HC Deb 16 May 1876 vol 229 cc805-29
MR. BUTT said

In accordance, Sir, with, the Notice I have given, I move for leave to bring in a Bill to make better provision for University Education in Ireland. I do not anticipate that any opposition will be offered to that Motion; but although the Bill which I hold in my hand has been prepared before the Session commenced, I have deferred moving for its introduction until I could have an opportunity of making a statement as to its object and provisions. In doing so I may be permitted to say that I know of no subject of greater importance to the people of Ireland. I know none of greater difficulty. I need scarcely remind the House that three years ago it led to the overthrow of a very powerful Ministry. I feel that in the very announcement which I make I expose myself to the charge of presumption if I entertain—as I do entertain—the hope that I can offer a plan which may meet the difficulties that surround any attempt at a satisfactory settlement of this great question. I believe, Sir, there are few persons who will deny that the present University system of Ireland is unsatisfactory in not providing for the Roman Catholics of Ireland a higher education of which they can avail themselves upon terms of equality with Protestants. I use the words "higher education" advisedly that I may avoid that which has been, I cannot help thinking, the source of exaggeration and mistake. In dealing with the question of University education we are not dealing with the education of the great mass of the people. We have to consider the system which is suitable to those classes who in any country are likely to avail themselves of the benefits of University education. But in this view no one who will fairly consider the question can deny that our present system is defective. It does not deal equally with Protestant and Roman Catholics. Three years ago the then Prime Minister spoke of the present state of things in the following terms:— Now, I will look at the question in a very simple form. What is the state of the case as to the actual enjoyment of University training by the Roman Catholics of Ireland? I shall not enter into those details of controversy which have been handled with great agility by Gentle- men on one side and the other. There are those who think, and who are bold enough to maintain, that upon the whole, considering who Roman Catholics are, considering how little property they possess, how little it is possible for them to enter upon the higher culture, their state, so far as University education is concerned, is not very bad at this moment. I hold, on the contrary, that it is miserably bad. I go further; and I would almost say, it is scandalously bad."—[3 Hansard, ccxiv. 386.] I entirely concur in the words which upon that occasion the right hon. Gentleman used, when he said that the settlement of this question was— Vital to the prosperity and welfare of Ireland. For even if we think that University education is a matter less directly connected with the peace and happiness of the country than others on which we have formerly been called upon more than once to proceed, it must be borne in mind that when we look into the far future the well-being of Ireland must in a great degree depend on the moral and intellectual culture of her people; and that in the promotion of that culture the efficiency of her Universities cannot fail to be a powerful and effectual instrument."—[Ibid. 378.] At this hour of the evening I must endeavour to compress into a compass as brief as I can the statement with which I must trouble the House. I come at once to that which meets us at the very threshold of this great question. The present arrangements of University education in Ireland are unsatisfactory to the Roman Catholic people. They are so, because they do not offer them a University education in accordance with their religious convictions. Those convictions lead them to believe that all education is imperfect—more than imperfect—is dangerous, which is not based upon religion. There is no escape from this question. You must maintain a University system in antagonism to the convictions of the great mass of the Irish people—a system in perpetual, although it may be in subdued, war, with their deepest and most sacred feelings—or you must mould that system so as to admit within its institutions which will give to the Roman Catholic people an opportunity of sharing in all the benefits, all the advantages, and all the emoluments which you attach to University education upon the terms of perfect equality with Protestants, upon the only terms that can place them upon that equality—that is, upon terms that will recognize their deep, their conscientious conviction that religion must be interwoven with all the teaching and with all the arrangements of collegiate life. I do not stop to argue the reasonableness of that conviction. The statesmanship is a very poor one that refuses to accept the deep-seated convictions of men as facts which it must estimate as real forces with which it has to deal. Institutions are made for men, and not men for institutions, and the man who would build up a system of University education for Ireland from the estimates of which he omitted all calculations of the deep-seated convictions of the people would soon find that no matter with what fair prospects his system was proposed, no matter upon what specious theories it was based, it would fail, and fail as miserably as many of your best devised plans for governing Ireland have failed, from the slight defect that they omitted to take into account the character and the feelings of the people for whom they were intended. But, Sir, I am not ashamed to confess that in the conviction that education ought to be based upon religion I entirely concur. It is, at all events, a principle that has come down to us with great traditions of Christendom, Roman Catholic and Protestant. It has come to us with the authority of the wisest of men, who, even without the light of Christianity, anticipated in the instincts of human conscience its teachings. It has come down to us with the mighty memories of men who, trained under its influence, have done good service to the commonwealth in Church and State. For myself, I would ask for a strict principle of toleration. I will ask it to-night both for Protestant and Roman Catholic. Do not force upon us, in obedience to a small and insignificant sect of secularists, a denial in our University system of a principle which 99 out of every 100 Irishmen, Protestant as well as Catholic, hold dear. But this is not essential to the argument I am addressing to you to-night. It is enough for me to say, as I have said, that if you desire that your University System should embrace those of the Catholic people of Ireland who would naturally look to the benefits of University education, you must provide for them the means of having that education in such a form that their views of the necessity of its being interwoven with religion may be honestly and fairly met. If this be the right conclusion, we have then to look at the existing state of things. I will not stop to go back upon the history of ancient University institutions in Ireland. It is enough for me to say that we find there one institution, founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which up to the present generation has been the only University for Ireland. It has taken its place with the elder Universities of Great Britain and of Europe. Its degrees are recognized, not only in Oxford and Cambridge, but in every academy in Europe. The fame of its men of science is known in all lands where the higher attainments of science are valued. Its history is interwoven with that of the country. Few of the men of whom Ireland is proud have not received their education within its walls. I am old enough to remember hearing O'Connell, in a public meeting, lament that he was sent to the Continent to receive his education; because when he was ready for Trinity College, Trinity College was not ready for him. For one great section of Irish society this institution has fulfilled the functions of a National University. By it Protestant thought and intellect have been trained. But, established as it was in the first ardour of the Reformation, it has not altogether failed in providing education for the Roman Catholic people. More than 70 years ago its statutes were so changed as to admit all creeds to the benefits of education and the privileges of its degrees. Long before your English Universities thought of toleration, Trinity College opened its doors to men of all religious creeds. In 1793 the Irish Parliament repealed all the Acts of Parliament which interposed obstacles to the admission of Roman Catholics to the benefits of degrees. In the lists of our Roman Catholic Judges, of our Roman Catholic Members of Parliament, of the men eminent in Irish public life, you find those who have won distinction in the University. There are in this House a larger number of its graduates representing Catholic than there are Protestant constituencies; and Protestant as has been its character, with almost all its emoluments and offices reserved to Protestants, Trinity College has a hold, and a strong hold, upon the spmpathies and respect of the whole Irish people. I must stop for a moment to inquire upon what endowments it has accomplished all this. In the Report of the Commissioners of 1854 its revenue derived from endowments is stated to be £36,000 a-year. A Return obtained last year by the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly) makes its income from endowments £43,000. I do not stop to account for the discrepancy, I contrast this sum of £36,000 or £43,000 with the revenues of the English Universities. I need not remind the House that Trinity College is a College discharging the functions both of a University and a College. It is the one College of the Irish University, and in both characters it has endowments not much exceeding at the outside estimate £40,000 a-year. It appears by the Report of the Commission on the English Universities that the University of Oxford has endowments amounting to £29,000 a-year; its Colleges and Halls to £307,000. Cambridge has University endowments amounting to £13,000 a-year. Those of its Colleges and Halls amount to £264,000 a-year. So that the University of Dublin has been keeping its place among the Universities of the world upon an endowment not exceeding £40,000, in contrast, and often in rivalry, with the two English Universities, with, revenues of £631,000. Now, Sir, it appears to me that when we come to consider how we are to remedy the injustice that is done to the Roman Catholics of Ireland under the present arrangements, we must consider the existence of our present University in two respects. We have a University made illustrious by great traditions, with a recognized status earned by centuries of work, and commanding for its degree a reception all over the world. It appears to me that it would be very unwise to throw away from our Roman Catholic countrymen all these great advantages, which no power and no endowments could give, to a new institution. We must make the attempt to admit them fully and unreservedly into all the advantages we have acquired—into a complete partnership with all the treasures of memory that Trinity College has inherited from past times, and we must do this while we give them a University education consonant with their own convictions—an education with which religious training and religious teaching shall be inseparably associated. In this view I believe we are led at once to the conclusion that we ought, in re-adjusting our University system, to maintain its identity unbroken, and its status and its memories unimpaired. This is the more important aspect of the question, because it concerns the whole people. But there is another consideration not to be overlooked. Trinity College has provided a University education that meets the wants and wishes of one great section of the people. We ought not lightly and without necessity to destroy this. All considerations, therefore, point to this—that in framing a measure to admit Roman Catholics to perfect equality in our University system we ought to preserve, as far as possible, the main features of that system, and in admitting others to equal advantages, to leave to the Protestant community those which they have so long enjoyed. I believe we can obtain all this by building on the lines of the Act passed by the Irish Parliament in 1793. That Act expressly contemplated the establishment, at a future day, of a second College in the Dublin University—a College of which all the emoluments and offices should be open to Roman Catholics, although not excluding Protestants from its education. The Bill I hold in my hand is an attempt to accomplish the establishment of a second College—one that will be essentially Roman Catholic in its character, and which will give to Roman Catholic parents the opportunity of obtaining for their children a University education, in the form and manner in which they themselves desired it should be given. After 83 years I am asking the Imperial Parliament to perfect the work of liberality and toleration which an Irish Parliament, composed exclusively of Protestants and elected exclusively by Protestants, commenced in 1793. If the House will permit me I will endeavour, in the first instance, to place before them the provisions proposed in the Bill for the establishment of such a College. We might, of course, incorporate a new body of nominees either of the framers of the measure or of the Crown; but I am quite sure that we should act most unwisely if we overlooked the fact that the exigencies of their position have forced the Catholic people of Ireland, out of their own resources, without any Government aid and without any State authority, to frame and form an institution which might discharge for them the functions of a University. The Roman Catholics of Ireland have proved their zeal and earnestness in this matter of education. Under the name of the Catholic University they have formed an institution, to the support of which they have contributed about £200,000. Maintaining itself under great difficulties, met by the rivalry of institutions offering to those who would resort to them great prizes, upon which public money is lavishly expended, it yet has held its ground, and is every year gaining upon public confidence and respect. Among its Professors are men of the highest order of intellect, some of them whose scientific fame is European, and I must add that in which I know I shall be borne out by every one—no matter what opinions he may hold, religious or political—who has been brought in contact with the collegiate life of that institution, that nowhere do we meet with more liberality of statement, more real tolerance of spirit, than among those who have received or are receiving their education within the walls of that institution. In the Bill which I ask leave to introduce I offer to the teaching body of that institution a charter of incorporation as a second College in the University, with a voice in the government, and with suitable endowments. In the provisions of the Bill I have endeavoured to secure three matters which I believe to be essential to any measure of the kind. First, to give to the Roman Catholic people an educational institution adequate to meet their wants, and framed in accordance with their convictions; secondly, to preserve to the Protestant community the same advantages which the Bill gives to the Roman Catholics; and, lastly, to do this without lowering either the status of the Irish University, or the standard of Irish University education. I propose, Sir, that both the new College and Trinity should be independent and self-governing bodies. To each of them the Bill leaves the exclusive superintendence of the education of its own students, subject to this, that certain subjects of study are defined as forming a necessary part of University education. In respect of degrees, the University would have just the same power that it has now, except that I take away the right of conferring degrees of divinity. I propose instead to allow each College to confer a diploma of Doctor or Bachelor of Divinity, carrying with it no University degree. The degree of Bachelor of Arts to be attained after four years' membership of either College, upon the certificate of the College that he has made much proficiency in the prescribed studies. In addition to this, I propose that this proficiency should be tested by two University examinations—one at the end of the first two years; another, the degree examination, whenever, after the end of the four years, he presents himself for admission to his degree. These examinations to be conducted by a Board of Examiners chosen from each College. I need not say, Sir, that this is just the system of teaching and examination pursued both at Oxford and Cambridge. It is followed at Dublin, as far as it is possible to distinguish between University and College examinations where you have only one College. It will be seen that this plan regards teaching as essentially a collegiate matter—examination as a test of fitness for a degree as the business of the University. It is by keeping these two things perfectly distinct that we shall be able to combine two Colleges in one University. If we do, there is no difficulty in having one common course of study. There is no difficulty in having a common examination. Nay, more, I may, perhaps, be thought very bold if I say that there is no real difficulty in introducing into the common course and common examination subjects which it has been sometimes necessary to exclude from a University intended to embrace men of different religious creeds. I propose in a schedule to this Bill the course of study and of examination. I do not wish to weary the House by mentioning the details. It has been framed with care, and in a great degree from the calendars of Trinity College and of the existing Catholic University. Provision is made for changes in that course by competent authority within that University itself, but in the first instance I have thought it necessary that the course should be prescribed; and, I venture to say, that when the Bill is printed, and the schedule prescribing the course of study is read, no one will say that the standard of University education is lowered, or that the man who will pass an examination in that course has not received an education as liberal and as general as any that is given in any University in the Kingdom. But I repeat that in that course and in all studies I recognize the Colleges as the teaching bodies, and the University as the body examining and conferring degrees upon those who had been tested by their examination, and had, upon that examination, been found qualified for their degree. But the Bill contains on the subject of degrees another provision to which I attach very great importance. Both Oxford and Cambridge recently admitted students at the matriculation as members of the University without entering any College. The University of Dublin has long since dispensed with either residence or attendance on lectures as a qualification for a degree, the attention of the students to prescribed studies being tested by frequent attendance at examinations. I propose to continue that system. If any person desired to pass through the University without entering either College he will be allowed to matriculate and proceed to his degree, passing, however, frequent examinations, from which those who are members of either of the Colleges are exempted. There will be thus three classes of students—those who entered in Trinity College, those who have entered in the new College, and those who are University students without belonging to either College. The two first classes will receive their teaching in their respective Colleges, and will be only required to submit to an University examination twice in their course. The third class may receive their teaching when and in what manner they please; but they will be required, by passing periodical examinations, to give satisfactory proof that without any collegiate superintendence they have been taught, or, at all events, have learned. I cannot but think that this provision ought to remove objections that I know will be made to this Bill. It gives, it is true, everyone the opportunity of passing to a degree in a College essentially religious in its character; but the provision I have last mentioned enables anyone to proceed to a degree without submitting himself to any religious teaching whatever. If anyone, from any reason, is unwilling to subject himself to the discipline or rules of either of the new Colleges, he is not, therefore, debarred from a University degree. He may receive his teaching in any seminary he pleases, or he may teach himself. If he learns, and proves by his examination that he has learned, he will be required to do nothing more. I need not point out in how many ways this will have a beneficial effect among others, it will be a species of competition with the Colleges which will stimulate them to provide the best education that they can. If men can obtain degrees without collegiate residence there will be many who will avail themselves of that privilege, unless the Colleges offer them real and substantial advantages. At all events, the power of choice will leave University education free. I have paid, Sir, that I propose to make the new Colleges independent and self-governing. Trinity College is governed by statutes framed by various Sovereigns and by an Act of Parliament which was passed within the last few years. But except when an Act of Parliament intervenes, all the statutes may be altered at the pleasure of the Crown. At present Trinity College is governed by the Provost and Senior Fellows and by a Collegiate Council, in the election of which the Senate of the University have a voice. I propose to substitute for the interference of the Senate that of a congregation of its own graduates. The Collegiate Council would exercise the same powers it does now, and be elected in the same manner, substituting for election by all the Senate, election by those who are its graduates. I propose to confer the powers of passing new statutes on the congregation of graduates, the Collegiate Council, and the Provost and Senior Fellows. No change is to be made in the statutes without the consent of these three bodies, and in some cases with the additional requisite of the consent. But to leave Trinity College free in its power of self-government, I propose to exempt it, as well as the new College, from the operation of the Act prohibiting all religious tests, and to abrogate the College statute, which was, in fact, the necessary consequence of the Act. The effect of this would be to restore the religious character of the College, and to leave it perfectly open to the College authorities themselves to make, with the assent of the Council, any changes with regard to this which they thought fit. And here, Sir, speaking of that College with which I am practically acquainted—I mean, of course, Trinity College—I attach great importance to giving to an assembly representing its graduates a voice, and, to some extent, a share in its government. After all, Trinity College must still continue to bear to the Protestant community the character of the University in many respects. The same may be said as to the Catholic people and the new College; but speaking as I do of the College with which I am acquainted, not only as a student and a graduate, but as a member of that which is virtually its Senate, I see great advantages in bringing something of a popular element to bear upon its government. I think this would be done, and safely done, by the institution of a separate Senate, or, as it is called in the Bill, Congregation of the College. I should be very sorry to entrust absolute legislative powers to such a body; but, under the control of the Provost and Senior Fellows, who have been until recently the absolute masters of the institution, I am sure the discussion in a Senate of graduates of questions relating to the government of the college will infuse energy and power into the life of the institution. I propose to establish, in substance, the same system of government for the new College. The property, and, to a large extent, the control of the Catholic University is vested in an Episcopal Board, consisting of several of the Roman Catholic Prelates. To the Board we must give a larger power in the government; first, because we expect them to give over to the purposes of the new College a considerable amount of property, and, more than property, the good-will of an institution which they have created and fostered; but more, far more than this—unless we yield them that power—we would fail at the very outset in creating an institution suited to the convictions of the Irish Catholic people. I propose to incorporate the present members of the said Board under the title of the Committee of Founders. It is a title which will, perhaps, excite less prejudice than that of Episcopal Board. It will, at all events, express a claim to control over an institution which has always been recognized, and which in this Bill is not carried nearly so far as it was in many of the Cambridge and Oxford Colleges. Vacancies accruing in the Committee will be filled up by the surviving members, and there is no doubt that the Committee of Founders will practically and truly represent the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. In the new College, as in Trinity College, I propose to initiate a Congregation of the graduates of the College itself—a Collegiate Council, partly appointed by the Committee of Founders, partly elected by the Professors, and partly by the Congregation of Graduates. To the Collegiate Council I propose to entrust the election of Professors, subject to the veto of the Committee of Founders. I propose that statutes may be passed for the College in the same manner as for Trinity College, with the assent of these bodies—the Congregation of Graduates, the Collegiate Council, and the Committee of Founders—but I propose to give to the founders that power of making, on their own authority, regulations on matters affecting religious teaching and morality which I am sure the Catholic people of Ireland would desire to see placed in the hands of the Prelates of their Church. I did not say, Sir, that in all that concerned the internal constitution of that which is intended to be a Roman Catholic College I have had difficulties in making any proposal. The questions relating to it are, in my mind, to be determined by Roman Catholics themselves. I have no authority to speak for anyone on the subject. All I could do was to gather opinion from those whom I thought best informed as to the feelings and sentiments of those whose opinions must be consulted. I have carefully studied the past history of the question—the resolutions that have been passed and the correspondence—and all I can say is that I believe and hope that if the House gives me leave to bring in this Bill, it will be found, when submitted in its full form to the judgment of the public, possible to settle this great question upon the principles which I have endeavoured to embody in the Bill. I have explained the proposed constitutions of the new Colleges. As to the University itself, I propose to leave the Senate as it is, re-inforced as it will be by the addition of new Doctors and Masters, who may be created by Her Majesty in the charter incorporating the new College, and from time to time by the new graduates that will be supplied by the new College. The ordinary management of University affairs I propose to leave to an Academical Council, conisting of the Vice Chancellor, the Provost of Trinity College, the Rector of the new College, seven members of the Senate to be nominated by each College, and four to be elected by the Senate upon the principle of cumu- lative vote. Upon some matters the Bill requires the assent of three-fourths of the members present to a resolution. For the University itself I propose a legislative machinery analogous to that of the Colleges. The Bill provides that new statutes may be passed with the assent of both the Academical Council and the Senate; but I add to this a provision that no such statute should be passed if it is negatived either by the Provost and senior Fellows of Trinity College, or by the Committee of Founders of the new College. It is right that security should be taken that no essential change should be made in the University arrangements without the consent of those who, if this Bill comes into effect, will be parties to the arrangement it makes. I have stated to the House the outline of the plan by which I propose to incorporate a new College into the existing system of the University of Dublin. I come now to the question of endowments. I propose to take for the endowment of the University and the new College a considerable sum for a fund which belongs peculiarly to the Irish people, and which I feel strongly ought to be held sacred for purposes like that to which I propose to apply it—I mean the miserable remnant which mismanagement has left of the magnificent revenues which the piety of ancient times had devoted to provide for the religious needs of the Irish people. I use this language not in reference to the strange transactions in which so large a portion of the remaining revenues of the Irish Church were squandered on the cost of disestablishing it. I speak in a larger sense. I remember reading many years ago a statement made by an eminent Prelate of the Protestant Church, Dr. Elrington, who was Provost of Trinity College, and afterwards Bishop of Ferns, that there had been Church property in Ireland, if properly managed, not only to provide for the sustenance of the clergy of all religious denominations, but after doing this to provide for the University and school education of the entire people. The statement was no exaggeration. Of that noble national property all that remains to the Irish people is a contingent interest, at least an interest not yet realized, estimated at something more than £5,000,000. It is in this fund that we should find endowments for the new institution we are creating, and for myself I earnestly hope that no portion of that fund may ever be applied to purposes more foreign to those to which the property of which it is the remnant was consecrated. The University itself as distinguished from the College should be provided with the means of carrying on its own business, of providing for its examinations, and prizes at those examinations. It ought also to be provided with the means of instituting Fellowships and Scholarships open to all students; and, after providing for all those necessary expenses, it ought to have a fund at its disposal sufficient to meet those demands for aid to scientific and literary purposes which may always arise. Following in some respects the Bill introduced by the then Government in 1873, this Bill proposes that there should be 15 University Fellowships, held for life, and endowed each from the University revenues with the sum of £200 a-year. They are to be open to all graduates, and be given away after an examination conducted by the Board of Examiners, appointed as I have already described. Of course all these 15 should not be filled up at once, but gradually until the number is completed. Some of the Fellowships might derive a further income if their holders share and accept the office of tutor to the non-collegiate students; and as to all of them, regulations, either as to University duties or otherwise, might be made which would, as a general rule, insure their resignation. In addition to this the Bill proposes that there should be given away by public examinations among those taking their first degrees, two exhibitions of £100 a-year, tenable for five years. There are in Trinity College 70 Foundation Scholarships, obtainable only by undergraduates, and where, after making small money payments and the advantages of chambers and commons, they are worth probably £70 a-year. But they are sought after with an eagerness far beyond their worth. The roll of the scholars contained the names of most of the men who have been illustrious in our past history. Every man is proud of his having his name inscribed in the book in which he sees before him the names of Edmund Burke, of Curran, of Plunket, and among others with which history has made him familiar. A Scholarship in Trinity College gives the privilege of a vote at the election of members for the University. The privilege continues for life; and at every contested election it is interesting to see the anxiety with which every one who can do it claims his right to vote as an ex-Scholar, and ignores the claim that may be made for him in right of his degree. I propose to open 70 Scholarships to all students of the University. If the successful student is a member of Trinity College, he will receive all the Collegiate advantages which belong to the position, and I propose that Trinity College should pay him an annual stipend equivalent to the value of those advantages. The Royal Commissioners of Education in Ireland have founded in the University 30 Exhibitions for undergraduates, ranging from £50 to £20 a-year. These Exhibitions are at present confined to the pupils of the Royal Schools, out of whose revenues they are endowed. The Bill proposes to open them to all students. There are at present in Trinity College 26 junior Fellows, making with the seven senior Fellows 33 Fellows. The number has been greatly increased within the last 40 years, and I am sure that it far exceeds that which is requisite for the wants of the College. The Bill proposes to transfer 10 of these Fellowships to the University as they fall vacant, Trinity College paying to the elected an annual stipend equivalent to the income and advantage which a Fellow of Trinity College derives from the College revenues. This would not exceed £100 a-year. Whatever was wanting to make up the value of £200 should be paid out of the University funds. The University, therefore, under this plan, would give away Fellowships and prizes open to all its graduates: 25 Fellowships worth £200 a-year, 10 Exhibitions worth £100 a-year each to undergraduates, 70 Scholarships worth £70 a-year each, and 30 Exhibitions ranging from £50 to £20. But the House will remember that all the undergraduates' scholarships are provided out of funds independent of the University, and there is a contribution of one half of the expense of 10 of the Fellowships from Trinity College, so that the charge upon the University Funds would be 15 Fellowships at £200 a-year each—£3,000; half of 10 Fellowships—£1,000; and 10 Exhibitions, £100 each, £1,000—making in all an annual charge of £4,000. But in addition to these prizes, open to those who are actually students in the University, I make a proposal in this Bill, which I am sure will be valued by all who take an interest in intermediate education in Ireland—I propose to place at the disposal of the University authority 50 pensions or Exhibitions of £20 a-year each, tenable for three years, and bestowed under suitable regulations upon young men of merit who may need assistance in preparing themselves for a University examination. This will add a charge of £1,000 a-year to the University revenue, making in all a sum of £5,000 a-year to be spent in the manner I have mentioned. I do not believe anyone will say that I am asking an extravagant endowment for the University, if I ask that the Church Commissioners shall provide out of the surplus at their disposal a sum of £200,000, bearing interest at the rate of 4 per cent until paid. Assuming the money, when paid, to be laid out so as to produce the same income, this would leave to the University an income from endowments of £3,000 for all other purposes. To this, of course, must be added whatever might be received from the students in the form of fees. I propose to leave this fund at the disposal of the Academic Council, guarding its power over it by this, that in any vote for money beyond providing for the ordinary expenditure, the votes of two-thirds must concur. I come now to the Colleges. Trinity College has an endowment: it is of £43,000. A considerable part of this comes from private sources. In the Bill of 1873 the late Ministry proposed that Trinity College should pay to the funds of the University a direct money contribution of £12,000 a-year. I propose a contribution in a different form—a form that will not in the least cripple the resources of the College. The surrender of the 70 Foundation Scholarships to the University, taking the cost of each at £70 annually, is equivalent to a money contribution of £4,900 a-year; but, in other respects, it is a contribution far beyond their money value. In the transfer of the 10 Fellowships there is another contribution of £1,000. Trinity College has at present certain Professorships which may be fairly considered as a portion of her University expenses. The Professors in certain faculties must preside over the granting of degrees in those faculties, and to observe which, I think, is a matter of no little importance established. These Professors are—Regius Professor of Laws, with a salary of £500 a-year; the Regius Professor of Physic, of Surgery, and, last, not least, of Music. All these I propose to make University Professors, to be nominated by the Academic Council, but the salaries still to be paid by the College, and I add to these the Professor of Astronomy, the Royal Astronomer of Ireland. The salaries and emoluments of these different Professors, still continuing charges on the College revenues, will amount to more than £200 a-year. In these various ways the College will contribute, if not to the University, yet to University purposes, an income of about £8,000 a-year. In addition to this, there are some annual prizes and medals, which will be open to all students; they are not very large in amount, but many of them carry with them associations that make them prized. I may be forgiven if I mention the Berkeley gold medals for proficiency in Greek, the result of a bequest by the illustrious philosopher to whom I feel proud that I can trace even a remote relationship. These may be small matters, but they associate the University in its remodelled form with traditions. It is a less sentimental benefit that gives to the University an interest in the magnificent collection of ancient Irish manuscripts, which is now the exclusive property of Trinity College. For the endowment of the new College I propose that on the acceptance of the charter and the vesting of the existing property of the Catholic University to the responsible College, that a sum of £30,000 should be handed over at once to the authorities of the College to erect suitable buildings. It will next be, of course, for the authorities of the College to determine the most convenient site, either on their present situation, or on any other, the distance from the centre of the city of Dublin, which I propose to fix at three miles by my scheme. I much prefer that they should be placed in the immediate vicinity of Trinity College; but this is a matter entirely for the College itself. There are many reasons which make it desirable that substantial proof should be given of the continual interest of the Catholic people in the establishment of the new College, and I therefore think that as soon as a further sum of £20,000 is subscribed, making in all a contribution of £220,000, then, and not till then, double that amount or a sum of £440,000, should be paid out of the Church surplus, bearing interest at 4 per cent until paid. I ought to have stated that in investigating the property of the present institution, the newly-incorporated College, I purpose to exempt a very beautiful church now used as the chapel of the actual property that will continue vested in its present owners. I omitted also to say that a sum of money which I fix at £20,000 will be required to provide new buildings, this would make the entire charge upon the Church surplus to amount to £700,000. I need not say that I omit many details; I only wish to add that the Bill empowers Her Majesty to incorporate any other College in the University of Dublin, provided that it should appear expedient to Her Majesty to do so if its founder fix its site within the distance of three miles from the centre of the city. The mere charter of incorporation will give to such a College all the privileges of other Colleges as to its students proceeding to degrees, but no change is to be made in the University except by a statute in the manner I have mentioned by the University itself. I have now laid before the House at much greater length than I could have wished the general outlines of the plan which is embodied in the Bill I ask leave to bring in. Of course, I have not ventured to detain you by dwelling on minute details. I trust I have said enough to explain its general features. The proposal is expressed briefly:—To institute a second College in the existing University of Dublin; to make that College one in which the Roman Catholic people of Ireland can receive an education in accordance with their own convictions; to Wave Trinity College, retaining its Protestant and religious character, to fulfil to the Protestant people the very functions which it has so long and so usefully discharged; and, at the same time, to permit the national University to extend the benefit of its prizes and its degrees to men who desire to pass through it without submitting to the teaching of either of these Colleges. The plan I propose attains, at all events, these objects:—It gives perfect liberty of religious teaching to both Catholics and Protestants, while it forces that teaching upon none; it does not lower the standard or the status of the University education and it leaves, both to the Colleges and to the University, perfect independence of that State interference which in every country has marred and degraded every system of University education to which it has been employed. Will the House permit me, before I sit down, to refer to some testimonies to show how, by the Irish people, the principle of such a measure is likely to be received? My evidence is taken from a pastoral signed by all the Roman Catholic Prelates of Ireland on the 20th October, 1871. In the pastoral, after asserting the necessity of basing education on religion, and pointing out the conditions requisite in any plan that will meet the convictions of the Roman Catholic people of Ireland, they go on to say— All this can, we believe, be attained by modifying the constitution of the Dublin University so as to admit of the establishment of a second College within it in every respect equal to Trinity College, and conducted on purely Catholic principles, in which your Bishops shall have full control in all things regarding faith and morals, securing thereby the spiritual interests of your children, placing at the same time Catholics on a perfect equality with Protestants, as to degrees, emoluments, or other advantages. To show that this assent to a common University is given in no niggardly or illiberal spirit, I will ask you to read an extract from a tract written by Dr. Woodlock, the clergyman who presides as rector over the Catholic University. And let me say that indications are every day showing themselves on the part of the Protestant people of Ireland of a desire to meet such sentiments in a spirit of corresponding liberality. I believe that many, very many, of most distinguished members of the Protestant Church would now gladly preserve religious education for their own people even on the terms of conceding similar privileges to their Roman Catholic countrymen. Many of the best and most distinguished members of the Dublin University are advocates of the plan which I propose. When I mention that Dr. Houghton and Dr. M'Ivor as two who have committed themselves in published essays to its support, I mention names that command the respect of all, and names that are only representative of the moral and intellectual power that desire to see this great question settled, and settled at once and for ever upon the principles of the plan I propose. In the hope that you will give me leave to bring in this Bill, I fearlessly submit the plan to the criticisms of this House, of my countrymen of all creeds and classes, and of the British public. I know and feel that in proposing a system of University education essentially interwoven with religion I am running counter to the prejudices of many of those near me for whose advocacy of equal rights for Ireland I cheerfully and gladly acknowledge our obligations, but surely I may say to them that if their own principles affect this vital question of the education of their children, you must yield to the feelings, the more than feelings, the deep-seated, the conscious convictions of the Irish people themselves. You have felt constrained to give us our own way upon the question of closing public-houses on Sundays. Have we not a better claim to have our own way as to the character of the institutions that regulate the higher culture of our sons? There are in this House those who sympathize with us in the conviction of the necessity of basing education on religion, but in whose minds I must encounter the strong prejudice that is entertained against anything that seems like making a provision for the teaching of the tenets of the faith which is held by the great majority of the Irish people. I have left myself no time to argue the question. This is not, perhaps, the occasion on which I should do so; but yet may I venture to remind you that your choice in Ireland lies between abandoning altogether religious education and providing in the educational institutions for the religion of the people. The days are gone by when you can maintain the Protestant institutions unless you are willing to let Roman Catholic ones grow up by their side. Why, I ask of all Parties in this House, will you not apply to Ireland the principles which have been established in so many of your colonies? I ask of you to mould your institutions to the feelings and the conscience of the people, instead of entering on the vain and odious effort to break or bend the conscience and will of the people to institutions which you force upon a reluctant and a struggling nation. In this matter of education, alone of all others, you can only succeed with the assent and co-operation of the people; and in the belief that the plan I propose will attain that assent and co-operation, I ask your permission to submit that plan to your judgment by asking leave to bring in a Bill to make better provision for University Education in Ireland.


, in rising to second the Motion, said, he would not enter into details. Of course it was proper, if the introducer of a Bill wished to state the details of a measure when introducing it, but it was not the practice for others to do so, and his hon. and learned Friend had so lucidly explained the provisions of the Bill that it would be presumption on his (the O'Conor Don's) part to attempt to add anything to what his hon. and learned Friend had said; but in rising to second the Motion and to give his reasons for so doing, and for putting his name on the Bill, he wished to say that he did so on the principle so lucidly laid down by his hon. and learned Friend, that it was desirable, in endeavouring to establish equality in University education in Ireland, that it should be established by incorporating the Catholic College with the national University, rather than by setting up a second University in antagonism, as it were, to the one which had so long existed, and which had so fully gained the confidence of that portion of the Irish people, who heretofore had been admitted to all its honours and prizes, and to which even the Catholic population had always looked with a certain amount of pride. It was because that was the principle of the Bill, that he had placed his name on the back of it, and now seconded the Motion that leave be given to bring it in.


said, he felt sure that all who had been present during the speech just delivered by the hon. and learned Member, whatever their views on this great question, must have listened to that speech with very great interest. He only regretted that that interest did not appear to be shared in, judging from the state of the benches opposite, by those who in previous years had taken an active part in considering the question. He did not now rise for the purpose of expressing any opinion on the speech of the hon. and learned Member, or with the view of entering into any general discussion of the question before the House. He had no objection to offer to the Motion for leave to bring in the Bill. It was not only a matter of ordinary courtesy that he should be allowed to bring it in; but he(Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) thought it was clearly for the public advantage that the hon. and learned Gentleman should be able completely to put before the people his views and proposals. Whether they would be more successful than other proposals which had gone before them he would not now attempt to say; but in assenting to the Motion, of course he must not be taken as expressing, on the part of the Government, acquiescence in the arguments of the hon. and learned Member, in the principle on which his Bill was based, or in the proposals which it contained.


reminded the House that in proposing this secular University—and it would be secular, because the Divinity degrees were to be abolished—the hon. and learned Gentleman had proposed to exclude from it those secular Colleges whose secularity, he said, was an opprobrium in the eyes of a large portion of the Irish people—the Queen's Colleges. The hon. and learned Gentleman recognized the visitorial powers of the Roman Catholic Episcopate over the Catholic College, and proposed to admit this power through the College into the government of the University, although he intended that to be secular, but expressly declared that his object was to exclude the jurisdiction and authority of the Government. His proposal, therefore, involved the importation of Episcopal and the exclusion of Governmental authority. As to the plea of poverty which was urged in defence of this proposal, he thought it came with an ill grace from the representatives of a denomination which had spent such enormous sums upon its religious establishments. If Irish Roman Catholics were really anxious for higher education, why did they not devote some portion of those large funds so liberally contributed for the establishment of various institutions connected with their religion to the purposes of a University? The hon. and learned Gentleman had paid high compliments to Trinity College; but he proposed at the same time to exact severe contributions from it, in position, emolu- ment, and the right of conferring academical honours.


said, he merely wished to answer one remark of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire, and he wished he were there to hear him; but after such a long debate they could not expect the hon. Gentleman to go without his dinner. He (Captain Nolan) wanted to answer the hon. Gentleman's remark about the rich endowments of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The hon. Gentleman said that the Catholic Church in that country, out of its rich endowments, could easily find funds for the endowment of a University. He (Captain Nolan) would take his knowledge of his own county for example, and he was sure the same might be said of any county in Ireland; and he should be glad to know where they were to find, he would not say wealth, but any amount of competence in connection with the religious orders in Ireland. It was true in five or six towns they had spent a good deal of money on schools; but the sums laid out would have been considered small in the rich towns of England to lay out for education, and he would ask the hon. Member for North Warwickshire whether he would propose to take away these sums, paltry in comparison to those so spent in the rich towns of England on primary education, from the poorer classes to devote the money to the establishment of a Catholic University? Even if all such contributions were put together, he (Captain Nolan) did not suppose they would pay more than half the amount necessary to support either a Catholic College or a Catholic University. No matter how good the University might be, he believed it would be the very worst possible course to take away those schools. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire seemed to argue that they were demanding something unreasonable in asking for some share of the money which now remained from the fund of the late Established Church. That was a proposal which, he (Captain Nolan) thought, would be made at all times, and perhaps under very different circumstances by the Irish party—namely, that they should receive an equal share of the surplus funds of the late Established Church. He, for one, maintained—he had stated it before in that House, and each year that passed there would be more Members here from Ireland to maintain it—that the late Established Church was not thoroughly disendowed, and that, further, the sum now in the possession of the Irish Church over and above the value of the life interests at the date of Disestablishment was a relic of the late endowment, and they could only consent to its allotment being considered as a private and indefeasible property when an equal and equivalent sum had been allotted in some way for the religious training of the Catholics in Ireland. Whenever that sum was allotted we would acknowledge any property they had as theirs rightfully as well as legally; but so long as a relic of the endowment remained which was not balanced by a corresponding endowment for the religious education of the Catholics in Ireland, the Catholics would never rest on this question of endowment. There were now nearly 4,000,000 of Catholics in Ireland, and nothing whatever was done by the State for their higher education, or to give them an education which they could conscientiously receive, and which was in accordance with the genius of the nation. It was true the Queen's Colleges were thrown open; but Catholics to avail themselves of their teaching must, to a certain extent, endanger their religious convictions. He did not think the State had any right to take up secularism in a way so as to force children to pass through secular schools to which their parents objected; and he, for one, should be equally sorry to see the children of those who preferred secular training forced through religious schools. As to the scheme of his hon. and learned Friend, he did not say it was perfect; but it was a scheme that would satisfy the Irish people. He would propose some Amendments in Committee; but so far as the second reading was concerned he should support the Bill, and he believed it would be very heartily received by the people of Ireland as a solution of the difficulty. There was only one other point—that was, he hoped the Government would give them a day for the second reading. They had had no real discussion that night. It was true they had had a most ample statement from his hon. and learned Friend; but there had been no reply from the Government, and he very much feared, unless the Government did something for them, they might have no real debate that year. That was a question of which not merely all thinking Catholics of Ireland, but many of the Liberal Protestants, were anxious there should be some solution. Therefore, he sincerely hoped the Government would not put them off by saying they had no time at their disposal; nothing was easier for them than to make time if they chose. With them the responsibility would rest if the second reading was not moved, and if they had not a proper opportunity for discussing the Bill.

Motion agreed to.

Bill to make better provision for University Education in Ireland, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Butt, The O'CONOR Don, Mr. MITCHELL HENRY, Mr. MACCARTHY, and Mr. SULLIVAN. Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 150.]