§ (Mr. Fawcett, Mr. Bouverie.)
§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ MR. FAWCETT
, in moving the third reading of this Bill, said, that at that late period of the Session he should not occupy the attention of the House by any lengthened observations upon it, particularly as the principle of the measure had already been fully discussed upon its second reading. It was moderate, useful, and just in its provisions. It simply proposed to give to each of the Colleges in Oxford and Cambridge power to confer the highest rewards at their disposal upon students who did not happen to be members of the Church of England. It was useful, inasmuch as no one could doubt that they were often obliged to reject distinguished students because of the existing prohibition; and they knew that if those rewards were thrown open to all there would be a much larger number of distinguished students available. It was just, because the nation at large had a right to participate in the splendid endowments of those ancient seats of learning, irrespective of religious opinions. The longer he lived, the more he became attached to his University, and the more he was determined to do everything in his power to extend the advantages of that and the twin University to the greatest possible number of his fellow-countrymen, with the view of rendering them what they ought to be in the broadest sense, truly national institutions.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."—(Mr. Fawcett.)
§ MR. BENTINCK
, in moving the rejection of the Bill, said, that the Motion which stood on the Paper in his name, had been placed there by him a considerable time ago. It appeared to him that the principle of the measure had never undergone a proper amount of discussion, and that those who supported it on the last occasion 1049 had given very little reason for their votes. The hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) had stated that the Bill was of a permissive character; whereas, on the occasion of the second reading, the hon. Member for Plymouth argued in favour of the Bill as being placed on a different foundation. That hon. Gentleman contended that those endowments were public property, and that sooner or later, they would be treated as such. The hon. and learned Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee) might be very learned in the law of the land, but he appeared to be very ignorant of the law of the Universities when he stated that the greater part of the endowments were derived from the Roman Catholics. He (Mr. Bentinck) submitted that at that advanced period of the Session the question involved in this measure could not be fairly discussed or considered. He was satisfied that if the Bill were considered upon its merits the Roman Catholics themselves could not consistently vote for it. As a constituent of the hon. and learned Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen), he appealed to him whether he could support a measure which would divert such endowments from their original and natural uses. If that hon. Baronet did so he (Mr. Bentinck) was sure that the prelates of his own Church would do their best to turn him out of Parliament. If the Roman Catholics were in favour of the Roman Catholic endowments being preserved to Roman Catholics on their side of the Channel, they must conscientiously support the same principle in its application to the Protestant Church in this county. Since the Reformation the great proportion of those endowments had been given to the Colleges by members of the Established Church. They therefore belonged to the Church of England; and they had no more right to dispoil the Church of England of those endowments than they would have to deprive private individuals of their property. The hon. Member concluded by moving that the Bill be read a third time that day three months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Bentinck.)
§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, he wished the hon. Gentleman had replied to 1050 his speech sooner, as he really did not remember what he did say on the occasion referred to. All he knew was that whatever he said on that occasion he was quite prepared to defend, although he thought it was rather exceeding the terms of courtesy in the House to impute gross ignorance to a Member. He (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee) would merely advise the hon. Gentleman to look more at home. What he recollected saying, and he still adhered to it, was—that many of the endowments at the Universities were made by Roman Catholics. So far from the Bill not having been amply discussed, it had been discussed usque ad nauseam, and it would be much better for the hon. Member, instead of dividing the House upon his Amendment, to enter a protest against the Bill, which would receive the attention it deserved.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 41: Majority 7.
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Bill put off for three months.