§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
* Sir, two opposite criticisms have been passed upon the measure now before the House. Some have called it too small, and some have called It too large. It has been called too small by those who assumed that the privileges which, under the present Bill, are to be acquired by a Master of Arts without a theological test might, and probably would, be cut down in Committee, and not extended to the enjoyment of a share in the government of the University. It has been called too large by those who assumed that the privileges would be granted in their entirety. A measure which would confer the barren privilege of Master of Arts upon those candidates for that degree, who are not prepared to comply with existing regulations, was thought not to be worth the time and attention of this House. A measure which bestowed not a barren privilege, but a substantial privilege, a privilege carrying with itself all the rights which belong to the Master of Arts under the present system, was accused of tending to revolutionise the University and revolutionise the Church. I could not agree in either of those positions. Any progress made in the relaxation of tests and subscriptions—and I need hardly remind this House that by tests and subscriptions I mean not creeds, not formularies of faith, but forms of inquisition—any progress made in the relaxation of tests and subscriptions I consider to be most worthy of our time and attention; and if, on the 186 other hand, all tests and subscriptions at the University were relaxed or abolished, I do not believe that the University would be revolutionised or the Church destroyed. If the dilemma is forced upon me, that the change we advocate is either small, and not worth making, or, if large, then dangerous, I will frankly accept the premise of the latter horn, while I repudiate the conclusion. The change, I admit, will be large and substantial. So far from being dangerous, it is in our eyes not only safe, but expedient, wise, and even necessary, in the interest of the University, in the interest of the country, and, I would venture to say, in the interests of the Church itself. Were I prepared to allow that the Bill admitted of being so cut down in Committee as to give a fresh legislative sanction to the exclusion of Dissenters from the most important privileges of an academical degree—for instance, if I were prepared to accept what is called the Cambridge compromise— I should indeed lay myself open to the criticism of having introduced for the second time a measure of no urgent importance. But after the Liberal party has decided once for all to accept the larger issue, and bestow the privileges of a degree without limitation, independently of a theological test—if we remember that the Bill was read a third time last year, and only lost in the final stage, after three divisions, by a majority of two in a full House—I am sure no one will be surprised if I say that I feel absolutely precluded from holding out any hope that limitations such as I have indicated could be admitted in Committee, at least with the consent of the friends of the Bill, or, I think I may say, of the great bulk of the Liberal party. The Bill must stand and fall upon the broader issue, whether the privileges can be bestowed in their entirety, if a degree is given at all. It was said last year that the principle of the Bill was to admit Dissenters to the governing body of the University. This I must take leave emphatically to deny. It is not the principle of the Bill, although unquestionably one of its results. The removal of the evils attending subscription is another result. What, then, it may be asked, is the principle of the Bill? The principle of the Bill is what the title indicates, and what the preamble expands — namely, the principle that academical degrees in the University of Oxford should for the future be independent of religious tests. Of course 187 it is open to hon. Members to take exception to the principle of the Bill, or to take exception to the results of the Bill, or to oppose both the principle on its own account, and its results, direct and indirect. But let it not be said by hon. Members, as it was said last year, that under cover of a specious principle we are trying by underhand means to bring in larger results which we should be afraid to bring in nakedly. We contend for the principle for its own sake. We avow the results, and are prepared to defend them. Our position is—that our Universities, historically, for all general purposes, are national institutions, and legally, lay corporations. That their exclusive connection with the Church of England is, if I may use a technical term, "accidental, not essential." That our clergy merely happen to be educated there, as they are educated at our schools, for purposes of general training, before their own special studies begin. That theology is taught at Oxford, like history, or philosophy, simply as a part, and, it must be confessed, a very small part, of the general curriculum. That education, not professional, but general, and general in its widest sense, is in practice the education given at Oxford, looked for in Oxford, and I hope to be maintained in Oxford. That to this general education it is in the general interest of the country to attract the greatest possible number of Englishmen. That no class of Englishmen can, as a class, be attracted so long as they are placed under humiliating restrictions, or invited to occupy a position of legal, social, and academical inferiority. That any regulations which exclude from academical degrees, and all the privileges connected with these degrees, are a badge of that inferiority and that humiliation. That the imposition of religious tests falls under the head of such regulations, excluding those whom it is for the general good to include, humiliating those who ought to be attracted, and running counter to the national and unprofessional character of our Universities. This, Sir, is our position. These are the principles upon which the Bill is founded, leading to results by which we are prepared to stand. And, independently of the character of our Universities and their history, independently of law, independently of the expediency of making the area of the University co-extensive with the area of the nation; as a general principle, we contend that it is a solecism in science to connect academical 188 degrees with compulsory professions of faith, and worse than a solecism in religion to secure a regulation orthodoxy by the temptation of secular rewards. I do not say that there is no other line of argument by which the present system may be effectually condemned. If I could even grant that the policy of exclusion were expedient and just, I should still call the present system, by which that policy is attempted to be carried out, a short-sighted system, an ineffectual system, an immoral system. And, unquestionably, it will be a great gain if, while we carry out the principle of making academical degrees independent of theological tests, we sweep away a system which, in its very application, independently of its objects, involves so great an amount of evil. But for the present I will confine myself to the arguments which I have stated.
I have said, Sir, that our Universities are lay corporations by the law of the land. And when I say this I am not speaking at random; indeed, I fear, that to some hon. Members I may seem to be simply stating a truism. It is, however, a truism so often forgotten that I may be excused if I insist upon it. The doctrine that our Universities are lay corporations is laid down as the established law in our text books. Stephen, in his Commentaries, speaking of lay corporations, divides them into civil and eleemosynary, and says that civil corporations are established for a variety of purposes, "and among these corporations," he tells us—The general corporate bodies of Oxford and Cambridge must be ranked; for it is clear, "he says," that these corporations—namely, Oxford and Cambridge, are not spiritual or ecclesiastical, for they are composed of more laymen than clergy; neither are they eleemosynary foundations, though stipends are annexed to certain magistrates and professors, any more than other corporations where the acting officers have standing salaries, for these are rewards pro opera et labors, not charitable donations only, since every stipend is preceded by service and duty.This applies, of course, to the Universities in their collective capacity. But even the colleges which might, without impairing the strength of my argument, be ecclesiastical foundations, this text-book of English Law asserts to be—Lay, and not ecclesiastical, falling under the head of eleemosynary corporations founded for the promotion of piety and learning. All these eleemosynary corporations, though in some things partaking of the nature of ecclesiastical bodies, are, strictly speaking, lay, and not ecclesiastical, even though composed of ecclesiastical persons.189 "The Popish Clergy," we are told, "did, it is true, consider them as Ecclesiastical corporations." But it is emphatically added—Whatever might be formerly the opinion of the clergy, it is now held as established law, that colleges are lay corporations, though they may be totally composed of ecclesiastical persons.Or if any hon. Members, learned in Ecclesiastical Law, should appeal to collateral evidence, and cite various ancient practices to prove the ecclesiastical character of the University—if, for instance, they wish to appeal to the right of visitation claimed by the Ordinary of the diocese—I would ask them whether they are not aware that the same evidence may be brought, and the existence of the same claims may be proved, in the case of many other institutions of which the warmest Anglican would not venture to assert that they are ecclesiastical corporations. Hospitals were under the same laws of visitation as Universities. They, as well as many other institutions, were under the control of the clergy, precisely in the same manner as the seats of learning, and that which is called, with suggestive vagueness, the connection of the Church with the University, is historically nothing more than the tie which bound the priesthood of the middle ages to the whole of the charitable, educational, and even professional institutions of the country.
It is thus, Sir, that I have ventured to assert that the Universities are not only legally but historically national institutions. The Universities were connected with the Church, not as a corporation, but simply with the priests as the depositaries of learning. The union between the Universities and the Church was not an intentional and historical alliance, for offence and defence, between secular education and ecclesiastical dominion. It arose simply and unintentionally, ex necessitate rei, from the fact that out of the priesthood secular knowledge was scarcely to be found. The Popish clergy were sufficiently usurping in their claim to supremacy over every department to which ecclesiastical influence could in any way be applied. But no rational advocate of Church influence in the present day ever ventures to assert that the sphere of clerical domination in present times should be coincident with the sphere occupied by the priests in old times. The exclusive connection of the University with the Church was, as I have said, a matter of accident—the result of the acci- 190 dental fact that secular knowlege, professional knowledge, political knowledge, all practically lay concentrated in the hands of the clergy, It is true that the Catholic religion claimed the education of the people as one of its special functions. Could that claim have been granted, it would by no means follow that the Protestant successors of the Roman Catholic clergy might assert the same pretensions. The very essence of the Reformation was surely the emancipation of the lay intellect. But the curious feature is this — that while abroad the ultimate effect of the Reformation has been to secularise the Roman Catholic Universities, our Protestant Universities (Oxford will forgive me for using this offensive epithet) claim to maintain a character exclusively ecclesiastical. So little are the Roman Catholic Universities abroad afraid of admitting heretics, that I have been informed, and I confess I heard it with surprise, that—No creed, or dogma, or confession of faith, has been imposed in any of the Roman Catholic Universities of Austria since 1782.Take the University of Prague as an illustration. I hold in my hand a letter from a very excellent authority, who informs me that—After the proclamation of the Patent of Tolerance (1781, by the Emperor Joseph II.) many of the formulas still then in use, by which the University was designated as exclusively Roman Catholic, were likewise abrogated. At the 'promotions' to doctorship (corresponding to our higher degrees) the profession of faith, till then used, was abolished. The Jews were admitted to the academical degrees.Of Austria and Bavaria it may be said, without exaggeration, that they are far more Roman Catholic than England is Anglican, and yet only a short time ago the Rector of the University of Munich —an office corresponding partly to the Vice Chancellor and partly to the Master of a College in our Universities — was a Protestant. What do we find, then, to be the case? The Church of Rome, with her traditional hatred of the progress of human thought, with her confessed aversion to the pursuit of truth, and her avowed hostility to scientific inquiry, has been compelled to surrender to the State the keys of Continental Universities, where no theological tests bar the way to academical distinction, where degrees and emoluments are bestowed without enforced declarations of theological conformity; and the Church of England, placed in the midst of the most liberal country in the world, 191 boasting its hold over the most enlightened portion of that country, claims, with the Church of Spain alone, the unenviable privilege of intolerant exclusion, the right to a monopoly over the academical education of the country, a monopoly, which in England excludes half the population from the traditional seats of the country's learning. Sir, I could almost imagine that many persons, both here and out of doors, may think that I am fighting with a shadow, when I so strenuously deny the ecclesiastical character of our Universities. But, strange as it may appear, if petitions are realities and not shadows, the ecclesiastical character of our Universities is held to be, not only a fact, but a fact for which the petitioners are prepared to sacrifice, I will not say their lives, I will not say their endowments, but unquestionably their reputation for charity and discretion. Here is what I may call the typical petition of the opponents of the Bill:—Your Petitioners would represent to your honourable House that the University of Oxford is essentially (observe the word "essentially") essentially a University in connection with the Church of England, having been originally founded and subsequently endowed and maintained, and even at the present time is mainly supported by members of the Church of England."Mainly supported!" There is an unconscious candour about that word. And observe the contrast. It is stated broadly, without any qualification, or any such candid word as "mainly," that the University was originally founded and endowed by members of the Church of England. (Roman Catholic members, I presume.) According to this view, then, the University was exclusively maintained by the Church of England when the Church of England was Papist, and is only mainly supported by the Church of England now that the Church of England is Protestant. But let me just say here quite incidentally that, on the showing of these orthodox and candid petitioners it would be enough to answer, that as the University is mainly supported by members of the Church, justice will be satisfied if her academical degrees are mainly given to members of the Church; and that as they clearly contemplated a margin of support coming from other quarters, so a margin of academical degrees, with all their privileges, would be due, on their own showing, to the various quarters (whatever they may be) whence, according to the petitioners, that support is derived. But I lay no stress on this petition myself. Far from it. And I 192 have only quoted it as a sample of the vague and even inconsistent character of the claims put forward. But the important point of the petition I have quoted is that it takes the bull by the horns, and bluntly declares that—Tests are necessary for the protection of the ecclesiastical character of the University.And this petition is the petition of the English Church Union. The clergy of the rural deanery of Bamburgh are a little more diplomatic, and the petitioners confine themselves to "feeling" that the Bill would "do injury to the distinctive Church character of the University." Well, this sounds a little better than the "ecclesiastical character" of the University. But I presume the sense and the drift are the same. The University is claimed as the exclusive property of one creed. The real truth, no doubt is, that in the early days of the University, its founders did not foresee the national diversities which have since arisen. The colleges were founded when the nation was of one belief, not for the benefit of one special creed independently of the nation. If diversities had not arisen, and all England were Anglican (or rather Roman Catholic, as it would be if no diversities had arisen), then a University which admitted only Catholics (or, if you prefer it, only Anglicans) would still be a national University. But the diversities have arisen. You have recognised them in this House. And it is a strong assumption to make, that because, when the Universities were founded, the nation and the Roman Catholic religion were co-extensive, now, when that co-extension no longer exists, a claim to the exclusive possession of the University can hold good, not in favour of the Roman Catholics, but in favour of their episcopalian successors. In this assumption there is a double fallacy—the fallacy that the Universities were founded for one creed, and the fallacy that the Church of England has now become the natural heir to the privileges granted to the favoured creed, although that creed is still alive. Nay, Sir, there is another fallacy, the fallacy of supposing that if the Anglican Church were in possession of such privileges, and the Roman Catholic Church, the original claimant, were defunct, the inheritance would have come to the Church of England through a natural law of succession, instead of through the action of the State. With the first of these fallacies I have already dealt. I, for my 193 part, in common, I think, with the vast majority of this House and of the country, do not believe that the Universities ever were ecclesiastical "property," because I hold that they belong to the State. Supposing, however, for the sake of argument, that they did not belong to the State, and belonged originally to the Roman Catholic Church, then we come to the second fallacy, that the Church of England is the natural heir to Roman Catholic foundations. But, Sir, let me ask, is the Roman Catholic Church extinct? Can the Church, of England inherit from a Church which still lives amongst us? And especially I ask, how comes it that, under this theory, the Roman Catholics are at this moment excluded from the foundations which were created out of the funds of their co-religionists? How came the Church of England, if it ever came, by their property? By natural descent, or by a transfer made by the State? I am well aware of the ingenious theory which loves to represent the present State Church of England as the original Church of the land, and the Roman Catholics as a species of Dissenters. Could this theory be admitted we should only come to the awkward fact that the Universities were founded by those very Dissenters. But if the Roman Catholics in England had died out, how could the Church of England claim to be their heir? Surely the endowments would escheat to the State. We, Sir, are in no such difficulty. We maintain that the Universities necessarily belong to the State. The State assumed the right to deal with the Universities at the time of the Reformation, ousted the Roman Catholics, closed the gates upon those who had been their founders, barred them with theological tests, and to this day excludes the very men who, if any man ever had, would have the only semblance of a title derived from history and law.
I cannot conceal from myself, Sir, that the arguments which I have answered hitherto would only be important if I had left them unanswered. The strongest arguments are those which rely on the connection between the Church and the State. The State, it will be said, has founded a State Church, and handed over the State Universities to that State Church. Our answer is simple—What the State transferred for the good of the country once, the State, on your own admission, can transfer again for the good of the country. But we ask for no transfer. What we ask for 194 is a simple extension, an extension which will not impair, nay, we honestly and firmly believe, will enhance the welfare of the Church, while it benefits the country at large. To this our opponents reply, No, the State may have given the State Universities to the State Church, but what the State has given it cannot take away. The Church has a claim to those Universities. This claim, strong as it may appear at first sight, again rests on a double fallacy. It is assumed, in the first place, that the Church has a monopoly of the education of the country. That is a claim which has never been allowed in this House. The Church might as well set up a claim to a monopoly of Parliament itself, as set up a claim to a monopoly of the national education. But it is assumed, in the second place, that education, in the limited sense in which the word is applicable to school training, is the sole function of the University. Sir, I cannot agree in this view. Education, properly so called, is only a part of University life. Another, and even a higher function of a University, properly so called, is the pursuit of truth. It has been said, on very high authority, from which, however, I beg respectfully to dissent, that free inquiry can only be conducted by free inquirers, and that, accordingly, such free inquiry cannot be loyally conducted in the Church. But, Sir, if this were true, which it is not, would it not prove conclusively that there can be no exclusive connection between the Church and the University? For if free inquiry cannot be conducted in the Church, where is it to be conducted? Why, of course, in our Universities. To our Universities we must look, not only for the education of our youth, but for the unimpeded pursuit of free inquiry. If, then, it were truly contended that free inquiry cannot loyally be conducted in the Church, whereas it is evidently an organic function of the University, this argument alone would effectually disprove the essential connection between the University and the Church.
I have attempted, Sir, to dispose of the essential connection between the Church and the University. A connection no doubt exists, but not an essential connection, not an exclusive connection. The next argument, however, which is put forward is that the Universities belong to the Church of England, because the clergy of the Church of England are educated there. The Universities, it is said, are the training schools of the English clergy. To 195 this I reply, in similar terms, that although the clergy of the Church of England happen to be educated there, and I trust will long continue to be educated there, no essential and no exclusive connection exists between the clerical profession and the Universities, any more than between the Universities and other liberal professions. To represent Oxford as a clerical seminary is to rob Oxford of its title to be a University at all. It is, indeed, true enough, or it was until lately true enough, that the majority of those who take holy orders were educated at Oxford and Cambridge. But what was the education they received there? Why, Sir, the common education of every English gentleman, and the honours and distinctions, which were the best passports to the Church, were also the best passports to the bar. A small class of men, it is true, may wish to give a more professional and one-sided educacation to our clergy, but the country at large, I am sure, recognises the immense advantage of educating laity and clergy together, and developing rather a lay element in the clergy than a clerical element in onr laity. And here I may say that strange and inconsistent views are no doubt very frequently put forth by the champions of the clerical character of the Universities. On the one hand, to hear them speak, one might almost suppose that the laity were admitted to the Universities on sufferance, and that it is a high privilege to be allowed, as a simple layman, present and future, to associate with sucking curates in posse. To the fact of this association they point as the main safeguard for our future piety and principles. On the other hand, still under the hallucination that the Universities are the monopoly of the Church, they degrade them in their theory to a place where young curates are to sow their wild oats, and where the laity may be invited in, as the children of darkness, to supplement the learning, and lend a worldly grace to the children of light. Sir, I have no doubt whatever, that it is of infinitely greater advantage to the clergy to sow their wild oats among the laity than in a special theological locality devised for that purpose. But I would lay it down in the strongest terms that the education of the country is not to be sacrificed to the exigencies of the clergy, present or future. There are many arguments in connection with this subject which deserve to be treated with respect; but the argument that in legislating for Oxford we are simply 196 to consider the education of our clergy is an argument which, stated in its naked form, no one of us would be prepared to admit. A fair share in that education in common with other professions the clergy may legitimately demand. They cannot demand to monopolise that education; they cannot even claim to render it less effectual to others, in order to render it more effectual to themselves. But some people may fear that the admission of Dissenters to the University might discourage the study of theology altogether. Those who entertain this fear evidently think that theology enters as a large part into University education. But I may confidently appeal to those who are at all conversant either with the studies or the life at Oxford whether, as a matter of fact, from the practical and common-sense point of view, theology enters as an important element into University training at all. I well remember the theological studies to which undergraduates were subjected as a matter of form. One hour a week was cut off from our secular studies for a lecture on the Thirty-nine Articles; and in the college to which I had the privilege to belong we had the further advantage of being called upon every week for an abstract of a University sermon. It was a current libel in the town that a pastrycook furnished these abstracts at a few shillings apiece. I do not wish to deny that at all times there are to be found at Oxford men who devote themselves zealously to ecclesiastical learning. There is scarcely any branch of science that has not some enthusiastic votaries at Oxford. But I repeat that, as a matter of practical experience, every one must admit that theology, to the great body of Oxford men who seek an academical degree, is but a part, and a very small part, of the studies prescribed, and a still smaller part of the actual studies undertaken. The education which is given, that which ought to be given, at Oxford, and given to clergy and laity alike, is a general education. And we have to ask whether it is wise, expedient, or just, to connect this general education and its legitimate rewards, not indeed with religion and that piety which, together with learning, appears in the phraseology of so many University grants, but with the enforced acceptance of dogmatic formulas not contemplated in those grants, and the enforced assent to hundreds of propositions, which no two men interpret alike, much less understand alike, and which, so far from 197 having promoted that unity and spirit of concord which we are conjured in every tone of entreaty not to disturb, have been a source of more virulence, more bittcrness, more malignity, than any one of those poor secular subjects, the study of which we are told would be demoralised if withdrawn from the hallowing influence of enforced theological unanimity.
But, independently of the wisdom and expediency, as an abstract question of policy, of connecting academical degrees with theological tests, the House is bound to consider, whether, if we believe the general education given at Oxford to be of such infinite importance, and to have conferred such inestimable benefits upon those who have been admitted there hitherto, whether, I say, in the interest of the country, we should not desire, nay, insist, that the full privileges of that general education should be extended beyond the area of the Church to the nation at large. It is the boast, Sir, and privilege of our Universities to give the highest and most general education of which this country is capable. Oxford aspires to give a certain tone and character to the intellect and feeling of the nation, and the establishment of her middle-class examinations, and the success which has attended them, show a growing bond of sympathy between herself and the country. There was a time when a gulf seemed to lie between academical education and the practical self-culture of the country. Oxford looked upon the unprivileged with arrogance, and the unprivileged looked upon Oxford with suspicion. I regret to say that this separation is a matter almost of congratulation to many friends of the University. I met with a curious proof of this the other day, and one I think well worth the attention of the House. An Oxford friend said to me, "So you are going to make a manufacturing college of Oxford." I asked him "How?" "Why, of course," he said, "by the abolition of tests." I think, Sir, this candid friend of mine has let the cat out of the bag. Theological tests are, you observe valued as Social tests. Whether this curious theory is founded on the assumption that country gentlemen and other classes, whoever they may be, who are not manufacturers, can digest tests which a manufacturer cannot even swallow, or whether there is a vague idea in the minds of Oxford men, that manufacturers are all Dissenters, I cannot tell. Probably my friend never thought about the matter. But his remark 198 conveys the general idea of social exclusiveness which underlies the cloak of theological tenderness. It is not too much to say that the exclusiveness of the University, more than any other circumstance perhaps, has imperilled the cause of classical learning in this country, that cause which next to clerical ascendancy over the national intellect, lies nearest to the heart of the Conservative party. And, sympathising as I do, with classical education, I lament that ecclesiastical usurpation and theological intolerance should seriously have endangered the popularity of a system which, I may confidently say, is quite as dear to me as it is to them. It is a deplorable coincidence that classical and clerical, when applied to education, should, in the mind of half the country, have come to be considered as convertible terms. This, Sir, is the true historical key to the aversion in this country of the Dissenters to a classical education. The utilitarian view is little more than a pretext. And if that utilitarian view in matters of education is to be successfully combated, you must separate academical degrees from theological prejudices, and hold them out as the highest prizes and patents of refinement to the nation at large. If the Universities are really thrown open, if they are freely recognised as national institutions, if they are made to feel responsible for the education of the country at large, if they recognise the duty of supplying candidates, not only for the Bar and the Church, but for every department of national life, the Universities will not have been lowered in character, their tone will not have become, as hon. Members are not ashamed to insinuate, more vulgar, but they will have established a fresher and a surer hold, not only upon the intellect, but upon the affections and reverence of the nation. Surely, Sir, Churchmen least of all can deny that it would be of immense advantage to the Dissenters themselves to be admitted to the University. But probably they will continue to assert that it involves danger to the Church. Now, if there is one line of argument which is, if I may use the term, irritating to liberal Churchmen, it is the constant assumption which underlies the views of hon. Members opposite — namely, that not only in every intellectual conflict, but even in all friendly intellectual intercourse, our Church must certainly succumb to every other creed. Pushing its missionary labours abroad into every quarter with almost indiscreet energy, it 199 pretends at home to shrink from all contact with other denominations. Dissenters and Catholics, if admitted to Oxford, would, it is feared, leaven the mass of orthodox Churchmen instead of being leavened by them. I am sure hon. Members will forgive me if I have no great confidence in the candour of that argument. A want of courage is the last charge that I feel I could bring against the great Oxford party who resist the abolition of tests and subscriptions. I think it is rather aversion than fear on which the policy of exclusion rests. And, indeed, it appears to me merely idle to suppose that if this Bill were to pass there would be such a rush of heretics into Oxford as to swamp its Anglican element. Under what circumstances, and how could that element be swamped? Intellectually or numerically? The first alternative I, as a Churchman, cannot for a moment admit, nor can I see how any Churchman can admit it. The second alternative runs exactly parallel with the admission of Jews and Dissenters to this House. Have the Jews and Dissenters in this House swamped every other element? Are they likely to swamp it? And on what conceivable principle would they swamp the University? Both in Oxford, and in this House, they will obtain that influence, and that influence only, which, as citizens of this country, they would in free competition for power and position naturally secure, were they not unequally weighted by the arbitrary legislation which the Bill before us is intended to remove. Sir, the argument of swamping the Universities does not deserve one moment's consideration. It is not only improbable, but, I venture to say, impossible, at all events only possible if the intellectual supremacy of the Church and her own predominance at Oxford were lost by her own default. I know it is said, "Let Dissenters come to the Universities, but do not admit them to the governing body of the University."
Sir, a very great fuss is made about admitting Dissenters to the government of the University. I say we have admitted them. We have admitted Jews, Catholics, Dissenters, to Parliament. Here they are, sitting and legislating for the University at this moment—legislating with infinitely greater effect, than if they themselves in cap and gown were sitting in Convocation, making speeches in Latin. Is it not perfectly clear that they are infinitely more powerful here, legislating for a University from which they are excluded, and if they 200 were engaged in local legislation within the pale of a University in which they were included. There, as here, they would be in a minority—probably in a much smaller, certainly in a much less bitter, minority—in proportion as Oxford softened and disarmed by admission those whom now she professes to fear.
And now, Sir, I may ask—if there is any force in the arguments which I have urged, if there is any truth in the assertion that it is in the interest of the country to attract the greatest possible variety of Englishmen to the University—can we expect to attain this desirable consummation so long as whole classes are subjected to humiliating restrictions and distinctions? It is all very well to say that you are willing to educate them, willing to admit them on sufferance, willing to allow them to trespass within the sacred precincts of a clerical University. You know very well that they will not come in the character of interlopers to "sit below the salt." Call it sentimental, call it by whatever name you please, the fact remains. To be excluded from academical degrees is a penalty, a penalty on nonconformity staring the Nonconformist in the face from the first instant when he enters the University. Nor are Dissenters alone liable to fall under the weight of this penalty. Everyone who in the pursuit of truth stumbles on an unexpected difficulty, or whose theological studies, studies theoretically encouraged at Oxford, have awakened instead of blunting his conscience, may at any moment see the blank wall of theological uniformity barring his progress to academical distinction. Probably half the men who are excluded by theological tests are the very men who would most value and most be benefited by an academical degree. There are men to whom to be a graduate of Oxford means only to write M.A. after their names, and to be canvassed at a University election. There are numbers of others to whom to be a Master of Arts at Oxford conveys more substantial and nobler advantages. What they value is the acquisition of a position in the University itself. But to remain permanently at Oxford, and to take part in that Oxford life which begins, strictly speaking, after the career of the undergraduate is past, it is necessary either to proceed to the higher academical degree, or to incur that odium of nonconformity or eccentricity so often fatal to later prospects no less than to present comfort. I know a case in point 201 at this moment. A Scotch Presbyterian, highly distinguished in Oxford examinations, who as a Bachelor of Arts has been most useful to his college, must, by the rules of that college, proceed to the higher degree of Master of Arts. He holds a fellowship now, but this fellowship must be vacated, and his position in the University be abandoned, if he does not sign the Thirty-nine Articles and the 36th Canon, now, after being a fellow of his college for several years. I ask the House, is this a grievance, or is it not? And is it a grievance to that individual only, and not rather to that important section of the country to which he belongs? Sir, I cannot understand how the grievance can be denied, I cannot understand how it can be said that the effect of the Bill before the House consists simply in the removal of a sentimental difficulty. But if, Sir, I were even to admit that the difficulty is purely sentimental, let me ask, what is it that is chiefly encouraged at Oxford? Is it not the sentiment of honour, and the feeling of a gentleman? Only the other day, in an admirable pamphlet upon this subject, I saw it stated that an Anglican paper, in concluding the notice of a book written by a Dissenter, said, "It was a great pity that no Dissenter could write like a gentleman." I call it a national outrage upon Dissenters, first to exclude them from the Universities, and then to flout them for not having that style and manner which hon. Members opposite boast are only to be acquired there. If the Bill before us did no more than remove such a grievance, it would amply repay the attention of the House. But it does more; and here, as some misapprehension exists as to the precise effect and scope of the Bill, I will ask leave to state distinctly what it proposes to do. It will allow every degree which is given at Oxford except theological degrees, to be taken without subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles and the 36th Canon. And these degrees will not be mere complimentary distinctions. That hon. Members opposite would have no objection to grant. They will carry with them votes in Convocation, which is called the governing body of the University. A further effect will be, that certain other privileges and emoluments for the tenure of which a degree of MA., involving, as it does, subscription, has hitherto constituted a qualification, will be entirely thrown open. Such is briefly the effect of the Bill, As for the subscription 202 itself, hon. Members ought to know its exact nature. I assume that hon. Members, especially those who have been at the University, are minutely acquainted with each of the 600, some say 900 propositions, contained in the Thirty-nine Articles. But perhaps the 36th Canon may not be so familiar to them. I spoke to a distinguished Oxford graduate the other day, who actually did not know that he had signed it. Let me read this Canon. It contains three articles. The first contains the usual oath of supremacy. The second and third are as follows:—ART. II. That the Book of Common Prayer and of ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, containeth in it nothing contrary to the Word of God, and that it may lawfully so be used; and that he himself will use the Form in the said Book prescribed, in public Prayer and administration of the Sacraments, and none other.ART. III. That he alloweth the Book of Articles of Religion agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops of both provinces, and the whole Clergy in the Convocation holden at London in the year of our Lord God one thousand five hundred sixty and two: and that he acknowledged all and every the Articles therein contained, being in number nine and thirty, besides the ratification, to be agreeable to the Word of God.And what is this ratification? Are hon. Members acquainted with this ratification? I may say that it is not only a surprising document—it is an astounding document. I will only read a few lines. This ratification, which every graduate has signed as agreeable to the Word of God, runs thus—RATIFICATION.—This Book of Articles, before rehearsed, is again approved and allowed to be holden and executed within the Realm by the assent and consent of our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, of England, France, and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith,So, then, it is agreeable to the Word of God that our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth was Queen of France. So much for the 36th Canon. Well, Sir, the Bill which I have the honour to introduce will abolish subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, and to this wonderful 36th Canon, as a qualification for all but clerical degrees, and grant the privileges involved in such degrees without theological tests. And these privileges are, besides the vote in Convocation, the right to open private halls under certain regulations, and the possibility of holding fellowships in colleges where the statutes require the fellows to proceed to higher degrees. The requirement that those who have been 203 elected fellows, must proceed after a limited time to take higher degrees, exists in most of the colleges, and involving, as we have seen, subscription to the Articles and the 36th Canon, contrives, by a side wind, to introduce a theological element where the object avowed is clearly to give the necessary academical status. In some colleges fellowships are confined to mem-
|College.||No. of Fellows.||Clerical Fellows.||Restrictions on Fellowships in favour of Church of England.|
|University.||12||6||Forbidden to maintain doctrines contrary to Church of England, on pain of forfeiture.|
|Balliol||11||4||Liable to be deprived for contumacious Nonconformity.|
|Merton||18||9 must take orders within five years.||No restriction, but Act of Uniformity is used.|
|Exeter||15||All to take orders unles excused for certain services as tutors.||Must all proceed to higher degrees.|
|Oriel||18||5||Must all proceed to higher degrees.|
|Queen's||19||9||Must all proceed to higher degrees.|
|New Coll.||30||All seem to be required to take orders, but the College has power to grant exemptions.||Must all proceed to higher degrees.|
|Lincoln||12||All seem to be required to take orders, within ten years, with power to grant exemptions.||Must all proceed to higher degrees. (and must be members of the Church of England).|
|All Soul's.||30||All seem to be open||Must all proceed to higher degrees.|
|Magdalen.||30||20||All liable to be deprived for contumacious Nonconformity.|
|B. N. C.||15||Must take orders in ten years.||All liable to be deprived for contumacious Nonconformity.|
|C. C. C.||20||11 Must take orders in ten years.||Must proceed to higher degrees.|
|Ch. Ch.||28||19 Must take orders in ten years.||Must proceed to higher degrees.|
|Trinity||12||7 Must take orders in ten years.||All liable to be deprived for contumacious Nonconformity.|
|Jesus||13||9 Must take orders in ten years.||All liable to be deprived for contumacious Nonconformity.|
|Wadham||14||Seems to be no limitation||All liable to be deprived for contumacious Nonconformity.|
|Pembroke.||10||4 Seems to be no limitation||Forbidden to maintain doctrines contrary to Church of England, on pain of forfeiture.|
|Worcester.||15||10 Seems to be no limitation||Must proceed to higher degrees.|
|St. John's.||18||12 Seems to be no limitation||Must proceed to higher degrees.|
§ It will be seen that in one college, Merton, Nonconformists are excluded from fellowships by the Act of Uniformity alone. In others they are excluded by a distinct college statute requiring all fellows to he members of the Church of England. But in the majority they are only shut out by the side wind of a compulsory higher degree, clogged with subscriptions and tests. Practically, as matters stand now, if the present Bill were to become law, and present regulations should remain in force, some eighty fellowships out of 340 would be thrown open to the competition of Dissenters (not "handed over" to Dissenters, as the noble Lord the Member for Stamford would say), but at least be open to this competition, which is a very different204
§ bers of the Church of England by express stipulations. But in the majority the lay fellows are only incidentally confined to the Church by the statute which requires them to proceed to the higher degrees. The number of fellowships involved is large. Let me read to the House the position of the fellowships in the different colleges—
§ affair. I admit that I fear this full result might not be obtained. No doubt, if the higher academical degrees are conferred without theological tests, most of the colleges may, if they choose, fall back upon the Act of Uniformity, which is now almost dormant, and require the declaration of conformity from their fellows, which they do not now require. But even this would be great progress as compared with the present system, inasmuch as the declaration of conformity is infinitely less stringent than the signing of the Thirty-nine Articles and 36th Canon, since mere conformity would retain numbers of men whom the Thirty-nine Articles keep out.
§ Sir, there is a proviso in the Bill which, in one case, seems to limit the privilege of 205 a Master of Arts. I mean the clause by which, in the case of certain offices, hitherto exclusively tenable by members of the Church of England, the retention of a test is admitted. These offices are the masterships of certain grammar schools and other similar positions; and as the present Bill merely aims at dealing with the Universities, and does not aim at dealing with schools by a side wind, this proviso has been introduced leaving the abolition of tests and subscriptions without effect upon those offices. That is a battle to be fought fairly on its own merits. I will candidly admit that many of us would sooner have seen this proviso omitted— the more so as it is a fact, and a most important fact, that in many of the schools in question the qualification of an M.A. degree was imposed long before the M.A. degree was clogged with tests. The charter of Westminster School required the head Master to be a Master of Arts ten years before the Earl of Leicester had introduced subscription to the University, a distinct proof that what was originally sought was academical distinction and not academical orthodoxy. But at present we will waive that point. One change is certainly proposed, but proposed exclusively in the case of such offices—namely, the substitution of what has been considered the lighter test of a bonâ fide membership of the Church, in place of the intellectual torture and declaration of assent to an infinite number of intellectual propositions. There are many, however, in whose judgment I have great confidence, who believe the new test will exclude persons whom the old test did not exclude. This, Sir, I should infinitely regret. But I may remind them that the only offices affected are offices pointedly defined in the Bill as exclusively tenable by members of the Church, and for such offices surely a declaration of belonging bonâ fide to that Church is the lightest possible test. Still, in a Bill whose very object it is to be inclusive as far as possible, I should be very sorry to introduce any clause which would exclude any individual from rights or privileges to which, under the present system, he is admitted. And thus, if the test selected, and taken from the Cambridge Act, should not be generally acceptable, it is a question to be discussed in Committee what form should be introduced. I would again remind the House that all these observations apply only to offices, not fellowships, and to offices hitherto tenable only by members of the Church of England. The 206 degree and the vote in convocation will be entirely free.
§ I have endeavoured, to the best of my ability, to be candid at least with both sides of the House. I have endeavoured neither to underrate nor overrate the effect of the Bill. It is far better, I think, that we should clearly understand each other, and raise the full issues broadly. And the issues are these. Are we, or are we not, to maintain a system by which the highest rewards of academical distinction, the prizes, the franchise, the emoluments of a national University, are confined, not only to those who are members of a Church which includes scarcely half the population, but to those alone, even in that Church, who are ready to accept purely and simply, willingly and ex animo, without question and without doubt, for the present and for the future, the most complicated expression of its most difficult tenets and the most absolute adhesion to its forms? Are we, or are we not, to maintain a system which aims at enforcing theological unanimity by tempting the consciences, appealing to the ambition, and even appealing to the pecuniary interests, of those for whose intellectual purity and devotion to truth the University, of all places, must be held responsible? The University did not invent these tests. They were thrust upon her by the State. The State deliberately invented them as a machinery to be avowedly applied by the dominant party for the purpose of punishing religious dissent with political inequality. Tests and subscriptions have become the Protestant substitute for the infallibility of the Pope. And of the two, let me tell the House boldly that the Protestant substitute is the more inquisitorial and the more despotic. For the Church of Rome only says, "You are bound to believe what I toll you," while in England the State Church not only imposes the same obligation, but requires a declaration of unfeigned acceptance of that obligation under direct temporal penalties. I must repeat, under direct temporal penalties. For is it not a direct temporal penalty to be branded as an academical pariah? Is it not a direct temporal penalty to be shut out from the University except on humiliating terms? Is it not a direct temporal penalty to have to weigh a fellowship for life, perhaps against one article on which the Privy Council and Convocation may be hopelessly at issue, or to balance a vote in the University with an expression in the Burial Service, against which a large portion of 207 the clergy are at this moment protesting? It is not, Sir, by temporal penalties, such as these, that the supremacy of the Church is to be maintained. Nor do I believe that their removal would (if I may borrow eloquent words which we have heard through one of the most fortunate "accidents of history") lead to the "corruption of nations and fall of empires." For my part, I do not apprehend a destruction of the supremacy of the Church if it will but rest its defence on the truth of its Creed and its Articles, not on an assent to them extorted by force. Between a State Church and the general interests of the country, I, for one, see no necessary antagonism. A State Church may exist without trenching on the liberties, without oppressing the consciences, without offending the prejudices, without narrowing the advantages, of those portions of the community which the Church does not embrace. But, if without a numerical majority—in our case barely reaching or passing one-half of the population—without being able to pretend even to a hope of winning over the remainder within any period which a statesman has a right to take into account —if in such circumstance a church claims to veto legislation, which, but for a fancied infraction of its own rights, it would freely confess to be the interest of all— such a church stakes its supremacy and its future on a principle which this country would never accept.
§ Sir, the truest connection, the surest connection, between the University and the Church can never be severed by an Act of this House. It must rest on the intrinsic power of the Church—on the hold of the Church over the respect and the affection of the nation. And if the Universities, to which we look for the progress of education and the development of truth, remain bound to the Church, less by the legal tie of tests and subscriptions than by the bond of a common love of truth, and a common sympathy with the wants and character of the nation, we may hope to realise at Oxford, not doctrinal unanimity, not the unity of the letter in the bond of subjection, but rather the beautiful aspiration of that prayer in our liturgy, so inclusively liberal, so splendidly Catholic, which prays for the unity, not of the letter, but the spirit—the bond, not of subjection, but of peace. The hon. Member then moved that the Bill be now read a second time.
MR. GRANT DUFF,
in seconding the 208 Motion, said, it seems to me that this Bill deserves support—first, on account of the benefits which it will confer upon the Church; secondly, on account of the benefits which it will confer upon Dissenters; and thirdly, on account of the benefits which it will confer upon the University. I think it will benefit the Church, because nothing that can in any way contribute to making her understand that her true strength lies, not in her dogma, but in her action upon the nation, not in the infallibility of her creed, but in the purity of her life, can fail to benefit her. If we succeed in carrying our Bill, and if the Church finds out that all the prophecies of evil that are now made by her alarmist friends with regard to the relaxation of University subscription turn out to be vain, and that, ten years hence, her influence at Oxford is greater than ever, some few at least of those who honestly fear to relax clerical subscriptions may see that they may do so, not only without danger, but with every prospect of obtaining for the Church a greater hold over England than she has had at any time since the revival of learning. If the Anglican Church is to remain the national Church, even in the limited and imperfect sense in which it is now the national Church, much more if she is ever to try to become a really national Church, it must be by pledging her ministers to act together against what all Christians admit to be evil, not by pledging them to the many hundred separate propositions contained in the Thirty-nine Articles, in addition to the many hundred propositions, not always perhaps quite reconcilable with the other set, to be found in the Prayer Book. The Anglican Church, as we now see it, is built on a political compromise which is crumbling under its weight. If it is to be propped up, it must be by forcing under it a more reasonable kind of compromise, a compromise which takes greater account of the individual conscience. Secondly, I think that this Bill will be useful to the Dissenters, because it will do something towards giving them their just rights at our Universities, and it is always useful to men to obtain justice. I think it will be useful to them, because it will open to them opportunities of broader culture and a more extended knowledge of some sections of their fellow-countrymen than they have ever yet had. I cannot honestly say that I think it will be useful to the especial interests of any one of the sects into which English 209 Nonconformity is divided. The odds in favour of the Church are far too great at Oxford to give any form of dissent any chance whatever; and if the Church becomes wiser and wider, the odds in her favour will become greater still. Looking at the matter from a Protestant point of view, it seems to me that the authorities of Propaganda knew their own interest when they quashed the proposal for a Roman Catholic College at Oxford, although that proposal was supported by all the best and most cultivated adherents of the Roman Catholic Church in England. Here we have another illustration of the true saying that the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. I do not think my hon. Friend was quite accurate in what he said about the Universities of Austria. It was not the Roman Catholic Church that opened these Universities of her own free will. It was the State that made her do so. Churches are not apt to make concessions; and neither the Church of Rome nor the Church of England have ever shown a disposition to surrender any privilege which they thought they could keep. I was glad that my hon. Friend explained so fully our reason for retaining the proviso. That is an important point, and cannot be made too clear. An impression prevailed, when the hon. Member for East Sussex first brought in his Bill, that the declaration of bonâ fide membership which he proposed would operate in the case of some few Nonconformists as a more stringent test than the old one; but this impression arose simply from the fact that people forgot that, before you can proceed to the Master of Arts degree at Oxford, you are now obliged to subscribe, not only the Thirty-nine Articles, but also the three Articles of the 36th Canon—the second of which commits the subscriber, in the most positive manner, at once to the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, and to the Episcopal form of Church government. We have therefore felt that, in retaining the precise words used by my hon. Friend the Member for East Sussex, we are conferring a very considerable benefit upon the liberal members of the Church of England, and doing a very great deal for all classes of Non conformists; though, of course, not so much as we would do for them if we felt sure we could persuade the House to abolish the present test, without providing a mitigated substitute. Thirdly, and lastly, I think this Bill would be useful to the 210 University, because it will be one step towards lifting it to a true conception of its dignity and its duty. The University of Oxford, which is now little better than an appendage of the Anglican Church, was great and famous long before the Anglican Church existed; and it is safe to prophesy that it will be great and famous long after the Elizabethan compromise, which is dignified by that lofty title, has either vanished or become so much altered that those who now called themselves its best friends will hardly recognise it. The University must learn that her duties are to the nation, and not any sect in the nation, however powerful and respectable, She must cease to pride herself on being the biggest theological seminary in England, and learn to be, what her splendid revenues and her enormous advantages of every kind would easily enable her to be —the foremost labourer in every field of thought, and the first seat of learning in Christendom.
§ Motion made, and question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Gosohen.)
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
rose to move an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day three months. The hon. Member who had moved the second reading had dwelt a good deal upon the inferiority of the position in which Dissenters found themselves when taking their degree of M.A., and the conscience of the hon. Member appeared to be considerably affected by having had to give an opinion as to Queen Elizabeth's title to the Crown of France. He had no wish to put any burden on the hon. Member, and as the Committee which lately sat to inquire into the subject of subscriptions had arrived at results which were generally approved, and which the Government themselves had embodied in a Bill, he should be very glad to see the subscriptions laid down for the clergy generally extended to all candidates for all degrees in the University of Oxford. With regard to the degree of M.A. he would say the same. He had not the smallest objection to what was called "the Cambridge compromise"—that was to say that the literary dignity of M.A. should be given to every Dissenter who showed that he deserved it. The one prominent feature of the Bill to which he objected was that it would give over the Government of the University to the Dissenters. In dealing with this measure last year the great 211 difficulty which the opponents of the measure had to encounter was to ascertain what was the precise object which its supporters wished to attain. One Gentleman tried to persuade the House that there was not the least intention of altering the relations between the University and the Church, and that all he wanted to do was to let in a chance Presbyterian or mathematical Wesleyan who might happen to be excluded under the present system. The Chancellor of the Exchequer went a little further, and gave the Gentleman sitting opposite him rather a severe lecture for the indiscriminate resistance which they offered to University reform. On the present occasion he trusted the Chancellor of the Exchequer would find it more expedient to lecture Gentlemen sitting on his own side of the House. There were Gentlemen, again, who, to use their own phrase, "showed their hands" last year. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) would have been content to abolish tests altogether, and the hon. Member for Elgin (Mr. Grant Duff) told them that the less the clergy had to do with the University the better for that great institution. [Mr. GRANT DUFF: Hear, hear!] With all these conflicting statements, the House had at that time great difficulty in ascertaining the principle upon which they were voting. But all these difficulties were removed in the present instance by the extremely laudable candour of the hon. Member for London (Mr. Goschen) who shrank from no logical consequences that the Bill might seem to involve. He told the House that he wished them to follow the example of the Universities of Germany, and especially the example of one University at the head of which was a Jew. [Mr. GOSCHEN: A Protestant.] Oh, a Protestant Jew, was it? The hon. Member boldly avowed that his object was to effect a severance between the University and the Church, to declare that the University had no special connection with the Church; and he went further, for he distinctly laid down that his principles involved the Colleges in the same category with the University. The hon. Member told them that the University was a lay corporation, that the Colleges were lay corporations, and having been founded by Roman Catholics that they ought now to belong to Dissenters. If, therefore, the Colleges were not specifically included within the present Bill, they might conclude, he presumed, that the omission was in deference to the policy of reform by 212 instalments, rather than from any objection to throw them open to the professors of every religious creed. Looking at the matter from this point of view, he (Lord Robert Cecil) had felt puzzled as to the precise aspect in which the hon. Gentleman regarded the study of theology. He had taken great trouble to prove that the University was a lay and not a theological corporation, and he seemed to conclude that the teaching of any particular form of belief was inconsistent with the privileges of a lay corporation. He denounced the study of theology as something specially belonging to the clergy, and his view appeared to be that the teaching of any form of religious belief was a professional peculiarity. One of the arguments which the hon. Member used to induce the House to abandon the teaching of any special form of religious belief at the University was that we should thereby attract the Dissenters who would then become greater proficients in classical literature. Now, if the House of Commons were really of opinion that it was better to teach good classics than good religion, he acknowledged that the opponents of this Bill had no further case whatever. But, for his own part, he was unable to take the same view as the hon. Member of the proposed change. He did not look on religious teaching as a professional peculiarity. The parents of this country, moreover, had been accustomed to regard religious teaching as an indispensable portion of the education of their children, and they had never given the slightest encouragement to any form of education from which the element of religion was excluded. The hon. Gentleman said they ought to make the Universities national, and that to confine their teaching to one form of religious belief was to prevent them being national, because the nation was not all of one religious belief. If that argument were carried out strictly, it would involve this necessary consequence, that the governing body of the University should include Churchmen, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Separatists, Unitarians, Mormons, Quakers—and he might go on for half-an-hour enumerating all the various forms of religious belief into which the nation was split up. He did not think he should excite any controversy when he stated that the addition of persons representing a great variety of religious beliefs to the governing body of the University would practically amount to the teaching of no religion at 213 all. It was held by a good many gentlemen whose opinion was worthy of respect that in the earlier branches of education the teaching of religion was so elementary in its character that a great many sects might be combined in one class without anything being taught contrary to the belief of any of them. Without inquiring how far that theory was true, it was evident that it did not apply to persons of maturer age, or to more advanced stages of religious teaching. It might be the dream of politicians, but any one who had given attention to the subject of religious teaching would know that it was a simple impossibility to teach the truths of religion to any number of pupils without entering upon matters which were controverted between the various religious sects. The consequence was that if all religious sects were represented in the governing body, and if all had an equal right to teach its religious doctrine, that teaching must be a compromise between them all, and there was no compromise which could be satisfactory except the abandonment of religious teaching altogether. The hon. Member's argument proceeded throughout upon the assumption that the question was one involving the privileges of the clergy, and that an attempt would be made to treat the Universities as ecclesiastical corporations. He had no intention of putting forward any such view. He did not appear as the advocate of any special rights or privileges of the clergy, but as the advocate of parents who had hitherto used this University as a place of education for their children. Nothing could be clearer than that religious teaching was a matter upon which parents laid great stress. They had no such dread of the clergy as haunted the minds of the hon. Member for the City of London and the hon. Member for the Elgin burghs; but intrusted their children to the teaching of the clergy in almost every stage. The first schools to which children were sent were not schools in possession of large endowments, but schools selected by clergymen, and almost invariably presided over by them. In the public schools the clergy again were the main teachers; and in the interval elapsing between the departure of youths from them and their entrance on an University career, in the great majority of instances, clergymen were selected for the task of directing their studies. Some years ago an experiment was made to see if parents were willing to confide their children to secular teach- 214 ers. The London University was set up amid great jubilations, and there was a great belief that a new educational era was being inaugurated. But what had been the result? Had the London University obtained such a hold on the affections of the country that any great number of institutions had been established on its model. On the contrary, parents preferred to send their children to the educational institutions of whatever denomination they might belong to, showed no willingness to exchange the benefits of religious training for any educational advantages the University might have to offer. That which parents would not do was to send their children to institutions in which there was no religious teaching. And so, if by this measure they introduced into the governing body the element of dissent they must extirpate religious teaching from the University, and so deprive the clergy of that teaching which they had enjoyed for three centuries. Let it not be said, as the hon. Gentleman had told them, that religious teaching went for a small matter at the University. There was something beyond the direct teaching of religion. The House was aware that moral philosophy occupied a high place amid the matters taught at Oxford. This particular branch of study has probably more share than any other in forming that peculiar cast of mind recognized as belonging to the University of Oxford; yet those studies would have to be revolutionized if persons were brought into the governing body whose religious belief forbade them to suffer those studies to continue in their present form, These were the grounds upon which he opposed the Bill, and happily there was no doubt in the present instance as to its scope and objects. The hon. Gentleman was willing to stake the issue upon the widest interpretation of the principles which he advocated; he did not ask the House to pass a Bill, hoping that it would be attended with no particular consequences, nor did he suggest that persons would be unwilling to avail themselves of its provisions; the hon. Member was quite willing to join issue on the question whether persons differing from the Church of England should or should not form a considerable element in the governing body of the University. To that proposal he (Lord Robert Cecil) objected, because, by its adoption, they would be destroying the position which the University had so long enjoyed with the governing classes of this country; 215 they would be injuring the interests of the University in a manner which they could never repair; degrading it to a level with those German Universities where intellectual progress and intellectual eminence were combined to so frightful an extent with absolute destitution of religious belief; and because, in doing all this, they would be inflicting the severest blow, not only on our education and the intellectual progress in this country, but, what was of much greater importance, on the purity of its religious belief.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Lord Robert Cecil.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. DODSON
said, he had listened with great pleasure to the speech of the noble Lord; because, as it was founded upon a total misapprehension of the nature of the Bill, when its provisions were satisfactorily explained he would, no doubt, feel it his duty to give the measure his support. The noble Lord asserted that the Bill handed over the government of the University to Dissenters, instead of the Church of England; that it would separate Church and State; and that it would put all religions in the same position at the University. He was at issue with the noble Lord on all these points. The Bill left the religious teaching in the University on the same footing as that on which it existed since the Restoration; it left untouched all the University statutes and qualifications as to Professors and teachers, and all the provisions of the Act of Uniformity as to Fellows and Tutors. It carried out the principle of the University Reform Act of 1854—namely, that every person was entitled to go to the University for education, irrespective of what might be his religious belief. But the Act of 1854 carried out that principle in an imperfect manner, and the object of this Bill was to carry it out more fully. Under the Bill the religious teaching of the University would continue to be the teaching of the Church of England; a test would be required from teachers, but not from those who went to the University to be taught. It placed the University in this respect on the same footing as the Church occupied towards the nation. A policeman was not stationed at the door of every Church to say, "You 216 shall not enter here unless you promise beforehand to agree with every word of the Liturgy and every portion of the sermon." On the contrary, the clergyman would be only too glad at the presence of those who differed from the Church of England, hoping that they might hear something to change their views. The University, in point of fact, did station the policeman at the door to exact a pledge from all who entered. It was true that a modification to some extent had taken place; the absurdity of exacting a pledge upon entrance regarding the truth of all that the student was about to be taught had been removed in 1854. But the impediment was only pushed a little further back. It was now presented, not upon entrance, but when taking out the degree of M. A. Every man wishing to go to Oxford had notice that the test would hereafter be required of him, and was practically told—"however eminently you may become qualified, unless at the close of your academical career you find that you can agree with all that you will have been taught you shall be deprived of your just reward." That restriction was therefore almost as severe in operation as the one which was formerly imposed. Now, it was said by some of the opponents of the Bill, that they would have no objection to allow Dissenters to take the degree of A.M., but they could not admit them into the governing body. Well, but what was the constitution of the governing body? There were three bodies which regulated the University of Oxford—first, the Hebdomadal Council; secondly, the Congregation; and lastly, Convocation. Now, the Hebdomadal Council had the sole and exclusive power of initiating measures for the government of the University; Congregation might suggest amendments, but could not insist on their acceptance by the Hebdomadal Council. As to Convocation, all they could do was when a measure was proposed by the Hebdomadal Council and was approved of by the Congregation, either to accept it in toto or reject it in toto. The legislative powers of Convocation were therefore of the most limited character, and the entrance of a few Dissenters into that body could have no practical influence. The Bill before the House did not, however, introduce any new principle as to the government of the University. Dissenters might be, and some actually were, members of Convocation, the test being one expressive of their willingness to sub- 217 scribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, and the 36th canon, and not of bonâ fide membership of the Church of England. Being members of Convocation they were eligible to the Hebdomadal Council. Moreover, six members of the Hebdomadal Council were selected from the body of Professors, from many of whom no tests were required. So that under the existing law persons, differing from the tenets of the Church of England, might be and were, not only members of Convocation, but members even of that very exclusive body, the Hebdomadal Council. The noble Lord the Member for Stamford evidently forgot that this Bill was not concocted and framed within the last fortnight or three weeks, or month; but was the same measure that was introduced into the House last Session, mainly at the instance of Heads of Houses, fellows and students of the University of Oxford, who had petitioned in favour of the principle which it sought to enact. If the noble Lord were so afraid of the further admission of Nonconformists into the governing body, he had simply, in Committee on the Bill, to move the insertion of words rendering the test of bonâ fide membership of the Church of England the condition of a seat in the Hebdomadal Council for any Master of Arts. The noble Lord need not then be guilty of the cruelty of refusing to relieve Churchmen from subscription to those tests whilst he would allow Dissenters to take the degree of A.M., and to become members of Con vocation, which, in fact, was little more than the electoral body of the University. The Bill was not one to benefit Dissenters as regarded the University so much as Churchmen, nor was it one to alter the religious teaching of that institution. The measure proposed no change whatever in the government of the University. He hoped that the noble Lord, who had evidently been misinformed on every one of the points on which his opposition was based, would devote the few minutes that would elapse between the present moment and the division in reading the Bill. If the noble Lord would but do that he (Mr. Dodson) would not despair of him admitting the totally erroneous view he had entertained of this Bill, and, as a consequence, of his withdrawing his Amendment.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, if my hon. Friend who has just sat down had been the mover of the Bill, and if, in moving it, he had pronounced the speech which he made last 218 year or which he has just delivered, I should very gladly have followed him into the lobby; and that for reasons to which I will presently advert. But in a Bill of this kind very much depends upon the tone, the language, and the views of those by whom it is introduced. There is a very great difference of opinion in the House, and the practicability of carrying any measure of this kind, and therefore, to a great degree, the utility of entertaining the question at all, necessarily depends on the language and views of those who promote and support it. No Bill of this kind, however amended, can be carried, I apprehend, in opposition to the declared views of the Mover of the Bill. And we have heard the views of the Mover of the Bill, as well as those of my hon. Friend who has just sat down. Each hon. Gentleman has delivered a speech of great ability. But the latter hon. Gentleman does not stand precisely in the same position of authority which he occupied last year. The speech of my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen), like all his speeches, was also one of great ability, but it was impossible to mistake its animus and spirit. It went the whole length of declaring, if I understood it rightly, that the Church of England was entitled to take within the precincts of the University whatever advantages her own hold on the public opinion of the country might give her—and, in saying that, I know well the hold of the Church on the opinion of my hon. Friend, and the manner in which, in practice, he exhibits the sincerity of that hold; but his argument went to this extent, that the Church must depend on such numerical support as she could obtain, and on nothing else. My hon.' Friend says that the Church has no title to an organic recognition in the constitution of the University. I am sorry I do not accompany him in the assertion of that principle. He states that the amount of theological instruction given to Undergraduates is very small. That amount appears to be greatly understated by my hon. Friend; and I think he was unfortunate, so far as my recollection goes, in the limited modicum of that valuable commodity that, according to his statement, was administered to him during the time he was an Undergraduate. But, Sir, whether it be great or small, this is not a question of theological instruction alone. It is true, as my hon. Friend says, that the object of the University is to give a general educa- 219 tion; but the question is, can that education be separated from the spirit of a distinct and definite religion? It is not a question of mere lectures or book, but of that general education as it is understood in an English University, and as I trust it will be always understood, which consists in the formation of character, and the regulation and the government of life. Whether the precise and specific theological instruction given at the University be more limited or extended—whether it be desirable in the education of an English gentleman to carry it farther or less far —I am very glad that theological instruction is definitely recognised as a proper subject of University teaching. That, however, is by no means the whole question. The question is, whether the religion of the Church of England, or of some Church, and the recognition of that religion in the system of the University, is necessary in order to enable the University to perform its teaching work and to exercise its proper influence upon the character as a part of the discipline of life. This is not a mere question as between the clergy and laity—it is no question of conflict between the Church and State, but of the convictions commonly entertained by religious parents concerning the kind of education and training to which they desire to submit their children. In my opinion parents have the strongest feeling on the subject. There is no separation here analogous to that which divides this House. Nay, more; I go further and say there is no separation analogous to that which divides religious denominations, for the professors of the several religious creeds in this country are alike anxious for the instruction of their children in the specific tenets they profess. That is, therefore, really the nature of this question; and I must say, that as far as any authority of precedent can be drawn from the recent proceedings of Parliament applicable to this matter, I must say it is not favourable to the argument and the speech of my hon. Friend. And I am bound to say that I think it would be idle and delusive for me to vote for the Bill in the teeth of the argument of my hon. Friend. In 1860 Parliament passed with general assent an Act on the subject of endowed grammer schools—23 Vict. c. 11. That Act proceeded on three principles—first, on the principle that where, in the deeds of the founder, there was a specific condition that all the children should be educated in the 220 belief of the founder, or in some particular religious belief, the Act should be inoperative, and the will of the founder should be observed. In the next place, where the founder did not give any specific instruction, the trustees were not only enabled, but required, to admit without religious distinctions all children to the benefits of the general instruction of the school, but without any interference with their religious education. Thirdly, Parliament, in thus fixing the religious basis of grammar schools with regard to the question of comprehension, or non-comprehension, advisedly refrained from interfering with the constitution of the governing body. Parliament, in 1860, thought fit to leave the governing body as it was, and where a school was appointed to be governed by members of the Church of England it so remains by the authority of Parliament. That authority of Parliament was given at no more remote date than five years ago. Now, if it were reasonable in the case of grammar schools that the specific denominational religious character of the governing body should be retained, is it less reasonable in the case of the University? If you examine the constituents of the class for whom the grammar schools were intended, you will find that a very large proportion—perhaps the majority—of those who avail themselves of these schools are Dissenters, for they form a much larger portion of the middle classes than those who repair to the University. When, then, you have a system of exclusion, that system must be more or less irrational and offensive in proportion as those in whose favour it is enacted comprise or do not comprise the bulk and mass of the community at large; and, therefore, if half, or nearly half, of those who go to the University were Dissenters, the maintenance of our exclusive system, however it might be right and sound in principle, would be more offensive than it is. The fact, however, cannot be disputed that an immense proportion of those who resort to the University are the children of Churchmen. A smaller proportion in the case of grammar schools are the children of Churchmen; yet, even in the case of the grammar schools, Parliament five years ago did not think fit to interfere with the constitution of the governing bodies, but left them with perfect justice in every case imprinted with whatever specific religious character the founder had given them. I confess for myself that, apart from all distinctions between Churchmen and Dissenters, I am 221 convinced of the soundness and wisdom, under the circumstances of this country, of that which is called the denominational system. I mean that we should not endeavour to tamper with the features and principles either of the Established or any other religion. I would recognise the same sacredness against political invasion in the one case as in the other. To maintain a definite religious teaching is the principle on which we have proceeded in the whole of our recent and most important administrative and legislative Acts with regard to primary and popular education. And that is a principle to which I think we ought to adhere in our Universities as well as in our grammar schools. The noble Lord (Lord Robert Cecil) referred to me as having last year lectured the opponents of this Bill, and expressed a hope that I might this year lecture its friends. I feel some delicacy in referring to my own conduct on another occasion, but let us look at the facts as they occurred. My hon. Friend who last spoke (Mr. Dodson) says the Bill has two great objects—first, that the Dissenter who had passed through a University education shall have the reward of his labours in a degree; and secondly, that by that degree he should be admitted to the body termed the Convocation, the one vital function of which in the view of my hon. Friend is to return Members to this House. If these are indeed the two great objects of the Bill, in my opinion the ground of controversy is very much narrowed. What took place on the occasion on which I am said to have lectured the opponents of the Bill was this: — I did, under very strong convictions, express my great regret (for the first time for many years) that my hon. Friend and Colleague (Sir William Heathcote) should have moved the rejection of this Bill, because on that occasion the mover of the Bill had adverted to the possibility of the Bill being amended in Committee—which was language very different from that used to-day by the hon. Gentleman the Member for London. I am strongly of opinion that it is desirable to alter the basis of the law in regard to the University of Oxford on this subject. I think that the tests exacted from lay members of the Church of England at Oxford, and at Oxford alone, ought to be altered and modified, apart from the question of clerical subscription, and that the same principle should obtain there as elsewhere. Secondly, I am strongly of opinion that the regulations in question do 222 not grant to Dissenters all that we may safely give them, still maintaining intact the principle that the government of the University and of the colleges should be so lodged in the Church of England as to give ample and adequate security for the religious instruction and discipline of the University. After that Bill was carried by a large majority I ventured to communicate with my hon. Friend and Colleague. I transmitted to him a copy of the Bill, amended and altered in such manner that it would, as I considered, have reserved the general government of the University and Colleges in the hands of the Church of England; and I may say, parenthetically, that this Bill does not enter so largely and directly into the question of government, but it is quite plain that it involves the principle. That Bill would have provided those objects, in the first place, by enabling persons not members of the Church of England, and without reference to any religious distinctions whatever, but who possessed the necessary academical distinctions, to have founded, governed, and conducted independent Halls in the University. And those acquainted with Oxford, and, still more, with Cambridge, know that there is no distinction of an essential character between the Halls and Colleges; that they are both independent educational institutions, and that these independent Halls might have grown into Colleges to all intents and purposes. The next effect of the Bill, as amended, was that persons taking lay degrees would have been relieved from taking religious tests. That which Parliament enacted in 1854 with respect to admission to bachelor degrees would also have referred to the higher degrees in the University not theological. The third effect of the Bill would have been that on admission to the governing body a test would have been applied—not that of the Thirty-nine Articles, but a general declaration of membership of the Church of England. Another provision would have given to the University itself, in the case of certain professorships, the power to dispense even with that test, but only in individual cases. Lastly, the Bill, as amended, gave the power of voting for Members of Parliament. Among these five objects were thus included the two described by my hon. Friend as the great objects of the Bill, although not admitted to be such by my hon. Friend the Mover of the second reading. I had ventured to complain of my hon, Friend and Colleague on 223 the second reading of the Bill, but I had no reason to complain of the spirit in which he received these Amendments. He did not tie himself to every letter of the provisions of the amended Bill, but he gave for himself, and those whom he might be able to influence, a general acceptance of these Amendments, as a settlement of the question which it would be wise to adopt. The next step was to ascertain whether the promoters of the Bill would allow it to pass with these Amendments. Here the result was a total failure. We were given to understand by the promoters of the Bill that they could not support these Amendments, and it would not have been fair to my hon. Friend opposite to avail ourselves of his liberal and wise reply, and to commit him to these Amendments. Under these circumstances I am bound to say that I felt it to be my duty, as a member of the University of Oxford, to vote against the third reading. I had hoped that we might have had a more favourable prospect opened to us today. The changes I have recited would have been considerable and important changes. We have heard to-day of the grievance—I never felt it to be one myself—of calling upon laymen to sign the Thirty-nine Articles. If the repeal of that grievance had alone been offered it would have been wise to have accepted it. But if these changes, which would have been so considerable, and which, if liberally applied, would have given everything except the central direction of the governing body in this great seat of education, were not accepted, it would have been idle and delusive on my part to give a support to the second reading, which I must immediately proceed to qualify, to retract, and withdraw, by thrusting into the Bill in Committee important and essential modifications which my hon. Friend had avowed his determination never to accept.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, he felt bound substantially to confirm the statement just made by his right hon. Friend, but there was one important Amendment to which his right hon. Friend had not adverted and to which he (Sir William Heathcote) assented — namely, that teaching officers should be protected not by the declaration proposed in the Bill, but by a subscription such as might be eventually settled for the clergy. He had not entered into a consideration of the original Bill, nor into the amended Bill as suggested by his right hon. Friend, because he was contented with the state of things 224 as they existed; but he had intimated to the hon. Gentleman his readiness to consider the Amendments when they should be proposed to the House with one exception with the existing state of things, and was not satisfied that the grievances were such as to render legislation desirable; but the question having been stirred he was quite ready to consider any amendments that might be proposed. One grievance that appeared to require redress was that a Roman Catholic or Dissenter could not at Oxford open a separate Hall for the education of his co-religionists, and he thought that a provision to that effect might be engrafted on the Bill. The Roman Catholics naturally required that their young men should receive a strictly religious education in their own Halls, and it would be hard to deny the justice of that demand. On the other hand he was not willing to concede that the managers of these Halls, having taken the necessary degree, should be introduced into the managing body of the University. On the present occasion the question appeared to have shifted its position. There was no practical object to be attained by voting for the Bill in its present stage and at the present period of the Session, except to tie the House to certain principles, without having the opportunity of modifying them hereafter. Unless there was a reasonable chance of passing such a measure, its promoters asked more than they ought to do from those who were not prepared to go to the whole length with them. Last year he was willing to receive this Bill in the spirit of peace; but he trusted that many hon. Members who were doubtful last year would now see that it was hopeless to proceed with this measure, and that the best thing to be done was to reject it at its present stage.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
wished, in explanation, to confirm the recollection of his hon. Friend that the question of a full and clerical subscription would have been reserved for all teaching offices.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said that both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the hon. Baronet (Sir William Heathcote), admitted that grievances existed in the University of Oxford, and were prepared to remove them. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought the time had come when the question might have been settled by a compromise, it was in his power to have settled it, and signalized a Session 225 not otherwise remarkable for the measures passed. He knew he would have been supported by his hon. Colleague in the representation of the University, and by Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and would have been able to carry a Bill which he (Mr. W. E. Forster) granted would have been a substantial advantage. It was, therefore, hardly fair to throw on the Dissenters the burden of standing in the way of legislation, when it was in the power of the right hon. Gentleman himself to have settled the question at once. He wished to state why he (Mr. W. E. Forster) as an individual could not depart from the principle laid down by the hon. Member for the City of London. All the Members who had spoken hitherto were members of that great institution, the University of Oxford. He unfortunately was not; but he had listened to the debate with great interest, because if this measure had passed years ago probably he would have had the advantage which he never ceased to regret he had not had, of being a member of one of the Universities. He knew it was said they ought to be contented with what they had already got; but if they opened the Universities to Dissenters it must be done with open hand. Great as were the advantages of the Universities, they never would, and never ought to go to them until they were admitted on terms of perfect equality. The principle for which the hon. Member for the City of London contended was that the University of Oxford was not a denominational, but a national institution, and that no subject of the realm ought to be excluded from it. Now, he had listened attentively to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Stamford, and he must be permitted to say that the noble Lord had never before in his hearing made so slight an attempt to meet the arguments he had to reply to, as on that occasion in answering the speech of the hon. Member for the City of London; but there was one omission on the part of the noble Lord which was to his mind conclusive. His hon. Friend the Member for the City of London contended that the University was not Church property, nor an ecclesiastical association, but a great national institution. This argument the noble Lord had passed over altogether, though if he had bad any reasonable grounds for disputing that, he doubtless would have offered some reply. The country would now be able to consider the question without the prospect of the claim that the 226 University was Church property being advanced again. He found no attempt to speak on behalf of tests being retained for members of the Church of England. He understood that was one of the grievances which the Chancellor of the Exchequer was prepared to remove, and the hon. Baronet opposite did not object to its removal. He rejoiced at that fact. He had some opportunity of knowing how these tests worked. Living in a district where there was a good deal of thought, he had been pained to find the extent to which the principles of truth were sapped amongst the earnest, sincere, hardworking, clear thinking men of the lower class, by the way in which they found the expounders of truth were compelled to reconcile to their consciences the tests they were obliged to take. He, therefore, rejoiced at the admission on both sides of the House that it was no longer necessary to subject the lay members of the Church to these tests. He now came to the principal objection taken by the noble Lord the Member for Stamford and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that if they passed the Bill they would lose the religious teaching of the University — lose the denominational form of that teaching. But was there any member of the University of Oxford who did not think the description given by the hon. Member for the City of London of the amount of religious teaching given by the University, as an University, was not more correct than that insinuated rather than asserted by the noble Lord the Member for Stamford. He had tried to ascertain the amount of direct religious teaching given by the University, and found it very small. At Oxford a candidate was questioned upon the text of the Four Gospels and his general knowledge of the Old Testament history. On his final examination for the B.A. degree he was examined upon the text of the Thirty-nine Articles; and even this might be evaded by any one not professing to be a member of the Church of England if he would take one Greek and Latin author by way of compensation. Was this of the slightest use? Then it was said the Undergraduates had to attend the University sermons. The first Sunday he was at Oxford he went to hear the University sermon, expecting to see a large body of the University Under Graduates present. He found, however, that it was the fashion for the University Undergraduates, and those who taught them, not to attend these ser- 227 mons. That was the whole amount of the religions teaching given by the University. That which was given by the Colleges was also wonderfully small, and no one could say that it was necessary to keep up the exclusion of these tests in order to maintain that amount of religious teaching. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had drawn a comparison between the Universities and grammar schools; but was anything like the same amount of discipline required in the one case as in the other? It would be a sad thing for England if a young man on leaving school and home had to go to the University to learn religion. But this Bill did not interfere with denominational teaching in the Colleges. The object of the present Bill was to make the University a national institution; but he acknowledged that the present Bill good as it might be in itself, would still be incomplete without the addition of some such measure as had already been introduced by the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. E. P. Bouverie), in order to permit the Colleges to frame their own statutes. They might depend upon it that so long as the feeling of the Church of England was so Strongly manifested in favour of what he must term denominational education, they would have a large portion of the Colleges declaring that all their teachers must belong to the Church of England. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University (Sir William Heathcote) said he would remove the bar which at present prevented Roman Catholics or Dissenters from creating halls or colleges of their own. In that case they would have a national University, with colleges purely Church of England, purely Roman Catholic and purely Dissenting. There was, indeed, another description of colleges which he should be glad also to see established —namely, colleges founded upon the principle that, while they so governed themselves as to exclude men of no religion at all, or whose moral character would not bear investigation, from acting therein as teachers, they would not insist upon their being all of one denomination, or even all holding one doctrine. He was convinced that if ever colleges could be established in the Universities of that free character they would exercise an immense influence over the education of the people of this country, because they would do much to meet what was termed the religious difficulty — that difficulty which at the present time operated 228 in such a manner as to prevent a large class of persons from obtaining any education whatever, religious or secular. The denominational privileges which the Church now enjoyed were said to be one of its principal bulwarks; but the House would do well to remember that no bulwark could be of any advantage in the long run which was founded on injustice. What right had the supporters of any particular denomination to exclude from participation in the advantages of a national institution like the University other denominations? He could not but believe that there were other reasons which influenced the opponents of this measure than those which had been expressed in the House to-day. The noble Lord who had opposed the Bill (Lord Robert Cecil) had given one reason for his opposition. He stated that if this Bill were passed it would be necessary to give up the connection between the governing classes and the Church. But did the noble Lord really wish that Roman Catholics and Dissenters should be deprived of the advantages which were to be derived from the Universities in order to maintain the connection between the Church of England and the governing classes? The fact, however, was that at this moment the governing classes were not solely composed of Churchmen.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, that the hon. Member had misunderstood him. He did not say a word about the governing bodies.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
understood what he had said to be the fair interpretation of the noble Lord's views, and he was glad of the opportunity being afforded him to retract the statement. He would only add that it was an error to imagine, from the line of politics he usually adopted, and because he was the son of a Nonconformist, that he entertained any hostility towards the Church of England. If they were starting afresh in a new country it was not likely that there would be any particular Church in direct connection with the Government, but he was glad to have the opportunity of acknowledging that the Established Church had been of the greatest utility to this country, and that utility had been no where more strongly manifested than in its connection with the parochial system, which indeed was a very essential part of it. It had in times past been of the greatest possible advantage to have in each parish educated clergymen. The parochial system was indeed the great 229 merit of the Church of England, and it formed its strongest hold upon the affections of the people. It was not until that system was attacked in this House that the Church need fear. He would, however, ask Members on the opposite side of the House, and Members on that side of the House who regarded themselves as the especial defenders of the Church Establishment, to consider whether they were really defending it when they encumbered it with the useless injustice which he conceived to be involved in the effort to keep these noble institutions denominational and sectarian, instead of national, in their character, and imposing upon them a limitation which it should rather be their pride to see them freed from.
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
congratulated the House that, from the candid and admirable speech made by the Mover of the Bill, they were in a position distinctly to understand what they were asked to discuss. The hon. Member for the City of London had distinctly laid down in his speech that the complete emancipation of Oxford from all Anglican tests was what he aimed at, and the hon. Member did not hesitate in stating his desire that men of every, or of no creed, should take part in matters connected with the University, if by their intellectual ability they had shown themselves fitted to exercise such power. Nothing, however, could, he (Mr. Hardy) conceived, be more disastrous, nor anything more contrary to the spirit in which the University should be maintained. He could not recognize in a University that which the hon. Member had put forward as one of its excellencies—a place where free inquiry was to have full scope. He, on the contrary, recognized in a University a place where, above all others, the teaching should be based upon definite principles and known truths, removed from out the pale of free inquiry; a place to which parents might send their sons for education at an age when they were capable of forming opinions, assured that the teaching and discipline they would receive were at least based upon religious truth—upon something definite and well known, and not upon a something which was yet the subject of inquiry. The hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) had challenged an answer to his assertion that the Universities were national institutions. No doubt the Universities of England were national institutions in the same sense that the Church of England was a national 230 Church. All who pleased might come to learn in the Church or in the Universities; but those who teach, whether in the one or the other, were confined to definite truths and distinct theological principles. The hon. Member (Mr. Forster) had, he believed, most unjustly attributed the opposition to the Bill to an objection on the part of the opponents of the measure to the admission of the manufacturing interests. For his (Mr. Hardy's) own part, he was proud that he had been connected with the manufacturing interests of the country, and neither at school nor at college had he even found scholars judged by the occupation of their fathers. They were judged by their own merits, they formed their own friendships, without the slightest regard to whether they belonged to the land or to the manufactures. He had opposed this measure when it was brought forward on a former occasion by the hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Dodson); and his opposition then arose not from the speech of the Mover, but from the objects contemplated by the Bill itself; and he was, therefore, as strongly opposed to the Bill of the hon. Member for London (Mr. Goschen). It was said that admission of Dissenters into Convocation was not really admission into the governing bodies, because the Hebdomadal Council might elect Professors who were not subject to these tests. This, however, he believed to be a mistake, because everything done with regard to changes in the University must be done by Convocation. At the time that Parliament reformed the municipal corporations, those bodies were deprived of the right of patronage in regard to Church livings, because it was deemed unsafe to intrust the gift of those livings to men who might be favourable to creeds opposed in point of doctrine to the Church of England. Convocation at present exercised a similar power; and yet they were asked to admit into that body men opposed, not only to the doctrines of the Anglican Church, but to any dogmatical teaching whatever. He was sorry to say that there were free inquirers willing even at the present moment to take such a position upon themselves. There were persons in the Church of England who were willing to take tests inconsistent with their creed. The religious teaching imparted at the University, which had been described by the hon. Member who had just sat down as comprised chiefly in a series of questions, in reality impreg- 231 nated the whole system of University education. Was it at all unreasonable that they should require in an University which was founded by religious persons for the purposes of religious teaching that any one taking the degree of M.A., which conferred no more literary distinction than that of B.A., and asking to be admitted into the governing body of the University, should declare that he was prepared to enter that governing body, believing in those principles with which the teaching of the University was imbued. He firmly believed that the Church of England was the hereditary successor of those who founded these Colleges; but whether that were the case or not, the Church of England had undoubtedly been in possession ever since the time of the Reformation, and had from that period inculcated her own doctrines to those who had gone there for purposes of instruction. These Colleges were founded, moreover, for the purpose of religious teaching, and not for literary instruction alone; it was not alleged that this privilege had ever been abused, yet it was now attempted to do away with religion, not merely with a view to the admission of Dissenters or Roman Catholics, but in order to admit those who could not make up their minds to the profession of any religion whatever. He was surprised to find that Dissenters, who pride themselves upon their doctrinal strictness, should give their support to a Bill which professedly aimed at doing away with all religious teaching whatever. The hon. Member for the City of London had stated that this was the chief object of the Bill. [Mr. GOSCHEN said, that his statement was that it was one of the principles of the Bill.] But there were so many principles in the Bill. One of the objects of the Bill, as admitted by the hon. Member for East Sussex, was the admission of Dissenters into the governing body. [Mr. DODSON: I said it was one of the incidents of the Bill.] He would accept the explanation of the hon. Member as perfectly satisfactory. The admission of Dissenters and of men of no religion at all to the governing bodies of the University was one of the "incidents" of the Bill. The hon. Member said that the religious teaching was not taken away by this Bill; but that was a matter upon which they must all form their own opinion. It seemed to him manifest that if persons of any religion, or of no religion, were to become members of the governing body no system 232 of religious teaching could be adopted at the University. The hon. Member for the City of London stated, that out of 400 fellowships the immediate effect of this Bill would be to throw open eighty, and these eighty Fellows might or might not be of any creed. Some of them would probably be teachers of no religion, or professing a creed different from that of the Established Church. By such a course they would be effectually and permanently giving up the religious character of the University. It would be impossible to maintain a system of defined religious teaching if the governing bodies and the teachers were of mixed religions. The hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) had spoken of the injustice of the exclusion at present practised. But exclusion did not in any way affect the teaching, it only had reference to the government of the University. The hon. Member wished to maintain the present parochial system of religious teaching; but in order to do that they must maintain also the privileges which had been granted to the Established Church. There was perfect religious freedom in this country; but what was aimed at was that no privilege should be granted to the Church of England which was not also possessed by every body of Nonconformists. The admission of that principle involved the severance of the Church from the State, and leaving her without that assistance which she had, in his opinion, so well repaid by the benefits which she had conferred upon the community at large. The question, as it appeared to him, was not whether they should insist upon any particular form of subscription, but whether they should do away with Anglican tests altogether. The Bill was not introduced for the purpose of altering the mode of taking tests. The hon. Member (Mr. Goschen) had spoken too honestly to get off upon that plea; although the hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Dodson) had begged for votes for the second reading in rather a different spirit to that by which the hon. Member for the City of London declared himself to be actuated. It was simply intended to do away with Anglican tests altogether. The hon. Member for the City of London, moreover, did not disguise his wish that even the head-masterships of our public schools should be thrown open to persons of any or of no religion. The hon. Member had stated his regret at having to insert in the Bill a proviso admitting persons to those positions on subscribing a declaration 233 stating that they were members of the Church of England. It seemed, however, to him that they were desirous of admitting those whom they were bound to exclude. The moment they invaded the principle which connected the Universities and our public schools with the Church of England, that moment thousands who sent their sons to be educated there would withdraw them. Parents sent their children there because they had a faith, and not generalizations of religion—thosedreams of philosophers which never took hold of the mind in the trials of life. There must be something distinct and defined in the teaching of religion or it could he nothing at all; and Oxford and Cambridge were examples of the success which attended a course of instruction which in the attainment of intellectual eminence had not lost sight of the benefits of well-directed religious training. The right hon. Gentleman in bringing forward his Bill last year excluded the Roman Catholics from any share in its benefits. [Mr. E. P. BOUVERIE dissented.] He maintained that such was the practical effect. These attempts to revolutionize our Universities were really made with a view to the spread of a dreamy and mystical kind of religion. What did one of the apostles of this movement say when he came to speak of the Roman Catholics?—Roman Catholics are probably too much addicted to sectarian exclusiveness to present themselves as candidates, for fellowship in a mixed society; otherwise there might, no doubt, be a difficulty in consenting to put up with the unsocial attitude and petulent airs of sectaries who have persuaded themselves that everything in Christendom is of the earth, earthy, except that Church which has most miserably soiled its spiritual essence by adulterous union with the worst powers of the earth, and by partnership, and more than partnership, in their worst crimes.Those where the words of Mr. Goldwin Smith, and it was a sign of the objection men of his school felt to any distinct dogmatic teaching. He believed he uttered the sentiments of the great mass of the people, Members of the Church of England, and not of one-half, as stated by the hon. member for the City of London. A test upon this point was offered by the Church of England in 1861, but refused. The marriages, baptisms, and other matters, however connected entirely with the Church of England, numbered at least three-fourths, if not four-fifths of the whole. When, however, the test at the census which they offered was refused, it was unreasonable to expect them to accept 234 the statement of the side by whom that refusal was given. He believed that as long as they chose to have a national Church, the connection of our Universities with that national Church was essential to their existence, as teaching bodies adapted for the instruction of the people for whom these advantages were intended. It was quite clear that the denominational system was a system in favour of which Englishmen felt strongly. The foundation of these Colleges was due to the effect of strong religious enthusiasm, and this fact alone should make them insist upon the utmost jealousy with regard to the religious teaching pursued. To those who came without this recommendation— who desired in a spirit apart from strong denominational religion to filch those Colleges founded from religious motives, he would put the question, "Where are your colleges or your schools?" He would ask where were the triumphs of the secular or undenominational party? If they could satisfy the demand, and not otherwise, he would acknowledge that there was something in their misty and muddy religion. He thought he could not conclude better than by quoting the words of one who, though favourable to every kind of reform calculated to afford relief to those actuated with conscientious scruples, was yet as strongly disinclined as he was to the admission of any but those connected with the Church of England into the governing bodies of the University. The words were those of the Provost of Oriel, who said—Gladly admitting all and without any subscription to our society, our education, lectures, libraries, and degrees, I ask only that the University shall remain not merely a place of education and learning, but also of religion, without which it can in no just sense be a place of liberal education at all. And to this end I desire that a great national University should not be converted into a mere literary club, but that it should really educate (which is of national importance) our future clergy and laity together, that its religious principles should be both sound and known to be so, and that the members of its governing and educating body—its professors, tutors, heads, and fellows of Colleges—should study and understand the Formularies of the Church, and be able to declare ex animo that her Articles are agreeable to the Word of God, and her Book of Common Prayer and her Ordinal lawful, and not contrary to the Word of God.
§ MR. NEATE
said, that last year he was not prepared to support the Bill of the hon. Member for East Sussex (Mr. Dodson), though he should have been willing to acquiesce in the suggestions of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 235 believing them to possess much value, if he thought that they could be carried out practically; but on further consideration he was determined to give his concurrence to the broader assertion of the principle made in the Bill now introduced by the hon. Member for London. This was an instance of the disadvantages of delay; the longer the supporters of the existing system waited, the more they would have to give. The privileges which members of the Church now exclusively enjoyed at the University could only he defended on the assumption that the Church was the Church of the whole community; and the more the friends of the Establishment tried to retain those privileges, the more vigorously would the other part of the community be roused to contend, and the more the Church herself would have to encounter. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had referred to what had been done in the case of endowed schools, and said that wherever there was a clear disposition of property in favour of the Church, it should he adhered to in the administration of these schools. The principle thus contended for was that where the State accepted an endowment for private purposes which were considered lawful and useful, the property would be applied to these purposes so long as they remained lawful and useful. But how could the argument apply to the case of the University? Would it now be lawful, constitutional, or right for the State to confine the privileges of the University to the members of the Church? Would any man dare to bring forward such a proposal? You might as well propose that the right of returning Members to this House chould be confined to members of the Church. He contended that the State could not continue to the University that which it could not do in the first instance. Again, he thought that the distinction between the University and the Colleges had not been properly borne in mind. Strictly speaking, there was no religious teaching by the University; this rested entirely with the Colleges, and with this state of things the Bill did not interfere. It was community of worship, not the signing of a particular declaration, which bound people together; and though the subject might he beset with difficulties, those difficulties were not to be cured by requiring men to accept a test which we knew they could not in many cases submit to with perfect sincerity. Believing that it was necessary in justice to the whole 236 community to legislate for the University in the way proposed, he should support the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, that as the Mover and Seconder of the Bill had appealed to Roman Catholic Members to support it, and as frequent references had been made in the course of the debate, as to the effect of the Bill upon the Roman Catholics, he might, perhaps, be allowed to explain the course which he proposed to take on this question. The Bill proposed, incidentally, to admit a Dissenting element into the governing body of the University. Now, Catholics had no desire to be so admitted. Though the University was founded in Catholic times, by Catholics, and upon Catholic trusts, he did not see in any influential section of the Catholics any desire now to interfere with the University. Reference had been made to a memorial from a section of Catholics presented to the Propaganda, and which explained the position of the Roman Catholic body in relation to this question. This memorial was drawn up by a Member of the Government, the noble Lord the Member for Kerry (Viscount Castlerosse). It was signed not very extensively—by eminent members of the Roman Catholic body—among others by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Monsell), Lord Dunraven, Lord Camoys, and some others—and was addressed to the Propaganda at Rome in these words —The undersigned laymen having heard that the sacred Congregation of the Propaganda is about to consider the question whether Catholics should still be permitted to frequent the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, venture respectfully to hope that the sacred Congregation will not think its active interference necessary. They humbly express their conviction that in the case of Catholic students at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the faith and morals of their sons can be adequately protected.This document was remitted back to the memorialists; the Propaganda refused to take any cognizance of their proceedings; and they were directed to seek instruction on the subject from their own Bishops. The memorial was dated January 21, and on the 24th of March the Catholic Bishops in England met and passed the following judgment upon the memorial:—The Bishops are unanimous in their disapproval of the establishment of a Catholic College at any of the Protestant Universities; and they are further of opinion that parents ought to be in every way dissuaded from sending their children to pursue their studies at such Universities.The Catholic Bishops in Ireland had in- 237 formed the House of their sentiments, for in a petition signed by them they had unanimously asked the House for a University, the governing body and the teaching body of which should be exclusively Catholic. In asking for this the Irish Catholic Bishops made a request strictly in accordance with the principles on which the Catholic Church had always recommended that the education of the people, as well as of the higher classes, should be conducted. This was a question of denominational as opposed to mixed education. Last year the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cork (Mr. Scully) said, "Why should we Catholics object to this Bill? In Ireland we have mixed education, and why not in England?" His answer was that the mixed education in Ireland was forced upon them by the Government against their wishes. The Catholics in Ireland had always been in favour of denominational education, and, therefore, it would be highly unfair for them to insist upon forcing mixed education upon any other class in England. Such were the views of the great bulk of the Catholics upon this subject, and such were the authoritative views of those to whom Catholics would naturally defer. It had been stated by the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) that no exclusive University could be founded now, and he referred especially to the colonies. Why, in 1852, a University, which in its government and its teaching was exclusively Catholic, was founded in Quebec.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, be had made no statement with regard to a University; what he said was that no exclusive national church could be founded now.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, that at any rate this exclusively Catholic University had received a Royal charter. But suppose the Protestants in Quebec, who were very powerful and intelligent, should claim to share in the government and teaching, the Catholic Members would be found voting unanimously in favour of retaining the exclusive character of the University, and that being so he felt in equal justice that he was bound to vote against this Bill. There was a part of the Bill not affecting Catholics, which substituted another declaration for that taken, he believed, by clergymen of the Church of England. They were told that this was an attack upon the Church of England, and 238 he would conclude by reading a word or two upon what ought to be the action of Roman Catholics in this country when any attack was made upon the Church of England. Dr. Newman, a distinguished divine in the Catholic Church, whose immense intellectual power commanded universal respect, speaking of his own career in Oxford, said—Had I not gone to Oxford, perhaps I should never have heard of the visible Church, or of tradition, or other Catholic doctrines.No doubt the Catholics would be acting an ungrateful part if they attacked the University of Oxford. That University had not only given to Catholicism Dr. Newman, Archbishop Manning, Canon Oakley, and other distinguished men; it had done more, as the House would see from the language of Dr. Newman. Speaking of the attitude which Catholics in England should take towards the Church of England, he said in his latest work, his Apologia —Doubtless, the national Church has hitherto been a serviceable breakwater against doctrinal errors more fundamental than its own. How long this will last in the years now before us it is impossible to say, for the nation drags down its Church to its own level; but still the national Church has the same sort of influence over the nation that a periodical has upon the party which it represents, and my own idea of a Catholic's fitting attitude towards the national Church in this, its supreme hour, is that of assisting and sustaining it (if it be in our power) in the interest of dogmatic truth.In another passage Dr. Newman advised Catholics to do nothing to weaken the hold of the Established Church upon the public mind, or upon "those great Christian and Catholic principles and doctrines which it has up to this time successfully preached." It would be impertinent in him to say that he agreed with Dr. Newman; but he was happy to find that this eminent man supported the view which he had always taken of his duty as a Catholic when the Church of England had been assailed. He had not assisted those who in this House called upon Catholics to attack the Church of England, and to that course he should adhere.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he regretted, but was not surprised at, the opinion given by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Hennessy) with respect to this Bill. He should feel much greater regret, however, if he thought that the opinion of the hon. and learned Member represented that of English Catholics generally, and if, when the University of Oxford was restored to its character of a 239 thoroughly national institution, and when it was open to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, the members of the Roman Catholic Church should still feel themselves compelled to decline the benefits which the University would offer them. According to Dr. Newman, who had been quoted by the hon. and learned Member, definite dogmatic teaching was essential to safety in this world and the next; and he enforced this teaching by a great spiritual and supernatural authority which forbade inquiry and required submission. He imagined, perhaps, that if his co-religionists were admitted to the University, their faith would be in danger, as they would be among a vast majority of persons professing a different faith. These views were perfectly intelligible, but they only showed how untenable were the views of members of the Established Church who thought that their creed would be endangered by the presence of a certain number of their fellow-countrymen whom thi3 Bill proposed to admit to the University. The Bill contained so many good things that there was an embarras de richesses; but as he was in the happy position of being able to agree with all the provisions of the Bill he felt no difficulty on this score. In the first place, it would emancipate the lay members of the Church from the necessity of accepting without reserve the truth of a vast body of controversial divinity as a condition of receiving the chief honours and emoluments of the University; and, in the second place, it would relieve Nonconformists from those restrictions which prevented them from reaping the full honours and advantages of a University which, in his opinion, ought to be a national one. He was gratified to find the unanimity with which leading Members on both sides of the House, including, as he understood, the two Members for the University, agreed that the time had come when they might safely relieve the youthful laymen of the Church from the necessity of subscribing those complicated theological formula which until recently beset every stage of their academical career, and still met them at its close. Oxford students passed their student life in an atmosphere of absolute freedom. All subjects were freely discussed; all books upon all subjects, including the most sacred, were bought and read; and there was everything to stimulate inquiry and thought. But after passing three years or more in this free intellectual 240 atmosphere, the young man arrived at a stage of his career when he must undergo the temptation of submitting to a vast mass of controversial divinity as the condition of admittance to the higher privileges of the University and the emoluments of the Colleges. This applied to the most active-minded men in the University— those who were qualified for fellowships. If the Bill did nothing more than remove this painful necessity he should regard it with the greatest satisfaction, and would rejoice if members of the Church at the University were no longer subject to a test which made them in after-life neither better, wiser, more conscientious, nor even more religious, than they would have been without it. As to the second part of the Bill, which proposed to throw open the University to Nonconformists, the House would remember that originally Oxford was a national University. Nonconformity, which at first did not exist at all, was not afterwards expected to be permanent. But now that so large and so important a section of the community were, and in all human probability would continue to be, outside the pale of the Church, the time had come when the Universities ought to revert to their original national character. As to the objection that the dogmatic teaching of the University would be destroyed, he confessed that every year of his life he was less inclined to attach importance to it in comparison with the great principles and objects of a Christian life. But was it true that at Oxford every member of the University was subjected to a definite dogmatic teaching? He understood that Nonconformist students were invited to attend there, and that Dissenters could establish private Halls; but it could not be intended that Nonconformist students should submit to the Thirty-nine Articles, and be taught the Church Catechism. If, therefore, there was any evil in relinquishing dogmatic teaching in the case of all members of the University, that disaster had already happened. For his part, fearing nothing for the interests of the Church or of the University, of which he was a grateful and attached member, if it were thrown open to all classes of his countrymen, he should give his cordial support to this measure.
§ MR. SCULLY
said, it had been stated in the course of the debate that a section of the Catholic Members were going to oppose the Bill, acting under directions from the Propaganda. As neither on this nor on any 241 other occasion had any such influences been brought to bear upon him, he felt some surprise at this rumour; but his surprise evaporated when he heard the speech of the hon. and learned Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy). Wishing it to be understood that he expressed only his own individual sentiments, he (Mr. Scully) would say a few words as a Member of the only section in this House who had not spoken upon the question —he meant the Liberal Catholic Members. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Hennessy), with great consistency, always went with his party; but he had no right to put himself forward as representing the Catholic feeling of the country. He (Mr. Scully) should support this Bill, as he had supported it last year. He was not going to change his vote, for he believed that whatever reasons in favour of the Bill were good last Session were good now. The right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) having supported the Bill of last year, now took the consistent course of not supporting it in the present Session. The hon. Member for the King's County had professed to quote an argument of his last year about mixed education, but he entirely misquoted it. The hon. Member, he believed, did not vote on the Bill last year, and did not remain in the House during the debate, but went frequently in and out.
§ MR. HENNESSY,
in explanation, said, the fact was that as soon as the hon. and learned Member rose to speak last year, he, in common with a great many other Members, left the House.
§ MR. SCULLY
thought that that circumstance accounted for the mistake which the hon. Member had made in misrepresenting his (Mr. Scully's) argument. The hon. Member's conduct on the present occasion, as well as on every other occasion, was quite consistent with his character as one of the Tory Catholics, and sole representative of that distinguished body. As for himself, he had been brought up in Liberal principles, and could not admit in that House that the fact of his father having been at Cambridge derogated from his religious principles. With the exception of the observations of the hon. Member for the King's County, he had heard no speech denying that the principle of the Bill was right, though it might probably be much amended in Committee. He voted for the Bill last year, and he could reconcile his conscience again to vote for it now, though he feared that it was an Oxford University 242 Test Bill in more senses than one. He believed that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not represent the University of Oxford there would be no shortcomings on his part, and the sooner he got rid of the incubus of Oxford the better it would be for him. It was the most ardent desire of the right hon. Gentleman's admirers in that House that for his own sake and for the sake of the public, the right hon. Gentleman and the University of Oxford should be separated. The Bill was intended first, to relieve the consciences of the members of the Established Church; secondly, to benefit the Dissenters; and thirdly, to benefit the Roman Catholics. He did not think it would do the Roman Catholics much good, for although they had been admissible to the Cabinet since 1829, not one of them had ever got there; and in the University of Oxford they would be infinitely more powerless than they were in Parliament. Then, how were the Dissenters to be benefited? At Balliol there were a certain number of nominations for scholarships belonging to the University of Glasgow, and most of those scholars were not members of the Church of England, but they contrived to swallow the Thirty-nine Articles, and the Thirty-one Articles of the Athanasian Creed into the bargain—making seventy articles altogether. With regard to the members of the Church of England, who had to swear to the Thirty-nine Articles, there were a great many boys from Eton and Rugby who did not understand them, and who, if they had considered the Articles, would not have sworn to them. But, although he did not suppose that either the Roman Catholics or Dissenters would be much benefited by the Bill, still as it was a step in advance he saw no objection to going into Committee upon it. He only hoped that those who insisted that the Universities ought to impart a religious education would give their support next Tuesday to the Motion of the hon. Member for Tralee (the O'Donoghue) in favour of a chartered Catholic University of Ireland.
said, he found it difficult to understand what was the true object of the hon. Mover and those who supported him. The right hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) had told the House that in his judgment the object of the Bill was twofold—first, to emancipate laymen from taking tests with which they did not agree; and secondly, to emancipate Dissenters. But the hon. Member 243 for London (Mr. Goschen) who moved the second reading said that the principle of the Bill was not to emancipate Dissenters —that was simply a result. Under these circumstances he could not understand how the right hon, Member for Louth could support the second reading of the Bill; because the House had been distinctly informed of what he, for one, did not know before, that negotiations or communications on this subject passed last year, and that distinct offers were made that lay members should not have to take the tests, and that free power to open Halls to persons not belonging to the Church of England should be given. That arrangement would have completely emancipated both Dissenters and laymen; but the offer was distinctly refused by those who had charge of the Bill. He would not say anything upon that matter, except that the right hon. Member for Louth had no right to use it in the sense he did, because it was coupled with the condition that the educational power should remain as it was, and there would not have been that complete doing away with religious teaching in the University which the hon. Member for London's speech indicated as likely to be the result of the present measure. The right hon. Member for Louth said that it was hard that young men at Oxford should be perplexed with a mass of controversial divinity, and that they had the most perfect freedom. Certainly, as far as his experience went, the latter part of the statement was quite accurate. In his early days it was said that they found their way across the country well enough; and he now read in the newspapers that there was much exercise there in jumping in sacks and in catching pigs with greased tails. Let the House consider what the Member for London proposed. The hon. Gentleman said that the object of the Bill was to introduce perfect freedom of discussion. Now, if that be so, he should like to know what would be the perplexity of religious matters. There would be the Roman Catholic against the Church of England, and the Presbyterian against both. There would be the Nonconformists of every sort, and every kind of perplexity. In what could it all end? Simply in indifference or nothing. The right hon. Member for Louth, speaking almost with ridicule of what he called definite dogmatic teaching, pointed out in contradistinction the benefits of Christian life. But how could the right hon. 244 Member get the principles on which Christian life was founded without this dogmatic teaching? It was the belief in these dogmas, if they chose so to call them, that formed the foundation of the practice of Christian life—the belief in a Maker, a Redeemer, and another world. What, then, could be the object of the supporters of this Bill if they would not accept emancipation for lay members and abolition of tests for Dissenters? The only remaining object, he believed, was to deal with the right of the Universities to their property. The hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) threw in the teeth of the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord Robert Cecil) that he had not commented on that portion of the speech of the hon. Member for London which dealt with the property of the University, and consequently one was tempted to consider that that must have reference to what was the serious object of the Bill, though he could not understand before what was the object of the hon. Member for London in labouring so much to prove that all this right of property in the University was solely dependent on an Act of Parliament. That point was taken up again by the hon. Member for Bradford who had handled it in a very cautious manner; but the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate), seeing what it led to, did not choose to be excluded from applying the argument to the property of the Church generally. The hon. Member, drawing a curious distinction, said it was out of the question to touch the property of the Church of England, but that as no man in founding a University would pretend to found it wholly for the purposes of the Church of England, therefore it would be quite lawful for them to deal with all this matter in reference to the University as they pleased. But if that argument was good, what would be its logical conclusion? Was it not equally applicable to the property of the Church. Therefore he was drawn to the conclusion that the object of those who refused the offer made with respect to lay Members and Dissenters was to establish the principle that not only the property of the University, but the property of the Church, was national, and that that Parliament could deal with it as it liked. He repeated, with regard to dogmatic teaching, that he could not understand how they could have denominational or religious teaching either in a small school or in the University without it. He be- 245 lieved that the object sought by the Bill, if it were not that purpose he had already alluded to, was, not to accommodate Nonconformists, but to let in freethinkers, who would upset everything. Therefore he should vote against the measure, and he was glad that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had at last found his way out of the cloud in which he had appeared for some time lost and had avowed his objections to it. They had been told that this matter would not affect the Colleges, where religious teaching would remain the same as now, and the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) spoke a great deal about the Act of Uniformity. If that were so, what became of the case of the unfortunate Presbyterian gentleman for whom the sympathies of the House had been excited by the hon. Member for London, and who was described as being obliged to give up his educational course when he arrived at a certain point? How was it that the Act of Uniformity did not keep that gentleman out of College altogether? He believed that if the present Bill were passed the same teaching would not be maintained in the Colleges as now, and he was of opinion that if there were to be contrariety of teaching the same result would ensue as in the schools of America, which had degenerated into mere secular places of teaching. Such a result would be a great misfortune. He agreed with the hon. Member for the Elgin district (Mr. Grant Duff) that a University should be national, and should give a national education; but that would be good for nothing unless it had a religious basis, and without a religious basis it would not be accepted by the people of this country.
§ MR. MONSELL
rose to address the House amid loud cries for a division; and was understood to say that the Bill, with a single exception, dealt not with the Colleges but with the University of Oxford; and the case of fellows, who were obliged to take certain tests, might be dealt with in Committee. He would be as much opposed as any one to the introduction of any jarring religions into the educational bodies of the Colleges, for that would be destructive of the spirit on which Oxford University was founded. That spirit he desired to preserve, and if he thought that the present Bill would directly or indirectly interfere with it, he would be the first to oppose it. He did not believe that the measure affected the fundamental principles of religious education, and that 246 it would remove a grievance to which those people who did not belong to the Church of England were at present exposed as far as regarded the University, and not the Colleges of Oxford, and he should therefore vote in favour of the second reading.
§ MR. E. P. BOUVERIE
said, that he had not, as stated by the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), expressly excluded Roman Catholics from his Bill of last year. His Bill was proposed to apply to certain cases, in which, by the Act of Uniformity, fellows were required to make a declaration of conformity with the Church of England. There was another statute in existence which required the oath of abjuration to be taken by Fellows, and Roman Catholics could not take that oath; but he did not wish to embarrass himself with that matter, and therefore left it as it stood. He understood that the object of the present Bill was simply to place Nonconformists on a perfect equality with those belonging to the Church of England. This was not a religious question, but a question of civil right. The corporations affected by the Bill were all civil corporations, and the right to belong to them was one which ought to be enjoyed by every subject in the realm. Not only were the English Protestant Nonconformists excluded from the Universities by the tests, but also Scotch Presbyterians, whose Universities were entirely free from tests, were equally affected by them. He would say nothing about the exclusion of a large number of lay members of the Church of England, because it was now admitted that, with regard to them, these tests should no longer be imposed. He was convinced that no one who had conscientiously examined these tests would take them willingly and ex animo after mature reflection. They were, moreover, quite unnecessary. They were told, forsooth, that these tests were required for the security of the Church of England; but those who said that must have a very weak faith in the truth upon which that Church rested. Did those tests in any way secure the religious teaching of the University? Why, they had nothing whatever to do with it—no more, in fact, than the oath which Members took at the table of that House had. It was the Professors of the University who had to do with its religious teaching, and they administered that religious teaching, not because they took those tests, but because of the statutes founding the Professorships which 247 they held. It was also said that in these tests they had a security for uniformity of belief in the University; but the fact was lost sight of that they were taken only once for all in the course of a man's life, and often at an early age, and they were no security whatever for the belief of a man some years after he had taken them. Why, those very Freethinkers of whom the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) spoke with such alarm had many of them sprung from the University of Oxford and were still members of Congregation and had votes in the Convocation of the University. Indeed, it was plainly impossible, unless it were perpetually taken like a dose of physic every three months, that a test could be any security for continued uniformity of religious belief.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: —Ayes 206; Noes 190: Majority 16.
§ Main Question, "That the Bill be now read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for Wednesday next.250
|Acland, T. D.||Carnegie, hon. C.|
|Acton, Sir J. D.||Cavendish, Lord G.|
|Adair, H. E.||Cheetham, J.|
|Adam, W. P.||Childers, H. C. E.|
|Antrobus, E.||Churchill, Lord A. S.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Clay, J.|
|Bagwell, J.||Clifford, C. C.|
|Bailey, C.||Clive, G.|
|Baines, E.||Collier, Sir R. P.|
|Baring, T. G.||Corbally, M. E.|
|Barnes, T.||Cox, W.|
|Bass, M. T.||Crawford, R. W.|
|Bazley, T.||Crossley, Sir F.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Dalglish, R.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Davie, Sir H. R. F.|
|Biddulph, Colonel M.||Dent, J. D.|
|Black, A.||Dering, Sir E. C.|
|Blake, J. A.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Blencowe, J. G.||Dodson, J. G.|
|Bonham-Carter, J.||Douglas, Sir C.|
|Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P.||Doulton, F.|
|Bouverie, hon. P. P.||Duke, Sir J.|
|Brady, Dr.||Dundas, F.|
|Bright, J.||Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.|
|Browne, Lord J. T.||Enfield, Viscount|
|Bruce, Lord C.||Ennis, J.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.||Esmonde, J.|
|Bury, Viscount||Evans, T. W.|
|Butler, C. S.||Ewart, J. C.|
|Buxton, C.||Ewing, H. E. Crum-|
|Caird, J.||Fenwick, E. M.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Finlay, A. S.||North, F.|
|Finch, C. Wyme-||O'Brien, Sir P.|
|Fitzwilliam, hn.C.W.W.||Ogilvy, Sir J.|
|Foley, H. W.||O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Onslow, G.|
|Forster, C.||Owen, Sir H. O.|
|Forster.W. E.||Padmore, R.|
|Forster, W. O.||Paget, Lord C.|
|Fortescue, hon. F. D.||Peto, Sir S. M.|
|Fortescue, rt. hon. C.||Pilkington, J.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Pollard-Urquhart, W.|
|Gavin, Major||Ponsonby, hon. A.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Portman, hon. W. H. B.|
|Gilpin, C.||Potter, E.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Potter, T. B.|
|Glyn, G. G.||Powell, J. J.|
|Goldsmid, Sir F. H.||Price, R. G.|
|Gower, hon. F. L.||Pryse, E. L.|
|Greene, J.||Ramsden, Sir J. W.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Ricardo, O.|
|Grenfell, H. R.||Robartes, T. J. A.|
|Greville, Colonel F.||Robertson, D.|
|Gurney, S.||Robertson, H.|
|Hadfield, G.||Russell, A.|
|Hanbury, R.||Russell, F. W.|
|Handley, J.||Russell, Sir W.|
|Hankey, T.||Salomons, Mr. Ald.|
|Hayter, rt. hn. Sir W. G.||Schneider, H. W.|
|Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.||Scholefield, W.|
|Henderson, J.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Henley, Lord||Scully, V.|
|Hibbert, J. T.||Seely, C.|
|Hodgkinson, G.||Shelly, Sir J. V.|
|Hodgson, K. D.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|Holland, E.||Smith, J. A.|
|Horsman, rt. hon. E.||Smith, J. B.|
|Ingham, R.||Smith, M. T.|
|Jervoise, Sir J. C.||Staniland, M.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Kennedy, T.||Stanfield, J.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Steel, J.|
|Kinglake, A. W.||Stuart, Col. Crich-|
|Kingscote, Colonel||Sykes, Col. W. H.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Layard, A. H.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Langton, W. H. G.||Thompson, H. S.|
|Lanigan, J.||Tollemache, hon. F. J.|
|Lawrence, J. C.||Tomline, G.|
|Lawson, W.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.|
|Leatham, E. A.||Trelawny, Sir J. S.|
|Lefevre, G. J. S.||Turner, J. A.|
|Lever, J. O.||Vandeleur, Colonel|
|Lewis, H.||Vernon, H.F.|
|Locke, J.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|MacEvoy, E.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Mackie, J.||Waldron, L.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Warner, E.|
|M'Mahon, P.||Watkin, E. W.|
|Maguire, J. F.||Weguelin, T. M.|
|Marjoribanks, D. C.||Western, S.|
|Martin, J.||Westhead, J. P. Brown-|
|Matheson, A.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Matheson, Sir J.||Whitbread, S.|
|Miller, W.||White, J.|
|Mills, J. R.||White, hon. L.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Moncrieff, rt. hon. J.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Monsell, rt. hon. W.||Wyld, J.|
|Moor, H.||Wyvill, M.|
|Morrison, W.||Goschen, G. J.|
|Neate, C.||Duff, M. E. G.|
|Adderley, rt. hon. C. B.||Griffith, C. D.|
|Annesley, hon. Col. H.||Grogan, Sir E.|
|Anson, hon. Major||Haliburton, T. C.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. Gen, Sir H.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Hardy, G.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Hardy, J.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Harvey, R. B.|
|Beach, Sir M.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Hervey, Lord A. H. C.|
|Beecroft, G. S.||Hassard, M.|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Hay, Sir J. C. D.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Heathcote, hon. G. H.|
|Benyon, R.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Beresford, rt. hon. W.||Hennessy, J. P.|
|Beresford, D. W. Pack-||Henniker, Lord|
|Bernard, hon. Colonel||Herbert, hon. P. E.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Hesketh, Sir T. G.|
|Bovill, W.||Holford, R. S.|
|Boyle, hon. G. F.||Horsfall, T. B.|
|Bramley-Moore, J:||Hotham, Lord|
|Bramston, T. W.||Howes, E.|
|Bremridge, R.||Hubbard, J. G.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Humberston, P. S.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Humphery, W. H.|
|Brooks, R.||Hunt, G. W.|
|Bromley, W. D.||Jervis, Capt.|
|Burghley, Lord||Jolliffe, rt. hon. Sir W. G. H.|
|Cairns, Sir H. M'C.|
|Cargill, W. W.||Jolliffe, H. H.|
|Cartwright, Colonel||Jones, D.|
|Cave, S.||Kekewich, S. T.|
|Chapman, J.||Kendall, N.|
|Clive, Capt. hon. G. W.||Kennard, R. W.|
|Cobbold J. C.||Ker, D. S.|
|Cochrane, A. D.R.W.B.||King, J. K.|
|Cole, hon. H.||Knightley, Sir R.|
|Cole, hon. J. L.||Knox, Col.|
|Collins, T.||Laird, J.|
|Conolly, T.||Langton, W. G.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Lefroy, A.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Legh, Major C.|
|Cubitt, G.||Legb, W. J.|
|Damer, S. D.||Leighton, Sir B.|
|Dick, F.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Dickson, Colonel||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Lyall, G.|
|Du Cane, C.||Lygon, hon. F.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Malcolm, J. W.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Malins, R.|
|Egerton, hon. A. F.||Miller, T.J.|
|Egerton, E. C.||Mills, A.|
|Egerton, hon. W.||Mitford, W. T.|
|Farquhar, Sir M.||Montgomery, Sir G.|
|Farrer, J.||Mordaunt, Sir C.|
|Fergusson, Sir J.||Morgan, O.|
|Ferrand, W.||Morritt, W. J. S.|
|Fleming, T. W.||Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Floyer, J.||Mundy, W.|
|Forster, Sir G.||Murray, W.|
|Fraser, Sir W. A.||Naas, Lord|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Galway, Viscount||Nicol, W.|
|George, J.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Gladstone, rt. hon. W.||O'Donoghue, The|
|Goddard, A. L.||O'Neill, E.|
|Graham, Lord W.||Packe, C. W.|
|Greenhall, G.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Greenwood J.||Palk, Sir L.|
|Gray, Lt.-Coloncl||Papillon, P. O.|
|Parker, Major W.||Stuart, Lieut. Col. W.|
|Patten, Col. W.||Surtees, H. E.|
|Paull, H.||Taylor, Colonel|
|Peacocke, G. M. W.||Torrens, R.|
|Pennant, hon. Col.||Tottenham, Lt.-Col. C.|
|Percy, Earl||Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.|
|Pevensey, Viscount||Trevor, Lord A. E. H.|
|Philips, G. L.||Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Powell, F. S.||Turner, C.|
|Powys-Lybbe, P. L.||Vance, J.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Rogers, J. J.||Verner, E. W.|
|Rolt, J.||Walcott, Admiral|
|Rose, W. A.||Walker, J. R.|
|Salt, T.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Sclater-Booth, G.||Walter, J.|
|Scott, Lord H.||Watlington, J. W. P.|
|Scourfield, J. H.||Whiteside, rt. hon. J.|
|Selwyn, C. J.||Whitmore, H.|
|Shirley, E. P.||Williams, F. M.|
|Smith, A.||Wood, B. T.|
|Smith, S. G.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Somerset, Colonel||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Stanhope. J. B.||TELLERS.|
|Stirling, W.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
|Stronge, Sir J. M.||Northcote, Sir S.|