§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. FAWCETT
, in moving that this Bill be now read a second time, said, it proposed to carry into effect three objects—first, to abolish all religious and clerical tests in the University and Trinity College, Dublin; secondly, to establish a representative Board (consisting of a due proportion of the corporate body of the College, the teaching body 695 of the University, and the general graduates) which would have under their charge all the academical and educational affairs both of the University and of the College; and, thirdly, to vest all the domestic management of the College in a body composed of the senior fellows and a certain proportion of the junior fellows of the College, If the Bill passed, it would admit not only Catholics, but every Protestant Dissenter not only to Foundation Scholarships, but also to Foundation Fellowships, and give them in every respect an equal opportunity with every member of the Church of England of exercising a governing power over both the University and College, alike in educational and domestic concerns. It was, happily, unnecessary for him to make any lengthened remarks in support of the Bill, because, till convinced of the contrary, he believed he should have the powerful advocacy of the First Minister and the Treasury bench; for he could not bring himself to believe that they were not anxious to complete the policy with regard to University education which they had this Session carried out in England, by extending the same principles they applied to Oxford and Cambridge to the University of Dublin. As the University of Dublin consisted of only one college, and as it might be difficult for English Members precisely to understand its constitution, he might explain that the University of Dublin was in most respects exactly analogous to what the University of Cambridge would be if the only college in that University were Trinity College; and the object and chief design of the Bill was to make the future government of the University of Dublin exactly analogous to what the government of the University of Cambridge was at the present moment. The new Board he proposed for the academical and educational government of the University of Dublin and Trinity College was formed on principles analogous to those on which what was known as the University Council at Cambridge was constituted. In one respect there was an important difference between the University of Dublin and the University of Cambridge. Both at Cambridge and Oxford it was well known that it was impossible for anyone to obtain a degree unless he resided within the precincts of the University during a certain portion 696 of his academical curriculum; but in the University of Dublin it was not necessary for a man to reside at all in order to obtain a degree. In this respect it was similar to the London University, where men were enabled to take degrees without residence, having simply to appear at periodical examinations. As a matter of fact, at the present time, as he was imformed by the Provost of Trinity College, it was no uncommon thing for clergymen who had been admitted to orders without having previously obtained a degree to discharge their clerical duties in England or Wales while they were going through the requisite steps for obtaining a degree at Dublin. It was obvious if the University of Dublin were completely thrown open, as he proposed, to the whole Irish nation, independently of their religious opinions, it would bring University education much more within the reach of every private home in Ireland than the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge did to every English home, because residence was not required in Dublin as it was at the English Universities. It was not difficult to anticipate the objections that would be urged against the Bill. It would be said, in the first place, that Trinity College had always been a Protestant institution; and probably they might hear taunts about the sudden conversion of its authorities in regard to this question. Such taunts were always unworthy and unwise, and the last place in which they should be used was in that House. He had had frequent communications lately with the Provost of Trinity College, and with many of the leading authorities of the institution, and he was prepared most unhesitatingly to assert that they were acting in this matter with the most implicit good faith, and were as anxious to make the measure complete and just to all the inhabitants of Ireland as the holders of the most advanced opinions on University education. No doubt they had, like many other people, changed their minds. Some four or five years ago, when he first brought the subject before the House, they had opposed the abolition of the tests; but the circumstances were now entirely different from what they were four years ago. They felt, and avowed it with the most admirable candour, that directly the Irish Church had been abolished their position as the heads 697 of a Protestant institution was completely changed, and it was impossible for them to maintain the same arguments they had advanced in previous years. In fact, the First Minister should be grateful to them for giving him one of the first fruits of his great Irish Church measure. He only hoped that the right hon. Gentleman's cordial acceptance of this Bill would show that he was grateful to them for the bounty they now offered. The authorities of the Dublin University felt that it was impossible for them to maintain themselves in statu quo. They said they knew that there must be a change, and knowing also that nothing could be more unfortunate for an academical institution than to be worried by a constant legislative interference in the spirit of perfect frankness they wished the change to be made should be complete at once. But then it might be said the Bill was not accepted by the Catholics of Ireland as rendering to them the justice they demanded with regard to University education. Now, it should never be forgotten that there were Catholics and Catholics in Ireland; and when an hon. Gentleman spoke as a Catholic Member, although prepared to treat his opinions with the utmost respect, they all knew, when it was said the Catholics desired this and that, it was not all, but only a portion of the Catholics of Ireland in whose name he spoke. He could only say no one was more sincerely anxious to do perfect justice to the Catholics of Ireland than he was. He wished to see them placed as regards University education, both in England and Ireland, in a position of exact equality with the members of the Church of England. Speaking without egotism, he believed the strongest Catholic Member in that House would do him the justice to believe that in expressing that feeling he was perfectly sincere. He had taken every precaution that this Bill should do them complete justice. It had been drawn by an Irish Catholic, who assured him that in every substantial respect it would do the Catholics complete justice. He had received letters from Catholics in all parts of Ireland expressing the same opinion. Last night he received a letter from a Catholic gentleman whose academical career had been most distinguished, stating that if this Bill were passed no Catholic could demand anything 698 more with regard to University education in Ireland. He had written to that gentleman a week ago, and said that if he could point out one word or one phrase which, if altered, would render greater justice to the Catholics, he (Mr. Fawcett) would alter it if the alteration were not inconsistent with the principle of the Bill. His reply was that he did not, as a Catholic, want a single letter in the Bill altered. Another objection that might possibly be brought by some Members on the Treasury bench against the Bill was, that the subject should be dealt with by the Government and not by an independent Member. Now, surely, the Government were sufficiently pledged in legislative obligations. If any independent Member could deal with this subject—and it was for the House to decide this on the second reading of the Bill—surely the Government ought to be grateful to an independent Member for taking up one of the subjects with which they must otherwise deal next Session. And if they did not a practical injustice would be done to the Irish people; for he was informed that next year one of the most distinguished Catholic students, if the Bill passed, would be elected to a fellowship at Trinity College, Dublin, and would thus obtain the just reward of his intellectual attainments. It might be said that at so late a period of the Session there was no chance of the Bill passing. Now, it was not for him to anticipate the decision of the Government with regard to an Autumn Session; but even if the opportunity was not afforded of proceeding with the Bill, yet if the second reading were carried by a decided majority, as he believed it would be, it would clear the way for speedy legislation next Session; and as the fellowship examination was held in Trinity College in May, the Bill might even then become law in time to enable that most distinguished Catholic student to whom he had referred to obtain his fellowship. He might be asked, in conclusion, why, as an English Member, he interested himself so much in Irish education. In reply he would only say—first, he was anxious to apply to Ireland the same principles of University education which, after a hard struggle, they had at length succeeded in applying to Oxford and Cambridge; and, second, knowing well that there was no academic institution which was more distinguished 699 for science and learning than Trinity College, Dublin, he was sincerely anxious to bring the advantages of its intellectual culture within the reach of the great body of the Irish people. He begged to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ VISCOUNT CRICHTON
, in seconding the Motion, said, he believed he was speaking the mind of the vast majority of Irish Protestants when he expressed his approval of the Bill, and of the principle of united and unsectarian as opposed to denominational education—a principle which he hoped to see maintained and amplified in the system of primary education in Ireland. He looked upon this measure as the inevitable corollary of the Irish Church Bill of two Sessions ago. Although protesting against that Bill, he was fully prepared to admit the principle of religious equality then laid down, and he called on the Government to carry it out, by applying it to education as well to the Church, and by not becoming a party to the establishment of a new ascendancy in the room of that which they had pulled down. He hoped that in assenting to the second reading the Government would give some declaration of the principle on which they were prepared to act with reference to the education question in Ireland.
§ Motion made, and Question prposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Fawcett.)
§ MR. PIM
said, that he had given Notice, some time ago, that on the Motion for the Second Reading of that Bill he would move—That it is inexpedient to proceed further with this measure until the whole subject of University Education in Ireland is before the House;but that form of Resolution had been found practically inconvenient, and he now moved "the Previous Question," in lieu of his original Notice. He found no fault with the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) for dealing with an Irish question. On the contrary, he thought that hon. Gentleman had made that question peculiarly his own, and had been thoroughly consistent in regard to it, for that was, he believed, the fifth time that the hon. Member had brought that subject before the House; and on those occasions the Motions were strongly opposed by the representatives of the University of Dublin. 700 In 1869 the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Dr. Ball), the present senior Member of the University, contented himself with stating that the College would not oppose the Motion of the hon. Member; and in his speech he said—It is quite plain that you cannot consider the case of the University of Dublin, or of Trinity College, which is in effect that University, without considering the position of the other Colleges in Ireland. In fact, you must consider, if you enter upon the question, the whole system of collegiate education in Ireland."—[3 Hansard, cxcviii. 1202.]That was precisely what he (Mr. Pim) now maintained, and he claimed the authority of the right hon. and learned Member (Dr. Ball) in support of his present Motion. He had no idea of blaming the College authorities, who at first so strongly opposed that proposition, for having changed their opinions, and now supporting it; because he thought that a man who lived in that age, and did not change his opinions according to circumstances, must either be very unwise or very unobservant of the course of events. But he thought he was entitled to ask for more definite information in regard to the grounds for that change of opinion, and the objects which the College authorities had in view; and whether the proposal to securalize Trinity College was expected to have a beneficial effect on the whole course of University Education in Ireland, or whether it was considered only with respect to Trinity College itself. Was that proposition supported in order to oppose the establishment of a Roman Catholic University, or was it with the view of saving the endowments of the existing University of Dublin? The Bill proposed to remove all tests and to open all the emoluments of Trinity College to persons of all religions on equal terms. So far that was fair; but it did not satisfy all the requirements of the case. Suppose the Bill passed, all tests removed, and the education purely secular, what would then be the difference between Trinity College and the colleges in Belfast, Cork, and Galway? Would not Trinity College become, in fact, just like another Queen's College? Why not, then, affiliate the four undenominational or secular colleges—Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and Galway—under the University of Dublin, and thus have only one mint in Ireland 701 to give the stamp of a degree? But, he asked, would this arrangement—whether by two secular Universities or by one only—settle the college question? Would it satisfy the Roman Catholics of Ireland? Unless they were satisfied, the college question would not be settled. Those authorities asked for a college connected with religion, and under the care of members of their own Church. They offered them a college without any religion, or, at all events, without any particular religion. It might be said that they asked for bread and that they offered them a stone; but he did not know that that would be anything more acceptable because they offered the same stone to all others. But it might be said that all would be on an equality—there would no longer be any Protestant ascendancy; why should not the Roman Catholics be content? That, however, was not the opinion of Dr. Woodlock, the Rector of the Catholic University or College in Dublin, who said, in a pamphlet (extracts from which the hon. Member read to the House) that if Trinity College should be secularized as was now proposed, so far from being a preferable, it would be a much more objectionable institution than the existing one. Such a statement from a man of Dr. Woodlock's position and influence did not warrant them in expecting a settlement of the University question by the arrangement now proposed. But it might be said that the Christian character and influence of Trinity College would still be kept up. He did not think it would—at least, permanently. But admit it, for the sake of argument. By Christian, the supporters of that Bill must mean Protestant, for certainly they did not expect that the influence of the College would be Roman Catholic. Would that tend to reconcile the Roman Catholics to the new arrangement? On that subject he might quote the opinion of the Rev. Dr. Haughton, Fellow of Trinity College, given in a pamphlet published in 1868. Dr. Haughton said—Let us now inquire how the secularization of Trinity College would please the Roman Catholic party in Ireland. The Roman Catholic clergy warn their flocks against Trinity College as a Protestant institution, necessarily dangerous to the principles of Catholic students; and in thus warning them they are practically wise, for it is simply impossible for 70 Catholics to associate with 1,100 Protestants, as equals and fellow-students, 702 without renouncing more or less the narrow views respecting Protestants that prevail among the higher circles of their hierarchy…… It would not satisfy the just demands of the Irish Catholics for University education, merely to admit them to the fellowships and scholarships of a secularised college, the principle of which they must feel bound to condemn.Those were the words of a Fellow of the College, published before the College authorities had decided on supporting the present measure. The Roman Catholics had now an admitted grievance in being forced to go for a degree to a Protestant University. They offered them colleges wholly without religion, and they expected them to accept their proposal with gratitude, because all were placed on the same level. They might think a united undenominational education the most desirable for the State, and the best for both Protestants and Roman Catholics; but what right had they to force that system upon an unwilling people? The hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) said that many Roman Catholics were perfectly satisfied with his proposal. No doubt, there were some who would be quite satisfied with Trinity College when thus secularized; but he did not think they represented fairly the great body of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Could they not conceive that a Roman Catholic might think his son ought to be educated at an institution where he would be under the care of persons of his own religion, and that he might have a conscientious objection to sending him to an institution of a different character? Why should they debar Catholics from the highest honours conferred upon learning because they refused to receive instruction which was not based upon religion? If they did, they inflicted upon them a disability which was incurred for conscience' sake. To refuse a degree to persons who had acquired the requisite knowledge at a sectarian college was a manifest interference with the rights of conscience. The proposed arrangement would not satisfy the Roman Catholics of Ireland. The Catholic College would still exist, and would claim a charter at their hands. They could not permanently resist a claim which was urged in the name of three-fourths of the people of Ireland, and which was essentially just, because it was the remedy for a real grievance—an unjust exclusion, oppressive to the conscience. Eventually, either by that 703 Parliament or by a Parliament in Dublin, the Catholic College would be recognized and established; but they would have destroyed the Protestant one—they would have converted the old Protestant seat of learning into a purely secular college. He wished now to consider the effect on Trinity College itself. The Bill proposed to open the fellowships and the government of the College to men of all religions, or of no religion at all. How would that work? Would they admit clergymen of all religious communions? If their plan was to succeed, they must have the clergy of both Churches, or not have the clergy of either; otherwise there was no equality. Did they, then, expect to have clerical fellows, both Protestant and Roman Catholic? Could any Irishman expect that that would work satisfactorily—that the Protestant and Roman Catholic clerical fellows would pull well and amicably together? It would certainly be something new for Ireland. No! the result must eventually be the exclusion of all clergymen from at least the Governing Body of the College. But what was to become of the Divinity School? There was nothing about it in the Bill; but he could appeal to a very high authority—the authority of Dr. Lloyd, the respected Provost. Dr. Lloyd said—Its immediate effect would be to secularize Trinity College, and to separate altogether from it the Divinity School, which is at present, and was from the outset, one of its most important departments. … . The separation of the Divinity School from Trinity College, and its formation into a distinct ecclesiastical college, would be an unmixed evil. The effects of class education in narrowing the mind are too obvious to be insisted on; and to these effects would be added, in the case of the clergy, the development of the sacerdotal spirit. The separate education of the clergy tends to priestcraft and bigotry; and these tendencies will in the long run force their way through all artificial restraints, and be developed in action.Those were not his words, but those of a man whose personal qualifications, joined to his high position, entitled him to speak with authority. Certainly it would be impossible to retain the Divinity School after any large number of Roman Catholics had become members of the Senate or Governing Board; neither would it be consistent with the principles of equality and fair dealing to retain a Protestant Divinity School unless there were also a Catholic Divinity 704 School. They must either have both or neither. No one would propose to have both. It would, therefore, be impossible permanently to retain the faculty of Theology. The Divinity School must be separated from the College, and that would be a very serious loss to the College, and a great injury to the Protestant Episcopal Church of Ireland. It would truly be "an unmixed evil." Then what was to be done with the College chapel? Were the daily, or even the weekly, services to be kept up? If so, what became of the great principle of equality? Perhaps it was intended to build a chapel for the Roman Catholics opposite the present chapel, and one of the Catholic clerical fellows could officiate. That would be fair, and would carry out fully the principle of equality. He only wished it might work satisfactorily to both parties. No! When they had got rid of the clerical Fellows and the Divinity School, the rest of the programme was simple. The daily, and even the weekly, services must be given up. The College would be purely secular. They might erase the word "religion" from the Preamble of the Bill. Trinity College might still continue a "school of learning," but it would no longer be a "school of religion." When all that was done—tests abolished—the system of equality fully carried out—several Roman Catholics on the Governing Board—no clerical fellows — no Divinity School—no service in the chapel—what would be the result as respected the students—what would be the effect on the College as a "place of learning?" Again, he supported himself with the authority of the Provost. Dr. Lloyd said—The secularization of Trinity College would satisfy no party in Ireland. The members of the Established Church would thereby lose the privilege which they now possess and prize—that, namely, of having the religious instruction of their sons provided for and imparted along with their secular teaching; and one of the first consequences of the change would be the removal of Protestants of wealth and station to the English Universities, and the consequent degradation of the University of Dublin.He could add nothing to those words. He fully recognized their truth, and he contemplated the prospect with dismay. The supporters of that measure said that the Bill followed the English precedent. True; but the circumstances of England and of Ireland were totally different. 705 In England the great majority of the classes likely to send their sons to Oxford and Cambridge belonged to the Established Church, and their competition would be with Protestant Nonconformists. The points of agreement were many, and the differences were insignicant when compared with the wide divergence of opinion which separated Protestants from Roman Catholics in Ireland. But the differences which might arise between Churchmen and Nonconformists in the government of the English colleges were comparatively easy of adjustment compared with the difficulties which must beset a college in Ireland under Protestant and Roman Catholic management. Appeal was made to the harmony and good feeling which had always existed between Protestants and Roman Catholics as fellow-students, and to the value of the life-long friendships which had thus been formed. He fully admitted all that; he was sensible of the great value of that kindly intercourse, and he would gladly promote its continuance; but he maintained that that harmony and good feeling had existed only because the government of the College had been in the hands of one party exclusively. The heads of the College had treated the Roman Catholic and Nonconformist students with liberality, and those students had been received by their fellow-students on terms of perfect equality. No points of controversy could arise, for all the arrangements and the whole government had been in the hands of the Protestant authorities. But when half the Council or Governing Board were Roman Catholics that harmony would cease, and would give place to a struggle for mastery, in which, as in every other contest, the victory would, in the end, remain with the party which could bring up the largest number of recruits. They could not unite Protestants and Roman Catholics on equal terms in an educational establishment of any kind. He was told that that was done elsewhere; but he was sure that it could not be done—for the present, at least—in Ireland. They might as well try to unite oil and water; they might mix them by force, but there was no chemical union, and as soon as the external pressure was withdrawn, they would separate and resume their respective qualities. Both were good and useful if they left them alone; 706 but the attempt to force them into union injured both. The attempt to force a union had never succeeded, while the contrary policy had been thoroughly successful. Take the case of Prussia. He knew there were united schools there, and united—not undenominational—colleges; be those, he believed, were the exceptions: separate schools and colleges for Roman Catholics and Protestants were the rule. What had been the result? Both Protestants and Roman Catholics were well-instructed, thoroughly loyal to the institutions of their country, and they lived together in harmony and good fellowship. What more did they want? They proposed to effect that result in Ireland by forcing on her people what they called a united unsectarian education. Prussia had effected it by allowing them to be educated apart. He preferred the practical experience of Prussia to their theory. There was one difficulty which he had not yet referred to—partly because it might be obviated; and if that Bill should pass into law, he trusted it would be provided against. It was the Provostship. Again he referred to the authority of Dr. Lloyd. He said, in the pamphlet which he (Mr. Pim) had already quoted—Another objection to Mr. Fawcett's proposal is one connected with the government of the College. The Provost of Trinity College is appointed by the Crown; and there can be no doubt that every effort would be made by Roman Catholics on the occasion of each vacancy in the office, to secure the appointment of a co-religionist. To this consideration all others would be postponed; and the result would inevitably be the nomination of persons imperfectly qualified. But this is not all. The men so appointed would generally be selected on account of their fitness to carry out the designs of the predominant party in the Roman Catholic Church—or, in other words, they would be men of Ultramontane principles. Thus one of two things—each of them deplorable—would ensue: either the Ultramontane Provost would succeed in revolutionizing the College, or a state of internal warfare would be engendered within its walls, which must end in anarchy.Yes! there would be a constant struggle renewed at every vacancy. It would become a political appointment, and perhaps the only way of solving the difficulty would be to appoint a Protestant and a Roman Catholic alternately. But how injuriously would that operate on the College itself! Ability and learning would no longer be the qualification for the office, and 707 perhaps the man in every way best suited would necessarily be passed over, merely because it was the turn for the appointment of a Roman Catholic. The Provost was the only officer of the College who was appointed by the Crown; and he trusted, if that Bill should ever become law, that the Crown might be willing to give up its patronage, and that some arrangement might be made by which the election should vest in the College itself, and thus that office might be removed from the list of political appointments which were far too numerous in Ireland. The College authorities, in supporting that Bill, expected that, as no one could become a member of the Council of the University, or of the Hebdomadal Board until after several years of college life, so every new member of the Governing Body would have become imbued with the spirit of the place before he obtained authority. He (Mr. Pim) wished it might be so. Certainly the change would be slow and gradual, and would probably be scarcely perceptible during the lives of most of the present fellows. He feared that had had its influence in inducing them to adopt their present action. They naturally thought lightly of difficulties which were only to be felt in the future, and were induced to trust their successors to the chapter of accidents. A college within the walls of which young men resided, away from their homes and families, was wholly different from a mere educational establishment without residence, such as the London University and the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. If Christianity were anything more than a name, such a college ought to have some stated observance of religion, and with a stated observance of religion how could such a college be other than denominational? The secular system would not satisfy the feelings which were deeply implanted in man. The Roman Catholics of Ireland believed in the faith which they professed, and therefore they wished for a college under the religious influence of their own Church. The Protestants of Ireland had a similar belief, and unless changed from what they now were, they would cease to send their sons to Trinity College when its religious and Protestant influence was gone. In conclusion, he trusted that whenever the House came to deal with the question 708 of University education in Ireland, it would be to institute a complete system which should do full justice both to Protestants and Roman Catholics, and to those who valued Christian teaching as well as to those who did not.
SIR ROWLAND BLENNERHASSETT*
The Bill under discussion is a Bill to alter the constitution of Trinity College, Dublin, and to abolish tests in that institution. It has for its object to settle, at least in part, the Irish University education question. Considering the period of the Session at which we are now arrived, it is perfectly clear that this Bill, even if it were satisfactory in every respect, cannot become law. If we pass the second reading and proceed no further, we shall only assent to the principle of the Bill, and thereby pass an abstract Resolution on the subject of Irish University education. By so doing we shall greatly embarrass ourselves when we come to deal with it, with a view to an immediate settlement. It would be most unfortunate if the House should, by a hasty decision to-day, hamper its future action in a matter of so much importance. It is most undesirable to touch a question of such magnitude till Parliament is able to give it the time and thought which are absolutely necessary in order to arrive at a satisfactory solution. For these reasons I put on the Notice Paper the Motion I have now the honour to second. If it is carried, we shall not have expressed any opinion on this Bill or its principle. We simply decline to read it a second time at present, and under present circumstances. These reasons would hold good if the Bill were satisfactory as far as it went, but it is, in truth, eminently unsatisfactory. It is crude in conception and loosely drawn. Under it a Catholic Professor might be appointed to teach theology to a class of Protestant students of Divinity. A large section of the Irish people have objected to the present Queen's University and Queen's Colleges, both on religious and on educational grounds. The sincerity and strength of their convictions have been attested by the subscription of £7,000 or £8,000 a-year, till the total sum collected has exceeded £150,000, for the establishment of an organ of University teaching in harmony with them. The House, if it reads this Bill a second time, will meet the complaints of the Irish Catholics 709 against the existing three Queen's Colleges by merely asserting that is is advisable to establish a fourth. Such a course would only tend to increase the number, and confirm the opinion of those in Ireland who do not consider it safe to trust their interests to the Imperial Parliament. It is hardly possible to overrate the importance of this question. The establishment of proper University education in Ireland is one of the most serious subjects for the consideration of statesmen and politicians. Nothing tends more to the formation of a sound public opinion in a nation than a system of higher education suited to the traditions, circumstances, and wishes of the people; nothing is more needed in a country than a sound public opinion; nothing in Ireland is more conspicuous by its absence. Great fault is often found with the violent tone of Irish newspapers, and I regret that Parliament has passed laws which in some way tend to interfere with the liberty of the Press. It would have been wiser, instead of taking to those measures of repression, which cannot last long, to have established a system of higher education to counteract whatever was unhealthy in the influence of journalism. In Ireland the power of the Press has become nearly unlimited, by the fact that day after day every passion, every illusion of the hour, every national, social, and religious prejudice finds there its organ. It fosters at the same time a half education which is extremely injurious to precision of thought; and in the interest of true knowledge a solid and trustworthy bulwark is required to resist it. The most effectual means to control the power of the Press, and to counteract anything which may be unhealthy in its influence, is by the authority of a University worthy to be considered the highest court of appeal for the intellectual forces of the nation. A national University ought to be the guardian of true scientific tradition, the home of prudent and regular investigation. It should rule and correct opinion, and lead it back when wrong into the right course. A great political philosopher once said that if he were given the making of a nation's ballads he cared not who made its laws. The power once possessed by popular poetry is now exercised by general literature—that literature must needs be influenced by a 710 great University, as it in its turn cannot fail to shape and fashion the ideas out of which laws and political systems grow. What a really national and scientific University can do to elevate, ennoble, and strengthen a nation, is shown by the history of the University of Berlin. In 1810, after the peace of Tilsit, Prussia was reduced to a third rank among the nations. Her territorial limits were hardly, if at all, greater than those of the present kingdom of Belgium. King Frederick William III. and his Councillors had to look for new methods to raise their fallen country. By the emancipation of capital and labour, they enlisted large classes in the work of regeneration. To conquer for Prussia the supremacy of intellect, to elevate her humiliated people, to link her cause to the cause of Germany, they founded the University of Berlin. A great work was cut out for that University to do, and it splendidly fulfilled its mission. It raised and directed the national feeling in Prussia, it influenced considerably the other Universities of Germany, and no one can justly say that it has not contributed quite as much to the glory and to the power of Prussia as the genius of her statesmen, the skill of her generals, the heroism of her soldiers, or even the folly of her enemies. The history of the University of Bonn, in the Rhenish Provinces of the Prussian monarchy, is almost a more striking instance of what a great University can do to create and guide opinion and foster national life. What we want in Ireland is a system of National University education, which, by taking into account the religious convictions of the nation and the claims of science, shall elevate the intellectual vision, without wounding the religious sentiment, of the Irish people. To found such a system it is necessary that Parliament should consider, not a Bill of very restricted scope proposed by a private Member, but a large and carefully prepared measure introduced by responsible Ministers of the Crown. I give the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Fawcett) and those who think with him, both in this House and out-of-doors, the credit for wishing to give to Ireland what they consider the best system of education; but let the abstract merits of their system be what they may, it is absolutely unsuited to the circumstances of the country, for it does not take into account the 711 traditions, circumstances, and wishes of the people. Cicero describes Cato as acting in the commonwealth upon school paradoxes, which exercised the minds of young students in the Stoic philosophy. And this is precisely the conduct of doctrinaires who make no diagnosis of the political body they prescribe for. The hon. Gentleman, in the science which he knows best, would not dream of urging an abstract principle to its logical conclusion in total disregard of circumstances. But, in the question of Irish education, he does not seem to shrink from thrusting down the throats of the Irish people his educational nostrum in haughty defiance of all disturbing elements. Those persons who are in favour of the cause which this Bill is intended to advance are not the first persons who have had their educational nostrum for Ireland. Soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion, the Anglo-Norman ecclesiastics made several attempts to establish their favourite system of University Education in that country. They failed because they did not take into consideration Irish customs, traditions, and ideas. After the Reformation, more persistent efforts were made to force upon Ireland a University system uncongenial to the country. In the reign of Elizabeth Trinity College was founded. It had at first as little success as any of the institutions of the pre-Reformation time. The Protestant nobility sent their sons to England. The Catholics sent their sons elsewhere. The State had over and over again to step forward to support this new creation, and students were chiefly attracted to it by a long array of bribes. Notwithstanding its large possessions, its monopoly of higher education, and its great privileges, it was confessedly a failure as a scientific institution; it remained languishing and mendicant. In those days the effects of trying to force upon the Irish people a system of education distasteful to them were many and various. In the first place, the Anglo-Norman and Celtic Catholics were driven into foreign alliances and into rebellion with such success that Elizabeth's educational projects failed. In the second place, Ireland offered a great field for the activity of Jesuit missionaries. The Jesuits naturally devoted all their energies to the organization of a Catholic party by fusing together the Anglo-Norman Catholics and the Celts, 712 and by the foundation of schools and colleges on such a system as had the confidence of the people. Another effect, and a most remarkable one, of this Elizabethan policy, which was founded on the same arbitrary and dogmatic principle as that of the hon. Gentleman, was the foundation of Irish colleges abroad. These colleges were originally founded to supply the wants of colleges at home suited to the people. They were supported chiefly by collections made in Ireland. During the reign of Elizabeth, while Trinity College was almost deserted, Irish colleges were established at Salamanca, Alcalà, Lisbon, Douai, and Antwerp. That was the result of Queen Elizabeth's endeavour to impose upon the Irish people what she considered, in her day the best system of education. The same system was continued under James I., and so was the answer of the Irish people, who established colleges at Tournay, Lille, Louvain, and Paris. In the reign of Charles I. they founded others at Rome and Prague. If the value of educational establishments could be measured by the sacrifices which they cost their founders, then these Irish colleges would deserve to rank with, or take precedence of the noblest foundations of William of Wayneflete, or of William of Wykeham. The persecution of Cromwell which followed was too severe to allow of any great foundation abroad; but, by the almost complete destruction of the educated laity at home, the clerical element became more and more dominant in civil, political, and educational affairs, and so matters stood down to the end of the last century. In 1787 the question of University education again began to be considered, and the Irish House of Commons recommended the creation of a second University in Dublin. A policy of compromise was then suggested. It was proposed that there should be a Protestant Episcopalian University, and a University for Catholics and Dissenters. This policy gave satisfaction to no one, and was allowed to fall into oblivion for a time. The State, however, gradually fell back upon it, and in 1845 and 1850 it was applied by the foundation of the three Queen's Colleges, and by the creation of a directing and examining body called the Queen's University. The constitution of these Colleges and of that University did not 713 prove satisfactory to the Catholics, for whose use they were mainly founded. It would be easy to show that they have not obtained drafts of students from the Catholic schools corresponding to those they have received from the Protestant schools. Numbers of Catholics, who would have gone to a University if there had been one in Ireland founded on principles congenial to them, have remained in inefficient grammar schools to complete their education. The grievance under which these persons labour has been often dwelt on in Parliament, and its reality has been allowed by successive Ministries. As to the manner in which Irish University education should be reformed opinions differ. A large number of Irish Catholics wish that a Charter should be given to the Catholic University. This plan has found favour beyond the ranks of the Catholic body, and even among the fellows of Trinity. It was the plan proposed by Lord Mayo when hon. Gentlemen opposite sat on this side of the House. It was objected to it that the multiplication of Universities would tend to lower the value of the University degree. For this and other reasons, which are well known to the House, the plan came to nothing. The desire of Lord Russell's Government to remodel the constitution of the Queen's University, so as to enable it to give degrees to students not educated at the Queen's Colleges, also came to nothing. Other methods remain. One of them is the method proposed by this Bill. Another is to supersede the two existing Universities by one open to all comers. And a third to supersede the two existing Universities by a University presiding over and directing collegiate education and student life. As to the scheme proposed by this Bill, it can only be regarded as illusory. The teaching body of Trinity is well and densely filled. A crowd of candidates, long prepared, have been ready for every opening, and will, of course, still be ready. It is not pretended that there is equality in the preliminary conditions of Catholic and Protestant aspirants to the teaching office. Catholic teachers, it appears to me, might hope to be introduced, in the ordinary state of things, at the Greek Kalends. A generation ago Trinity was open to Catholic students, and the result has been failure. A generation ago Catholics were eligible for Professorships, and 714 there is but one member of the professorial body a Catholic at the present moment. A generation hence, if we were to be content with the hon. Gentleman's plan, the same spectacle would be seen. This measure, moreover, would, if passed, only lead to further agitation. All Catholics intended for the priesthood would be by the force of circumstances shut out from University life. All Catholic lay students in clerical schools would be restrained from going to the College. The measure would not, certainly, be approved of in the Queen's Colleges. As seats of the secular system, they would clearly fare ill in competition with undogmatic Trinity; and despite all that has been said, I persist in thinking that the scheme is not really congenial to the sentiments of Trinity itself. It is not my intention to criticize the other two plans—I merely wish to point out that the proposal we have now before us does not conduce to the real settlement of this question. If the Catholics of Ireland objected to the Queen's Colleges on religious and educational grounds, they will object to this scheme for the same reasons. Under it, Catholic theology would remain without the animating contact of secular learning. The bulk of the Catholic laity would be left without the advantage of higher education, and while the hon. Gentleman would have secured to ecclesiastical power its present place in the social system of Ireland, he would — equally perhaps against his intention—have excluded the influence of instructed Catholic opinion.
§ Previous Question proposed, "That that Question be now put."—(Mr. Pim.)
said, he had listened with great interest to the speech delivered by his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) in moving the second reading of a Bill of great importance relating to a most complicated subject. His hon. Friend anticipated that the Government would support the Bill because it carried out that principle of religious equality on which their own measures in regard to Ireland had been based. Now, if this were the month of February instead of the month of August, he apprehended the duty of the Government would be clear. They would have the option of either supporting the Bill or else bringing 715 forward a measure in lieu of it; but, under existing circumstances, the House was asked to assent to the second reading of the Bill without there being, according to the general belief and impression, the smallest prospect of proceeding to practical legislation on the subject to which it referred. Well, he (Mr. Gladstone) asked himself what was the general rule applicable to a proposal for the second reading of an important Bill in the declining and dying days of the Session, when there was not the faintest prospect of carrying it through. He did not hesitate to say that this general rule appeared to him to be one that ought not lightly to be dispensed with, because, if for the convenience of making a popular assertion they allowed themselves to depart from the salutary practice imposed by such rule, they might depend upon it that sooner or later they would suffer for the weakness of their conduct. His proposition was this, that it was not in accordance with the sound and ordinary Parliamentary usage to vote for the second reading of an important Bill except with a view to practical legislation upon the subject to which it related. Of course, there had been exceptions. Last year the Government voted in favour of the second reading of the Bill of the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Leatham) in reference to the Ballot, although they did not intend to support the passing of such Bill, but intended to introduce, and they did subsequently introduce, a Bill of their own dealing with the same question; that was the only example known of a Government voting for the second reading of a Bill at the end of the Session by way of making manifestation when there was no chance of proceeding with it. And at that period of the Session they had entertained considerable hopes of being able to pass their measure through Parliament. All the arguments he had heard in favour of reading this Bill a second time were founded upon the expediency of asserting a principle, and thus, in fact, converting the second reading of a Bill into a mere abstract Resolution. He remembered one noteable case which bore upon the wisdom of passing an abstract Resolution apart from the intention to go on and give effect to it. In 1839 the important question of the union of the two Canadas came before Parliament, and 716 when Lord Russell, in the month of June, proposed to pass an abstract declaration to the effect that the two Canadas ought to be united, Sir Robert Peel pointed out that his Lordship, if he entertained the idea of legislating upon the matter, should take the proper and legitimate course of laying on the Table a plan for carrying out that object, and he stated his strong objections to being bound to the principle of a measure except in connection with those details by which effect was to be given to it. Her Majesty's Government agreed with the hon. Member for Brighton that it was highly desirable to abolish religious tests in the University of Dublin, and to deal with the question of the higher education in Ireland on the principle of religious equality, but, at the same time, it was by no means desirable virtually to pass an abstract Resolution by agreeing to the second reading of this Bill. They welcomed the hon. Gentleman as a fellow-labourer in the same field of legislation, but this was a very different thing from saying that it was desirable or consistent to assert the principle embodied in the Bill, apart from all real responsibility as to the means of giving it effect, and to become mere bidders of general favour by giving a public pledge without having considered the means of its effectual redemption. The Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Dublin (Mr. Pim) was intended to invite the House to refrain from passing any opinion on the present occasion respecting the merits of the Bill. This appeared to him to be a reasonable Motion, and one perfectly compatible with what he had just assumed to be the principle of the measure. His hon. Friend who moved the second reading said that this Bill claimed the gratitude of the Government. He (Mr. Gladstone) admitted that within certain limits it did. It was said to be a measure of which the Governing Body of the University of Dublin had approved, thus practically acknowledging its altered circumstances since the abolition of the Established Church in Ireland; and much credit he (Mr. Gladstone) thought was due to that learned body for having made such an acknowledgment. It must be confessed that as far as regarded the abolition of religious tests, the present was an absolute and a complete measure. It appeared 717 to him a somewhat remarkable circumstance in the case of a Bill so seriously affecting the University of Dublin, that the senior Member for the University (Dr. Ball) was absent from the House.
§ An hon. MEMBER remarked that he was absent through illness.
said, he regretted that the right hon. Member was absent from whatever cause. He should have been extremely glad to see the right hon. Gentleman in his place, but, at all events, he would, in the presence of one of the Members for the University, record in the most distinct terms this conclusion:—All that the present Bill conceded was conceded irrevocably, and a stand-point established from which they might go forward but not backward. As an entire and absolute prohibition of religious tests in the University the Bill was proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, and as such pro tanto it was accepted by the Government. As far as the main and leading proposition of the Bill was concerned, his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton had gained his object by the introduction of the measure, and from all who would support the Bill, as well as from many who would be unable to join in the vote which he asked the House to give, his hon. Friend would obtain as emphatic a recognition of the principle as he himself could desire. In his own (Mr. Gladstone's) acceptance of that principle, as far as words would supply it, he trusted that nothing was wanting, either in point of clearness or in point of force. His hon. Friend had referred to the position and claims of the Roman Catholic population, and had stated that there were Catholics and Catholics; that to the views of some he was altogether opposed, while to the views of others he was friendly, and by this very Bill had given them effectual aid. His hon. Friend also had read a declaration contained in a letter from a distinguished Roman Catholic gentleman who had attained honours in the University of Dublin, and who thought the Bill was all that could be desired. His hon. Friend, however, as a representative professing popular opinions, knew perfectly well that in order to ascertain the 718 opinions of classes they must be content to learn them, in a considerable measure, from the representatives sent to the House of Parliament. If this principle were overthrown, and if the representatives of Ireland were to be regarded but as so many units in the House, without being allowed to carry with them any degree, however moderate, of authority or influence in the name of their country, such a course in practice would be attended with very inconvenient consequences. Therefore, without laying down any absolute rule upon the subject, it was plain that they must not allow too great weight to individual communications privately made to Members of the House in comparison with the declarations publicly made by the chosen representatives of the Irish people. This he said not because he was at all aware whether it would be possible for the House ultimately to legislate in accordance with the view of many Irish Members upon this subject, but because he recognized the claim of the Irish Members, in the first place, to a full and complete hearing upon the question. His hon. Friend in moving the second reading of this Bill had declared that he did not see why the second reading should not be followed by proceedings upon the Bill itself. His hon. Friend had heard something of a sitting in the autumn, and though he did not know whether there would be a sitting or not, he thought there could be no reason why Gentlemen who were reasonably disposed should not go forward with the measure and carry it into an Act of Parliament. Such, at least, was his statement when introducing the Bill. But what was the meaning attached to being "reasonably disposed?" Why, being disposed to agree in all points with his hon. Friend. This was a Bill for the reform of the University of Dublin, and if its provisions were seriously to be considered, he could not sufficiently express his surprise at the advice given to the House by his hon. Friend, himself a Professor in one of the English Universities, that it was practicable to go forward with such a measure, introduced in the month of July, and proposed to be read a second time on the 2nd of August, unless, indeed, his hon. Friend was laughing in his sleeve. His hon. Friend had stated that the Bill did complete justice to the 719 Catholics of Ireland. No doubt it conferred on them a very valuable boon, but that it did them complete justice he was unable to admit. He constantly heard speculations and criticisms about the supposed intentions and ambiguous policy of the Government with regard to the higher education in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] Three or four Gentlemen, it seemed, confirmed that statement; but if ever there was a question upon which the leading outlines of the policy of the Government had been fixed by anticipation through their own public acts and through their own public declarations, and with respect to which there had never been—as far as he knew—the slightest practical alteration or recession, it was this question of the higher education in Ireland. The Government had always contended that it ought to be dealt with upon the principle of religious equality — and he wished to know whether his hon. Friend went the whole length which that principle required. The Government had always declared, not in ambiguous, but in clear and distinct terms, that as matters now stood, with respect to higher education in Ireland, the Roman Catholics of Ireland had a grievance, and that the grievance did not consist wholly in the limited and exclusive application of the revenues of Dublin, or in the limitations placed upon the admission to its studies. The Government contended that the admission to University degrees, which stamped intellectual culture and training with the seal of public authority, ought to be given in Ireland as in England without the slightest reference to the religious opinions of any man, or to the course which those religious opinions might lead any man to take with respect to the education of his children. That was the broad principle laid down by the Government; was his hon. Friend, prepared to accept it? Looking at the condition of Ireland, the Government found that there were in that country very large and important bodies of men who contended for united education. The opinion of those men was the popular opinion in this country, it was the progressive opinion, and it had been supported in general by the action of the Governments of this country, and largely fed by grants out of the public purse. But, as his hon. Friend had stated, there were Catholics and 720 Catholics; and one branch of these religionists was determined that the general education of their children should be given solely in and by institutions where their religious faith was taught. With the question whether that was a wise or an unwise opinion he apprehended that the House upon the present occasion had nothing whatever to do. He entirely declined to enter into that question. He might have his own opinion as to the policy or impolicy of giving an absolute control over education, or any particular degree of control over education, to clergymen; but he wished to put that matter entirely and absolutely out of consideration. There were in Ireland a large number of Roman Catholics whose mind and will it was that the education of their laity should be conducted in institutions where the Roman Catholic religion was taught. And the contention of the Government—not ambiguous, but as plain as words could make it — the contention which they had held ever since they approached the discussion of this question, as strongly as any contention ever was maintained by any Government in the House of Commons, was that persons ought not to be punished with respect to University degrees on account of the religious training which they had received. Did the Bill of his hon. Friend dispose of this question? No, it left it exactly where it found it. It established a new institution, and it renovated and repaired the existing institution. Whether within that new institution the religion of the disestablished Church would be taught, they had no evidence whatever; but nobody, he supposed, would imagine that the religion of the Roman Catholic population would be taught there. As far, therefore, as the House could see, the institution was intended to grant its degrees to its own alumni exclusively — that was to say, to those who were within its walls, where the doctrines of the Roman Catholic religion would not be taught. This, as far as he understood the matter, was the grievance of the Roman Catholic population, or a part of the Roman Catholic population — and what proportion of them must be left to representatives from Ireland to declare; and this grievance, as far as he had been able to read the Bill, remained untouched. The means of education, the means of obtaining the 721 advantages of the endowments of the University, were, no doubt, greatly enlarged by the Bill, and freely extended to the Roman Catholic population, but subject always to the condition that in availing themselves of that University education the Catholics should forego what they held, in every case, to be an essential principle of duty—namely, that education should be given and received in establishments where their own religion was taught. In speaking of that grievance, which was not touched by the present Bill, he need hardly go on to say that the Government had no plans of their own for the recognition of the denominational principle, or for founding a denominational University in Ireland. Upon these matters they had just as consistently and plainly given their opinions from time to time, as they had given them with respect to the removal of the grievance to which he had last referred, and on most other questions. When the foundation of a Roman Catholic University was proposed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite the Members of the present Government objected and defeated the proposal, and those objections, urged before they came into office, they had never since withdrawn. Between such a claim and a claim for the removal of the grievance of which he had just spoken he drew the widest possible distinction; he need not dwell upon the matter, for it was not now before the House; but he wished to intimate that there had been no change in the views of the Government on that important subject. Having dealt with this branch of the question perfectly and without aid from the speech of his hon. Friend, who, to use a familiar expression, had entirely skipped that portion of the subject, he would endeavour to explain in what respects the Bill before the House appeared to him incomplete. He was prepared to set his seal upon this measure as one for the abolition of tests; but when he came to consider it as a measure of University reform, he must say his hon. Friend was certainly a bold man. On every former occasion — he believed even in the comparatively simple case of the Scotch Universities—Parliament had dealt with the question of tests apart from the question of University reform. When the Oxford University Bill was introduced there was an express severance of those two questions, 722 one from the other; and though upon the very last stage a single clause was introduced of a mild character with respect to University tests, the questions throughout were kept distinct and treated upon a dual basis. In the case of Cambridge the precedent of Oxford was followed, and with good reason; for measures dealing with the studios, the discipline, the government, and the property of Universities were not measures that it was possible to pass with a single night's debate. Neither the Ballot Bill nor the Army Bill consumed a greater share of the time of Parliament — he doubted whether they occupied as many nights as were required for the discussion of the Oxford University Reform. Bill in 1854. And yet that Bill was not factiously or unusually opposed; there never probably was a Bill into the discussions of which the spirit of party entered less. Was, then, the constitution of the University of Dublin such a simple matter that this part of the business could be overlooked, and the Bill pushed on as if they were dealing with the question of University tests, and with no other? He must complain a little of his hon. Friend for having sunk and suppressed this question of University reform, upon which they ought to have had from him a full discussion and exposition of the whole matter, which was certainly not less complicated than the considerations arising in the cases of Oxford and Cambridge, especially as in this case there was a peculiar admixture of the University with the College. His hon. Friend had brought forward a Bill which evidently aimed at finality, as far as Parliament was concerned, and he said, most truly, that the University of Dublin ought not to be harassed by continual efforts at Parliamentary legislation. He (Mr. Gladstone) agreed with him thoroughly, and for that very reason he questioned the wisdom of bringing in Bills upon the subject which could not pass into law. The Government in bringing in any Bill upon the subject would certainly have referred to the prospects of passing it speedily, would desire to deal with the whole subject conclusively, in order, if he might use the expression, to put the University out of its pain. His hon. Friend, however, not content with introducing a measure dealing simply with the question of tests, which might easily have been dealt with, brought in 723 a Bill to alter the whole constitution of the University. He did not, indeed, separate the College from the University, for he left the two more inextricably mingled than ever; but he constituted two new bodies within the University—one, the Council, to deal with studies and the appointment of Professorships; and the lion's share be reserved for another and more closely constituted body, the Hebdomadal Council, which was to deal with revenues and all matters not expressly given to the Council. He divided, disarranged, and redistributed the existing powers and duties, created a novel constitution, and wished to pledge Parliament to the recognition of a state of things which, as far as he could see, would effectually shut out all future attempts at reform and renovation. Another serious defect in the scheme was this—religious, tests were removed, but the practical results of the religious liberty that was sought would only be attained through a very slow process of infiltration. His hon. Friend was convinced that the passing of this Bill would lead to the immediate election of at least one Roman Catholic fellow. But how did he reconcile that opinion with the duties of the examiners? Was the Roman Catholic to be elected whatever might be his answers, or was only a moderate amount of favour to be shown him by the examiners? At present, the whole governing authority of the University was concentrated in the hands of members of the Disestablished Church. Within what period of time did his hon. Friend imagine that it would be possible for representatives of the Presbyterian, or, still more, of the Roman Catholic populations, to become the strong and sensible element which they ought to be in the Governing Body of the University—20, 30, 40, or 50 years? His hon. Friend had astutely evaded this point; he had given no estimate whatever on the point, though the last date he (Mr. Gladstone) had given certainly seemed the most probable. Parenthetically, he might congratulate the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Plunket) on the certainty, under this Bill, of retaining his seat for life. The religious opinions of the constituency would unfailingly retain a sufficient identity with those of the electors by whom he had been returned to send him to Parliament during the whole of his career, which 724 he (Mr. Gladstone) hoped might be long, and he felt sure would be distinguished. The opposing elements which would find their way in would be as dust in the balance, and there would be no risk in the case of the hon. and learned Gentleman of strife as severe as he himself had been doomed to suffer, or of a similarly final and somewhat decisive ejection. The Bill, moreover, had been very hastily put together. The Preamble, for instance, described the schools and the University of Dublin as "places of religion and learning," but in the enacting part of the Bill, from one end to the other, there was not a word about religious observance, instruction, or worship. What impression this might make upon the House he did not know, but it seemed to him as if the Bill had been originally drawn with some clauses corresponding to the declaration in the Preamble, but when it was submitted to the hon. Member for Brighton, or somebody else with his turn of thought, he procured the abandonment of those clauses; but the Preamble, unfortunately, was forgotten to be altered. The Bill contradicted one of the most important recommendations of the Commission which inquired into the University of Dublin—namely, that the Senate should be abolished. Instead of abolishing it, by the 5th clause of the Bill the Senate was made the basis of the Council. Yet his hon. Friend had given the House no explanation whatever for this departure from the views of the Commission. A still broader objection to the Bill, considered as a scheme of University reform, was the extraordinary spirit in which the clauses as to future government were drawn. In the case both of Oxford and Cambridge a system had been established under which new Ordinances of either of those Universities or of the Colleges must come under the supervision of the Executive Government and of the Privy Council; so that, notwithstanding the existence in this country of an Established Church, Parliament had declined to grant to any of those great bodies the final and controlling power. But in this Bill, to his astonishment, and in total departure from precedent and practice in England, everything was given over to the bodies created under the measure itself. Property studies, discipline, and everything else were handed over to be finally dealt 725 with by the Council, Hebdomadal Council, and Chancellor of the University. How did his hon. Friend justify this extraordinary novelty? Why in the case of Dublin University alone was this extraordinary absolutism of power to be created? Again, his hon. Friend might have given this final power to the University authorities, if he had taken out of their hands all doubtful and ecclesiastical matters. He had done nothing of the kind. He had provided for nothing except the abolition of the tests, leaving the masters of the University to do otherwise as they pleased. There was a Divinity school at the University. The Bill said nothing whatever about it. Was it right that the Governing Body of the University should have it in their power not merely to maintain that school, but to double its endowments if it thought fit—for there was nothing in the Bill to prevent this—and yet that nobody should be entitled to inquire or look into the matter? He hoped his hon. Friend would afford some explanation on that point. How was it possible to contend that such unlimited power of endowing Divinity schools out of the University property should be left to the Governing Body of the Dublin University? A Divinity school must always be denominational. It was the plain intention of this Bill that a Divinity school should continue, but Parliament ought to provide the conditions on which the school was to be continued, or it ought to be withdrawn. They could not leave it to the authorities of the University whether the school was to be kept fat or lean, whether it should be reduced to the verge of starvation, or whether it should be swelled to almost any dimensions out of the general property of the University. But he would go further, and raise the question of ecclesiastical patronage. The Irish Church Act provided that the livings in the gift of Trinity College should, like the patronage in private hands, be regarded as proper subjects for compensation. He did not know whether Trinity College had yet received the price of those livings. [Some hon. MEMBERS: No.] But he was told it would be a very large price—as much probably as £100,000. He did not care about the sum; but he wanted to know who was to deal with that money, and under what limitations? Was that money 726 to be employed by Trinity College as it pleased, with nobody but his hon. Friend the single Roman Catholic fellow to resist? Was there nothing in the Bill to prevent the Governing Body of Trinity College from, laying out the money which it would receive from its advowsons in endowing churches for the Disestablished Church in Ireland and constituting itself trustee? He was advised that there was not. His hon. Friend had never dreamt of any such contingency. His head was so full of the abolition of tests, that, although his brain was certainly capacious enough, he did not appear to be able to take in any other consideration. And yet the House was on the point of being so fascinated by Ms hon. Friend's eloquence, and by the zeal of his supporters, as to leave to the Governing Body of Trinity College the disposal of all this money for denominational purposes. He had now concluded his examination of this Bill, made no doubt most imperfectly and a great deal too briefly. It was a Bill requiring the fullest statement and discussion. The Oxford University Bill took two hours to introduce, and he thought his hon. Friend ought to have spent at least two hours upon this Bill, if he meant to deal with the important and interesting questions which it raised in a manner commensurate with their gravity. It was not wise to read Bills of this character and magnitude a second time if there were no prospect of proceeding to practical legislation upon them, for the effect was to release the House from that responsibility which attended the sanctioning of measures when it was known that the details of the proposal would be thoroughly sifted and examined. The measure was one, as he had stated at the outset, incomplete in every respect, and the Mover and Seconder, by the observations which they addressed to the House, had not given the slightest assistance to its examination. It was quite true, as had been stated, that in 1868, and even earlier, in 1865–6, the Members of the present Government, or many of them, had given distinct pledges on the subject of higher education in Ireland, and that hitherto those pledges had not been fulfilled. He acknowledged the forbearance of the Representatives of Ireland on both sides of the House in the practical acknowledgment they had given that the pressure of other business 727 had been such as to prevent the Government from facing this question with a practical measure. The Government, however, had not forgotten their pledges on this subject, and looked forward to the day of their practical redemption. But they had one negative duty to perform, and that was without the slightest regard to their own popularity to refrain studiously and inexorably from doing anything that could tend to aggravate the difficulties surrounding this question. In his opinion there never was a question of which, in the view of candid and impartial men, the doubtful points were better understood or lay within narrower limits. It seemed to him that it was one upon which any 12 intelligent, reasonable, and unprejudiced men, put together in a room, ought speedily to arrive at the principles of a just and satisfactory settlement. He alluded now not to the academic question alone, but particularly to the controverted portion of the subject, which, with the exercise of good sense, candour, charity, and large consideration, it would be easy to deal with upon principles just in themselves and conformable with recent legislation for Ireland. But he could not conceal from himself that though the subject was in itself small, and in itself one which might be dealt with in a soothing temper and spirit, it was one which might also easily change its character and swell beyond its proper proportions like an angry sea. It was one into which the minds of men might import all those passions, all those sad recollections, all those disastrous prospects which had hitherto and until very recently attended the discussion and the settlement of Irish questions in that House. God grant it might not be the case, but the day might come when passions in this country and passions in Ireland, the odium theologicum on the one hand, and the odium ante-theologicum, as it has been well called, on the other, might give rise to feelings of such exasperation that in consequence of this small and comparatively paltry—at any rate easy—matter, the rich, fruits of their labours on the Established Church and the land question, labours undertaken for the benefit of the whole society in Ireland, might be compromised or lost. The Government, at all events, would be no party to anything that 728 could conduce to such a result. They would be no party to any Resolution or plan on this subject, except one founded upon principles which would meet and reconcile every fair expectation. He was earnestly desirous of not being misunderstood. If he had said anything which could offend any one who heard him, he much regretted having done so. He had endeavoured to make fair allowance for what was good in the provisions of the Bill, and to show the importance of that which remained to be supplied to make it satisfactory. He objected on principle to the second reading of a Bill at a time when the second reading could only be the assertion of an abstract principle, and he earnestly recorded the solemn desire and hope that whatever was attempted and whatever was done in relation to this question, might be conceived, might be prosecuted, and might be carried to its completion in a spirit of thorough peace and brotherly concord.
§ DR. LYON PLAYFAIR
The right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government has stated, as his chief reason for opposing this Bill, that it was impossible to give a second reading to it on the 2nd of August. That argument will be brought with telling force against his Government when he sends the Ballot Bill to a co-ordinate branch of the Legislature—the House of Lords. The right hon. Gentleman says he will vote against our Bill, and will support the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment. But on what principle and in what spirit was it moved? On the one side in a Protestant, and on the other in a Roman Catholic zeal for denominational higher education. Does my right hon. Friend share in that spirit? I fear he does, if I rightly understand his dimly-shadowed scheme of a national University. But the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government went still further; for he told us that our time-honoured Universities in Scotland are wrong in principle, that they should be converted into colleges, and a national examining University should be substituted for them. But the people of Scotland will have something to say to that; and great as is the power of my right hon. Friend, I do not think he is powerful enough to achieve that scheme. I suppose, logically, Oxford and Cambridge will in time have 729 to bow their heads and go under the yoke of the London University. The right hon. Gentleman told us he was "on the same lines of religious equality" as ourselves. I wish that I felt confident of it. At all events, he is not so clear or explicit as previous Governments when such questions have been discussed on former occasions. I wish we could discuss this Bill in the spirit of fairness and impartiality displayed by Sir James Graham when he supported the establishment of the Irish Queen's Colleges in 1845. He then stated that though he desired to open up new colleges for higher education in Ireland, he was entirely opposed to the absorption of the University of Trinity College in any future national University for that country, for, said he—"neither policy nor justice should permit any interference with Trinity College, Dublin." When he spoke that College was still surrounded with old ideas of Protestant ascendancy, and it doubtless still cherishes its Protestant traditions. But let us recollect that for the last three-quarters of a century Trinity College has remembered the duties implied in the quaint language of Queen Elizabeth, that she is "the mother of a University;" for the College has fitted her teaching, as the University has adapted her degrees, to students of all forms of religious belief. She did this even before the Scotch Universities, and we are aware that those in England have done so only this year. Moved by her ancient liberality, she now offers to open up, in addition to the degrees, all her positions of honour and emolument. ["No, no."] I hear an hon. Member dissent, and I presume that he thinks she is stimulated, not by liberality, but by the apprehension of future legislation, and, no doubt, she has grounds for fear, as I could show if I had time to refer to the academic history of 1866. But, however much or however little this fear may weigh on the actions of Trinity College and its University, it is more profitable to inquire whether her habits and past history indicate that she is fitted to develop under altered conditions, and to extend her advantages to the changed and changing circumstances which demand the new constitution that we have framed for her. My hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) has explained the reasons which justify his 730 belief in the liberal spirit of Trinity College, and I proceed to explain mine. She was not only much the earliest University in the recognition of religious toleration, but she has been foremost in adapting herself to modern educational requirements. When the State desired a higher education for the scientific officers of the Army, Trinity College was the first to step forward, and trained, with marked success, candidates for the Artillery and Engineers at Woolwich. When India demanded a higher class of candidates for the Civil Service, Trinity College was again the first to supply the demand. She was also foremost to recognize that a new profession of civil engineering had been created by the wonderful progress of our times, and she adjusted her curriculum to train this new profession. Hence, when I find a religious toleration arising under a history and ecclesiastical connection that might readily have bred intolerance, and when I further find a ready educational adaptability to the wants of the day, I think that we are justified in putting faith in the professions of a University which assures us that she is willing to accept and to work the now constitution in a spirit of liberality. Perhaps the House is likely the more to credit the liberality of the measure, when we find that the Bill is opposed by the Members for Dublin city on two such opposite grounds—one in Protestant, the other in Roman Catholic zeal. Their antithetic views give at least an assurance that the Bill is not pleasing to zealous advocates of either form of religious belief. What is the essence of the constitutional changes that we propose? At present, Trinity College and its University are governed by seven senior fellows and the Provost; while the junior fellows, the Professors, and the graduates have no share in the government. Most of the senior fellows are in orders in the Church of England, so that the present government is essentially Anglican. Well, we abolish all clerical conditions for fellowship, and send to the governing body representatives of junior fellows, Professors, and graduates; so that, for the future, Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters will have three doors of entrance to the honours, emoluments, and government of the College and University. They may enter by a graduates' door, by a professorial entrance, 731 or by the narrower portal of fellowship; but all three approaches are for the future to be open to Protestants and Roman Catholics on equal terms. Surely in such a proposal there is no vestige of illiberality. In fact, as we see by the Motion for its rejection by the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim), and by that of the hon. Baronet the Member for Galway (Sir Rowland Blennerhassett), it is too liberal for those who look at it in its ecclesiastical and not in its national aspects. No doubt this arises from the favour with which denominational education is viewed in Ireland. In that view two courses were open for changing Trinity College. The first was to preserve its Anglicism, and to endow, either by public funds or by private subscriptions, new Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Colleges affiliated to its University. The second course was to spoliate Trinity College of part of its free revenues, and with the fruits of the spoliation to endow new denominational colleges; and that course, as I understand, is the recommendation of the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Heron). That course, when proposed the other night, was loudly cheered by hon. Members for Ireland. Why is there such entire silence about it to-day? Where is the hon. Member for Tipperary? His absence, along with this silence, is a significant feature of this debate. Neither of these courses is to be found in this Bill; but it proposes to free Trinity College and its University from every form of religious disability, and to open its education, honours, emoluments, and government to the whole inhabitants of Ireland, whatever may be their form of religious belief. What objections have appeared in debate to this liberal proposal? Practically, they resolve themselves into the counter proposition, that the system of united education in Ireland should be changed into one of separate denominational education, and that, united education being knocked on the head, the unsubstantial spectre of united examination should take its place. In other words, there is to be a single University for Ireland, like that of London—a mere examining body, disassociated from all teaching functions. Well, you have experience of such a system at the present moment within the University of Dublin itself. Even now, Trinity College matriculates students for 732 examination who need not attend a single lecture within her walls. There is nothing in her rules to prevent a student getting his whole education at Maynooth, or at the Roman Catholic University in St. Stephen's Green, and yet obtaining his lay degrees at the University of Trinity College. Nor is this a mere nominal privilege. In a Return in my hand, I see that out of 1,218 undergraduates keeping terms, no less than 488 are matriculated for examination merely, on the principle of the London University. The principle is exactly the same, though the number of examinations is more numerous in the Irish University; but if that is not desirable, the adjustment is a mere matter of detail. Though the principle of non-residence for degrees is identical in Dublin and London University, the plan in the former is not a mere copy of the latter, for it arose in the middle of last century, and no doubt originated in the liberal desire to allow Roman Catholics to study where they please; but it has, as a University system, no parallel in Europe except in the case of London. The Provost of Trinity assures me that about 40 per cent of all the matriculated students are usually in this position. Notwithstanding the long continuance of this practice, it can claim no more enlarged academic success than that of the London University, and is certainly the weakest part of the Trinity College system; for while the resident students yield 62 per cent of graduates, the nonresident give only 27 per cent. Yet this unproductive system is that which some Irish reformers would extend to their productive Universities. The University of London grants degrees of an unexceptionable standard; but though having a huge Metropolis, all England, and all her colonies at her back, she passes scarcely one-third the graduates in arts and science of the Irish Universities, regarding which as little doubt exists as to the excellence of their degrees. I hope both Ireland, England, and Scotland will pause long before they yield their tried University systems, merely to substitute the Chinese system of teaching a nation by encyclopædic examinations. And what is this system of united education that you desire us to destroy? It is well displayed in Trinity College and in the Queen's Colleges. You have students of different religious persuasions 733 sitting in the same lecture theatre, mingling at the same dinner table, and amusing themselves with the same pastimes. And the dreadful result is, that their religious differences and acerbities become assuaged, and respect and toleration for the conscientious opinions of others take the place of the narrow intolerance often engendered within the narrow circle of a home upbringing. Even now 17 per cent of the lay students at Trinity College are Roman Catholics, and 23 per cent of those in the Queen's Colleges. Though this may appear a small percentage in a population which numbers seven Catholics to two Protestants, yet the reverse proportion exists among the upper and middle classes who attend Universities, and the ratio, though not yet what one would like to see, or what it will become if you pass this Bill, is still encouraging. The hon. Member for Tipperary, however, and those who cheered him the other evening, but who are silent as the grave tonight on that scheme, seem to agree with the prelates that this united education is dangerous to faith and morals, and so insist on despoiling Trinity College, in order to endow a Roman Catholic University. He talked, I think, of obtaining some £40,000 a-year for his new Roman Catholic University. Why, Trinity College has altogether a free revenue of only £37,000, and when you recollect that we used to vote £30,000 a-year to Maynooth, and do vote nearly that sum to the Queen's Colleges, where is the margin for spoliation without destruction? Though the hon. Member will scarcely believe it of a Scotchman, I am neither so ignorant nor so prejudiced as to dislike a University because it is Roman Catholic. One cannot forget that it was under Roman Catholic Universities that the early intellectual development of modern Europe was attained. I have the honour to represent in this House an ancient University (St. Andrews), which has no other power for granting degrees than a Papal Bull; for it was under the fostering care of the Roman Catholic Church that three out of our four Scotch Universities arose. The characteristic of all these old Universities, whether in this country or in other European States, was their independence both of secular and priestly power. These little independent intellectual republics were more remarkable, 734 because they appeared bike small islands of intellectual freedom amid great seas of religious and temporal despotism. When the Church disliked their teaching, it required a prolonged, but rarely a cruel conflict, to influence it. Thus, before the University of Paris crystallized into an academic form, such teachers as Abelard, supported by their 20,000 students, could assert their independence; for, in his case, his ecclesiastical superiors had to fight nearly a lifetime before he was put to silence. Even with Galileo the conflict was long, but scarcely intolerant, though stupid on both sides. But the Roman Catholic University which it is proposed to establish in Ireland has none of the independence which led to the intellectual glories of the age of Leo. We have no difficulty in knowing its character, because the Irish prelates sent a draft of its charter to the Government, and a most wonderful document that is. According to this scheme, the four Archbishops are to govern the University, appoint the lay members, appoint and dismiss at pleasure the Rector, Professors, and officers; select the books, regulate the studies, and supervise the students. Literally, these are the powers which the Irish ecclesiastics asked the Crown of England to ratify by a Royal Charter, and I am sure no precedent for them will be found in academic history, not even in the prelatic University of Louvain. In all this there is the most complete misconception of a Catholic University. Its very name implies universality in teaching and universality in welcome to all classes of students, perfectly free from all sectarian exclusiveness. A University governed by prelates, who would prohibit the teaching of Locke and Butler, Kant and Mill, would be a caricature of academic learning. The contemplated Irish University, then, as exhibited by the draft charter, has nothing in it to commend itself to the lovers of religious freedom. Yet the document signed by the Roman Catholic laity, in anticipation of this Bill, and sent round as a Parliamentary Paper, has a high-sounding demand "for perfect religious equality in all the educational advantages of the State." That is a demand which any Liberal Member on this side would sign with pleasure, for it is what we try to offer ty this Bill. But we know quite well that the demand, behind this general 735 phrase, is denominational education—Protestant schools and colleges for Protestants, Catholic ones for Catholics. That is exactly what we do not mean. I admit that there is an appearance of inequality, as long as Trinity College mixes up religious teaching of any kind with its secular instruction, though it allows students to withdraw from it. The mixed government, which we propose to introduce, will ultimately tend to assimilate its system of teaching with that which prevails in our Scotch Universities. In them we have long since ceased to mix up religion with secular instruction, and we have not found that this disseverance is incompatible with the growth of true religion among the Scottish people; though we have found that it is singularly productive of peace and goodwill among all classes of students. I have admitted that the Bill does not touch this point, but it opens up a path of reform which may reach it. When that is effected, Trinity College will be as truly national, and as truly free, as a University could be. Literature and science always grow more freely when not swathed up in the swaddling clothes of religious creeds, which are apt to stunt their growth and arrest their development. With the prospects of reform held out by the Bill, and its actual provisions, what further securities for the free use of Trinity College can be given to Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters? If they desire to study under their own form of religion, freed from contact with Anglicans, the University of Dublin grants them that right, and as freely examines the nonresident students as the University of London would do; for I repeat that about 40 per cent of the students in Trinity College matriculate for examination only. It is true that Ultramontanes object to these examinations as including subjects dangerous to faith, or perhaps more truly, as incompatible with their own dogmas; but in that case they have their own denominational College of Maynooth, and their own Roman Catholic University. There is no reason whatever, as far as the State is concerned, that Maynooth should not include the Catholic laity as well as priests, and the Act of last year has given it a large capital sum for endowment; the Act under which it was established, passed five years before the Union, has 736 not a word limiting it to a priestly seminary, for the title is "An Act for the Better Education of Persons professing the Popish or Roman Catholic faith." And if the Ultramontanes will not conform to the habits of modern thought, their University in St. Stephen's Green can attest the qualifications of students limited in knowledge according to their desire. Undoubtedly it is now a University, for it is established by a Papal Brief of the 23rd of March, 1855, and, to Roman Catholics, that authority is at least as high as that of a Royal Charter. It is true that Apostolical power is insufficient to give legal recognition to its degrees in this country, especially in medicine and law, nor is that likely to follow, even if the University be extended to them, until ample security is given to the State that the knowledge attested by the degree has been fully and freely acquired without any ecclesiastical hindrance or limitation. I frankly confess that, in the present state of the world, I do not know how to reconcile the requirements of learning in our Universities with abject submission to ecclesiastical power. Intellectual freedom must be secured with the same absolute rights as personal liberty or property. And it is with this view that this BLLL divests a great University, which in science has produced a Robinson, the Lloyds, a Macullagh, and a Hamilton, from every religious disability, so as to place all its advantages on the fresh terms of religious equality. You tell us that the more liberal we make the University the less will the Roman Catholics frequent it. I deny that the past history of education in Ireland justifies this statement; but if the Roman Catholic laity are such meek lambs as to be driven out of intellectual pastures by their shepherds, I can only express sorrow for them; yet the grass of the pastures will still grow, and rear stock of another kind. You had better assent to the inevitable, for there is no government in this House, be it Liberal or Conservative, which could remain in power for an hour, if it proposed to us a measure to convert a liberal religious equality into an intolerant religious inequality. Some of the Irish Members appear wroth with my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) and myself, because we, as English and Scotch Members, have intruded into an 737 Irish subject. It is difficult to please our Irish friends. When Ireland is treated as a separate part of the kingdom, we are told that we act wrongly, and that there should be a common interest—equal laws and equal customs for the whole of the United Kingdom. Especially should this be the case in regard to the great seats of learning in its three divisions. These never have had, and never ought to have, a local limitation, and should not be surrounded with restrictions that contract their usefulness. We laughed, on a recent occasion, when the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Delahunty) told us, with a fine Milesian accent, that not only "Ireland should be for the Irish, but England should also be for the Irish;" yet he indicated an important truth. English and Scotch Universities should be and are available to the Irish people; while Irish Universities should attract Scotch and English students, as they in fact do. The hon. Baronet the Member for Dublin City (Sir Dominic Corrigan) has poured out a special vial of wrath upon me, and has declared that he disowns me as his representative, and will never vote for me again, because I oppose his Roman Catholic scheme of education. But how is it that I have the honour of having my distinguished Irish Friend as a constituent? He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh; and ought not that fact to satisfy him that learning and science have no country, and ought not to be bound up with any creed. The principles of religious liberty and religious equality, and the advantages of united education, are questions of Imperial importance, and cannot be made the monopoly of any section of the kingdom. This Bill deals with these questions in a truly liberal and Catholic spirit, and I trust that this House will show by its vote to-day that the higher education of a people can only be treated in that spirit, and must not be made subservient to ecclesiastical despotism. The object of this Bill is to unite the educated youth of a country who have now a tendency to keep apart by religious differences, but who may be brought together on the neutral ground of a common learning; for the main purpose of the Bill is to open up to the whole community a University and a College famous in their traditions of learning and science, and distinguished by their adaptability to modern wants.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he wished to explain the way in which the Governing Body of the University of Dublin were concerned in this Bill, and he wished also to explain that the absence of his right hon. and learned Colleague (Dr. Ball) had simply arisen from the fact that he had been exhausted by the heavy work of the Session, and his health having broken down he had gone back to Ireland. His right hon. and learned Colleague was as anxious as any man could be to be there that day, and was an earnest supporter of the present Bill. As regarded the measure itself he (Mr. Plunket) did not wish to underestimate the importance of the Bill or to understate the importance of the principles involved in it; but he protested against the spurious importance and unnecessary solemnity which was attempted to be given to it by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. No doubt, in one sense, it was impossible to exaggerate the importance of the Bill and of the principle which was at stake. The right hon. Gentleman, in his magnificent peroration, had referred to the possible conflict that might some day arise between those who represented certain opinions in that House, and between those who held different opinions in Ireland; but the great principle which was at stake was, whether the youth of the upper classes of Ireland should be brought up in habits of union and friendship and in such a way as to render impossible between them at least those dismal conflicts which the right hon. Gentleman hinted at. He (Mr. Plunket) was overwhelmed with the solemnity with which the promoters of this Bill were treated by the right hon. Gentleman. The principle which was to-day in question was one of the utmost importance; but why should it be loaded with suggestions of great changes which were not in contemplation, which would lead them to believe that they were conferring on this new Governing Body untold powers for good and ill? The right hon. Gentleman must have known that nothing whatever was sought to be conferred on the new authorities established under this Bill, save those powers which were already conferred on the Governing Body now in existence. Allusion had been made to the great interests that might have to be decided upon by 739 the new Governing Body, such as the Divinity school and the College chapel; but to suggest such points was hardly a candid way of treating the question. The proposal made in the Bill was simply this—to re-organize the Governing Body of the University of Dublin in such a way as to infuse into it the now blood of young, active, and energetic men, and to admit to the University persons of all religious persuasions whatever. When questions touching the Divinity school and the College chapel, and all the arrangements for religious teaching arose, as they must arise, they would come to be discussed by the reformed body, just as they would be discussed by the present body. Whenever it was necessary to make any great or important change in the constitution and laws which governed the University, application would be made to the proper quarters, and, if necessary, application would be made to Parliament for an Act on the subject; but they were not to be frightened out of taking this initiatory step, which would test the principle of University teaching in Ireland, by such suggestions as had been thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman. They were told that this was a great measure of University reform; but it was nothing of the kind—it proposed simply to abolish tests and to re-organize the Governing Body. The reform which was proposed was a just and sufficient reform, and was not more than was necessary. If the House would remember what the condition of Roman Catholics and Dissenters in the University of Dublin and Trinity College had been, they would see that very little change would be produced at first in the daily life of the University; but those who promoted the Bill hoped and believed that from day to day, as it became known that all the honours of the University would be open to all who came, and that in the pursuit of them they would all get fair play, then gradually there would come a due infusion of Dissenters and Roman Catholics. There were, at present, three ways in which Dissenting and Roman Catholic students might obtain degrees and other honours in the University. They might live in the College, and if they did they were not to be in any way interfered with or molested in their religious opinions, for they were not compelled to go to the College chapel, but 740 might go to any church or chapel they pleased outside the college walls—and churches and chapels were to be found within a stone's throw of the College—their clergy could have free access to them, and they have free access to their clergy. He admitted that that was not nearly sufficient, and he did not hold that out as a full satisfaction of all their claims, when the principle on which the University was to be conducted was to be altered by depriving it of its exclusively Protestant character. But those advantages were open to them. Students might be living in the house of a Roman Catholic clergyman. They were not even compelled to live in Dublin, but might be students at Maynooth, so long as they went up to pass their examinations at the College. But what was a very remarkable fact was, that the Roman Catholic students had always preferred to live in the College with their Protestant fellow-students, and the larger number of them had always been resident within the College walls. The numbers of Roman Catholics who matriculated in the College in 1866 were 12; in 1867, 22; in 1868, 22; in 1869, 22; and in 1870, 35, the last number being a pretty good jump in one year—when it was understood that Trinity College was about to throw open all its fellowships. In the present year the proportion of Roman Catholics and Dissenters was about 30 per cent, and the numbers of Dissenters who had matriculated since 1866 had been 22 in 1866, 20 in 1867, 21 in 1868, 25 in 1869, and 35 in 1870. It should be remembered that those Roman Catholics who could send their sons to Universities bore only a small proportion to the lower class of Roman Catholics, as compared with the proportion which the upper class of the Protestants bore to the lower class of the same denomination. The Census of 1861 showed only 32 per cent of Roman Catholics among the members of the learned professions; and, besides that, it should be recollected that a large number of the Roman Catholics of the University class went to Maynooth. Full allowance ought also to be made for the fact that the University of Dublin was the great Divinity school for the Protestant Church in Ireland. A suggestion had been thrown out by the senior Member for Dublin (Sir Dominic Corrigan), that the Governing Body of the University of 741 Dublin had been acting in this matter for the purpose only of saving their funds; but as the members of the Governing Body were all senior fellows, and had attained the highest positions and the largest salaries they could attain to, it was obvious that no disestablishment and disendowment, of however sweeping a character, could make them individually losers in a pecuniary sense. There was one sense in which they did desire to protect their funds as far as they could, and that was so far as those funds were now applied to the maintenance of the system of united education which prevailed in the University. Before the Irish Church was disestablished, the University claimed to be a national University, but that position was challenged by the passing of the Irish Church Act; and it was then for the Governing Body to decide whether the institution should shrink into a mere Protestant college, or whether they would come to Parliament and ask to vindicate its title as a truly national University by throwing open all its endowments and honours. They elected the latter course; and he fearlessly appealed to all the students and officers of other colleges, and all Liberals in politics whatever, whether, in making that election, they had not decided in a manner creditable to themselves and altogether wise. The endowments were large; and if the University preserved its exclusiveness, they could not be retained, but would be in danger of being applied to purposes inconsistent with their principles of University education. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had not been very specific in his statement of what was his plan of University reform in Ireland; but, as far as he (Mr. Plunket) had been able to gather it, it was to separate the University from the College. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Government would not endow a Catholic University; but did he say a word about not endowing a Catholic College, and affiliating such a College to the old University of Dublin? Was that the plan which the right hon. Gentleman wished them to adopt? Was that what was in store for them, and which was, no doubt, to be brought out suddenly at a convenient time, when a bid was required for the support of certain parties in Ireland? If that was to be the solution of this great and difficult 742 problem, the oftener they probed the intentions of the right hon. Gentleman the better. [Cheers.] But he was confirmed in the belief that the Liberals of England, however pressed by party considerations, would never give their sanction to any such proposition. What was proposed by this Bill was to open every fellowship, every honour, and every endowment without regard to religious professions; and, at the same time, the Governing Body, as far as they could, proposed a plan which would at once admit Roman Catholics to the government of the College. At present there was only one Roman Catholic Professor, no Roman Catholic fellows, and very few Roman Catholics in the Senate—but there were numbers of Roman Catholics who had only to put their names on the books in order to become members of the Senate immediately. It was said that, if this Bill were passed, they would soon have a Roman Catholic fellow. It was certainly true that the man who stood highest among the students, and who seemed to have the best chance at the next election, was a Moravian, while the next to him was a Roman Catholic. The whole question resolved itself into this — whether they should or should not encourage mixed education in the University of Dublin. If the Liberal party desired to encourage mixed education in Ireland, they could not take a more consistent step than in supporting this Bill; if, however, they desired to encourage sectarian education, it was wise in them to support the Motion for the Previous Question. The University of Dublin was the one institution which had been planted in Ireland, and which had survived. It had at its disposal large funds—£35,000 of national endowments, which could be taken and transferred, and £27,000 in fees, earned by the ability and learning of its teachers, which could also be taken away, but could not be transferred. It had besides the power which came of prestige—not only of the associations connected with the eminent men who had studied within its walls, but of the goodwill in the minds of the people, arising from the fact that Roman Catholics and Protestants had lived in harmony under the shadows of Old Trinity. All that could be destroyed; but when the work of destruction was complete, he wished to know what would be set up in its stead?
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, that as an officer of the University of Cambridge, he declined to be seduced into accepting the challenge thrown out to the old University by his hon. Friend the Member for the still Church University of Dublin. In dealing with the Bill now before the House, he would simply regard this question as presented to them, and ask whether or not it was opportune on that day to read that Bill a second time. He had, therefore, no call to enter upon the wide fields of discussion opened by the hon. Members for the University of Edinburgh (Dr. Lyon Playfair) and Dublin (Mr. Plunket). He had no need to curl his lip and attune his voice in talking either of denominational and sectarian education, or of the reverse. He took the Bill as he found it, and asked who promoted it, and what it contained. It was a measure introduced by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett), and supported by hon. Members from Ireland, widely opposed to that hon. Member on very nearly every question, ecclesiastical and political. That remarkable combination led him to ask what it meant. His hon. Friend (Mr. Fawcett), whose name was on the back of the Bill, was a very distinguished Professor at Cambridge, and therefore a constituent of his, and was a man who was always conspicuous, knowing what he wanted. He had strong views, which he was even logical and consistent enough to promulgate in their entirety, and bold enough to advocate irrespective of party exigencies. He was opposed to denominational education, and had made himself leader of a party which aimed at the abolition of clerical fellowships in the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Dublin was the younger sister, if not rather, the artificial counterpart of those two Universities. Dublin, as at present constituted, recognized denominational education, and that Bill swept that away. Was there no reason beyond disinterested zeal for Dublin which led his hon. Friend—an Englishman — to make himself leader of the troop of Dublin reformers? There were two questions at issue in regard to University education—one of tests, and the other of University reform—and when he saw a Bill about to cut the knot of all these questions in their old Universities, he could not but regard the present 744 with suspicion, which was not lulled by the trivial plea that the change only affected an Irish institution. That argument, pushed to its legitimate conclusion, meant home rule, otherwise he looked with suspicion on the game of playing with Irish precedents with the view of creating English conclusions. As to the Bill before the House, he had a custom which he knew was not so entertaining as that of drawing upon the imagination for a fervid description of the contents of any measure, but which he believed to be at least as accurate — namely, to seek the meaning of a measure by referring to the bent of its own enactments. His hon. Friend denied that the Bill effected any revolution in the system of teaching followed at Dublin. He referred to the Bill, and he found that by the 2nd clause—(In the construction of this Act)—The word 'office' includes professorship, assistant, or deputy professorship, public readership, prclectorship, lectureship, assistant lectureship, provostship, fellowship, studentship, tutorship, scholarship, and exhibition, and also any office or emolument not in this section specified, the income of which is payable out of the revenues of the said university or college, or any of the schools therein, or which is held and enjoyed by any member of the same.The House would observe that this clause not only named fellowships, which were not touched at the English Universities by the recently passed Tests Act, but that it distinctly included all fellowships, with no reference to, or exception of, the Divinity fellowships, which had been carefully excepted in the English Act by provisions specifically set forth, and specifically defended by the Government against the animadversions of the party of which the hon. Member for Brighton was a distinguished representative. Assuming, then, that interpretation of office as including Professors, and noting that there was ostentatiously no exemption of the Divinity Professors in the Bill, how would the 3rd or enacting clause run in respect of those Professors?From and after the passing of this Act no person shall be required … . upon taking or holding, or to enable him to take or hold, the office of Divinity Professor in the said university or college as aforesaid, or upon teaching, or to enable him to teach within the said university or college, to subscribe to any article or formulary of faith, or to make any declaration or take any oath respecting his religious belief or profession, or to conform to any form of public worship, or to do any act in connection with any form of public worship, 745 or to belong to any specified church, sect, or denomination; nor shall any Divinity Professor be compelled in the said university or college to attend the public worship of any church, sect, or denomination to which he does not belong.That simply meant that in the terms of the Bill the Divinity Professors might or might not be Roman Catholics, Jews, Turks, or Comptists. Shocking as such a supposition might be to old-fashioned opinion, it had nothing startling in it to the new school; for a prevalent tenet of that coterie was that "theology," so called, might be studied irrespective of its truth, as a branch of psychology or of archaeology, so that there would be no inconsistency in a Roman Catholic being named Professor of Protestant, or a Protestant of Roman Catholic theology; a Turk might be named to teach Buddhism, or an Atheist Christianity. Such being the tenets of the advanced latitudinarian party, that Bill gave them standing ground in the University of Dublin, and yet it was supported by a section of Irish Protestants. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) was eloquent in his appeal to preserve "old Trinity;" but he had to think of the precedent which would be afforded to an open and greater Trinity—Trinity, Cambridge. He had a great respect for the colleges in Dublin; but that respect was conditioned by its not departing from those elements, circumstances of religious teaching and a religious character, which at present contributed to its identity. Trinity College, Dublin, that he respected and honoured, was an institution very different from that which it would be made by this Bill, and he was not going to act on the principle of propter vitam vivendi perdere causas. In Oxford and Cambridge great schools of theology still existed, and in face of the inquiry, which seemed imminent, into the character and conditions of their fellowships, he would not support what might be made a dangerous precedent to be adduced against the noblest elements of their University system.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. DOWSE)
said, believing that the idea that Irishmen should alone legislate for Ireland, and Englishmen—without aid from the representatives of the other parts of the three kingdoms—for England, was narrow and unwise, he did not complain that two of the 746 names on the back of the Bill were those of an English Member (Mr. Fawcett), and a Scotch University Member (Dr. Lyon Playfair); but he hoped that the fact of his being an Irishman, and one who had been educated at Trinity College, Dublin, would not be thought to disqualify him from giving an opinion on that subject. Indeed, nothing could be better than the array of distinguished names on the back of the measure. There were the names of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Plunket) and his noble Friend the Member for Enniskillen (Viscount Crichton), and if the inside of the Bill were half as good as the outside, he would not object to it. He might remark, in passing, that the absence of the name of the senior Member for the University (Dr. Ball) was remarkable, and his absence from the debate still more remarkable. Was this that no representative man of the Opposition should be committed to this Bill? He rose to support the Previous Question. He thought the Bill was brought forward at an inopportune time. On this ground he opposed it, as also because it was an imperfect, unintelligible, and confused measure. [Mr. VEKKON HARCOURT: Like the Army Bill.] He was glad to see the hon. and learned Member give the Government so much assistance, and he hoped he would receive a becoming reward. In regard to the Army Bill, if the hon. and learned Member thought it was incomplete, unintelligible, and confused, at all events he had voted for it. But, returning to the subject before them, he asked, if the present Bill were the best Bill ever introduced, what possible hope was there of passing it through Parliament at that period of the Session? [Colonel STUART KNOX: The Ballot Bill.] Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member would kindly reserve his contribution to the debate till he (Mr. Dowse) had finished. The hon. Member for Edinburgh University (Dr. Lyon Playfair) had compared the Bill, in regard to the question of time, to the Ballot Bill, saying that the House of Lords would be in the same position in a short time in respect of the Ballot Bill as that House was with reference to this Bill. But there was this difference—that the present Bill would have to run the gauntlet of two Houses instead of one. This Bill, introduced without any serious intention of its becoming law this year, 747 only stood for its second reading on the 2nd of August; it was now sought to exact the assent of the House to its principle, without having its details adequately discussed, in order that their hands might be tied up when they came to deal with the matter in a future Session; and he altogether denied that there was any analogy between the case of the present Bill and that of the Ballot Bill, on which so much time and labour had already been spent, and which had now, he might say, so far as this House was concerned, approached its final stage. He did not wish to discuss this Bill as a Roman Catholic or as a Protestant question; but to point out that if they voted for the "Previous Question," the House would not commit themselves either to denominational or undenominational education. He also maintained that the Government, in opposing such a measure, were not bound to come forward with a scheme of their own, else the hand of a Government might always be forced by a Member pressing forward the second reading of a Bill in the dying hours of a Session. The question now raised ought to be thoroughly understood, and if that debate should happen to be adjourned, so much the worse for those who brought in that Bill so late in the Session. It was impossible that the debate on the whole question of Irish University education, in which he knew that many Members wished to take a part, could be disposed of at one sitting. He would ask the House to consider the present constitution of the University and of the College. He had the kindest feelings towards Trinity College. He had lived there as a resident student, sizar, and scholar for seven years, and he could assure the House that those years contrasted very favourably with the years he was spending in that House. He had no intention of attributing to the Governing Body any motives other than those which were just and proper in regard to the promotion of this Bill; but they had changed their minds since June, 1868, when they petitioned the House against the changes recommended by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett). No doubt the Irish Church Act had been passed in the meantime; but the objection raised in the Petition had not been entirely removed on that account. It was only necessary to read the Petitions 748 to see that the objections, founded on principle, still remained. Dublin University had only one College connected with it—namely, Trinity College, which, he might say, covered the same ground with the University. Still, there was a wide difference between them, and a Bill which was good for the University might be bad for the College, and vice versâ. The Governing Body of the University, which had practically no power as the College possessed all the revenues, was the Senate, which consisted of the Chancellor (Lord Cairns), and of such doctors and M.A.'s as had kept their names on the University books in accordance with the rules made by the Provost and the senior fellows — paying for the privilege about £7 a-year. There were at present 68 members of the Senate, and they included, amongst others, 17 Doctors of Divinity, 19 Doctors of Laws, and 7 Doctors of Medicine. There were very few Roman Catholics indeed — he believed only one — in the Governing Body, and that was the Professor of Political Economy, whose name, by the way, was trotted out on all occasions as if to show their extreme liberality. He might add that this Professorship was originally founded by Archbishop Whateley, was of small value; was held only for five years; and was given to the best answerer after a severe examination. The corporation of Trinity College consisted of a Provost and Fellows, and Foundation Scholars; but these scholars, who must be Episcopalian Protestants, as must also be the Provost and fellows senior and junior, were only ornamental, for they had no power or control, and practically the government of the College was in the hands of the Senior Board. The Provost, Dr. Lloyd, was one of the most eminent men connected with any University in the United Kingdom. His name was historically connected with science, and he was also a Doctor of Divinity. The Board was composed of the seven senior fellows, of whom five were clergymen, and of the 25 junior fellows, of whom at present 15 were clergymen. The Professors in the College were 32 in number, and they were all Protestants except the Catholic he had already mentioned, and a Mohommedan brought from India to teach Sanscrit. There was no religious test connected with any of these Professorships, and yet only one of them was a 749 Roman Catholic, and he, as he had said, got his place by a competitive examination, and his time would be up next year, he believed. The sizarships were open to all denominations; but the fellowships, the Foundation Scholarships, and all the high and important offices in which the government of the College and all its property were vested, were rigorously confined to men of the Anglican Creed. Connected with Trinity College was a Divinity school, which had two Professors, who, with their nine assistants, must be Doctors of Divinity. Having stated so much he would come to the Bill itself, and while it abolished religious tests, he would ask whether it dealt in any way with the Divinity school? If it dealt with it, did it abolish it? If it did not abolish it, did it not allow Divinity Professorships to exist without requiring any religious tests from the holders of those Professorships—a practical reductio ad absurdum? Was the theology to be taught there to be according to "the Brighton school?" If not, what did the Bill do but leave the Anglican teaching complete, and the College still an essentially Anglican institution, after enticing Roman Catholics and Presbyterians to enter by offering them every facility for getting through the College gate, which was always open? If the Bill was intended to abolish the Divinity school, why was not that stated in terms? Then, again, how was the College to be rendered "accessible," as stated in the Preamble, "as a place of religion and learning," if there was no religion in it—for the boast of the Bill was that it abolished all religion? He supposed that the Preamble was originally prepared for a different Bill, and it was left as it stood now because it was considered it would look well. He held, however, that the Divinity school was retained because the Bill did not repeal the Royal Statute of George III., passed in 1814, by which it was established. He believed that under the Bill there would remain full provision for keeping up that school, and that the Professorships and prizes connected with it would still be left the exclusive property of the Anglican denomination. And yet, forsooth, they were told that the College was to be undenominational. Although these Professors must necessarily be doctors of Anglican Divinity and teach Anglican theology, it was represented 750 that the Bill would promote undenominational education. There would also remain full provision for keeping up the College chapel with all its rites and ceremonies, and there was no provision for any religious worship for students not Anglicans. The Bill said no student was to be compelled to go to any church to which he did not belong. The inference was, he may be compelled to go to a church to which he did belong; but there was no church, except the Anglican College chapel—therefore, that was a denominational College for Anglicans alone. The result would be that the College would be an essentially one-sided and denominational institution; the students of the Anglican faith would be duly taken care of in religious matters, but the students of other sects would be wholly neglected. They would have the old Protestant ascendancy tempered by the admission of a few Roman Catholic fellows and Professors perhaps. So far as the Bill sought to abolish tests, it had his cordial concurrence, and he would heartily support an abstract Resolution for abolishing them. But he considered the Divinity school ought also to be abolished, and the abolition of tests was not enough, because the power would practically remain in the same hands as at present. The whole power over the finances and government of the College was now in the Senior Board. By this Bill it was proposed that the powers and privileges of the Senior Board of the College should be divided. In future, a part of its powers were to be invested in a Council of 20 members, whose duty it would be to control the examinations, &c.; and another part in an Hebdomadal Board, which would be unavoidably sectarian, and which would constitute a sort of House of Lords; and these powers were to be exorcised without any control or veto on the part of the Lord Lieutenant or of Parliament. The effect of that would be practically to leave Trinity College and Dublin University just as it was at present. The manner in which those two bodies were to be formed proved this. The Council would be no better than the present Senate, if as good; and the Hebdomadal Board was only an alias for the fellows. A mere abolition of tests—and that was all the Bill did at its best—would never satisfy the just requirements of the case. So far as the 751 Bill proposed to abolish tests, it was doubtful in its effect; its other provisions were insufficient, crude, and unworkable; therefore he supported the "Previous Question." [Cries of "Divide!"] If hon. Members thought they could stop him from proceeding by expressions of that sort, the lesson of the last three months had been thrown away. He thought the wisest course that the House could adopt was to support the "Previous Question," because a Bill dealing with this subject should be introduced on the responsibility of the Government rather than on that of a private Member. Nothing could come of reading the Bill a second time, except to pledge the House quite unnecessarily to the abolition of tests. If the Government were not ready to introduce such a measure next Session hon. Members who thought fit to do so might bring their conduct before that House, turn them out of office, and take their places themselves. When this measure was first put into his hands he had written upon the back of it the following title, which he believed then and now accurately described the effect it would have:—A Bill for continuing to the present Governing Body of Dublin University and Trinity College all their powers, privileges, and exemptions for the present generation at least."
§ MR. VERNON HARCOURT
said, he had been reminded by what he had heard from the Government benches that afternoon of Sir Joshua Reynolds's celebrated picture of Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy. The House had listened to high tragedy from the lips of the Prime Minister, and to low comedy from those of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland. He should not follow the hon. and learned Gentleman through his low comedy. The hon. and learned Gentleman had, with that frankness which distinguished him, told the House that he had not made up his mind whether he would support the proposal for a Roman Catholic University for Ireland or not. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL for IRELAND rose to offer some explanation.] He declined to yield to the hon. and learned Gentleman, who did not treat Members of that House with the courtesy to which they were entitled. The hon. and learned Gentleman had distinctly stated that he declined to commit himself to any definite opinion on 752 the subject, because the responsibilities of Office might induce him to take either one side or the other on the question as the exigencies of the moment might require. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated that the gravity which resulted from the responsibility of Office—that gravity which was so greatly admired in himself—prevented him from informing the House whether or not the Government were in favour of establishing a Roman Catholic University in Ireland. He should not, however, trouble himself further with the opinions of the Solicitor General for Ireland, which were those which the Government thought it convenient at the moment to set forth by the mouth of a Solicitor General for Ireland talking against time. It was well known that the Government had made arrangements to talk out that debate, the result of which, they were fully aware, would have been their decided and deserved defeat at the hands of their own party. He would now proceed to deal with the utterances of those who were responsible Ministers, and were not merely individuals taking up opinions for the occasion. He had listened to the speech of the First Minister of the Crown that day with the deepest regret. The right hon. Gentleman's speech had recalled to his recollection a remark once made by one of his Colleagues on a speech delivered by him on the English University question, which was to the effect that he could have wished that the observations had fallen from any lips other than those of the right hon. Gentleman, who had acted like a general firing his revolver in the faces of his own "forlorn hope" as it was ascending the breach. On the present occasion the First Minister had fired the whole six barrels of the Ultramontane revolver in the faces of those who supported this Bill, and who had endeavoured to ascertain the intentions of the Government with reference to the question of Irish education without success. The real object of the Government in putting up individuals to talk out the Bill was to enable them to conceal their opinions upon this subject. As had been said by Mr. Macaulay with reference to the right hon. Gentleman's speech upon Maynooth, the conduct of the First Minister of the Crown was difficult to understand before he gave his explanation, but after he had given it it became impossible to understand it. The right 753 hon. Gentleman had said that the opinions of the Government on the question of Irish Education had never altered, and that they were uniform and consistent. But what were the opinions which had already been expressed by the Members of the Government on the subject? Why, some few years ago certain Members of the present Government had been parties to granting a Charter to an Irish Roman Catholic University, and in 1867 the present Secretary of State for the Home Department stated that the plan he advocated was to grant a subsidy to Roman Catholic colleges. These, then, were the opinions that were to be carried out in future, according to the statement of the First Minister. He (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) ventured to say that of all questions likely to affect the fortunes of the Liberal party none were of greater importance than that of Irish education, which was likely to prove the "Pearl Rock" of that party upon which their ship was being directly driven, under the guidance of the right hon. Gentleman and his captains. In answer to their inquiries as to what were the intentions of the Government on the matter, the First Minister of the Crown had stated that this was a question which must be decided, not by the House of Commons generally, but by the Irish Members alone. If the question of Irish education were to be decided by the votes of the Irish Roman Catholic Members there would, of course, be but one solution to it—namely, the endowment of Roman Catholic Universities. What he and those who thought with him wished to know was whether or not the Government intended to abide by the principle of mixed education in Ireland, and having stated that desire distinctly, he should not assist the Solicitor General for Ireland in talking out the Bill by making any further remarks.
§ And it being a quarter before Six of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned till To-morrow.