HC Deb 21 March 1866 vol 182 cc659-715

Order for Second Reading read.


Sir, I am sorry that I should be obliged to break the silence I had hoped long to observe in this House with regard to a subject in itself so difficult and important, mixed up with so many complicated considerations, and in respect of which I must expect to come across the feelings and convictions of many hon. Gentlemen whose goodwill and support I would most gladly conciliate. How it has come to pass that this measure has fallen from the hands of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for London (Mr. Goschen) into mine can form no matter of interest to the House; but I may observe that it is only at the desire of other Members, and more especially at the desire of the hon. Member for Elgin (Mr. Grant Duff), that I have undertaken this duty—a duty which every one must feel that he, the zealous and consistent advocate of the measure, would himself have far better discharged, and yet I am not altogether sorry to be obliged to speak upon this question, because with respect to it, and with respect to questions of a kindred character, I desire to say that I recognize a double duty—the duty first of all of a member of the Church of England, and of a member of the University of Oxford, to maintain what he believes to be the best and truest interest of the great religious body, and of the noble academical institution to which it is his privilege and his blessing to belong; and the duty of a Liberal Member of Parliament to advance by all lawful and honourable means those Liberal opinions which he ardently professes, and which he has entered this House to support. I believe that these duties need not in the least conflict, certainly not upon the present occasion; for, yielding to no hon. Gentleman in loyal gratitude to the Church of England and to the University of Oxford, it is distinctly as a Churchman and as a University man that I venture to submit this Bill to the favourable attention of the House. It is a Bill which has hitherto received a persistent and successful opposition—successful, that is to say, from the force of circumstances, and not as the result of divisions in this House. It is a Bill to enable the lay subjects of the Queen to obtain the full benefits of a University education, and to become in the fullest sense of the word members of the University, without any reference to the particular religious opinions which they may chance to entertain. One would have thought—although experience teaches us that one would have thought very wrongly—that it would only be necessary to point out that loyal lay subjects of the Queen called upon Parliament to enable them to partake of benefits from which they are now excluded in order to ensure the success of such an appeal. The University is a great national institution, which was founded and which flourished for centuries before any of the existing Colleges came into existence. The alleged foundation of Oxford by King Alfred, and of Cambridge by his son, are probably equally mythical, but any one in looking into so common a book as Stowe or Ayliffe may satisfy himself that in the time of King Stephen, centuries before any College was founded, there were at least 3,000 students at the University of Oxford; and although it is true that the Colleges have at present, so to say, obtained possession of the University, yet they are altogether different from it in point of theory, and were for many centuries different from it in point of fact. The University is a lay corporation, as Lord Coke and Blackstone expressly lay down; and no lawyer will for a moment deny that proposition. Its Chancellor is always a distinguished layman; its Vice Chancellor may be a layman; its proctors may be, and sometimes are, laymen; a large proportion of its graduates are laymen also; it is, as we know, to our advantage, represented in this House, and it has not been at any time represented in Convocation. It is true that the clergy go to the University, but they go there as they go to Eton, and Winchester, and Rugby, and other schools, not as clergymen, but as boys and young men. They do not live separately, they are not taught separately, they do not even graduate separately; for every one is aware that divinity degrees come to a man late in life. And it is a great advantage to clergymen in after years, when they come to live among laymen, that they are thus enabled to comprehend the tone and character of those to whom they minister, and the nature of the temptations against which they have to preach. But the matter does not stand there, because, as every Member of the House must know, a num- ber of theological training colleges have of late years been set up by eminent Churchmen in different parts of the country for the purpose of supplying that purely theological element in the education of our clergy in which it is supposed they are deficient, and the imparting of which in due measure is hindered by the lay pursuits, the lay studies, the lay atmosphere, of our old Universities. It is not, therefore, correct to say that those great corporations are in any sense clerical seminaries; and I believe there are no persons who would more strenuously resist any attempt to give them that character than the hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford, who, I understand, is to move the rejection of this Bill, and the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, who sits beside him. But if the University is a place to which the lay subjects of the Queen are entitled to have recourse, on what, ground can a measure be resisted which is to enable those subjects of the Crown to share in the fullest advantages of these corporations, even though they should not be prepared to subscribe to all the propositions contained in the Thirty-nine Articles, or to accept the Prayer Book of the Church of England as the guide of their devotion? I had not the honour of a seat in this House on any of the former occasions on which this question was discussed; but I have thought it my duty to read the speeches of those by whom it was recommended to the favourable consideration of the House, as well as of those who took a leading part in opposing it. It would not much be wondered at if I could not find in the speeches of the opponents of this measure substantial arguments in its favour; but I have done my duty, I think, in endeavouring to find out what is the case against the Bill I have the honour to advocate. As far as I can make out, the real case comes to a statement of unquestionable fact, and to a statement of two or three somewhat old and bold assumptions. The statement of fact is this; that in a certain sense, and as a matter of paper legislation, the Nonconformists have no right to that which they are now asking, as by the powers of the University Bill of 1854 they can already obtain to a certain extent the benefits of an University education, and take the B.A. degree. It is assumed that there is an essential connection between the Church of England and the University, and that the presence of a few Nonconformists in Convocation will sever this connection; and that disastrous results will follow to the Church of England and to the University itself. Now, first of all as to the fact that the Nonconformists can, if they please, now go to Oxford and derive the benefit of an University education. I cannot help thinking that last year the hon. Member for Bradford gave a true and conclusive answer to that argument. The hon. Member said—and I take the liberty of repeating his statement—that we had no right to subject Nonconformists and their children to humiliating distinctions. High education and refinement are good things, but there are things greater and better than these. High education and refinement are bought too dear if purchased at the sacrifice of personal self-respect and personal dignity, and of that sentiment of honour and independence which is the source of half of the great actions and more than half of the great characters in the world, on the possession of which hon. Gentlemen pride themselves, and justly pride themselves, and which does not cease to be a great sentiment, or change its character and degenerate into sentimentalism, simply because it crosses the House and animates the souls of men who sit upon these Benches. Hon. Gentlemen opposite know what I say to be correct. They know they would so act themselves; they know they would fling back with disdain any such unworthy attempt at drawing the distinction against themselves, and they ought not to use as an argument against the Nonconformists that which they would feel to be unfair if used against themselves. The other part of the statement of the case of the opponents of this measure rests on what I may call assumption. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heath cote)—justly honoured by everyone in this House, and whose acquaintance and friendship, I believe I may say, I have enjoyed for many years—is, I think the House will agree with me, far too keen a man not to know when he is making an assumption, and far too candid not to admit it when made. On the last occasion the hon. Baronet used language in which, in a certain sense, I agree, and which I adopt as my own, because it proves what I am now stating. The hon. Baronet said, in 1864, that, a Bill which struck at, the root of the principle of association in the governing body of the Church it would not be wise or necessary to argue at any length—that argument depended on the principles on which hon. Members had made up their minds, and that the same facts and arguments would lead to opposite conclusions according to the aspect from which they were regarded; and he added that he assumed that the Universities were Church institutions, To a certain extent I entirely agree in that statement, but venture to say that in the sense in which the hon. Baronet made the assumption the Universities are not Church institutions. And I say further, that the presence of a few Nonconformists in the Convocation of the University will no more prevent its being a Church institution in reality than the presence of a few Jews in this House prevents its being substantially a Christian assembly, or than the existence of Roman Catholics in this country prevents England from being substantially a Protestant Power. We need a definition. If by Church institutions the hon. Baronet means exclusive Church institutions, then I say that at this time of day, and in the present state of the country, the Church of England is not entitled to have these exclusive Church institutions. If he means to say substantially Church institutions, then I say that the practical relationship between the Church and the University will remain the same as it is now. I admit that in a certain sense what he says is perfectly correct, and that these matters do much depend on the point of view from which they are regarded. I frankly avow that my great object is to make the University of Oxford once more what it once was—a great national institution, to which all subjects of the Queen can resort at their pleasure. I ardently desire that large numbers of the Nonconformists of England may be attracted there, in order that they may be subject to the refining, the ennobling, and, I believe I may add, the sanctifying influences of that most reverend place. I desire this for the Nonconformists themselves, for the Church of England, and for what is greater and wider, and ought to be dearer to us than either, for the great English nation. Sir, not being a Nonconformist myself, I should not venture to say that Nonconformists would be better for an University education if some of the most leading members of the Nonconformist body had not said so themselves. If they say so, however, I hope I may be permitted to state that I entirely agree with them. There is great goodness amongst them, much high principle and earnest zeal, and I have the best reason for knowing that they are animated by great generosity and forbearance, but not having amongst them the highest education as a body, their views on political subjects, if I may be permitted to say so, are somewhat narrow, and their religious toleration somewhat confined. We have heard contemptuous observations on Nonconformists because, as it is asserted, their education is imperfect; whether this be true I do not know; but I do know that it is not very generous to taunt them with not possessing that of which you who taunt them prevent them from acquiring. I may, perhaps, overrate the importance of those studies which have been the delight of my own life and a relief from the labours of a profession which, it is said, to a great extent deadens the heart and narrows the intellect. It may be that I exaggerate the effect of the wonderful and glorious associations of the University of Oxford on an ardent and sensitive mind. For my own part, I do not much envy the feelings of those who are insensible to these associations and to the memories of the illustrious dead. I do not think much of the man who could pass Through the same gateways, sleep where they have slept, Wake where they waked, range that inclosure old, That garden of great intellects, without being much the better for it. It is because I think Nonconformists would be much the better for it that I desire to see them there. But the Church of England itself as well as the Nonconformists will benefit by the change. It will drive her to rely on herself, on the purity of her system and the truth of her doctrines, and I believe that the destruction of her exclusive defences would be the beginning of a life of vigour and increased usefulness within the walls of the University. If this is to be a legitimate result of a recognized system to which both parties agree, where is the unfairness of it? Why should we as Churchmen doubt the truth of those opinions which we profess when brought face to face with the views of those with whom we do not agree? It is for Nonconformists to trust to the force of the opinions which are uppermost in their minds; but in the case of either party the desire among each should be that truth shall prevail, and it is not less likely to prevail when you give greater facilities for intercourse, or it may be conflict, be- tween the most accomplished Intellects. As to my own opinions and convictions, I have no fear of their being brought into opposition with those of others, and it is not for Nonconformists to shrink from honourable conflict. But to take another view of this question, this is not merely a matter between Nonconformists and Churchmen; it is the country at large which must benefit by the change. No party can deny that the conflict between the Established Church and the great body of Nonconformists is a source of great religious weakness and political dissension. The mere existence of wide religious differences is of itself a source of weakness. The Reformation, doubtless, did a great amount of good, but it was not unattended with a certain amount of evil, because it extracted from the ancient Church almost all the minds that represented principles of a popular cast—it set in array against each other the principles of liberty and authority; and the consequence has been that Protestantism has generally become more latitudinarian, and Roman Catholicism more Roman, in every successive century since the Reformation, A similar result, on a smaller scale, has been represented in this country by the conflicts perpetually going on between the Established Church and the numerous sects of the Nonconformists which surround her in perpetual hostility. I am desirous, if possible, of seeing this state of things altered; and I believe nothing in the world would more tend to bring about this result than bringing eminent Churchmen and eminent. Nonconformists upon one common ground while prosecuting their studies at the University. Nothing tends more to liberalize the feelings and to smooth the acerbities of religious controversy than bringing men of honest and independent minds together, and causing them to do justice to the characters and motives of their opponents, however diverse may be some of the opinions in question between them and however varying their views of truth. We live in an age of which De Tocqueville has traced the spirit, and which has seen the rise and progress of the great American Republic. We live in a democratic age, in an aristocratic country. We cannot afford, therefore, to minimize those Conservative influences which ought to be brought to bear on those who have so great an influence in moulding those institutions under which we live, and which we all so much admire. As you increase the opportunities of University education so do you widen the influences which tend to progress, but still more, undoubtedly, those which tend to moderation and to order. It is, besides, essential in this age that free inquiry should be conducted somewhere; and it should be conducted where it can be conducted safely. And the University is just the place where inquiry may be conducted under the most softening and healing influences. I will, not ask how far it is wise to stop free inquiry even among our clergy, but free inquiry you must and will have; nay, I will say you ought to have, as the only right foundation of reasonable belief and intelligent conviction. You must have it; if you try to shut it out it will break in upon the University from without; and the best way will be to deal with it in the most open and avowed manner. You can no more bar it out than you can prevent the sun from shining in the sky because you may shut your eyes and refuse to see it. There has been too much fear of inquiry; too much of that which was described in a noble passage written about the University of Cambridge some seventy or eighty years ago, and true in the main of Oxford, as I knew it Murmuring submission and bald government, The idol weak as the idolator, And Decency and Custom starving Truth, And blind Authority beating with his staff The child who might have led him. Free inquiry, no doubt, like every other good thing, is unquestionably liable to abuse—corruptio optimi est pessima; and the rash exercise of this privilege has sometimes degenerated into infidelity. There is no ground of dread on behalf of religion or the Church from free and fair inquiry. When have religion and the Church been found unequal to the conflict when fairly matched with their foes? Was what Gibbon called the giant spear of Horsley unable to pierce the shield of his able but still inferior antagonist Priestley? Was the profound and religious, intellect of the illustrious Butler unequal to deal with the various forms of infidelity that surrounded him? The fear of free and sound inquiry is a baseless one, it is one in which I cannot share, and as a believer and as a Churchman I protest against it. I have now only to state shortly the provisions of the Bill it has been my lot to introduce. It is a short and simple Bill, and has for its object to enable laymen to take degrees without religious tests. It repeals a portion of the University Act of 1854, which limits its operation to the B.A. degree, and repeals such part of the Act of Uniformity as compels professors and laymen to declare their assent to the Thirty-nine Articles. By the University Act of 1854 certain fellowships were suppressed, and certain professorships of art and science were founded from the revenues thus diverted; these professors sit at the high table, and have rooms in the College, but there is no instance in which they are obliged to be, I believe there is none in which they have actually become, members of the governing body or fellows. It is with this class that the last clause of this Bill deals, with the view of rendering their position less anomalous. The question of grammar schools has also been raised in connection with this subject, but this Bill will not interfere with those institutions throughout the country the benefits of which are limited to Churchmen. Now, Sir, upon that question I do not desire to express any opinion. It is an important question, no doubt; it is one which I think ought to be determined upon its own grounds when it arises; but it is a question which has nothing to do with this Bill. It seems to me far better to confine the operation of the Bill to one particular object, leaving the question of the grammar schools to be decided upon its own merits. I have, therefore, thought it right to put into this Bill a special provision, the object of which is to compel masters of such schools to make the same subscription which they are compelled to make, as the law now stands, as they have at present—in effect, to leave the existing state of the question as it is in respect to a matter which does not come within the operation of the Bill. Well, Sir, I have done that with the most perfect good faith. If there be anything in the wording of the measure which is imperfect, of course I shall be happy to remedy the defect. I have now stated the object of my Bill. It is a small and a short measure. I have received an intimation from the hon. and learned Member for Oxford City which I hardly think was seriously intended, inviting me to fuse my Bill with the Bill of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock, with a view of framing there from what is called a large and comprehensive measure. To such a proposal, I must reply, in the language of Horace to Augustus— —Cupidum, pater optime, vires Deficiunt. I have not strength for the undertaking, nor have I the experience of the hon. Gentleman who, apparently with the most perfect ease to himself, can frame a large and comprehensive measure upon this question, and secure its success in this and the other House of Parliament. I have shrunk from the introduction of any measure but one of a simple and definite character. In regard to the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock, I can only say that that measure is not now before us. I confess that upon its provisions I do not entertain a very clear opinion. It seems to me, however, that the question of the Colleges and that of the University of Oxford are wholly distinct, and that a man may with perfect consistency vote for the present Bill and against the measure of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock. I do not say myself what I shall or shall not do in respect to the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock. But I maintain that the questions involved in the respective Bills are perfectly distinct, and that the arguments I have ventured to put forward in regard to the University of Oxford do not apply to the Colleges which are more materially affected by the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. I repeat, then, that my Bill and that of the right hon. Gentleman are perfectly distinct. They have nothing to do with one another, and I respectfully submit that they are presented upon totally different grounds. I earnestly hope that the House will permit my Bill to proceed to a second reading. I see that the hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford has given notice of his intention to move that the Bill be rejected. I trust, however, that upon consideration the hon. Baronet will not fly the old flag of "No surrender," and that we shall hear no more of the stale argument of "danger to the Church and the University," which cannot apply to my measure. I suppose that no hon. Gentleman who sits upon either side of the House entertains in his heart the slightest shadow of a doubt that this or a like measure must, sooner or later, become the law of the land. Well, if that be so, I ask you why should we delay its passing? Why should we wait until those angry feelings which are now being allayed and repressed become embittered and strengthened by time and disappointed hopes? Why put off the passing of a simple measure of justice, when by doing so we may deprive it of its character of a gracious concession, and give it that of a tardy and hard-wrung extortion of right Surely, you may trust something to the good sense and right feeling of men ii earnest; something to the innate and invincible strength of that religion which is, and which I hope may long remain enshrined in the University of Oxford Mr. Windham said in this House man; years ago— Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom, and a great Empire and little minds go ill together. That sentence seems to me to be as wise as it is eloquent, and in the spirit of that sentence, and thanking the House for the patience with which they have listened to what I have inflicted upon them, I beg leave to move that this Bill be now read e second time.


seconded the Motion. Certain Gentlemen opposed this Bill upon the ground that it would give an advantage to the sister, or as some would call it the rival, University. He entertained no such apprehensions. Speaking, as he knew he was, the sentiments of a considerable minority of Cambridge men, so far from viewing this measure with anything like a feeling of envy, they cordially congratulated themselves upon the prospects which this Bill presented to them. The interests of the one institution were identical with those of the other, and they were anxious to stand by the true friends of the University of Oxford now, because they knew that when their turn came for Reform those friends would stand by the sister University, which so eagerly desired Reform, and wanted it even more. The friends of the sister University desired to return to that state of things which the hon. and learned Gentleman had depicted with such fidelity, when the education in the Universities as well as the religion of the country were national—when, in fact, the institutions of the country were not only national but cosmopolitan. When Erasmus came from Germany he was not called upon to make tests or affirmations; the tests were framed subsequently by the wisdom of our ancestors as represented by Lord Leicester. It was idle to deny that the best College education was not one of a religious, but of a secular character. He knew that once or twice in the course of their residence the students were obliged to get up a certain amount of theology by means of grammars, epitomes, and memoria technica. All would remember the old criterion by which they used to sum up the reasons for believing in the Old Testament, and how they were afterwards obliged to go to chapel to receive the Sacraments under penalties—a very questionable mode of spiritual edification. The best education consisted of a free intercourse of mind and mind and a generous struggle for academic honours. It was in a training of this kind that their true education consisted, and not of a constrained assent to some hundred articles of theology given in one breath at the termination of their University career. When Dissenters claimed to share the benefits of the generosity of the old Kings and Queens of England they were told to put their shoulders to the wheel, and to found Colleges for themselves; and when the Dissenters did found such institutions, University men gave them a name which was neither respectful nor fragrant. As a Trinity man, he could never forget the shame he felt when a Senior Wrangler, who was universally beloved for his modesty and amiability, was driven from the walls of the University without either honours or emoluments. He did not think that a mixture of Dissenters with the youth at the Universities would shake their attachment to the Church. From the tone of the debates in the Ecclesiastical Union one would suppose that Dissenters were scarcely acknowledged to be brother Christians. Not only would the junior clergy be benefited by such a measure as this, but the senior clergy also. The evils of what had been called the Liberal element in Convocation had been referred to. Why, only the other day a proposition from another University—the University of Longfellow, and Everett, and Lowell—was rejected by the Senate of Cambridge, not because it would introduce a new principle, but because the Yankees were democrats. Now, they ought to welcome such new recruits with open arms. The advantage, moreover, would be mutual; the Dissenters wanted the culture of the Churchmen and the Churchmen needed the vigour of the Dissenters. Hon. Members would act wisely in establishing by their votes that day the doctrine of free trade in intellect and knowledge. It had been stated that the measure would not he successful, because of the existence of a Conservative reaction in religious matters; but if such a reaction had taken place it was owing to the increased popularity of the Church, He believed that some im- provement had been manifested during the last few years in the organization and the doctrine of the Church, and the tone of the clergy, and, as a consequence, she had grown in general favour and esteem. This was no reason, however, for maintaining what was unpopular and unjust. As a Churchman, he disclaimed what was known in theological parlance as "ulterior views;" and stated that he had no intention to break down the bulwarks of the Church. Her strength lay in national affection. Without the aid of Parliament enough had been done to perpetuate sectarian strife; and as a Member representing a constituency of Churchmen and Dissenters who lived together in harmony and mutual confidence, he supported the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Coleridge.)


I am sure I express the sentiments of all Members on this side when I tender to the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) their thanks and admiration for the eloquent speech which he has just delivered. We who knew him expected much from him on his becoming a Member of the House, but I feel I can say that he has exceeded our expectations. I thank him also for that which is even more admirable than his eloquence—for the tone and moderation with which he has brought this subject before the House. If indeed I were to find a fault, it would be with that excess of moderation which has led him to describe the measure as a small one. Taken on its real merits I should not say that the measure was a small one; and after the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman I should be still less disposed to close my eyes to its important and extensive character. Last year, the right hon. Gentleman who had charge of the measure (Mr. Goschen) suggested for consideration the question whether it was or was not a measure of importance, and he chose the alternative of considering it a large and important question. It is in that aspect that the subject presents itself to my own mind; and if hon. Gentlemen have recovered from the charm of the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman, I hope they will allow me briefly to state the nature of the practical difficulties which we have hitherto had to grapple in dealing with the question. I wish to say for myself, and on behalf of many friends—especially on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote)—that we do not mean to meet the question in a spirit of "No surrender," or by raising suggestions of an alarming character. We propose to discuss it temperately, and endeavour, if it be possible, to arrive at such a settlement as may be satisfactory to those who have proposed the measure, without endangering the interests which we consider it our bounden duty to protect. I will first state the ground we take, and the difficulties with which we have to contend. With regard to the status of the Universities, I will not dispute the justice of the appellation which has been applied to them when they are called "lay corporations." On the other hand, I am sure my hon. and learned Friend will readily endorse the statement that the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are institutions of very great antiquity and importance, and that they possess a status very different indeed from institutions which have been created by Parliament for the purposes of the State. For instance, the Universities differ widely from the Military Colleges of Woolwich and Sandhurst, which were lately under discussion, which Parliament maintains, and which Parliament therefore may deal with without hesitation or difficulty. The Universities are corporations which have existed, I may almost say, time out of mind, and as far as Parliament is concerned, I may even claim that the Universities are older than the House of Commons itself. The Universities possess legislative bodies of their own; which discharge functions of high importance, and which are fully competent to deal with matters which the House of Commons is very incompetent to deal with in detail. Considering all these things, it is not, I think, an extravagant demand when we ask that Parliament should be very cautious in doing anything which may affect the constitution of the Universities. I willingly acknowledge that they are subordinate institutions; I acknowledge that Parliament has the right, and may from time to time exercise it, to interfere with them in order to obtain from them a greater amount of benefit for the nation at large. But I maintain that it is inexpedient and most undesirable that Parliament should frequently meddle and tamper with the Universities upon small and trivial points. It is desirable that the Universities should be dealt with by Parliament only at rare intervals, and for the settlement of some great question, and then only in a spirit which shall keep in view all the questions connected with them; and it is desirable when questions have been raised and settled, that they should be allowed to remain settled for a considerable length of time. Now, with regard to the admission of Nonconformists to the Oxford University, that question was raised, together with a number of other questions, about twelve years ago, upon the discussion which took place on the passing of the University of Oxford Bill, in 1854. After a very long and very careful inquiry into all matters affecting the University, the Government of the day introduced a Bill for its future regulation. The question to what extent Nonconformists should be admitted to the University was then raised, and it was for a time disposed of. True, it has been said that the settlement arrived at formed no part of the Government scheme, but was suggested incidentally in the course of discussion, that the decision of the House was arrived at in a hurried manner, and that it ought not to be taken as a final settlement of the question. But in the following year the matter was again revived, in connection not with the University of Oxford, but with that of Cambridge. Generally speaking, identically the same considerations were involved in dealing with both Universities. After very careful consideration, the Government introduced a Bill through the then Lord Chancellor, the same noble Lord who now holds that office; it proposed a certain settlement of the question; that settlement was discussed very fully in the House of Lords; Amendments were proposed and divisions taken, the measure being opposed by the Dissenters as not going far enough, and by some Churchmen as going too far, and divisions being taken in both senses. Finally, what was known as "the Cambridge Compromise" was adopted, and the Bill passed the House of Lords. The Bill made no further progress that year (1855), but in 1856 it was introduced again, and it then came down to the House of Commons and fell into the hands of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie), who proposed the Bill containing the clause precisely as it now stands in the Cambridge Act. In the first instance the Bill was opposed by Mr. Wigram, then Member for Cambridge University, who said that it gave too much to the Dissenters. A division was taken, and he was defeated in his opposition. Mr. Heywood afterwards objected to the clause because it did not go far enough, and upon his Motion a division was taken, he too was defeated, and the clause was passed as it now stands. That being so, Parliament has, I contend, in the most deliberate manner possible come to a decision with respect to the case of Cambridge; and how, I will ask, does the matter stand in connection with Oxford? It is said that Oxford does not give to Dissenters entirely the same advantages as Cambridge confers, although, practically, there is very little difference on the point between the two Universities. The difference practically is, that while at Cambridge Dissenters or any other persons who may object to sign certain declarations, or to avow themselves to be members of the Church of England, are allowed to take the degree of M.A., but are not admitted to the governing body, they are at Oxford prevented from taking that degree, as well as being precluded, as at Cambridge, from taking any share in the government of the University. Dissenters, therefore, no doubt labour so far under a nominal disadvantage at Oxford; but there is no disposition on the part of any one to resist the proposition that Dissenters, or any other persons, should be admitted, if they desire it, to the privilege of writing M.A. alter their names. If that be all that be asked, there will be no difficulty in arriving at a settlement of the question. The real difficulty to be met is, that the promoters of the Bill insist, in addition, on the granting of something beyond what the University of Cambridge gives, and beyond what the University of Oxford is prepared to give. Since, then, the House is called upon to disturb the settlement which was arrived at during the three years ending in 1856, under these circumstances it is but fair to ask who the persons are by whom the fresh demand is made, and on whose behalf it is advanced. I do not mean to contend that the decision pronounced by Parliament on the question during the period which I have just mentioned must be regarded as final. I do, however, maintain that the question, if re-opened, ought to be brought forward in a solid and serious manner by persons able to speak with authority on behalf of the Nonconformists as to what they would look upon as a complete settlement of the subject. I am perfectly ready to admit that if it be proved that in practice the compromise which was effected some years ago has not realized the objects proposed, good ground would be furnished for reconsidering its terms. I will further admit that in the case of Oxford, as far as I am able to judge, the arrangements entered into in 1854, with the view of enabling Nonconformists to avail themselves of the benefits of the education given there, have turned out to be a failure, owing principally—and this is a matter which, although it has not been alluded to by my hon. and learned Friend to-night, was often mentioned on former occasions—this arrangement failed, owing chiefly to the circumstance that those Dissenters who wish to send their sons to the University, cannot open halls to which they may go, inasmuch as the Act of 1854 prohibits anybody from opening a licensed hall unless he is a member of Convocation, while from Convocation every one failing to make the required declaration, is excluded. Under these circumstances, the advantage which Parliament intended to secure to the Nonconformists by the Act of 1854 has not been obtained for them, and I admit that this is a matter on which those who have a right to speak on the matter on behalf of the Nonconformists, may very reasonably ask for an alteration of the law. But who are the persons who may fairly be regarded as possessing that right? The Universities themselves may, if they think fit, very properly allege that the statutes which have been passed do not meet the requirements of the case, and may express a wish that Parliament should again take the subject into consideration, upon the ground that their action was unduly fettered by that provision of the Act of 1854, and that they are not competent unaided to deal with it satisfactorily. That would, of course, be a perfectly legitimate application on the part of the Universities, but it is needless to say that it is one which they have not made; for, although my hon. and learned Friend may have spoken the sentiments of certain persons connected with Oxford or Cambridge, he did not, in moving the second reading of this Bill, profess to speak on behalf of either University as a body. The House of Commons, again, may also be asked to re-open the question on the part of the great body of Nonconformists, who may fairly urge that they have not received those advantages which Parliament in- tended to confer upon them in 1854 in an honest and not merely an illusory spirit. But my hon. and learned Friend, like those hon. Members who have advocated this measure in former years, is not able to say that he speaks the sentiments of the Nonconformist body, and can only inform the House that that for which he asks is a thing which ought, in his opinion, to be given, without being enabled to state that, if given, it will be satisfactory to those who are principally concerned, and will be accepted as a settlement of the question. It is quite possible that many other things may be required; indeed, the Nonconformists themselves admit that they require many other things. But my hon. and learned Friend, omitting those other things, invites the House to pass the present Bill first, and to deal afterwards with the questions which remain behind—referring to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock, who contends that the Dissenters have a right not only to take degrees at the Universities, but to participate in the emoluments of the Colleges. That is a proposal against which, judging from the speech of my hon. and learned Friend, he would as probably vote as not. It is obvious that my hon. and learned Friend in abstaining from any allusion to that question, is angling for votes in support of his own measure. But the two questions must be considered as one, and you must say whether the proposal be reasonable or not. The Dissenters, if the Bill under discussion should become law, may come forward and argue that a principle which has been admitted in reference to the Universities applies equally to the Colleges; maintaining that Parliament has given them that which they did did not much prize, while it has refused to grant them that on which they really set a value. It is natural that the Nonconformists should wish to see their friends and relatives admitted at Oxford and Cambridge, and my hon. and learned Friend has with great force and truth pointed out the immense advantages which they would derive from the associations with which they would there be brought in contact. It should, however, be borne in mind that Oxford and Cambridge consist of the Colleges and halls of which they are composed; because no man, unless he is a member of one of these Colleges and halls, can, according to the present statutes, be a member of the Universities. What, how- ever, I apprehend that the Dissenters want is, not that they may be enabled to go to some Dissenters Hall to be established by-and-bye, or to some private lodgings, as indicated by the proposal of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. W. Ewart), but that they should be allowed to become bonâ fide members of one of the old Colleges of Christ Church or Baliol, or any other College they might choose to select, in the same way as members of the Church of England. Indeed, the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) very frankly contended last year that, if the doors of the Universities were opened at all to Dissenters, they should be opened freely; adding, that he thought the Dissenters would not, and ought not, to accept any concession that did not enable them to go to the Universities with a feeling of absolute and complete equality with Churchmen. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the City of Oxford (Mr. Neate) also stated with great candour and ability, the year before last, that the House must not expect to deal with the Universities without dealing afterwards with the Colleges, which he said we should be invited to bring into harmony with the Universities, as we were then invited to bring the Universities into harmony with the national feeling. Under those circumstances the House ought to look at the question as a whole, and ought not to be led away by the beautiful idea to which my hon. and learned Friend has given expression, of a national University in which the Dissenters might be freely admitted though they might be excluded from the Colleges Is such a state of things as has been sketched by my hon. and learned Friend, I would ask, possible? It is all very well to speak, as he has done, in general terms of what he desires to see, and pictures to himself in his imagination; but it must not be forgotten that dolus latet in generalibus, and that he was unable to say what would really satisfy the Dissenters. I must, therefore, object to consider the question in the way in which it has been placed before the House; we must go into particulars, and see what the state of the Colleges is, whether the Nonconformists can be admitted to the Universities without being admitted to the Colleges; whether it is possible that they can be admitted to the one, and excluded from the other. But there is a third party—the Government—who might, I think, fairly ask for a revision of the Settlement of 1854. They might come forward and say, "This settlement has failed in its operation, it does not accomplish all that we intended, and we propose a new measure to give effect to our intentions." My hon. and learned Friend, however, does not profess to speak for the Government; nor would it be easy for him to do so, because, so far as the House is aware of the feelings of its Members—and many of them have at various times spoken on the question—the Government do not agree with him in proposing to give to Dissenters that voice in the government of the Universities which he proposes. I will not quote from the speeches of different Members of the Government in support of that view; but will simply refer to what fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer two years ago, in favour of a proposal which was far short of that of my hon. and learned Friend, and which would exclude Dissenters from seats in Convocation, while giving them a right of opening private halls, of voting for Members for the Universities, and other things which I need not mention. But I should like to remind the House of what took place when that proposal was made. The Chancellor of the Exchequer threw those points out for the consideration of his Colleague in the representation of the University at the time (Sir William Heath cote). Having consulted his friends, the hon. Baronet intimated that he was willing, and that he thought many of his friends would be willing, to take the matter into consideration, and that some settlement of the question might be arrived at analogous to that which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had pointed out. The Chancellor of the Exchequer thereupon communicated with the promoters of the Bill; but they declined to accept those terms. My hon. and learned Friend, therefore, does not speak for the Government, but for those who rejected the proposals of the Government. Speaking for those who sit on my side of the House, I can say with sincerity that we are anxious for a settlement of the question; but then we are not prepared to deal with those who are not in the position of plenipotentiaries, and who are not enabled to offer any definite terms on behalf of those whom they profess to represent. It must, therefore, be difficult to come to any arrangement. The course we propose to take is this. I have given notice of a Motion for the re- jection of the Bill. I see so much difficulty in passing it or in changing it into a measure which would accomplish what we think is all that the Dissenters have a right to demand that I think the best course would be to reject the Bill at once, and allow the introduction of some other Bill, either by the Government or by those who represent the Nonconformists, or by the Members for the Universities themselves, dealing with the question in the way in which we wish to deal with it. But I am told that we shall be open to misconstruction if we adopt that course. We should be accused of offering a blind resistance, and refusing to admit what we really do admit to be a grievance on the part of Dissenters. I should not necessarily be bound, if it should appear that those who are most directly representatives of the Dissenting interest are prepared to come in under a compromise, or that the members of the Universities desire that the opinion of the House should be taken not on the second reading, but on any measure which may be submitted to its consideration, to divide against the second reading. But I am afraid, from the explanation which has been given by my hon. and learned Friend, that it is not likely that he will agree with what we desire to do. The question is whether you are to admit the Dissenters to share in the government of the University? That is a question on which we must take our stand, and my hon. and learned Friend has not held out any hope that he is prepared to recede from that part of his demand. He asks why we should exclude the lay subjects of the Queen from the full advantage of University degrees. He says he does not wish to meddle with the clergy, but he makes a demand on behalf of the whole of the lay subjects of the Queen. The answer is this—we are dealing not merely with the lay subjects of the Queen, but with certain lay subjects of the Queen who have a particular duty thrown upon them—the duty of imparting instruction to the clergy of the Church of England. And that is the point on which we insist. The real difficulty is this. If the Universities are to continue to be places of education for the clergy it is of the highest importance that they should from the very beginning of their career be educated in the principles of the Church of England. If we are to maintain the doctrines of the Church of England, and send out a body of clergy competent to maintain those doctrines, it is of the utmost importance that their early education should be conducted on the principles of the Church which they are to represent. If, then, Convocation is to be the body responsible at the Universities for the details of that education, and is to be held to be the supreme authority within their walls on all matters connected with teaching, it is desirable that its character should be distinctly Church of England. If that be not the case, one of two things will happen; either the clergy will be withdrawn from the Universities, and will have to accept their education at theological colleges or some other institutions where they would be separated from the laymen, or else the teaching given them in the principles of their Church would be so mixed and diluted as to be conducive to nothing but a sacrifice of their principles and the growth of latitudinarianism. "But," says my hon. and learned Friend, "surely you are not afraid of having a few Dissenters in Convocation?" Certainly not; but what I am afraid of is, that if all the tests are relaxed, and Dissenters are admitted to the governing body, the whole tone of its distinctive teaching will run the risk of being changed. My hon. and learned Friend does not seem to shrink from that result, because he speaks of doing away with the outwork of tests, which he describes as being nothing worth to the Church, and he speaks of the influence which Churchmen may have on Dissenters and Dissenters upon them. But what is the meaning, I should like to know, of his illustration of "the sharp line" drawn between Roman Catholic and Protestant divines? Is it contended that it is desirable that Dissenters and Churchmen should mix with one another, and that for "the sharp line" which now marks off the doctrines of the Church of England a sort of general hazy compromise should be substituted which shall, as it were, fuse together all denominations of Christians at the Universities? That is really the danger of which I am afraid; and it is because I am afraid of it that I wish to Bee the distinctive character of the education at the Universities kept up. Sir, the cardinal point on which this question turns is, whether we intend to maintain the principle of clerical subscriptions. My hon. and learned Friend indeed said that he did not propose to meddle with the clergy; but in the able pamphlet which the Dean of Westminster published three years ago, dealing with the whole question of Subscription, he said that although approaching the question from the point of view of the tests imposed at the Universities, yet so closely were they connected with clerical tests that he was obliged to deal with both together. In my opinion nothing can be more cruel than that at a time when the minds of young men destined for the Church are being formed, when they are being instructed in philosophy and all the liberal arts, they should be exposed to the risk of being imbued with the principles of a latitudinarian theology, and that after wards, when ordained, they should be obliged to subscribe to tests which they had been taught to regard as of no value whatsoever. The spirit in which I wish to deal with the question is this—I desire to give to the Dissenters everything that we can give without injury to our own Church, but I cannot give them that which I believe would injure the Church deeply. I cordially concur with my hon. and learned Friend in all that he has said with respect to the great body of the Nonconformists in this country. I honour them for the sacrifices which many of them have made for the sake of conscience, and I am persuaded that those who are ready to make sacrifices themselves for their own conscience sake will respect the consciences of others. We are not talking upon a mere question of emoluments—we are talking upon a question which, in our view, affects the very life of the Church, and upon the maintenance of which our religious life, as a Church, to a great extent depends. I say that one of two things must happen. If the House were to surrender the safeguards which now exist in connection with the education of our clergy, then would the distinctive character of that education be diluted or destroyed. Either this (and this I think is the more probable solution, though certainly it is not a satisfactory one) must happen or the clergy must be withdrawn from our Universities, where they are now educated with the laity, and must have a separate and distinctive education provided for them—and I need scarcely point out how materially their influence would be thus impaired, and how, serious a blow would be struck at their usefulness. I have given notice that it is my intention to move the rejection of the Bill at its present stage, and that, I believe, is the best course to adopt. I have, however, been informed that that course would be liable to misconstruction, inasmuch as it might lead to the supposition that I and those who share my views refuse to admit that which they do admit is a real grievance in the case of Dissenters. If then, during the progress of the debate, any hon. Member speaking on their behalf should hold out the prospect that an arrangement in which all parties might concur would be suggested in Committee;, far from wishing to press the House to a division, I shall be glad to afford an opportunity for entertaining any such proposal. For the present, however, I shall conclude by moving that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Sir Stafford Northcote.)


said, the hon. Baronet spoke as though the Nonconformists looked upon this as a matter of little moment; but he (Mr. Buxton) thought the hon. Gentlemen opposite would display great pusillanimity if they refrained from dividing on the second reading of that Bill. The question was not a question of details that might be settled in Committee; it was a broad question of principle, and he was confident that neither his hon. Friend, the Mover, nor the Seconder of that Bill would consent to any compromise whatever with regard to it. They based themselves on the fact that the Universities were not the property of the Established Church, but were the property of the whole nation; whence it inevitably followed that the Dissenters, who formed so large a portion of the nation, were entitled to a full share in all the privileges and all the powers which those Universities could bestow. He was, however, far from thinking that this Bill should be regarded simply as a Bill for the relief of Nonconformists. That, perhaps, might be its more immediate object; but he believed, in its practical result, it would be found that its chief value lay far more in giving relief to Churchmen themselves. For, beyond question, those tests burdened the minds and vexed the consciences of numberless men who yet were genuine members of the Established Church; but these tests were forced upon them at that very time of life when the mind was most inclined to spurn restraint and be revolted at being called upon to accept, wholesale, a vast mass of dogmatic teaching. Surely it was deplorable that the Church herself should hold out to these young men such strong temptation to tamper with their own truthfulness and to cast upon their consciences the shade of dishonour. The effect of her persisting in so doing could not fail to be disastrous to herself, and to the Universities as well, no less than to those individual men. For happily now there was such stir of mind among young men, they were so resolved to think for themselves courageously, and yet he did believe in a religious spirit, upon the religious teaching they had received, that if those extravagantly stringent tests were still applied to them before they were allowed to take part in the government of the Universities, the inevitable result would be to exclude from that government numbers of men who yet accepted the teaching of the Church as a whole, and who would adorn the University by their vigour of mind and generous feeling. Nothing, in his opinion, could be more shortsighted than for those who sought the well-being of the Universities or of the Church herself to persist in thrusting these hateful tests upon men whose noble love of truth and of mental freedom would not permit them to submit themselves to any such bondage. It was cruel to expose a young man at the turning-point of his career to such a dilemma between his sense of right and of honour, and his natural desire for the just rewards of the industry and ability he had displayed. These, he thought, were considerations of a most serious kind. And, now, what were the arguments against this Bill? The only argument in which he could discover any real force or vitality was the assertion, that if those tests were not maintained all definite religious teaching would cease in the University, and that that would be a great calamity at once to the undergraduates and to the University itself, which thereby would lose its hold upon the affections of the country. Now, he at once admitted that such a result would be a great calamity. He would go so far as to admit that were such to be the effect of that Bill, the arguments in its favour would be outweighed by that great peril. But were there real grounds for believing that such a result would ensue that this one argument should overpower all that could be said in favour of the Bill? He utterly denied that that Bill had the least tendency to bring about such a result. That argument was the very same that for so long excluded Roman Catholics and Jews from Parliament, and which experience had demonstrated to be so utterly futile; and in that case let them look on the matter in the light of plain common sense. Suppose a few Dissenters should creep into the governing body of Oxford—nay, he desired to correct that expression, for so far from deprecating such a result, it would in his belief be an unmixed advantage to all parties that a fair proportion of Nonconformists should be admitted to the governing body—was it rational to suppose that they would be a majority powerful enough to abolish all definite religious teaching on the part of the University? or that even if they had the power they would have the smallest wish to do so? He was honoured with the friendship of many Dissenters, and he vouched for this, that they had not the least shadow of a wish to lessen the religious influence of the Established Church. So far from it, they rejoiced in the good she was doing. All they wanted was perfect justice and honourable treatment for themselves. But suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Dissenting interest became so powerful and so venomous in the governing body of the University as to abolish those few scraps of religious teaching, such as the University sermon once a week, which was all that the University as a University afforded—still, would even the most foolish dreamer dream that the Colleges would not still retain definite religious teaching within their own walls? Possibly, two or three of them might adopt that of the Roman Catholic Church—possibly, a few might adopt that of some Nonconformist Church; but, beyond all rational doubt and question, the great majority of them would still retain the religious teaching of the Church of England. Not only principle, but interest, would compel them thus to adapt themselves to the religious sentiments of the classes whose sons they were called upon to educate. That argument, therefore, had, it seemed to him, nothing but the merest gilding of plausibility. But, in truth, the resistance to this Bill did not really emanate from any such alarm. He believed those tests were so highly valued in certain quarters simply because they were the one remnant—the one miserable rag and remnant—of the old claim made in bygone days on the part of the Established Church to absolute supremacy over the mind and conscience of the whole people. That claim was put forward in the boldest and most vivid way in the Declaration prefixed by law to the Thirty-nine Articles. In that Declaration the Sovereign said—"We require all our loving subjects to continue in the uniform profession of the Articles of the Church, and prohibiting the least difference from the said Articles." And again, it said:—"From the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England we will not endure any varying or departing in the least degree." That was the claim put forward in former days by the Established Church, and that was a claim still put forward on her behalf by a large portion of the Conservative party. That was a claim which, in his opinion, every true-hearted Liberal must reject with indignation. They held that every man had an absolute indefeasible right to choose his own faith for himself—a right upon which no law, no Sovereign, no institution could be suffered to make trespass. Those tests, however, were in reality nothing whatever but an emanation from that idea—happily obsolete elsewhere in England—that no man should be allowed to share in any national privileges or powers unless he would submit his mind to the dogmatic teaching of the Church. That question has nothing to do with that of the alliance between Church and State: nor yet did it bear at all on the question of preserving to the Church the property with which she was endowed. His right hon. Friend the Member for the City (Mr. Goschen) had demonstrated on a former occasion that, in the eye of the law, the Universities were not the property of the Church, but of the State. All history, all reason, all theory led to the same conclusion. It was the State that laid down the law for the Universities—that regulated them, and from which all their powers were derived. With the State lay the power, and therefore on the State lay the duty, the responsibility, of governing the Universities on the soundest principles, and in whatever way would best advance the well-being of the whole nation. He advocated the abolition of these mischievous tests, partly because they harassed the consciences of numberless Churchmen, but mainly because they deprived Nonconformists of privileges which as citizens they had a right to claim.


expressed his pleasure at listening to the speeches of his hon. Friends the Members for East Surrey and Tynemouth, recalling to his mind, as they did, those speeches so full of gushing and youthful eloquence in which they had all indulged in the Union Debating Room at Cambridge. Their fault was that they seemed to have been prepared for the Union and then pigeon-holed till they had become obsolete. To take first that of the hon. Member for East Surrey, he had been eloquent in his exposition of the 700 points to which the clergy had been required to give their unfeigned assent and consent; but he forgot that within these two years, mainly by his own exertions, this subscription had been notably altered for the better; and what he ought to do, therefore, was to take steps to assimilate the University subscription to the now form. As for the hon. Member for Tynemouth, his argument was, that Dissenters ought to be admitted into the governing body at Oxford because the Senate of Cambridge had, he thought rightly, rejected a meddlesome plan for introducing an American lecturer. He came to the speech of his hon. Friend the Mover, which was not a Union one. He begged to point out that there was a certain grievance, but one which the side of the House from which he spoke was desirous to see rectified—namely, that Nonconformists at Oxford who had gone through the University course could not have that course crowned by the honorary distinction of the M.A. degree. He was willing to see that grievance remedied at Oxford, as it had been at Cambridge; and he also thought that the right to vote for the Members at both Universities might be conceded to every man who took the degree of M.A. After these points were conceded he did not know what else there was to ask for, unless a demand were made merely for the purpose of trumping up a popular cry. Young men did not go to the University, generally speaking, with a view to taking a part in its future government, but either to study or to enjoy society and make acquaintances. Now, the Nonconformist could do and did all this already. And the offer was now being made to him, when he had gone out into the world, of doing so with the same badge upon him as the Churchman. With regard to the naked vote in the Convocation or the Senate, how were the Nonconformists to be advantaged by it? They would only have the theoretical power of raising some question with great difficulty with the certainty of being outvoted on the question they had raised. The fact is, the Bill itself was futile, but it became dangerous, and it derived its meaning from its connection with the Bill of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) for throwing the Colleges open to the Dissenters. His hon. Friend had, indeed, disclaimed the connection, but for all that it existed and was felt. He could understand, though he deprecated, a measure which would knock down all church distinctions in our Colleges and throw them open to all classes of Nonconformists. Those who wanted this result could consistently support the Bill before the House; but had not his hon. and learned Friend separated himself from that party by his eloquent appeal to Nonconformity to go to Oxford—what for? To be brought face to face with the Church, and to be converted or silenced by the august image of its purity and truth which would there be revealed to it. He was ready to meet and remedy any real grievance which might prevent Dissenters from going to Oxford. The proposal which he, in common with others, offered, of the Master's degree giving the Parliamentary vote, was all that reason required. That was one intelligible position. The other position, which he would resist to the utmost, while recognizing its logical consistency, was to knock down all ecclesiastical distinctions in College and in University alike. The proposal of his hon. and learned Friend was neither one nor the other. It would not satisfy the Dissenter nor conciliate the Churchman.


said, that, as a Scotch Member, he desired to express his approval of the Bill. Fully 19–20ths of the population of Scotland regarded the illiberal regulations by which Nonconformists were debarred from the advantages of University education as a national grievance and a national insult. In that feeling he entirely sympathized, and, as a representative of a Presbyterian country, he would give his most cordial support to the Bill.


said, that notwithstanding the difficulty which the House would have before it when it came to deal with the Bill in Committee for the purpose of enabling Dissenters to take degrees, he thought it advisable to make the attempt, and therefore he would wish that his hon. Friend the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) would not persist in his Amendment. On previous occasions the House had heard arguments used which, if they meant anything, went the length of recommending the entire abolition, not only of tests in the Univer- sity and of the Church character of the University, but of a Church establishment, and of tests in support of the dogmatic formularies of any Church whether established or not. The hon. and learned Member who proposed the present Bill (Mr. Coleridge) took, however, a different view; and, while abiding by his own Church and desiring that his University might continue imbued with Church, principles, also wished that the benefit of the University training might be extended to others besides members of the Established Church. But, notwithstanding all the eloquence of the hon. and learned Gentleman, there was obviously a fallacy in his argument, inasmuch as the hon. and learned Gentleman hoped to maintain what is a consistent and definite dogmatic teaching, though leaving it to be worked out by men not belonging to the Church. There would be a variety of subjects to deal with if the House entered on the course which the hon. and learned Member invited it to pursue—the difficulty affecting the dealing with the question as related to the University, and as relating to the Colleges was one of degree rather than of principle; but still he (Sir William Heathcote) was ready to admit that if they could practically deal with one of those subjects, it would be desirable to do so. Therefore, he was not opposed to going into Committee on the Bill, with the view of seeing whether some satisfactory arrangement could be come to, excluding extreme views on either side and removing a practical hardship. The hon. Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) had recalled to the attention of the House the points on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer enlarged last year, and which some of the Members on the Opposition side of the House were ready to accept; and, therefore, he (Sir William Heathcote) had rather that the House, instead of rejecting the second reading, would allow an opportunity for the proposal of Amendments in Committee, in order that some agreement on this subject might be come to if possible. He thought that for this purpose certain halls might be established with the Vice Chancellor's licence, and votes for the members of the University might be extended to Nonconformists; but he desired still to maintain for admission to Convocation the test of Churchmanship, which ought now to be in the form prescribed by the Clerical Subscription Act of last year. His hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Coleridge) laid stress on the insult involved in allowing Nonconformists to enter the University, and not permitting them to go on to take a seat in Convocation; but he (Sir William Heathcote) did not think that the Bill, in granting to Nonconformists the right to sit in Convocation, would prove any great attraction to them, unless it went further and enabled them to hold fellowships of all kinds. The Bill would not otherwise remove from the minds of the Nonconformists any feeling they might entertain of being placed in an inferior position. Those who oppose proposals of this kind have frequently been taunted with the question, if they are afraid of being swamped by the introduction of a few Dissenters? He was ready to make two admissions to his hon. and learned Friend. He admitted that he did not expect that there would be any such dangerous influx of Nonconformists in consequence of the Bill as to make it dangerous on that account; and he was also ready to admit—although the admission laid him open to retort—that if there were any such influx that in itself would be a proof of the right to admission. But, believing there would be no great number, he asked whether it was worth while to run the risk of an alteration of the Church education of the University for the sake of a very few? He thought that the House ought to consider seriously before taking such a step. Again, he admitted that there was a great deal in the present aspect of affairs to induce the House to try to get rid of any legitimate complaint on the part of the Nonconformists. There were men who were much more to be dreaded than an honest Nonconformist—those who took these tests and yet fostered a spirit of infidelity. He believed, however, that, as far as Oxford was concerned, that spirit had reached its culminating point, and was declining; and, therefore, dismissing that point from consideration, he thought it would be desirable to meet as far as possible all demands for the admission of Dissenters, and to remove from their minds any impression that they were treated harshly or contumeliously by the University; but, at the same time, not to go to any extreme which might occasion alarm. As some cases of difficulty and of dispute might be done away with, he hoped that his hon. Friend the Member for Stamford would not ask the House to divide on the Amendment.


said, there was only one point as regarded the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had proposed this measure (Mr. Coleridge) which he regretted, and that was that a speech breathing such a true spirit of Conservatism should have been spoken from the opposite Benches, and not from that (the Opposition) side of the House. The Universities might be designated as a federal union of the Colleges; but though this was a true designation now it did not represent correctly the ancient status of the University which existed prior to, and independently of, all Colleges, and it was, perhaps, regrettable that the recommendation of the University Commissioners was not carried out, and the University restored in this respect to its ancient condition. He was glad that the hon. and learned Gentleman had not confounded together two things entirely distinct, and that he had not attempted to embody in his Bill the proposition of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. E. P. Bouverie); and if a division took place upon this Motion he should go into the lobby with the hon. and learned Gentleman, although he might not vote in support of the Motion of the right hon. Member for Kilmarnock. He protested against treating the Universities as mere theological institutions. Some people talked of the University as if it were a grammar-school, or, rather, a nursery school, where children were to be brought up with nothing to militate against their own ideas as members of the Church of England. His notion of a University was very different from that; and as to contamination from Dissenters, the undergraduates were already contaminated, for Dissenters and Churchmen walked about at the University in friendship and intimacy, and were allowed to compete together for all the honours of the University. It was only when the Dissenters arrived at the threshold of a Master of Arts degree and of a share in the government of the University that they were debarred from reaping a fair share of the advantages their talents entitled them to. The hon. Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) asked that he might see the claimants in this case, and ascertain what it was they asked for. The hon. Member talked of this measure as if it were a Private Bill, with Dissenters on one side and Churchmen on the other. The claimants were the people of England. He hoped that he had for Oxford University as much respect as any of its Members could feel for it; and he trusted that he was also a good and zealous member of the Church of England; but he repudiated the notion that the present Bill was a concession to Dissenters—he regarded it as a concession to the University of Oxford and common sense, The Bill proposed to admit lay members of the University to professorships and readerships, not in Colleges but in the University, without subscribing any formulary of faith. This measure was not to interfere with the purely theological teaching staff. It was, therefore, extremely small—and, indeed, so small that the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Beresford Hope) stated that it only offered to Nonconformists the power of bringing forward propositions with the certainty that they would be rejected. Yet all sorts of danger were conjured up as likely to proceed from it, and it was described as a Bill to un-Anglicanize the University of Oxford. Why, the glories of that University, its teaching, its traditions, its associations, its services, in fact the very breath of the place, were Anglican, and it was absurd to suppose that the admission of a few Dissenters to readerships and professorships in the University would affect the miracle of un-Anglicanizing it. If he were a political Dissenter, and felt sentiments of hostility to the Church of England, he might dread to send his son to a place whose sole condition was Anglican. He conceived that the present measure would affect a great good, would remove a ban from other classes, would tend to bring the University in harmony with the spirit of the time, and would show the Dissenters that there was something in the noble traditions and tolerant spirit of the Church of England. When he heard the tests spoken of as the bulwarks and outworks of the supremacy of the Church of England, he thought that those metaphors were ill-placed and out of date—they might, perhaps, have been appropriate in the last century. They were first introduced at the time of the famous Chatham Methodist petition against the extension of Toleration, and the great Burke made havoc with those mixed spiritual and military metaphors. The Church of England had now no need of them. She was strongly rooted in the affections of the great mass of the people, and was viewed with reverence by the great bulk of the Dissenters, and had nothing to fear from throwing those professorships and readerships open. If destined to fall, the Church would not succumb to external attacks, but by herself abandoning that wise and Catholic spirit which formed at once her title-deed to existence, her honour, and greatest security. He (Mr. Butler-Johnstone), on the contrary, hoped to see her putting forth new efforts in the great work that had devolved upon her.


thought that there was no reason why the rule acted upon in other Universities should not be applied to the University of Oxford. The real question was, whether the University was not so far a national body that she had no right to confine her privileges to certain classes? The University of London and the Queen's University in Ireland were institutions on the open principle, and there was no reason why the same principle should not be applied to Oxford and Cambridge. This had been put forward too much as a question between Churchmen and Dissenters; but it was really a question whether they had a right to apply to those who were willing and desirous to remain in communion with the Church of England a binding test which they could not accept. If they attempted to ride the young and more intellectual of the students with too tight a hand they would bolt altogether. It was for the sake of such that he urged the abolition of those tests. As to the condition on which hon. Gentlemen opposite were prepared to assent to the second reading of the Bill, in the hope that they would obtain alterations in Committee which would remove their objections to it, he must observe that nothing had been said on his side to encourage that expectation. It was founded entirely on their opinion of the strength of their own case, and the state of parties in the House.


Sir, I am extremely obliged to my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Buxton) for having, with his usual honesty and frankness, spoken out clearly on this matter. We can now be under no mistake as to the intentions of the promoters of this Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) indicated a wish to come to some sort of arrangement, by which he would be relieved from the task of moving the rejection of the Bill. But what immediately happened? The hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Buxton), who was sitting next to the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge), and who was evidently in full communication with him, got up and told the House, in the same plain and unmistakable manner as that of the hon. Member for Oxford, that "we will have no compromise at all." I confess I was utterly astonished when the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote) got up immediately afterwards and expressed a wish not to oppose the second reading, in the hope of some such arrangement as that to which I have referred. I certainly could not understand the reason for such a course being taken by the hon. Baronet. Now, let ns look to the measure itself. In a speech which we all must admire for the ability, temper, and spirit which characterized it, the hon. and learned Member for Exeter told us some very plain things. The hon. and learned Gentleman is entirely agreed with the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Butler-Johnstone), and both of those hon. Gentlemen have given us definitions of what a University is according to their view of the question—a University to teach everything except religion. It is true that they did not say so in as many words; nevertheless, it is as plain as the sun at noonday that that is what you mean. You may shake your heads as you please, but there can be no mistake about the matter. One hon. Member says we are to have denominational Colleges. Well, if we are to have these Colleges with every religion within them from the earliest foundations, beginning with the Jews and ending with the Mormons, you cannot pretend to say for a single moment that the University can take cognizance of religion under these circumstances. I must say I admire the spirit and truth with which the Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church say, "We won't run the risk of the faith and morals of our people being contaminated by their being exposed to this mixed religious teaching." Now, I am not going to argue the question with reference to the English or any other Church, but only on this ground—Why do we send our children to the University—that is, those who have them to send? Thank God mine have passed that period. We send them to the University at that most dangerous time of life, in their passage from youth to manhood, in the hope that those principles which we have endeavoured to instil into them when young will be finally confirmed and established at the University. But if the University is to become what the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the second reading says it is to become—and what if this Kill passes it will become—that is, a lay corporation having nothing to do with, religious teaching—what must be the consequence—the logical consequence—of the premises laid down by the hon. and learned Gentleman? Well, but what a change this will be for those young men who are sent to the University at the most dangerous period of their age! Instead of having those religious principles which they have imbibed at home established and confirmed, these young men will become unsettled in their minds by being exposed to all the evils of religious controversy. I do not see how you are to escape from this evil or difficulty. Well, what will this result in? In one of two things—either religious indifference or utter infidelity. In my mind the consequences will be these. On the great duties of life the minds of young men will become unsettled amid a confusion of religious controversy. All those higher principles will be neglected, and the teachers of the respective schools of all these denominations will be endeavouring to instil into the minds of their pupils all the sectarian differences, and not the great principles of religion. I can appeal in some sense to the experience of those who have lived as long as I have in the University. Some thirty-five years ago a great religious controversy sprang up which divided the University into several parties. Well, I ask whether that state of things at all tended to the preservation of peace and charity among its various members? Far from it. They looked to their differences and not to their points of agreement, and such, so far as I am able to judge, will invariably be the case. I have ever been a great friend to the principle of denominational education. I would have a Jew instructed by a Jew, a Presbyterian by a Presbyterian, a Roman Catholic by a Roman Catholic, and a Church of England man by a member of the Church of England. I do not pretend to interfere with the divinity I students or their teachers. No one pretends to say that the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge will not be the main instructors of the students intended for the Church; but as to the laymen, why are they not to be instructed in religion? Is the University to shut her eyes to everything in the shape of religious education? Is she to have persons within her walls whom she knows to be infidels, and yet to be prevented interfer- ing with the view of enlightening their minds upon the subject of religion? Now let me touch for a moment upon what has been much dwelt upon, especially by the last speaker—namely, what is called the separation between the Colleges and the University. The hon. Gentleman says the distinction is great. Well, we all know that they are distinct things. Nevertheless, they have become so wedded together for many hundred years that it is by no means easy to separate them. The hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Buxton) showed that this is a question of Nonconformity, and expressed his view as to how it will operate upon the Nonconformist body. The hon. and learned Gentleman who brought in the Bill told us that the Colleges will not be interfered with—that he contemplates the establishment of denominational Colleges. Does any one imagine that Nonconformists will send their children to be educated in Colleges of the Church of England? I believe there are some Catholics and some Jews in some of the Colleges; but I believe that as a body the Nonconformists have the same religious feelings that I have, and will send their children to be brought, up in the faith they themselves love. Do you think it will satisfy them to have Nonconformist Colleges? If the Universities are not to have a distinctly religious character where are the influences to sanctify their teaching? Will philosophy impart this sanction? As well might these persons of all creeds, professing universal charity, march down High Street hunting a pig with a greased tail, as expect that the mental influence of a non-religious University sanctify the whole of them. We have heard a great deal lately about "comprehensive education." Comprehensive education means education without religious teaching. I am opposed to it tooth and nail. I do not mince matters, and never did. I believe no teaching is worth a farthing if it has not for its basis what the person teaching believes to be true. I believe there is no soundness except in teaching based on the Word of God; and that it is such teaching which has preserved the morality of this country. This may appear a little matter, but in my view it amounts to this—that we should break down the distinctive teaching in our Colleges. The hon. Member for East Surrey in the most emphatic manner said he could conceive no calamity greater than that the distinctive teaching in the University should be impaired. Well, can he believe that—I do not say in five or ten years, or in a generation, but by a certain although a slow process—the distinctive teaching of the University will not be impaired by such a Bill as this? I am not one of those who look to this, that, or the other thing as what is called a safeguard or bulwark of the Church of England. I consider that the Church of England rests on the belief by the great body of her supporters that she is founded on the Word of God, and because she appeals to the Bible as the foundation of her teaching. I do not think if they gave up this or that thing her people would become less attached to the Church, but what I fear is, lest the people should be induced to give up the religious education of their children. I believe that the great basis and foundation of the stability of this country is that her children, from the highest to the lowest, are trained in the principles of religion, and if they altered this they gave up the principle. On that ground I have always voted against Bills of this character, and shall vote against this.


Sir, the hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) has told us that every Gentleman who speaks in this debate ought to have two qualifications—one the power of speaking with great solemnity, and the other that of representing the Dissenting community. I do not pretend to one or other qualification; but still, without possessing either, I hope I may be permitted to say a very few words on this subject—to me, one of very great interest, having spent some eleven years of my life in the University of Oxford. If I may venture a criticism on the very admirable speech of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge), it would be that I think he made the measure we are dealing with appear to be more than it really is. Because he must remember that several Colleges of Oxford are already open; Nonconformists are admitted; the system is so far thrown open, and all the risk of the want of distinctive teaching has been incurred. Nonconformists, Roman Catholics, and I believe some Jews are mixed up together in several of the Colleges, and these not the least distinguished; and, therefore, the evil to which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) has referred already exists. The only thing this Bill does is that it will enable Nonconformists having taken B.A. to take the degree of M.A., and become members of the governing body of the University. I say, therefore, a smaller measure, or one fraught with less power either for good or evil, except so far as the establishment of an honest liberal principle is concerned, I cannot conceive. Yet, small as this principle is, the hon. and learned Gentleman does not propose to carry it in its integrity: there are to be saving clauses to prevent Nonconformists from taking the full benefit of the concession to which they would otherwise have been entitled. So that the measure really appears infinitesimally small, and those who argue that it will not satisfy Dissenters I think argue quite correctly. I cannot conceive that a man who would not be willing to go to Oxford to take the degree of B.A., and to take honours, would be induced to go there by the additional allurement of being enabled to take M.A., and become a member of Convocation, which would entitle him to be sent for seven or eight times a year to Oxford to vote about something he does not care about. I have no claim to speak for the Dissenters, but I venture to tell the House what I think Dissenters ought to be satisfied with, and less than what ought not to satisfy them. If I understood the hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford, he told us he admitted one grievance, which was this—that the University requires that all Halls should have a M.A. at the head of it, and Dissenters cannot occupy that position; that was the only grievance, to be remedied by separate Halls. But I do not think Dissenters will be satisfied or ought to be satisfied by being admitted to the University through Halls for themselves, as if they were not fit to mingle with all the others on terms of perfect equality. They have got beyond that already. There are, as I stated before, several Colleges in Oxford which are open to them; and it is altogether a retrograde step to go back to the notion of separate Halls, where they would be pointed out as persons of a different grade and condition, and have probably some obnoxious epithets bestowed upon them. I believe that any attempt to limit the University to members of the Church of England is a most foolish and mischievous policy. I go much further than the opening of a new set of Colleges. The University should be thrown open to admit the whole nation, and be co-extensive with the domain of human intellect itself. The University of Oxford is and ought to be a national University. By the operation of events it has been narrowed to its present position, and I maintain that Dissenters ought not to be satisfied until they are enabled—not to enjoy what this Bill will give them in the shape of Halls, but to participate in the full privileges of the University, so that people might belong to any College they please, as our ancestors did in the days of the Plantagenets. Another thing that ought to be done is this—the University should be made able to meet its extended duties by a larger number of fellowships being taken to strengthen the professoriate. Knowledge should be made cheaper and more accessible to the students. It is quite melancholy to reflect that its magnificent endowments are almost expended in giving annuities for the cultivation of the learned languages, to which mathematics has now been added, instead of being devoted to provide the best and most ample instruction that can be given. Dissenters, though coming from rather the poorer districts, have not, I think, claimed at the hands of the University that instruction should be provided for them gratuitously and of the very best quality. Among many elements of great progress and advancement, I think there is one great evil—the University is kept too young. There is no inducement for young men to remain at the University. The professorships are too few, and the management is left in the hands of young men who are teaching when they have a great deal to learn, and instructing others in the conduct of the affairs of life when they know little of life themselves. I believe what was stated by the hon. Member who seconded the Motion (Mr. Trevelyan) is perfectly sound—it is a scandal to the University when a man carries off the highest honours, but must go away without securing those rewards which are held out to her most distinguished sons. At the risk of being considered most extravagant and unreasonable, I cannot shut my eyes to the very small provision which is made in this Bill to meet the justice of the case I repeat that the Dissenters will not be satisfied, and ought not to be satisfied, till they are placed, as far as the University is concerned, on a footing of perfect equality. As to the dread which appears to be felt by some, that by admitting them to the governing body you will alter the character of the teaching, why so far as regards any influence of the governing body over teaching, I would ask, is there any time, however remote, when it would be possible to conceive that the Dissenters would be in a majority in that body? So of the Colleges; has the fact of the admission of Nonconformists there altered the practice and teaching of the Colleges? The University is a lay corporation; the Colleges are lay corporations also. That has been decided over and over again in the Courts of Law. Therefore, with great respect to those Gentlemen who, with so much eloquence and ability, have brought this subject under the consideration of the House, I incline to think they have not altogether taken the right course in proposing first a small measure like this. I am not very fond of the doctrine of stepping-stones and instalments. I rather think if these great objects are to be carried at all, it can only be by rousing the public sympathy and proposing such a measure as may be adequate to the occasion. When you bring forward such a proposition as that of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge) you fail to rouse public opinion in its support. But if it be a demand on behalf of the nation at large—if you say you would admit every layman, whatever his religious belief, to the full benefit of the University—every man would understand you, and you would raise in its behalf an amount of popular favour which would carry the measure over twenty times the obstruction which is offered to you to-day. So long as you go in for but the narrow end of the wedge there is no hope of making any advance. Holding these opinions, I take the liberty to express them once for all. With the very best desire to put the question on a proper footing, I submit that it is only by laying down some broad and intelligible basis that they can raise the sympathies of mankind and induce the people of the country seriously to consider the real functions of the Universities, and how far they perform the national duty which their functions cast on them.


said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Lowe) had spoken in terms which went much beyond the question before the House. He was glad he had done so; he only hoped the arguments he had used to-day might not by-and-bye be turned against himself, and the storm which he invoked for the University might not break out on another subject. His hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Butler-Johnstone) had spoken with a tone hardly as if he had been of the University, and had made a strange mistake as to the meaning of the term Universitas, supposing that it implied universality of studies, whereas its simple meaning was like that of collegium—namely, a corporation. And for the promotion of what studies? Not only originally for "religion and learning," but even the statute of 1854 so placed those words that religion occupied the first place, as it was the chief and main object of the University, as well as of the Colleges, and it must take a distinct and definite form before it could be inculcated. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne had spoken of a great and comprehensive measure on the subject, and he (Mr. Hardy) confessed he would rather treat the question in that way than deal with these guerilla attacks year by year. First came the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Exeter, whose speech it was impossible to hear without being to some extent lulled by the gentle voice and fair aspect which it presented; but his speech though expansive in itself was restricted in its consequences, for after all his expressions of love for Dissenters and free inquirers, and when one expected that they were to be admitted to the privileges of University and Colleges alike, the hon. and learned Member stopped short, and the generous sentiments which gave such delight to those behind him became comparatively inoperative. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Goschen) last year said the principle of the Bill was the general admission of Dissenters to the privileges of the University, and that their admission to the governing body was not the principle, but a mere incidental effect of the Bill. The hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Buxton) went far beyond this. He wished to hand over certain Colleges—one to members of the Roman Catholic faith, another to Methodists, another to Independents, and, he supposed, another to the Baptists. But this Bill did nothing of that sort. His hon. Friend had asked whether he thought there would ever be so many Dissenters in Convocation as materially to alter its action? But what did the Mover say? He said he expected a very large accession of Dissenters to the University. [Mr. COLERIDGE: I wished it, not expected.] At the time the Act of 1854 was passed it was generally expected that a considerable number would avail themselves of it, though an Archdeacon of his acquaintance, on asking an active supporter of the measure how many undergraduates he expected to cross Folly Bridge in consequence of it, was told that he did not think there would be any, and that he had been fighting only for a principle. His hon. and learned Friend, who did not expect, though he wished for, large results from this Bill, was fighting, he supposed, for a principle also. But he (Mr. Hardy) was likewise fighting for a principle in objecting to the admission into the governing body of a University, the main object of whose teaching was religion, of persons who, whether in a minority or not, dissented from, or were opposed to, that religion. The hon. Member for East Surrey was a great opponent of slavery. Now, suppose he were to ask permission to bring one or two slaves into this country, promising to take good care of them, and urging that so small an indulgence could do no harm, would the House, with all their respect for the hon. Gentleman's generous disposition, sanction the principle of slavery even to that trifling extent? ["Oh, oh!"] Some might think this a very poor illustration; but it showed that a concession, however small, made to a minority, simply because it was a minority, involved a principle, and it was in this aspect that they were called on to consider the question, for, as his hon. Colleague had remarked, a minority of Dissenters could only become a majority in the event of Nonconformity gaining the ascendancy in the country, and in that case the Church of England would no longer be able to maintain its position in the University. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne had argued that as the distinctive religious teaching of the University had not been interfered with by the admission of a few Dissenting undergraduates, it would be equally unaffected by the admission of a few Nonconformists into the governing body. The right hon. Gentleman was quite consistent in using this argument, for in the discussion on the Endowed Schools Bill, for admitting children of different persuasions into those schools with the privilege of absenting themselves from religious instruction, he expressed a wish to include persons of different religious opinions among the trustees—in order, he presumed, to protect those scholars. He probably desired in like manner that the governing body of the University should consist of persons of various beliefs. But what would be the consequence? A griev- ance would be created which did not now exist. It would be thought a grievance if Convocation continued in the Universities the same system of Church of England teaching as before Dissenters were admitted, and the next step would be to exclude religious teaching from the deliberations of Convocation, and lastly to exclude it from University instruction altogether. He was quite ready to admit most of the postulates which his hon. Friend had laid down in his opening address. He admitted, in the first place, that the University was a lay corporation; but he did so with a qualification, just as his hon. Friend admitted it to be a Church of England institution, with a qualification. It was a lay corporation, but with certain duties imposed upon it, the most important being the inculcation of religion, and that religion a dogmatic religion;—for it was impossible to inculcate any other on young men, who, if they were to be well educated, could not be left to wander at large in the way which the hon. Gentleman seemed to desire. They must be put under careful instruction, and not merely secular instruction, which they could obtain anywhere else, but under that Church of England tone and feeling which pervaded the whole society of the University, and which characterized all the different Colleges. This tone was even manifested in the taking of degrees; for he believed that at that very moment degrees were conferred in the name of the Trinity, to the honour of God, and to the profit of Holy Mother Church. It had always been regarded as a great advantage that the clergy and laity should be educated together, and in this opinion he cordially concurred, for he believed it to be one of the greatest benefits conferred upon any Church that its clergy should be associated at the Universities with laymen, pursuing the same studies, meeting in the same society, and thus becoming acquainted with the habits and tone of thought of their fellow men, and leaving those Universities with no narrow restricted views, but with that knowledge of the world which was essential to their profession. One of the principal results, however, of the changes proposed, would be to put an end to this advantage, for parents would certainly hesitate to send their sons destined for Orders to the Universities, if a period should arrive when distinctive religious teaching was not imparted, or even interfered with. He made no objection to Dissenters sending their sons to Colleges, as was done now in a few instances, as long as the same religious teaching and services were continued, and the same tone pervaded the society, Nonconformists being excused, if they desired it—which he understood, however, was not generally the case—from attendance at chapel and from religious instruction. The right hon. Member for Calne says he does not think much of stepping-stones. Now he (Mr. Hardy) thought a good deal of them, and was not quite sure that there was not one before the House of which his right hon. Friend had a considerable horror. The stepping-stone in this case is an establishment of false principle—namely, that of having a governing body in the University of mixed or opposed religions. But could any instance be produced where a mixed system of Government in educational matters had succeeded? Such a system might not absolutely fail where the Colleges were of varied religions, as in the London University, though even there those Colleges had generally taken a distinctive and denominational character; but in Ireland, where it had been tried on a large scale, resistance to it was gradually increasing, and the people were urged by those who had most influence over them to demand a denominational University, or at least a denominational College. Few English Members, probably, had taken the trouble to wade through so many Reports on the subject of primary education in Ireland as he had done, and he found the Commissioners stating that where the patrons of the schools were of mixed religions it was almost impossible to carry them on. Mixed learners presented comparatively no difficulty, but with mixed managers or teachers no educational system could be properly carried on. Hon. Members opposite stated their object to be to expand the University and make it a home for the learning and teaching of all shades of religious thought and feeling; indeed, his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Coleridge) went beyond Dissenters, for he thought it should be a place where free inquiry should be carried on. Whether these free inquirers were to be learners or teachers he did not exactly understand; if teachers the effect would be to exclude all those whose parents wished them to receive definite religious teaching, and thus the main object of the University—that of teaching religion in priority to all other studies—would be entirely set aside. In- stead, then, of Dissenters having to found Colleges it would be necessary for those who valued distinctive religious teaching to establish Colleges elsewhere, and they might judge of the gravity of such a result from the lifelong influence which Alma Mater had hitherto exercised upon its members. He traced this influence in the tone of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter, whose profession had evidently neither deadened his imagination nor chilled the emotions of his heart. He firmly believed the changes proposed would imperil the distinctive Church of England character of the University, and would pave the way for further innovations, until its reputation for what his hon. and learned Friend had spoken of as sanctified learning would be forfeited, and all its hallowed associations destroyed.


said, that having had the honour in a previous Session of bringing in a Bill almost precisely identical with that now brought in by the hon. and learned Member for Exeter, he desired to address a few words to the House. He had awaited with considerable curiosity the course which would be taken this Session by the opponents of the Bill, as it was clear they would not be able to carry out the same programme as last year. Last year their policy was simple enough; it was to represent the Bill as part of a general onslaught on the Church, to impeach the Churchmanship of its supporters, and to describe them as holding a misty and muddy religion, to raise bugbears about parents and guardians who would not send their chilrden to the Universities, and to represent the spirit of the Bill as hostile to the Church and to religious teaching, and the supporters of the Bill as secretly attached to the worst form of religious infidelity. But it was clear that the same programme could not be adopted on the present occasion, seeing that the hon. and learned Gentleman who introduced the measure was one whose attachment to the Church could not be impugned. The House had had the advantage, therefore, of hearing the question discussed on its merits, and the issue had been very much narrowed. The hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) bad opposed the Bill on the ground that it would effect no final settlement of the matter, but would lead to further demands on the part of Dissenters. Now, this was not the first time this Session that a measure had been objected to on the ground that it was not a complete settlement of the question, and he almost expected to see some hon. Member rise to move a Resolution declaring it inexpedient to discuss the admission of Dissenters into the Universities unless the question of the Colleges was also considered. The hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford objected both to the time at which the Bill was introduced and to the persons who had introduced it. He would have such measures brought in by the University representatives. Well, he (Mr. Goschen) thought those hon. Members for the University of Oxford would render an eminent service if they would consent to take charge of the Bill, but after what had taken place on previous occasions he could feel but little hope of their doing so. He really thought, however, that it might have been very properly introduced by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Hardy), who represented not merely the tutors and lecturers of Oxford, but a large, influential, and dignified corporation, a body comprising the most cultivated intellect in the country. It was no small privilege to represent such a corporation, which was the only body possessing the elective franchise on the ground of education. Nearly all the arguments that had been used turned upon the point, whether the Universities were to be considered as institutions primarily designed for religious teaching; and the hon. and learned Member, speaking of the objects of the University, had pointed to the fact that in one of the statutes the University was declared to be established for the promotion of religion and learning; consequently, he said, the first point to be considered was the religious teaching. They had, therefore, narrowed the question to this point—whether or not the Universities were to be considered as distinctive institutions for instruction in religion. Now, no opinion had been expressed on his side of the House against the continuance of religious teaching, but what they contended was, that the religious teaching of the Universities need not suffer in consequence of the admission of Dissenters into the governing body. There were two kinds of religious teaching, and these must not be confounded—there were distinct lectures on religion, and there was the general religious spirit pervading the whole course of study. Now, which of these two kinds of teaching would suffer from the presence of Dissenters? Supposing Dissenters were admitted, there would still be as many orthodox Churchmen in the University as at present, and what reason was there for thinking that religious instruction would at once be stopped, or that the Church would suffer from the abolition of a compulsory test? Churchmanship was not produced by tests, and his belief was that there would still be as many men; capable of teaching the doctrines of the Church and as many undergraduates ready to learn as there were now. But if the religious teaching of the Universities was to continue, notwithstanding the admission of Dissenters, then hon. Members opposite might, by their own admission, vote in favour of the Bill. He was persuaded that the best way of strengthening the Church element in the University was to rid the Church of these artificial supports. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had referred to the religious controversies formerly carried on in Oxford, and suggested that they might have had a pernicious effect upon the minds of some of the undergraduates, but it must be remembered that those controversies had greatly stimulated religious thought and had produced a kind of religious revival. He had no fear of any ill effects from the admission of Dissenters to the University, and he hoped that the hon. and learned Member who had charge of the Bill would take care that it entitled them to all the privileges, without exception, which appertained to a degree.


Sir, I think the supporters of this measure are enjoying a piece of good fortune in having secured so valuable a recruit as the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge), a gentleman having an eloquence such as was rarely heard within the walls of that House, and who also possesses the additional advantage of the advocacy of one whose Churchmanship is undoubted, and whose goodwill to the University to which he belongs is equally free from all possibility of doubt. But though the hon. and learned Member for Exeter is not to be looked upon as a dangerous enemy to the Church in his intention, he may be dangerous in effect. I think the right hon. Gentleman is quite right to make the most of the hon. and learned Member's Churchmanship; it is a great thing for people of his opinion to say, "Look here, we really have got a live Churchman among us at last!" But, of course, eccentricities of opinion are to be found in the most respected and the most able Members, and I quite feel that the hon. and learned Gentleman is likely to be all the more dangerous and all the more injurious to the Church, inasmuch as the dangers which he threatens and the injuries which he will inflict will be against his own intention and without his own consciousness. I see that the enthusiastic Gentlemen in the opposite corner are delighted to have the hon. and learned Member on their side; but I have no doubt when they come to discuss other questions affecting the Church they will find out that they have not such cause to congratulate themselves as they at present imagine in the accession of one whose attachment to the Church is as undoubted as their detestation of it. The hon. and learned Member for Exeter has read all the speeches delivered here last year upon this subject, and I am sure I sincerely commiserate him; but as he says he has been unable to discover a single argument against the Bill, I will compress into ten words my objection to this measure. It is, that it is really a Bill for the abolition of religious education in the Universities. But the objection usually urged is, that it is a Bill for the abolition of church rates—church rates and Church principles are closely connected—a Bill for the abolition of religious education of all kinds in the University of Oxford. We have been told that the Universities are lay corporations. This has never been disputed; but I cannot see how that is any answer to the argument that the Bill will undermine religious education in the Universities. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Goschen) asserted broadly that a distinctly religious teaching could only be necessary in a University devoted to the education of the clergy. I am sure, however, that the eminent Churchman of whose support they are so proud will never endorse such a sentiment as that. Another argument which we have heard in the next degree of importance is, that this Bill will only admit a small number of Dissenters to the governing body of the University. The hon. and learned Member for Exeter said that only four or five Dissenters would be admitted; other speakers said the number would be very small. Is this, I want to know, in the Bill? If so, some of my fears will be removed. If not, will the hon. and learned Gentleman propose a clause in Committee limiting the number to four or five? I must confess I have a very great objection to the intro- duction of large measures on the pretext that they would only affect infinitesimal results. If you wish a great change, draw your clause accordingly; if you only want a small change, then calm our fears, and draw your clause so as to limit the change. Many hon. Gentlemen present are familiar with the illegal depredations of poachers. What would they think if they met a poacher with a large blunderbuss well loaded, who assured them that the weapon was intended only for sparrows, or larks, or rats? If the instrument which you are asked to accept is one that will produce great and dangerous changes, you are not to be lulled into security by the assertion that the authors, who will have no control over its operation when it is once passed, intend nothing large, but that, on the contrary, the change is minute and infinitesimal. We are told that even if a large number of Dissenters are introduced into the governing body of the University, they will not affect the religious teaching of the University. The right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) said they could not affect the religious teaching unless they absolutely form a majority. I am surprised to hear such an opinion from any Gentleman familiar with the constitution of this House, and with the influence of various bodies on its legislation. Are the Roman Catholic Members in this House a majority of the House? Yet, I do not think anybody will tell me that the Roman Catholics have not had a great influence on the legislation of the last thirty or forty years. Are the Dissenters a majority in the House? Yet, I think Dissenters have had a considerable influence on our legislation. The fact is that the power of a particular section, especially if it is a coherent section, working well together, and taking advantage of the differences among its opponents, is not to be measured simply by its numbers, and I maintain that a good brigade of Dissenters in the governing body of the University would be able to throw so many obstacles in the way of religious teaching, they would lead their opponents such a life, and would take such advantage of every accidental circumstance in their favour, that sooner or later they would make the continuance of that teaching impossible, even though they might never command an actual majority. This is the point to which all my fears are directed. I have no wish to deprive Dissenters of any honours which they may gain at the Universities, or to deny them the merited fruit of their learning and labours; but I maintain that the University of Oxford is intended to teach everything which it is important for a citizen of this country to know, and of all the things it is important for a man to know, the first and foremost is religion. I maintain, too, that if they admit Dissenters into the governing body, that most essential part of University education must sooner or later be abandoned. We are told, however, by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) that religious teaching is of two kinds—distinctive teaching and general teaching. Now, this is very similar to the statement made last year by the present Chief Secretary for Ireland, that throughout his life the conviction bad grown upon him that dogma was of very little importance, compared to the great essentials of the Christian faith. The belief seems to prevail widely among hon. Gentlemen opposite, and among educational theorists, that there is some kind of religion which is independent of all belief, independent of all creed, which can enforce morals, without offering any motive as a stimulus for them, and which can be taught by persons who entirely differ as to the fundamental articles of the Christian faith. This opinion is commonly known I by the catching but not very intelligible appellation of "unsectarian religion: "and it appears destined to play an important part in educational questions. No I one ventures to say "Get rid of religion in education altogether;" but when asked to make provisions which shall insure the teaching of religion in the only shape in which mankind has hitherto understood it, they declare that they abhor dogma, detest sectarian differences, and wish to teach an "unsectarian religion." Now, I should like to urge hon. Gentlemen opposite to perform the first duty of philosophical reasoners, by defining their terms before they use them, and making clear to their own minds at least what they mean by unsectarian religion. The hon. Member (Mr. Roebuck) has suggested a Committee. I should like to see a Committee appointed in order to inquire into the nature and meaning of unsectarian religion, with directions to report to the House a full description and definition of it. I would even venture a step further, and nominate the Committee. I would begin with the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer). Then I would select the single Liberal Churchman, the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Mr. Coleridge). After that I would take the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), and the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), both of whom represented, I believe, different shades of religion. Next we might add the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines), and the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill), and to insure an absolute indifference and neutrality, I would give them the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Butler-Johnstone) as their Chairman. One thing I would stipulate—that their proceedings should not be private—for I venture to say that a more amusing discussion has never been heard than that which would be provoked in trying to define unsectarian religion upon the basis of general good feeling without any creed or basis of belief. The Committee I have thus sketched out would be, I fear, but a poor and inadequate representation of the heats and quarrels which would be carried on in the Convocation of the Universities were they reformed according to the wishes of the promoters of this Bill. To bring together from every quarter of the religious compass those who are unaccustomed to Parliamentary self-restraint, and are keen for the propagation of their own opinions, and tell them to sit down and devise some scheme of religious teaching which they could combine to impose on the University, would excite a scene of controversy, compared with which all those controversies to which allusion has been made would "pale their ineffectual fires." I fear that there would be only one result from the introduction of such an innovation—namely, that religious teaching at the University would be altogether abolished. The teaching would be reduced to a secular system, and that which is acknowledged to be one of the most essential features of University education would be entirely got rid of. I have no wish to interpose and to force on a division against the wish of hon. Gentlemen who hoped that a settlement of the question might be agreed to. I, however, am afraid that no such arrangement will be entered into, and, therefore, I feel that we must go on, and either conquer or die.


said, the question had been treated as though the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were originally instituted in direct connection with the Established Church, whereas most of the Colleges were founded before the Reformation. No declaration of belief was re- quired before that period, and the institutions were in the highest and strictest sense national establishments. This was not simply a Dissenters' question, as large bodies of Churchmen called for the relief prayed for. The great middle class of this country had within the last ten or fifteen years been growing up in wealth and social influence. In that class lay the strength of Dissent, and large bodies of Dissenters had been endeavouring to obtain for their sons a higher class of education than heretofore—a privilege from which they were now debarred. He asked the House to deal with this question in a generous spirit. It was to the interest of the country that the question should be settled in a broad and generous spirit, and he hoped that after the second reading of the Bill means might be found for meeting some of the difficulties which had been referred to by the opponents of the measure, and that a way would be found for meeting the views of all parties.


, in reply, said, before the House went to a division he wished to say a word or two in order that the real meaning of the promoters of the Bill might be clearly understood. He was extremely thankful for the courtesy and kindness with which hon. Gentlemen opposite had listened to him; but he should be untrue to his own convictions, and perfectly untrue to those hon. Gentlemen who had allowed him to be their unworthy spokesman, should he hold out any hope that he could accept any compromise. Such a course would be opposed to the very principle of the Bill, which was to make the University a truly national institution—free in the widest sense to all the subjects of the Queen. He was sorry to find that this branch of the subject appeared so small and contemptible a matter in the eyes of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe). He did not pretend that his mental stature was such as would enable him to grasp the very large measures suggested by the right hon. Gentleman; he was content with introducing a short and small measure that was not beyond his understanding. When the right hon. Gentleman had by means of agitation roused the popular enthusiasm to the necessary pitch, let him then by all means bring his larger measure forward. The objection of the hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) to the Bill was short; he said that it would destroy the religious character of the teaching at the University, and that in that case all manner of religious controversies would arise. The answer to that objection was equally short—namely, that the distinctive religious teaching in the University, if it now existed, had not prevented religious controversy, and that if such distinctive religious teaching existed under the present law that law would not be altered by the present Bill. Feeling strongly upon the matter, he must respectfully refuse to hold out any hope, so far as he himself was concerned, that the principle of the Bill would be altered.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


declared that the "Ayes" had it.


Mr. Deputy Speaker, I beg to call attention to the fact that the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) called with the "Ayes," and afterwards challenged your decision.


The vote would be given in accordance with the last voice.


I beg the noble Lord's pardon. I am quite certain I cried "Ayes" and that the word "No" never escaped my lips.


You challenged the decision.


I only said "Aye."

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 217; Noes 103: Majority 114.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Wednesday 16th May.

Adair, H. E. Beaumont, H. F.
Adam, W. P. Biddulph, Colonel R. M.
Agnew, Sir A. Blennerhassett, Sir R.
Akroyd, E. Bonham-Carter, J.
Allen, W.S. Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P.
Anstruther, Sir R. Brand, hon. H.
Armstrong, R. Brecknock, Earl of
Ayrton, A. S. Bright, J.
Aytoun, R. S. Bruce, Lord C.
Baines, E. Bruce, Lord E.
Barclay, A. C. Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.
Baring, hon. T. G. Buller, Sir A. W.
Barnes, T. Buller, Sir E. M.
Barron, Sir H. W. Butler-Johnstone, H. A.
Bass, A. Buxton, C.
Bass, M. T. Buxton, Sir T. F.
Baxter, W. E. Calcraft, J. H. M.
Bazley, T. Candlish, J.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Jervoise, Sir J. C.
Carington, hon. C. R. Johnstone, Sir J.
Castlerosse, Viscount Kearsley, Captain R.
Cavendish, Lord E. King, hon. P. J. L.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Kinglake, A. W.
Cavendish, Lord G. Kinglake, J. A.
Chambers, T. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Cheetham, J. Labouchere, H.
Childers, H. C. E. Layard, A. H.
Clifton, Sir R. J. Lamont, J.
Clinton, Lord E. P. Lawrence, W.
Cogan, W. H. F. Lawson, rt. hon. J. A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Leatham, W. H.
Colvile, C. R. Lee, W.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Leeman, G.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Lewis, H.
Crosland, Colonel T. P. Locke, J.
Crossley, Sir F. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Davey, R. Lusk, A.
Dawson, hon. Capt. V. Mackinnon, W. A.
Dering, Sir E. C. M'Lagan, P.
Dickson, Major A. G. M'Laren, D.
Dilke, Sir W. Marjoribanks, D. C.
Doulton, F. Marshall, W.
Duff, R. W. Martin, C. W.
Dundas, F. Mill, J. S.
Ellice, E. Miller, W.
Enfield, Viscount Mills, J. R.
Esmonde, J. Milton, Viscount
Evans, T. W. Mitchell, A.
Ewart, W. Mitchell, T. A.
Ewing, H. E. Crum- Moffatt, G.
Fawcett, H. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Fenwick, E. M. Moore, C.
Fildes, J. Morley, S.
Foley, H. W. Morris, W.
Forster, C. Morrison, W.
Forster, W. E. Neate, C.
Foster, W. O. Nicol, J. D.
Fort, R. Norwood, C. M.
Fortescue, hon. D. F. O'Brien, Sir P.
French, Colonel Ogilvy, Sir J.
Gaselee, Serjeant S. Oliphant, L.
Gaskell, J. M. O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.
Gilpin, C. Onslow, G.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. O'Reilly, M. W.
Gower, G. W. G. L. Otway, A. J.
Graham, W. Owen, Sir H. O.
Greville, Colonel F. Padmore, R.
Gray, Sir J. Peel, A. W.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Pelham, Lord
Gridley, Captain H. G. Peto, Sir S. M.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Philips, R. N.
Grove, T. F. Pim, J.
Gurney, S. Platt, J.
Hadfield, G. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Hamilton, E. W. T. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Hanbury, R. C. Potter, E.
Hardcastle, J. A. Potter, T. B.
Harris, J. D. Price, R. G.
Harrington, Marquess of Price, W. P.
Hay, Lord J. Pryse, E. L.
Hay, Lord W. M. Pritchard, J.
Hayter, Captain A. D. Pugh, D.
Henderson, J. Rebow, J. G.
Henley, Lord Robartes, T. J. A.
Hibbert, J. T. Roebuck, J. A.
Hodgkinson, G. Russell, A.
Hodgson, K. D. Russell, H.
Holden, I. Russell, Sir W.
Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W. Salomons, Alderman
Ingham, R. Samuda, J. D'A.
Samuelson, B. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H.
Schneider, H. W. Trevelyan, G. O.
Scrope, G. P. Verney, Sir H.
Seymour, H. D. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Sheridan, H. B. Waldegrave-Leslie, hn. G.
Sheridan, R. B. Waring, C.
Sherriff, A. C. Warner, E.
Simeon, Sir J. Watkin, E. W.
Smith, J. A. Weguelin, T. M.
Smith, J. B. Western, Sir T. B.
Smollet, P. B. Whatman, J.
Speirs, A. A. Whitbread, S.
Stacpoole, W. White, J.
Stansfeld, J. Whitworth, B.
Stone, W. H. Woods, H.
Stuart, Col. Crighton- Young, R.
Sullivan, E. TELLERS.
Taylor, P. A. Coleridge, J. D.
Torrens, W. T. M'C. Duff, G.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Hodgson, W. N.
Arkwright, R. Hogg, Lt.-Colonel J. M.
Baggallay, R. Holford, R. S.
Bagge, W. Hope, A. J. B. B.
Baillie, H. J. Howes, E.
Baring, T. Hubbard, J. G.
Barnett, H. Humphery, W. H.
Bathurst, A. A. Jolliffe,rt.hn.SirW.G.H.
Beach, Sir M. H. Ker, D. S.
Beach, W. W. B. King, J. G.
Beecroft, G. S. Knightley, Sir R.
Bentinck, G. C. Knox, Colonel
Bovill, W. Lacon, Sir E.
Brooks, R. Laird, J.
Buckley, E. Lefroy, A.
Burghley, Lord Lindsay, hon. Colonel C.
Burrell, Sir P. Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Campbell, A. H. Lopes, Sir M.
Cartwright, Colonel Miller, S. B.
Cave, S. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R
Cooper, E. H. Neville-Grenville, R.
Cranbourne, Viscount North, Colonel
Dawson, R. P. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Duncombe, hon. A. O'Donoghue, The
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Paget, R. H.
Du Pre, C.G. Parker, Major W.
Dyke, W. H. Powell, F. S.
Dyott, Colonel R. Robertson, P. F.
Edwards, Colonel Sandford, G. M. W.
Egerton, Sir P. G. Schreiber, C.
Egerton, E. C. Sclater-Booth, G.
Egerton, hon. W. Scourfield, J. H.
Fane, Lt.-Col. H. H. Selwyn, C. J.
Farquhar, Sir M. Seymour, G. H.
Feilden, J. Smith, S. G.
Fellowes, E. Stanhope, J. B.
Fergusson, Sir J. Stuart, Lt.-Colonel W.
Fleming, J. Surtees, H. E.
Floyer, J. Taylor, Colonel
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Thorold, J. H.
George, J. Tottenham,Lt.-col.C.G.
Gladstone, W. H. Turner, C.
Goodson, J. Tyrone, Earl of
Gore, J. R. O. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Greene, E. Walrond, J. W.
Gray, Lieut.-Colonel Westropp, H.
Grey, hon. T. de Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Griffith, C. D. Woodd, B. T.
Hardy, G. Wynn, C. W. W.
Hardy, J. TELLERS.
Hervey, Lord A. H. C. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Heathcote, Sir W. Packe, C. W.

said, with reference to the decision that had just taken place, he wished to explain that in the course of the day he had told a great many Gentlemen on that side of the House that he did not intend to press the matter to a division, and they had left the House under the impression that there would be no division upon the question. Under those circumstances, he could not accept the division as an expression of the feeling of the House upon the principle of the Bill. He did not know what course the hon. Member for the University (Sir William Heathcote) would take with regard to the Amendments to be moved in Committee, but he regarded himself as absolved from any promise he had made upon the subject, as he did not think that the House had yet had an opportunity of expressing its sense as to the principle of the Bill.


said, that if the hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford had a right to make such a remark with regard to the number of votes given in favour of the Amendment, he had a right on the other side to say that a large number of Gentlemen on his side of the House had also left under the impression that their votes would not be required. He was quite satisfied with the present state of things, and of course the hon. Member for the University would be at full liberty to do exactly as he pleased when the Bill came before the Committee.