§ Order for Second Reading read.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY,
in moving that the Bill be now read a 1713 second time, said, when he looked back upon the time when he was an undergraduate at Oxford, and compared Oxford of the present day with that time, he saw how great had been the changes which resulted from the Act of 1854, and the Commission by which that Act had been preceded. He did not intend, however, to go into what had happened in former days. He only wished to call attention to the fact that the Oxford of the present day had a much larger number of undergraduates than it had at that time, and that there was every prospect of the number increasing. Not only were the Colleges filled, but there were a large number of unattached students; and he thought he might say that both Oxford and Cambridge were taking a place in the consideration of the country which was not only felt within the Universities themselves, but by those who were acquainted with their worth in all parts of the United Kingdom. As to the measures which it was proposed to take to enable them to extend their usefulness still further, the Commission of 1854 practically settled the question of the government of Oxford University; and there was no intention in the Bill to alter the conditions or circumstances of the University authorities or Colleges so far as that Government was concerned. There had been two Commissions since then; one on scientific research, and the other, which had recently sat, on the revenues of the Universities and Colleges. With respect to that which sat on scientific research, it went into questions which had excited a good deal of attention. He spoke more from his knowledge of Oxford than of Cambridge; and he would pass by the Commission, with the remark that what it recommended was that the Universities should address themselves more to research than they had hitherto done, and one of the proposals of this Bill was to enable the Commission to deal with scientific research. He came next to the Commission upon the revenues of the Universities and Colleges, and everybody would concur that that Commission clearly made out that while the Colleges were comparatively rich, the Universities were poor; the Universities not having sufficient means for the extension which was required of them, whilst the Colleges were in a position to enable them, without any inter- 1714 ference with their working, to contribute still more liberally to their assistance than they had done hitherto. No doubt, it was true that there had been a great many disputes as to the results of this Commission and the conclusions arrived at. Anybody, however, who would take the trouble to look into the Blue Book would find that there was a vast increase, present and perspective, in the College revenues, and that the Universities had gradually become deficient in the means of carrying out those things which were, in his opinion, as essential for the Colleges as for the Universities themselves. He had observed some time since a statement in an able letter, which appeared in one of the public journals, that the Universities had urgent claims upon them for libraries, museums, schools, Professors' rooms, more Professors, and increased remuneration for their teaching, and that they had not money to meet those demands. In that letter it was pointed out that the difficulty might be met by levying additional taxation on the members of the Universities; but that, he thought, would bear very hardly on the poorer class of students, and was entirely out of the question if they wished to encourage people to resort to the Universities. If, then, the members were not to be taxed sufficiently to meet the objects in view, were they prepared to ask for a grant of public money, and was the House prepared to tax the country for that object? For his own part, he did not hesitate to say that that might legitimately be done to aid a national University under certain circumstances, but not while there were other resources at command which could be taken without injury to others and devoted to the same kind of objects for which, if applied to Colleges, it would be devoted. The present Bill, therefore, was a Bill for enacting that there was an interdependency between the Universities and Colleges from which the latter derived stability, which rendered it just and fair that the Colleges should contribute towards the funds of the University from which they derived their character, with the view of increasing its usefulness and making it re-act on the Colleges to their advantage. The matter would not, he might add, inasmuch as several of the Colleges had already been shown to have contributed largely to University purposes, be left 1715 to the voluntary action of the Colleges, because there might be an indisposition on the part of some and an over willingness on the part of others to contribute; but the Commissioners under the Bill would, he hoped, look upon the needs of the Universities and the means of the Colleges as a whole, and endeavour to deal out justice to each, not attempting to deprive the Colleges of the funds of which they stood in need, but, when their wants were supplied, taking care that the funds at their disposal should be made available for improving the condition of the Universities. The Bill had been characterized by some as a revolutionary measure; but there was nothing, he contended, to be found within the four corners of a revolutionary character. If, as was said, it would tend to destroy the College system, he for one should not have brought it forward. All that had grown up at both Oxford and Cambridge had been dependent on the Colleges in connection with the Universities, and it was that system which was peculiar to those two Universities, which had done so much to establish them in the affection of the country, and which, he, for one, would do nothing to endanger. It was far from his intention to destroy the independence and self-government of the Colleges, or affect them injuriously in any way; but, on the contrary, he should wish them to be so thoroughly connected with the University that they would assist it as if it were a part of themselves. There was no disposition, so far as the Bill was concerned, to alter the system of study in the University, and he trusted that whatever might be done for science or research nothing would be done to sacrifice that literary teaching which had always been connected with the Universities. Classical, historical, philosophic, and, in fact, all kinds of learning would, he hoped, still be maintained to the same extent as at present, and, if it were found necessary to introduce new studies or give increased facilities to students, it would be done without the destruction of existing systems, and he trusted the foundation would always remain of a good, sound, classical education. There was, at all events, no intention, so far as the Bill went, to destroy any of those studies. What was wanted was that the Bill should be what he might call an acade- 1716 mical Bill, and he hoped it would not be considered either in a theological or a political point of view. It took the University and Colleges as it found them, and its object was to give them increased life and energy, and tend to the improvement of both. In order to do that a Commission such as that appointed under the Bill should not, in his opinion, take isolated cases. A great many people said—"When you have seen so much done, why not leave the matter to the continuance of voluntary action?" At present there were great differences of opinion as to the mode in which the funds should be applied with the view of increasing the usefulness of the Universities, and that House, would, he thought, be singularly ill-qualified to discuss the details of the subject. It was only by means of a Commission which could examine and test all the operations of the Universities and Colleges that any satisfactory conclusion could be arrived at as to the manner in which the relations between them should be varied. If the whole thing were left to voluntary effort, the burden could never be equalized, and therefore it was desirable to have persons who would inquire into matters on the spot. There were, he might add, many who were anxious for a greatly enlarged Professorial system. Whenever he went to Oxford now he found some 600 or 700 men at the schools being examined. All those intermediate examinations were wholly unknown in his time; but there was now a perpetual state of examination. When, however, the present Bill was being brought forward with the means of increasing the Professorial system, he hoped no extravagant or exaggerated extension would be made in that respect without full consideration, for in his opinion nothing should be done in the way of Professorial extension which would extinguish the tutorial system. Professorial teaching would never meet the examination requirements of the present day. The tutorial system, by the mere action of the Colleges themselves, was at present taking a very different form from that which it did formerly. It was used economically and advantageously, and he held a statement in his hand which pointed out that the teaching of the tutors was by no means confined to their own Colleges. At present different Colleges associated 1717 themselves together for the purpose of general mathematical or classical teaching, and the existing system should not be interfered with rashly, neither should we deprive the Colleges of the funds they required for those purposes in order to institute what was called Professorial teaching in the University. He did not wish to disparage that kind of teaching which, no doubt, had an advantage in giving a large and general view of great subjects; but it could not impress special parts of subjects on the minds of pupils as well as individual teaching did. He now came to a question which had raised some feeling—that of residence. Far be it from him to say that a non-resident Fellow was an idle man, for he knew much of the reverse. At the same time, he might remark that, as far as his immediate bearing on his College and University was concerned, there could be no doubt that he did not render any special services for the income which he enjoyed either to the College or the University. He might take a considerable part in the improvement of the Colleges and the University, but being non-resident, he did not give any assistance to education going on therein. Besides, it seemed to him remarkable that life prizes should be given for a single examination, whether he rendered services or not. At present a man went in for an examination, and if he obtained it and continued celibate he was entitled to hold the Fellowship for the rest of his life. That was a position which, in his opinion, justified the declaration in the Preamble that provision should be made for limiting the tenure of Fellowships. He could not help feeling that on this point the House would have an almost unanimous opinion. He had, however, seen many poor men who would hardly have been able to go to the Bar at all if they had not had at the beginning a small Fellowship to begin with. With regard to the condition of celibacy, it was worthy of consideration whether it might not be relaxed in the case of Fellows who devoted their time and talents to educational work in the University. Now what was the University to get from those who were able to assist it? Everybody was most anxious that the grandeur and magnificence of the Bodleian Library should be extended. For that purpose additional buildings would be required, and no one could doubt that a great 1718 central library like the Bodleian, which admitted the whole world, might fairly expect not only to be supported by the University, but to receive assistance from the Colleges also. He next came to the question of what was called research. Sometimes he did not quite know what was meant by those who made use of the word. If it were meant that we should give an income to a gentleman for pursuing his classical, historical, or scientific investigation, there was not a sufficient guarantee to justify the employment of a fund in that way. Nothing, indeed, would require more attention on the part of the Commission than the endowment of research properly so-called. With regard to research on physical subjects, in which investigation was most required, how were we to treat a man? Was he to be treated like Tycho Brahe, who was placed in a large mansion and left to study the stars. That great astronomer did so, but it was doubtful whether everybody who was placed in an equally comfortable position would follow the example. Therefore, provision ought to be made that the research should be for definite objects and for a definite period, and that the results should be ascertained before the salary originally given was continued. He also trusted it would be of that kind which was essential to teaching, and which would be for the advantage of the Colleges and the University that supplied funds for it. He thought, however, that was a matter that might be fairly left to the Commissioners. In some of the Petitions it was suggested that there should be a preliminary inquiry, but he supposed that meant a preliminary inquiry on the part of the Commissioners before they laid down any definite rules. They would no doubt look at the question as a whole before coming to any definite conclusion. He took it for granted that no information would be withheld by the University or any of the different Colleges; and he had not the least doubt that the Commissioners would obtain all the information which they might require. The question had been so thoroughly investigated that there was enough of information at present available to enable them to come to such a conclusion as to render them immediately able to enter upon action. With respect to the Amendment on the Paper 1719 of his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Osborne Morgan), he believed it was not hostile to the Bill, but it pointed out the necessity of obtaining some definition of what was intended to be done. In regard to the point, he might observe that the Preamble of the Bill laid down certain principles in general terms, while the 15th clause gave to the Commissioners as much guidance as could be given, considering that they would have to inquire before they formed their conclusions. Beyond that the Bill itself was framed on the principle that a University should contain within itself every art and science necessary for use that men should know—that there should be some one or other able to teach any one of those great subjects which influence the destinies of the world. It provided that the Commissioners, in statutes made by them for the University, might make provision for affording further or better instruction in any art or science, for consolidating any two or more Professorships or Lectureships, for erecting and endowing Professorships of, or Lectureships in, any art or science, and for increasing the endowment of any Professorship of, or Lectureship in, any art or science. Another object for which the Commissioners might make provision was "for altering the conditions of elligibility and mode of election to any Professorship and public Readership." Some amendments of this nature might certainly be made with advantage. Another object was "for providing retiring pensions for Professors and public Readers." This would be a beneficial provision, for what could be more undesirable than that men in such a position should cling to it to the last, wishing to teach, but without the ability to teach, because no retiring allowance could be given to them? The next object was to provide new or improve existing buildings, libraries, collections, or apparatus. He was told that in the Museum at present there were 60 or 70 students where there was only room for 20. Even upon the ordinary principles of demand and supply such an object as this must be provided for. The next purpose mentioned was "for diminishing the expense of University education by founding scholarships tenable by unattached students not members of any College, or by paying salaries to the teachers of such students, or otherwise." 1720 This provision was introduced at the instance of the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. He (Mr. Hardy) was certainly of opinion that ability combined with poverty should receive assistance, but it might be worth considering in Committee whether the limitation here expressed was not too narrow. In the Halls there were some men quite as poor as the unattached students, without many of the advantages which the unattached students enjoyed; and therefore the limitation in the clause might probably be extended with advantage. Then came the Colleges, and the general principle laid down was that the University and the Colleges were a whole; that the University ought to be in a position to meet the wants and wishes of the Colleges, and must be put in a state to meet all demands for instruction in science and art which properly formed part of University education; that there should be a central power in the University; and that the Colleges should feel themselves so bound up with the University that they should not hesitate to give of their abundance towards it. If this feeling were elicited, he was sure that there would be a reaction of benefit to the Colleges themselves. Oxford and Cambridge had had an existence prolonged beyond that of most such institutions. There were older ones elsewhere, but there were none more famous or to which the heart of England was more thoroughly attached. For years the two Universities had been endeavouring to meet the educational wants of the country. They came now to Parliament, and he might say that they came almost unanimously, for, whatever might be the differences of opinion upon certain details of the Bill, there was an almost unanimous opinion in the University that the time had come when the relations of the Colleges with the University and of the University with the Colleges should be re-considered; that the time had come when the great and growing funds of the Colleges should be made applicable to the purposes stated in the Bill. He trusted, therefore, that the House would concur with the University in obtaining some of the great results which were foreshadowed in the Bill, and which he had ventured, though so feebly, to describe. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Gathorne Hardy.)
MR. OSBORNE MORGAN,
in moving as an Amendment—That in view of the large legislative powers entrusted to the University of Oxford Commissioners by this Bill, this House is of opinion that the Bill does not sufficiently declare or define the principles and scope of the changes which such Commissioners are empowered to make in that University and the Colleges therein,said, he hoped it would be unnecessary to disclaim any intention on his part to obstruct the Bill or embarrass the Government. On the contrary, he desired to thank the Ministry for the promptitude with which they had grappled with this difficult question, and particularly to thank the righthon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hardy), for the conciliatory and reassuring speech in which he had introduced his measure. Approaching, as he wished to do, the subject from an academical rather than from a political point of view, he would endeavour to avoid any topics which might divert the attention of the House from the objects they all had in view—the real improvement of the University. Before discussing the Bill, let him say one word as to that which was the most important part of the Bill—he might almost say it was the Bill—the Commission itself. It might seem presumptuous for a private Member like himself to criticize even from a favourable point of view so distinguished a body of men. At the same time their names were now public property, and one necessary consequence of entrusting such exceptional powers to any body of men was to make the Bill a question of men rather than of measures, and to make any discussion which made no reference to the personnel of the Commission necessarily incomplete. Fortunately, of the majority of that body nobody could speak except in terms of unqualified commendation. Everyone who had known Lord Selborne in that House or at the Bar, who remembered his brilliant University career, and who had witnessed his recent indefatigable efforts in the cause of legal education, would feel that no better person could be found to preside over such a Commission. The names of Mr. Justice Grove, of Mr. Montague Bernard and Sir Henry Maine, 1722 were names of wide and deserved reputation, and as to his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Ridley) he hoped he might be allowed to say to his face what he had often said behind his back, that no more worthy representative of young Oxford could be found on those benches. Of Lord Redesdalehe wished to speak with the respect due to the bearer of a great name and a most useful and able public functionary. But it had occurred to others besides himself that Lord Redesdale's large experience and great talents had been acquired and displayed rather in discovering objections than in surmounting them—rather in picking holes in the schemes of others than in framing such schemes as those to which the Commission would have to address itself, and he might be pardoned for expressing a doubt whether an intimate acquaintance with the Standing Orders of Parliament was the very best education for a University Reformer. Of the Dean of Chichester, he could speak with less reserve, for so strong was the objection entertained to him in "another place" that his name was actually challenged, not only by a debate, but by a division. Surely, if it was necessary to place on the Commission some representative of Dr. Burgon's school of theology, some less ostentatiously aggressive—he might almost say pugnacious—champion of that school might have been selected. Oxford men had not forgotten—they could not forget—how only a few years ago Dr. Burgon had endeavoured to exclude from the University Pulpit one of the best and ablest men who had ever adorned the English Church or any other Church—the Dean of Westminster. He thought the noble Lord the Marquess of Salisbury must have forgotten this episode in Dr. Burgon's career, when he placed him upon a Commission which ought to command, and which he believed was intended to command, the general confidence of the University. But whatever might be thought of the personal qualifications of each Commissioner they were, as regards the University itself, an outside body. Only one of them, he believed, had ever been connected by residence with the University since he had taken his degree. Two of the Commissioners, and those certainly not the least distinguished, had been for the greater part of their lives among the busiest members of the busiest Profession in England. 1723 Sir Henry Maine was a Cambridge man, and. though lately appointed to a Professorship at the Sister University, he lived in London, and only went down to Oxford to deliver his admirable lectures. Lord Redesdale and the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Ridley) were no doubt eminent Members of this and the other House of Parliament, but he was not aware that they had ever been connected with the teaching staff of the University. Dr. Burgon had resided at Oxford, but he had done so as a parish priest, and not as a tutor or Professor, and even Mr. Bernard, who had for some time held the post of Professor of International Law, had spent at least as much of his time in Lincoln's Inn as at Oxford. In this respect there was a marked contrast between the Oxford and Cambridge Commissioners—the latter containing two distinguished men who at that moment occupied Professorial Chairs And yet Oxford had changed far more than Cambridge, and the very magnitude of that change seemed to point to a greater necessity for placing upon the Oxford Commission some men who would serve as a connecting link between the Oxford of the last generation and the Oxford of to-day. The Oxford of the present day differed as much from the Oxford of Lord Redesdale's day as the House of Commons of to-day differed from the House of Commons of Pitt and Fox. He never visited his old College without being amazed at the metamorphosis which had come over it. Rip Van Winkle revisiting the scenes of his youth could scarcely feel more at sea than he was on those occasions. New studies had come into existence which required to be taken into consideration, new interests had sprung up which required to be guaged. Where there were formerly two University Examinations there were now ten. Well, now to these Commissioners who were, as far as regarded the University itself, an outside body, who were, for the most part connected by no link with modern Oxford, they were going to hand over almost unlimited powers. They were going to give them a blank cheque with instructions to fill it up as they pleased. Two arguments had been urged in favour of that course. It was said that University opinion was in favour of it. Now, admitting even that that was so, he was 1724 not sure that the opinion of the body to be reformed was always to be taken as conclusive upon the best mode of carrying out a reform. His hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. James) would hardly have accepted as final the opinion of the Lord Mayor and Common Council upon the best mode of reforming the Corporation of London. The prevailing opinion at Oxford, whether rightly or wrongly, was that the Bill would benefit the residents at the expense of the non-residents, and it was, therefore, hardly to be expected that the residents would scan its provisions too closely. But then, it was said that no other course could be pursued, that Parliament could not itself enter into the minute details of schemes for College reform and that the scheme adopted by the Bill was strictly in accordance with precedent. Now, was this so? Let him take a case which was in eâdem materiâ. No doubt, by the Act of 1854, large powers were given to the Commissioners thereby nominated, but it was not until after a Commission of Inquiry had instituted the fullest investigations (very different from the limited inquiry which preceded this measure) and made a most exhaustive Report upon the condition of things which called for reform. The Report of that Commission, occupying some 500 or 600 pages, had been circulated, so that they knew not only the direction which the reforms were to take, but the lines upon which they were to proceed. Then they inquired first and legislated afterwards—now it looked as if they were going to reverse the process and legislate first and inquire afterwards. And yet a preliminary inquiry was almost more necessary now, for the main object of the Act of 1854 was to destroy, while the object of the present measure was to construct. But, as a matter of fact, the Commission of 1854 possessed powers far more limited than were given to the present Commission. That Act, besides abolishing subscriptions in many cases, created a constitution for the University. It called into existence a new legislative body, and gave to that body power to make statutes for the University. It gave to the Colleges power to amend their own statutes, and, it was only if they failed to do so, that the power of the Commissioners to pass ordinances relating to those Colleges 1725 arose. But over the University itself they acquired no power at all. Now, let him turn to the present Bill. Postponing the Preamble and coming at once to the body of the Bill, he could discover no guiding principle within the four corners of the Bill. It gave the Commissioners a carte blanche to make a clean sweep of the whole University; to suppress Headships; to suppress Fellowships; to suppress Tutorships; nay, in certain events to suppress whole Colleges; to apply the revenues thus confiscated to 20 different purposes—such language would perhaps come with more grace from hon. Gentlemen opposite, but they had changed sides and he was now doing their work. He would refer only to one, that contemplated by the 7th sub-section of the 15th clause, which enabled the Commissioners to make provisions out of the funds thus acquired—For providing new or improving existing buildings, libraries, collections, or apparatus for any purpose connected with the instruction of any members of the University or with research in any art or science and for maintaining the same.Why, his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope), with the aid of some fashionable architect, might, under this clause, eat up the revenues of half the Colleges in Oxford. [Mr. Beresford Hope: I would not undertake the charge.] Those being the enabling provisions, what clauses were there to limit the power or direct the action of the Commissioners? Somebody had remarked that the word "shall" only occurred five times in connection with the Commissioners throughout the Bill. There was the 12th clause which excluded endowments 50 years old, of which he would say nothing at present. Then there was the 13th which directed the Commissioners in making their statutes to "have regard to the main design of the founder." Now, those were most alarming words. No doubt they were followed by others, but he thought he could show that either the provision he had quoted, or the words which qualified them, must be meaningless. Surely by this time they had got beyond "the pious founder." At any rate, he suspected that John of Balliol and William of Wykeham would scarcely be edified to hear that even so orthodox a Churchman as the hon. Member for North Northumberland, had been 1726 commisissioned by Act of Parliament to inquire into their designs. An ingenious writer had lately laboured to show that the object of those old worthies was the "endowment of research;" but he thought nine-tenths of them would have been much more ready to have sent Professors Huxley and Tyndall to the stake than to have given them £1,000 a-year. Why, the main design of these founders was to benefit their own souls by the celebration of masses, and if they sought to benefit learning, it was generally in connection with the localities in which they had lived. Until a comparatively recent period, the latter design had been strictly adhered to. When he was at Oxford, scarcely one Fellowship in 20 was given away by merit only. They were restricted to dioceses, to counties, and even to parishes, so that a young man born on one side of a hedge might be liberally provided for, when a far more deserving man born upon the other might be left out in the cold. There was a story current in his time at Oxford, which illustrated the advantages to be derived from such accidents of birth. A distinguished Professor, who had married young on a small income and with the prospect of a large family, was not unnaturally desirous of providing for his sons at the expense of the University. He took care when acertain domestic event was expected to remove his household goods to the city of Lincoln, to which at that time a large number of Fellowships of his College were confined. He did this seven times, but, unfortunately, his prudence and energy were not rewarded, for as in the auto-da-fe in the Ingoldsby Legends, his progeny—Though the finest of babiesWere all little ladies.Then at last he gave it up in despair, remained at Oxford and became the father of an unendowed son. Then there was the 14th clause, which required the Commissioners "to regard the interests of religion, learning, education, and research"(whatever that might be); but considering they were told every Sunday from the University pulpit that Oxford was a place of "sound learning and religious education," that clause might be regarded as superfluous. Then he came to the 17th clause, and here at last they got to something like terra firma. It required the Commissioners to make 1727 Provision for religious instruction and worship, and at the same time disabled them from imposing fresh clerical restrictions, but as they had already power to suppress any Fellowships they pleased, the restriction became of less value, for they might, if so minded, suppress all the lay Fellowships in a College and leave all the clerical ones. It might be said that the question of clerical Fellowships might safely be left to the discretion of the Commissioners. But this was a question of all others upon which Parliament ought to speak out, and ought not to shift the responsibility of legislation to other shoulders. The condition of taking Holy Orders, which applied either as a condition precedent, or a condition subsequent to the great majority of Headships and to more than one-third of the Fellowships, was, to his mind, the greatest blot on the University system, and it was one, unfortunately, which the Tests Abolition Act had left untouched. It was, in fact, the test system revived in its most mischievous form. Could there be a doubt, from an academical point of view, that all restrictions which tended to fetter the discretion of the electing body and to narrow the area of selection were radically vicious? What would be said if it was proposed to confine Fellowships to laymen? The memorial recently presented to the Marquess of Salisbury showed how strong was the feeling of the residents on the subject. Of course, he knew the argument by which the maintenance of these restrictions was supported. It was said that there was a great deal of floating infidelity at Oxford, and that a certain amount of orthodox leaven was necessary to leaven the heterodox lump. But they forgot that the kind of leaven which was procured by bribing men to adopt a sacred profession, was but a bad kind of leaven after all. Surely it was but a poor compliment to Christianity to suppose that it required to be kept alive by such expedients as these. Surely Christianity was strong enough to take care of itself, without these paltry subsidies. The effect of these restrictions was to keep away good men, and to saddle the Colleges with an inferior class of tutors, who were, in many cases, neither a credit to the Church nor an advantage to the University. Then, as to these so-called checks. The 28th section, which allowed three Commis- 1728 sioners to be selected from the Colleges to be reformed, would produce an ill-assorted union, and necessitate the submission of schemes of College reform to a non-descript and ever-changing body. When the majority in the College went with the Commission all would go smoothly; but a recalcitrant College would appoint recalcitrant Commissioners, who might paralyze the efforts of the Commission. It was like giving a great momentum to a body and then applying a powerful break. If the break acted it brought the engine to a standstill; if it did not, it took you heaven only knew where. Thus even in the case of the limitations on the powers of the Commissioners, it was a matter of haphazard when and to what extent they might be brought to bear. The 26th and following sections, which gave a right of appeal to the University Committee of the Privy Council and to either House of Parliament, really meant nothing. Such a body might feel itself called upon to interfere, if the legal powers of the Commissioners were exceeded, or in cases of individual injustice—contingencies, he need hardly say, most unlikely to occur. But he was much mistaken if the Privy Council or either House of Parliament would feel called upon to step in and lay down a principle where Parliament laid down none. He came lastly to the Preamble, where for the first and last time they discovered something like the glimmer of a principle. The Preamble pointed to two defininite objects—the taxation of the College for the benefit of the University, an issue which was directly challenged by the Motion of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Francis Harvey), and the extinction or limitation of non-resident or, as they had been called, "idle Fellowships." Without saying that something might not be done in both these directions, he maintained that the utmost caution was necessary. By absorbing the Colleges in the University they might create bad imitations of a Leipsic or a Göttingen, but they would certainly destroy Oxford and Cambridge. He quoted a letter of Mr. George Brodrick to The Times to show that the regeneration of the Universities at the beginning of the present century was due to the activity of some of the Colleges, and that, at a time when Oxford and Cambridge were asleep, Balliol and Trinity 1729 were awake. It was the energy of the College heads and tutors, and the stimulus which they had given to University education, which had roused the Universities from that fatal period of lethargy—When Isis elders reeled their pupils sportAnd Alma Mater lay dissolved in port.Besides, it should not be forgotten that it was easier to appoint Professors than to fill their class-rooms, and that richly-endowed Chairs would be of little service if confronted by empty benches. Then, as to these so-called "idle Fellowships." That, he thought, was a very unfortunate epithet, for it created a prejudice among non-University men against a system which had borne good fruits. If "idle" meant "non-resident" an "idle Fellow" might be a man who was collating manuscripts in Italy or carrying on astronomical surveys at Greenwich. Few persons knew how many men who had risen to the highest offices in the State would never have emerged from obscurity but for these "idle" Fellowships. Why, the noble Lord the Marquess of Salisbury himself was an "idle Fellow." Nearly every Member of the Commission, beginning with Lord Selborne, and ending with the hon. Gentleman opposite, had been "idle Fellows." Both the Archbishops, both the Chief Justices, and a large proportion of the occupants of the Episcopal and Judicial Bench had been "idle Fellows," and so had a host of men famous both in literature and science. He might be asked what benefit did their success in life confer on the Universities, but it must not be forgotten that the Universities existed for the benefit of the nation, and not the nation for the benefit of the Universities. These non-resident Fellowships were most valuable links between the Universities and the outside world, and such prizes were really the strongest incentives to exertion. It was not merely the pecuniary value of the Fellowships, though a desire for an honourable independence was a perfectly legitimate object of ambition. It was the position and connection with the Collegiate Body which they brought with them. Few persons who had held a Fellowship would exchange it for double the amount of money which it brought in. It was easy to say that men ought to study for an abstract idea, 1730 and the absence of any such inducement in German Universities had been referred to. But the German Universities had practically a monopoly of the civil offices of the State, and the learned Professions in that country could only be entered by an academic gate. No doubt, there were some glaring abuses of the present system; but if the Acts were to limit the duration of these non-resident Fellowships, and abolish the condition of celibacy—that monstrous relic of monkish times—these abuses might be got rid of by a stroke of the pen. The right hon. Gentleman had said that such matters of detail might safely be left to the discretion of the Commissioners, guided as they would be by public opinion. But what public opinion? As to public opinion at Oxford, though it was generally favourable to the Bill, it was, as to changes which were expected to follow from the Bill, hopelessly divided. Take the endowment of research, about which it was supposed that there was so strong a feeling among the residents. Only yesterday at Cambridge he asked the opinion of one of the most distinguished men at the University on the subject, and the only answer he got was that the "endowment of research meant the endowment of half the humbugs in England." The fact that on its way through the House of Lords almost every clause of the Bill had been entirely remodelled was a proof that they had started on their voyage without a chart or a compass. If all such matters were left to the discretion of the Commissioners one of two results would follow. Either, as not unfrequently happened when men were entrusted with irresponsible powers, they would shrink altogether from exercising them, or having, so to speak, had to drive separate bargains with separate Colleges, they would produce a heterogeneous scheme without a principle or a plan. This danger had been pointed out by Professor Bryce in a recent article in The Fortnightly Review, in which, after showing the absurdity of dealing with each College separately, he wound up by saying—Into whatever department of the projected reforms we look narrowly, it will be found that the same necessity exists for obtaining facts and opinions, and for basing upon these some large and connected plan, whose principles may be applied in the case of each and every College.1731A piecemeal reform which attempts to deal with each College by itself will be no reform of the University at all, and will only pave the way for renewed discontent and a renewed cry for legislative interference.He hoped that this danger might be averted if the Commissioners were required by the Act to do what they had found it necessary to do in 1854—to hold a preliminary inquiry, to publish the results of that inquiry, and, after laying down some definite and comprehensive scheme of reform, to invite the University and the Colleges to fall in with it. If they did so, no difficulty would arise; or if it did, Parliament might find out some mode of solving that difficulty. Other objections might be suggested, but they were matters of detail. The objections to the Bill which he had pointed out were objections not of detail, but of principle, and as such he had thought it right to raise them on the second reading, and he would rejoice to see them removed. Upon this question they had all the same goal in view, though they might strive to arrive at it by different roads. They on that side of the House were as little inclined to revolutionize these ancient seats of learning as their opponents. On the other hand, they were willing to credit hon. Gentlemen opposite with a desire, as honest and genuine as their own, to deal with them in a spirit of sound but temperate reform. And certainly no one on these benches would grudge to the Conservative Party the praise which would be justly theirs if they could succeed in bringing these old Universities, round which the hopes and memories of 30 generations of Englishmen had entwined themselves, into harmony with the requirements of modern society, without destroying their strongly-marked individuality or impairing their time-honoured préstige. He would conclude by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in view of the large legislative powers entrusted to the University of Oxford Commissioners by this Bill, this House is of opinion that the Bill does not sufficiently declare or define the principles and scope of the changes which such Commissioners are empowered to make in that University and the colleges therein,"—(Mr. Osborne Morgan,)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ LORD FRANCIS HERVEY
thought his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Osborne Morgan) had done well in calling attention to the very extensive powers proposed under the Bill to be given to the Commissioners. Those powers struck him as being very vague, very vast, very unusual, and greatly in excess of those conferred upon the Commissioners appointed under the Act of 1854. But as he was not prepared to say that the powers now proposed to be conferred were, having regard to the circumstances of the case, actually excessive, and as this branch of the subject involved a vast amount of detail he would not on the present occasion enter upon its consideration; nor would he follow his hon. and learned Friend into the question of Clerical Fellowships, further than to suggest the importance of the House being put in possession of accurate information as to the number of Fellowships which were hampered with the qualification referred to. Some of the Fellowships now held by clergymen might be Fellowships, which when they were next vacated, would, cease to be held under clerical restrictions. Passing from the speech and the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend he wished to call attention briefly to a proposal which he had himself put upon the Paper, to the effect that the revenues of the University had not been shown to be inadequate to the discharge of the duties incumbent on it. It was a remarkable fact that the University should come before the House and before the country and parade itself as a pauper. It came to Parliament in formâ pauperis and said "We have no revenues adequate to discharge the duties of the University, and the Colleges must give up a portion of their revenues." This proposal was one involving what must be regarded as a confiscation of property, and he thought the University ought very clearly to make out its case as against the Colleges before Parliament could be expected to accede to its demands. In addition to the income of the University arising from its property an important source of revenue was to be found in the taxation of its members. The University took fees from them on going in for examina- 1733 tions and on taking degrees, besides receiving for each of them a sum of £1per year. He had never heard that that was an excessive charge or one that the members of so ancient, honourable, and illustrious a corporation could complain of, and he was not aware that the University had ever taken into consideration the propriety of augmenting its revenue by increasing the taxation of its members. But it had another and important source of revenue in the funds of the University Press. The University possessed one-third of the monopoly of printing and publishing Bibles and Prayer Books in this country, and a more valuable or important endowment it was impossible to conceive. Besides having that monopoly the University Press was endowed with the handsome capital sum of £70,000, and until a few years ago there was annually tranferred from the profits of the Press Fund to the University Chest a considerable sum of money. Fourteen years ago that sum amounted to £13,000. In 1866 it had dwindled to£4,500; in 1870 to £1,037, while in the following year he found in the Commissioners' Report a blank under the head, "Profits transferred to the University Chest from the Press Fund." How had the University contrived to deal with this important revenue of £13,000 a-year? The subject was involved in mystery. He had obtained an Address for a Return on the subject, and had learned only that evening from the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary that the University of Oxford had not vouchsafed any Return whatever to the Address. In fact, he found on looking at the Commissioners' Report that every means had been taken to suppress the account of the Press fund, and no information of any practical value was given. They knew, however, that a net revenue which in 1862 amounted to £13,000 had dwindled to nothing in 1872. Yet the University came to Parliament and said that they were paupers, and that the Colleges must be fleeced to enable the University to carry on its business. But, although the House had had no explanation of the circumstances, he thought he had discovered the manner in which the money had been spent. For some time the directors of the University Press had been so facile in their management of the concern that there was no scribbler in Oxford who could not come to them 1734 with his note-book and say—"Publish the contents of my book, pay me a handsome sum of money, and take the risk on yourselves." And that was what they had, he believed, done in scores of cases. If they had done so in meritorious instances, the expenditure would not be grudged, but what was the character of the books the University had been printing all this time? It was not very long since the whole Liberal Party went mad over the thought of an elementary lesson book which had been referred to. What must have been their feelings when they learned the purposes to which University endowments had been applied and squandered of late years? He held in his hand a list of the works which the University had published, and among them was "A Series of English Classics," with the note "It is especially hoped that this series may prove useful to ladies' schools." That was where the money went to; and then there came all sorts of nice little books which cost the editors no trouble, while they gave them the inestimable pleasure of picking other men's brains. There was "Spenser's Faery Queene; Books 1 and 2, Designed chiefly for the use of Schools." "Specimens of Lowland Scotch." "A First Reading Book;" "Oxford Reading Book for Little Children;" "Oxford Reading Books for Junior Classes." Then he came to the head of "Mathematics," where they would expect to find some abstruse works. But no; they were merely such as "Figures made Easy, a First Arithmetic Book." Lessons in "Bookkeeping," by an Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trade, and so on. It was in the publication of these series that he suspected much of the money went, and yet in the face of it all, the University came and said to Parliament and the country "We have no money, we must have money, and the Colleges must give it." So much for the alleged deficiencies of income. Now, he would look to the side of expenditure which was said to require so great an increase that the funds of the Colleges must be confiscated so as to enable the University to get along. In order to do so he had examined the Report of the Committee of the Hebdominal Council on University requirements, and he found that the requirements were very numerous indeed. There were estimates for buildings and institutions which 1735 came to something like £100,000, which at 5 per cent—including a sinking fund as the University could probably borrow at 4 per cent—would entail a temporary charge of £5,000 a-year. He gave them in the £2,000 for the benefit of the Bodleian Library, of which his right hon. Friend had spoken, and that would make £7,000. But that was barely half of what the University made out of the Press fund when the Press was conducted in a proper way. Why, then, did not the University avail itself of the resources it possessed, instead of trying to lay its hands upon the money of other people? Then there was £2,300 for the roof of the Museum, which was "in urgent need of repairs"—a Museum which had only recently been built and which was one of the greatest disfigurements to Oxford which the present Gothic age had set up. Then it should be borne in mind that included in the £100,000 above-mentioned was a very considerable sum, to the amount of £30,000, demanded as the "roughly estimated" requirement of three heads of departments, those of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. But the University did not say that the expenditure was necessary. Heads of departments wanted it and asked for it, and that was a very different thing from its being really wanted. Further on in the Report they heard of an increase in the Professoriate. They, however, had in full operation the inter-Collegiate system, which had worked admirably, and what did they want with an indefinite extension of the Professoriate? In 1854 an extension was contemplated, but in that year Parliament expressed itself pretty plainly on the conditions of such extension. Provision was first to be made for the wants and improvement of the Colleges or Halls; and, secondly, but only secondly, for the establishment of the Professoriate on an enlarged basis "in the several main branches of science and letters"—not in Sclavonic and Chinese as now was suggested, and "with adequate duties and emoluments." Now, nothing was heard of duties in the present Bill, and it only made provision for emoluments and pensions. In his opinion an indefinite extension of the Professoriate meant a number of luxurious residences, children in perambulators wheeled about the Parks, picnics in 1736 Bagley Wood, carriages, champagne, and the abandonment celibacy and of culture. There was a good deal of that already, and complaints were rife of the luxury of Oxford, and of the great expenditure incurred at Commemoration time. Did they think when they had a number of married men living in luxurious leisure that their wives would not be wanting to enjoy the pleasures of society? Of course they would, and he feared they would find education at Oxford a different thing in the future from what it was in the past. Instead of having it conducted by celibate teachers, they would have an increased staff of married Professors, who, of course, would be paid out of the suppressed Idle Fellowships. Then, as to the "idle Fellows," an expression which was repudiated by the author of the epigram on Idle Fellowships, he supposed Lord Salisbury had been reading a book that he (Lord Francis Hervey) had been looking over the other day, written by a distinguished French architect, M. Viollet-le-Duc, who said that the Fellows of Colleges were men who preserved for the whole of their lives the privilege of lodging in the College, keeping a horse, and drinking beer. He supposed that this was the idea which Lord Salisbury had formed of the non-resident Fellows. He (Lord Francis Hervey), however, should regard it as a great calamity if the Commissioners exercised the power of extinguishing and exterminating all the Fellowships to which no particular duties were attached. If this were done, and if no concern in the management of academical affairs were to be allowed except to resident Fellows, such a fit of stagnation would come over the University that it would be necessary before long to have another extensive Reform Bill. He wished in the next place to warn the House against any proposals for turning adrift the revenues of Oxford, and applying them to the purposes of Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham, Bradford, and other large towns, which ought to be able to pay their own way. He should regard with great jealousy any appropriation of academical funds to provide large towns with lectures, classes, and examinations. There was another point to which he wished to refer—the extreme brevity of the time during which the magnificent buildings at Oxford were open for the 1737 purpose of study. How long did education go on? Not for six months. Indeed, he doubted whether the work of study and research went on at Oxford for more than five months in the year. He should like to see some powers given to the Commissioners whereby the leisurely gentlemen who managed the academical affairs of Oxford should be forced to do more for the money they received and make better use of their magnificent foundations. There was not an elementary school receiving a Government grant that was not open for 40 weeks in the year, while the University of Oxford was open at the outside for three terms of eight weeks each in the year. The right hon. Gentleman had made only a passing allusion to a provision not contained in the original Bill, but inserted at the suggestion of the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. The learned Professors and magnates of Oxford in their paper of suggestions never thought of the poor unattached students. It seemed to him that they were only thinking of their own salaries. These students were coming to Oxford with a desire for instruction worthy of the 13th century, but the University of Oxford never dreamt of assisting them. It was reserved for the mellow wisdom, the consideration, and thoughtfulness of the most rev. Primate to plead their cause; and it was much more worthy of the Legislature, instead of multiplying the number of useless Professors, to assist the unattached students. In conclusion, he must thank the House for the kind attention with which they had listened to the remarks he had made on the subject.
§ MR. CLIFFORD
wished to say a few words, as he was the only actual College Fellow in the House; indeed, he had the misfortune to be the "idle Fellow" par excellence. He believed the College to which he belonged (All Souls) was considered by some as the greatest abuse in Oxford, and he was the greatest abuse of that College. It would be only proper, therefore, that he should break a lance in favour of the idle Fellow, and, in doing so, in favour of those Fellows who were elected for their attainments and their learning he must observe that the term "idle Fellow" had only been used in a Parliamentary or Pickwickian sense. He was not going to speak against the Bill; indeed, he thanked the right hon. 1738 Gentleman for the very moderate speech in which he had moved the second reading, but he wished to point out some of the difficulties which might impede its progress. Last year and the year before the Address on the opening of the Session had been moved by two hon. Members with an ability which had won the highest praise from the Prime Minister, and both those Members had been in the category of idle Fellows. In the College to which he belonged they were happily exempted from those clerical restrictions that the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan) had referred to with regard to birthplace and profession, and now the last restriction as to headship had gone, and the Fellows of the College were elected solely on their literary merits. It used to be the poorest College in Oxford, and was now nearly the richest. The Fellows passed a sort of self-denying ordinance and allowed their leases to run out, so that their estates were now let at rack rents, and their revenue was, perhaps, greater than ought to belong to any College. For the last 10 years proposals for reform had been brought forward in the College itself. There seemed to be nothing so fascinating to the human intellect as attempting to draw up new constitutions, and every one of them connected with the College had been attempting to draw up a constitution. He therefore trusted that the Government would strengthen the hands of the Commissioners, and give them stronger powers than they now possessed of coming to a practical conclusion. A plan had been proposed of founding a second Law Professorship at Oxford, but an idea prevailed in some quarters that the University was already too much saturated with Professorships. Other objects in connection with which the surplus funds of the College were expended were the Bodleian Library, middle-class education, the Civil Service in India, and scholarships for the study of the Telegu language. The whole of the members of his College were agreed that some portions of its revenue might be diverted to aid the University, but, unless the Commission to be appointed had more definite instructions than were laid down in the Bill, he was afraid the College would go on floundering in the vague and uncertain way it had done hitherto. He could not understand the 1739 morbid hatred which seemed to inspire the clause directed against the junior Fellows, and, as it involved an unjust slur upon them, he hoped it would be withdrawn. So far from there being any factious opposition to the Bill from the body to which he belonged, he believed that they would do all they could to enhance the position of their famous University, and for himself, his only desire was to increase the usefulness of the College and the University to which he was attached.
§ MR. BRISTOWE
said, he did not desire to speak with any hostility to the Bill. He did not entertain any objection to the University asking for assistance from the funds of the Colleges, but he did look with a certain amount of dread upon the power to be given to the University over teaching Fellowships and other emoluments of Colleges. That would be a most serious power to vest in the Commissioners, though so far as Cambridge was concerned he believed that a better Commission could hardly be devised. He could not, however, reconcile to himself the Commissioners having the power to impose upon a College a Fellow who was not of their own election. It was impossible to say that under the Bill a theological Professor might not be imposed as a Fellow upon an essentially lay foundation, such as Trinity Hall, for instance, which would thereby lose a great deal of its lay element. He objected to the great powers that were proposed to be given to the Commissioners by the 13th clause to deal with the designs and original intentions of the founders, thinking that the practices of the several Colleges, many of which had endured for generations, ought to have some weight. He did not think it desirable to abolish all "idle" Fellows, if by that term it was meant to include all Fellows who were not engaged in the work of University education, because these Fellowships had always been highly prized as stimulants and encouragements to industry and ambition, and had been of the greatest benefit to the Colleges and the Universities.
§ MR. LOWE
said, that when the House approached the subject some 22 years ago, it did so with great advantages, because one of the ablest Commissions ever appointed had conducted a thorough investigation into the posi- 1740 tion of the University of Oxford, which, besides, had changed very little for 200 years. The system was settled and well understood. Everybody who had been there knew what it was; and, assisted by the labours of the Commission, which poured a flood of light upon every matter with which they had to do, the House came to the consideration of the subject with a knowledge of the minutest details. He was sorry to say that on the present occasion these advantages were wholly wanting. At that time we made up our minds by the assistance of the Commissioners and our own knowledge of the circumstances as to what was good for the University, we embodied the views we entertained with great particularity in a Bill, laying down distinctly the objects we sought to accomplish, and we appointed a Commission which faithfully carried out those views. The work was done in a manner which reflected the greatest credit on the House. It was done with the greatest care and circumspection, and every security was taken that the object in view should be attained. That was the history of the measure of 1854; and now contrast that with the measure now before us. We were now asked to pass a second measure on the subject, but what was the knowledge we possessed of the present state of Oxford? We were told that an enormous change had been wrought by the Bill of 1854. Everybody said Oxford was now a very different place from what it was, but what evidence, what knowledge had we as to the nature of the change? We had none whatever. We knew nothing about it. We knew that great changes must have occurred, for it was impossible to introduce into the University such a change as that made by the measure of 1854—that of throwing open the Fellowships to literary competition without making a great change; but as to the nature of the change and whether it had worked for good or evil we had no information whatever. Now that was a state of things extremely to be regretted. He should like extremely to know—but he had no means of knowing—how this great change had been effected and in what direction it had worked, because that information would guide them most materially on the question of dealing with the matter they were asked to deal with that evening. His in- 1741 formation on this point had been derived from a letter printed in The Times some few days ago from the Dean of Wells, a very high authority, that the change which had been made was most beneficial. The Dean said the result of what had been done was to breathe a new life into many Colleges, and make them superior to what they were before. When he had sent up pupils he considered himself fortunate when out of six first classes four fell to his pupils; but not only did the Dean of Wells get a double first-class himself, he got double first-classes for others. He sent three into the school at the same time, and all three obtained a double first-class. No man, then, was better entitled to give his advice on this matter than the Dean of Wells, and he (Mr. Lowe) attached great weight to what he said on the subject. He stated that what had been done had answered wonderfully well, and a melancholy day it would be for Oxford when it was sought to alter it. That was all the information they had—information supplied by a most competent witness—thatwhat was proposed to be done was in a wrong direction. That was how the matter now stood. If the question was to be decided on ordinary principles of common sense—he might say on Conservative or on traditionary principles—he should have thought that on a matter of this kind Government would say to them one of two things, either it was desirable to allow the experiment of 1854 to be worked out—for from the nature of things it had not yet been worked out—or if for some reason or another they were of opinion that it was necessary to break up, shatter, and destroy the experiment the House of Commons then made, at any rate, they should say—"We will enter into an inquiry and let you know how matters stand, in order that you may see whether any remedy is needed, and what the nature of that remedy should be," so that it might be dealt with as the House did in 1854. He should have thought either one or the other of these courses was inevitable in the state of things in which they found themselves. But such was not the course they were now asked to take. The experiment had not been worked out; no charge was laid before them that the experiment had failed, and yet the course they were asked to take was 1742 to appoint a Commission, without any groundwork of information being laid for that Commission, without proving the least grievance or any reason for appointing it—they were to appoint this Commission and entrust to it the power of entirely revolutionizing, destroying, and re-constructing the University of Oxford. Why were they to do so? He had not heard the slightest suggestion of a reason why the policy which the House solemnly adopted in 1854 should not fairly be worked out—why it should be interrupted in its course and why they should undo all the benefit which had been done. He hoped before the debate closed some grounds would be given why they should act without inquiring, without investigating the subject—why, above all things, they should take the particular line of reversing the very policy adopted in 1854. That was what he had to say to the Bill as it was proposed—in fact, to any Bill on this subject proposed under present circumstances. He thought they had a right to demand that something should be laid before them in the shape of a ground for the action which they were asked to take. It was not because the noble Lord (the Marquess of Salisbury) told them that there were some "idle Fellowships" that such an experiment was to be arrested in midcourse, and that they should be asked to adopt proposals which in 1854 the House entirely rejected. What were the Commissioners to do? They had given to them a power such as had been given to no Commissioners before, for they were to take an ancient and venerable institution into their hands—to make statutes for. it such as they pleased, to do what they liked with it, to re-mould and re-cast it, without advice or direction in what way they should act, except simply this—that they were to go against the whole principle of the Act of 1854, and whereas it was thought necessary then to create idle Fellowships the Commissioners might cut them down, destroy them, and apply the proceeds to other purposes. Only a few nights ago the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor of London, argued, not without applause from certain Gentlemen, that Parliament had no right to ask for an account of the manner in which the London Livery Companies spent their money. He could not agree with that doctrine, but now the doctrine 1743 was pushed much further. Because these Colleges possessed a large sum of money, it was to be seized to any extent without any ground of offence being laid, and devoted to other Corporations and to purposes totally alien. He wanted to know, not merely for the sake of the University of Oxford, but for the security of the institutions of the country—of everything founded and held sacred—upon what grounds this property was to be attacked. He was not at all one of those who laid too much stress on the sanctity of corporate property, if they showed a good ground for interference and applied it to better purposes. But to take it from one corporation, as they were asked to do by the Bill, without any ground at all; merely because they chose to do it and had the power to do it, and bestow it on other corporations—to give such an arbitrary power to Commissioners—was so wild, so utterly unusual and unknown in this country and Parliament, that he had a right, not as regards the Universities merely, but as a matter of precedent, to ask the Government to give them some reasonable grounds for such a proposal. The Commissioners had powers almost without limit, powers which he would not give to any one under heaven; and the question was, what confidence could they repose in them? It was a disagreeable and invidious thing to analyze the intentions of a body of Gentlemen, every one of whom was highly respectable; but where the powers given were so large he would not shrink from that duty. He would state his opinion with regard to each and every one of them, for, as he had said, he would object to any men under heaven having such powers delegated to them. Who was the first Commissioner? Lord Selborne. He had had the happiness of knowing him for more than 50 years. He esteemed him highly—no man more so. But what was his characteristic? He was extremely devoted to High Church views. That was his peculiarity. He was also the first Lord Chancellor, he believed, who ever published a book of hymns. Take the next name, Lord Redesdale. As Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords, he had done admirably good service to the country. He was a very able man in all respects, but he had a sort of superhuman power of obstruction. The measure they had been discussing that night 1744 —namely, the melancholy mutilation of the plan for abolishing the jurisdiction of the House of Lords—was entirely owing to Lord Redesdale, and yet he was put forward as one of the Commissioners to re-organize so complicated an institution as the University of Oxford. Let them take another name—the Dean of Chichester, whose pretensions were of such a nature that even the House of Lords could not stand them. He spoke with great respect of the Dean of Chichester, but he believed he had been properly described as a "jocose fanatic"—a character he had built up for himself and maintained with such consistency during life, that if a case were put before him with the Church interest on one side and every interest on the other, it would be impossible for him, with every effort, to give an impartial judgment. The next Commissioner was Mr. Mountague Bernard. He might speak of him freely, because he was a relative of his own. He was a most excellent man, of great ability, and, he thought, he was Liberal in views, but he was the editor of a High Church newspaper. Then came Sir Henry Maine. No one could admire him more than he (Mr. Lowe) did. He was an ornament to the century. His investigation into the ancient laws, customs, and manners of mankind raised him to the highest renown as a literary scientific investigator, but everybody knew that he was a sort of Ministerial agent, an alter ego, of Lord Salisbury in the Council of India, and nobody could suppose that in this matter of the University of Oxford he would not act in accordance with the views of Lord Salisbury. Another objection to him was that he was a Cambridge man, and not conversant with the affairs of Oxford. The next was a gentleman whose discoveries had done the country the highest honour, and mankind the greatest benefit. He referred to Mr. Justice Grove. No one respected him more than he (Mr. Lowe) did, but we could not expect that, with his judicial duties, he could give time to the working out of the details of the Commission, or be anything more than an ornamental Member. The last name was that of the hon. Member for North Northumberland (Mr. M. W. Ridley), of whom he had nothing to say except that he believed him to be a perfectly good Commissioner, and he had no doubt he would 1745 give valuable assistance. But he asked the House, if the Commission was such as he had described it to be, was it the sort of Commission to which they would entrust almost absolute power over the re-modelling of that great institution? Was it fair, because they had a majority in that House, that they should impose on them that arbitrary and unconstitutional Bill, and then place the working of it in the hands of such a Commission as he had described? He hoped in that respect it might not be too late to have some amendment. If the House would follow his counsel it would not be to attempt to strike out any names—for that would be invidious—but he hoped the Government would allow him to add some Members to the Commission who would temper the extreme views of the present Members. Why should three or four very High Churchmen be put on the Commission without any counterbalancing element? If they would have the poison, they ought to furnish the antidote by adding two or three raging Low Churchmen. Those things appeared to him to be very well worth consideration. There was not a single Member of that Commission who at present resided in Oxford. He did not know that there was any Member of the Commission unless it was Mr. Bernard, who, he thought, was Professor of International Law, that had ever taught in Oxford or had anything to do with it. It would be wise to put into the Commission some persons who had a knowledge of what was now actually going on in Oxford, who were familiar with the business of the place, and could give advice and assistance. The Government were taking a most unusual course from first to last on this subject. They knew that the feeling at Oxford with regard to this Bill was entirely different from the feeling at Cambridge with regard to the University of Cambridge Bill, although both were identical, and the reason was that Cambridge had confidence in the persons who were to be appointed Commissioners, but Oxford had not. With regard to the proposal to do away with what was called "idle Fellowships," and to spend money in learning, in research, or in religion, he ventured to say this—that the point of view in which Oxford was regarded by the people of this country was as an educational institution. They thought it was a place to 1746 which young men were to go to be educated, and their view, if consulted, would be to make it a place best fitted for the education of young men. The word "University" was used in a double sense—sometimes merely as a general noun of multitude, instead of enumerating all the Colleges of Oxford, and sometimes, and more properly, it was used to denote the corporate body which conferred degrees. In the sense of corporate body, he ventured boldly to make this assertion, that it was hundreds of years since the University of Oxford educated anybody, and that there was not the slightest chance that any number of hundreds of years hence it would educate anybody again. Since the time of the Reformation and the dawning of learning its office had been limited very much to examining, and very badly it examined, because it selected as its examiners persons who were also tutors, and who were interested, therefore, in the passing of their pupils. The result was that the standard of the examinations was disgracefully low, and, instead of it being an honour to pass, it conferred no honour on any one. The education was carried on not in the University, but in the Colleges, and it was carried on in the Colleges by the tutors and others who were not necessarily connected with the University. Now, so far from their endowments going to improve education, they would tend distinctly to injure and destroy it. The money paid to people to teach other people was money thrown away, unless they introduced in some way or other the principle of competition, so that they should be paid in proportion to their success. But the money spent in prizes to induce young men to qualify themselves to obtain such rewards and a start in life, which might be the making of them, was the very sinew and life of education. The more money they expended in that way the more their Colleges would flourish, and the less they so expended the more their Colleges would decline. But what were they asked to do? To abolish all "idle Fellowships"! They annexed a duty to a Fellowship, and it was no longer a prize. It was no prize to be paid for doing a work; the prize was to be paid for doing no work at all, so that one might have time and means to qualify himself for a rise in life. Although 1747 there was no doubt they would still obtain the services of able men, they should not destroy the great stimulus to industry that existed in those prizes. They were asked to take away from the Colleges those sums that really were the things which filled their Colleges at Oxford and gave them the able and eminent men who went there. They were asked to starve those men, and to bestow those sums on the University, which never had done and never would do anything for education. When a man was incompetent he was to be salaried or pensioned off as a retired or an emeritus Professor. He said that their principle was radically wrong and bad; and as one who had had experience of Oxford for 11 years, he did not hesitate to say that every penny they took from these Fellowships in order to endow the University was so much taken from the encouragement of learning in order to propagate laziness and ignorance. Those were his views. He thought they merited more consideration than they had received. He thought they ought to be told what was the necessity to make the great change now proposed, and why they were not to have a Commission constituted with fairness towards all parties; and why, when there were two bodies at Oxford—the University, that did nothing, and the Colleges, that did all the work—the Government proposed to take money away from the Colleges and spend it on the University.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Grant Duff.)
presumed that his hon. Friend the Member for Elgin (Mr. Grant Duff) had moved the Adjournment because no one had risen to reply to the speech of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Lowe), and also because some hon. Members opposite had probably been taken by surprise, and were not then prepared to bring the discussion of so important a matter to a conclusion.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he had listened with great attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London, 1748 who undoubtedly was in that House one of the highest authorities with respect to the University of Oxford. But if Her Majesty's Ministers did not intend to reply to that speech, the remedy must be in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman himself, who could propose such Amendments as he thought requisite when the Bill went into Committee. He (Mr. Newdegate) had always thought it was a mistake to entrust the control of education in the University to Convocation, and this Bill appeared to him to be a sequel to that great mistake.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goschen) complained that nobody had answered the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London, but there was, to a certain extent, an explanation of that—namely, that the speech of that right hon. Member answered itself. In the first place, with regard to the reasons why the Bill had been brought forward, it had not appeared to the present occupants of the Treasury Bench that it was at all necessary for them to give an explanation of the reason why something further should be done in respect to University Reform after the measure of 1854. The proposal to re-open the settlement of 1854 originated not with the present, but with the late Government, of which the right hon. Gentleman himself was a distinguished Member. Surely the right hon. Gentleman could not have forgotten that the Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the late Prime Minister, who was himself the author, or, at all events, had charge of the original Bill of 1854. When, therefore, the Government were asked why they did not give the original measure a longer trial, their answer was that its responsible parents were themselves dissatisfied with it. ["No!"] Well, what was the Commission of Inquiry appointed for? [Mr. Lowe: The Commission was appointed to inquire into the pecuniary resources of the Colleges.] But was the Commission appointed for the purpose of gratifying idle curiosity, or in order to lay a foundation for some proposals, of a practical character? If his memory served him right, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, when he made his appeal to the country two years ago, expressed his intention, if he had a 1749 majority, of dealing with the question of those endowments; and every one who had the most superficial acquaintance with public affairs knew that that question was being constantly agitated. Was it, then, unnatural that the Government should come forward with proposals on the subject? If the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lowe) wished to give the present state of things a longer trial, he ought logically to have moved the rejection of the Bill. Then the Government would have felt themselves bound to meet him. But the right hon. Gentleman pointed out a great many things to which he thought objection might be taken, and he certainly seemed to indicate the necessity, at all events, of ascertaining what improvement could be made. Now, one of the principles of the Bill was that the endowments of Colleges should be made as useful as possible for the purposes of the University, which, surely, was a very reasonable and legitimate proposal. If hon. Gentlemen opposite said they were prepared to consider the question, but that they objected to the Government scheme, then the matter might very fairly be discussed in Committee; but he did not see why the Government should be called upon either to defend the bringing forward of measures which were initiated by their Predecessors, including the right hon. Gentleman himself, or that they were bound to meet objections which the right hon. Gentleman himself had already answered. The right hon. Gentleman, in his trenchant and graphic style, gave a description of the Commissioners, whom he highly praised, but every one of whom, with a single exception, he found unsuitable for the position he was to occupy. Well, it might have been supposed that some of them were to be objected to and struck out. But no! the right hon. Gentleman did not ask for that, he wanted some others. Well, as he could make his proposals on that point in Committee, it was surely unreasonable at the present time to ask for an Adjournment of the Debate. The object of the Government was to proceed with the measure in a serious and business-like manner. If there were objections to it they could certainly be discussed on the second reading; but seeing there was no serious indisposition on the part of the House to read the Bill a second time, it certainly seemed to him ad- 1750 visable under the circumstances to let it proceed without delay to its next stage.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he thought his hon. Friend the Member for Elgin (Mr. Grant Duff) was perfectly justified, although at an early hour, in moving the Adjourment of the Debate. The debate was about to close in a somewhat unexpected and unsatisfactory manner. No Member of the Government had spoken except the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hardy), and neither of the hon. Members representing the Universities, except the right hon. Gentleman, had expressed his views. If it were understood that the discussion on the Oxford Bill could be resumed on the Cambridge Bill, he did not know that there could be any objection to the second reading of the Oxford Bill being now assented to; but he should like to have a clear understanding that a further stage of the Oxford Bill would not be taken until the Cambridge Bill was read a second time.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
observed that really no answer had been given to the objections that had been taken to the Bill. The whole debate, since the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire had sat down, had been one way. Member after Member had attacked the Bill in a most dangerous way, and no reply whatever had been made to those speeches.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
wished it to be clearly understood that on the second reading of the Cambridge Bill any hon. Gentleman interested in the Oxford Bill should be entitled to express his opinions about the Oxford Bill. At the same time, he wished to point out that the operation of the two Bills would be very dissimilar, as the Commissioners were so very different. When would the second reading of the Cambridge Bill be taken?
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that if nothing unforeseen happened, the second reading of the Cambridge Bill would be taken as the First Order next Monday.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.