§ (Mr. Coleridge, Mr. Grant Duff.)
§ [BILL 15.] COMMITTEE.
§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Coleridge.)
§ MR. NEATE
rose to move, as an Amendment,That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that She will be graciously pleased so far to extend the terms of Her Royal Commission of the 25th of May last, as that they may include an inquiry into the Oaths, Declarations or Subscriptions now required to be taken, made, or subscribed in the Universities either of Oxford or Cambridge as a condition for admission to the governing bodies of either of such Universities, or to the headships or fellowships of any of the Colleges thereof, or that Her Majesty will be pleased to appoint such other Commission as to Her Majesty may seem fit, for the purpose of considering and reporting on the matter aforesaid.The hon. Gentleman said, that although he approved of the principle of which this measure was the expression, and if there had been any prospect of its passing into law during the present Session he would not have opposed the Motion for going into Committee, he did not think the House was at present in possession of sufficient information to justify them in proceeding 308 to its practical application. What was right and proper for Oxford was equally right and proper for Cambridge. The proceedings of the House in regard to this measure had been characterized rather by the arts of the tactician than honesty and fairness; and he could not concur in the one-sided legislation contemplated, which would place the University with which he was connected, in the eyes of a great majority of the public, in a position of inferiority. The course which he was now taking had been partly suggested to him by the reply of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department to the hon. Baronet the Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen), in the course of the discussion upon the Transubstantiation Bill, that the abolition of the declaration contemplated by that measure was a matter which might properly be inquired into by the Commission to which lie desired to refer this subject. Although he agreed that the public institutions of the country should be adapted to the altered circumstances of the day, it was to be borne in mind that there was a great deal of difference in the application of the principle affirmed by this Bill to a municipal corporation and its application to an University; yet even in the case of municipal corporations, when carrying that principle into practice, it had been thought necessary to deprive them of their ecclesiastical patronage and to make some provision for the just administration of their charitable funds. In the instance of municipal corporations all that was done was to widen the limits, but the effect of applying the principle to the Universities would be to unsettle every principle upon which Parliament had for generations not only permitted but encouraged the Universities to regulate themselves. He did not say that that might not be right, but he desired hon. Members to bear in mind that this was altogether a shifting of foundation, and that there was not a stone in the University edifice but what, if not displaced, would be shaken by it. Before the House did that it ought to know what alterations would be necessary to adapt the University to this great change. They had, in fact, no knowledge which enabled them to deal fairly and effectually with the subject. The whole matter was argued too much in the rough and in block. Hon. Gentlemen opposite did not know how far, even after the passing of this measure; the Colleges might, in virtue of their own statutes and regulations, retain their connec- 309 tion with the Church; while hon. Gentlemen who supported the Bill overlooked the circumstance that if it was passed it would be necessary to subject the University to Episcopal jurisdiction, and to place its pulpit under the control of the Bishop of the diocese. There was an idea that such might be the effect of some measures which were then before the House, and great alarm and apprehension was created in the University by that prospect. Many sermons were delivered from the University pulpit which would be sure to bring down the animadversion of the Bishop; and he could assure hon. Gentlemen that if they enabled the Episcopal jurisdiction to control the preaching of the University, they would have inflicted a blow upon religious freedom in the University of Oxford, and through it on the whole of the country, which the presence of 500 orthodox Dissenters would do very little to remedy. The natural course of the Dissenters would be to combine with the Low Church party — he did not mean the present Bishop in particular, of whom he always desired to speak with the greatest respect, but any Bishop of the diocese—to control the freedom of discussion. He doubted, however, whether the effect of the Bill would be to produce a great invasion of the University of Oxford by Dissenters. He did not believe that Dissenters, as a class, would desire to bring their studious youth into contact with the greater knowledge and more educated piety of the Church of England. They would probably be more inclined to take advantage of the measure introduced by his right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) which would allow them to participate in existing endowments, than to avail themselves of the facilities which this Bill would give them for founding and endowing Colleges of their own. An intention of that kind had indeed been manifested recently by Roman Catholics. A purchase of ground was made about a year ago by a section of the Roman Catholics, under the advice and direction, he believed, of Dr. Newman, their idea being to found a Roman Catholic College with the right and excellent purpose of extending to the youth of the Roman Catholic aristocracy and better classes generally, the advantages of University education and of contact with others of the same class belonging to the Church of England. That purpose was unhappily defeated by a letter which came from beyond the seas and beyond the mountains, 310 and when the time came for carrying the design into effect those who desired to witness its accomplishment were met with the usual answer non possumus, and the thing dropped. He did not say that the advent of the Roman Catholics would have been welcomed by the entire University; but a very large proportion of the University greatly regretted that this project had fallen to the ground. The House had not in its possession the information necessary to enable it to legislate with good effect in the direction contemplated by the Bill. Even the excellent representatives of the University were representatives rather of 3,000 or 4,000 gentlemen who had passed through its course than of the present working life of the interior, and had no actual knowledge of the difficulties and complications arising out of recent discussions. The whole question was in much the condition of a tangled skein, which it was easy to rend asunder, but very difficult to unravel; and the University ought to have the opportunity of stating before the Commission to which he proposed to refer the subject what were the difficulties which occurred to them as standing in the way of the Bill. If the Government thought that such a Commission should be issued it would be for them to consider whether they would give the Commission the opportunity of suggesting to the University or to that House such changes as they might deem to be necessary. There was one point of very great importance that ought to be considered, and that was the question of the extension of the University, and he believed that this matter would never be adequately considered until some gentle pressure was applied to the University. For these reasons he begged to move the Amendment of which he had given notice.
§ Amendment proposed,
§ To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "with a view to obtain adequate information for the consideration of this Bill, an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased so far to extend the terms of Her Royal Commission of the 25th day of May last, as that they may include an inquiry into the Oaths, Declarations, or Subscriptions now required to be taken, made, or subscribed in the Universities either of Oxford or Cambridge as a condition for admission to the governing bodies of either of such Universities, or to the headships or fellowships of any of the Colleges thereof, or that Her Majesty will be pleased to appoint such other Commission as to Her Majesty may seem fit for the purpose of considering and reporting on the matter aforesaid,"—(Mr. Neate,)
§ —instead thereof.311
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, he wished to say a few words which he would confine entirely to the Amendment which his hon. and learned Friend had moved to the Motion that the Speaker leave the Chair. He did not desire to say anything upon the principle of the Bill, as that was affirmed upon the second reading; but with reference to the Amendment, which prayed that the Crown would enlarge the terms of the Commission issued on the 25th of May last, with regard to oaths and declarations, so as to include an inquiry into the oaths taken and declarations made by members of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, he did not think his hon. and learned Friend had looked at the terms of that Commission. First of all, he would say that it was not within the scope or intent of those who advised the issue of that Commission, that it should be empowered to enter into the general policy which was involved in the principle of the Bill—namely, whether degrees should be taken and academical offices should be held without requiring any religious test at all. He doubted whether that was a question which ought to be referred to a Commission; but as far as the terms of the Commission went, there was nothing whatever in those terms which excluded from the consideration of the Commission the declarations or the oaths required to be taken or made by members of either of the Universities. The terms of the Commission were quite as ample as his hon. Friend could make them. [Mr. NEATE: Subscription.] The word "subscription" was not used, but subscription was, in fact, nothing but a written declaration, and he thought the term subscription might be fairly included under the term declaration. The only exceptions were the oaths taken by the Members of either House of Parliament, those having been settled by an Act passed during the present Session; the oaths taken by prelates and clergy of the Established Church, or the declarations made by them, that being a matter which was settled by the Act of last year, passed upon the Report of the Clerical Subscription Commission; and the oaths taken in Courts of Justice. Assuming that there was to be a religious test, he apprehended it would be quite competent to the Commission to inquire into the declarations 312 made by members of the University, with a view to recommend any alteration in their terms which they might deem desirable; but he did not think it would be within the scope of that Commission to inquire whether all tests should be abolished, and all degrees and offices thrown open without requiring any tests at all. He should hesitate to recommend them to do that, as it was a question to be dealt with by Parliament. In the case of the Clerical Subscription Commission, it was not a question for their consideration whether any test should be put to the clergy at all, but, assuming there were certain tests, what those tests were to be, and it was for the Commission to simplify them and to remove certain objectionable parts of them. He thought the House ought to know what the object of his hon. and learned Friend was in making the inquiry—whether he meant to refer the whole question to a Commission, in which case he (Sir George Grey) could not agree with him; or only that the alteration of the terms of the test should be inquired into. He hoped his hon. Friend would let the House know what he meant by the Amendment; but he could not advise it to agree to the Amendment.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
said, it was rather difficult for those who had not been members of either University to understand exactly the bearing of a Bill like the present. In a former Session he had voted against a Bill very similar in its character, believing that it would interfere with the religious teaching given by the Colleges at Oxford. But having listened to this debate upon the second reading, and making further inquiry, he could not believe that the religious teaching given in the Colleges would be interfered with in any manner by its provisions. The House was told in the debate on the second reading that this religious teaching consisted of divinity lectures and attendance at chapel in the morning. Never having heard of the lectures he could not offer an opinion in relation to them; but with regard to " the chapel," he should be sorry to see it abolished, affording, as it did, an opportunity to those who attended the University of strengthening their religious impressions. 313 He was told, however, that attendance at chapel was entirely a mere matter of College discipline, which might be relaxed or enforced as the Heads of Colleges thought proper, and the headship of a College was an office fenced about with many barriers, none of which the Bill attempted to remove. It was said that the measure would tend greatly to increase religious discussions in the University; he presumed on the assumption that it would induce many more Dissenters to present themselves. Now, he did not believe that the measure would have any such effect, and for this reason, that it was altogether a mistake to suppose that discussions of this nature took place pre-eminently among those of different denominations. The present discussions, as rife probably at Oxford as at any other place in the kingdom, were totally independent of any peculiar denominations; he did not believe that in this respect the passing of the Bill would work any change. Such discussions could not be got rid of.Naturam expellas furcâ tamen usque recurret, Et mala perrumpet furtim fastidia victrix.If it were desired to bring about religious controversies and discussions at the University in their worst aspect, the House would be taking the most effectual course by encouraging the foundation of denominational Colleges; and for this reason. Young men at the University were at that period of life when they felt more strongly than they would do in later years the disagreeable sense of a want in their case of their own denomination of the prestige and activity possessed by other bodies, represented by young men in the same social level as themselves, and when, moreover, those possessed of the coveted advantages were at an age which disposed them to take little pains in dissembling their own consciousness of superiority. If it were sought to bind the Dissenters together by a pact, rendering it almost a point of honour not to desert the comrades of their youth, that course ought to be taken with regard to the Universities, tending to increase the foundation of denominational Colleges. He was not one of those who believed that the Church had any reason to fear if this Bill were passed. The Church was already in possession of the field, and he had too much confidence in the sincerity and earnestness of those representing her to believe that her position was in any way likely to be affected. He was aware that the Bill was 314 supported by those entertaining designs inimical to the real interests of the Church of England, but he did not see why, on that account, friends of the Church of England should feel themselves bound to vote against the Bill. He did not mean to say that they were not to be opposed when Motions were brought forward hostile to the Church; but the opposition ought to be discriminating—not a mere blind grasping at every appearance of privilege in cases both when it was a source of strength, and when, as in this case, he believed it to be a source of weakness.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
rose to move the Amendment of which he had given notice, namely—in page 1, line 13, after "Oxford," leave out to "thereof" inclusive, in line 16.
In page 2, line 7, after "for," leave out to the end of the Clause, and insert—Admission to or tenure of any headship, fellowship or office of or in any college, house, or hall, other than a private hall, within the said University, or any other office, whether within the said University or elsewhere, which is now tenable only by a member of the United Church of England and Ireland, and for which such degree has heretofore constituted one of the necessary qualifications, the person or persons appointing or electing to such headship, fellowship, or office shall require the person so tendering such degree as aforesaid to subscribe so much of the declaration of assent contained in the Clerical Subscription Act, 1865, as is set forth in the Schedule appended to this Act, and provided also, that no such degree shall qualify the person obtaining the same to be, or to become, a member of the convocation of the said University until such person shall have taken and subscribed the said declaration of assent as set forth in the Schedule of this Act as aforesaid.He said, this Amendment related to two points. On one of these points he did not differ from the intention of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter; but it appeared to him that the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman failed to carry out in one respect what it professed to do —namely, the protection of the College fellowships. The clause, as it stood in the Bill, excepted the College fellowships from being affected by the Bill, but indirectly it would affect them. There was nothing 315 contained in the Bill that would apply to those fellowships directly, but still they would not be saved from its operation in the way his hon. and learned Friend contemplated, by leaving them in the same position as they occupied at present. The mere fact of altering the mode of taking the degree, and relieving it from the test from which his hon. and learned Friend desired to relieve it, would in itself materially affect the tenure of the fellowships. There were a good many things below the surface that did not appear to have attracted attention. Under recent ordinances of the Commissioners the mode of preserving the fellowships to the Church of England had been effected in this way—namely, that they were required to proceed after a certain time to take a higher degree, which required a test. These tests in respect of fellowships of Colleges were applied only to fellows in taking their degree, and not in any way in respect of their fellowships, and this would show the Committee the reason why he had inserted certain words, which referred to the degrees of those who held fellowships and required that the degree which was to be excepted and exempted from the test should not be excepted or exempted when it was a condition of admission to a fellowship, which he believed was rare, although it was very common as a condition of the tenure of a fellowship beyond a certain time. This was one object that he had in view, but his other object was a more serious one, for he desired by the rest of the Amendment to assimilate the condition of the University of Oxford to the condition of the University of Cambridge. This would be done in the first place by permitting the degrees to be taken without those degrees conferring admission to convocation. At Cambridge the degree did not give admission to the Senate, and in like manner he proposed that the degree to be taken without the test should not admit the holder of it to convocation at Oxford. But he should have desired to accompany this with another Amendment which would assimilate the condition of the Oxford University with that of Cambridge—namely, an Amendment by which a gentleman seeking to open a private hall at Oxford should not, as now, be required to be a member of convocation, but should, as at Cambridge, be the holder of a certain degree. It would then follow that any Nonconformist who had attained the degree of Master of Arts, or some higher degree, which 316 at Cambridge would qualify him to open a private hall, would be entitled to do so at Oxford, although not being a member of convocation. There was one point in his Amendment in which there was a relaxation of the Cambridge system, although it was not very important. He proposed to enable the University of Oxford to dispense with the tests in the case of any professorship, pro hâc vice; for example, if it was desired to elect a professor of Eastern languages who might, perhaps, not be a Christian, and therefore not able to take the test, it should in that case be dispensed with, but in other cases he should leave it as it was at Cambridge, where the professorship was subject to the test. Instead of the test that existed at Oxford, he desired to substitute that which was adopted after much consideration two years ago by the Clerical Subscription Commission. He did not desire to re-open the controversy which was raised on the second reading of the Bill; he desired to confine himself at present to that which was of importance—that they should put the Universities upon the same footing. He would not say whether he thought the suggestion of the hon. Member for the City of Oxford that the Universities should be enlarged was a wise one; but he thought the Government ought to take in hand a matter so serious as was contemplated in this Bill, and that this measure and that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock should be considered together, whether by a Commission or by the Government; his opinion was that it should be by the Government; and not only should these Bills be considered together, but all the Universities should be considered together, and that they should not be dealing first with one and then with another, keeping up a continual contest on matters which he thought his right hon. Friend opposite (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would agree with him were of sufficient importance to be considered and recommended to the House on the authority of the Government. His first Amendment would raise incidentally the question of admission to convocation. The clause, as it stood, was to this effect—From and after the passing of this Act no person shall be required, upon taking or enabling him to take any degree (other than a degree in divinity) within the said University of Oxford, or as a condition of exercising or enjoying any of the privileges and rights which may heretofore have been and may hereafter be, exercised and enjoyed 317 by graduates thereof, to subscribe any article or formulary of faith, &c.The hon. Baronet concluded by moving his first Amendment. for the omission of certain words from the first clause, the effect of which would be to prevent Members of the University of Oxford from entering convocation, until they had subscribed the tests.
Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 13, to leave out the words "or as a condition of exercising or enjoying any of the privileges and rights which may heretofore have been, or may hereafter be, exercised and enjoyed by graduates thereof."—(Sir William Heathcote.)
§ MR. COLERIDGE
said, it seemed to him that if the Amendments of the hon. Baronet were carried, they would make the Bill, from his (Mr. Coleridge's) point of view, entirely worthless. They also appeared to him to be Amendments which applied to the principle of the Bill, and which it would have been far better to have discussed when the second reading of the Bill was opposed. His hon. Friend, however, had not thought it right to divide the House on the second reading, and therefore he had presumed that his hon. Friend assented to the principle of the Bill; and he thought the Amendments which were now brought forward were a little late in the day, and were somewhat inconsistent with the course which his hon. Friend thought it right and proper to take upon that occasion. He was aware that the House did divide upon the second reading; but the division, as he understood, was not intentionally brought about or promoted by the hon. Baronet. The principle of the Bill, so far as it might be described in a few words, was to separate the Universities from the Colleges, to throw the Universities thoroughly open to the nation, and to get rid of the connection between the Universities, considered apart from the Colleges, and the Church of England. That object might be right or wrong, and hon. Members might or might not think it desirable; but that was the object of the Bill, as clearly as he could state it, and the only object which made the Bill, in his opinion, worth a single farthing. Of course, consistently with his view, he could not accept the Amendments which were proposed by his hon. Friend. The latter portion of one of the right hon. 318 Baronet's Amendments was to insert the words—No such degree shall qualify the person obtaining the same to be, or to become, a member of the convocation of the said University, until such person shall have taken and subscribed the said declaration of assent as set forth in the schedule of this Act as aforesaid.That declaration was a declaration of conformity with the Church of England. This portion of the Amendment went directly to the root of the principle of the Bill, and therefore he could not accept it without making the Bill, in his eyes at all events, perfectly worthless. With regard to the first part of the clause, he understood the hon. Baronet to say that as the Bill stood at present the connection of the fellowships and headships of Colleges in Universities was not secured by it, but that the necessity of their being members of the Church of England was secured at present, because the holders of certain fellowships must proceed to certain degrees, but because the securities were taken away from those degrees the saving clause was put in at the end for the purpose of connecting the fellowships with the Church of England. But the words of the Bill were quite sufficient of themselves, and if the Bill of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), which he had always kept separate from his own, were not carried, the fellowships and headships of Colleges were protected by the Act of Uniformity. Unless the Act of Uniformity were repealed those fellowships could not possibly be held by any person other than members of the Church of England; because with every admission to a fellowship there must be a declaration of conformity with the Liturgy of the Church of England, which was a sufficient test in the mouth of any conscientious man. He objected to the first part of the Amendment on the ground that it was unnecessary, and to the last part on the ground that it went to the root of the principle of his Bill, which, whether right or wrong, was the only thing which made the Bill worth having. He avowed that it was his desire to bring Dissenters into the Universities, and to bring them in largely; but his Bill would not have the effect of bringing them into the Colleges so as to interfere, if it were thought that they would interfere, with any religious teaching there carried on.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
thought his hon. and learned Friend had carried 319 his argument rather further than was consistent with the judicial impartiality of his character when he maintained that there was anything inconsistent with ordinary Parliamentary procedure in the course which the hon. Baronet had taken in not forcing a division on the second reading of the Bill, and in afterwards proposing the Amendments in Committee, which were the subject of present discussion. He contended that this proceeding was not only a legitimate exercise of the forms of the House, but even a very moderate and subordinate use of those forms. Bills were continually referred upstairs to Select Committees and came down perfectly altered in their shape. The fact was that the second reading of any Bill, so far from prejudging the adoption of the principles laid down in that Bill in all their amplitude, committed the House to very little except the confession that something ought to be done in that particular matter somewhat in the direction of the proposed measure. But in the present instance the criticism was peculiarly inopportune. The hon. and learned Gentleman said these Amendments went to the root of the principle of the Bill. Of course a man ought to know his own child, but he thought his learned Friend had been a somewhat careless parent, and had not described the Bill with that accuracy which he (Mr. Beresford Hope) should have expected from his logical mind. He (Mr. Beresford Hope) gathered the principle of the Bill from the litera scripta of its own preamble, and from that he found there were two grievances which his hon. and learned Friend thought ought to be redressed. The words of the preamble are—It is expedient that Provision should be made for enabling Her Majesty's Subjects to take Degrees other than Degrees in Divinity in the University of Oxford, and to hold Public Professorships, Readerships, and other Academical Offices which are or may be tenable by Laymen therein, without requiring from them Religious Tests.It was only at this word "and" that there was any difference between the bon Baronet and his hon. and learned Friend, and even after the "and" the difference was only one of degree. The scope of the hon. Baronet's Amendments was to accept the full remedy of the first of those grievances, and also to accept a certain remedy for the second grievance where he found it really pinching. The first grievance was the non-admission of Dissenters to degrees, 320 and that was met as fully and as fairly in the Amendments as in the Bill itself, while the second one of the non-admissibility of Dissenters to posts of public teaching in which doctrine was not involved, would, by the Amendment, be capable of solution in each individual instance when a real necessity offered itself. He did not think it was worthy of the logical power and fairness of his hon. and learned Friend to make anything like a grievance of the form which the opposition to the Bill had taken. His hon. and learned Friend wished to admit Dissenters in large numbers to the Universities, and that was precisely what the hon. Baronet wished to do, though he did not wish to do it without providing proper safeguards as to the power which the Dissenters should thereby acquire in the governing body of the University, so that their admission in large numbers should not be fatal to the existing constitution and form of the University. Of the two propositions before the House the proposition of the hon. Baronet appeared to him to be the more liberal. The hon. Baronet simply wished to prevent the Dissenters from acquiring the dominant power in the governing body of the University, but he would give them leave and licence to build, create, and endow their own Colleges. He would even give them facilities for propagandizing the Universities, for they might have their own chapels, where everything necessary for their own worship which appealed to the eye and the imagination could be introduced. It should be borne in mind that the Dissenters claiming to be admitted were not merely Protestant Dissenters, votaries of plain and unadorned worship, but Roman Catholics, members of Oriental churches, Irvingites, &c. So all these bodies might have in their own chapels in which the services would be performed according to the ritual of their respective churches, fraught as it would be with all those appeals to the senses to which young men were so susceptible, and of which a less liberal man than the hon. Baronet would have feared the effects. Was not that giving them a great deal, and acting very liberally towards them? The hon. and learned Gentleman omitted to notice one very strong and cogent argument in favour of the hon. Baronet's Amendments, that if it were carried it would have the effect of raising Oxford to the same level as Cambridge. The Bill as it stood would have pushed Oxford much beyond Cam- 321 bridge in the race of Liberalism. Was it not doing a great deal to put both Universities upon the same level, and to give them both the same system? If that was not sufficient, let the hon. and learned Gentleman, some three or four years hence, if in that time he did not occupy a more exalted place, let him come forward with his Bill in its present shape and make the best of it. In the meantime if there was to be a kind of perpetual competition, with Parliament as the stakeholder, between the two Universities, there could be no fixity of system, and no rational administration of either. Each in turn would be made the stalking-horse of the man who wanted to reform the other. First one would be screwed down a little, and then the other; and in the next Session the same policy would be repeated with the one which might happen to be uppermost. He thought the House had better agree to say that if Oxford were put on the level of Cambridge, that in itself was a great good, and quite enough to carry out in one Session.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
If there be any charge to be brought against my hon. Friend the Member for the University, on the ground that his Amendment is now out of place, and ought rather to have been introduced by way of opposition to the second reading, I, at all events, cannot join in that charge; because, though he does not adopt exactly the course indicated by Lord Palmerston's Government three years ago as one by which a reasonable compromise might be effected, he seems to contemplate the same end. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) is now persuaded that the degree would be of no advantage whatever, and would not justify legislation if the restriction proposed by the hon. Baronet, with respect to membership of the Convocation, were introduced into the Bill. The same persons often take different views at different times. In 1856, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) succeeded in relieving persons taking the degree at the University of Cambridge from the obligation of subscribing to the test, a similar restriction with regard to admission to the Senate to that which my hon. Friend now proposes in reference to Convocation was introduced; and yet the Bill was looked upon as a very great advance. That being so, I think it is rather hard my hon. Friend should be told that the effect 322 of his proposition would be to make the Bill an unsubstantial one. My hon. Friend expressed his opinion that this is a question which should be taken up by the Government. I was not authorized, nor was any one authorized, to say anything on behalf of the Government with respect to this Bill. But I do not think it would be desirable that the Government should make themselves responsible for any proposition which had not a fair prospect of success, or for any proposition which did not seem to deal with the subject in a satisfactory manner. I fully admit, however, with the hon. Gentleman, that whenever the time arrives—if it ever does arrive—when the Government, or the Administration of the day, can see its way to the proposal of some measure that shall really effect what the hon. Baronet termed a settlement of this question, the magnitude of the question and its enormous importance in a social, domestic, religious, and moral point of view would give it of necessity a primary claim upon the attention of any Government. But I think that much is required in order to effect a settlement of the question. I do not think that it can be done by any small propositions or small concessions, and if it is to be done by considerable concessions, it then becomes only the more important that whatever Parliament takes in hand and whatever this House passes should be complete in itself in this double sense—that the country should clearly understand what is the religious system on which the Universities are to be conducted, and the grounds on which it is based, and likewise that there should be a prospect that it would last. And, Sir, I am bound to say that I do not see how my hon. Friend can gain much by endeavouring to press on this House a proposition which undoubtedly shows a liberal disposition on his part, but which it is quite obvious will not be acceptable to such a majority as would carry the Bill through Committee. I am endeavouring to look at this matter on its merits, and it appears to me that the distinction which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter draws between the University and the Colleges is, I will not say a fanciful, but an untenable distinction. Of all the questions with which I am conversant, this is one upon which it is most desirable that we should, if possible, deal with by one united measure which shall be complete and conclusive both for the Universities and for the Colleges. It is impossible to 323 draw a distinction between the Universities and the Colleges. It may be very easy to do so in theory, and in the abstract a system may be conceived of a University perfectly open including in itself a number or multitude of Colleges perfectly closed, in which religious instruction may be given on principles as exclusive as the founders or frequenters of the Colleges may desire. But the state of things which we have to deal with is altogether different. There never has been in this country a distinction between the religious character of the Universities and the religious character of the Colleges, and I want to know how a distinction can now be drawn. The University at the present moment consists of the Colleges, and practically it consists of nothing else. We passed in 1854 and 1856 legislative measures intended to facilitate the growth of independent Halls; but we must not conceal from ourselves that those measures have been little more than abortions—not, it is fair to say, on account of those who possessed the dominant influences in the University having set themselves, by covert means, to defeat the measure, for I believe, on the contrary, that the authorities entered heartily into the spirit of the Act of Parliament and did everything they could in order to make it practicable and easy to found private Halls. Practically, however, such halls have not been founded, the exceptions being so insignificant that it is needless for me to advert to them. I am sorry that the Acts have not led to any practical result, for I think it would be an immense good to the Universities and Colleges if private Halls had sprung up in considerable numbers; but they had failed, and the House must recognize the fact. Well, then, the Colleges and the Universities are composed of the same persons, and are on the same system. The hon. Member for Exeter says he wishes to preserve the religious education which is given in the Colleges, and he does not propose to admit Dissenters to the Colleges, lest their admission should interfere with the religious instruction pursued in the Colleges. But that religious education is the very same as that which is given in the University. It is quite true that the system in the University, so far as the examinations are concerned, has been adapted so as to allow those who are not members of the Church of England to receive their education there and pass their examination; but the system of religious instruction is just as 324 much incorporated in the University as it is in the Colleges. That is a matter of fact. I speak with special reference to the University of Oxford, but I apprehend that the same considerations must, to a great degree, be applicable to Cambridge also. I know not in what manner, except in an abstract and speculative argument, it would be possible to make out that you can hope to settle this question by drawing broad distinctions in principle between the University and the Colleges. My hon. Friend thinks, or, at any rate, he implies, that if Dissenters were admitted into the Colleges, some guarantees and special regulations would be necessary for maintaining the religious system of the Colleges. But if he makes that admission, how can he show that similar guarantees are not required for maintaining the religious system of the Universities? My hon. Friend says it is morally certain that the majority of the University will always consist of members of the Church of England. But if that holds good with regard to the University it will also hold good with regard to the Colleges. Now, I must venture to point out with reference to what I have said as to the necessity of dealing with this question as a whole that, over and above the interests of learning, which are most important, and over and above the desire to conciliate all persons irrespective of their religious profession—and for that, I think, considerable sacrifice ought to be made— there are a body of persons who ought to be specially considered in this matter— namely, the parents of England. Now, the parents of England who hold a certain rank in society are systematically sending their children to the Universities in full confidence, and with a perfect knowledge of the religious system to which they will be subjected, and I hold that it is not fair that Parliament should be nibbling a little, sometimes here and sometimes there, dealing to-day with Cambridge and thrusting it a little before Oxford, and dealing tomorrow with Oxford and thrusting it a little before Cambridge, as has been remarked by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Beresford Hope), or doing that which my hon. and learned Friend asks us to do—namely, to draw an apparently broad distinction between the University and the Colleges—a distinction which may be broad enough in theory, but which can never be drawn in any other sense. It is but fair and right that those to whom it is of vital im- 325 portance to know what kind of a place they are about to send their sons to for education should be made aware that we are not dealing with one portion of the subject on one Wednesday and with another in the following week, but that, if we move at all, we contemplate moving to a point from which a perfectly clear view of the system may be obtained by the country at large. I do not now wish to discuss another measure bearing on this subject; but the remarks I should have to make upon it would confirm me in the opinions I now express as to the advisability of dealing with this question by means of comprehensive provisions. Precedent is entirely in favour of that course. It is in favour of dealing with the subject altogether, and of dealing rarely with matters of this kind. The constant interference of Parliament would in itself be a very great evil. Well, if that be so, we ought to legislate at once as far as we can and dare, and then discourage, if possible, all further change for a length of time. For many generations the Universities remained with a perfect interval of Parliamentary legislation, and the intention of the Acts of 1854 and 1856 was to place them on such a footing—though that relating to Oxford did not include this matter of religious differences—as to obviate the necessity of their again applying to Parliament for a new construction. They may be fairly called great precedents in regard to a subject of this kind, both on account of the immense importance of their provisions and on account of the extraordinary attention which was bestowed upon them by the House of Commons, for I believe the Oxford University Act occupied more of the time of this House than any single measure except the Reform Bill and the Act for the Repeal of the Corn Duty. Adverting to these precedents, I cannot help feeling that there is a great authority against this separation of the subject. The Universities and the Colleges were then dealt with together, and why should they not be dealt with together now? It is felt on all hands that it is exceedingly invidious to exclude Dissenters from degrees, and in consequence of its being so invidious all parties are ready to give them a degree; but my hon. and learned Friend feels that having given the Dissenter a degree it is invidious to exclude him from Convocation. Now, is there nothing else that is invidious at Cambridge, and still more so at Oxford? Is not a fellowship, particularly with 326 regard to its emoluments, the recognized consummation and crown of an academical degree? Now, I do not hesitate to say that if there be hardship and anything likely to engender an individual sense of grievance and suffering it is that exclusion of Dissenters from the emoluments of fellowships. I believe that that obtains at Cambridge, and in the great College of Trinity, if I am not mistaken, a person who becomes a high wrangler or a medalist is supposed to take his fellowship as a matter of course. But my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter proposes to stop that, and says to the Dissenters, "You shall neither have any emoluments nor a share in the government of the College." This Bill, therefore, does not settle the question. It does not give to the Dissenters that which would satisfy them, but merely makes a little invasion into the existing system. Now, 1 must say that I cannot undertake to be a party to that mode of dealing with the subject. I am very desirous that it should be dealt with comprehensively and liberally, and that no matter of mere prejudice or pre-possession should stand in the way of a comprehensive settlement, and I think there is undoubtedly much which might be done if a spirit of conciliation prevailed, but a spirit of conciliation must prevail on both sides of the House if a way is to be made through this question. I do not think it will be possible, if I may use the phrase, to ride roughshod over the question by the mere assertion of abstract principles. I think our object should be to give to the Dissenters everything, whether in the way of honours, of emoluments, or of governing power which can be given to them, subject to the one vital and indispensable condition which lies at the root of the whole matter. It seems to me that equity, justice, and policy demand that nothing should be done that will not leave an effectual security for the maintenance in all its vigour of the religious system which pervades both the Universities. That is the ground-work, as it appears to me, upon which any satisfactory measure must be based. I am afraid the moment has not yet come for the introduction of such a measure, but when it does come it will be the duty of all Members of Parliament to endeavour, by every means in their power, to promote it; but I must say that I, for one, object to unsettling by this piecemeal legislation the minds of those who have a right to determine what the system of the Universities and Colleges 327 shall be. I object to proposals which would unsettle the minds of these men without giving full satisfaction to the reasonable claims of those who are asking for a change. Such proposals only hold out a probability of further attempts being made from year to year without a definite prospect of a resting-place; they would be hazardous, and ineffectual to attain the end proposed, and therefore I am not prepared to accede to them.
MR. GRANT DUFF
said, as one of the supporters of this Bill I could have wished, Sir, to hear the speech to which we have just listened from any lips rather than those of the Leader of the Liberal party. During the present Session the Liberal party has not been in the happiest and most united condition. I think, Sir, that it might be in a happier and more united condition if many of its Members did not feel it to be more than probable that just as the forlorn hope was storming the breach, the general of the force might turn round and fire his revolver in their faces. That, Sir, is neither a creditable nor an agreeable state of things. The right hon. Gentleman lately told us that since he entered public life he had forgotten much and recanted a great many opinions. I venture to hope that before he is carried to the Abbey he will recant and forget some of the opinions which he has just expressed. I turn now to a different type of opponent, the hon. Member for Stoke, who spoke from the opposite Benches. Nothing could be more intelligible than the view of the hon. Member for Stoke. The hon. Member is a distinguished Cambridge man, and very naturally loves the noble University to which he belongs. The hon. Member for Stoke could not then be surprised that Oxford men should have the same feeling towards their university. A person so accomplished as the hon. Member will not fail to recollect that all through last century Cambridge, so to speak, led the Liberal thought of England, while Oxford was given up to influences of an opposite description; nor will he forget that Oxford became, some thirty years ago, the centre of that reaction which carried so many members of the Church of England over to the Church of Rome. When things had got to such a pass as that, no wonder that the best Oxford men became alarmed, and began to fear that their University would altogether lose its place amongst the centres of intelligence in Europe. So then a reaction took place 328 against the reaction of which I have spoken, I and it is of this reaction that we are the mouthpieces. We are in no way leaders of a movement; we are the exponents in this House of the views of the best Oxford residents. It was you, Sir, that first gave expression to their views in this House by presenting a petition from a large number of them. When these gentlemen originated that petition, they were actuated by a desire at once to benefit their dissenting fellow-countrymen, to give somewhat wider limits to subscription within the Church, and to improve the teaching of the University. That was what they really wanted, and this Bill, and not the Amendment supported by hon. Members opposite, was what they desire. And who, Sir, are they? You, Sir, know well that they are the most active-minded of the Oxford residents, the persons most responsible for the tuition of the University, in so far as that tuition is good. Let us do what they desire. It will make the education of the University better. Then we shall see what is the real value of the "Parents of England argument" of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or, as I should prefer to call it, "The Maiden Aunts of England argument." Only look how things stand now. There is Balliol, a College more identified than any other with the Liberal opinions which have led to this Bill. Do not the parents of England do their utmost to get their sons entered there? Look again at Rugby, a school more identified than any other with those same Liberal opinions. Why, Rugby is not only overflowing, but, if you want to send a boy there, you must put down his name years before. Depend upon it, if we make the teaching of the University better, the parents of England will have no scruples about sending their children thither. The right hon. Gentleman may moderate his anxiety, and be comforted about a class of persons who can take uncommonly good care of themselves.
SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that the hon. and learned Member for Exeter had contrived, in cautious language and with many assurances that he meant to insinuate nothing, to insinuate that hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, though they had appeared to dispute the Bill upon two principles, were really anxious to destroy its principles. Now, in point of fact, two different lines were taken by the supporters of this measure. They, on that (the Opposition) side of the House would prefer to leave matters as they were, 329 because they did not agree with either of the two lines adopted by the friends of the Bill; but they admitted, at the same time, that one of those lines was worthy of attention, for it was not to be denied that there were distinctions between Oxford and Cambridge which acted unfavourably upon the position of Dissenters at Oxford, and which were the result of accident, and not of design. They had therefore agreed to the second reading of the Bill, in order that these points of the case might be met in Committee. But he could not at all agree with the other line adopted by some of the supporters of the Bill, of which the hon. Member for the Elgin boroughs was more decidedly an exponent than even the hon. and learned Member for Exeter. He denied that there was anything indirect or unfair in these Amendments, but was prepared to admit that it was desirable to put the constitution of the two Universities on the same footing with respect to Dissenters. When the reform in the constitution of Oxford University took place the clause relating to Dissenters was passed rather in a hurry, but in the following years the matter was more deliberately discussed. If the matter with respect to Oxford had been discussed at the time in the same manner as it was discussed with regard to Cambridge, probably the same arrangement would have been come to, and his hon. Friend said he was prepared to assent to that arrangement now. Those who proposed these Amendments were prepared to meet a substantial grievance on the part both of Dissenters and of those who objected to complicated subscription tests, and it was proposed to place Oxford on the same footing as Cambridge. But they were asked to go farther, and to that they objected. It was perfectly regular to take the sense of the Committee on the clear issue raised, and that issue was whether they were to maintain the religious teaching as part of the University teaching, for they maintained that if they admitted persons of all religious denominations, or of no religious denomination, into the governing body, such a change with respect to the framing of examinations and an infinity of matters by which the religious teaching of the University was affected, would destroy confidence on the part of the parents of England in the character of the University and the connection between the University and the clergy of the country. The position of the opponents of this Bill had always been that the Universities were 330 places for the education of the clergy of the country, and that if that clergy were to be trained in the principles of the Church of England, care must be taken that the teaching in these seminaries should be in accordance with the principles of the Church of England. It would be cruel if the clergy in their younger days at the University were led to think lightly on matters which were held to be of great importance. If the clergy of the Church of England were not trained in its principles from their earliest years it would be impossible for them to discharge their duties as ministers in after life. To destroy the guarantee for the character of that education was so injurious a step, both to the cause of religion and free thought, that the opponents of the Bill set their faces against it. They maintained that whatever the arrangements made might be, it should be consistent with the maintenance of the distinctive religious teaching in the Universities. They were ready to consider the removal of grievances which had been generally put in the foreground by promoters of Bills like these, and accept an arrangement, but then to meet such promoters on the broader question, whether religious teaching was or was not secured by the Universities.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
was surprised to hear that the hon. Baronet considered the religious teaching of Oxford to depend on the University, and that that system of religious teaching would be impaired, if not destroyed, by the admission of a certain number of those who were not members of the Church of England into the governing body. He, and he doubted not others, knew that the religious teaching practically depended in no degree on the University or the governing body, but upon the Colleges and their domestic system. Without wishing to express any opinion with respect to another important Bill before the House in charge of his hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), he must say that he entirely endorsed the distinction which had been drawn by the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) between the University and the Colleges. It was on this distinction this Bill rested, for it threw the doors of the Universities open to all subjects of the Queen, irrespective of religious tests, and without dealing with the question whether these domestic bodies in the Colleges should be subjected to the same change. He protested against the House being supposed to be proceeding to a divi- 331 sion on the idea that this change would interfere with the religious institutions of Oxford, and that religious instruction depended not on the University, but upon the several Colleges.
said, he could not assent to the position of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that religious teaching was in no way dependent on the University. The right hon. Gentleman forgot the dominant influence of examinations, and of the choice of text books by the Convocation. Whether they dealt with the purely religious instruction required by their examinations, or with moral philosophy, the studies of these Colleges would be determined by the requirements which the University made with respect to examinations. On that ground it seemed to him that practically, if such a thing should ever happen that a very large party of Dissenters or of persons hostile to the Church of England should find their way into Convocation— the studies would be found so hostile to the Church that no efforts on the part of the Colleges themselves could resist the dominant influence of the teaching. His hon. and learned Friend said his object was to attract a large number of Dissenters to the University. That was one of his (Viscount Cranbourne's) reasons for voting against this Bill. He laid stress on a "large" number, because he admitted that a small number might not have a great effect. But what would be the effect of a large number of Dissenters being attracted to the University? They might not make Dissenters of the rest of the University, because he did not anticipate there was any such extreme attraction in the religion of Wesleyans, Independents, or Unitarians that they should lure persons from the Church of England. But experience in educational science gave the same results as in others—namely, that a mixture of acid and alkali made a neutral salt. If they brought up a number of young persons together in diametrically opposite doctrines, his belief was that they would end in believing nothing at all. Proof was at hand in this respect with regard to Oxford. Twenty or thirty years ago there was a controversy there on points, no doubt of importance, but which did not go to the foundations of religious belief. The result was that there were two sets of religious opinions strongly developed for a time in the University of Oxford. But the present race of Oxford men did not believe any- 332 thing at all with respect to these points in dispute. This Bill would introduce a large number of persons differing on the most vital points of religious belief. If the anticipations of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter were realized, and if Dissenters flowed largely into the University, they would see the same causes producing the same results. There would be the same excitement, controversies on a larger scale as to Christian belief, and that period would be succeeded by one of absolute disbelief in the points in controversy. If the anticipations of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter were realized they would drive not only religious teaching but religious belief out of the University of Oxford.
§ MR. EVANS,
as a Cambridge man, would not have risen to address the House but for what fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He did not mean to say he was altogether surprised at the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, but he was surprised at his opposition to what was a very moderate measure and which tended to advance religious freedom. The right hon. Gentleman said the Bill would give admission to Dissenters at Cambridge, not only to degrees, but to the Senate, and that it would have some effect upon the religious teaching of the University. But he (Mr. Evans) thought that any person acquainted with the University of Cambridge could not come to any such conclusion. As far as the theological part of the examination at Cambridge went, it was confined to Paley's Evidences of Christianity and Paley's Moral Philosophy, and how the admission of Dissenters could affect the theological teaching of the Universities which embraced these books passed his comprehension. He rose for the purpose of saying that, because some gentlemen who did not belong to the University of Cambridge might be led into error by the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would give his hearty support to the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman, because he believed it to be a fair, just, and moderate measure, and one which was calculated to promote religious liberty, and because he had come to the conclusion that it would be of great advantage to the Universities that men of talent and genius belonging to different denominations should be attached to them.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he felt in a difficult position by the Amendments now proposed. The Amendments reserved the 333 Colleges strictly to the religious teaching of the Church of England, but that very reservation would create a line of demarcation by which the effect of the Bill would virtually be to separate the University from such teaching. The position of Cambridge was not in these respects so secure as Oxford. The information which he had received from Cambridge convinced him that the position of Oxford was safer than that of Cambridge. The real change effected by this Bill would apply to the University, and not merely to fellowships. The separation of the conduct of the University from the Colleges would much weaken the former. He recognized the full force of the arguments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he stated that our institutions were in greater danger from these gradual approaches by sap and mine than from any overt assault; and he (Mr. Newdegate) distinctly asserted that if changes like these were made they should be embodied in measures of such magnitude that they should distinctly attract the attention of the whole nation, if they did not, that afforded sufficient reason for rejecting them. He rejoiced that such was the principle upon which the Conservative party had acted in relation to the Reform Bill. No man held more strictly to the representative character of the House of Commons, and unless measures on great subjects were so brought forward as to attract public attention, he did not think the House duly represented the opinion of the public. Holding the opinions he had expressed he should take no part in this division. He had risen to warn the House against the danger of those occult approaches in matters in which no principle seemed to be involved, but which would ultimately compromise the character of the University, if they did not stay them by an emphatic protest against this piecemeal legislation.
§ MR. MORRISON
agreed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it was most desirable the whole question of University reform should be dealt with. Oxford men knew very little of Cambridge, and Cambridge men knew very little of Oxford; and private Members who attempted to deal with this question would find themselves involved in all kinds of pitfalls. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that this was a subject worthy of the consideration of the Government if they saw a reasonable chance of passing a satisfactory measure upon it; but he (Mr. 334 Morrison) would ask the House if there was any question which could be taken up by the Liberal party more likely to unite all Gentlemen who sat on that side of the House—the Gentlemen who sat below the gangway, and those who had taken up their abode in the Cave of Adullam. He was sorry to say very few Dissenters came out of Oxford. It was true it was not a very large question, the privilege of having a vote in Convocation in addition to the barren honour of a Master of Arts; but he apprehended the practical position of the question was this:—If the Bill were to pass, and so large a number of Dissenters were to come out of Oxford and obtain votes in Convocation as to entitle them to any serious weight in it, the House should then deal with the whole question of the Established Church.
§ MR. JOHN HARDY
was not surprised that hon. Gentlemen opposite had been disappointed with the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was not often he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman as to constitutional or social questions, but he certainly fully concurred with him in the belief that this matter ought not to be dealt with in a piecemeal manner. He was bound to ask whether they were to have those political Ash-Wednesdays through the whole Session. An hon. Member (Mr. Locke) had, on a former occasion, stated that it was a very pleasant way of spending the day, but he did not at all agree with the hon. Gentleman. He trusted there would be some limit put to the bringing in of Bills time after time which never could get out of that House by hon. Gentlemen whom he might call "bill stickers." He would suggest the framing of a rule which would in effect say, "Bill stickers, beware," by which hon. Members would be prohibited bringing in the same Bill more than twice during the same Parliament. The present House might have a very short life, and it was not desirable that their time should be unnecessarily wasted.
§ MR. LOCKE
said, the hon. Gentleman stated that he declared these discussions on Ash-Wednesdays were extremely agreeable. Now, he had never said anything of the kind. The question to which he had referred was an entirely different one; it related to the representation of the people, and not to University reform. The present was one of those subjects which they always had on Wednesdays. Whether they were agreeable or not he 335 did not know, but certainly a great many Members attended the discussions and seemed to take a deep interest in them. He did not know that he had ever but once entered upon a question of this description. But now he was up—and, as his hon. Friend said, he was a Cambridge man, and as one he would bear his testimony to this fact—that questions of this description had been extremely novel to him until he came into that House. Cambridge had never troubled itself much about a question of this kind. ["Oh, oh!"] Certainly not, because in the ordinary course at Cambridge there was no divinity at all. None whatever, and he could add his testimony to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Derbyshire—that there were no books of doctrine—the Scriptures, of course, excepted—which it was necessary for an ordinary man at the University of Cambridge to read for the purposes of his degrees. It was considered the great merit of Cambridge that the religious books which it was necessary to read to obtain a degree were such as might be read by Dissenters just as well as by members of the Church of England. That was the great merit which he understood was attached to the education given at Cambridge —namely, that religious instruction was confined to Paley's Evidences of Christianity, and Paley's Moral Philosophy. He had passed his examination with, he believed, very great credit to himself—in those two books—inasmuch as he had the high honour of being in the first class of the "Little Go." That portion of his education ceased, and he then went on in the ordinary course, and took his degrees. He did not know whether Paley came on again, but, certainly, those two books were the only ones connected with religious subjects with which students had to make themselves acquainted. He could not understand how any member of the University of Cambridge, unless he had got into bad company since he left, and submitted himself to bigoted opinions, could do otherwise than support the Bill of the hon. Member for Exeter. He did not mean to say he would not go further than his hon. Friend; but, as far as he had gone, he would be happy to support him. He called on Cambridge men to rouse themselves a little, and remember what they were in the University, and not allow themselves to retrograde, and let it be supposed that they were so mixed up with the priesthood —["Oh, oh!"]—as to resemble, in any 336 way, the members of the University of Oxford.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he had the honour of being a Cambridgeman, but he did not intend to take the advice of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. He had listened with great attention, as he was bound to do in the case of the Leader of the House, to the important speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that speech pointed out clearly that the right hon. Gentleman was opposed to the objects of this Bill; but he was left to gather that the Government had no opinion whatever as a Government upon this question, and that, when the division came, they would find the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after that important speech, voting neither one way nor the other. He regarded this course as involving an important Parliamentary and constitutional question. He thought that the proceedings of the Government with reference to these Wednesday discussions was not at all satisfactory. Even the late Sir George Lewis, who succeeded in every other public Department, could scarcely be said to have been successful in this; and, with all respect to the present Home Secretary, he did not think it was right that the House should hear speeches delivered in one sense to be followed by votes in another. It seemed as if the Home Secretary had been for the occasion deposed from his office, and the command taken by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as Leader of the House, who had delivered a most conclusive and weighty argument against the whole scope and principle of this and similar measures. The Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed the opinion that this subject was so important that no private Member ought to presume to take it up, and that if dealt with at all it should be taken up by Her Majesty's Government; and he also warned the House in emphatic terms against having anything to do with this Bill. What, then, was the practical course which the House ought to take? He did not know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had thought proper to record his vote on the second reading, and he supposed they should have no vote from the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the present occasion. They had no promise from him that the Government would consider the subject. All the right hon. Gentleman did was to warn the House in the most emphatic manner against dealing with the subject, 337 and then, instead of moving "that the Chairman should leave the Chair"—the natural sequence of his speech—he took up his hat, and moved that he himself do leave the House. That was not a becoming mode in which to deal with the House on such an occasion, and he (Lord John Manners) emphatically complained of it. If the Government had no opinion upon this Bill they should have said so openly upon the second reading; but if the Chancellor of the Exchequer was correct in his view, that the House was asked to enter upon a most dangerous and unjustifiable course of legislation, it was the bounden duty of the Leader of the Government, entertaining that opinion, to support it by his vote, and to show himself, not in word only, but in action, to be the Leader of the House of Commons. He would ask Members who valued the dignity of the House if they believed with the right hon. Gentleman that this Bill did strike a great blow at the religious teaching of the two great Universities; if they believed that this was a Bill which affected all the parents in England who were in a position to send their sons to the University; if they believed that this was a question of so much importance that it ought not to be left in the hands of a private Member, but which, if taken up at all, ought to be dealt with comprehensively by Her Majesty's Government; he asked such hon. Gentlemen not to follow the example of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but to be true to the principles he had enunciated, and to give their votes in accordance with the opinions the right hon. Gentleman had expressed.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
did not know where the noble Lord had found the theory that the Secretary for the Home Department was the Leader of the House of Commons on Wednesdays, and that it was not competent for the actual Leader of the House on those days to express, if he were authorized so to do, the opinions of the Government, as a Government, or his own individual opinion upon any question on which the Government, of which he was the organ, were not prepared to vote collectively. As to the ecclesiastical questions which were discussed on Wednesdays, there were, he believed, no subjects upon which it was so difficult for any body of men acting together upon ordinary matters to come to an absolute agreement as these, and there were no questions upon which greater liberty of opinion ought to be 338 allowed. When the noble Lord reproached the Government for not being of one mind on the question now before the House, he must remind the noble Lord that such diversity of opinion was not peculiar to the present Government. A prominent Member of Lord Derby's Government, and of the present opposition, a noble Lord who was opposed on other matters to the advanced Liberals, supported them in ecclesiastical matters, and he should be surprised if the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) voted with the noble Lord the Member for Leicestershire on this occasion. He (Sir George Grey) claimed the right to express his own opinions, and also claimed the same right for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who never shrunk from the open avowal of his opinions. For himself, he did not believe that the religious teaching of the University was necessarily connected with the question now presented for decision. The Amendment, while assenting to the adoption of the Cambridge system, proposed that the M.A. degree should be barren of any other results except that distinction, and should admit no persons to Convocation unless they submitted to the test of Church membership. Now, he did not understand that the Bill would open the headship of Colleges or fellowships without some such test; but it did open Convocation to those who held the degree of M.A. without applying any test, and to this length he was prepared to go. He believed that the number of Dissenters thus admitted to the governing body of the University would be very small, while the number of Churchmen would be overwhelmingly great; and feeling that this concession might be made with perfect safety, the House not thereby pledging itself in any way with regard to the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie), he should vote against the Amendment.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE,
in reply, expressed some surprise that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should disclaim the duty of the Government to make up their minds on this question; but he was glad that the right hon. Gentleman had expressed the opinion, that this was a question of much greater gravity than some hon. Members supposed, and that if dealt with at all, it should not be taken up piecemeal, but be considered comprehensively. He did not know why the right hon. Gentleman did not go further and say that he and his Colleagues were prepared to deal with 339 the question; but he could not agree with the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Grey) that it was not of gravity enough to demand practically the attention of the Government. The consideration of this subject involved a great many matters not known by the Members of that House in general. The matter would never be properly dealt with until it was considered as the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed. What chance was there of that? He would not stop to inquire then whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) was right as to the degree in which the University might be dealt with without interfering with the Colleges, but by partial legislation they would have many of these questions raised again and again. He thought that the question of the Universities should be dealt with as a whole by the Government, after serious inquiry, instead of their being allowed to go on with this step-by-step legislation, and in a way which, instead of settling the whole matter, would rather tend to provoke other questions to be raised one after the other. He thought that they had a right to complain of the course taken by the Government, leaving them thus to deal with the question; for it was patent to all that there was great looseness and laxity in the proceedings. They might, he thought, depend upon it that if they passed the Bill without Amendment it would be found to be only the beginning of a great many other changes.
§ MR. COLERIDGE,
in reply, wished to say a few words in reference to observations which had been made by the hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote) and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He could assure the hon. Baronet that nothing was further from his intention than to impute anything, directly or indirectly, to the hon. Baronet who had proposed the Amendment; but he simply meant to say that as the Amendment did not tend to improve or modify the Bill, but was inconsistent with its principle, he therefore could not accept it. If he had said more than this he should much regret it and desire it unsaid. With regard to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer it is, of course, incumbent on me, as intrusted with the conduct of the Bill, to say a word. As I understand the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, it comes to this, that this Bill ought not to be passed, because it is only part of a great question which ought to be dealt with in a large and comprehensive way—that the two Univer- 340 sities should be dealt with in a comprehensive manner, and that the question of the Colleges and of the Universities should also be taken in hand together. If the Committee were able to extract from the eloquent speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he himself would have proposed to deal with these questions, all I have to say is, they were more fortunate than I was. Though he said he did not think the question should be dealt with in this way, and used rather vague expressions as to the danger of so dealing with it, he did not suggest to my apprehension anything definite or certain as to the mode in which the Government would treat them if they dealt with them at all, and for the best possible reason, because we have had from Members of the Government, and even of the Cabinet, declarations of total differences of opinion as to this very measure. Therefore it would be impossible to say in what way a Government evidently disunited on this question could deal with a large and comprehensive, or even a small and insignificant Bill. Now, if I am asked why I did not attempt something comprehensive, I will say—to adopt an expression what has been somewhat unfairly remarked upon—it was because I wished to frame a measure that would pass. This measure was made to pass, and I think it would be exceedingly absurd if I brought forward a Bill which could not pass. I cannot help thinking, notwithstanding the great ability of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he must be by this time convinced himself that it is better to stick to one thing, and try to do one thing which can be done, than to attempt to do two things which are pretty sure to fail. My object in introducing the Bill was this:—It seemed to me to be positively a good thing—a step in advance, in a direction in which steps ought to be taken, and because I thought it a step which this and the other House of Parliament might possibly be induced to take. But, notwithstanding all that we have heard from the right hon. Gentleman, I am in hopes that we may still have his vote in spite of his speech. One word more. A great deal has been said about this Bill filling Convocation with Dissenters, and interfering with the religious teaching of the University. I myself entirely differ from these views. No one expects that any large number of University men will be Dissenters, and therefore there will be no large proportion of Dissenters in Convocation within any reasonable time. 341 On the other hand, if the majority of the country were to become Dissenters, it would be utterly impossible to keep them out of Convocation. And as for disturbing the religious education at the Universities, I regard that as an idle dream. Indeed, the measure would rather have the effect of relieving the University from the stigma which is now cast upon it by some, that its tests are unable to prevent its members from denying the very foundations of Christianity itself. As for the remark of my noble Friend (Viscount Cranbourne) about alkalis and acids, I have only to say that I know nothing about alkalis, and the whole House is aware that he knows nothing about acids. But I should be glad to know from him, because it is an important matter which he did not explain, whether he means to say that the Universities should not be touched because the Colleges would be affected, or that the Colleges should not be meddled with because the Universites might be affected. For these reasons, I hope the Committee will reject the Amendment as being inconsistent with the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 245; Noes 172: Majority 73.
|Adair, H. E.||Candlish, J.|
|Adam, W. P.||Cardwell, rt. hon. E.|
|Agar-Ellis, hon. L. G. F.||Carington, hon. C. R.|
|Allen, W. S.||Carnegie, hon. C.|
|Amberley, Viscount||Cave, T.|
|Anstruther, Sir R.||Cavendish, Lord E.|
|Armstrong, R.||Cavendish, Lord F. C.|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Cavendish, Lord G.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Cheetham, J.|
|Bagwell, J.||Childers, H. C. E.|
|Barclay, A. C.||Cholmeley, Sir M. J.|
|Barnes, T.||Clay, J.|
|Barry, C. R.||Clement, W. J.|
|Barry, G. R.||Clinton, Lord A. P.|
|Bass, M. T.||Clinton, Lord E. P.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Clive, G.|
|Bazley, T.||Cogan, W. H. F.|
|Biddulph, Col. R. M.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Biddulph, M.||Colvile, C. R.|
|Blake, J. A.||Cowen, J.|
|Brady, J.||Cowper, hon. H. F.|
|Brand, hon. H.||Craufurd, E. H. J.|
|Brecknock, Earl of||Crawford, R. W.|
|Bright, J.||Dalglish, R.|
|Browne, Lord J. T.||Davie, Sir H. R. F.|
|Bruce, Lord C.||Dawson, hon. Capt. V.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.||Dent, J. D.|
|Buller, Sir A. W.||Dilke, Sir W.|
|Buller, Sir E. M.||Doulton, F.|
|Butler, C. S.||Duff, R. W.|
|Buxton, C.||Dundas, F.|
|Calcraft, J. H. M.||Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.|
|Dunlop, A. M.||Lawson, rt. hon. J. A.|
|Edwards, C.||Leatham, W. H.|
|Eliot, Lord||Leeman, G.|
|Ellice, E.||Lefevre, G. J. S.|
|Enfield, Viscount||Lewis, H.|
|Erskine, Vice-Adm. J.E.||Locke, J.|
|Esmonde, J.||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Evans, T. W.||Lusk, A.|
|Ewart, W.||MacEvoy, E.|
|Ewing, H, E. Crum-||Mackie, J.|
|Fawcett, H.||Mackinnon, Capt. L. B.|
|Fildes, J.||Mackinnon, W. A.|
|Finlay, A. S.||M'Lagan, P.|
|FitzGerald, Lord O. A.||M'Laren, D.|
|Foley, H. W.||Maguire, J. F.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||Marjoribanks, D. C.|
|Fordyce, W. D.||Marsh, M. H.|
|Forster, W. E.||Marshall, W.|
|Foster, W. O.||Martin, C. W.|
|Fort, R.||Martin, P. W.|
|Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P.||Matheson, A.|
|Fortescue, hon. D. F.||Milbank, F. A.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Mill, J. S.|
|Gavin, Major||Miller, W.|
|Gilpin, C.||Mills, J. R.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Mitchell, A.|
|Goldsmid, Sir F. H.||Moffatt, G.|
|Goldsmid, J.||Monk, C. J.|
|Gower, hon. F. L.||Monsell, rt. hon. W.|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.||Moore, C.|
|Graham, W.||More, R. J.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Morris, W.|
|Greville, A. W. F.||Morrison, W.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Neate, C.|
|Gridley, Captain H. G.||Nicol, J. D.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Norwood, C. M.|
|Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.||O'Beirne, J. L.|
|Grove, T. F.||O'Conor Don, The|
|Gurney, S.||Oliphant, L.|
|Hadfield, G.||O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.|
|Hamilton, E. W. T.||Onslow, G.|
|Hanbury, R. C.||Osborne, R. B.|
|Hankey, T.||Otway, A. J.|
|Hardcastle, J, A.||Owen, Sir H. O.|
|Harris, J. D.||Padmore, R.|
|Hay, Lord J.||Pease, J. W.|
|Hay, Lord W. M.||Peel, A. W.|
|Hayter, Captain A. D.||Pelham, Lord|
|Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.||Philips, R. N.|
|Henderson, J.||Pim, J.|
|Heneage, E.||Platt, J.|
|Henley, Lord||Portman, hon. W. H. B.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Potter, E.|
|Hodgkinson, G.||Potter, T. B.|
|Holden, I.||Power, Sir J.|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Price, R. G.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Price, W. P.|
|Ingham, R.||Pryse, E. L.|
|Jackson, W.||Rawlinson, Sir H.|
|Jervoise, Sir J. C.||Rebow, J. G.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Robertson, D.|
|Kearsley, Captain R.||Rothschild, Baron M. de|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Rothschild, N.M. de|
|Kinglake, A. W.||Russell, A.|
|Kinglake, J. A.||Russell, H.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||St. Aubyn, J.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Samuda, J. D'A.|
|Lacon, Sir E.||Saunderson, E.|
|Laing, S.||Seely, C.|
|Layard, A. H.||Seymour, A.|
|Lamont, J.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|Lawrence, W.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Sherriff, A. C.||Waldegrave-Lesli,hn G|
|Simeon, Sir J.||Waring, C.|
|Smith, J. A.||Warner, E.|
|Smith, J. B.||Watkin, E. W.|
|Smollett, P. B.||Western, Sir T. B.|
|Speirs, A. A.||Whatman, J.|
|Stacpoole, W.||White, J.|
|Staniland, M.||Whitworth, B.|
|Stansfeld, J.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Steel, J.||Woods, H.|
|Stone, W. H.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Stuart, Col. Crichton-||Wynne, W. R. M.|
|Sturt, Lt.-Colonel N.||Wyvill, M.|
|Sullivan, E.||Young, G.|
|Sykes, Colonel W. H.||Young, R.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.||TELLERS.|
|Trevelyan, G. O.||Coleridge, J. D.|
|Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.||Duff, G.|
|Vivian, Capt. hn. J.C.W|
|Adderley, rt. hon. C. B.||Egerton, hon. W.|
|Akroyd, E.||Fane, Colonel J. W.|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Feilden, J.|
|Arkwright, R.||Fellowes, E.|
|Bagge, W.||Fergusson, Sir J.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Floyer, J.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Forde, Colonel|
|Barnett, H.||Forester, rt. hon. Gen.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||George, J.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Beach, Sir M. Hicks-||Goddard, A. L.|
|Beecroft, G. S.||Goldney, G.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Gooch, D.|
|Benyon, R.||Gore, J. R. O.|
|Beresford, Capt. D.W.P.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Gorst, J. E.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Graves, S. R.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Greenall, G.|
|Brooks, R.||Greene, E.|
|Bruce, Mr. C.||Gray, Lieut.-Colonel|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Grey, hon. T. de|
|Buckley, E.||Guinness, B. L.|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Cairns, Sir H. M'C.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Cartwright, Colonel||Hamilton, Viscount|
|Cave, S.||Hardy, J.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Hartopp, E. B.|
|Clive, Capt. hon. G. W.||Hay, Sir J. C. D.|
|Cochrane, A. D.R.W. B.||Hervey, Lord A. H. C.|
|Cole, hon. H.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Conolly, T.||Herbert, hon. P. E.|
|Corry, rt. hon . H. L.||Heygate, Sir F. W.|
|Cooper, E. H.||Hogg, Lt.-Colonel J. M.|
|Cranbourne, Viscount||Hood, Sir A. A.|
|Cubitt, G.||Hope, A. J. B. B.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hornby, W. H.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Horsfall, T. B.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Hotham, Lord|
|Dowdeswell, W. E.||Howes, E.|
|Du Cane, C.||Hunt, G. W.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Jervis, Captain|
|Duncombe, hon. W. E.||Jolliffe, rt. hn. Sir W. G. H.|
|Dunne, General||Jolliffe, H. H.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Kekewich, S. T.|
|Dutton, hon. R. H.||Kendall, N.|
|Dyott, Colonel R.||Kennard, R. W.|
|Eckersley, N.||King, J. K.|
|Edwards, Colonel||Knight, F. W.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Lascelles, hon. E. W.|
|Egerton, E. C.||Liddell, hon. H. G.|
|Lindsay, hn. Colonel C.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Lindsay, Colonel R. L.||Selwyn, C. J.|
|Lloyd, Sir T. D.||Severne, J. E.|
|Long, R. P.||Seymour, G. H.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Lowther, J.||Smith, S. G.|
|Mainwaring, T.||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Stronge, Sir J. M.|
|Meller, Captain||Stuart, Lt.-Colonel W.|
|Miller, S. B.||Surtees, F.|
|Miller, T. J.||Surtees, H. E.|
|Mitford, W. T.||Taylor, Colonel|
|Montgomery, Sir G.||Thorold, Sir J. H.|
|Mordaunt, Sir C.||Treeby, J. W.|
|Morgan, O.||Trevor, Lord A. E. H.|
|Morgan, hon. Major||Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.||Turner, C.|
|Naas, Lord||Tyrone, Earl of|
|Neeld, Sir J.||Vandeleur, Colonel|
|North, Colonel||Verner, Sir W.|
|O'Neill, E.||Walcott, Admiral|
|Packe, C. W.||Walker, Major G. G.|
|Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Palk, Sir L.||Walrond, J. W.|
|Parker, Major W.||Walsh, Sir J.|
|Patten, Colonel W.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Patton, G.||Whiteside, rt. hon. J.|
|Peel, J.||Whitmore, H.|
|Pennant, hon. Colonel||Williams, F. M.|
|Percy, Maj.-Gen. Lord H.||Wise, H. C.|
|Phillips, G. L.||Woodd, B. T.|
|Powell, F. S.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Read, C. S.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Russell, Sir C.||TELLERS.|
|Schreiber, C.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
|Sclater-Booth, G.||Northcote, Sir S.|
§ Clause agreed to.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, that after so large a majority had affirmed certain words in the clause which would be inconsistent with his proposed Amendments, it would be vexatious to go on and put the House to the trouble of dividing on the other clauses. He should, therefore, withdraw from any further opposition to the measure.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time upon Friday.