§ Order for Second Reading read.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
, in rising to move that the Bill be now read a second time, said, he did not desire to 1193 delay by a single moment the passing of the measure, which he had always thought to be just, and now believed to be absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, he was unwilling that any misunderstanding as to its scope or its provisions should impede its progress, either in that House or elsewhere, if he was able in the slightest degree to contribute to the removal of those misunderstandings, whether they had arisen from the innate difficulty and delicacy of the subject itself, or whether they had been created, as was perfectly possible, by his own handling of the matter. He hoped, and, indeed, confidently expected that if the Legislature passed that Bill it would favourably settle at once and for ever the great religious difficulty in the Universities and Colleges of this country, and that with that difficulty once settled and put out of the way, the Universities would be able to go forward to those educational and academical improvements which he thought no fair man—especially with the events of the last few weeks in his memory—could deny to be wanting; which it was very desirable that the Universities themselves should take in hand if it were possible, but the undertaking of which the constant agitation of those religious questions tended most seriously and inevitably to delay. He did not think it necessary to repeat the historical review of that question, or to point out how the two Bills which formerly dealt separately with the Universities and the Colleges were now amalgamated into one. He would merely say that the only material difference between the Bill now before the House, and the one introduced last year, and passed by large majorities of the House of Commons, was that this Bill had incorporated into it the substance of the Amendment moved last year by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), the effect of which was, that, instead of the abolition of the tests being left to the various Colleges, to be adopted by them or not at their pleasure, those tests were abolished for them once for all by the power of Parliament. He was quite convinced that in that matter the hon. Member for Brighton was right and they were wrong. He was quite sure, on consideration, that if that was to be done at all, it was far better that it should be done for the Colleges by the Legislature, than that it should remain as a bone of 1194 angry contention, to be discussed, perhaps, for years with various results in the different common rooms. Indeed, he gathered that the Colleges themselves—on the assumption that something was to be done—would rather have it done in that way than have it left to themselves; and he thought some of his hon. Friends opposite, on that assumption, were also of the same opinion. That change, which was the only serious one, was made in the interests of the Universities and the Colleges themselves—in the interests of peace and good government with regard to places where it was exceedingly desirable that peace and unity of feeling should, if possible, prevail. There was no doubt, nevertheless, that the change proposed by the Bill, if passed, was in theory a very considerable change. He had always thought and said that the much narrower Bills with which, in bygone years, it was his fortune to be connected were important in point of theory—that in principle the change they proposed was great, although in practice it might turn out to be far less extensive than was apprehended. But there could be no doubt that if this Bill passed it would remove altogether the Parliamentary protection from the Church of England. It threw open the Colleges and the Universities alike to the whole bulk of the people; or, rather it provided that for the future no well-affected subject of the Queen should, upon grounds of religious opinion only, be debarred from the opportunity of sharing in the advantages of those magnificent foundations, and in their great and ennobling associations. Indeed, it had been said, and said by men in every way entitled to great respect, that the Bill did not make adequate provision for the maintenance of the present system of religious teaching and religious worship carried on in the Universities and Colleges, because it repealed certain sections in the statute of Charles II., commonly called the Act of Uniformity; and on the repeal of those sections there was nothing to prevent any form of worship other than that of the Church of England being set up in any of the Colleges. Now, that was a difficult and delicate question; and, no doubt, as far as the maintenance of discipline and worship depended exclusively on the direct and immediate effect of those sections in the statute of Charles 1195 II., the repeal of those sections would withdraw that support. But those who made that objection hardly considered sufficiently the effect of two things. First of all there was the Saving Clause introduced into the Bill of last year by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer)—that Bill being in this respect identical with the present one; and, secondly, they did not sufficiently appreciate the effect of the enactments of the recent Act of Subscription upon the personal obligations of the clergy of the Church of England. By the effect of those enactments no clergyman in his public ministrations could use any other form of worship than that set down for him in the Book of Common Prayer; and, therefore, as long as there remained any clergymen of the Church of England in the Colleges to celebrate the services, they could by law celebrate no services other than those contained in the prayer book. It was in the highest degree improbable and extravagantly unlikely that in any reasonable time they could look forward to there being a serious difference in that state of things. No doubt in idea it was conceivable; but if the educated classes of this country, in the mass and in the bulk, represented roughly as they were by the Fellows of the Colleges of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, should ever become separated from the communion of the Church of England—a most highly improbable event—long before that happened the maintenance of that protection would have become impossible, and would probably have ceased even to be attempted. And when they further recollected the absolute necessity of setting free all Colleges to be founded in the future from the obligations imposed on existing Colleges by the operation of the Statute of Uniformity, it would be seen that that was a question beset with difficulties, of which he would say no more than that the Bill before the House afforded one plain, simple, and adequate solution. However, it was vain to deny that Churchmen must not shut their eyes to the fact that on the passing of that measure the Church of England would be bound to rely on her own inherent strength. Nor could he think that to any man fairly minded and reasonably acquainted with the history of this country that was or could be in any 1196 degree objectionable. The Church of England never was, or, at all events, had for many a long year ceased to be, the exclusive religious communion of the whole people of this country. During the period of the Reformation, and shortly after, it was perfectly true that the State endeavoured to enforce the observance of the State religion on all its subjects, and it persecuted with fearful and bloody atrocity every one who ventured to resist that iniquitious principle. During the same period, not the whole but a very considerable portion of the endowments now in question was secured to that exclusive religious communion by the effect of the Statutes of Supremacy and of Uniformity—not in form, he admitted, but inasmuch as after the passing of those statutes no one could enjoy the endowments who refused obedience to the enactments of those statutes, the substance of the matter was precisely the same as if the endowments had been in form transferrred. That time, thank God, had passed away, and its spirit also; but with that time and its spirit had likewise passed away the case for maintaining the enactments of that time. And surely it should not be to any of them, on whatever side they sat, a matter of regret—if they believed in the truth and power of the Church—that the Church should at last be driven to rely on itself. Its great present advantages, its pre-eminence in wealth, education, and position, its present possession of the ground which was the subject-matter of the contest—all those things were surely enough to make the Church enter into the contest, which they believed was impending without any craven fear on that subject. Certainly, he had no such fears. Deeply rooted, honest, and sincere as he believed those fears to be on the part of those who entertained them, he could not but believe them to be utterly baseless. He thought that to suppose there was no danger to the Church of England from the removal of such restrictions as those which would be dealt with by this Bill was to entertain a supposition unworthy of that great and venerable communion. Was the Church so weak and Dissent so strong that the one could only flourish by the Parliamentary oppression of the other? There were persons who apprehended that if the protection which the State afforded to the Church were with 1197 drawn the Church must fall. He should be sorry to think so; he thought very differently; but even if he did not think differently, he would say this measure was a just one, and justice must be done. In this case, however, they could do justice without self-destruction, and he believed justice was the most magnanimous policy as well as the wisest for those who had the courage to pursue it. He did not expect to hear much tonight about this Bill being an attack on property. At any rate, his right lion. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Spencer Walpole), or his two right lion. Friends the Members for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gathorne Hardy and Mr. Mowbray) were too well instructed in the history of this country not to know that such an argument on such a matter was utterly untenable. They knew well that Parliament from the earliest times had asserted with unmistakable emphasis its right to deal with property held in mortmain. They knew that the Parliament of England had not contented itself with the assertion, but had acted on that assertion over and over again. They knew that in the ease of that very property Parliament so acted at the Reformation. For himself he must say that a term of 600 or 700 years, or oven 300 or 400 years, was a sufficiently long time to give force to a founder's will. It was a sufficiently long time to allow a dead man to affect the opinions of the living. No one had ever held that such a thing could be perpetual, and no one had ever attempted to draw a line and say at which side of that line it would be wrong to interfere. The House must, therefore, come to the question of expediency, equity, and wisdom. This being so, he hoped it would be possible to conduct this discussion without temper, and without imputations of bad motives on the one side or the other. He should be very sorry if anything he might say were not in that spirit. His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) had accused him of having put aside the language of conciliation, and spoken in rougher language when introducing this Bill. No doubt, everything ought to be done much better than it really was done; but he could assure the House that when moving for leave to bring in this Bill, he only wished to be distinct and plain. Not by his 1198 right lion. Friend, nor in that House, but elsewhere, the principle which he had the honour to advocate was the object of much misrepresentation and abuse of the most unusual kind, so unusual as to be a little disturbing. It was a pity that the defenders of existing institutions, especially those defenders who took up their position on Christianity, should forget one of the elementary doctrines of Christianity, and make misrepresentations as to other men's arguments and honesty. The Government had no other desire than to be conciliatory; they had not introduced the bitterness into this controversy. It might, perhaps, be foolish to recollect what had been said by foolish people. He must express his opinion that if this was a just measure there could be no better moment than the present for persons in the position of the Government to press it on the attention of the House. If they felt grateful, as a great many of them did, for the inestimable advantages they had received from the Colleges and Universities of this country, it was not unreasonable or discreditable of them to wish to extend to others benefits which they had themselves enjoyed. In the spirit of what they believed to be just and right, the Government must oppose any interference with the freedom and discretion of those who might wish to found educational institutions hereafter. As he had said before, men would if they pleased found exclusive institutions. If these were to be founded, it was better they should be founded openly and without any breach of the law; but the House would recollect that before any College could be incorporated with the University, a charter of incorporation must be granted by the Crown. That was the course with regard to Colleges founded since the Reformation—Downing College at Cambridge, founded in the last century, and Worcester and Pembroke Colleges at Oxford, founded, Worcester in the reigns of Anne and George I., and Pembroke in the reign of James I. In the present day, when the Crown acted on the advice of Ministers, and when Ministers were directly responsible to the people as represented in that House, it was not at all likely that any charter would be granted which ran much counter to the public opinion of the country. Such was the opinion of the Government, at all events. For 1199 himself, though he could not sympathize with an exclusive system in the Universities, neither could he sympathize with any attempt to limit men in the choice of the education they might choose to pay for when it was not immoral. The sub-section by which it was provided that nothing in this Bill should apply to the headship of any College was the result of what his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government considered to be an understanding between himself and a deputation from the Universities in a small and unimportant matter. He asked the House to read this Bill a second time, because he earnestly hoped and felt convinced that if Parliament only passed it into law we should see new life breathed into those old but vigorous institutions, and satisfy the just and reasonable expectations of many men, who were now artificially and, as he thought, unrighteously kept out of advantages which they claimed, and which hitherto had been denied to them without any corresponding advantage to religion, but with great and increasing mischief to the State.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Solicitor General.)
§ MR. SPENCER WALPOLE
said: Sir, I own I had expected, when the Government undertook to introduce a measure on this subject, that they would have endeavoured to frame it as to its most important provisions in such a manner as not to provoke unnecessary and increased opposition to it, I had further indulged the hope that they would so frame it as not to render it absolutely impossible for the Universities to accept it. But the measure itself, and the speech of my hon. and learned Friend (the Solicitor General)—conciliatory though that speech was in its tone—show that the question now being discussed is not one turning on the removal of tests to enable young and ardent minds not belonging to the Church of England to obtain the benefits of a University education. The Bill itself, and the language of my hon. and learned Friend, seem to me to point to a direct disruption of the connection which now subsists between the established religion of this country and our great Universities. Not only that, but, judging partly from the clauses of the Bill—who- 1200 ever has framed them—and partly from the language of my hon. and learned Friend, the disestablishment of the Established Church of this country does not seem to be so far off, in the minds of some persons, as the world at large may suppose it to be. However that may be, I shall endeavour to discuss the Bill in a calm and conciliatory spirit; but let me remind my hon. and learned Friend that the course we took last year was anything but one which should have induced the Government to imagine that this could be received as a conciliatory measure. Will the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government permit me to remind him that last autumn the authorities of both the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, made representations to him, not merely on the part of those who were desirous of supporting this Bill, but also on the part of those who had hitherto felt it to be their duty to oppose such a measure—to the effect, that they were anxious to put an end to this controversy by a fair and reasonable settlement of the question, if they were met in a frank and considerate spirit. But what has been the result of the deliberations with reference to this Bill? Well, that every suggestion offered on the one side has been adopted, while those offered by the other have been entirely disregarded. In my opinion there is one way alone in which the question could be satisfactorily settled, and that is that, while everything is done to enable the Nonconformists to enjoy the full benefit of University education, on the other hand, every safeguard should be provided that the religious character of the Colleges should not be impaired. The fault I find with the Bill is that, while it concedes all the demands of the Nonconformists, and more than satisfies their demands, it will actually weaken the existing safeguards for maintaining the religious character of the Colleges. Another objection to the Bill is that now, for the first time, it mixes up the two different parts of the subject—that which relates to the Universities and that which relates to the Colleges—in such a manner that it is impossible to separate the one from the other so that each part may receive a separate and distinct examination. These two parts of the Bill depend upon very different considerations, and in the measure which, was introduced last year 1201 the distinction between them was carefully preserved. Under those circumstances, while it was possible to consent to the second reading of last year's Bill, with the view of altering in Committee that portion of it to which we objected, it is utterly out of the question that we should treat the present Bill otherwise than as a whole, or that we should do anything but seek to reject it altogether. I am aware that there are some who say that the distinction between the Universities and the Colleges with reference to this legislation is not one that ought to be regarded; and, indeed, in all the Petitions that have been presented in favour of the Bill that distinction appears to have been altogether ignored; while they seem to assume that the Dissenters are not now permitted to enjoy the advantages of University education. The assumption upon this latter point is founded upon a complete misconception of the facts of the case, because, under the existing law, there is nothing whatever to prevent the Nonconformists enjoying University education, although they cannot become Members of the Senate at Cambridge or of Convocation at Oxford. At Cambridge every sizar-ship, every exhibition, and every scholarship, is open to the Dissenter. The statement in the Petitions, therefore, that the advantages of University education are withheld from the Nonconformists is simply untrue. There is a most important distinction between the law which relates to the Universities, and that which governs the Colleges, which Parliament is bound to recognize. The Universities were incorporated by Act of Parliament, and may, therefore, be said to be partly the creation of the Legislature. Parliament used to make grants in former times to the Universities, and therefore Parliament was justly entitled to lay down the conditions upon which those grants should be made. The Universities have also been empowered by Parliament to send representatives to this House, and I am willing to concede that, therefore, Parliament has a right to require that the constituencies of the Universities should be constituted upon as large a basis as any other constituency in the kingdom, and to require that Dissenters should be admitted to University degrees by which they may become members of the Senate and obtain votes. 1202 The case with regard to the Colleges is, however, entirely different. The Colleges are private and not public institutions in their formation. They are private and not public in the endowments they received. I am aware that it is said in a famous 50-guinea Prize Essay which has been printed by the Liberation Society, and to which gentle allusion has been made to-night by the learned Solicitor General, that the Colleges are, in fact, the creation of the State. When I saw that statement I thought it worth while to inquire a little into the facts of the case, and I found that of the 25 Colleges and Halls at Oxford, and of the 17 Colleges and Halls at Cambridge, there were not more than four at Oxford, and three at Cambridge that ever received anything from Royal founders or from Royal bounty, all the rest being the creations and endowments of private persons. Under these circumstances it is impossible to say that the Universities and the Colleges stand upon the same footing with respect to Parliament. I now come to consider what are the conditions upon which these endowments are held, and what is the law that should be made applicable to them in the event of any change in the existing law being suggested with regard to them. But before I enter upon this part of the subject I should wish to refer to a further statement in the Prize Essay to which I have already alluded. It is stated in that Essay—The funds were originally given by Roman Catholics; but, like all other Church property, they were seized by the Crown, and from the stronghanded Protestant Pope Henry VIII. down through all the Popelings that followed, they have passed irrevocably into national hands.That is certainly a most ingenious way of turning private property into national property. In reply to that statement I will quote Lord Brougham, who, in dealing with this question, said—There is another matter connected with the admission of Dissenters to the Universities which I think is much more encumbered with doubt, but still I throw it out for consideration. I refer to the expediency and the justice of admitting persons not belonging to the Established Church to all the privileges consequent upon their attendance at tile Universities, besides the right to obtain degrees. And here I particularly allude, not to their acquiring any share in the government of the Universities—that is a matter which might easily be arranged—but to the right of having Fellowships and scholarships. The diffi-1203culty upon that point is considerable, and I have no hesitation in saying, strong advocate of the Dissenters as I ever have been, that I see opinions expressed in some of their Petitions which show that those excellent persons, in putting forward their claim, have not well weighed the reasons for which Fellowships were for the most part endowed. The Dissenters have no more right, strictly speaking, to administer to Fellowships and scholarships endowed by the founders for the benefit of the Established Church than any member of the Church of England would have a right to share in the endowments founded at Highbury or Homerton, Maynooth or Stonyhurst, or ony other Dissenting College, Catholic or Protestant. The persons out of whose private funds Fellowships and scholarships were endowed had a perfect right to prescribe what restrictions they thought proper as to the disposal of those funds, and no Dissenter has any more right to complain of being excluded from them than he has to complain of exclusion from any private charity supported by members of the Church of England.That, I believe, is the true state of the ease as regards the matter of right; as regards the matter of policy, I admit that must be decided upon different considerations. Even the Colleges as well as the Universities have admitted Dissenters to scholarships on grounds of policy; they have refrained from admitting them to Fellowships for the very distinct reason that the Fellowships lead to the Governing Bodies, and a Dissenter could not become one of a Governing Body, because he would have to discharge a trust for which he did not possess the proper qualification. The Fellows of Colleges and Governors of endowed schools occupy as nearly as possible the same relative position; and the principle recognized in the provisions of the Public Schools Act affecting the Governing Body of endowed schools should be the principle for regulating this Bill. The Public Schools Act provides that the Governing Body shall continue to be of the same religious denomination as that prescribed by the founder, though is is also provided, on the other hand, that persons of a different belief shall not be excluded from the school. The Colleges have thrown their doors open to every sect under the sun; Roman Catholics and Parsees—I had almost said Mahomedans—members of the Jewish persuasion, and every class of Dissenters—Independents, Baptists, and Unitarians have been educated at Cambridge, and, I believe, at Oxford also, for many years past; but, while I consent to this course being continued, I ask that the principle of 1204 the Public Schools Act be adopted, and the Governing Body be restricted to professors of the denomination of the founder, or, in the words of the Government—"give the education to all, but take securities that the religious teaching shall not be impaired." But I have said that this Bill goes further than this, and much further than any Bill of the kind yet introduced. I do not know who drew the Bill; certainly the Solicitor General cannot have drawn it, for it goes much further than the mere removal of those disabilities which prevent Dissenters from obtaining the only things now withheld from them, the vote in the Senate and the admission to the Fellowships. The material clauses in the Bill affecting this matter are the 2nd and the 3rd. The 2nd clause specifies the offices from which restrictions are to be removed, and in reference to which freedom of admission is to be given. Among these offices are the tutors, who stand in loco parentis to the undergraduate while he is resident in College, the lectureships on the New Testament in divinity, and also the office of dean. The 3rd clause provides that every person is to be eligible for these offices, and that none are to be required "to conform to any religious observances," or to make any declaration involving any religious test. In plain language, these two clauses together declare that any person, of whatever creed, or even of no creed, shall be eligible for any of these offices, and can on appointment carry on his instruction in the College on the system of any religion or no religion, and cannot be interfered with. Yet my hon. and learned Friend told the House that this Bill does nothing to interfere with the religious instruction now imparted in the Colleges, and does not go beyond the intention of the Bills introduced in former years on the subject. But there are two other things in the 3rd clause to which wish especially to call the Solicitor General's attention, and also the attention of the First Lord of the Treasury, because I doubt very much whether they properly appreciate the full meaning of the Bill as it stands. I am sure it must have been drawn by some one who has not pointed out to my hon. and learned Friend the sweeping nature of its provisions. After enabling all persons of any or no religion to aspire to any of those offices, it goes on to say, in line 24— 1205Nor shall any person be compelled, in any of the said universities or any such college as aforesaid, to attend the public worship of any church, sect, or denomination to which he does not belong.In effect, this clause provides that no person, no undergraduate, snail be compelled, not even if his parents or guardians wish him to do so, to attend the religious worship of the College to which he belongs. He might with impunity decline, because an Act of Parliament would give him power to say—"I do not care for religious observances, and you have no power to constrain me." This is an error, and the sooner my hon. and learned Friend corrects it the better. But there is another. The 1st sub-section of the 3rd clause says, that "nothing in this section shall render a layman eligible to any office … restricted to persons in Holy Orders." That, no doubt, was intended as a fair Saving Clause, but the person who drew the Bill should have had his attention called to the fact that a Roman Catholic priest is not a layman, and that under this sub-section he would be eligible to any of the many religious offices in these Colleges connected with the Church of England. Now, in these times, when there are persons in the Church of England who are willing to imitate the practices of the Roman Church, should we open the door for strife, and plunge the Colleges into all the controversies between Catholic and Protestant, which would evidently be the effect of the clause as it stands? This may be a mere slip arising from haste, but I am not so sure that it is when I look to the Schedule of Acts repealed. This Schedule contains the 31 Geo. III. c. 32, and repeals "so much of Section 14 as relates to any of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham." It also contains the 10 Geo. IV. c. 7, and repeals "so much as relates to any of the said Universities or any College therein." What are those repealed sections? The first provides—That no person professing the Roman Catholic religion shall obtain or hold the Mastership of any College or School of Royal Foundation, or of any other endowed College or School for the education of youth, or shall keep a school in either of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.The second is a proviso that—The enabling part of this Act shall not extend to any office of, in, or belonging to any of the Universities of this realm, or any office whatever, of, in, or belonging to any of the Colleges or Halls of the said Universities.1206 These provisions, I understand, are to be repealed. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL made a gesture of assent.] My hon. and learned Friend assents to that as a thing he desires to see done. That then was not a slip, and it is the wish of the Government that Roman Catholics are to be enabled to hold Masterships of Colleges and other offices, even though the offices are distinctly connected with the Church of England. If this is recommended as a conciliatory measure, I think the Government have most signally failed. My hon. and learned Friend will say—"But the Preamble of the Bill announces that you are to have safeguards, and they are to be found in the 4th section of the Bill. In words, that is the case, but the 5th section destroys the safeguards given by the 4th. The 4th section provides that—Nothing in this Act shall interfere with or affect, any further or otherwise than is hereby expressly enacted, the system of religious instruction, worship, and discipline which now is or which may hereafter be lawfully established in the said universities respectively, or in the colleges thereof or any of them, or the statutes and ordinances of the said universities and colleges respectively relating to such instruction, worship and discipline.But the 5th section repeals three sections in the Act of Uniformity, one of them very properly, because it requires a Fellow to take an oath that he intends to conform to the Church of England; the 13th section, however, which is also repealed, is an essential part of the Act as far as the Church of England was concerned; it provides that—No form of prayer, administration of sacraments, rites and ceremonies, shall be used in any church or chapel, or other public place, in either of the Universities, excepting that which is prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer.Why repeal this? This has nothing to do with any test, restriction or disability operating upon Dissenters, but is an essential part of the provision made in the Act for the benefit of the laity—not intended unnecessarily to cramp the liberty of the clergy, but requiring that they should conform to the particular worship of the Church of England in that which is a Church of England chapel. The object of the section was not to exclude Dissenters from the Universities; but only to protect Churchmen from having their forms of public worship altered without the authority of Parliament. I say that if these provisions, which the 1207 First Lord of the Treasury seems to think useless, are once repealed—and I am afraid my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not like the observation I am about to make—you will have placed the first stepping-stone towards the disestablishment of the Church of England. My right hon. Friend did not like to be told last year that if you disestablished the Irish Church the same reasons would force you to disestablish the Welsh Church, and possibly the Church of England, sooner or later. My right hon. Friend will not like the argument used by the Solicitor General as to the great changes to be effected, not for the purpose of giving Dissenters the benefit of University degrees, or the benefit of University scholarships, but for some idea of giving freedom to the Church, and thus securing better education than you have now. All I can say is that is not the freedom which the Church desires or ought to have. And when I see what is going on, when I hear what the people say of what is going on, I cannot but think that the last thing they would desire would be that the country should give such power to persons in authority as would enable them to alter your national faith or your national worship, be those men ever so distinguished. I for one, say rather than pass such a clause as that I would willingly see all your former Bills passed into law; but I hold that neither the one nor the other is necessary if you will only give that which was the only thing the Dissenters hitherto demanded without taking away that which Churchmen had a right to require that the Government should still maintain. I say now, as I have said before, that now this measure has come into the hands of the Government they go much further than they ought to have done—they altogether remove restrictions, the removal of which is not essential to the purposes of the Dissenters, but is most detrimental to the Church of England. I also say, as I have said before, that, instead of giving Churchmen that protection and security which the right hon. Gentleman engaged to do, you have kept the word of promise to the ear and broken it to the hope. You have not given them either security or protection, and if you pass the Bill in this shape you will thereby pass a measure not required for your own pur- 1208 pose—a measure the nature of which I was not announced, but one which will startle the people of this country when: they see the consequences to which it: will lead. My hon. and learned Friend said that my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) rather noticed that his tone was not so conciliatory as usual. I own I did not notice it myself, but I wish to appeal both to my hon. and learned Friend and to my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government to say whether since this time last year; anything has been urged by the opponents of the Bill which did not bear, or was not intended to bear, the character of conciliation for the purpose of, settling this long-vexed question. I can appeal to my right hon. Friend whether he has not had some most eminent, most distinguished Members of both Universities making representations which must have convinced him that they would give—perhaps in one sense a reluctant, because they do not approve the changes contemplated, but in another sense a willing support to the measure, if only you could have settled this question by giving to the Dissenters the degree and the Fellowship with this one safeguard, that you would not interfere, as you ought not to interfere, to impair or destroy the religious character of the teaching of the Universities. I believe I do not misrepresent the opinion, of either one University or the other when I make that statement in my place; but this I must add, though they would have been content with a settlement of this question made under proper safeguards, there are some changes with which they never can be content. They never can consent—and here I am sure I speak their mind—to make a tabula rasa as it were of all their collegiate arrangements with respect to religion, or even materially to alter those arrangements unless they can substitute some others equally good, in their place. They will not consent—in my humble judgment they ought not to consent—ever to divorce religion from education, as this Bill would undoubtedly do. Neither will they consent, nor can they consent, nor ought they to consent to leave a question which of all questions ought to be definite, fixed, and certain—I mean the religious question—in a state of such ambiguity and uncertainty that it may lead to anything or to no- 1209 thing, so that it will be terminated, for the sake of avoiding all the religious difficulties that arise out of it, either in comparative indifference to religious truth or in the complete secularization of academical studies. That such should be the result even with your elementary schools the people of this country, as represented by Members on both sides of the House, have strongly manifested their determination not to allow. And do you think they will be more gratified if you are going to introduce such a system into those institutions which are to carry on the higher branches of study and education? I doubt it; but I feel so strongly that this would be the result of this Bill that I and those who think with me have no alternative left us except to try to get rid of this Bill, and leave the Government to introduce another in a far better shape. We never can consent to break up that wise combination of sound learning and religious education which has characterized these noble institutions for many a bygone age, and which has earned for them, and will earn for them, I firmly trust, for many ages to come the gratitude, the praise, the confidence, and the support of the people of England, whom I cannot characterize in a higher or juster manner than by saying that they are essentially a religious as well as an intellectual people.
Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Mr. Spencer Walpole.)
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE
said, in venturing to intrude himself on the attention of the House at this stage of the debate, he must urge that the fact of its being so short a time since he left the University, which on other occasions might induce him to be silent, might on this be his best excuse for saying a few words to the House. He had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of this Bill (Mr. Spencer Walpole) with all that respect which was naturally due from him to one who had been so long a Member of that House, and who in it represented one of the Universities, the interests of which were at stake in this debate; but the more he listened the more did he feel that between the right hon. Gentleman's 1210 opinions and his own on this subject there was a great gulf fixed. Following the order in which the Bill was drawn, the right hon. Gentleman considered the case of the Universities first and the case of the Colleges next. As regarded the Universities, he stated that he was willing to concede much, and the Earl of Carnarvon said the same last year. He desired to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that what Liberals asked for was not a concession, but the acknowledgment of a right. There was a point in these discussions which was perpetually lost sight of by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and by their Friends, and that was this—that the Church was an intruder at the Universities. Now, he knew that he should be told, in the first place, that the Universities were ecclesiastical corporations. But that was a legal fallacy. They were nothing of the sort; they were lay corporations. Again, he should be told that the Universities had always been connected with the Church of England, and governed by the tests and declarations of the Established Church for the time being. That was an historical fallacy. It would be nearer the mark to say that previous to the Reformation precisely the opposite of this was the case. The early history of this country showed the Universities in the light of the strenuous defenders of civil and religious liberty. They sided with the barons against Henry III., and they defied the Pope and the Archbishops when they demanded the condemnation of Wickliffe. When the Jews were expelled from England they were harboured in Oxford. This, he would remind the House was in the 13th century, and now, in the 19th century, a Jewish Senior Wrangler could not be admitted to a Trinity Fellowship. When Henry VIII. established the cathedral of Christ Church he took especial pains to clearly enact that the Bishop was not to attempt to exercise any jurisdiction in the University. He did not think that a recent writer in The British Quarterly Review had at all overstated his case in saying that in the Middle ages Oxford was a refuge for all those who held speculative novelties in theology, science, and politics during times when the advocacy of those novelties was eminently dangerous elsewhere. Only after the Reformation did the fatal idea creep in of fastening the University in the strait waistcoat of orthodoxy. 1211 King Edward weeded out the Catholics, Queen Mary weeded them in again, Queen Elizabeth weeded them out a second time, and after much vacillation, owing to the various interests which alternately influenced hermind, sheinflicted on Oxford the Thirty-nine Articles and the three Articles of the 36th canon. This was done at the advice of Leicester, an incompetent general, a more than incompetent statesman, and the murderer of his wife. King James inflicted the three Articles of the 36th Canon on Cambridge. But it was not till the Restoration that the Universities experienced their full degradation. By the Act of Uniformity of Charles II., it was ordered that Heads and Fellows of Colleges, Professors, lecturers, and tutors should be required to declare their unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. The century and a-half after the Act of Uniformity was the darkest and dreariest period in the history of the Universities. They became a by-word, not only in England but on the Continent. They were the home of Jacobite Toryism; they published declarations against civil and religious liberty—on one occasion in such language that the declaration was ordered to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman, and that order came from the House of Lords. Of educational work, there was little or none, and religion showed its presence chiefly by those libations of port wine of which Gibbon preserved so keen a recollection. From the beginning of the present century things began to change. The Church monopoly began to be destroyed in the University and elsewhere; slowly and by degrees the nation began to revindicate its own, learning to return, and public opinion to make its force felt. The tests and restrictions excluding Dissenters from the Universities began to be relaxed. The work needed only the vote of the House that night in support of this Bill to make it complete. He would now proceed to the case of the Colleges, the position of which he was the more anxious to discuss separately, because the arguments which justified the interference of the State with them, were totally different from those which justified the interference of the State with the Universities. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University raised the whole 1212 question of the origin of the Colleges. The Universities, he said, were originally State institutions; but the Colleges were the result of private benefactions, and, in this, he was right. They might be divided into two classes—the pre-Reformation and the post-Reformation endowments. The former were the work of Roman Catholics, the latter of Protestants in nearly all cases. Emmanuel College was, he believed, a Puritan foundation. If, then, they were to legislate by founders' wills, they must give back the greater part of these endowments to the Catholics. But were they prepared to do that? He hardly thought so. He was aware that it was sometimes argued that the present Church of England was the original Church of the country, and the Church of Rome the seceding Church. Assuming that the persons who used that argument were serious, it might be pointed out that it only showed that the Colleges founded before the Reformation were founded by Dissenters, and were none the less their property for all that. But it did not appear to him that the argument from founders' wills was a valid one in any case. He would wish, in this question, to start from a far broader principle than the interpretation of founders' wills. It was that after the lapse of a certain time the State had a right to interfere with the manner in which corporate property and endowments for charitable purposes were held. Upon this point he would quote an extract from Mr. Mill's writings were it not that he knew anything written by Mr. Mill would not be acceptable to hon. Gentlemen opposite. The present Lord Chancellor, however, to whose opinion they would, perhaps, listen, in his evidence before the Schools Inquiry Commission, said—I entertain very strong opinions about the dispositions people are allowed generally to make of their property by way of charity. I think there ought to be a power of revision after the time which has been specified (00 years), a power of revision of any disposition a person may choose to make of his property, because you do not allow a man to dispose of his property in favour of his great grandchildren; he cannot do it for more than a life in being, and 21 years after that. That reasonable limit, he ought to be allowed, of course, for any fancy or whim he may have; but to allow a man to dispose for ever of a mass of property according to his crude notions of what he thinks best by way of charity for all time seems to me most unreasonable …1213I think there ought to be the power of absolute gift for the limited time, but after a limited time—the life in being and 21 years afterwards, there should be a power of revising every charity whatever.Lord Stanley: May I ask how far you would carry that power of revision? Would you carry it so far as to allow the Courts to make a totally different provision from that which the founder intended, or would you only extend the doctrine of cy près?Vice-Chancellor Wood: I confess I go the whole length of saying that they should have that power; it should be a public charity.Two conditions, then, were to justify this interference—its utility should be fully shown, and what might be presumed to be the intention of the founder were he now alive should, if possible, be observed. Now, he held that the Bill under discussion kept these two conditions in sight. The expediency of throwing open these Colleges to the nation might be supported on the following grounds:—That they had a monopoly of the highest education of the country; that it was to the general interest of the country that the greatest number of Englishmen should receive the benefit of this higher education; and that this was impossible as long as religious tests were in force, stigmatizing one-half of the nation with the badge of social and academical inferiority. When the right hon. Gentleman referred to the Colleges, that part of his speech which related to them reminded him of some verses of the Laureate's, called The Poet's Mind. In those verses he represented some singer addressing a person, whom by poetical licence, he supposed, he called a "dark-browed sophist;" and he told that much-abused person that he sincerely hoped he would keep out of the garden, because should he by any misfortune get in the flowers would die, the leaves would wither, the birds would cease to sing, and the fountain, which was supplied from a heavenly source, would shrink into the earth. In the same manner the right hon. Gentleman and his friends planted themselves at the doors of the Colleges, and said—"Let no one enter here who is not acquainted with the elements of Anglican theology." They went on, moreover, to say that should such persons succeed in entering learning would perish, religion would die, the arts vanish away, and the sciences be no-where to be seen. He would leave the House to judge whether they believed 1214 that the sketch of the history of the University would lead them to think that the interests of true religion, of; the arts, and of the sciences, were inseparably bound up with those of the Church. The presumed intention of the founders was defended by this Bill, because the University and College funds were not alienated from educational uses. Their bequests were made in an age when education was inseparable from religion. This was no longer the case. Again, these tests were futile. On this subject, he had no wish to intrude personal experience upon the attention of the House; at the same time he might venture to say, after a nearly five years' residence in the University of Cambridge, that he found nothing like that unanimity on religious topics which the right hon. Gentleman opposite supposed to exist there. Mr. Goldwin Smith, a good authority on this matter, declared from his experience that those University Tests had altogether failed to secure the objects for which they had been framed. But he should be told there was an alternative scheme as regarded the Colleges. Lord Carnarvon had an alternative scheme, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Spencer Walpole) had an alternative scheme; but he (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) confessed that he received anything in the shape of an alternative scheme with suspicion. They only heard of these so-called alternative schemes when a Bill was introduced to liberalize the Universities. They were the Mrs. Harris of University politics. It would be time enough to discuss alternative schemes when they were before the House embodied in Resolutions or in a Bill. Now, with respect to the subject of religious education at the Universities, they were often told that the necessary consequence of the Bill was to destroy the distinctive religious education of the Universities; but those who employed that argument had to prove, not the existence of a religious education, but of a religious education after the doctrines of the Church of England. At Cambridge none such existed; at Oxford there was an examination on the Thirty-nine Articles for the B.A. degree, and if the Bill before the House destroyed that examination he should be heartily glad of it. As regarded religious education generally he was not 1215 aware that any such existed at Oxford; at Cambridge it was represented by Paley's Evidences of Christianity, a book which he believed many orthodox persons regarded as a dangerous and wicked book. Whatever religious education could be said to be secured by penal attendance at chapel was protected, by this Bill. It was, therefore, unfair to say that it interfered with the religious education of the University. In the remarks which he had addressed to the House he had attempted to show that the nation, in nationalizing the University, was reentering on its own lost property, and that in throwing open the Colleges it was acting on principles which all enlightened legislation should recognize, and that its action would in no way interfere with the interest of true religious education, for the good reason that there was little or no religious education to interfere with. He felt that he had done but insufficient justice to the cause which he had ventured to support; but he felt, too, that his cause had an intrinsic worth of its own which could not be injured by the inefficiency of its supporters. He asked whether, in this age, when the study of philosophy, law, history, and science was taking the place in University education formerly occupied by the dead languages, anybody believed that it was possible to bind men's minds by the bonds of orthodoxy and clerical supremacy? The conscience of the nation had long since condemned religious tests; it had ordered the belief in them to be classed with those beliefs of which Lord Macaulay spoke, when he said that they had long since been abandoned by statesmen to aldermen, by aldermen to clergymen, by clergymen to old women, and by old women to Sir Harcourt Lees. Sir Harcourt Lees, whoever he was, abandoned them to that Boanerges of obstruction, Mr. Burgon, of Oriel College, and the Oxford country clergy, who played so memorable a part in an election some years ago; but he did not abandon them to the Members of this House, who, he (Lord Edmond Fitz-maurice) felt, would deal a deathblow to a system which, for so many years had been the bane of the Church of England, the English nation, and the English Universities.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, he trusted he might be permitted, as one interested in 1216 that famous political debating society in which the last speaker had previously distinguished himself, to congratulate the Cambridge Union on having given another ornament to the House in the person of the noble Lord who had addressed it. He had no desire to prolong a controversy which had been conducted in a very conciliatory spirit, but admitted of no solution, as far as the basis of agitation on one side or of opposition on the other was concerned. Those who brought forward this measure might be truly of opinion that in doing so they were only carrying out Liberal principles; but they must concede to the other side of the House that they opposed it because they considered it to be an invasion of the rights of property, and an attempt to secularize property which had been devoted to religious purposes. Between the two there was a great gulf fixed, which he would not be rash enough to attempt to bridge; but, at all events, it was well worth considering how the Universities of this country might best be fitted to perform the task which had been and was still to be assigned to them. Was religion still to be taught in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge? There was a small party in the House, and a smaller one in the country, who thought that religion should not be taught at all, and with them he did not attempt to argue; but there was another party who looked upon religion in education as an extra—something that, in a ladies' school, would be paid for in addition, like "Shakespeare and the Musical Glasses." They were willing to allow theology to be studied by those members of a University who, either of their own accord or because their parents wished it, were addicted to the amiable weakness of that study; but they thought it should be in addition to, and not included in, the University curriculum—although this, too, was an opinion which he believed was not largely held. The House had some reason to complain that it was left in doubt as to what was the actual position of the Government with regard to this question, for they had given no less than three different indications of the policy which they thought ought to be adopted in dealing with the religious education of the country. In the Endowed Schools Act they legislated on one principle, in the Elementary Education Bill they pro- 1217 posed another, and they had differed from both in dealing with the University of Dublin. The House was thus left to ascertain, from putting together the utterances of various Ministers, what was the opinion of the Government with regard to religious instruction; but it must, at all events, come to the conclusion that, although they were not prepared to recommend it distinctly and positively, the Government were not prepared to discourage it altogether. Members might be sure that the parents of this country, in sending their sons to the Universities, which they did in many instances to prepare them for entering the Church of England, would still be strongly of opinion that religion should form an integral part of the instruction which was given them there. If the Universities were to teach religion, what religion were they to teach, and by whom was it to be taught? In that Bill there was no security provided that the Professors of Divinity in the University of Cambridge should be persons who held the opinions of the Church of England, with the single exception, of the Regius Professor. If the Universities or the Colleges were to be entrusted with the education of the future ministers of the Church, surely Churchmen had a right to insist that the religious teaching given should be such as would fit those future ministers for the performance of their duties? If religious education was to be entrusted to any body of men, there ought to be some security that they were capable of imparting it in a satisfactory manner. It was the fashion of some in that House, and many out of it, to lay little stress on religious education in our Universities; and the noble Lord who had just spoken had told them that the only medium for religious instruction at Cambridge was a book which he described as dangerous and wicked. It had been a source of danger to others as well as to the noble Lord. But, putting aside Paley, in every College, and certainly in that to which the noble Lord belonged, the Greek Testament was a book of constant study, and he was at a loss to know how the noble Lord could have obtained his degree without having-studied it. There was some reason, on the low ground of expediency, apart from principle, that adequate provision should be made for the best education in religious matters. If a man wished 1218 his son to enter the Army, he would not send him to study in the office of the Board of Works; or, if he wished him to be a physician, he would not send him to an engineer, but secure the best education of the particular description of profession his son was destined to follow. A singular disposition had been shown on all sides to deal with that subject on à priori grounds, and we had shut our eyes to the experience of foreign countries similarly placed to ourselves. Without going into the question of foreign Universities generally, it might be useful to observe what had been the practice in those of Belgium. There were four Universities in Belgium—one at Liege, and another at Ghent which were controlled by the Government, and two others, at Brussels and Louvain, which were not. The first two of those Universities received an annual subsidy from the State, in consequence of which the Government claimed a right to interfere and direct their discipline. To the University of Louvain nothing was given by the Government, and with it neither the Government nor the Legislature pretended to interfere. The University of Brussels received a subsidy from the town; but the Town Council did not control its discipline, and it was the most free-thinking University in the world. Louvain was a Roman Catholic University altogether; it was governed by the Bishops and clergy, and was devoted to the training of young men for the priesthood, and to the education of the sons of the Roman Catholic families throughout the country. The scholarships were given equally between all the four Universities, and were just as tenable by students who went to Louvain as by those who went to the other Universities. The Governing Body of Louvain were left to appoint such Professors and adopt such measures as they thought proper to secure the special education which those who sent their sons there desired, and to which they had a right. He did not say that the teaching or the discipline at Louvain was such as he wished to see adopted in England; but if, in a free country like Belgium, it had been found desirable to give a University like Louvain the liberty of inculcating the Roman Catholic religion if it thought proper, it seemed rather a hard thing that those who belonged to the Established Church of England were to be left without an 1219 University or College to which, they could send, their sons, with an adequate security that they would be educated and trained as they desired. The Parliamentary position of this question was very different now from what it was last year, and he would remind the House that those who now brought in this Bill voted against the compulsory clauses in 1869. In the debate on the measure of last year they had a very interesting speech from the hon. Member for Whitby (Mr. W. H. Gladstone), who said he supported the Bill because he believed it would produce very little effect. He was curious to know how the hon. Gentleman would vote this year, seeing that the authors of the present Bill admitted that it would produce a very considerable effect. In his opinion, while they were justified in legislating for the improvement of the Universities, they were not justified in ignoring the pious objects of the founders. In conclusion, the supporters of the Bill might say that the property which those on his side believed to be private property was not so—that the foundations which they held to be religious might be secularized by the State; but they were bound to consider this practical point, that as long as the Universities were to teach religion they ought to have ample securities that religion should be adequately taught; and they were bound so to legislate as not to defeat the highest and noblest objects for which those institutions existed.
§ MR. SARTORIS
said, in spite of the charges of violent and hasty legislation brought against the Government, he regarded that Bill as a very remarkable instance of that reluctance to touch, even with a view to improve, a time-honoured institution, which was a strong feature of the national character, and which sometimes went by the name of Conservative wisdom and sometimes by that of Tory obstinacy. A very considerable interval had elapsed before that Bill attained its present form, the learned Solicitor General and the right, hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Bouverie) having, to use a military phrase, conducted the campaign from separate bases of operations. In 1869 they combined their forces, and the University Tests Bill of last Session received the assent of that House by a very large majority. It then went to the House of Lords. It 1220 was not his intention to dwell in any spirit of bitterness or hostility on the reception it received there; but the usual consequences followed. The Bill of last year offered a fair compromise, as it was of a permissive kind; but nevertheless it was not accepted by the House of Peers, and the natural result was that a more sweeping and decided measure was now submitted to the consideration of Parliament. This Bill might be considered in a two-fold aspect—first, as it affected the Universities themselves, and secondly, as it affected the Church of England. With regard to the Universities, the immediate result would be to admit a very few Nonconformists to the good things in their gift. Now the admission of Dissenters, who, as a body, were honest, hardworking, and self-denying men, would be most beneficial to our Universities. At the same time, as the representative of a county (Carmarthenshire) where the Dissenters were in the majority, he was bound to say that he was acquainted with their defects. Perhaps they might have something of that exclusiveness which belonged to strong belief and earnest conviction, and also somewhat of that touchy suspiciousness which we were wont to ascribe to our American cousins. But might we not ourselves be answerable for many of these faults of our Dissenting brethren? We had held them at arm's length on account of their religious belief, and now we were prone to taunt them with defects which resulted from such treatment. It was his firm belief that a decided benefit would be conferred both on the Nonconformists and the clergy of the Church of England if a free intercourse took place between them, in the direction of infusing into the clergy of the Church of England more earnestness and zeal, and greater simplicity of manners and life; while the few Dissenters who would enter might receive useful lessons as to learning, refinement, and general culture. He did not apprehend that any danger would proceed from the quarter in which the opponents of the measure supposed it to exist. Danger was much more likely to be found in those ill-fated counsels which would persuade the Church to restrict herself within the narrow and immutable bounds of creeds and formularies, instead of relying on that elasticity and power of expansion which was 1221 one of her most precious attributes. Let the Church open her gates, and she would receive accessions from all quarters of Christianity; whereas if she closed them, she would resemble one of those great cities of the Middle Ages which were now deserted, although they remained beautiful in their decay. This measure, far from being injurious to the Church, would actually be greatly beneficial to it; for, at the present crisis, in the religious history of the world it was the interest of all Protestants to unite in order to resist the encroachments of Roman Catholicism, and to maintain the right of private judgment against the pretensions of infallibility. He admired those who struggled with their doubts and difficulties. In the words of the most popular of our living poets—There lives more faith in honest doubt,Believe me, than in half the creeds.He trusted hon. Members, instead of looking at this question through the distorted medium of party politics, or of religious zeal and intolerance, would cooperate in passing a measure, the immediate results of which might, indeed, be slight as compared with the vastness of the interests and principles involved in it; but which would proclaim to the public the determination of the Legislature to uphold the principle of religious liberty by the total abolition of tests and subscriptions.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
said, he thought that those in that House who were charged with the duty of guarding the interests of the old Universities had some reason to complain of the manner in which the question had been treated that evening by the Members of Her Majesty's Government. It was true; that the Solicitor General made a speech on moving the second reading; but he prefaced it with what was almost an apology for making any remarks. This was followed by a long, calm, argumentative, and exhaustive speech from his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Spencer Walpole), dissecting the Bill and dealing with it in detail, and he maintained that the right hon. Gentleman's speech ought to receive an answer from some Member of the Government. The House would recollect the position they were placed in with regard to this question. He was ready frankly to admit that, as the Solicitor General had said, a question which 1222 had been discussed during so many years, which had passed this House last Session, and which had been mentioned in the Queen's Speech, was quite ripe for legislative settlement. The only thing to ascertain was what that legislative settlement should be, and why the present proposal was different from that made last year. On these points the House was certainly entitled to call for some explanation on the part of the Cabinet which advised Her Majesty to allude to the subject in the Speech from the Throne. Instead of that, however, a speech which, he admitted, was of marked ability was made by the noble Lord (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice), who was followed by the hon. Member for Carmarthenshire (Mr. Sartoris), while Her Majesty's Government did not condescend to give the House any information as to the principles on which the measure was founded. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down called upon them (the Opposition) to co-operate with the Government in settling that vexed question. How could they do that when the Government had not stated the principles by which they were guided in bringing forward this measure? How could they be expected to co-operate when there was no disposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government to co-operate with them? Objections were made to the Bill of last year, and suggestions were made by a noble Lord in the other House (the Earl of Carnarvon) which might have been made the basis of a satisfactory measure. Again, representations were made to the Government during the autumn, and yet this was the Bill which the Universities were asked to accept. What were the Universities to have in return for the concessions they were called upon to make? They were told that the Bill contained safeguards; but what were they? The first was in the Preamble, which set out with this statement—Whereas it is expedient that the benefits of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, and of the colleges and halls now subsisting therein, as places of religion and learning, should be rendered freely accessible to the nation.Those words were introduced into the Bill of last year by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Richmond, and they had a meaning when used in connection with the clause introduced by 1223 his hon. and learned Friend; but, as adopted by the Solicitor General, and coupled with the provisions of the Bill now before the House, they were a delusion and a mockery, because the spirit of that portion of the Preamble was not carried out in the clauses of the Bill. Was the 5th clause in keeping with it? That clause repealed several Acts, the names of which were given in the Schedule, and also all Acts of Parliament and all statutes and ordinances of the Universities or Colleges which were inconsistent with the Bill. As to the reservations provided for in the Bill, they were small and unimportant if not illusory. They had been told by the Solicitor General that they were not to talk of the wills of founders. But he would remind the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government of what took place only 16 short years ago when a Bill was introduced by the Government of which he was a Member, and became law, in which deference was paid to the intentions of "founders and benefactors." In two lines of the present Bill all the statutes and ordinances which were retained in the University Reform measure of 1854 were entirely swept away. The main intentions of the founders, both of the pre-Reformation and post-Reformation periods, were disregarded in the measure, which was, in short, of a revolutionary character. As to arguments based on pre - Reformation grants, he would observe that a gentleman who signed himself "One of the People and a Non-University Man" had prepared a table, which showed what very large amounts the post-Reformation grants to Colleges amounted to. Of the 19 Colleges of Oxford University six were founded since the Reformation; while as regarded the other Colleges, a large proportion of the endowments were made within the last 300 years. So far, therefore, to the extent probably of one-half of the present value of the endowments, the pre-Reformation argument had, in reality, no foundation. He thought those who sat on his side of the House had a right to ask why the present Bill was more compulsory and coercive than any that had ever been proposed before? Last year his hon. and learned Friend did not attempt to go so far as he now proposed to go with respect to the Colleges. Those who opposed this Bill said that it made the 1224 greatest and most vital change in the Universities that could be made, and that it was brought before them in such a shape that it was quite impossible for them to agree to the second reading. In reference to the question which the House had to decide, he would quote words used by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) in the debate on the Tests Abolition (Oxford) Bill, on the 14th of June, 1865—words to which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman still adhered—The question is, whether the religion of the Church of England, or of some Church, and the recognition of that religion in the system of the University, is necessary in order to enable the University to perform its teaching work and to exercise its proper influence upon the character as a part of the discipline of life. This is not a mere question as between the clergy and laity—it is no question of conflict between the Church and State; but of the convictions commonly entertained by religious parents concerning the kind of education and training to which they desire to submit their children. In my opinion parents have the strongest feeling on the subject. There is no separation here analogous to that which divides this House. Nay, more, I go further and say there is no separation analogous to that which divides religious denominations, for the professors of the several religious creeds in this country are alike anxious for the instruction of their children in the specific tenets they profess."—[3 Hansard, clxxx. 219.]It had recently been said out-of-doors, and in that House, that in elementary schools, where those to be instructed were of tender age, definite and distinctive religious instruction might be dispensed with. However that might be, if they were to have religion taught in our Universities at all, the religious teaching must be definite and distinctive, because with young men whose education was highly advanced, and whose intellectual powers were fully developed, the religious teaching must be clear, precise, and defined. Hitherto students had been in the habit of meeting in the same chapel, and receiving the same religious instruction from the same teacher, and the best results had followed. But the inevitable consequence of the introduction of the principle on which this Bill was founded would either be constant wrangling about religion, or the complete secularization of the Universities. As the proposed change was so great and so vital, he hoped the Government would give some further reason for the change, and some further explanation of the principles of the Bill.
There is something a little discouraging in the terms in which the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Mowbray) has invited us to enter into this discussion. The way in which he criticizes the Bill is this—He examines the Preamble, and therein he finds words which he himself says recognize the Colleges as being places of religion and learning. He admits that those words had something of a reassuring character when proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond; but, now that they have been adopted by the Solicitor General, and that they appear under our auspices in a measure which we hope to carry, in his opinion they have lost all their virtue; and he considers himself entitled to set them down as equivalent to nothing in the sense of a guarantee. I am sure, however, that the right hon. Gentleman will give them a fair and a reasonable interpretation; and, on the other hand, I fully admit the right hon. Gentleman's right to ask from us an explanation of the principles and the objects of the Bill, and of the changes which have been introduced into it since last year, and a reply to the specific objections taken by himself and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Spencer Walpole). As regards the general objects of the Bill, as my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General has very distinctly described, it leaves the Colleges to the operation of the statutes, those statutes depending for their shape at the present time, and for the modifications which they may undergo from time to time hereafter, upon the joint action of certain powers. Those powers will be, on the one hand, the members for the time being of these venerable corporations, and, on the other hand, the political authority entrusted by Parliament to control that action. The proceedings that may be taken in the exercise of those powers, as the Solicitor General contends to-night—and, as I think, most justly contends—are sure, humanely speaking, to be a fair representation of the public opinion of the country. If the Church of England retains that place in the convictions and in the affection of the country which many of us believe, which the Solicitor General believes, and which, I for one, believe she now holds, that will be her 1226 security for retaining an adequate influence and position in the Universities. But, on the other hand, should the day ever arrive when—happily as some may think, but unhappily as I should say—the Church of England, either through her demerits, her divisions, or through any other cause loses that position in the convictions and the affections of the country, it would be of no avail for us to surround her with the factitious barrier of statutes; because, by taking such a course, we should be doing nothing more than raising a new subject of contention, of which the progress might be gradual but the issue would be certain, because such statutes would inevitably give way before the pressure of the altered sentiments of the nation. But, while in dealing with these institutions with the view to giving the full effect to the principles of religious liberty and equality within the Universities and the Colleges, we are only doing that which the most sagacious opponents of concession foresaw must result from concession when once it was commenced, we are by no means doing that which in any degree tends to bring about the cessation of definite religious teaching in the Colleges. It is perfectly true that, under this Bill, religious teaching in the Colleges may no longer be confined to the doctrines of the Church of England, and that this Bill will remove the last obstacle to the foundation of institutions in Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham Universities, within the walls of which Professors and teachers of other forms of religious belief may propagate their own opinions. It is possible that, under the operation of this Bill, religion in the Colleges may be various—that it shall be free is the object of the Bill. That it shall cease to be definite, that it shall cease to correspond with sincere and heartfelt conviction, may be the apprehension of the right hon. Gentleman; but it is not the necessary, the legitimate, or the natural result of a measure such as this. The right hon. Gentleman says that what was effected by the Bill introduced 16 years ago, which became an Act of Parliament, and in which we professed to respect the main designs of the founders of the Colleges in Oxford, with regard to the subject of religion, is now about to be swept away. Here, surely, there is an over-statement 1227 of the facts of the case; because the effect of the Bill will not be to destroy those provisions which the statutes of the Colleges may continue for religious worship, discipline, and teaching, except only as far as they conflict with the principle of religious equality by the imposition of religious tests. I presume that the 4th clause in the Bill, the clause of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond—for it substantially is his clause—cannot have lost all its virtue by the fact of its having passed through the mind of the Solicitor General, and that the religious instruction, worship, and discipline of the Church of England are fully recognized by the Bill as far as they do not conflict with the great principles of religious equality. [Mr. GATHORNE HARDY: But Clause 4 is followed by Clause 5.] I am not aware that Clause 5 has the smallest effect upon Clause 4. The effect of Clause 5 is merely to repeal statutes which conflict with the provisions of the Bill, and I am reminded that a similar clause was included in the Bill of last year. Now, let us look at the points taken up by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge. In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman said that he thought he was justified in treating this measure as an indication that the views of Her Majesty's Government on the subject of the proximate disestablishment of the Church of England had undergone a change, and that that event will be attempted to be brought about much sooner than was expected, because the period for such an attempt was, at any rate, practically and sensibly approaching. In that supposition the right hon. Gentleman is very much in error. The state of the Notice Book for to-morrow promises such ample opportunities for an expression of our opinions upon the subject of disestablishment that I need only ask the right hon. Gentleman to confide in us for 24 hours, by which time we shall probably have declared our opinions upon more than one subject of great interest, more immediately connected with disestablishment than the present one, and the result of that declaration of our opinions will, I trust, be somewhat to calm the apprehensions of the right hon. Gentleman, not, perhaps, as regards this Bill, but as to any ulterior designs which we may be supposed to entertain respecting 1228 the Church of England. The right hon. Gentleman says that all suggestions in mitigation of this Bill have been rejected, while everything that tends to enhance its stringency has been accepted. I ask whether that is an accurate statement of the case? What is the main change that the Bill has undergone since it was introduced last year? It is this—that it contains an absolute and universal repeal of that clause of the Act of Uniformity which imposes tests, instead of leaving it to Colleges, by their own separate action, to pass beyond the operation of that clause. Can that be said to be a change in the sense of giving greater stringency to the Bill? It certainly gives greater effect and wider scope to the Bill. It gives to the Bill a character of settlement which, without that change it, could not have possessed; but will my right hon. Friend say that as regards that one great, and as I admit very important change, the Bill is, in its present form, more repugnant to the general body of the University than it was in its previous form? I doubt very much whether he will make that assertion.
§ MR. SPENCER WALPOLE
I am quite willing to admit that; but it was not to that point that I was addressing myself when I was moving the rejection of the measure.
I am glad to find that I quite understood the meaning of the right hon. Gentleman upon the matter; but what I am desirous of pointing out is, that the main change that has been made in the Bill, though it is one which very greatly widens and fortifies it, is yet not such a change as is unacceptable to the members of the Universities and of the Colleges as compared with the previous optional form of the Bill. The members of the Universities and of the Colleges felt—and I think wisely felt—that the optional form of the Bill appearing to confer upon them great power did, in effect, threaten them with internal feuds and factions which would have proved most menacing to their existence and efficiency as learned and literary bodies; and I must own, speaking in me capacity of a Member of Parliament, I never could see that it was wise and just to permit those persons, who might from time to time happen to be the Fellows of the Colleges, to determine questions so vital and important as 1229 the religious character to be stamped upon the Colleges. Therefore, I contend that the change which has been introduced into the Bill is not one which can be regarded as being adverse to the views or to the sense of those whom the right hon. Gentleman represents. With regard to the Saving Clause, whatever its operation may be, that remains the same as it was last year. With regard to the headships of Colleges, I do not apprehend that that is a provision of any great importance; but it is a provision of reservation, at all events. The manner in which that clause came into the Bill was this—Those within the University of Cambridge who were favourable to the general scope of the Bill came before the Government, and represented that they had agreed among themselves upon a certain basis, which included the reservation that the headships of Colleges were not to come under the operation of the Bill. Those who generally concurred with them at Oxford entered into the same understanding, and it was upon that representation that the provision was introduced into the Bill. It is, at any rate, a provision in the direction that the right hon. Gentleman would desire we should take. There are some other objections which have been urged by my right hon. Friend which I feel called upon to notice. He says that the Universities and Colleges are mixed up together in a manner which is inconvenient, whereas, in the Bill of last year, they were kept distinct. So far, however, as the Government is concerned, I can only say that this mixing of the two is no portion of the essence of their plan, and in Committee there can be no objection, if the right hon. Gentleman desires it, to discuss these points separately. Then my right hon. Friend contends—and this is a very important contention—that the endowments of Colleges ought, in general, to be considered as private endowments. Now, that is a proposition to which we are not able in any manner to accede. We cannot accede to it in the present Bill, any more than we could have acceded to it in the measure of last year. It is impossible, I think, that endowments which were made before the Reformation—or after the Reformation—at the time when the parties wishing to endow had no choice given them between one religious communion and another, can be regarded 1230 as having been finally or absolutely appropriated, by the wills of the founders, to the purpose of one communion after the policy of the State had been altered, and rival communions became entitled to claim equal civil rights. I know that there is a portion of the property of the Colleges which derives its origin from bequests which have been made since religious liberty, in its main outline, was established; and since all religions were allowed, at any rate, to exist under the protection of the law. That portion is, however, a very limited portion; and if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to raise a question with regard to it, and to extract the limited benefactions which might be fairly supposed to have been given by the founders with a specific choice in favour of the Church of England, as compared with other religious communions existing at the same time, it is open to him to do so. We have not thought it worth while to draw any distinction of the kind; and, even from the right hon. Gentleman's own point of view, it is a distinction which ought to be urged in Committee on the Bill. But to affix generally the character of private endowments to the possessions of the Colleges, is a demand which I hardly think my right hon. Friend himself would persistently advance, on account of the course taken by Parliament in an Act of great importance, which undoubtedly comprises principles more or less applicable to the present discussion—I allude to the Endowed Schools Act of 1869. My right hon. Friend has referred to that Act, and based an argument upon what was then done. Now, two reservations were made in that Act. One was in the case of schools maintained out of the revenues of cathedrals, and the other in the case of schools where the founder had indicated a particular religious denomination which he wished to be benefited by his endowment. But suppose my right hon. Friend were to take the principle of the Endowed Schools Act, and to apply it to the Bill before the House in Committee, how very small a proportion of the property of the Colleges would be brought within its scope. Certainly, until the passing of the Toleration Act, and possibly until a later period, it would be impracticable for my right hon. Friend to urge an argument to show that the founder of a particular endowment had 1231 the Church of England in his view, because, until that time, other religions were not recognized or permitted by the law. As to other endowments, which may be said to have received a more special recognition with regard to the Church of England, the proper time to consider them is not the present, when we are proposing to do away with Parliamentary restrictions—but at the moment when the alteration in the statutes is to be proposed. When that alteration in the statutes is about to be proposed, it is perfectly open to the parties to make that quotation from Lord Brougham, which my right hon. Friend has made to-night—the amount of the force and relevancy of which I cannot attempt to define. But those endowments are not detached from the Church of England by the present Bill further than this—that Parliamentary restraint is removed from the enjoyment of them by others than those who belong to that Church. If my right hon. Friend thinks that more than that can be done, the point is one which does not touch the second reading of the Bill, and which may be much more suitably debated when we come to discuss the clauses of the Bill in Committee. My right hon. Friend then went on to contend that some special and peculiar privilege was about to be conferred on Roman Catholics by the operation of this measure, inasmuch as the Bill proposes to repeal the special disabilities under which Roman Catholics now labour with regard to access to the Universities and Colleges. It would have been most unjust, in my opinion, to leave those disabilities in existence at the time when we were breaking down other barriers and opening the Universities and Colleges, as to their endowments, to the members of other persuasions. But then my right hon. Friend says that a Roman Catholic priest in Holy Orders is not a layman, and will not be excluded by sub-Section 1 from the enjoyment of certain offices connected with the Established Church. That is perfectly true, so far as sub-Section 1 is concerned; but sub-Section 2 says—Nothing in this section shall open any office (not being an office mentioned in this section) to any person who is not a member of the Church of England, where such office is at the passing of this Act confined to members of the said Church by reason of any such degree as aforesaid being a qualification for holding that office.1232 Now, in the opinion of the framers of this Bill, that completely meets the case, for, undoubtedly, it would be absurd that, by virtue of Roman Catholic orders, a Roman Catholic priest should be admitted to clerical offices, from which Nonconforming teachers of other classes were excluded. But this, again, is a question for the Committee. I cannot help now saying a few words on the general character of the speeches delivered by both the right hon. Gentlemen opposite; because I find, although they are entirely in opposition to the second reading of this Bill, that, partly by what they contain, and partly by what they do not contain, they open to us a more sensible prospect of a disposition towards the settlement of this question than I have yet observed in any declarations which have come from that quarter. My right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge dealt frankly and ably with the subject. He said that he and those whom he represented would be content to settle this question with proper safeguards. He did not distinctly bind or pledge himself to any statement as to what those safeguards were to be. That is a matter on which he will, probably, give us some explanation in Committee. But this I observe, that he does not, either explicitly or by implication, bind himself to resist any settlement of the question simply on the ground that it is necessary to maintain any religious test of any kind for the enjoyment of Fellowships and offices in the Universities. No such declaration as that was contained in my right hon. Friend's speech; and all I can say is, that if he thinks the time has come when a settlement may be arrived at on the basis of the removal of all such tests, that may be used as an argument to show that he ought not to resist the second reading of the Bill, and it would certainly induce us to enter into the consideration of this Bill in Committee with hopes more sanguine than I have hitherto been able to entertain. If my right hon. Friend has come to this conclusion, he has come to a conclusion exactly in accordance with that which was shadowed out by Sir Robert Peel in a speech full of forethought which he delivered in 1834—the first year in which the question of the admission of Dissenters to the Universities was raised in Parliament. Sir Robert 1233 Peel resisted the Motion, and argued the matter with great care and pains as to the connection between that first step and the steps which were to follow. He showed that it was impossible to admit Dissenters to education at the Universities without admitting them to degrees; that it was impossible to admit them to degrees without admitting them to government; and impossible to admit them to government without admitting them to emoluments. He said—"He would then put it to the right hon. Gentleman"—the late Earl of Derby, I believe—"to say—How he could upon his own principles refuse the claim of the Dissenter to a collegiate advantage not necessarily connected with ecclesiastical affairs. By what right could he establish such an invidious distinction on a matter merely of civil benefit and advantage? To his mind it did appear infinitely more rational and consistent to proceed according to the recommendation of the hon. Member for Leeds" (Mr. Baines, father of the present Member) "and grant to the Dissenters a full and equal participation in all the advantages of the Universities not necessarily of an ecclesiastical or spiritual character.Now, that argument has been tested by the conflict of 36 years. We began by admitting Dissenters to education. The University of Cambridge did that before Parliament interfered at all. It was then found impossible not to admit them to degrees. Having admitted them to degrees, I must say that their admission to governing faculties must follow; but of all points on which to take a stand and make a resistance to their claims the least tenable and the most unsatisfactory, it appears to me, is to say that to them—"We will allow you to be taught; we will allow you to teach; we will admit you to degrees and to government; but we will not allow you to touch the emoluments." I must say, for every interest concerned, that we do well to avoid intrenching ourselves, or encouraging the Church of England to intrench itself, upon a ground the sole effect of which would be to give a bitter and sordid character to this controversy. The declaration of Sir Robert Peel was sound when he said that this question had better be treated upon a ground that would uniformly meet the whole case and put an end to contention—the ground of substantial equality as far as every personal privilege is concerned. That argument and that opinion have been completely confirmed by the expe- 1234 rience we have had for one generation; and the last confirmation it has received, and perhaps the most emphatic, is that contained in the speech of my right hon. Friend himself, if I am right in the construction I have presumed to put upon it—namely, that he is convinced it would be wise, if practicable, with safeguards, of what character I know not precisely, to settle this question on the basis of the withdrawal of every religious test which forms a barrier to the free and equal personal enjoyment of all except purely ecclesiastical and spiritual offices by the subjects of Her Majesty, irrespective of religious professions.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
I can echo the concluding portions of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. I trust that no argument has been, or will be, addressed to the House upon this subject involving money considerations. I believe no such consideration has been in the minds of those who have been acting for the Universities against the Bill. On the contrary, in all the alternative schemes put forward on behalf of the Universities the question of money has never entered, and the matter has been discussed only as regards the principle involved. Before going further, let me congratulate the House upon the accession to its Members of one (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) who does so much credit to the University where he resided, as he tells us, for five years. Whatever the University may have done with regard to those beliefs for which he showed so much contempt, at least it has sharpened his wits. Some observations personal to myself which he made, I can easily pass over, especially as they are founded on an entire misconception, which I think I can now put right. The noble Lord, referring to an election which I hoped had been forgotten, spoke in contemptuous language of Mr. Burgon's beliefs. Now, it is perfectly well known that Mr. Burgon was at that time a supporter of the present First Minister of the Crown, and that, therefore, Mr. Burgon's beliefs represented the beliefs of the right hon. Gentleman at that time. Mr. Burgon was not a supporter of mine, but of the right hon. Gentleman, and whatever may be Mr. Burgon's "beliefs" now, he certainly at the time referred to believed in the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I am 1235 bound to say he has since lost that belief, and that the right hon. Gentleman has lost his support, which has been transferred to me; and I would add that I am very proud of Mr. Burgon's support, for a gentleman of greater wit, ingenuity, vigour of character, honesty, and openness of nature I do not know; and, although he may hold what the noble Lord considers obstructive or bigoted opinions he always expresses them openly, and is never ashamed or unable to defend them at any time or place. I may add that I should have been proud if I had been returned for the University by clerical influence alone; but I find I was honoured by a majority of both lay and clerical votes. I may also explain, before proceeding to deal with the Bill, that the comment I made on my hon. and learned Friend's (the Solicitor General's) speech on the introduction of the Bill, to the effect that he had adopted a less conciliatory tone than formerly, had reference to the manner in which he spoke of the other House of Parliament. I thought he spoke on that occasion of the House of Lords in a manner which was not worthy of him, and not warranted by the circumstances, and which would render it more difficult to come to a settlement than it would have been if he had spoken in a more friendly—I would almost say in a more appreciative—manner of the course which was taken in the other House last year. The fact was, that the Bill went up to the other House at a late period of the Session, and my noble Friend (the Earl of Carnarvon) moved the Previous Question in that House on the Motion for the second reading of this Bill, because he thought it was more courteous so to dispose of it than to reject it by a direct negative, and he did so simply on the ground that there was not sufficient time to consider the various schemes and compromises of this question which had been suggested as alternatives of the Bill, to which he alluded in the course of his speech. I am sure the noble Lord never intended to cast any slight upon this House. I now come to the question of the Bill, and I am glad we can discuss it, as the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has discussed it, in a temper which leaves nothing to be desired as far as this House is concerned. We have heard from the right hon. Gentleman the satisfactory announcement that the Bill is not des- 1236 tined to lead to disestablishment, and that to-morrow night we shall hear the doubt which some have experienced, I trust, summarily disposed of. I was very sorry to hear hon. Gentlemen speak of the Church of Wales, because I myself do not know of any such Church, and I protest against any separation of the Church of England into English and Welsh portions. But the right hon. Gentleman tells us that the only change made in this Bill in the present year is, that whereas it was permissive before it is now compulsory. I have, on former occasions, expressed the opinion that the permissive principle was one of the most objectionable features of the Bill. I have always thought that when this House has made up its mind to do certain things, it had much better do them thoroughly itself, than leave it to other persons to say whether the law should operate or not, especially as the discussion among those concerned would, in nine cases out of 10, give rise to much agitation and ill-feeling, and I have always said that I hardly ever knew of a case in which a permissive Bill did not lead to a compulsory measure of a more disagreeable character than its permissive predecessor. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that the Bill is left in the same condition as last year's, with respect to the protection which it gives the religious character of the Universities. I fail, Sir, to perceive that the clause proposed last year by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Six Roundell Palmer) contained both a reciting and an enacting part. When appealed to, the Solicitor General agreed to insert the reciting clause in the Bill; but refused to insert the enacting part, and so the measure now stands. And here, I may say, that I have never spoken more strongly upon the necessity of maintaining the religious character of our Universities than has the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown himself. From the earliest of these debates he has always maintained that the religious teaching of those establishments ought, by some means or other, to be maintained. In 1864 he asserted that the distinctive teaching of the University and Colleges was to be kept up, and in the hope that some such clauses would be introduced he did not vote on the second reading, and voted against the third reading when he found 1237 his hope was not realized. Last year he still assured us that the distinctive teaching of the Universities should be maintained; but is it maintained by this Bill? Is it likely to be so maintained? Surely not, if the basis of the argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University is correct. The points to which the right hon. Grentleman alluded, in answer to the speech of my right hon. Friend, have been misconceived. I think the Solicitor General himself must admit that Sub-section 2 has nothing to do with offices in the Universities.
THE SOLICITOR GENEEAL
There is foundation for what the right hon. Gentleman has said; it was certainly not intended, and the measure shall be amended.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
Then, with respect to another point. If a Roman Catholic priest were to offer himself for a clerical office he would be eligible. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL: It is not intended.] I will pass from these points, then. I agree that, if a change is to be made in favour of Dissenters, Roman Catholics should be placed in the same position as anyone else; but the 31 Geo. III., to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, is not an Act which prevents a Roman Catholic from becoming a Fellow; it simply prevents him from becoming the head, of a College; and therefore, when you have said that nothing in this Act shall apply to the headships of Colleges, it seems to me strange that you should repeal a section which prevents Roman Catholics from becoming that which the Bill before us does not offer them. I cannot help thinking that the original draught of the Bill did not contain that sub-Section 3, "Nothing in this Act shall apply to the headship of any College." The right hon. Gentleman has told us that this Bill is simply designed to get rid of all Parliamentary tests, and to lay down the principle on which it is understood the Colleges, as well as the Universities, are to act—namely, that in all cases of Fellowships or offices which do not involve the question of Holy Orders—for I put aside for the moment the Heads of Houses—the only test of the fitness of a person who is to be a member shall be his learning, and I presume his morality. Let me take an extreme case. Suppose a man avows himself to be one of those 1238 infidels of the strongest type, who in these days are not satisfied with resting in obscurity, but come forward to teach their opinions openly. If he had learning and morality, I presume it would, under the provisions of this Bill, be absolutely improper to reject him simply on the ground of his infidel opinions. You may reject him on the ground of want of morality, or because you have not confidence in his intellectual attainments; but if his morality and intellectual attainments are admitted, you must place him at once in the position of a teacher without any regard to the doctrine he professes. I have taken an extreme case; but the remark applies to every kind of creed and to the absence of creed. Can you suppose that in small Colleges—where probably the experiment will be tried soonest, you ought to set a man absolutely free, with the authority of the State upon him to teach whatever he thinks proper; and, if so, do you think you have left proper safeguards for the religious instruction of that College? I do not know what course is intended to be taken with regard to the University in the sister country, although I have my suspicions on that subject. We had the other night a discussion respecting the University of Dublin; but no explanation was offered by the Government, although they called upon the House to give them full credit for what they were going to do. Still, they resisted the Motion, which was to the same effect as the present Bill. The object of the Motion was to do away with all tests in the University of Dublin, and this Bill aims at the abolition of tests in the English Universities. Now, what is the Government going to do with the sister University in Ireland? Are they going to say that the denominational system is good for Ireland, but not for England? Are they going to say—"We will give you for the future the power of founding denominational Colleges at Oxford; but they are in themselves so bad that we will destroy the denominational Colleges which at present exist?" Surely that is the most inconsistent and unreasonable course that could be pursued. It is most unreasonable to make the Bill applicable to Worcester College, Oxford, for example, which was founded since the passing of the Act of Toleration, and which, on the Prime Minister's own view, is a purely Church of England foundation, having 1239 been founded at a time when that Church was in its present condition. The same remark applies to Downing College, Cambridge. I do not wish it to be understood, however, that I am fighting only for the post Reformation endowments, and that I am going to give up the pre-Reformation endowments. I said openly last year, and I repeat now, that if the Nonconformists want money and honours and a position equal to that of the Fellows of a College, all that will be granted by the authorities of the University of Oxford, because they recognize the fact that they cannot keep up the position they have hitherto maintained. Looking at the papers before me, I see the declaration of a great number of University men resident in Cambridge and of the majority of the residents in Oxford who oppose this Bill on principle. In particular, a remarkable address has been presented by old Brasenose men to the Fellows and Principal of that College, calling attention to the necessity of opposing the Bill. With respect to the endowments, I claim them all, and I am foolish, perhaps bigoted, enough to claim, also, the continuity of the Church of England which the noble Lord (Lord Edmond Fitz-maurice) seems to dispute. If there is not that continuity, it is a new Church; and if it is a new Church, it is indefensible to many of us. If it is absolutely a new Church, it is not Apostolic, and it is one which many of us could not, on principle, defend as we have done. I maintain, however, that it is not a new Church, and I will cite a Roman Catholic authority—Mr. Arthur Welby Pugin—on this subject. He states that it was owing to the hierarchy and laity of this country that the Church passed through the phase of getting rid of the Papal supremacy. There have, indeed, been alterations made; but we retain, in their integrity, the creeds which existed prior to the Reformation. Does the Church of Rome do so? "Who made the schism?" you may ask. I say it was made by those who adopted additional articles to the Creed at the Council of Trent. Unless the continuity of the Church depends entirely and exclusively on the Papal Supremacy, there have been greater changes in the continuity of the Church of Rome than in the continuity of the Church of England. That is my view, and I say that those things which were vested in the Church 1240 of England should be used for the teaching of her doctrines. As I have already said, I should be ready to make great sacrifices in order to purchase freedom of religious teaching for the Church of England. I admit your right to make the change now proposed. Nobody denies that the Parliament of England has the right. [An hon. MEMBER: The power.] I am not speaking of the morality of the action. You have the right to deal not only with the Church of England, but also with every one of the Dissenting foundations in this country. The argument of the noble Lord was to the effect that no man should be entitled to bind the future further than his own life and twenty-one years afterwards. That, no doubt, is an intelligible principle; but it is one which I think I had better not argue on this occasion. I am acquainted with Mr. Mill's arguments, and I likewise know that one of the Charity Commissioners published a very strong article on the subject, I think in one of the Blue Books at the public cost. I also know that Mr. Hobhouse is much of the same opinion. [An hon. MEMBER: And the Lord Chancellor.] If so, the Lord Chancellor must be in a most painful position, because he must be always administering a law which he exceedingly dislikes. I have no doubt you will find that some of those very excellent Dissenters, who support the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Winterbotham) in all his attacks upon us, will find themselves in another Lobby when questions of this kind are raised. I have always maintained in this House that, whether with regard to elementary, middle-class, or University education, you cannot have true religious teaching unless it is definite and distinct teaching. I admit you may teach a child, say of 10 years old, a great deal without touching upon the very special dogmas of some particular sect; but it is almost impossible to limit yourselves to that. Unsectarian teaching is always fluctuating; whereas definite and distinct teaching is always clear. You know what you are about; and the parents of England who desire their children to receive a religious education are as much interested in the religious character of Universities being preserved as were those who from the Colleges had presented Petitions against the Bill. I cannot at all concur with what the noble 1241 Lord said concerning the religious teaching of the Universities. From my own experience I can admit its being much disregarded in many quarters; but there was also in my time much zeal and earnestness, and many of the teachers exercised a remarkable influence over the young men. In some cases it might be thought that the teaching was tainted by extreme views; but what was then supposed to be excessively High Church is now regarded as "miserable Anglicanism." I take it for granted that my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General will not attempt to prevent the Divinity Professors from teaching a definite and distinct creed. The Bill, I urn aware, does not expressly make an exception in their favour; but, nevertheless, there are canonries attached to those Professorships, the holders of which would, therefore, be practically under the necessity of teaching distinct and definite doctrines. As to general University teaching, that will probably not be touched within this generation; but with respect to Colleges, there is a totally different state of things. I want to know why, if you are to have proper safeguards for religious instruction, common worship is repealed in the Schedule of this Bill? By the Act of Uniformity it is provided that there shall be in the College chapels worship according to the form and doctrines of the Church of England; but for an unknown reason that is now sought to be repealed. That will not help the Dissenter, because you say you mean the same worship and religious teaching to go on. Is it because you wish that there should be in the chapels any other form of worship, without the consent of Parliament—or is it that you wish to have divers kinds of teaching in them—or do you mean to do away altogether with religious teaching, if the Colleges should think fit? Surely you are not giving us any safeguards at all? On the contrary, so long as there is an Established Church, if you lay down the principle that Parliament is not to interfere, is not to legislate with a view of insuring religious teaching in Colleges, you will produce a serious effect; for, as I heard the Lord Chancellor say the other night upon another subject, you cannot lay down a principle in legislation without it having an effect upon the minds of people; if it is seen that Parlia- 1242 ment means to abolish common worship in chapels, or, at all events, does not mean to maintain it, that will inevitably have a secularizing effect. You say that the Church of England is to stand upon her own merits, and is no longer to be propped up; but that is an argument which goes a long way—for, while it may be desirable—nay, necessary—that a Church should stand upon her own merits, she should also retain the advantages which those merits have secured to her. Why you seek to deprive her of those advantages, with a view of increasing her strength and prosperity, I am unable to make out. I hear many hon. Members on the other side of the House say that the Church of England is walking with tottering steps—they propose to take the stick out of her hand, and to endeavour to east her down upon her face. I know it is said—"We only wish to do that as far as Establishment is concerned," for hon. Members always tell us that. I am of opinion that it is of advantage to the State that it should be connected with the Church; I think it a great advantage both to the Church and her teaching that she should be connected with the State; but I believe it to be far more to the advantage of the State than of the Church, and for that I shall be prepared to argue when the time comes, though I hope that will not be soon. Such private and premature attacks as that upon the Church in Wales we need not notice. But my point is now that when you look at those Colleges which have four or five Fellows of strong opinions, although the heads of them may be members of the Church of England, yet they are generally over ruled, and even some of the most eminent men are, if not overruled, obliged to temporize to such an extent that the power of the Fellows is practically supreme. You may have, for instance, in a College "freethinker?," who are as dogmatic as any theologian that ever existed. Scientific men arise with new discoveries, which are done away with by others, and those in their turn are swept away; and when these new discoveries become old and obsolete, and new ones arise to supersede them, these men do notsay—"What fools we have been," nor do they even apologize for their reliance on those discoveries which have so grievously failed to support their conclusions. Every 1243 man seems wanting to teach, and the only checks are those sound old foundations which, at all events, have antiquity on their side, and have union with the whole of Christendom—if not in small things, yet in great—against those men who would, by their so-called discoveries, hastily upset everything which comes into collision with them. I do not wish, in any way, to check the advance of science and of inquiry; but I desire people to wait a little, and not hasten so eagerly to teach us that all we have learnt is bad, and that all they have to tell us is good. The men who hold these opinions will, as a result of this mea sure, obtain Fellowships in the Colleges, and, holding such opinions, will they not carry them out? If they think secular ism in a College will be good, will they not force that secularism upon it? Then, as the right hon. Gentleman says, the only chance of making peace in such a College is to make it purely secular; and, in thus seeking peace, you will make a horrible solitude. Up to this time you have placed religion before learning; but the time is coming when, by the course you are adopting, you must, in justice to the conscientious con victions of these men, yield to that pres sure which they put upon you, and you must subordinate religion to other teaching. That is what this Bill will bring you to. Everyone who has been in the House with me knows that upon this subject I feel strongly. I took no part in endeavouring to make a secular University in Ireland, not because I feared that such a course would react upon the Universities here, but because I did not approve of it in itself. I come now to protest against the University, to which I belong, being reduced to a secular system. I see that you are prepared to allow the foundation of new Colleges. We, in Oxford, are about to set the seal to one of those new Colleges, which will, I trust, what ever may happen, remain an effectual declaration on the part of the Church of England that she feels the value of her teaching as an essential part of instruction. In that College we shall record the name of one of the most devoted sons of the Church of England; and I trust that in that College will nourish the learning of which he was a bright example, and with it the purity and religious earnestness of which he was a still brighter.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
Sir, we have in this Bill a proposal to change the fundamental character of the Universities; but although the measure is of such great importance, the aspect of the House at this moment shows that it does not excite as much interest as a Railway or Market Bill. Hon. Members on each side are quitting the House, obviously with their minds made up that the Government have a majority upon it, and that, therefore, whatever may be the principle of the Bill, it is useless to contest it, for the measure is one that is virtually certain to pass. Now, I beg hon. Members to observe the difference between what is occurring now, and what occurred the other morning, when a proposal was made for the appointment of a Committee to inquire into certain Roman Catholic institutions. Does it not show that anything which touches, even in the way of inquiry, the Roman Catholic Church in this country, is a matter of much keener interest in the House of Commons than any measure which affects the Church of England? How, let me ask, has this state of things been produced? Sir, it has been produced by a virtual abandonment of principle on the part of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in this House, who seem to agree that, at whatever cost of principle, there must be a strong Government; and that it does not much matter what that strong Government proposes, a majority is to vote with it, and that then everything will be right. I am glad, however, to find that upon the subject of inquiring into some of those sacred institutions of the Church of Rome—for there are persons who consider them too "sacred" for the House of Commons to inquire into their regulation and internal arrangements—some little interest has been manifested. Although hon. Members—particularly those who represent the Dissenting interest—do not acknowledge it, the Church of Rome does claim to be established in this country; and the mere fact of her not having revenue voted to her by Parliament really renders her very much more independent of their attention. I wish to submit to the notice of the House this fact, that the Church of Rome is about to sweep away all dogmas except one; she is about to establish the dogma of obedience to the Pope as her paramount head, and that gives the Ultramontane Roman Catholics a strong sym- 1245 pathy, no doubt with the Dissenting bodies of this country who are now attacking the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, because their education is conducted upon distinctive principles. But then I desire to direct the attention of the Dissenting bodies to this—inas-much as they have no supreme authority to whom they are to yield obedience in such a manner as to render their adherence to distinctive doctrines entirely a subordinate thing, how will it be with them when the only other Establishment in this country which has distinctive doctrines is placed in a secondary position to that which is governed by an absolute and infallible head? Do they expect that their Colleges and their endowments, and that their religious rights, which are only to be identified by their adhesion to distinctive doctrines, will be respected by the absolutism which subordinates all doctrines to that of obedience to one man? I am perfectly aware that I am addressing to hon. Gentlemen arguments which seem to be far beyond their comprehension. They have never yet got so far as this. They are actuated by a feeling of personal jealousy of the privileges which are enjoyed by the members of the Church of England. That is the actuating motive which produces this combination between two systems which are naturally opposed as being extremes; but they combine upon one ground, the ground of personal jealousy. What are the arguments by which this measure and other kindred ones are supported? We are told that there is some most estimable person of the highest attainments who has greatly distinguished himself in science, but who cannot obtain certain honours at the University on account of his religious opinions. This is regarded as a personal injury; and for the sake of gratifying the ambition of individuals, hon. Gentlemen are prepared to sweep away in both Universities that adherence to distinctive religious teaching upon which, although the doctrines may not be the same, everyone of their own Establishments now depends. I know that hon. Gentlemen will not concern themselves about questions of principle if they can help it; whereas, when there is a personal matter at issue, the House will be crowded to witness the squabble. But a question of principle involves too much trouble; it demands so much, study and 1246 honest thought that Gentlemen, busy with other affairs, leave that to take its chance, satisfied that they are following some leader whose opinions they are convinced will agree, if not with their principles, at least, with their immediate object. Now, as a Protestant myself, who has no wish to see the Wesleyan Establishments disturbed, who has no wish to see the Presbyterians ousted from their possessions, or, indeed, any of the Trinitarian Protestant denominations disturbed, I cannot help thinking and saying that they are pursuing a course which will lead inevitably to a system of legislation that must be destructive of their own independence. It is all very well to say that these institutions are attacked because they are secured by Act of Parliament, and because the nation may be supposed to have some claim upon them, and those offices which you propose to change are incidents of corporate property. That argument has been discarded long since, and I ask hon. Members opposite whether in the Irish Land Bill they do not see the principle of interference applied to private property? I ask them further how they mean to defend themselves, if the measure of interference which, they so liberally extend to the Church of England is carried out in the case of their own Establishments? They will say, of course, that these are private property; but what can be more in the nature of private property than the property of the Irish landlord? And yet you are interfering with it from day to day! I would earnestly urge upon the representatives of the Dissenting bodies, then, that they are pursuing a course, and in company, which must lead to a system of interference with property consistent only with despotic government; to that the course they are pursuing clearly tends. It is natural that despotism, being successful across the Channel and in other countries in Europe, its shadow should be cast over the free institutions of this country. We constantly hear and see the example of France held up. We are told that there is no religious difficulty in France. Surely not. There is a dominant Church in France, and there all differences are subordinated to a despotic form of government. True, you may have that kind of peace; but is that the peace which the Dissenting Liberals of England desire? I venture 1247 humbly to submit these reflections as those which seem never to have received the attention of the majority in this House. They come down here to vote for measures without having first considered their bearing. Their great object is to maintain a strong Government which they may implicitly follow; but they never appear to consider for one moment that, by what my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge calls the lapsus of the Solicitor General, provisions are contained in this Bill—I hope they will be abandoned—under which persons, not Roman Catholic laymen, but Roman Catholic priests, may be placed in high offices both at Oxford and Cambridge. I ask the representatives of the Wesleyan body in this House if that is what they desire? I ask the representatives of the Wesleyan body whether, if such a proposal were made with reference to their Colleges it is one that they would be thankful for or would approve? Yet hon. Members come down here for an hour or two, go home to dinner, and then come back to vote for a second reading of the Bill, as if it contained no such provisions! It is a line of action in this House which can only be met by counter action in the country, and I rejoice that that action has commenced. Last Session the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General told us, and warned us that, if we did not accept the measure of interference which he then proposed, we should have to submit to a stronger—that is, to one more disruptive of the Church of England and more antagonistic to its distinctive teaching; consequently more in accordance with the objects of the Church of Rome; and such is the nature of the present Bill. But, Sir, I hail the appearance of the measure on the Table, notwithstanding; because it seems to me to mark the tendency of the course which the Legislature is pursuing. It is all very well to tell me that the hon. and learned Gentleman cannot draw a Bill, and that these provisions are mistakes in the Bill. Why, Sir, the hon. and learned Gentleman is a Law Officer of the Crown; who should be able to draw a Bill if he is not? and I ask, then, why these provisions appear in the Bill? Had they not been pointed out by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge, the probability is that they would have 1248 passed unnoticed; and I thank my right hon. Friend for having shown how these provisions would operate to the disadvantage of every Protestant denomination, and to the sole advantage of the Church of Rome. I cannot forget that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General—
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
I suppose it is almost in vain to attempt an explanation. I have already explained—but the hon. Gentleman, I presume, was not present when I did so—that this was the merest oversight in the world. It was not intended, and I have already said, more than once, that it shall be altered.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
Still I maybe permitted to observe that it is a great misfortune that the Law Officer of the Crown should have introduced, or allowed his subordinates to introduce, into the Bill provisions of such a suspicious character as these; because, as I was about to remark, when the hon and learned Member interrupted me, I cannot forget that the hon. and learned Member was the spokesman of the Government in resisting the proposal to inquire into certain Roman Catholic institutions, and that on that occasion he made a speech which very much surprised me. Yet it matters not, and so entêté are the Dissenting bodies with the feeling of personal jealousy of the Church of England, that they are willing to inflict upon the Church provisions even of this anti-Protestant character, so only that the abolition of her distinctive privileges is secured. What is the difference between a constitutional and an absolute Government? It is this—that under a constitutional Government, regulated by law, the subject has rights which are in the nature of privileges, and these distinctive privileges include the right to have his children educated in accordance with the distinctive doctrines of the parent. In my opinion, there can be no greater privilege than that. It is a right—it is secured by law. And if you invade that right in the case of the most numerous and influential religious community in Great Britain, how can you Dissenters expect that any exception will be made in your favour hereafter? Do the Dissenters believe that they are to be the only portion of Her Majesty's subjects who are to be left in possession of this distinctive right? Is that their position? 1249 Is that their expectation? Do you think that you will be able to shield yourselves hereafter under the plea of insignificance, when your combined power has succeeded in overturning these rights of the Church of England? Let me warn you against making such a mistake. Depend upon it that retaliation will become a necessity. Nay, it has already become so in the case of the Church of Rome; and it will become so in your case also. You forget that you are trifling with a great issue. You forget that, in violating with exultation every Protestant feeling in the breasts of members of the Church of England, and in striking down those rights and privileges which are characteristic of their freedom, you are inviting us not to respect your own. I have spoken in plain terms; and I desire to warn those who are undoubted Protestants, though not members of the Church of England, and with whom I have a wish to act, that if united with the representatives of the Church of Rome they continue these assaults upon the distinctive teaching of the Universities, and upon our right to have that distinctive teaching Protestant, they will have no guarantee for the preservation of rights and privileges by themselves which they will not respect in others.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was never more mistaken than when he asserted that those who supported this Bill did not support it on principle. No measure had ever been brought before the House founded on higher principle. As a member of the Church of England, and attached to the interests of Protestantism, he believed no measure would tend more to promote those interests than that now under consideration. Some remarkable speeches had been made on the present occasion, the most remarkable being that made by the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice). The noble Lord told the House that, from his experience of Cambridge University, he conceived it to be a misnomer to call that institution a place of religious education, and that observation entirely accorded with his (Mr. Denman's) experience, though it was an experience of many more years ago. He remembered when he was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cam- 1250 bridge, meeting on one Sunday afternoon his tutor, the late Dr. Whewell, who told him that if he neglected to go to church that afternoon he would do so at his peril; but he declined to go, and he did not go, and nothing ever came of it. The only way in which the University was a place for religious education was this—there was a certain rule in the Colleges that the undergraduates should attend a certain number of chapels every week, whether they were Jews, Unitarians, Dissenters, Roman Catholics, or anything else. If they did that, there was no further requirement upon them. Of course, there was a slight theological examination at the Little-go examination, which all had to pass through alike; but there were no specific lectures, which anyone was required to attend as part of his education in Trinity College, with reference to any theological doctrine, or any branch of religious learning. There was nothing which imposed on them any test between the ages of 18 and 22, or required them to declare whether or not they were members of any particular Church. A new state of things occurred whenever they desired to obtain a share in the management of the University, or to participate in its emoluments; and it was of this that everyone who had any sense of justice complained. He knew nothing more demoralizing than to declare to a young man that, though he might be the third or fourth, in the competition, he was nevertheless perfectly safe, and that, though others might be better than he on examination, he would still have all the advantages and secure the Fellowship, because he would swallow a test which, his betters declined to take. This statement was not mere speculation, for the thing had happened, during the course of the last few years, over and over again in the University of Cambridge; and the result was that not only were men sent away from the University who would have been Dissenters in any case to the end of their days, but men who might have become members of the Church of England had been prevented from joining the Establishment, lest it might be said that they swallowed the test for the sake of putting so much a year into their pockets. No doubt, the Universities flourished in spite of all this; but every year the difficulty was getting greater and greater, and it was quite 1251 clear that the present state of things could not last permanently. In 1834, Sir Robert Peel saw that the line could not be drawn where it was now, and where it had been for many years. Under these circumstances, was it not better to take the present chance of settling the question fairly and permanently by the Bill before the House, rather than to postpone the settlement from year to year, until something ultimately resulted which even many Members on the Ministerial side of the House might not desire? Last year he (Mr. Denman) voted against the measure of the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), because he thought it could be better dealt with by Government, and now that it was so dealt with, he gave it his most hearty support as a member of the Church of England and a well-wisher of his University.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said: Sir, I shall not follow the hon. and learned Gentleman through the details of his speech, especially as that speech referred to a former state of things which no one wishes to see recalled. No one has any unwillingness to consider some broad and generous scheme, by which a share of the higher emoluments of the Universities may be given irrespective of religious tests. The hon. and learned Gentleman has treated us to an anecdote relating to Dr. Whewell, which might convey the impression that Dr. Whewell, when a tutor, was careless or negligent as to the attendance at Divine worship on the Lord's Day, to those who do not know that it had reference not to the Church services in the College chapels, but merely to the afternoon sermon in the University church. But what was the sequel of the story? Dr. Whewell became in time the Master of Trinity, and among the great alterations he made was to institute on every Sunday morning in the chapel a sermon for the undergraduates in addition to that afternoon sermon at the University church.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, he had been at Trinity College since, and had never heard a sermon in the chapel on Sunday.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
My hon. and learned Friend would have heard one if he had gone to the 11 o'clock service. I will not detain the House by enumerating the various details of the multitudinous processes direct and indirect through which religious education 1252 is given by College examinations, or of the very elaborate system of lectures and examinations which the candidates for Holy Orders have to go through. I have been exceedingly pleased at the calm and temperate manner in which the matter has been discussed, and have heard with pleasure some of the admissions of the Solicitor General and of the Prime Minister; but all that has been said on the other side of the House is a full and ample justification of the resistance which is being offered to the second reading of the measure. This is the first time that a compulsory and not a permissive Bill upon the subject has been brought into Parliament, and it is also the first time that such a measure was brought forward by the Government. Moreover, there has not been shown by its promoters any overwhelming necessity for bringing forward such a measure for revolutionizing the University system in all its details in the middle of this overcrowded Session. On this very night the measure has displaced the last stage in Committee of a Bill of first-class importance—the Irish Land Bill. The Bill will in a few weeks come into collision with that large measure of general elementary education which I should have thought would have been sufficient for this Session. Last year middle-class education had been dealt with; elementary education is on the programme of this year; and if the higher education of the Universities had been postponed for the calm consideration of the third Session of the Reformed Parliament, no one could have said that the delay was one to which any reasonable objection could have been offered. It would have been only fair to the Universities to have reserved the question until it could have been adequately dealt with in a full and carefully framed measure instead of being treated as an incidental parenthesis by a Bill which, by the confession of its promoters, has been carelessly and incompletely drawn. Some of the provisions have been already given up by the Solicitor General, who owned that they were blunders, which he promised to remove in Committee. Again, the Prime Minister had claimed for this measure that it should have the "character of being a settlement." But the Bill had not that character, and on that ground I oppose the proposal in its present shape. At the 1253 same time, I am ready and willing to discuss a scheme of compromise which shall be really a settlement. So are all who sit on this side of the House—with perhaps the exception of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire—for all admit the necessity for a change on the ground of policy or expediency rather than of abstract right, and every man on that side of the House has come forward with concessions, basing his admission on sufficient reasons of expediency. The Solicitor General has gone more ahead than he was himself probably aware of, in his assumption of the worthlessness of founders' intentions expressed some centuries ago; and, indeed, his expressions reminded him (Mr. Hope) of an anecdote of the French Revolution. A very respectable gentleman lived in the enjoyment of an estate, to his own advantage of course, but also to the advantage of his neighbours. Some one else coveted the estates; and the owner produced his title deeds, which showed that he and his ancestors had enjoyed the property for centuries. So much more, said the revolutionary Judge, was it necessary that he should enjoy it no longer, but let some one else in for his turn. But as I have said, the Universities are willing to make concessions, and to allow not only the scholarships, but a fair proportion of the Fellowships to be filled by those who have not taken any tests. The Solicitor General and the Prime Minister have admitted that the Colleges ought still to retain their connection with the Church according to their own statutes. But, for a measure to have the character of a settlement, this is not enough. This Bill, so framed, will throw the apple of discord into the Colleges, in leaving it open, if not rather directly inviting, to those who desired further changes to agitate for their accomplishment through an alteration in their statutes. It is, I contend, not fair thus directly to invite the Dissenters to agitate for the acquisition of a larger share in the governing power in the Colleges when you are pretending to settle and to heal up the controversy for ever. The Church's old Parliamentary title will be totally abolished by this Bill, and a Parliamentary title will also be created for the participation in College emoluments of those who have not at present the right to share them. In fairness, then, let a new Parliamentary 1254 title be also created for the retention by Churchmen of what is left to them, and do not leave this residue to the fluctuating provisions of private enactments, if the measure is really to have the character of a settlement. I say, declare openly what Fellowships Parliament will throw open to Dissenters, and let Parliament declare what offices shall be reserved for members of the Church of England. Obviously among the latter should be the offices having reference to the religious teaching and the religious discipline of the Colleges and the conduct of public worship in the College chapel. It is clear that if the chapels and their worship are to be retained, there should be a provision for the continuous obligation of Holy Orders on so many of the College staff as shall make that worship a reality and not a nullity, and there should not be an absolute repeal of the 13th section of the Act of Uniformity. Among the College offices connected with the chapels stands prominently that of Dean. No doubt, where a Dean is required to be in Holy Orders by College statutes, this Bill will reach him. But I am not aware whether this obligation exists in all the Colleges of both Universities, and, even where it does, a change of statutes may, as the measure at present stands, undo the protection. I claim, then, the reservation of the office of Dean for Churchmen. Then there is also the office of tutor. At Oxford the tutor is, I understand, mainly an instructor; but at Cambridge he combines with the instruction a parental and disciplinary character, and is, in fact, the Collegiate official specially responsible to the parents of the students for their moral superintendence. Speaking, then, from the Cambridge point of view, I assert that it is only fair to the Church of England that this office should be reserved for members of the Church. This, however, need not apply to the assistant tutors, except so far as religious instruction is involved, for we freely recognise the admissibility of Dissenters to give instruction in science and literature. Those who wish to see the Church of England disestablished will not agree to these limitations; but those who desire to maintain the Universities as the great national schools of education for those liberal-minded clergymen, who are the especial glory of the English 1255 Church, rather than see its future pastors handed over to the more narrow influences of sectional seminaries, and who wish to preserve the Church of England in her character as the most liberal and tolerant Church in the world, will hold it to be a necessary reservation and right to be established by Parliamentary sanction, in order that the education of the clergy may not be divorced from the Universities and the Colleges which they contain. In the greatness of the interests of the Church of England, and of the stake which its ministry holds in the maintenance of its connection with the Universities, rests the justification for this demand. So, too, with regard to the theological Professorships. The Bill does not sufficiently provide for the preservation of their Church character; but this may be corrected in Committee. Having freely criticized the measure in many of its parts, I must express my satisfaction that it does not touch Colleges which may hereafter be founded, and I trust that no pressure from below the Gangway will induce the Solicitor General to abandon this concession. But, with every recognition of the good intentions of my hon. and learned Friend, I still feel that the Bill fails in those conditions of fixity which can give to it the "character of a settlement" and make it a satisfactory solution of this great question; and therefore, anxious to retain our Universities and Colleges as centres of religious instruction, I shall vote against the second reading of the measure.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 191; Noes 66: Majority 125.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.