HC Deb 25 June 1858 vol 151 cc395-414

Ordered,That the Committee of the Whole House on the Universities (Scotland) Bill have leave to sit this day till Four of the clock, and to report at Six of the clock.

House in Committee.

Clause 1, (which provides for the union of King's and Marischal Universities and Colleges in Aberdeen.)

COLONEL SYKES moved the omission of the words "and Colleges," with a view to prevent the union of King's College and Marischal College, Aberdeen, so far as it involved the fusion of the two Faculties of Arts. Such a union was opposed to the design of the founders, and would violate the spirit of many of the collegiate bequests. Marischal College was founded 100 years after King's College to provide for the wants of the citizens of new Aberdeen, who had from time to time made considerable additions to its endowments, and had only recently contributed £8,000 to renew its buildings—the one College accommodated Old Aberdeen, which was little more than a village in population, but the College was much frequented by students from the northern counties; the other continued more specially to accommodate New Aberdeen, now a city in population, and both had always succeeded in carrying out the objects for which they were founded. Several attempts had been made in past times to unite the two Colleges into a University, but such attempts had always failed, because they were dictated by the same spirit that animated the supporters of fusion in the present Bill. They proceeded upon the principle that, in addition to the union of the other Faculties in both Colleges, the Chairs of Arts in one of the Colleges should be suppressed; and the consequence was, these proposals had invariably prevented the union of the two Universities — a very desirable measure. The whole north of Scotland, with the exception of some fifty to seventy persons, and who could not venture upon a public meeting, had petitioned against the Bill, and in one of the petitions it was stigmatised as a "wanton violation of the plainest vested rights" of the two Colleges. This was strong off language, but it was perfectly justifiable. None of the endowments had ever been misapplied. There was not the slightest pretence for saying so; and there could be no doubt that any interference with them would be seriously detrimental to the interest of the public, particularly to poor students for whom there were above one hundred small bursaries in Marischal College. The object of his Amendment was to establish one University with two Colleges. In favour of the other scheme, a complete fusion of the two Colleges, there were only some eight or ten professors who had personal interest at issue and fifty or sixty inhabitants of the whole district. The Graduates of both Colleges, Kings and Marischals, had repeatedly and unanimously, in public meeting assembled, declared strongly against the fusion. The Principal and five senior Professors of Marischal College were opposed to it; the three newspapers of Aberdeen, although differing in interests, were all as one on this question, and strongly against the fusion; the clergy of all denominations, without exception, over the whole north-eastern counties took the same view, and every public body, had passed resolutions in favour of maintaining the two Faculties of Arts—and the proofs of these assertions were established by the petitions he (Colonel Sykes) had presented to the House. Was there any pretext, therefore, was it justifiable even to assert that this was a mere local prejudice or an unenlightened opposition to a useful measure? There was no public advantage to be gained. The fusion outraged the feelings of all the inhabitants of Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland, and he was at a loss to know what could be the learned Lord's motive for insisting upon his own views in opposition to such general manifestations. The citizens of Aberdeen, with very few exceptions, the meetings of the Commissioners of Supply of the north-eastern counties, the Provincial Synods of the Established, Free, and United Presbyterian Churches, the Advo- cates of Aberdeen, and other public bodies, had passed strong resolutions against the proposition of the learned Lord. The resolutions of the committee of graduates and Alumni of King's College—the constituency of the learned Gentleman in his capacity of rector of that Institution, contained this passage:— That the committee are decidedly opposed to those clauses of the Lord Advocate's Bill which in any way interfere with the separate and independent existence of King's and Marischal Colleges, as emulative schools in the Faculty of Arts, or with the application of trust funds belonging to those Institutions. If the learned Lord were indifferent to the wishes and feelings of the people of Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland, would not the wishes of the learned Gentleman's own constituents have some weight with him? Did the learned Gentleman desire to make waste paper of a Royal Charter, to violate the law when he should be the conservator of the law; to confiscate private endowments which had not failed in their objects, and to outrage the feelings and wishes of the intelligent inhabitants of a large city, and generally of the population of the north-east of Scotland, and substitute his sic volo, sic jubeo for reason and justice? He could not believe that the learned Gentleman has any such view or determination, and in case he had, he felt assured that a majority of the Commons of England would not give his their support. He therefore, with confidence, moved that the words "and Colleges," &c. be omitted.

Amendment proposed in page 1, line 14, to leave out the words "and College."


rose to oppose the Amendment, and said, Sir, having expressed my sentiments very fully upon this branch of the subject on the second reading of the Bill, I will endeavour to be as brief as possible. In dissenting from the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, I would remind the Committee that the question of the union of the two Aberdeen Colleges is no new question—on the contrary, it is one which forced itself upon the public mind, and the attention of the Government of that day, so far back as 1640, within a few years after the foundation of Marischal College; and although, in the interval of more than two centuries, some nine or ten proposals of settlement have been propounded, yet it would seem that, without the intervention of Parliament, a satisfactory solution of the question is as far off as ever. Sir, it appears to me that, among the many changes which have been suggested, the only mode of settlement which can be considered satisfactory is that which provides for the entire union of the two Colleges, whether as to property and goverment, or as to instruction and discipline—and for this reason, because such a union affords the best guarantee for the better application of the existing funds of the two establishments, by consolidating the management, by abolishing unnecessary professorships, and by supplying existing deficiencies, and thus extending the means of effective teaching. Now, Sir, it will no doubt be asked, what are the disadvantages of the present state of separation, which it is so desirable to correct? To that question my answer is, that as separate establishments the two institutions do not afford a complete course of academical instruction even in the faculty of Arts, and certainly not in any of the higher branches of science; and, however much disposed, they are not in a position from their own resources, to introduce the necessary improvements. Each College is deficient in certain professorships which the other possesses. In both, certain chairs which are essential are wanting—and I believe that at least one or two chairs are mere sinecures. The actual state of the two Colleges is thus described in a letter which I hold in my hand.—[Sir WILLIAM here read an extract from a letter pointing out the existing defects.]—Such is the present condition of the two Aberdeen Colleges. It is certainly one which, as is truly said by the writer of this letter, is not creditable to the age in which we live; and the question, therefore, for the Legislature to decide is—"Shall such a state of things be allowed to continue—and if not, how is it to be remedied?" Now, there are only two ways in which an effectual remedy can be applied. Either the two Colleges must separately be fully equipped and thus enabled independently to realise the objects for which they were severally founded, or a complete union of the two imperfect Colleges must be effected and a university established, complete in all the faculties, and suited to the requirements of the time. To the former of these plans I imagine that Parliament cannot be expected to assent, because it would involve a needless expenditure of public money, and the wants of the country do not require it. Accordingly no parties have ventured to make such a demand, though the ground which many of them have taken up would necessarily lead to it. The other plan — which is the plan embodied in the Bill—is the object of vigorous opposition in Aberdeen and the surrounding districts, and is condemned, along with its supporters, in no measured terms—but has my learned Friend the Lord Advocate acted unwisely in embodying that plan in the Bill because it is so condemned? I for one do not share in that opinion. Sir, we can have no higher authority to appeal to on this subject than the Royal Commission of 1857. That Commission consisted of my hon. Friend the Member for Perthshire, and two other gentlemen, than whom, whether in point of literary attainments or in any other respect, there are no three persons, in Scotland at least, more competent to pronounce an authoritative and reliable opinion upon such a subject. They had before them every scheme which had been previously suggested, and every information that could throw light upon the subject matter of their inquiry, and after the fullest consideration they came to the deliberate conclusion that a complete union of the two Colleges was not only free from the objections to which every other plan was liable, but it was entitled to a preference, "As being best calculated speedily and effectually to remedy the existing defects, and secure the full future benefit of combined and harmonious action. The entire consolidation of funds for which it provides affords the surest guarantee for their beneficial application, whether by suppressing superfluities, or supplying deficient professorships, by increasing the emoluments of those inadequately endowed, or extending the means of effective teaching by augmenting the required apparatus. This plan also holds out the best prospect of a speedy termination of those unhappy jealousies and dissensions, academical or personal, which can hardly fail to recur so long as the Colleges remain separate, but for which it is difficult to see what cause or opportunity could remain, were the now antagonistic bodies and their interests completely blended and united in the mode here contemplated. The Committee will thus observe that in these two or three short paragraphs, the Commissioners refer to the defects which require to be remedied—the remedy which would be most efficacious—and the advantages direct and otherwise that would flow from it. But not satisfied with that unequivocal expression of opinion, the Commissioners proceed to fortify that opinion by a weight of authority which cannot fail to command the respect of every unprejudiced mind. "It is also no slight argument (say they) in favour of this complete and comprehensive mode of settlement, that on so many occasions during the past century it has been promoted or sanctioned by those public bodies, and leading members of the community, who were most nearly interested in the question, or best qualified by their position and attainments to judge impartially of its merits, by the Commission of 1826, by the Member for the city, Mr. Bannerman, in his Bill of 1835, and by the Commission of which he was a member, appointed in the ensuing year, by the two Colleges conjointly in 1754 and 1854, and in the latter year by the Provost and Town Council, by Mr. Thomson of Banchory, now convener of the county of Aberdeen, by Mr. G. Thompson, then M.P. for the city, by the Government of Lord Aberdeen, and personally by the distinguished nobleman as Chancellor of King's College." Well, Sir, with such a weight of testimony before him in favour of complete union, so far from being surprised at the course my learned Friend, the Lord Advocate has taken, I should indeed have been surprised if he had not dealt with the difficulty in the only way in which it can effectually and permanently be dealt with. But, Sir, I understood my hon. Friend, the Member for Perthshire, the other night to say that, yielding to the pressure of local feeling, which, let me remind the House, has fluctuated from year to year, now for and then against the plan of union, he had felt himself obliged to a certain extent to modify Ids original views; at the same time, he gave the Lord Advocate a friendly warning that "if any Commissioner were sent to the north to carry the provisions of the Bill into effect, he would have to be backed by at least something more than moral force." Now, if I did not know that my hon. Friend is the last person in the world who would or could be influenced by such apprehensions, I should almost have imagined that a presentiment that he might be the unlucky envoy accredited with so dangerous a mission had had something to do with his change of opinion. But be that as it may, while I do not wish to undervalue the strength and sensitiveness of local feeling, I cannot help expressing my belief that if this Bill were passed, such are the advantages which it confers, that anything like hostile feeling would soon subside, and under any circumstances, I am of opinion, that it is the duty of Parliament, when voting money from the public purse for the improvement of the academical institutions of Scotland, to deal with a question of such importance not on the narrow basis of local convenience but on the broad ground of national benefit. Having said this much upon the expediency of the union of the two Colleges, I will now proceed to make a few brief remarks upon the objections which have been urged against the union both in and out of the House. The first and principal objection is, that the union is tantamount to a suppression of Marischal College. That is an objection which might with equal truth apply to King's College; but as it is one which is calculated to make an impression upon persons who are ignorant of the details of what is proposed, I would ask where, within the compass of this Bill, there is to be found any evidence whatever of an intention to suppress either College, or the one College more than the other. On the contrary, I find that by Clause 21, the Commissioners who are to be appointed under the Bill to carry its provisions into effect are required to have special regard to the reports of the University Commissioners under previous Commissions; and the proposal made by those Commissioners, as I understand it, is to divide equally between the two Colleges the four faculties of which the University will consist. But then it is said that besides the two faculties to be assigned to each College, Marischal College ought or has a claim to be secured in a full Faculty of Arts; and why should it be so? To endow two complete Faculties of Arts within the same university would require a considerable expenditure of public money, whereas by uniting the two faculties, after providing the necessary endowments, a considerable annual surplus would remain for the endowment of other chairs in the University. Again, it is said that by combining the faculties, the classes will be too large for effective teaching. To that objection my answer is that they will not be so large as the corresponding classes in Edinburgh and Glasgow, that the Bill provides for assistants to those classes which may require it. This will enable the Professor to arrange his class, and to teach all his pupils thoroughly, instead of being compelled, as he now is, to adapt his instructions to the average attainments of his pupils. Another objection is one which I can hardly regard as a valid objection to a measure of great public importance. It is that a distance between King's College and Aberdeen is inconveniently great. Now, I am informed that the distance is less than a mile—that many of the students of King's College live from choice in New Aberdeen—and that the sons of those citizens of Aberdeen, who hold bursaries at King's College, find it no inconvenience, and that not a few of those who are among the most active opponents of the Bill, professedly on this ground, have actually been in the habit for some years past of sending their sons to a school in the Old Town, nearly a quarter of a mile beyond King's College. It would be easy so to arrange the hours of teaching as to prevent more than one journey to and fro daily. Besides all this, I am told that only one-third of the students at Marischal College are natives of Aberdeen. With regard to the objection which is founded upon the assumption that the expense of education will be so increased as to deter many from entering the University—all I have to say is that the power of regulating the course of study, and the fees, is left with the Commissioners, and subsequently with an independent University Court, who will doubtless adapt their regulations to the means of those classes which are intended to be benefited by the University. Another, and a farther ground of opposition to the Bill is, that it is supported chiefly by those Professors who expect or intend to derive the benefits that may be expected to accrue from the suppression of certain of the Professorships. My answer to that objection is, that between the Professors and the intention attributed to them (if it does exist), the Act interposes the Commissioners, one of whose special duties it is to see that the funds of the University are properly appropriated. Then another and a very favourite argument is, that the two Colleges ought to be maintained to keep up what is called a spirit of competition. Now, if to underbid each other in the matter of university privilege, and so to lower the standard of qualification and education, is a species of competition to be desired, then I believe I am right in stating that such a competition, if no other, does exist—but I, for my part, am of opinion that, instead of keeping up a spirit of jealousy and rivalry with each other, it were better far to encourage the two Colleges, combined as the University of Aberdeen, to enter on the less ignoble field of rivalry with the other Universities of Scotland. With regard to the principle of union advocated by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, I feel bound to say that it is not easy to discover what it is that he precisely aims at. On the one hand, by his Amendment on Clause 1, he would exclude the Commissioners from meddling with the funds of Marischal College, for university purposes, while on the other hand, his Amendments on Clause 16 would imply that they were at liberty to interfere with its internal economy, and therefore with its property. I can only say that his plan of union would not effect the objects he has in view, bat as I cannot express my sentiments on this part of the subject in more forcible or intelligible language than the Royal Commissioners, I will conclude my remarks by quoting their words, which are these:— A union merely for what are called university purposes may safely be set aside, as providing no substantial remedy for the practical disadvantages of the present system. It lops off no superfluities, supplies no deficiencies, secures no improved application of the existing funds, while the injurious effects of the present academical rivalry would perhaps be aggravated rather than mitigated on the new arena provided for its exercise. It is not probable that two bodies, animated by separate feelings and interests during the rest of the year, would act with the cordial harmony essential to secure impartial and judicious measures, when called together, once annually, to legislate on the points on which those feelings originated. Sir, I have not a word to add to the opinion so clearly expressed by the Commissioners, and I shall, therefore, give my cordial support to the Bill at it stands.


said, his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) had dwelt at so much length upon the strong feeling which prevailed in Aberdeen and in many districts of the north-east of Scotland upon the subject, that he would not further allude to it. He would confine himself to utilitarian arguments. The hon. Gentleman then proceeded to point out the great and growing inconvenience which would be felt by the citizens of Aberdeen if they had to send their children from the furthest parts of the City to King's College. It was not, he urged, intended to keep separate the higher classes, the Faculties of Medicine, Law, or Theology. These classes were attended by young men who could with great propriety live alone in lodgings, as in the German Universities. It was, however, undesirable that the good Scotch custom of boys from fourteen to seventeen attending the junior classes of the University while they lived with their parents should be in any way disturbed. Again, while he was quite ready to admit that there must always be a contemporary authority which may review and redistribute, if need be, the funds of educational endowments, he could not view with approbation the diversion from the uses to which it was intended of the large sum of £7,000 or £8,000 which had been contributed by persons, of whom many were still living, towards the new buildings of Marischal College. The existing system, he was free to admit, was very bad. The competition of the rival Universities kept down the standard of education; but this could not be said of two Faculties of Arts, which would act on each other exactly as Trinity acted on St. John's at Cambridge, or Balliol on Christchurch at Oxford. Such competition did simple good. A healthy emulation was excited, and the students became "rivals in renown." There was another aspect of the question, which seemed to him of great importance. The competition of the Colleges kept down the fees. Now, many of the English and all the Scotch Members present were doubtless aware that a large portion of the students, more especially at King's College, were very far from well off. Not a few actually supported themselves during the vacation by manual labour. To such persons the addition of a pound or two to the sessional fees would be a sad misfortune. It might be said that a Commission would regulate the fees. This was true; but how long would their regulations remain unchanged? The Professors were, he was well aware, both just and generous; but in the long run their interests might, if they were under the ordinary laws of human nature, be expected to prevail, and how were they to be opposed? who were their opponents?—the scattered peasantry of the north of Scotland, without organization and without influence. It was said by some of the supporters of the fusion scheme, "If you unite the incomes of the professors in the Faculties of Arts in the two Colleges, you will attract to Aberdeen men of greater eminence than you now succeed in attracting." He (Mr. Grant Duff) very much doubted this. Any one who knew the present state of Oxford or Cambridge—the present Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), who sat opposite, could set him right if he was about to make an erroneous assertion—was perfectly aware that, if you went into the "learning market" and offered salaries of £400 a year to young men of twenty-five or twenty-six, with a good position and work for only five months out of the twelve, you would get very much the same men as you would get if you offered twice that sum. What was the state of things even now? Why, at Marischal College you had Professor Maxwell, one of the most distinguished Cambridge men of his day; and only a year or two ago, an Oxford man, whose position in his own University was not inferior to Professor Maxwell's, was an unsuccessful candidate for the Greek Chair at King's College. Let the salaries of the Professors be raised by all means. He (Mr. Grant Duff) would only be too happy if every professor in Scotland had £1,000 a year. But let them be raised in another way. The Lord Advocate might rest assured that, if the position of the Scotch Universities was elevated—and elevated it assuredly would be if this Bill passed, amended as he hoped to see it amended—many large sums of money which were now applied to the erection of such buildings as Donaldson's Hospital would be applied to augment professorships, to found fellowships, and to endow new chairs. Let the learned Lord think of the Dick Bequest, and trust to Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray. Let him yield in a matter which, important as it was to the people of Aberdeen, could not be to him (the Lord Advocate) a very important matter. Let him remember that, if the arrangement proposed by Colonel Sykes did not work well, it could at any time be altered; and let him reward those who were willing to go with him three-fourths of his journey by not compelling them to go the remaining fourth against their inclination.


said, he was unable to ascertain what public advantage was to be gained by the union of the colleges of Aberdeen. He was told that some amount of money would be saved by that provision, but he believed that the saving would be utterly contemptible. At all events, he should like to have been informed of the amount which it was thought would justify them in setting at nought the united wishes of a whole district of Scotland. The county of Aberdeen contained one-seventh of the whole population of Scotland, and contributed three-fourths of the students who were educated at the Universities of Aberdeen. That county was almost unanimous in its opposition to this provision. Not only the landowners and commissioners of supply, but the clergy also, who were well qualified to speak upon this subject, were of opinion that this clause would injuriously affect the interests of education in the North of Scotland. The opinion of one of the Royal Commissioners was also entitled to respect, and he in his place in Parliament had expressed his objection to this obnoxious provision. These Universities were ancient institutions, which for centuries had conducted education in that part of the country. Both were capable of giving instruction to the students who resorted to them, and of granting degrees, and the maintenance of those two institutions in a state of complete efficiency and independence was an object which was cherished with the strongest anxiety in that part of the country. The provision with respect to the union of the two colleges of Aberdeen did not affect the principle of the measure, and might be left for future consideration, and he was sure, if the learned Lord Advocate would waive that portion of the Bill, and would be content for the present with the union of the two Universities, his acquiescence in the general wish would be received with universal satisfaction.


looked upon the Bill as a great boon to the people of Scotland, and thought that they were indebted to the learned Lord for the pains which he had taken with a measure which must be regarded as both comprehensive and liberal. The question involved in the first clause could not be isolated from the remainder of the Bill, although at first sight it might appear to relate to Aberdeen exclusively; because it must have an influence upon the amount of the Parliamentary grant. If it were unnecessary, as he contended, to maintain double classes in Arts in the two Colleges, to do so was pro tanto to starve, not only the other classes in Aberdeen, but the other Universities, and they would consequently be called upon pro tanto to increase the grant. The Bill was founded in its main particulars upon the able Report of the Commission of 1830, which had been presided over by the Earl of Rosebery. The Commissioners stated that the propriety of uniting the two institutions into one University had, at a very early period, been time subject of their serious consideration, and that they had arrived at the conclusion that it would be highly expedient that a union should take place; for they believed that by such a union the system of instruction might be rendered more extensive and complete. They then went on to recommend an entire union of the Colleges, as well of the Universities, and in every case they proposed that there should be one professor in each Faculty. As he understood the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Colonel Sykes), he was willing to admit a union of the two Colleges in respect of the Faculties of Theology, Law, and Medicine, and proposed that they should be separate only as regarded the Faculty of Arts. He thought it might answer the views of all if Latin, Greek, and Mathematics were taught in duplicate in both Colleges. When a Member of the Government of Lord Aberdeen, he had been desired by the noble Earl to go down to Aberdeen, and ascertain what was the possibility of effecting this union of the two Universities and Colleges. He had gone there, and put up at an hotel, the sign of which was "The Union," which he took for a good omen. Having heard of the objection about the distance of the two Colleges, he thought it right to ascertain for himself; so he set out to walk from New Aberdeen to King's College, and was quite surprised to find himself there so soon and so pleasantly. When on the way, he had talked with several of the students, and found that they made no difficulty about the matter. He had seen a great many parties who had taken an interest in the question, and he came away with the impression that a union of both Colleges and Universities, providing two or three duplicate chairs, might be carried out with the general assent of the people of Aberdeen. On his return to London he had embodied his views, and had sketched out a plan for the union in an official letter, which was sent down to Aberdeen in answer to a memorial from the Town Council to the Government desiring that a Bill might be introduced; but it appeared that a sudden change had taken place in public opinion there, and his scheme was disapproved by the local authorities. Lord Aberdeen, of course, then washed his hands of the matter altogether. The real cause of the difficulty in carrying out this beneficial proposition was the local jealousies of Old and New Aberdeen. He denied that public feeling in Aberdeen and in the north of Scotland was so unanimous or so deserving of consideration as had been represented. It might be quite true that the feeling at that moment, in the year of grace 1858, and in the present month of June, was strong and united, but was there any certainty that it would continue so? It was a curious vacillating thing this public feeling of Aberdeen, at least as represented by its leading men and public bodies. There were gentlemen in Aberdeen—gentlemen of great intelligence —and whose opinion was deserving of the highest respect—whom he had supposed, on the occasion of his visit, to be entirely in favour of a union to a greater or less extent, but whom he found now taking the most active part against any fusion. And as for the Town Council, he had been furnished with a striking account of the way in which that body had changed its views. The noble Lord then read a series of extracts from Resolutions of the Town Council, beginning in 1854 and ending in May last, showing considerable diversity of opinion at different times. Some such plan as he had proposed would, he thought, be found advantageous; but, if that could not be got, he hoped the House would pass the measure introduced by the Lord Advocate.


wished to add his testimony to that of the noble Lord (Lord Haddo) as to the strong feeling in Aberdeen against the fusion of the two Colleges in question. The general feeling in the country was also strongly against the proposal.

MR. ELLICE (Coventry)

said, that although he had not the honour of being a Scotch Member, he was a Scotchman, and had, though he feared unworthily, received the degree of M.A. from the Marischal College. He should, indeed, be ungrateful for the instruction which he received under the excellent teaching of Dr. Brown if he did not stand up in defence of that College. The people of the north of Scotland were shrewd enough, and might, he thought, be allowed to understand their own business. They did not want the advice either of his noble Friend (Lord Elcho) or of the hon. Gentleman below him (Sir William Dunbar). The noble Lord had been in Aberdeen in a sort of dilletanti character, had enjoyed a pleasant walk, and got some information from the boys on the road. It was, he presumed, summer when the noble Lord was there. But he would have found the walk rather more unpleasant if, as the students were com- pelled to do, he had to take it twice a day in the five winter months, the period of the session, which lasts from November till March. A union of the two Universities might be a step in the right direction; but a union of the Universities did not necessarily involve a union of the Colleges. For his own part, he would not object to the union of the whole of the Scotch Universities as Universities; probably the standard of education would by that means be placed higher, and then a Scotch degree would come to have more value than had hitherto been put upon it. The union of the two Universities of Aberdeen went so far that way, and, therefore, he approved of it; but he must object to the fusion of the Colleges or the swamping of either. He was influenced not by public feeling in this matter, but by a wish to promote education; and, in his opinion, the more emulative colleges they had the better, provided they were maintained in such a state of efficiency as, on the whole, the Aberdeen Colleges had been; but, at the same time, he could not shut his eyes to the fact that the sagacious inhabitants of the city and county of Aberdeen, and the other parts of the north of Scotland, were opposed to the union of the Colleges. He might be allowed to refer to his recollection what these Colleges were, and the kind of education they furnished. Marischal College could then boast of Dr. Brown, who was the best classical scholar of his day; of Dr. Hamilton, the author of the excellent work on the National Debt; of Dr. Beattie, the Professor of Moral Philosophy; Processor Copland; and many other eminent men. And the teaching in Marischal College was of a practical kind, such as could not then, and, he believed, could not yet, be obtained in the great Universities of England. They got not merely the dry abstract study of mathematics. He himself had gone out with the Professor and his theodolite and other apparatus to apply the knowledge acquired to surveying and land-measuring. It was the same in Professor Copland's admirable class. Everything had a practical direction. In this way were reared those enterprising Scotchmen who were to be found pushing their fortune and spreading the fame of their country in every part of the world. He was satisfied that he (Mr. Ellice) and his father between them had seen from the north of Scotland sixty or seventy such men who had prospered in North America. He knew students who lodged at the bakers or butchers of Aberdeen for five months on £10, in order to study at Marischal College, and then returned to work on their fathers' farm during the harvest. A great portion of Aberdeenshire and Kin-cardineshire during the last two or three generations had been purchased by men who received their education at Marischal College, went to the Colonies, made fortunes, and returned to their country to adorn it. They should take care how they dealt with institutions of that kind. Let them improve this College at Aberdeen as much as they wished; but let them have provision for training young men, the sons of hard-working clergymen and farmers in the north of Scotland, who might go out into the world, earn their fortunes, and return to their native country to benefit and adorn it. He thought, notwithstanding what he said, that the learned Lord was entitled to praise for his efforts to improve education in Scotland. There were great difficulties in the way, which he was willing to allow for; but he thought he ought not to press this portion of his measure, which was not essential, against the strongly-expressed opinion of the people of the north of Scotland. With regard to the general provisions of the Bill, he was adverse to their application, generally speaking, of public funds to local purposes—the Scotch survey, for instance, he thought a lavish expenditure of a large sum of money —but he thought Scotch education had some little claim, and he thought the people of that country were very modest in asking only for £10,000 to improve their national education. At the same time, he wished that vigilance should be exercised over the expenditure of that money, and that no portion of it should be applied to sectarian purposes.


said, he wished to express his gratification that there appeared to be an almost universal feeling in favour of the general scope of the Bill under consideration. With respect to the particular clause before the Committee he was at a loss to understand how the union of the two colleges of Aberdeen could impair the efficiency of the education imparted at the University, or limit the class of students who would resort to it. So far as he could gather there was no opposition to the union of the two Universities of Aberdeen, but with respect to the colleges there appeared to be at all events a division of opinion. The hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes), following up his present Amendment, proposed to keep the property and funds and revenues of the two colleges distinct; but yet he did not propose that there should be double professorships in all the faculties. There would, therefore, be a union of the professorships in three out of the four faculties—law, art, and medicine, and the consequence would be that it would be impossible, at least to that extent, to keep the funds and revenues of the two colleges distinct. He contended then, that in this respect the plan of the hon. and gallant Gentleman was inconsistent and impracticable. The supporters of the Amendment seemed to take it for granted that the clause would inflict a hardship upon Marischal College; but why it should inflict a hardship upon Marischal College and not upon King s College he was unable to understand; or, rather, he could not see what injury would be done to either by substituting one substantial well-provided and efficient University for two half-starved inefficient and antagonistic institutions. He had heard no tangible objection urged to the scheme of union as proposed in the Bill, and while he had all authority on his side, and was fortified by the report of the Commissioners, he had arrayed against him nothing but what he must term local views and prejudices. The Earl of Aberdeen had recently expressed himself in favour of a complete union of both Colleges and Universities; and, speaking of the prejudice which prevailed in the north of Scotland against it, he described it as doing more credit to their feeling than their judgment. The report of the recent Commission had certainly surprised him not a little; for, while the Commissioners expressed themselves strongly in favour of a complete fusion and amalgamation, they stated that there was a strong prejudice against it on the part of a great mass of the community whom it was intended to benefit, and in deference to that prejudice they recommended the adoption of the least preferable measure. A Royal Commission was the last body whom he should expect to act on the principle video meliora proboque, deteriora seqor. On the whole, he saw no reason for agreeing to the Amendment, and he hoped that the Committee would reject it.


said, that the speech of his noble Friend opposite (Lord Elcho) had greatly enhanced the opinion he had of the noble Lord's activity. He had dwelt at great length on his visit to Aberdeen. He had put up at the "Union Hotel," and had thence derived a good omen—a proof that he had not gone there without a preconceived notion—he had seen everything and everybody, and had talked to many of the little boys in the streets. All this he had told with great care and minuteness; but he did not mention the fact that the time spent on the careful and impartial inquiry which enabled him to make up his mind so conclusively was only twenty-four hours. [Lord ELCHO—"Forty-eight hours."] The Commissioners went to Aberdeen as well as his noble Friend (Lord Elcho). They remained there ten days, and the result was the Report on the table which spoke for itself. If the Bill as it stood was carried into effect the Commissioners would stand in a strange and difficult position in Aberdeen. Public feeling there was very strong, but he did not think it would be shown in an indecorous or improper manner. The plan of his learned Friend was, perhaps, more symmetrical and more reasonable, but did they always legislate in that House on the rules of pure symmetry and reason? Did they legislate for India on principles of pure reason? The Earl of Aberdeen, whose authority, no doubt, was of great weight, at the same time that he expressed himself in favour of the fusion, also said he would not be responsible for the feeling which would be generated by such a scheme. The scheme of the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) came nearer to what the Commissioners proposed, and he should, therefore, support his Ammendment.


said, that if the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Sykes) adopted the suggestion that there should be duplicate chairs for Greek, Latin, and mathematics, he should not be disposed to oppose his Amendment. He denied that the whole of the North of Scotland was in favour of the proposition of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, as lie was of opinion that all unprejudiced persons in every part of Scotland were in favour of the union of the two Colleges. For his own part he certainly felt much unwillingness to sanction the payment of £2,000 or £3,000 a year for the maintenance of a rivalry between the two Universities of Aberdeen, which had existed for centuries to the great detriment of the cause of education.

Question put "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 125; Noes 90; Majority 35.


said, that he should raise the Question again on the bringing up of the Report.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 2,


said, he rose to Move to leave out "appointed in the same manner as at present," and insert "elected by the general council hereinafter mentioned," with the view of providing that the Chancellors, instead of being appointed as at present, should be elected by the General Council.


said, that the Chancellors were now elected by the Senatus Academicus, and as they had hitherto elected the very class of persons whom one would wish to see Chancellors, he saw no reason for the Amendment.


said, he would prefer that the appointment should be made by Her Majesty. In Edinburgh there was at present no Chancellor, and the learned Lord Advocate showed what his opinion was by proposing that the new Chancellor for the University of Edinburgh should be appointed by Her Majesty. He should support the Amendment of his right hon. Friend in preference to the mode of appointment proposed by the Bill.


said, he should support the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie).


said, he thought that too much power was given throughout the Bill to the Senatus Academicus. He should, therefore, support the Amendment.


, said that, as the appointment of the Chancellor by the General Council would carry more weight with it, he was authorized by the Lord Advocate to say that he would accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3,


said, he would propose an Amendment to the effect that the Court of the University should be open so that the public might know what was going on. This was in consonance with the recommendation of the Commissioners.

Amendment proposed in page 2, line 23, after "shall," to insert the words "be an open court, and shall."


said, this was a matter which should be left to the discretion of the University authorities. He should, therefore, oppose the Amendment. Many subjects were discussed which it might not be desirable to make public. He deprecated any attempt to force upon the University and authorities to keep their courts always open. There was nothing in the Bill which prevented the Courts from being open if the authorities thought fit to have them open.

Amendment negatived.


said, he should move as an Amendment in page 2, line 26, after "vote," to insert "four shall be a quorum; and the rector and assessors hereinafter mentioned shall continue in office for four years, and no principal or professor of any university shall be eligible to the office of Rector."


opposed the Amendment.

Amendment withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4,


said, he wished to give notice that he would take the sense of the House on the bringing up of the Report on certain Amendments which stood on the paper in his name, but would not now detain the Committee.


proposed, in line 28, to leave out "and whole professors," and insert "and of two professors to be annually elected as delegates by the whole professors of each of the faculties of arts, medicine, law, and theology existing."


said, he must oppose the Amendment, as he was satisfied with the clause as it stood in the Bill.


said, he also opposed the Amendment.

Amendment withdrawn.

Clause 4 (Powers of the Senatus Academicus).


said, he should propose, as an Amendment, to omit certain words which gave to the Senatus the power of administering the property and revenues of the University.

Amendment proposed in page 2, line 23, to leave out the words "and administer its property and revenues."


opposed the Amendment.

House resumed.

Committee report progress; to sit again this day.