HC Deb 05 May 1863 vol 170 cc1228-43

said, he rose to move that the House go into Committee for the purpose of enabling him to introduce a Bill to make an Amendment in what was commonly known as the Act of Uniformity. He did not propose to deal generally with the question, which, as they all knew, had recently excited considerable attention and discussion in the country, so far as it related to the condition of the clergy of the Church of England and the subscription to the liturgy. That was a far wider question than the one he proposed now to deal with. The hon. Member for Maidstone had given notice of a Motion touching that question, and he did not intend to trench upon his province. His object was to amend a portion of the Act of Uniformity which was comparatively unnoticed and obscure. The eighth section of the Act required a great number of persons, deans and canons, and prebendaries, professors, masters of colleges, and all fellows of colleges, to make a declaration of conformity to the Liturgy of the Church of England before they took possession of their fellowships or incumbencies. In accordance with that requisition, no person could become a fellow of a college at Oxford or Cambridge until he had declared before the Vice Chancellor of the University that he would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. Now, up to the year 1854 at Oxford, and the year 1856 as regarded Cambridge, that clause of the Act of Uniformity might be said to have had no operation, because until then nobody could take a degree without declaring in one way or another that he was a member of the Church of England. At Oxford he had to sign the Thirty-nine Articles when he was matriculated or became an undergraduate, and again when he took his degree; and at Cambridge, when a person took his degree, he had to declare that he was a bonâ fide member of the Church of England. The Oxford Act of 1854 and the Cambridge Act of 1856 did away with that requisition, and these two Acts provided, the one with reference to Oxford that nobody should be required to take any declaration or make any oath on taking his bachelor's degree; and the Cambridge Act declared that for any degree except divinity no oath or declaration should be taken. Now, a Fellow, as they all knew, to obtain a fellowship must have a degree; and as that declaration in connection with the Church of England was required at the time of taking a degree, no person could possibly by university law become a Fellow who was not a member of the Church of England. But, in addition to that, he would have also to make a declaration under the Act of Uniformity, that he would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. What he proposed to the House to do was simply to repeal this requisition. It was not merely as a theoretic question of liberty of opinion that he proposed it, for on that ground he never would have invited the House to make a change; but it was at the request of an influential portion of the resident Fellows of the University of Cambridge. In the past year he bad presented a Petition signed by no less than seventy-four of the resident Fellows, comprising many of the most eminent names of men connected for a long time with the educational system of that great university, and stating that that requirement of the Act of Uniformity was in their opinion injurious to the interests of the university, and praying the House to repeal that clause. When be mentioned that amongst the names attached to the Petition were those of Professor Sedgwick, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Phear, Mr. Todhunter, and others well known in association with the educational system at Cambridge, anybody who had any knowledge of that subject would admit that great weight was due to the authority of that Petition. The ground upon which the opinion of those Petitioners was formed he ought to state to the House. One great change effected in the universities by the Acts to which he bad referred was to render Dissenters admissible to degrees. Up to the Act of 1854 no Dissenter could even have matriculated at Oxford, but at Cambridge they were more liberal; they allowed a man to reside, and till he took his degree no declaration was required of him. Up to that time no Dissenter or Nonconformist could take a degree; but by those two Acts Dissenters and Nonconformists of every kind were admissible to a degree, and admissible at Cambridge to all the scholarships and exhibitions without any declaration or oath required of them by an express clause in the Cambridge Act. What had been the consequence? A certain number of gentlemen had come to reside in different colleges of the University of Cambridge who were not members of the Church of England, and some of them had turned out the most distinguished of the undergraduates. The gentleman who was Senior Wrangler in the year 1860—a Scotchman—was a member of the free Church of Scotland. He took his degree as Senior Wrangler, and he (Mr. Bouverie) was informed that it was perhaps the most brilliant degree taken for the last half century. He was a mathematician of the first order, and would have adorned the annals of Cambridge. He was a scholar of Trinity College, and had he been able to make the required declaration of conformity he would have been elected a Fellow. the college, as be was informed, was desirous or electing him a Fellow, as it had happened that for some years no member of it had taken a distinguished degree in mathematics, and there had not been a Trinity Senior Wrangler for sixteen years. The college was therefore desirous of strengthening its mathematical teaching power; but this particular gentleman was stopped by the declaration, although be had attended the services in the chapel, and he believed had taken the sacraments, and thus the college lost the services of Mr. Stirling. The same thing happened in the case of another Nonconformist, also a Senior Wrangler. These examples happening so shortly after the admission of Nonconformists to degrees showed what good grounds those gentlemen, who were most competent to form an opinion, had for thinking that such exclusion was injurious to the university and to the cause of education. Great educational establishments like Trinity College, with Fellowships open to all classes, offered great prizes for intellectual ability. By excluding Nonconformists from competition they were deprived of incentives for going to the university, and for exertion if they did go there. The colleges which desired the services of such men were not only robbed of them, but the field of choice for Fellows, who ought to be distinguished for intellectual capacity, was limited. He did not wish to put forward the case of injustice to Nonconformists, but where there were no clerical privileges, nor theological questions affected, he thought the exclusion was an injustice. Take the case of his constituents in the north. Why were all Scotchmen to be excluded from all opportunity of obtaining those prizes? It was a curious fact that this particular clause in the Act of Uniformity did not appear to have been originally part of the Bill, but was introduced by the Commons as an Amendment to an Amendment of the Lords. The object of the Amendment seemed from contemporary history to have been that a monopoly of the training of the nobility and gentry of the country should be confided to members of the Church of England, and the provision extended to every schoolmaster and even to a tutor in a private family. It was stated that so many of the gentry and nobility had adhered to the Long Parliament that it was determined, now the Church had regained uncontrolled power, that steps should be taken to insure it a monopoly of education. But was the House prepared now to maintain that restriction? He did not ask for more than that the colleges should be left to themselves, to do what they might think best for their own interests. At Cambridge there were four colleges, which, in their statutes, made no condition about religion for fellowship. In one of them, so far from its being devoted to teaching in theology and clerical education, there was a condition that no clergyman should be a Fellow, and the consequence was that the Fellows were all lawyers. Was it at all desirable that a man who gained a fellowship of £150 a year for a few years, to enable him to start in life in an open profession, should be obliged to declare that he conformed to the Liturgy of the Church of England? As to two other colleges, of which Trinity was one, the requirement on their statutes was, that Fellows should declare that they belonged to the true religion of Christ. That was hardly a test which a Nonconformist or a Presbyterian could refuse to take. The remaining college required a declaration from its members that they were bonâ fide members of the Church of England. He repeated that all he asked was that colleges should be left to themselves. At Cambridge and Oxford they had power to modify their statutes, and all he asked was to allow those colleges which thought it advisable to remove the restrictions, to apply for the consent of Her Majesty in Council to the alteration. He asked for that freedom, believing that those bodies were the best judges of their own interests and of the interests of education, and that the welfare of religion or of the Church of England was not promoted by such restrictions. In conclusion, he would quote an authority greater than any words of his could convey. Bishop Thirlwall, the Bishop of St. David's, said— I can see clearly that the question is one in which science and literature may hereafter be interested, but in which religion has no concern. If that part of our endowments which are enjoyed by laymen were to be thrown open to Dissenters, I can see no other effect that would be produced than an increased activity of competition for them. Or, to put the same case in another shape, if one half of our junior Fellows who are now preparing themselves for the Bar, or practising at it, were Dissenters, instead of members of the Church of England, however this might be matter of regret as tar as the individuals themselves are concerned, it does not appear how either religion or the Church would suffer by the change. With that expression of so eminent an authority, than whom, for his ability, sagacity, and experience of the university, no one was better able to form an opinion on the subject, he should rest content, and he trusted the House would be willing to go into Committee.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee upon certain portions of the Act of Uniformity."


Sir, my right hon. Friend said he did not intend to go into the general question of the Acts of Uniformity, but to confine himself to this particular clause relating to fellowships; and as we shall have an opportunity on another occasion of discussing the general question which is to be raised by an hon. Gentleman opposite, I too shall now confine my remarks to the particular section which my right hon. Friend has brought under our notice with such good temper and moderation. My right hon. Friend goes on to say that the declaration in the Act of Uniformity which he wants to do away with is a declaration taken by certain deans and other dignitaries of the Church, and also by the heads and fellows of colleges. Now, let me see whether the measure of the right hon. Gentleman is one the principle of which we ought to agree to; and let me further examine, if it were acceded to, what the practice would be in consequence of our acceding to such a Motion. My right hon. Friend says that this particular clause in the Act of Uniformity had virtually no binding application till 1854 and 1856, when the University Acts were passed, because, he says, and truly, that down to 1854 no person could even be a student at Oxford without making what was tantamount to a declaration that he was a member of the Church of England; and down to 1856, though Cambridge does and always did admit students who were not members of the Church of England, yet, on taking their degree, students at Cambridge made what was equivalent to a declaration that they were members of the Church of England. I entreat hon. Members to see what was the view taken by the House when those two statutes were passed. In 1854 two propositions were made by Mr. Heywood, who is no longer a Member of this House. The first was, that no declaration should be required on matriculating or taking the degree of Bachelor of Arts; and the second that no declaration should be made on taking the degree of Master of Arts. He carried the first of these propositions by a large majority after considerable discussion. The Government were in a minority on the first question; and when the second proposition was submitted to the House, I took the liberty of urging on the Government, who, having been beaten on the first proposition, seemed disposed to yield on the second, that they ought to reconsider their determination, because the second proposition contained a principle distinct from that contained in the first. This House assented to that view, and rejected the second proposition. Now, then, what are the principles involved? The principle of the first Resolution was, that the Universities of the land should be open to all the subjects of the Queen for the purposes of education; but the principle involved in the second proposition, and involved, as I shall presently show, in the proposition of my right hon. Friend, is that the government of the university, and consequently the endowments of the university and the colleges, might be held by those who were not members of the Church of England. The House adopted that distinction, and decided that while for the purposes of education the university should be open to all, the government and endowments should be confined to those who professed the established religion, in relation to which those colleges and those universities had been founded by benefactors in times long past. In 1856, when the Cambridge Bill was before the House, similar propositions were submitted, and with precisely similar results. My right hon. Friend has pointed out, that in consequence of the existence of the declaration which he seeks to remove, a gentleman of high ability who attained the distinguished position of Senior Wrangler in the university had not become a Fellow of his college. My right hon. Friend is not quite, accurate in the cause to which he attributes the fact of this gentleman not having be- come a Fellow; because it appears from my right hon. Friend's own statement that during the whole of his undergraduate career he did conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England; and the only declaration required by the Act is one that the person will conform to that Liturgy. My right hon. Friend shakes his head; but I may tell him that the cause generally assigned for the gentleman in question not having taken the declaration was, that the Nonconformists had persuaded him not to stand for the fellowship.

Now, as to the necessity for the measure proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, it is true that Petitions have been signed by some of the most eminent men of Cambridge University, praying that this alteration may be made. But has a single college petitioned for it? They are the bodies corporate, to whom we must look in order to find whether such a measure is necessary or desirable. There are Petitions from members of the colleges, but not from any college in its corporate capacity. It must be remembered that the statutes of these colleges were settled recently, not only with reference to education, but also with reference to the design of the benefactors; and I believe there is hardly a case in which the design of the benefactor was not to keep the college in connection with the Established Church of England. Let me now inquire what the effect of altering the declaration would be? We will suppose the case of an undergraduate of a college at Cambridge who is not a member of the Church of England, or of any Christian Church, but a member of the Jewish persuasion. Would you alter the declaration for him? [Mr. WHITE: Hear, hear!] The hon. Member for Brighton said "Hear!" Would he take away every declaration with reference to the religion to be taught in those colleges? If so, bow is discipline to be maintained in them? If you do away with the declaration, one of two consequences must follow—either you must say that every one is entitled to have in those colleges the religion which he chooses, or you must say that there need be no religion there at all. You cannot avoid one of these alternatives. When the University of London was founded, Dr. Arnold was very anxious that the Christian religion should be professed; that lectures should be given, but all shades of difference avoided. The matter was discussed. Those who took a great interest in the university—and Earl Russell was one of them—in drawing up the statutes, found it so utterly impossible to frame a statute applicable to a general lecture on the Christian religion, that they were, in the end, obliged to say, "We will confine the objects of the university to science and literature." [Mr. WHITE: Hear, hear!] I am glad to notice the cheer of the hon. Member for Brighton. He means that these great educational establishments, which, like your State, are founded upon religion, and are in connection with the established religion, ought no longer to be founded upon that principle, or to be connected with that establishment. If the House is prepared to adopt the conclusion which is the legitimate consequence of my right hon. Friend's Motion, it will assent to the Motion; but inasmuch as I hope the House will not adopt it, I think it fairer to my right hon. Friend at once to say, that in my opinion, we had better not go into Committee on the Act, because it would be only encouraging the hope and expectation that we were prepared to assent to such a proposition. I, for one, am not prepared to assent to it, and therefore I shall move a negative to the Motion that you. Sir, do now leave the chair.


said, he had heard with much regret the opposition of the right hon. Gentleman to what he thought was the very candid, just, and beneficial proposal of his right hon. Friend. It could not be said that the universities were practically open as places of education to the Dissenters of the United Kingdom, when Dissenters were deprived of the rewards which were given to other students. How could the universities hope in these days to maintain their position as champions of the faith, and defenders of that revelation in the truth of which they believed, if they shackled the spirit of religious inquiry? How could men be trained up to defend the revelation with ability and with reason if an attempt were made to stifle free thought and limit free inquiry to what the universities regarded as true? He denied that the Church of England would be injured if the proposal of his right hon. Friend were acceded to, and did not think so meanly of the doctrines of the Church as to suppose that they could only be maintained by a system of rewards and punishments at the universities.


Sir, I should be glad if I could give a silent vote on this question, but having been a member of the University Commission that was formed under the Act of 1856 for Cambridge, and having been a good deal in communication with members of the university upon this subject, I feel bound to offer to the House one single remark upon a question of fact. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) says this is the question as to the admission of Nonconformists to fellowships which was considered in 1856, which was then very fully discussed, and was rejected by this House. Now, unless my memory fails me, I think there is some misapprehension on the part of my right hon. Friend. The proposition of 1856 was totally different from that now submitted to the House of Commons. In 1856 it was proposed that all tests of religious opinion for admission to fellowships should be done away with, and therefore that all colleges, whether they desired it or not, and without any reference to their wishes in the matter, should be compelled, they being to a great extent ecclesiastical bodies, to admit Nonconformists to their fellowships, all rules of theirs to the contrary notwithstanding. That was the proposal of 1856, and looking to the circumstances of the case, looking to the ecclesiastical character and traditions of these bodies, I do not hesitate to say that in my belief the House exercised a wise discretion in rejecting that proposal. But the proposal now made is one of a totally different character. Its effect is not to take away from the colleges any rights which they possess. It recognises that which the proposal of 1856 did not recognise—the right of self-government; nay, it even extends the right in removing them from the external control to which they have been subjected. The state of the case, I take it, is this:—The colleges—I am speaking of Cambridge—vary a good deal one from the other as to character and constitution. Some are decidedly more ecclesiastical than others in their character. The governing body is not in all constituted in precisely the same manner; but, generally speaking, there is a preponderance of power in the senior Fellows, a large proportion of whom are clergymen of the Church of England. Among those Fellows there is a comparatively small minority of laymen; but there is not a single person among them who is not a member of the Church of England; and there is no body of men—as I can testify from a four years' experience while acting upon the Commission—who are more intensely I imbued with academical and ecclesiastical feelings and traditions. You may, therefore, take it as a thing absolutely certain that under no circumstances will they be likely to use the privilege which it is proposed to confer upon them, unless the admission of some fresh blood is likely to prove a very manifest benefit to their colleges. I confess that I have some doubt whether, under the circumstances, this privilege is likely to be taken advantage of to any great extent. If I were asked what would be the effect of adopting the proposal now made. I should say that the larger colleges are not likely for a considerable time to make any change in their regulations. But cases may occur from time to time in which men of great ability and great eminence are virtually about to be sent away from Cambridge, and are unable to pursue a scholastic life in consequence of the opinions they entertain; and the smaller colleges, which are not always very well supplied with men of this class, will be anxious to secure them, so that first one and then another will relax their rules. The small colleges will be opened in the first instance, and it may be—though this is a distant future to look forward to—that at some more remote period the movement will extend to the larger colleges. In no case, however, under the provisions of this Bill, can any Nonconformist be admitted as a Fellow of any college except upon the free choice of the majority of the governing body, that governing body being composed exclusively of Churchmen, and in most instances of clergymen of the Church of England. That gives, I think, a sufficient security for existing rights and privileges. I know that the heads of colleges, and the senior Fellows, will be generally opposed to this concession; but I know also that among the younger members of the governing bodies there is a growing opinion that some such change as this is reasonable, and they will at no distant period be a majority of the whole. In the interest of the colleges themselves, I shall give my vote for it. But the point to which I rose to call the attention of the House was this—that the proposition before us to-night differs totally from that which was considered and rejected several years ago, because the one took away the powers of these collegiate bodies, whereas this proposition leaves them not only with the powers they have, but actually increases and extends them.


said, he thought his noble Friend had somewhat forgotten what really took place some years ago on this matter. There were two clauses in the Cambridge University Act, the enactments of which would be found, if examined, to bear a rather different construction from that which the noble Lord had put upon them. He believed it had been the deliberate opinion of Parliament that while every facility should be given to Dissenters wishing to receive the advantages of the education at the universities, yet that the bent of those institutions should be kept unswervingly in the direction of the Church of England by retaining the fellowship and the whole government of the universities in the hands of members of that Church. As to the alleged hardship of Dissenters who were not rich not being allowed to obtain the means of supporting themselves while at the university, there was a clause in the Act which met that case by throwing open to such persons all scholarships and undergraduate emoluments. In another clause, where it was conceded that all degrees might be taken without the takers being members of the Church of England, there was a special proviso, that unless they belonged to that Church, they should not be Members of the Senate, or of any governing body. Moreover, in both the Acts degrees were not to qualify Dissenters taking them for any office previously held by members of the Established Church. He considered, therefore, that the question before the House had been really raised on the previous occasion, and he wished to warn the House that it was a far graver question than the noble Lord or the right hon. Gentleman opposite supposed. The question was whether they should entirely overturn the position of the Church of England in the universities; and though the present step was but a small one, it had a very distinct and definite direction.


said: Sir, at this very late hour I will not attempt to detain the House by a speech—although, if I had risen earlier, I should have wished to express the very strong views of the younger M.A.'s of Oxford upon this subject. As it is, I will merely put two questions to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge, than whom no fairer disputant sits in this House. He has told us, that if a member of the Jewish persuasion is allowed to become a Fellow without making the declaration to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock objects, there will be an end to the discipline of the University. Now, I want to know how they manage at those foreign universities where, happily, honours are bestowed without any reference to the religious opinions of the candidates. Take, for instance, the great University of Leyden. At Leyden there are many Jews, who are admitted to the same privileges as other students. Nay, one of the most distinguished professors of that University is a Jew. Does that impair the discipline of Leyden? And further, is it not a fact at this moment, in spite of the dangerous presence of this Jew in the governing body, the Christian Divinity School of Leyden is as much superior to the Christian Divinity School of Cambridge, as one thing can be to another?


said, he was happy to receive the avowal of the hon. Gentleman that the measure was one to assimilate the universities and theology of England to those of Germany and Holland. He could assure the hon. Member that he regarded it with the same certainty as he did the probability that the adoption of this measure would reduce or elevate our discipline and our theology very much to the level on which both stood in the German universities; and if that admission was any satisfaction to the hon. Gentleman, he had the greatest possible pleasure in making it. The whole of the question seemed to have been argued on a false issue. They were told that these were prizes for which Dissenters had as much right to contend as churchmen; but if fellowships were nothing but prizes, they would not need to fight that battle long. Fellowships really gave those who held them the power of regulating the studies of the universities, and therefore the measure was practically a measure for transferring the control over the studies and religious education of the universities from members of the Church of England to Nonconformists. The noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) said the measure was one for giving independence to the colleges. If the colleges were isolated bodies, having no connection with the university, that argument might hold. But on the constitution of the colleges the teaching power of the university depended. The noble Lord had in his mind the idea of a small college of Unitarians or Jews existing in the middle of a Church of England Uni- versity. ["No!"] He contemplated all the Nonconformist element gravitating to a small college. Well, the small colleges, at Oxford at least, had the power not only of furnishing proctors, who appointed the examiners, but they also elected a head who in due time became Vice Chancellor of the university. Now, he would not put the matter upon high religious grounds, but would ask whether that would pay? Imagine the University of Cambridge or Oxford with a Unitarian Vice-Chancellor. He knew that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. E. P. Bouverie), and the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn were men of enlightened mind, and that they would send those over whom they had power to a place of education presided over by Unitarians or Jews, with perfect confidence that it was all the same thing. But the difficulty was that, unfortunately, the people of England were not as enlightened ns the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman. What he was afraid of was, that if there was a Unitarian or a Jew Vice-Chancellor, or if there was any distinguished teacher in the university who occupied the position of the celebrated professor at Leyden, the fathers of families throughout the United Kingdom would as soon cut off their right hands as send their children to the universities. If it was intended to pass a measure which would prevent the universities from being, what they had heretofore been, the favourite resorts of the middle and upper classes of England, justice required that they should hear the universities themselves. They were now asked to do that which would not only change the character of the universities as religious seminaries, but destroy their influence and position altogether. The subject, however, deserved a more lengthened discussion than it could receive at that late hour, and therefore he begged to move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."


My right hon. Friend who proposed this Motion gave a notice so vague in its wording that it conveyed no notion whatever of the particular proposition which he intended to found upon it. His Motion, no doubt, is one of considerable importance, and I think it would have been fairer to the House, and would have enabled them more easily to come to a decision, if my right hon. Friend had specified distinctly what was the par- ticular object which he had in view. But the present stage, I take it, is equivalent to moving for leave to bring in a Bill. It might be said that this measure is rather one of principle than of detail, and consequently that the House should be as competent at the first blush to form an opinion upon it as if they had the advantage of seeing its clauses. On the other hand, it relates to a matter upon which parties out of the House are fairly entitled to have full time for consideration, and for that reason I should not be indisposed to vote for going into Committee, which simply means that my right hon. Friend should have leave to bring in his Bill. I confess, however, that I think the subject itself is one which will require very grave consideration. The distinction taken by the right hon. Member for Cambridge University seems to be a sound one—namely, the distinction between admitting persons of all religious opinions to every advantage in point of education which our universities can confer, and admitting them to be part of the governing bodies. It also appears to me that the point adverted to by the noble Lord who spoke last is not unworthy of notice, for one can conceive that there might be peculiar circumstances connected with the religious opinions of the governing body of a college which might have a very material influence in preventing parents from sending their sons to such college. I shall not be more particular, but I am sure everybody will understand the bearing of that remark. On the whole, I should say that it would be consistent with the usual practice of the House to allow my right hon. Friend to bring his Bill in, but, in voting with him, I must hold myself perfectly free to deal with the measure afterwards in such manner as upon further consideration may appear to be expedient. It would be fair to the universities to give them an opportunity of considering the Bill, and making their wishes and feelings upon it known to the House. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, I have no objection to vote for the introduction of the Bill, but my right hon. Friend must not understand that I express any opinion favourable to the measure itself.


said, he wished to correct an error into which the right hon. Member for Cambridge University had unintentionally fallen. The Bill which, he proposed to introduce was limited to fellowships, and did not touch the headship of colleges.


said, that if the House should be allowed to go into Committee, he hoped it would be only on the understanding that the Chairman should immediately report progress, and that the question of leave to bring in the Bill should stand over until after the universities and the Church of England had had an ample opportunity of considering the matter. If the House went into Committee, he should avail himself of its forms to prevent a division being taken on the Main Question.


said, that as it seemed to be the wish of the House and the Prime Minister to divide upon the Main Question, he had no objection to withdraw his Motion for the adjournment of the debate.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 157; Noes 135: Majority 22.

Act of Uniformity considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


said, he hoped that as the Bill affected the material interests of persons at a distance from the House, the right hon. Gentleman would give them what was always accorded to criminals, "a long day," in order that they might have an opportunity of considering the proposals of the Bill which was to be introduced.


said, that if hon. Gentlemen would allow the Bill to be brought in that evening, he would undertake to fix the second reading at a sufficiently remote date to give every opportunity for considering its provisions.


said, he accepted the division as an intimation that the House desired to see the provisions of the Bill, and he hoped that before the House went out of Committee the right hon. Gentleman would fix the day for the second reading.


said, he would fix the second reading for Wednesday, the 3rd of June.


That's Ascot week.


said, he wished to point out that the Public-houses Bill, which was sure to create much debate, was fixed for that day.


said, he would look through the Order Book, and fix a day for the second reading on the following day.

Resolved, That the Chairman be directed to move the House, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to repeal so much of the Act of Uniformity as relates to Fellows and Tutors in any College, Hall, or House of Learning.

Resolution reported.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. EDWARD PLEYDELL BOUVERIE and Mr. POLLARD-URQUHART.

Bill to amend the Act of Uniformity, as regards Fellows of Colleges, presented, and read 1°. [Bill 104.]