confidence in the proceedings of the Commissioners. He hoped that the Lord Advocate would not refuse the insertion of his name.


begged to add his request to that of the hon. Member for Dartmouth. He believed that the hon. Member for Greenock had the full confidence of the people of Scotland.


said, the composition of a Commission of this kind was a step of great importance. He was quite aware of the merits of the hon. Member for Greenock, and of the great and many services which that hon. and learned Gentleman had rendered. Nothing would give him greater pleasure than to acknowledge those merits by adding his name to the Commission, if he could only be assured that no further effort would be made to extend the number of the Commissioners. In giving his assent, therefore, he begged it to be distinctly understood, he did not wish to extend the number of the Commission beyond twelve.


was sure that no attempt would be made to add another name to the Commission. He, however, did not think that the Dissenting portion of the people of Scotland were properly represented on the Commission. All classes in Scotland would be extremely satisfied with the name of Mr. Dunlop on the Commission; and, under the circumstances, he did not think that any other name ought to be proposed.


concurred with what had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, that no name could be more satisfactory on the Commission than that of Mr. Dunlop. He thought, however, that another name should be added to represent the Dissenting interest.

MR. E. ELLICE (St. Andrews)

did not think that a better or abler man could be appointed on the Commission than the hon. Member for Greenock, and believed that the advantage of the measure would be better secured by the presence of his hon. Friend's name. He, however, concurred with the hon. Member for Glasgow in thinking that the Dissenting interest of Scotland ought to be better represented on the Commission. He had himself, received many representations from Scotland on this subject which he was unwilling to urge at the present time upon the Lord Advocate, knowing the difficulties he had to encounter in forming this Commission upon perfectly fair and impartial grounds. The only name upon it that was supposed to represent the Dissenters was that of Mr. Alexander Hastie. They ought not to forget that Scotland was as nearly as possible divided into three sections—namely, the Established Church, the Free Church, and the United Presbyterian body. He thought the best arrangement was at once to accede to the proposition of placing the hon. Member for Greenock (Mr. Dunlop's) name on the Commisson; but, upon the understanding that the Lord Advocate should take the opportunity between this and the third reading, of communicating with the Dissenting interest, and of putting another name with that of Mr. Alexander Hastie, to represent that same interest.


said, as several hon. Members were suggesting names, he would put in a claim for the country gentlemen. They all concurred in the propriety of inserting the name of the hon. and learned Gentleman in the Commission, but there was another name he should wish to see upon the Commission—namely, that of Colonel Muir, a gentleman who was formerly a Member of that House. He, however, thought upon the whole it was better to leave the responsibility of the names of the Commissioners upon the Government, and for the House itself to abstain from proposing any names.


said, it appeared to him that the number of the Commission ought to be thirteen. There was one gentleman whose name on the Commission, he knew, would give the greatest satisfaction to the Dissenters of Scotland. This was a gentleman who was well qualified to act as Commissioner, and who was, moreover, a medical man, by no means an unimportant consideration, when it was remembered that there was a large body of medical students deeply interested in the government of the Universities. He therefore proposed that the name of Dr. John Browne, jun., be inserted as a member of the Commission.


said, he was not certainly aware of its being intended to propose his name as a member of the Commission, and he offered his thanks to the hon. Member who made the Motion, and to his other hon. Friends who supported it. If he had been aware of such a course being intended he should have used his utmost efforts to endeavour to dissuade his friends from persevering in it, as he well knew the delicacy of those affairs. His great anxiety had ever been to see the Commission so framed as to avoid every occasion of jealousy or doubt. He was much gratified at the expressions of kindness with which his name had been received; but, so far as his personal feelings went, he should have preferred that his name had not been proposed.

Motion agreed to.

Name of Mr. DUNLOP inserted.


then moved the appointment of Dr. John Browne, jun.

MR. E. ELLICE (St. Andrews)

appealed to the Lord Advocate to assent to this addition. If the Commission went out as at present constituted, it would create great dissatisfaction.


put it to the House, whether he had not assented to the number of the Commissioners being increased to twelve by the addition of the name of the hon. Member for Greenock, upon the understanding that the Commission should not be further increased. He felt, therefore, quite justified in resisting this last addition.


said, he would certainly support the learned Lord in resisting the Motion. If the learned Lord were obliged to yield to the addition of one named, and then to the addition of another, they would be increasing the Commission to an unnecessary length.


said, if the House went to a division, he would support the proposition of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, for the appointment of Dr. John Browne, jun., than whom no better man could be found for the situation of Commissioner.

Question, "That the name of Dr. John Browne, jun., be there inserted," put, and negatived.


then moved the following clauses:— If Her Majesty shall be pleased at any time within the duration of the Commission, to grant a charter for the foundation of a National University for Scotland, the Scottish Universities named in this Act, or any of them, may, if they shall think fit, surrender to the Commissioners the powers of examining for and of granting degrees, with or without the exception of degrees in theology, and to become Colleges, one or more, as the case may be, of the said National University. Clause to follow Clause 15:— No such surrender or consent as is herein-before mentioned of any Scotch University named in this Act, with a view to becoming a College or Colleges of a National University for Scotland, shall be valid, except it be signified in writing by the Chancellor and by the University Court of the University concerned therein, nor except it be declared by the said Court that the said surrender or consent respectively is given with the approval of the Senatus Academicus, and likewise of the University Council.

Clauses agreed to.

In Clause 16,


proposed to insert in page 9, line 35, after the word "provided," the words, "That a faculty of arts, being such as shall afford a course of education sufficient to qualify students to be examined for degrees in arts, shall be maintained in each of the said King's College and Marischal College." The hon. and gallant Member said, he had received a telegraphic despatch from Aberdeen, showing that the Bill, as it stood, would be a breach of the articles of union, one stipulation of which was, that the Universities and Colleges of Scotland should remain as they were at the time of the Union for ever.


remarked upon the petitions that had been presented from certain rural labourers and other working people, expressing their belief that this proposed system of educating the people would prevent them from enjoying the advantages of those establishments. The Lord Advocate stated that those persons were ignorant of the merits of the measure; but the advocates in Aberdeen had expressed the same opinion, and the country gentlemen from all parts were also remonstrating against the union of the Colleges; and, lastly, the students of Aberdeen expressed a strong opinion on the subject. And now, in opposition to those united opinions, what authority was there on the other side. They had had the opinion of the Chancellor of King's College in Aberdeen; but that learned functionary had not expressed any desire for the recognition of this principle. If the House should determine otherwise, he (Lord Haddo) should regret it, but he would take it as an additional proof of the influence of the learned Lord Advocate in that House.


should remind the noble Lord and his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Sykes) that an important alteration had already taken place in the measure before the House, and the dis- tinction between the Amendment and the clause was therefore very much narrowed. Now, except as regarded the local situation of the building of the two colleges, they were entirely amalgamated. The effect of the clause itself would leave the Commissioners themselves to determine, upon full inquiry, whether it was necessary to have a duplicate set of professors in arts, &c. As far as regarded this question, he thought it better to leave the matter in the hands of the Commissioners. The proposal of the hon. and gallant Colonel really did nothing to meet the evil. The clause he proposed would fail to carry out the object which he had in view.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 47; Noes 142: Majority 95.

Clause 19.


proposed to add the following proviso:—"Provided always that it shall not be lawful for the Commissioners to apply any portion of such money to the salary of any Principals or Professors required to subscribe religious tests, and not included in the provisions of the Act 16 & 17 Vict., c. 89." Under this clause power is given to certain Commissioners to apply and appropriate, at their own discretion, monies to be hereafter granted by Parliament for purposes connected with the Scotch Universities. The object of his proviso was to prevent the Commissioners granting any part of these monies either for adding to the salaries of the present theological chairs, or for endowing new ones. According to an Act of the Scottish Parliament passed in the reign of Queen Anne, every principal or professor in a Scottish University was required to be a member of the Church of Scotland. But the provisions of that Act had been repealed, so far as the secular chairs went, by the Act 16 & 17 Vict., c. 89. So that at the present time it was only the theological Professors in the Scottish Universities who were required to subscribe tests; and his object was to prevent the theological Professors getting any of the money that may hereafter be granted by Parliament. At this moment two-thirds of the population of Scotland dissented from the Established Church. They were connected with the Free Church or the United Presbyterian Church, or one or other of the smaller religious denominations; and he (Mr. Baxter) objected, in their name, to any portion of the taxes of the United Kingdom being applied for the endowment of Professors who were necessarily connected with the Established Church to which these Dissenters did not belong, and from which they derived no benefit. But he had another argument, and one which, he had no doubt, would have even more weight with the House of Commons. If they passed this Bill without the proviso, they would have ecclesiastical controversy and struggle over the whole length and breadth of Scotland. They would have the Established Church coming to Members of Parliament, and begging them to carry the vote for these theological purposes; and, on the other hand, they would have a large non-conforming majority striving to secure the rejection of these votes. If they did not make a stand now, they would have a new Maynooth question—a second edition of the Regium Donum controversy—a controversy of bitterness and angry feeling both in Scotland and in that House. He cared not whether Members were Dissenters or Churchmen. He asked them whether this is the consummation they desired? He asked them whether they did not desire to see Ecclesiastical debates taken out of that House? If that were so, he begged them not to add another subject of Ecclesiastical controversy; and he begged the Scotch Members, a great part of whom opposed the grant to Maynooth, to preserve their consistency in this matter. He might appeal to men of all religious opinions not to take a course which would inevitably be but the beginning of strife. When he moved upon this subject in the Committee upon the Bill, the Lord Advocate took two objections to the course he proposed; and, first, that he proposed to fetter the free action of Parliament. Now, he (Mr. Baxter) proposed nothing of the kind. He proposed merely to fetter the Commissioners, the great body of whom are not members of the Church to which the majority of the people of Scotland belong. The second objection taken by the Lord Advocate was, that he should consistently have struck out all religious endowments already existing in the Established Church in connection with these chairs. That, however, was not then the question. They were not at that moment called upon to consider whether there should be an Established Church in any part of the United Kingdom. They were only called upon to discuss and decide whether the Church of Scotland should be further endowed by a vote which would be disputed every year in that House by Gentlemen who object to these votes, which would set one denomination in Scotland against another, and would be the means of reviving disputes which all wise and good men desired to see buried in oblivion. He had heard, to his great amazement, since he entered the House that night, that it was to be objected to his proviso; that it was very different from the proviso that he nearly carried on a previous occasion. He understood that some hon. Members had said that they were prepared to vote against endowing Professors in Theology, but not against endowing all Professors who were required to take religious tests which could include the Professors of Biblical Criticism and other matters which were not theology. But in the 16 & 17 Vict., he found the following definition of Chairs of Theology:— Which, for the purpose of this Act, shall be taken to mean Chairs of Divinity, Church History, Biblical Criticism, and Hebrew. So that his Motion is precisely the same in every respect as that for which these hon. Gentlemen voted on a previous day, and which, he understood, some of them would oppose this day. He submitted that they ought at once and for ever to get rid of these questions. He cared not whether the Commissioners were or were not likely to endow such professors. He asked the House now to stop in a course which could not, he was persuaded, be beneficial even to the Church of Scotland.

Amendment proposed,— In page 12, line 28, after the word "conferred" to insert the words, "Provided also, that it shall not be lawful for the Commissioners to apply any portion of such moneys for the salaries of Principals or Professors required to subscribe a religious test, and not included in the provisions of the sixteenth and seventeenth Victoria, chapter eighty-nine.

MR. ELLICE (St. Andrews)

said, that it appeared to him that the proposition of his hon. Friend was neither more nor less than an abstract declaration of voluntaryism. That might be very well were this a question of the voluntary principle; but there was nothing in the Bill that affected that privilege either directly or indirectly. He did not think that on looking through the Bill (with the exception, he was afraid, of the alteration just made in the constitution of the Commission) they could find any part of its provisions which could by any ingenuity be said to be hostile or un- fair to any religious denomination. On the contrary, it appeared to him to have been the laudable intention of the Lord Advocate, and in that he had been successful, to make the Bill, as far as he possibly could, a fair and equitable law as regarded all sects and denominations of religious denominations. What was the case before the House? They had a Bill which altered materially the present government of the Universities; and it appointed Commissioners to carry out such reforms as these Commissioners might upon inquiry find necessary. It also gave them power to administer the funds which might be provided by Parliament, amongst other things, for increasing the salaries at present attached to the Professorships and other officials in the Universities. If the Commissioners under the Bill had power to give money over which they had control to the Professors, amongst whom were the theological Professors, then he could understand what the Amendment was practically in point, but such was not the case. The Commissioners had no other power whatever than to recommend what they might think proper to Parliament; and they did not in that House know what their recommendation might be until it was on the table, and whether they might recommend the theological Professors for additional remuneration or not. Even supposing the Amendment of his hon. Friend carried, it did not at all control the Commissioners, because the Commissioners might still make that recommendation on behalf of the theological Professors. The real fact was, that the power still remained in Parliament. The theological Professors were not even named in the Bill. No funds were provided for raising the salaries by this Bill; and even if the Commissioners were to recommend the theological Professors as requiring additional remuneration under this clause, their Report would have to lie on the table of the House, and might either be assented to or dissented from by them. The money that would be required for meeting the recommendations of the Commissioners, and for adding to the salaries of the Professors, must hereafter be voted by Parliament, and then would arise the time when the Motion of his hon. Friend would be very apposite. But it is not so at the present moment, for it had nothing to do with anything contained in the Bill. When he saw that no practical object is to be gained by this Motion he must look for some other. He did not know whether the object of his hon. Friend was to commit the House or get the principle of maintaining the theological chairs in the Universities in connection with the Establishment. That proposition he did most thoroughly object to. He believed that theological Professors must be maintained in the Universities; and that being the case, and not seeing that there is anything in the Bill that warranted or had any reference to the matter alluded to in the proposition of his hon. Friend, he should feel it his duty to oppose it. He did not see any advantage in introducing into the Bill an element which had no proper connection with it, and which could only be regarded as a slur upon the able body of men who now filled the theological chairs. At the same time, he must admit the grave difficulty that there was in the way of calling upon Parliament to vote money for the purpose of theological chairs when tests were still required. He saw every year a growing indisposition to vote grants very analogous to these, as in the case of Ireland. He himself was strongly opposed to such grants, and he did not know very well that he could defend the application of one principle to Ireland and another to Scotland. Therefore he thought that if a Vote was to be proposed in that House for the additional endowment of the theological chairs it would meet with great opposition, and be open to very serious objection. But seeing that, and admitting the whole force of the abstract proposition involved in his hon. Friend's Amendment, he still could not help being very anxious that the position of the divinity Professors in Scotland should be improved. He believed it was generally admitted that theological teaching was inseparable from the University system of Scotland, and he believed that it is equally admitted that if there were to be theological Professors at the Universities—theological Professors useful to all denominations, for it is not only the students belonging to the Established Church but to all denominations in Scotland that they taught—it was necessary, for the safety of the students, that the persons who bad charge of the theological teaching should be subjected to some test for the security of the students over whom they presided. He thought, then, if that was admitted, as he believed it was generally, that it was essential that the chairs, if they were maintained at all, should be maintained in their efficiency, so that the respect due to their position might be kept up. Now, seeing the difficulty that there was in the way of a grant of public money in aid of these Professorships, he did hope that the Commissioners, in concert with the Government, would be able to derive some means out of existing funds applicable to such purposes, to raise the condition of their Professors without having recourse to tax the public funds. He could only say that he thought this would meet the exigency of the case. He was quite sure that there was no body of men who, from the zeal and assiduity they had employed, were more worthy of the respect of all denominations in Scotland, than were the theological Professors. He was sure that there were no body of people who more deserved public sympathy and support in the position they had to fill.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 102; Noes 118: Majority 16.

Bill to be read 3o To-morrow, and to be printed.