§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. E. P. BOUVERIE
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, 1392 said, he would explain its nature and effect as briefly as he could. The Bill itself was very short and simple in its provisions. Its object was to repeal certain portions of a certain section of the Act of Uniformity of Charles II.—that section which required certain dignitaries of the Church, and other persons enumerated, amongst whom were Fellows and Tutors of colleges, to make a declaration that they would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. That provision, so far as it related to the Fellows and Tutors of Colleges, the Bill proposed to repeal. The effect and intention of this measure had been misconceived and had been much misrepresented—unintentionally no doubt. That he could quite understand, for the state of the law and the facts to which the law applied were somewhat complicated, and it required some little research and knowledge of what had been done in recent years thoroughly to comprehend what was the present state of the law. The fact, moreover, that the law on the subject applicable to Oxford and Cambridge was different had tended somewhat to complicate the question. He would endeavour to explain how the question stood with respect to oaths and declarations in the University of Cambridge. In Cambridge there never had been required any declaration of religious belief, or oath of any kind, from those who sought merely admission to the University. But up to 1856, upon taking a degree a declaration was required. Until 1776, upon taking a degree, a declaration was required of adhesion to the three articles contained in the 36th Canon, which, as was well known, involved a declaration of the Queen's supremacy, adhesion to the Thirty-nine Articles, and a declaration that the Liturgy contained in the Prayer Book contained nothing contrary to the Word of God. In 1775 or 1774, as far as regards the degree of Bachelor of Arts, an alteration was made by the University by which all that was required of a member of the University seeking a degree was a declaration that he was bonâ fide a member of the Church of England; but as regarded all other degrees the three articles were still required. In 1856, however, that was all changed by an Act of Parliament which he (Mr. Bouverie) had the honour of introducing, by which it was provided that as regarded all degrees except theological degrees, no oath, declaration, or subscription 1393 of any kind whatever should be required. He should have stated that the previous requisition of a declaration of religious belief and of adhesion to the Liturgy and Articles of the Church had never been a Parliamentary requisition, but was purely a University regulation imposed by a University statute. That requisition, however, was repealed by the Act of 1851, which, however, went considerably farther; for, while the Bill was passing through the House of Commons, a clause was inserted providing that as regards scholarships or exhibitions held by under graduates no oath or declaration of religious belief should be required. The House would, therefore, observe that both as regarded the University which conferred degrees and the Colleges which gave those exhibitions to undergraduates no oath or declaration was required in Cambridge. But scholarships and exhibitions in a college were the first steps to a fellowship. Nobody, according to the Cambridge system, and he believed according to that of Oxford, with which, however, he was not so well acquainted, could become a Fellow of his college unless he had previously obtained a scholarship, and the latter was now obtained in Cambridge without any person taking it being required to make any declaration of religious belief of any kind or form. The position of any one going to the University of Cambridge was this, that he was required to take no oath and make no declaration on his admission, or on competing for scholarships and exhibitions; or on taking a degree, unless he wished to proceed to a theological degree; but if he wished to compete for a fellowship, then declarations were imposed on him. These were of a triple character. With respect to the greater part of the colleges at Cambridge, and the whole or nearly the whole of the colleges at Oxford, it was a condition that every one on becoming a Fellow should declare in one form or another that he was a member of the Church of England. This, however, was not the case with respect to all colleges; it was not the case with respect to the most important college of Trinity. Now, he did not propose to make any change in that respect. The Bill did not deal with the College Statutes at all; but what he proposed was, that Parliament should not compel colleges to elect as Fellows only those who made such a declaration. 1394 That was one of the difficulties which a Nonconformist graduate at the Universities met with. He was, moreover, obliged under the Act of 1 George I. c. 13, to take the oaths of allegiance, supremacy, and abjuration, which had now been fused into one by the 21 & 22 Vict. Lastly, a person on obtaining a fellowship must, under the Act of Uniformity, make the declaration which the present Bill proposed to repeal, that he would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. He made that proposition on three grounds. He contended that such a provision was unjust to the vast body of Protestant Nonconformists, who were thereby precluded from obtaining fellowships; that it was injurious to the Universities themselves; and that it was detrimental to the interests of the Church, which it was supposed to protect. It was unjust to the Nonconformists because the colleges were in no respect clerical seminaries for priests of the Church of England, and the great bulk of those who received education in them were not destined to be ministers of that Church. Why, then, should the Nonconformists be excluded from competing for fellowships, which were simply prizes for intellectual and scientific attainments, and the competition for which ought not, therefore, to be limited to persons professing one particular form of belief? Why should the colleges be compelled by Act of Parliament to exclude him from a benefit, which was open to him, under the wills of the founders in some of those colleges; and he (Mr. Bouverie) had to observe that he did not propose to disturb in any way the arrangements laid down by the founders of those establishments. It was Parliament that created a disqualification by the passing of the Act of Uniformity, and his only object was to have that disqualification removed. This exclusion of Nonconformists from the competition for fellowships, besides being unjust, was injurious to the Universities themselves, and upon this latter point he had the authority of a number of gentlemen interested in carrying on the educational system at Cambridge. Two years ago he presented to that House a remarkable petition, setting forth that the operation of the clause in the Act of Uniformity requiring Fellows to declare their conformity to the Liturgy of the Church of England was injurious to the best interests of the 1395 University, and they therefore prayed that it might be repealed. And who were these petitioners? Were they persons animated by any desire to upset the Church of England? By no means. The petition was signed by seventy-four resident Fellows of the University of Cambridge, a majority of the Fellows of Trinity College, and a majority of the Fellows of Christ's College, as well as a majority of the Tutors and Assistant Tutors in the University. These were the men who petitioned for the repeal of a provision which had the effect of excluding from the only real prize in the University those Protestant Nonconformists who formed so important a portion of the middle class of this country. With the exception of the reputation of the distinction attached to a Wrangler, these persons were deprived of all inducements to go to the University. These men being excluded, the competition was, of course, very much less, and those who were tempted by ambition or a desire to profit by the advantages in the way of learning which the University afforded to her undergraduates, if they succeeded in getting high degrees (and who in the natural course of events would become Fellows if they took the declaration), were now shut out, and the University was deprived of their assistance in carrying out the instruction of the University. The immediate occasion of the petition to which he had referred being presented was, that the Senior Wranglers of two successive years, men of the highest distinction in the mathematical tripos, were excluded from competing for a Fellowship, because they were unable conscientiously to make the required declaration. One of these gentlemen was a member of the Scotch Church, and, as an undergraduate, he had so far conformed to the Liturgy as to attend chapel; but he scrupled, as any high-minded and conscientious man would, when he was called upon to formally subscribe to it. In what conceivable way, he asked, could the Church be injured by such a gentleman devoting his services as a Tutor and Fellow in teaching mathematics to the undergraduates? It seemed to be argued that it was the duty of the Tutors and Fellows to teach religious dogmas and doctrines; but Cambridge must have been greatly changed since his day if such was now the practice. Her Tutors, he believed, never took part in the religious instruction of the undergraduates. The undergraduates were expected to show themselves acquainted with Paley and Bishop Butler's sermons; but they did 1396 not receive religious instruction there in the sense that children received it from their parents, or little boys from the masters of private schools. The declaration was really detrimental to the Church itself. If the effect of such a declaration was substantially to exclude every one who was not conscientiously a member of the Church of England, and illustrated the purity of her doctrines by his own life, then he thought something might be said for its continuance, and it might be urged as some reason for maintaining it. But was that really the case? The declaration did not exclude the unscrupulous, the indifferent in religious matters, the sceptical, the profane; but it did occasionally exclude men who entertained a high sense of conscientious duty. This test was not a test of belief in the credibility of any of the dogmas, or a belief that the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Liturgy contained nothing contrary to the Word of God; but it was a mere declaration that the person making it would conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England. And he asked some hon. Member to state what the effect of such a declaration was? If its true moaning was that a man would not object to attend the services of the Church of England, then any one could take it; but occasionally there was found a conscientious man, who, from a sense of duty, or because he occupied a high position, and was known in his youth to belong to another religious body, scrupled to take it, and that man, above all others, was the man who ought to be admitted to a fellowship. He did not think, on striking a balance of the losses and gains, that the Church could really come to any other conclusion than that the losses were far more than equivalent to the gain of insisting on this condition. All that the Church could possibly gain by insisting on it was the petty and paltry satisfaction of robbing some man of the just reward of his industry and ability, who was either too proud or too conscientious to make a declaration which he conceived was in some way an abandonment of the Church of his fathers. The loss, however, was very considerable, for by it the Church lost the chance of obtaining the goodwill and attachment of a large portion of the Protestant Nonconformists of the country. They were now without her pale, which those who called themselves the friends of the Church studiously did everything they could on every occasion, both in the University and elsewhere, to 1397 make it as difficult to get over as possible. That, he regretted to say, had been the policy of the so-called friends of the Church for the last 200 years. It had proved a signal failure. He now recommended the House to try the other plan, and to see whether by freely giving equality of civil rights in every respect to Nonconformists, and admitting them to every advantage and privilege not inconsistent with the maintenance of the Established Church, they would not conciliate the goodwill and attachment of this influential body of their fellow-countrymen, and thereby greatly add to the stability of the Established Church. He knew that his proposal had been regarded by the clergy with alarm; and, looking to the petitions that were presented last year against it, every word in the English language which expressed fear had been introduced into them as expressing the opinions of the clergy. But these expressions were simply an emanation of the clerical mind. Lord Clarendon, one of the greatest statesmen of this country, and who was neither a Liberal nor a Whig statesman, had declared it to be the result of his experience that the clergy were the worst advisers Parliament could look to or follow on questions of this kind; and that observation had just been strongly confirmed. A few days since, the Bishop of London, in speaking on Lord Ebury's Motion for a Royal Commission relative to the Burial Service, said—It was desirable not to disregard the feelings of the clergy, but it was also desirable not to attach too much importance to them. The fact was that the clergy were necessarily, from their profession—and he was very thankful for it— averse to change, and changes for the better did not receive from that body the consideration and favour which they deserved. It was doubtful whether, with regard to the abolition of non-residence and other reforms which had taken place in the Church, if the decision had rested with the whole body of the clergy, that properly Conservative spirit which animated them would not have led them to say that the safer course was to leave things as they were,He entirely agreed with Lord Clarendon and the Bishop of London, and he asked the House to apply it to his proposal, namely, that the clergy were not safe counsellors or advisers on questions of this kind. The chief petition presented last year against the Bill was one from the University of Oxford. Now, he undertook to say—though he had not carefully studied the signatures to the petition—that the great bulk of them would be found to be 1398 the signatures of the clergy of the Established Church, who were naturally averse to change, and who were unnecessarily alarmed at anything which they thought might endanger any of the securities of the Church. The petitioners said—The removal of the only test now required of Tutors and Fellows would tend to give the control, government, and instruction of youth into the hands of persons of divergent religious creed, or of no creed at all.Well, this would be a good objection if the test now excluded that class of people. But did the test at present exclude sceptics and heretics? His case was, that the test admitted sceptics and heretics; that it professed to afford a security against the admission of improper persons, but afforded none. The petitioners went on to say that,Consistently with the Articles of the Church of England, the Church could not intrust her future instruction to persons who had given no security for the soundness of their faith.But what security was afforded by a man promising to conform to the Liturgy of the Church of England? What security did this give as to doctrine, creed, or religious faith? Look to the various classes of persons who had taken that test. They were "wide as the poles asunder." Dr. Pusey took it, and would take it again. Dr. Jowett took it, and would take it again. Dr. Newman took it, and would take it again. Bishop Colenso took it, and would take it again. Whether he would or would not, when men of such opposite opinions as Dr. Pusey, Professor Jowett, and Bishop Colenso took the test without scruple, it was a farce to talk of the test being a security. The petitioners went on to speak of "the relations between the Fellows of the colleges being intimate," and expressing an opinion thatThe harmony at present existing must be disturbed by the admission of persons differing on the most important of all subjects.Were the petitioners not such "potent, grave, and reverend signors," he would have thought this a joke. Had the relations between Fellows of colleges been disturbed by the difference of opinion that already existed? And were there differences of opinion likely to exist wider than those to which he had adverted? In fact, men of the widest differences of opinion could and did meet in harmony and good fellowship, and so they would if the test were abolished. Then it was said, "These 1399 men are engaged in the instruction of youth, and you would not intrust the education of your children to men who would not declare their adherence to the Liturgy of the Church of England." But he denied that parents scanned so nicely the religious belief of the Tutors as to feel any difficulty, after the repeal of the declaration, in sending their sons to the Universities. Moreover, the Tutors were selected by the Heads of Colleges; and the Heads of Colleges worshipped in the College chapel, here the worship was required by the Act of Uniformity to be conducted according to the Liturgy of the Church of England. Honourable and conscientious men would not attend a religious worship in which they did not coincide, and it was only the honourable and the conscientious that the test would catch. In all this, then, there was ample existing security against the Tutors teaching heterodoxy. He did not believe that the Church of England derived the smallest benefit from this test. On the contrary, he believed that whatever resulted from it was to her disadvantage. He believed that if she was left free from the trammels imposed by past Parliaments she would gain in strength. What had been the effect of removing from time to time the restrictions against Nonconformity? Had not the Church gained in strength by the repeal of the Tests and Coporation Act? Were not objections urged, usque ad nauseam, against even the admission of Dissenters to the Universities? But they were admitted, and what he now asked was, that the House would take this trifling step farther. He believed, moreover, that the Church incurred great ignominy by the attempt to monopolize the benefits of the great educational establishments of the country.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. E. P. Bouverie).
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) would have done well if he had followed the course he took last year, and had not pressed the second reading at this period of the Session. If the measure would, as the right hon. Gentleman said, make no difference whatever as far as the Universities were concerned, where was the necessity for pressing its adoption upon the House? The right hon. Gentleman withdrew the Bill last year on the ground that the Ses- 1400 sion was too far advanced to allow him to proceed with it. It was then the 24th of June, and it was now the 13th of July; so that the same reason for withdrawing the Bill applied with more strength on the present occasion. He believed, however, that there was a much stronger reason for withdrawing the Bill last year—and that was that the right hon. Gentleman felt that the objections raised to it by the Universities could not be answered, and that there was a strong disinclination on the part of Members on the Ministerial side of the House to pass a measure of the kind, which, if it were to have any effect at all, would introduce into the Universities, now based on one denominational system of religion, a variety of creeds and a religious confusion which might end in withdrawing from secular education that foundation of religious instruction upon which the country desired it should stand. The petition to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded as having been presented two years ago was got up privately, without the knowledge of the members of the University of Cambridge generally; though he admitted that it was signed by some few most distinguished men there. But the great majority of the members of the University were opposed to its prayer. Last year the matter was brought before the Convocation of Oxford University, and a petition under the common seal of the University against the Bill was adopted by a majority of 182 against 51. In the Senate House of the University of Cambridge there were against the Bill 120, and only 25 for it. [Mr. E. P. BOUVERIE: How many residents?] He would tell his right hon. Friend how many residents. At Oxford more than 1,000 bachelors and undergraduates were against it, while there were 2,000 non-residents also on the same side. At Cambridge all the heads of houses but two, almost all the resident tutors, several Bachelors of Arts, and a large body of undergraduates, were against the measure. In the face of such facts as these, he could only say that if his right hon. Friend was going to rest his Bill on petitions, there was an end to it at once. His right hon. Friend had urged three principal reasons against the present system—that it was unjust, that it was injurious to the Universities, and that it was, moreover, injurious to the Church. Now, he wished the House to observe that all the old arguments which used to apply to the case no longer existed. Before the University Acts 1401 passed, there might have been some ground for saying that, as a large body of persons could not obtain a University education by reason of the religious tests applied on matriculation, there was sonic degree of injustice done to those persons. Even before that time, however, that injustice was, in point of fact, removed by the establishment in 1834 of the London University, which afforded to all who did not conform to the Established religion the fullest opportunity of obtaining a University education. Dr. Arnold was one of the chief promoters of that institution, and being anxious that it should not be purely secular and altogether without the religious element, he proposed to get over the difficulty by having lectures on general Christian topics, without going into any denominational views. When the authorities of the University came to consider this plan with the view of carrying it out they found that it was an impossibility, because the religious teaching which would be given in such a case would be sure to take its complexion from the particular bias of the lecturer. It was therefore determined to establish the University on the basis of an institution for literary and scientific objects, and not connected in any way with religion. These two circumstances, therefore, deserved notice — that the grievance of the Dissenters in not having a University education was almost entirely taken away by the erection of the London University, and that it had been found that the latter University could not be open to all unless religion were excluded. Therefore, to allow the adoption of any measure which would deprive the Universities of their substratum of religious education was a proposition which neither the Universities nor the country over ought to sanction. From the London Universities the Dissenters received every benefit except one. There was something in the education furnished by the older Universities which gave it a certain prestige, and no doubt this was an advantage to a man in his professional career. That last grievance, however, was removed by the University Acts; for there was now nothing to prevent a Dissenter from having his son educated at either of the older Universities, and securing for him all the benefit, not only of the teaching, but even of the endowments in the shape of scholarships and exhibitions—in fact, to enjoy all the privileges except taking part in the control and management. If what the Dis- 1402 senters wanted was only to secure the advantages of University education, then their claim had been satisfied; but if they were not content with that, and were seeking a share in the management of the Universities, he denied that there was any justice in that demand — unless, indeed, it could be held that everybody was entitled to come into these institutions on his own terms and in disregard of chartered rights, and that they ought not to be connected with the Established Church. The question really resolved itself into this—were they to have an Established Church at all? If there was to be one, then the House had no more right to introduce new elements into institutions founded on the principles of the Established Church and intended to be connected with it, than they had to place any Dissenting or Roman Catholic colleges in the hands of those who did not belong to the denomination which had founded and endowed it. On this point he could cite the opinion of one who was a great advocate of freedom of education and who had done much to secure it — Lord Brougham. In 1834, when Lord Brougham was Chancellor, the question of subscription came before the House of Lords; and on that occasion the noble Lord said —There is another matter connected with the admission of Dissenters to the Universities, which, I think, is much more encumbered with doubt, but still, I throw it out for consideration. I refer to the expediency and the justice of admitting persons not belonging to the Established Church to all the privileges consequent upon their attendance at the Universities, besides the right to obtain degrees. And here I particularly allude, not to their acquiring any share in the government of the Universities — that is a matter which might be easily arranged — but to the right of having fellowships and scholarships. The difficulty upon that point is considerable, and I have no hesitation in saying, strong advocate of the Dissenters as I have ever been, that I see opinions expressed in some of their petitions which show that these excellent persons, in putting forward their claim, have not well weighed the reasons for which fellowships were, for the most part, endowed. The Dissenters have no more right, strictly speaking, to admission to fellowships and scholarships, endowed by the founders for the benefit of the Established Church, than any member of the Church of England would have a right to share in the endowments founded at Highbury or Homerton, Maynooth or Stonyhurst, or any other dissenting college, Catholic or Protestant. — [3 Hansard, xxv. 866–6.]Not only was the education of the Universities open to the Dissenters, but Parliament had provided the means whereby they could establish in the one University 1403 private halls, and in the other hostels for those who were unwilling to conform to the services of the Church of England. The wise and sound principle laid down in the University Acts was the only one on which they could safely take their stand—it was that the Universities should be open for the education of all, but that the government of these institutions should be confined to those who were connected with the Church of England. The next argument of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Bouverie) was that the present system was injurious to the Universities themselves. It was rather extraordinary that they should be asked on that question to accept the measure of injury from those who desired to invade those institutions, rather than from those who desired to uphold them. Surely the Universities themselves were the best judges of what was or was not an injury to them. It was said that some were excluded from the higher prizes of the Universities at present, and that might be so; but how many would practically be excluded if the measure of his right hon. Friend were carried? Would it not deprive many of confidence in the University system if every variety of creed were introduced, thus involving the necessity of doing away with religious education altogether? Why it would destroy the Universities. His right hon. Friend's Bill itself showed how much he felt the difficulties of the case. It proposed to remove the declaration required from Fellows and Tutors, but it did not touch the Masters of Colleges. On what principle were the Masters to be subject to the declaration, if it was right that that test should be removed from the Fellows? His right hon. Friend would no doubt say that as the Master was the chief person in a college, he was responsible for the religious education. But if there was an injustice in preventing young men from becoming Fellows, was there not tenfold injustice in withholding from a man who had served long and faithfully as a tutor the great prize of a mastership? The reason why his right hon. Friend would not venture to abolish the declaration in that case was because he knew that there must be some one to superintend the religious education of the students. At Cambridge his right hon. Friend said that generally speaking there was no statutory ban, but that the restriction was of a legislative character, and imposed 200 years ago. Both at Trinity 1404 and St. John's the Master and Fellows had to subscribe a form of words which his right hon. Friend described as a general declaration of Christianity; but a particular religion was distinctly pointed at in the statute which said, that if any Fellow should openly secede from the Church of England, the Master should thereupon summon the seniors, and the Master and seniors together should proceed to inquire into the case, and if the fact were established should declare the fellowship vacant. The very fact that the Masters were not included in the operation of the Bill was, in itself, an admission of the difficulty which beset those who supported the measure. He had dealt with two of the main arguments of his right hon. Friend. Need he refer to the third—that the existing system was injurious to the Church of England? He agreed with his right hon. Friend, that the National Church must necessarily comprehend men who might disagree in opinion on certain points not fundamental, but who agreed on those which were fundamental. Reference had been made to the admission of such men as Professor Jowett, Dr. Newman (but the latter would, of course, be excluded now), and others; but his answer to that was that the Church of England had always been a comprehensive Church, and was intended to embrace within its pale all those whose divergence of opinion did not relate to fundamental matters. It was not a narrow Church; but although it admitted a great variety of opinion, it did not admit a variety of creed. It was liberal in the truest sense in tolerating a difference of view on certain points; but it would sink into indifference and infidelity if it did not care for the preservation of the fundamental doctrines of our faith. His right hon. Friend put it to them, that if they would only give way here and give way there, they might do much for the reform of the Universities. There lay the broad difference between the two sides of the House. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were always assuming that the institutions of the country were bad and required alteration. On his side they assumed that our institutions were good; and while they were willing to adopt improvements where defects could be shown, they were not willing to innovate for the mere sake of introducing a new idea. His right hon. Friend, who was a great reader of Bacon, would pro- 1405 bably remember the passage in the Essays where he said that "it is reformation that draweth on to change, and not the desire to change that leadeth to reformation." If any improvements could be indicated as necessary to be made there would be, on his side of the House, the fullest desire to carry them out; but they felt bound to oppose measures which were proposed for the mere sake of innovating on the present order of things, and which would have the effect of, he would not say destroying, but undermining these institutions. It was the desire of change which led in the present case to the project of reform; and he therefore begged to move that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Walpole.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he hardly expected that the point for discussion would have been whether we should substitute for the denominational system of the Universities a mixed system of education; and was astonished to find that he had been mistaken in the scope of the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. Having laid down the principle that the change he sought to make did not touch religion, but merely removed certain civil disabilities to which those that did not belong to the Church of England were subjected, the right hon. Gentleman, thirty-three or thirty-four years after the passing of the Emancipation Act, wished to continue these disabilities so far as they touched Roman Catholics, and to place them on a pinnacle to be pointed at by every person of any religion or no religion; and yet he presented himself with professions of liberality on his lips, whilst endeavouring to perpetrate what, on his own principles, was a monstrous injustice. He (Mr. Monsell), if he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman's premises, should protest against a course which would place his co-religionists in so degrading a position. He, however, took other ground. He felt strongly that it would be an enormous advantage to all Her Majesty's subjects to have admission to the national Universities. The only limitation recommended by the Cambridge Commissioners was this—that those who were not members of the Church of England had the right to ask from the Univer- 1406 sities the fullest privileges that could be given without an infringement of the fundamental principle on which the University was founded, and that was that education and religion should not be dissociated —that religion should be at the basis of all education. He thought those who were not members of the Church of England had a right to ask that every privilege which did not infringe on that principle should be given to them, and he thought it was a matter that ought not to be left in the hands of a private Member. He trusted, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government would introduce early next Session a measure for obtaining that object. This Bill however, in his opinion, involved a fundamental change in the whole system of the Universities. If it were passed they might have such men— he would not name an English name because that might be invidious—such men as M. Ernest Renan as a Fellow of the colleges to which the Bill applied.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, his right hon. Friend must be hard driven to make such an observation as that. M. Ernest Renan, if he were an Englishman, might under this Bill become a Fellow of the University; and that was another instance of his right hon. Friend's liberality. How many Members of that House would send their children to a college where they would be likely to meet such tutors? How had the system, sought to be now introduced, worked in other countries? The system had been tried in Belgium, and the religious people of that country in 1830 rose up against the King of Holland. What was the case in France? What was the Comte de Gasparin's opinion? He was a Protestant, and he had shown the evils of the system at the Lycée; as also had Montalembert. In France the religious classes were abandoning the Government Lycées and establishing institutions of their own. This Bill was the first step to the principle of dissevering religion from education, and such as it ought to be resisted. Let them reject it now, and he called upon hon. Gentlemen opposite to assist in passing a measure which would allow those who were not members of the Church of England to found colleges of their own within the Universities; thus on the other hand giving them the opportunity of enjoying the inestimable advantages of University education, and on the other in no degree weakening the con- 1407 nection which existed between religious and secular education.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that the ritual and creed of the Church of England were framed so as to open wide the doors to a considerable variety of opinion. At the same time, the Church was intended to be a spiritual garrison against the aggressions of a foreign political power under a religious disguise—a wolf in sheep's clothing. Unfortunately the Universities had of late years served too much as a bridge from the Church of England to the Church of Rome. From Oxford, at any rate, a great number had found their way to Rome. The remarks of the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken showed that the Catholics believed the present system to be to their advantage, and that was a very suspicious circumstance. He supported the Bill because it would tend to dilute a dangerous element in the Universities.
§ MR. NEATE
said, that Roman Catholics might be justified in arguing that the endowments of the Universities did not belong exclusively to the Church of England; but such a plea did not lie in the mouths of individuals who had accepted the modified Church which had been established by Act of Parliament. The same Act that settled the Church settled all the subsidiary and educational arrangements. He would remind the House that there were private institutions in connection with the Church which were founded for the express benefit of the Church of England. In his opinion it was most undesirable that the barriers which now excluded those who were not members of the Church of England from all interference with such institutions should be broken down. If the Bill were passed, the Universities would be precluded from taking into consideration in the election of Fellows whether the candidate was a member of the Church of England or not, and if he had passed the best examination they would be bound to elect him. The result would be that they might have Fellows and Tutors of colleges who would be precluded from becoming members of the governing body. As the law now stood persons were allowed to leave money for the propagation of Roman Catholic and Dissenting doctrines, and the trustees of such endowments could protect themselves from the intrusion of members of the Church of England. But if this Bill passed, it would deny to members of the 1408 Church the same right of protecting themselves from the intrusion of Dissenters which the law now conceded to the Dissenters themselves. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill said the test was too mild, and not sufficiently stringent; but, although it could not secure a perfect identity of faith, it secured an identity of worship. Under these circumstances, he should vote against the second reading of the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided—Ayes 101; Noes 157: Majority 46.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Bill put off for three months.