HC Deb 28 June 1858 vol 151 cc507-24

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clause 4, line 33.

Question again proposed, "That the words 'and administer its property and revenues' stand part of the Clause."

MR. DUNLOP moved, to omit from the clause the words:—"And administer its property and revenue." His object was to withhold from the Senatus Academicus the power of managing the property of each of these Universities. The Bill, as originally introduced, contained a clause, construing the word "Universities" to include "Colleges." But the clause had been struck out, and "Colleges" were no longer included in the measure. The first clause, therefore, referred exclusively to the property of Universities, and he did not know what his hon. and learned Friend, the Lord Advocate, proposed to do with regard to the property of Colleges. He (Mr. Dunlop) could not precisely say whether that property was to be placed under the control of the Senates Academicus, or whether it was to be put under the management of the professors of each particular college; but he rather inferred that it was meant the latter arrangement should be adopted. When, however, he looked at the clause, which proposed to give a control to the University Courts over the parties who administered the funds, he found that that control was limited to the Senatus Academicus; so that it would appear that the property of the Colleges was to be administered by the professors without any control, while the property of the Universities was to be administered by the Senatus Academicus, under the control of a University Court. Now in the Universities the property belonged to the Colleges, with the single exception, perhaps, of Edinburgh, in which the property all belonged to the University. The effect of the clause would be to transfer the administration of the reve- nue in a University such as that of Glasgow, from the Town Council which had confessedly managed it well, to a professional body in whose qualifications for the duty it would be impossible to feel an equal amount of confidence. He believed that the management of property was not a matter which ought to be entrusted to Professors. He had, on a former occasion, laid before the House statements showing that property had been mismanaged by Professors in all colleges, and he would at present only adduce one additional item of evidence upon that point. In the Report of the Commission of 1820, which was generally regarded as a very high authority upon the subject, it was stated that, It might well be questioned how far it accorded with the habits of men that they should incur the responsibility of administering funds of which they could know little, unless they sacrificed a portion of their time which might be much more advantageously occupied. He had stated instances of gross mismanagement in the University of Glasgow; and he contended that the University Court would have to expend more time in controlling the mis-management of a literary body than it need employ if the property were entrusted to ordinary men of business. Under these circumstances, he begged to move the Amendment.


supported the Amendment. He did not think it would be advisable to call upon the Senatus Academicus to manage mere pecuniary affairs. He felt persuaded that the Senatus would not be properly qualified to discharge such a duty.


said, that the proposal submitted to the Committee by his hon. and learned Friend differed very materially from that which he had brought forward on Friday last. His hon. and learned Friend on that day advocated the expediency of transferring the management of the property to the University Court; but he seemed at present to be disposed to leave the administration of the funds of the University of Edinburgh in the hands of the Town Council of that city. Now, with regard to the original proposal of his hon. and learned Friend, he should observe that he did not think the University Court was a body that ought to be expected to undertake that duty; not for this reason, that it was a body that was not to be in constant action, but was, on the contrary, to exercise its powers upon only rare occasions. The Senatus Academicus, on the other hand, was a resident body, always on the spot, and administering all the other business of the University; and he did not see why it should not be entrusted with the management of the property, subject as it should be to the general control of the University Court in all its proceedings. Then again, with regard to the proposal for entrusting the management of the property of the University of Edinburgh to the Town Council of that city, he had only to state that the House had already, on the occasion of the second reading of the Bill, pretty distinctly intimated its opinion that that was an arrangement which it was not desirable to adopt. The present proposal seemed to him to be nothing more than an attempt to reverse what had virtually been the former decision of the House; and under these circumstances he felt it his duty to oppose the Amendment.


said, that his objection was to have that duty committed to the Senatus Academicus; but if it were removed out of their hands, there was no other body to whom he was specially anxious to see it entrusted.


said, he did not understand that the Vote of the House on the occasion of the second reading of the Bill would amount to a decision upon any of its details; and all the provisions of the measure were, he thought, open to the fullest consideration in Committee.


said, he should feel it his duty to support the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend. The Lord Advocate had said that there was no reason why the Senatas Academicus should not be entrusted with the administration of the funds of its own University. But it appeared to him (Mr. Baxter) that a very good reason against the adoption of such a proposal was to be found in the fact that the various Senatuses had mismanaged the funds in times past. He entirely agreed with his hon. and learned Friend that the Senatus was the worst body to whom the management of the revenues could be entrusted; and he hoped his hon. and learned Friend would take the sense of a Committee upon that subject.


said, he thought it would be unfair to conclude that because one Senatus had mismanaged its funds, every other body bearing the same name should be distrusted. A Town Council might be a good body to manage property; but it had been shown upon a former day that in one instance at least it had been found very difficult to get property out of their hands. It seemed to him that the Senatus who were always on the spot, and who would at the same time be subject to the control of visitors, would be the very best body for the discharge of that duty.


said, it had not been shown that the Town Council of Edinburgh had abused the trust which had been reposed in them; and until that should be proved, he should vote against any proposal for depriving them of the powers they had hitherto enjoyed.

Question put, "That those words stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 85; Noes 22: Majority 63.

MR. COWAN moved to omit from the clause the words, And the Principal shall be bound to undertake and perform such duties of teaching and lecturing as may be assigned to him by the Commissioners hereinafter appointed during the continuance of their powers, and thereafter by the University Court. It appeared to him that these would invest the University Court with a very dictatorial power. It would be derogatory to the dignity of the Principals, and almost degrading to them, that they should be subject to interference in the discharge of their duties. The system might, besides, be attended with very inconvenient results. Sir David Brewster, for instance, might be called upon to lecture on Civil Law, or some other subject on which his talents might be least usefully employed. In his opinion, the Principals as well as Professors ought to be left to determine for themselves what duties of teaching and of lecturing they should undertake.


said, he could not but think that his hon. Friend had somewhat mistaken the object of the clause. He (the Lord Advocate) had certainly no intention of converting Sir David Brewster into a professor of theology—and neither did he propose to place any of the Principals in a degrading position. But his hon. Friend did not seem to understand the difficulty with which the clause would deal. There were at present no duties of teaching assigned to the office of Principal in any of the Universities. It so happened that, in one case, the Professorship of Theology was combined with the position of Principal; but that was a mere accident; and no such duty necessarily attached to the office. He thought it desirable that some duty of teaching should be assigned to the Principals. and he did not see how that result could be attained except by the adoption of some such provision as that contained in the clause. Any enactment for giving the right to regulate that matter to the Sonatas Academicus would only be more degrading to the Principals, and it was much more natural that the power should be entrusted to the Commissioners in the first instance, and then to the University Court.


said, it would appear from the statement of the Lord Advocate that the Principal was a supernumerary, and in that case it would be better to appoint one of the Professors to the office. He would not, however, divide the Committee upon that subject, as he could not calculate on the support of the Scottish Members.

Amendment negatived.

MR. BLACK moved to add to the clause: That with regard to the University of Edinburgh, the administration of the property and revenue shall remain in the Town Council of Edinburgh, subject to the control and revision of the University Court. The hon. Member said he knew that the general principle of transferring the administration of property from the Town Councils had been adopted by the House; but he thought it was not unreasonable to ask that an exception should be made to the rule in favour of the Town Council of Edinburgh. That body had hitherto managed the property of the University in the most advantageous way possible; and although vague reflections had been thrown out against other Town Councils, no one had ventured to call in question the efficiency of the municipal authorities in Edinburgh upon this point. He apprehended that it would be a loss to the University itself to have that duty entrusted to any other hands than those by which it had hitherto been so satisfactorily performed. He should be ashamed to go back to his constituents if he had neglected to urge the claim of the Edinburgh Town Council to the favour of the Committee in that instance; and under these circumstances he should press his Amendment to a division.

Question put, "That these words be there added.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 22; Noes 78: Majority 56.


proposed to add the following proviso:— Provided always that the several faculties shall, subject to the regulations of the Senatus Academicus, have power to maintain order and xercise discipline among the students belonging to them respectively, an appeal being competent from each faculty to the Senatus Academicus; and provided always that if there shall be fewer than three professors in any of the said faculties, there shall be elected only one professor as a delegate for such faculty. Hitherto it had been the practice of the several faculties of the University to exercise a control over the students in that faculty, but by this clause that would be altered, and the whole control would be thrown into the hands of the Senatus Academicus. He thought it would be much better for the medical students to be under the control of the medical faculty, and the theological students to be under the theological faculty.


said, that the present system would be in no way interfered with by the clause, and that only was given to the Senatus which had before belonged it, in so far as it was not already provided for by the Act. The several faculties acting as Senatus Academicus would superintend the whole teaching of the University. He really thought that provision was unnecessary.

Amendment negatived.


proposed an Amendment, with a view to limit the necessary attendance in course of study in faculty of arts to two years instead of four years, as provided in the Bill, after which they should be eligible as members of the Council. He observed that the effect of the clause as it at present stood would be to render the Council too exclusively ecclesiastical, for with the exception of the small Faculty of Medicine, there was no other class of students who studied in the Faculty of Arts for so lengthened a period as that named in the Bill. To render the Council ecclesiastical would be, in his view, to render the whole Bill most objectionable. One of the highest recommendations of the Scotch Universities was, that they were not at all ecclesiastical in their character, but were intended for the general education of the people. On Friday last they gave to the Council the power of appointing the high officer of Chancellor, who would name his own assessor; and, as the Bill now stood, they were also to have the main voice in the election of the Rector. He should, however, endeavour to prevent that by his Amendment. Believing that this clause would introduce a fundamental alteration in the character of the Scotch Universities, he thought it was necessary to introduce an Amendment to modify the proposal of the learned Lord. The learned Lord proposed that all who, as matriculated students had attended the Faculty of Arts for four years should be eligible as members of the Council. But, in the case of persons attending the Faculty of Law and other Faculties, they did not require to attend the Faculty of Arts for so long a period; and yet, although they might be fully competent, they would, if this clause were adopted as it stood, be excluded from the Council. They might have an education superior to that of most country clergymen, but that would be of no avail. He thought that, if they were to depart at all from the rule of having a Degree of Art, the change ought not to be in favour of a specific body, but in favour of all classes in the University. He therefore proposed to strike out that portion of the clause rendering it necessary that there should have been an attendance of four years, and insert a provision that they should have been in attendance two years on the Faculty of Arts, and two years as two years on any other Faculty.


wished to offer just one word in explanation of his reason for assenting to this Amendment. When it was first mooted he did not quite understand his hon. Friend opposite; but he now saw that his object was the admission to the Council of persons who would probably be temporary members, and that, as it would not be necessary that such members, to qualify themselves, should attend the Faculty of Arts four sessions, they might be allowed to attend that faculty two sessions, and some other faculty two, to which they were more particularly devoted. He thought that the effect of such a provision would be to introduce variety into the Council, which was not desirable; and he, therefore, had great pleasure in yielding to the hon. Member.

Amendment agreed to.

MR. BOUVERIE moved that the Council should have power to approve or reject all regulations to effect improvements in the internal arrangements of the University, proposed by the University Court, as mentioned in the 12th clause. He thought that the effect of Clause 5 was to establish a Council without giving it enough to do. There was a Chancellor, an Assessor, and a Council, and they ought to take into consideration the whole of the questions affecting the prosperity of the Universities. It had been proposed that the graduates should have the power of assenting to or rejecting the bye-laws of the University; and he thought that if they were to have any share at all in the government of the University, that was the share which ought to be given to them. It would give more weight to the Council itself, and would be in every way an improvement.


could not consent to the Amendment, because it would effect a fundamental change in the whole theory and constitution of the University Courts. It was proposed to compose that Court of persons in whom the greatest confidence was placed, but if they subjected it to such an element as that provided by the Amendment, they would do very great harm. In the second subdivision of Clause 12 powers were given to effect improvements in the internal arrangement of the University after due consultation with the Senatus Academicus, and with the sanction of the Chancellor. It appeared to him that the consultation with the Senatus Academicus and Chancellor were very sufficient conditions or checks to impose upon the action of the University Court in this particular case. If they introduced over and above that the control of what in some degree must be a large and popular assembly to override what had been done by the University Court, they would, in his opinion, introduce a very great element of confusion, and probably disincline those who desired, and were the best persons to be members of the University Court, from acting as such.


thought that it was very desirable that matters of business affecting the University should be laid before the graduates, in order that they should express their opinion upon it. No regulations could be passed without being submitted to the Council. At the same time, he agreed with the learned Lord that it would not be right to confer upon them the absolute power of veto. They certainly ought to have the power of expressing their views, but as the clause stood, it was not necessary to lay anything before them. Their opinion might be taken, he thought, with reference to the University regulations.


in reply said, that to create a body corporate in the University, and to give it no power of legislation whatever, would be to create one of the greatest anomalies that ever existed. In the English Universities, and in all European Universities, there was a body composed of certain persons established for certain purposes of legislation, but to this body no other power was given than that of electing its own officers, and it was to be composed of persons who need not be members of the University at all.

Amendment negatived.

Other Amendments made.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 5 and 6 agreed to, with Amendents.

Clause 7 (Election of the Rector).

MR. DUNLOP moved that the Rector should be elected as at present, instead of by the general Council of the University, the effect of which would be said to swamp the voices of the students. He confessed that he had the utmost confidence, not only in the individual judgment, but in the united action of the young men of the present age, who were being educated in the Scottish Universities.

Amendment moved to leave out from "elected" to end, and insert "as at present."


, Jun., understood the Lord Advocate to have said, on a former occasion, that there would be no interference with the right of election of Rector by the students. It could not be shown that, on any previous election, they had abused their right of election; but, on the contrary, had always exercised it most satisfactorily. He thought there were no grounds whatever for interfering with that right.


said, that since the claim had been prepared in its present form, the Committee had given to the Council a greater amount of influence and weight than it formerly possessed; and, therefore, there were goodly grounds for reconsidering this clause, particularly in the interests of the students who, he was glad to say, had always exercised their right of election in the most beneficial manner. He was extremely happy to be able to assent to the Amendment. The provision would extend to Aberdeen.

Amendment agreed to.

MR. BLACKBURN moved an Amendment, providing that the Provost of St. Andrew's should be one of the members of the University Court.


thought that such a provision would strengthen the Court very much.

Amendment proposed, in line 42, after the word "appointed," to insert the words "the Provost of St. Andrew's."


was sorry he could not assent to the Amendment proposed by his hon. Friend behind him, and would state shortly his reasons. He was by no means indisposed to listen to any proposition which should have the effect of popularising the different bodies of which the University was composed; but the sort of popular voice which he should wish to see brought in was rather that which was represented by the General Council of the University itself. Be was quite at a loss to understand why it was sought to unite municipal institutions with Universities. He thought such union by no means desirable to unite the two. He did not know what sort of popularity they expected to get; the mere situation of a University, in or near a great town, was a matter of accident, and it did not seem to him to be a very favourable accident that it should be so situated. He thought that in many cases, if the Universities were removed from the vicinity of such towns, it would be better for the health and morals of the young men receiving education at the Universities. There were no particular claims why the Provost of St. Andrews should be one of the University Court, and even if there were, the question ought to be argued more upon general principles than local circumstances. They had endeavoured to make the constitution of the Council which was to be created as liberal as they could, and he could not help thinking that the only ground upon which this claim was put forward for St. Andrews, was that which arose out of some supposed similarity in the case of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. But the case of the latter city was an extremely peculiar one. There, a connection had many years subsisted between the University and the Council, otherwise it never would have occurred to any hon. Member to have proposed forming such a connection. But the connection had always been one which the whole city had just reason to be proud of, and therefore, in continuing the connection between the city and the University, the framers of the Bill had made a graceful acknowledgment of what the University and principality owed to each other. He could not, however, find any general inherent principle, in virtue of which it was necessary that a similar connection should be made between the Universities of Scotland and the towns in or near which they might be situated, and therefore he must oppose the Amendment.


thought the proposal an unsound one. The University Court had duties entirely distinct from the Town Council, and unless soma special reasons were shown for the proposed connection he did not think it was one which ought to be entertained. The Corporation of London had no representative in the University of London, nor had Oxford or Cambridge in the sets of learning in those places.


thought it would be better both for the country and the Universities that the people should be brought into closer connection with Oxford and Cambridge. He certainly desired to see no contraction of the popular element in the Scottish Universities, and should vote for the Amendment.

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

After a few words,

The Committee divided:—Ayes 38; Noes 99: Majority 61.

Clause agreed to, with Amendments.

Clauses 8 and 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 (Members of the University Court of the University of Edinburgh).


said, he had given notice of an Amendment, that the Lord Provost of Edinburgh should be one of the members of the court; but he would not press it at that moment. The University of Edinburgh had been fostered, managed, and maintained by the Town Council of the city for nearly 300 years. The University might, in fact, be considered as their child. He considered that it was indeed but a small compliment that the Town Council should be allowed still to have the management of the University.

Amendment proposed, to insert after line 5, "First, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh."


quite concurred with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, that the University of Edinburgh owed a debt of gratitude to the municipality of that city. The hon. Gentleman who had exercised the duties of Lord Provost was a witness to the truth of that statement.


thought, that the mode proposed of dealing with the municipality of Edinburgh was most unusual. He thought that his hon. Friend should press his Amendment, in order that the votes of the Committee should be placed upon record. The University of Edinburgh had hitherto been upheld by the Town Council, had been fostered and regulated by them. By them it had been raised to its present position, being, it might be almost said, one of the most famous Universities in Europe. Nevertheless, it was now proposed to take the management, as well as the patronage, out of the hands of the city. But to deprive them of all control over the University, which had heretofore been managed so well, was an act not only insulting to the people themselves, but one that would prove injurious to the University. Their friends in the south seemed to have a horror of having the municipal body represented in these institutions. Whilst the English Universities were gradually opening their doors to the people, it was too bad that an endeavour should now be made to return to the exclusive days of past times in regard to the Scotch Universities.


said, as the subject of patronage was not then the question before them, it was not quite regular to discuss it; but as the hon. Gentleman had thought proper to introduce this subject, he would take the liberty of offering him assertion for assertion. He would therefore venture to say, that the University of Edinburgh had not worked admirably well, and he would be prepared to prove that statement when the proper time arrived. There were, in his opinion, strong reasons for depriving the Town Council of the management of the University, and he thought that real injustice would be done in leaving the power as it stood, rather than removing it into other hands. He admitted that the position of the Town Council of Edinburgh, in regard to the University there, was different from that held by other Town Councils, in regard to their Universities. There was no doubt that the city of Edinburgh had largely endowed this University; and in spite of the gross mismanagement, as he could show at the proper time, of the Town Council, the University had prospered considerably. In considering here the relations existing between the Town Council and the University, he hoped that the Committee would take a middle course—a course between that proposed by the hon. Member for Stirlingshire, and the one proposed by the hon. Member for Greenock.


said, after the encouragement which he had received he would persevere with his Amendment.


said, that he could not assent to the Motion, the effect of which would be to deprive the Town Council of Edinburgh of all representation in the governing body of the University. On the other hand he was not opposed to the appointment of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh in addition to the two Assessors. There could be no doubt that the Town Council of Edinburgh might, in a certain sense, be called the founders of the University; but they must not take too much credit for that, because, although they were the nominal founders of the University, they were enabled to become such munificent founders by means of Royal Grants. But certainly the ancient and original constitution, and the long continued connection which has existed between the municipal body and the University has led the Government to think that it is only fair and decorous that the municipal body should maintain a continued connection with the University; and he thought that the clause, as it stood, providing for the presence of two Assessors representing the Town Council, would be the best means of maintaining that connection.

Amendment withdrawn.


said, that it was too much the practice amongst the friends of disappointed candidates and the enemies of popular institutions to find fault with the manner in which the University of Edinburgh was managed by the Town Council of that city. He believed that the main body of the students attached the greatest value to the management of that body, which had been excellent for many years past. He could appeal to the excellent appointments hitherto made in the University, as entitling the House to place a higher value on the management of the Town Council, than his learned Friend seemed willing to concede. This was a great experiment. Upon the continued prosperity and good management of the institution would depend much of the prosperity and welfare of Scotland. It was, therefore, better to proceed more cautiously than has been found the Lord Advocate seemed disposed to do. If, in the course of a few years the Corporation of Edinburgh belie the character which it had borne in times past, there would be good reason for interposing to overthrow the past management. He would move in line 13 that the name of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh should be added to the two Assessors for the Town Council.


would suggest, and would move an Amendment to the effect that the Lord Provost of Edinburgh should be one of the two Assessors to be nominated by the Town Council of their city.

Amendment proposed, in line 12, after the word "Edinburgh," to insert the words "of whom the Lord Provost shall be one."


said, that the hon. Member for Edinburgh seemed to think that those who opposed the insertion of additional members of the Municipal Council of Edinburgh in the University Court were opposed to liberal institutions. But he had given his support to the measure of the Lord Advocate because he thought it a very liberal measure, and because he thought that the movement to give a liberal constitution to the Court, was not by the addition to the influence of the municipal body, but by the liberality shown in the constitution of the constituencies, by which the Chancellor and the Assessors were to be elected. The Lord Advocate had given a good reason for the representative of the Town Council in the Court. But he thought when they had recognized the position of the Town Council of Edinburgh by appointing two Assessors, they had done as much as could be expected. He was much surprised at the hon. Members for Edinburgh making the speeches they had done; for every humane person must feel for the Damoclesian portion of those hon. Gentlemen who had been discussing this Bill in the presence of the Lord Provost and a deputation from the Town Council of Edinburgh. Whatever influence that might have on the speeches and votes of those hon. Gentlemen, he hoped the Lord Advocate would not be induced, by their arguments, to alter the clause as it stood in the Bill.


said, that the Lord Advocate had stated that the Town Council of Edinburgh stood in a peculiar position to the University of that city. The citizens of Aberdeen, however, stood in the same position towards Marischal College in Aberdeen; and therefore it is not just that two Assessors should be given to the Town Council of Edinburgh, and none to that of Aberdeen.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 118; Noes 35: Majority 83.

Clause, as amended, agreed to,

Clauses 11 and 12 agreed to.

Clause 13 (Right of nomination to Professorships to be in the University Courts).


said, that he had given notice of an Amendment which raised one of the most important points connected with the Bill. The proposal of the clause is that the right of nomination to Professorships, which is now possessed by the Senatus Academicus, should be transferred to the University Court. The clause said nothing about two other classes of professorships—those in the gift of the Crown, and those in the gift of the Town Council of Edinburgh and other similar bodies. They were debarred from dealing with the question, so far as the Crown was concerned, except with the consent of the Crown, and he should therefore for the present say nothing about the Professorships in the appointment of the Crown. Otherwise he should have proposed that the nomination should be transferred to the University Courts. In Edinburgh University twelve out of the twenty Professors were appointed by the Town Council, and a similar body appointed one or two Professors at Aberdeen, Now, he thought it hardly admitted of argument, that the appointment of professors in a University is not a function which could be properly intrusted to a municipal body. A Town Council is too numerous to begin with. It consisted of thirty or forty gentlemen selected for every possible reason to represent the City of Edinburgh in the Town Council, but without any reference to their power of making a good selection of literary or scientific professors. It is necessarily a political body—politics exercising a considerable influence in the election of its member. Politics were now very much mixed up with questions of religion, and thus these appointments were directly and unduly mixed up with, and influenced by associations of religion and politics. The Town Council of Edinburgh was a fluctuating body. It had no responsibility to the public. It is too numerous for that, and, therefore, without arguing a question that hardly admitted of argument, he would propose that the new Courts should be invested with the patronage now exercised by the Town Councils.

Amendment moved, after the word "thereof" to insert the words "or by any body politic or corporate, or by any public body, or any portion thereof."


most emphatically denied that the Corporation of Edinburgh was liable to the imputations cast upon it by the hon. Member for Kilmarnock. He believed that there never was a more baseless charge than that they were actuated by party politics or sectarian bigotry. He believed that a large proportion of the Town Council never knew, up to the time of election, of what politics or of what religious denomination a candidate for a professorship was. It was their qualification or non-qualification for the appointment sought that was alone regarded. Of the existing Professors of the University of Edinburgh appointed by the Town Council—which, be it remembered, is a Presbyterian council—seven were members of the Church of Scotland, five were Episcopalian, two belonged to the Free Church, and one was a Unitarian. He was quite sure that the Town Council of Edinburgh were actuated by time most pure and patriotic motives, and that on every occasion they endeavoured to appoint the very best man they could find, whatever might be his country or his religious tenets. Although they might not always succeed in appointing the very best man, they in almost every instance appointed a man who was an honour to the country that gave him birth, and was likely to perpetuate the fame of a University which had so long enjoyed a high reputation.


(who spoke amid continued cries for a division) said, he was determined to defend the rights of his fellow-citizens. This was not merely a question of patronage, as was so generally understood. but of property. It was a property that belonged to the Town Council and inhabitants of Edinburgh. It was one of which they had always been and still were proud—which they considered as their own—which they had nurtured, watched over, and provided for—and which they had regulated for 300 years. The hon. and learned Lord opposite had told them that it was not the inhabitants of Edinburgh that founded the University. Let him refer on that point to Maitland's History of Edinburgh, where it was shown that the inhabitants of that city founded the University and supported it. In the Report of the Royal Association it would be found that all that was given by King James—who is sometimes called the founder, but who was the curse of the University—was somewhere about £20 or £30. The University had in fact been founded and supported by the citizens of Edinburgh. All the grants by the Crown were insignificant. Up to 1747 the whole sum only amounted to £175 2s. Before then the sums paid by the Town Council were not known; but after that period, and up to 1833, they were, without interest, £54,367; and at the present day the University may be said to receive £2,000 a year from funds belonging to the city. The University of Edinburgh was as much the property of the Town Council as was the Merchant Taylors' School of the Company to which it belonged, and the House might as well take charge of that as deprive the Town Council of Edinburgh of the patronage of the University. Would any one say that those who had paid the sums, to which he had just referred, for the founding of the University, were not entitled to the patronage which they now held by as good a right as that by which any nobleman held his estates? They had it by Royal grant, and not of Parliament; and by the fact of their being the actual supporters of it, and having maintained it for 250 years, be thought it was right to maintain that property in the Town Council. It might not be a moneyed property; but it was one that the citizens of Edinburgh regarded in a higher light than moneyed property. They had managed it well, and believed that in whatever hands it was placed it Could not be better managed. They had, he thought, too, a right to complain of the manner in which this question had been brought forward. For they had been taken by surprise, and had not received fair notice that this Amendment, which would take from them the most valuable property they possessed, would be proposed. It was the opinion of the late Lord Advocate, that the appointment of the professors by the Town Council should not be interfered with. I had been said, that a Town Council were not the proper parties to have the management of an University. He begged leave, however, to trouble the House with a few authorities to show the manner in which the system had worked. Both Dr. Allan and Professor Napier expressed an opinion that the magistrates and Town Council of Edinburgh had exercised their patronage well. Dr. Chalmers—(no slight authority)—said that, looking to the experience of the previous fifty years, he did not know in whose hands the appointment of professors could be better vested, whether looking to the interests of literature or the church. Dr. John Thompson said that he thought it could be shown, by reference to the men of distinguished learning who had filled chairs in the University, and by the high place that the University had filled in its own and in other countries, that the patronage of chairs in times past had been beneficially exercised; and he added that he entertained no doubt that it was expedient that the patronage should continue to be vested in the Town Council. Professor Turner said that, looking to the history of the University and the men who had filled the chairs, he did not know how the patronage of the professional chairs could have been more purely and efficiently exercised. Would the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) state that no men of eminence had been appointed while tho patronage was vested in the Town Council?

House resumed.

Committee report progress.