HC Deb 19 February 1877 vol 232 cc584-620

(Mr. Gathorne Hardy, Mr. Assheton Cross, Mr. Walpole.)


Order for Second Reading read,


in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, expressed a hope that, notwithstanding the Notice of Opposition which stood on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar), the Bill weuld meet with the favourable reception which was accorded to the separate Bills for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge last year. He had supposed the hon. Member's Notice was intended merely to put a stop to the practice of carrying on Business into the small hours of the morning; but it had come to his (Mr. Hardy's) knowledge that the hon. Member had been visiting the neighbourhood of the Universities, and had possibly been engaged in collecting information for the purpose of making an onslaught on the Bill; but he (Mr. Hardy) hoped that such would not be the case, and that the hon. Member would put no obstacle in the way of that improvement of the Universities which the best friends of education wished to accomplish. He had thought it best to introduce the Bill in pretty nearly the same form as that in which the two Bills came before the House last year, because no opportunity had been afforded of discussing the Amendments then put upon the Paper, and, consequently, there had been no means of ascertaining the feeling of the House upon them. In consequence, however, of some criticisms which had been passed last year by more than one speaker, that resident Oxford was not sufficiently represented on the Commission, it had been thought right to appoint certain Commissioners who were still resident at the Universities, but, at the same time, to retain the number of Commissioners at seven; and, therefore, steps had been taken to ascertain whether any of the former Commissioners could retire without feeling hurt in any way. The Dean of Chichester and Sir Henry Maine had made vacancies, and the latter had, indeed, pre.viously intimated that he thought that an Oxford man and a resident would be better able to serve than himself. In place then of those Gentlemen, to whom he felt very much obliged for their courtesy, the Government had secured the services of Dr. Bellamy, Master of St. John's, Oxford, and Professor Smith, who, as Savilian Professor of Geometry, was well known in University circles, and far beyond them. He was quite sure, therefore, that so far as the new Commission was concerned there would be no further complaint about Oxford residents not being sufficiently represented. There was another alteration in the Bill which he might mention. Last year the Commissioners were to have power to extend their operations till the year 1883; in the present Bill they were limited to 1881. It appeared to him that there was a good deal of justice in the complaints which were made last year as to the great length of time allowed to the Commissioners, and it was not desirable that the Universities should be exposed too long to the trouble and commotion which these investigations caused. It was therefore important that they should be relieved of a state of uncertainty as soon as possible, and no one was more desirous than himself to see them at liberty to pursue their course of usefulness without interference from the Legislature. He thought that when they were once started on their career they would know better what was for their advantage than anyone outside. Miring the Recess nothing, so far as he was aware, had passed of a nature to modify the opinions he expressed on the subject last year. He did not think the debates of last year were at all adverse to inquiry by a Commission, though they were against any extravagant extension of the Professoriate and against the absolute destruction of non-resident Fellowships. Respecting the former point, the opinion of the House appeared to be that while there was a necessity for an increase of the Professoriate, there should not be such an extravagant and extraordinary extension of it as had been put forward by many persons. With regard to the introduction of the Bills of last year into that House, he observed that some very amusing criticisms had been passed by a gentleman of great distinction and a great deal of humour—he meant the Rector of Lincoln College; and to those criticisms he might now refer, inasmuch as they affected not only himself, but the House of Commons generally. Mr. Pattison seemed to have found himself at that great social gathering —the Social Science Congress—where some merriment was needed, and he certainly succeeded in raising a good deal of laughter by his sketch of what passed in that House on the subject of one of the University Bills. Mr. Pattison said— In introducing the Bill Lord Salisbury intimated that one purpose of the measure was to promote science and learning. I confess I was taken aback by this announcement of our Chancellor. To patronize science and learning has always been assumed to be the exclusive prerogative of the party calling itself Liberal.…. The strange incongruity of Lord Salisbury proclaiming a reform of the Universities in the interests of science was a phenomenon which I could not interpret. But we were not left long in this perplexity. When the Oxford Bill got down into the Commons the Member of the Cabinet who had charge of it then hastened to disavow any such intentions on the part of his Government.… Members of the Government in the Lower House vied with each other in eagerly repudiating any intention of making seat the University a sea of learning and science. This had been an unauthorized escapade of their impulsive Colleagues in the Lords. This disavowal was well received in the House. Antagonism was half disarmed. The Member for the learned University of Oxford received the congratulations of the Member of the learned University of London in having done with all that nonsense. When some gentleman in the columns of an influential journal, Nature, had said that £800,000 a-year would be wanted for the endowment of Research, and that was about the income of the two Universities, he (Mr. Hardy) thought that that was somewhat too great a demand, and certainly did express some astonishment at the suggestion, but that was rather different from the amusing language attributed to him by Mr. Pattison. As for Mr. Patti-son's other observations, he felt bound to say that to make the Universities the seat of science and learning and to improve the position which they had occupied with so much advantage to both science and learning hitherto was the main object of the Bill. Though objection had been taken in the debates of last Session to the special mode in which many persons suggested to endow Research, yet no one took objection to the other parts of the Bill, which proposed that the University should obtain aid from the Colleges; and, indeed, Mr. Pattison himself, in the strongest language, advocated that part of the Bill on the ground that the Colleges were nothing without the Universities, as the Universities were nothing without the Colleges. It was only fair to say that many of the Colleges had recognized it as their duty to contribute to the Universities, and had done so very freely; and it was rather hard that those who were not animated by so generous a spirit, and who yet had something to spare, should be at liberty to give nothing to the University from whom they received so many benefits. With regard to Fellowships, the Bill, he believed, would commend itself to the House. In the debates of last year the tenure of nonresident Fellowships was recognized as necessary for the benefit of both Universities; but it was not thought that they should be treated as life-prizes, if they were to be made wholly irrespective of any duties either to the Universities or to the Colleges. Then there was an almost unanimous feeling in favour of some extension of the Professoriate, and in extending the Professoriate the House would practically be extending Research; for it might be taken for granted that no man could teach who was not continually learning, and that no man who held a Professorship, particularly in natural science, could properly discharge his duties unless he was continually increasing his stock of knowledge and making investigations for himself. For the rest, he might say that among the alumni of the two Universities there was a general feeling that nothing ought to be done to injure the Colleges or to take away from the Universities their power of self-government when once they had been set a going in their new path. Accordingly, all that had been done was intended to put them on a proper footing for working more amicably with the University. That feeling, which was not confined to one side of the House, was universally entertained, except, he regretted to say, by his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) who owed so much to the University of Oxford, and who was of opinion that the Universities to which the Bill referred failed to discharge what he regarded as the characteristics of a University. Without being mere Examining Bodies, such as his right hon. Friend was so fond of, the University educated classes in this country, which without them would never have obtained anything like a fit education; and there was a valuable action and reaction between these classes and the Universities. He thought, therefore, that it was hard to blame them, for they, he submitted, really did a very great work, and had produced some of the most eminent Members of that and the other House. In all the different Departments of Government, moreover, as well as in other spheres, it might be noticed that those institutions had borne their fair share in producing the men who had risen to distinction. He had been very much struck by a short article from the pen of Mr. Goldwin Smith, which showed that that gentleman still retained, after a period of absence from this country, and notwithstanding his well-known desire for improvements, all his old attachment to the Alma Mater. He seemed to be in favour of almost everything which was contemplated by the present Bill, and to wish that t he University of Oxford, for which he had still so tender a regard, should in its main features be kept as it was. It would be wasting the time of the House to dilate further upon the objects of the Bill. As he had shown, it was proposed to appoint a Commission with the view of enabling the rich to assist the poor, and at the same time, in a great degree, to assist themselves, and with the view, moreover, of regulating the Fellowships more efficiently, of encouraging the foundation of additional Professorships in arts and sciences which were not at present sufficiently attended to, and, perhaps, of introducing improvements with regard to subjects which were already cared for. He begged to move the second reading of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposd, That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Gathorne Hardy.)


said, he was sorry that in what lie was about to say he must to some considerable extent repeat observations he had made last year. It was unavoidable, for the Bill was substantially the same as those of last year, and it was not in his power to produce a new set of arguments for the same case. He was induced to come forward early in the debate, because, on the previous occasion, it had been his fate to speak late, and he had been told—indeed it was the only reply he got from the Government — that the reason why his speech remained unanswered was that it answered itself. One was naturally unwilling to believe that that was the case, and he now hoped that this time he would succeed in inducing right hon. Gentlemen opposite to give a little more argument in reply than he was able to give to himself in the course of his speech. He regretted that the two Universities were comprehended in the same Bill, because in many respects their cases might differ, and arguments might apply to one which did not apply to the other. Again, a person who had been at one could not presume to speak with equal confidence of the other. Circum- stances might arise, too, particularly with reference to the Commissions, making it desirable to pass that part of the Bill relating to one University and not that referring to the other. If it should happen that Cambridge was satisfied with the Commission and Oxford dissatisfied, it would be rather hard to put them both in the same position. He wished to call attention very seriously to the position in which this question now stood, and for that purpose he must refer to the course followed by the House when the subject came before it more than 20 years ago. It was, he thought, in 1850, that a Commission was appointed—and a singularly able and competent Commission it was—to inquire into and report upon the whole of the existing state of the University of Oxford. It did inquire and report, and threw a flood of light upon the subject. Ample time was given to weigh the recommendations of the Commission and to decide what should be done. The course then followed was exactly the opposite to the course now adopted. Government did not come down to the House and ask it to appoint a Commission with sweeping powers to carry out what changes might seem to them desirable. On the contrary, they deliberately studied the Report of the Commission and made up their minds what ought to be done, and, instead of throwing the responsibility off their own shoulders on to a Commission, they laid definite proposals before Parliament, and thus led to a definite intimation of what the Commissioners were required to do. This was at once a successful and constitutional course which must recommend itself for imitation to all friends of these ancient institutions. Now everything was changed. What he had described was done by a Liberal, an innovating Government. Now they were in Conservative hands; and what was the result? They knew that enormous changes had been made at the Universities, particularly at the University of Oxford; but they were left entirely in the dark as to whether the effect of those changes had been good or evil, and whether their direction was one which ought to be encouraged or checked. In profound ignorance of the state of things at the University of Oxford—for he preferred to speak of it only—they were asked to appoint a Commission, and give that Commission the largest and most sweeping powers, without any instructions at all as to the direction in which those powers were to be exercised. It was proposed, in short, that, without taking the trouble to make up their minds as to a single point, they should delegate to that Commission almost the whole power of Parliament. A worse precedent than that, and one more unworthy of a Conservative Government he could not imagine. In dealing with those great and ancient institutions, their first duty was to acquaint themselves with the existing state of things, and, secondly, they ought to consider with the utmost attention and deliberation what ought to be done. Then would be the time to lay proposals before Parliament. But how different was the course which had actually been taken! Probably they would be told there had been an examination; but into what? An examination into the manner in which the Universities and Colleges had done their work?—an examination into the state of education, the general morale and conduct of the Universities? Nothing of the kind. The examination had been merely pecuniary. There had only been an investigation to find out how much money the Colleges had got, in order to see how much might be taken from them. They had not taken the trouble to inquire into the necessity of any expenditure at all. What they had done, in fact, had been to convict these Colleges of possessing so much money, and they now wished to delegate persons to decide how it should be dealt with. Were hon. Gentlemen opposite prepared to say that that was a Conservative or a respectful way in which to deal with the ancient institutions of the country? Let him recommend them to consider the case of another great and powerful institution, which, whatever might be its merits, and whatever its faults, was certainly guilty of possessing an enormous sum of money. If the Church of England was found possessing large revenues, was that sufficient reason, without inquiring into the state of things, and how the Church had done its work, why they should take the money of the Church of England and apply it to other purposes? What difference was there between the two cases? Were the possession of the money and the desire to appropriate it the only two

things to consider? Were they not setting a dangerous precedent which it might be sought afterwards to apply to other institutions besides the Universities? Beyond that, it was to be remarked that they had taken that step of delegating their business to others, without, at the same time, giving them the slightest guide as to the exercise of those great powers. For his part he felt strongly that they were deviating entirely from the old and sound course adopted more than 20 years ago, and that the deviation, instead of being for the better, was altogether for the worse. As to the constitution of the Commission, there was no occasion to repeat over again what he had said last year, and passing from it, he had only to remark that it was not at all satisfactory. They had heard a defence made for the University of Oxford, to the effect that it had done a great deal of good. But that rested on a fallacy. He pointed out last year that the term "University" was an ambiguous one. It had two senses. In one sense it was a corporate body separate and distinct from and placed over the Colleges, and in the other sense it was held to include them. In consequence of the ambiguity arising from those two significations they could make out a case for the Universities which the Universities did not deserve. Thus his right hon. Friend had said the Universities taught. If he meant all the Colleges, then he (Mr. Lowe) said they did more or less; but if he meant the body which was separate from the Colleges, it was its reproach and shame that it never taught at all. That was the way they were tricked with words in that matter. He was talking now of the University which was not inclusive, but exclusive, of the Colleges — of the body which superintended the examinations, and he said it would take a far more strongly-supported recommendation than he had yet heard to prove that it was worthy of any great addition of money being given to it. And the reason that he said it was not worthy was, that he could not find that it had made a good use of the powers and resources it already possessed. Its Professoriate, with some brilliant exceptions, were really of no use for instruction in the University; but, beside the Professoriate, it had mostimportant duties to discharge. It was its duty to superintend the examination upon which students were admitted to the University, and to superintend the examinations by which they were admitted to degrees. Now he could not imagine a more important duty than that, and certainly none calling more imperatively for faithful discharge, because, if the University would raise to a reasonable standard the attainments required before admission to the Colleges, it would by that means give an immense impulse to all the schools of the country. But the examination was extremely and ridiculously easy, and such as very few people would fail in. In that respect the University had failed in doing its work. The work of the University was not to be measured, as was generally considered, by the numbers of those who specially distinguished themselves. The business of the University was with the great mass of the students, and was to be tested, not by a reference to a few men who attained eminence, but by what was done for ordinary men. What was the value of their certificate of the degree of Bachelor of Arts? In that respect the University was wanting; the standard was unjustifiably low; and in that way it had been the means of keeping down the education of the country. So low, indeed, was the standard, that a young man going up to Oxford might live there all his time in idleness, and yet be able to satisfy the standard required for a degree. Such was the result of the standard being absurdly low, and such being the faults of the University, ought not the House, before passing a Bill which would hand over blindfold to a Commission the money of the Colleges, to satisfy itself whether the charges which he now made and which were brought against it by others were or were not true? If true, was not the House bound to take measures to alter that state of things before proceeding further? Every one who knew Oxford was aware that Convocation had a great deal of important patronage, and that the system of non-resident masters voting as How was probably as bad a mode of conferring patronage as could possibly be devised. The constitution and proceedings of the Congregation, too, required to be considered, with reference to the admission to it of residents like chaplains who had no share in the business of the University, and should be submitted to the judgment of Parliament. Surely, then, it was not too much to ask that there should be some inquiry before the House gave its assent to such a revolution as that which was proposed. How much better would it be that it should have the Report of a Royal Commission to inquire whether the charges which he had mentioned were or were not really well founded. If he remembered aright, the powers of this Commission were to commence in 1878. They would lose very little if they continued their investigation up to that time. If Parliament was unwilling to take the trouble, the best thing it could do was to let the matter alone. The worst of all courses was to act without inquiry and without investigation, to arm persons as to whose fitness there was great difference of opinion with powers not inferior to an Act of Parliament. He made this protest on behalf of views generally supposed to be held on the other side of the House, and because he wished that their decisions should command the respect of the country and bear substantial fruit.


said, he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe), in his new-born zeal for ancient and venerable institutions, had declined to come forward and assert his convictions in a more definite way, but had contented himself with an unmeaning protest, which he delivered under the shelter of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar), who, although he put down a Motion for the rejection of the Bill, seemed to have left the House and abandoned his proposition. There had been some question whether the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, or the hon. Gentleman from the sister country, was to be the Leader on that occasion; but it seemed that the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to follow hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. The right hon. Gentleman had favoured the House with exactly the same sort of speech which he had delivered on the subject last Session, although he (Mr. Mowbray) was glad to say that on the present occasion the right hon. Gentleman had omitted some of the more unpleasant personalities. He said there was only one Bill, whereas there ought to be two; that there had been no previous inquiry; that the constitution of the Commission was faulty; and then he proceeded, as ho did last year, to inveigh against the Universities. With respect to his objection that there should be one, not two Bills, he (Mr. Mowbray) thought that the Government had done very wisely in consolidating the Bills. They recollected how on a previous occasion hon. Members, whilst discussing one Bill, referred to the other, and they were thus transgressing the Rules of the House by discussing a Bill that was not before it. It was true that in 1854 separate Bills were introduced; but that was the commencement of legislation on this subject, and it was a tentative measure. It would have been impossible at that time to have carried any one Bill as to both. Then the right hon. Gentleman complained that there had been no inquiry; but he must bear in mind that the present case was not at all parallel with that of 1854. Parliament at that time proceeded to legislate for the University of Oxford after the lapse of centuries. There was great necessity then for inquiry, but now they were in such close and intimate connection with the Universities that hon. Members on both sides of the House knew what was going on in both Universities, and the Commission proposed to be appointed would be able to avail itself of the experience which had been accumulated since 1852. Committees of the House of Lords had since that date inquired into and reported upon the Universities, and the Commissions had collected a mass of evidence as to the revenues of the Universities and other questions affecting their studies. He hardly knew on what grounds the right lion. Gentleman objected to the Commission. He objected to the Commission of last year, because it contained among its members the Dean of Chichester, and because another member, Sir Henry Maine, was in his opinion the alter ego of Lord Salisbury. But both these names had disappeared, and had been replaced by others against whom he made no objection. Two gentlemen better calculated to represent the University on both sides could not have been selected, or who would meet with more general acceptance in the University and in that House. He felt ashamed when he heard his right hon. Friend repeat his argument that the Universities taught nothing. When at the head of the Education Department his right hon. Friend introduced the principle of payment by results, and he would ask the right hon Gentleman to look round that and the other House of Parliament, the Judicial Bench, and the right Reverend Bench, and inform the House if the Universities had not cause to be satisfied in that way with the results, and if men distinguished in the Church and State learnt nothing when at the Universities. Again, the right hon. Gentleman had remarked that the Universities had a set of Professors who taught nothing. Well, he would leave him to settle that point with his hon. Friends the Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) and the Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett). Were those hon. Gentlemen to be classed among the useless Professors who taught nothing? Really, he thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to be ashamed of bringing such accusations against the Alma Mater to whom he owed so much. The other matters to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred were matters of debate that could be considered in Committee. His right hon. Friend and Colleague who moved the second reading of the Bill had truly said that there existed in the House of Commons and in the Universities themselves a general coincidence of opinion that the time for legislation had arrived. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London would, if he had chanced to sit at the present moment on the Treasury Bench, himself have been a Party to the introduction of a Bill on the subject. There was a general concensus of opinion that the time had come for legislation, and therefore the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), if he wished to test the opinion of the House, ought not to have contented himself with this protest, but should have followed it up with a Motion. Mr. Goldwin Smith had indicated an opinion that the work could be better done by the proposed Committee of the Privy Council. He (Mr. Mowbray) looked upon the appointment of the Universities Committee as a valuable part of the Bill; but while such a Committee would be valuable as a permanent institution, it was necessary that the preliminary work should be done by a Commission such as had been appointed in 1854, and such as was nominated in this Bill, and who could, if necessary, make their inquiries on the spot. He be- lieved the measure would meet with general acceptance in the House, and that the right hon. Gentleman would not have an opportunity of going into the Lobby with the hon. Member for Cavan.


I think, Sir, the last speaker has somewhat misunderstood the argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe). I understand my right hon. Friend, while acknowledging great obligations to the University, considered as a congeries of Colleges, to say that the University in its corporate capacity, separated from the Colleges, does not do its duty fully. For my own part, I cannot rise to the ultra-Conservatism of my right hon. Friend —I agree much more with the sans culottism of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War and the ultra-Revolutionists who sit near him. I had an opportunity of expressing my views about the Oxford Bill so fully last year that in the few remarks I shall make tonight I intend to touch only upon a single point, and that one in which the proposals of the Government in 1877 differ from their proposals in 1876. The point to which I allude is the composition of the Commission. I see that the name of Sir Henry Maine has been withdrawn. I can well understand that that is a great relief to a very busy man like Sir Henry Maine, and I can quite believe that it was very agreeable to him; but I think it is a pity, for the presence of an eminent Cambridge man and of an eminent Indian on the Oxford Commission would have had many advantages. On the other hand, it would be gross injustice not to admit that the Government has filled his place not only well, but admirably; and not only admirably, but by making the very best appointment which could possibly have been made. The Savilian Professor of Geometry is not merely in the first rank of European mathematicians, but he would be a man of very extraordinary attainments even if you could abstract from him the whole of his mathematical knowledge. He was the most distinguished scholar of his day at Oxford. He was even more distinguished, if I may say so without offence, than my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the county of Denbigh (Mr. Osberne Morgan), whom we knew at Oxford as a very brilliant scholar at a period long ante- cedent to the first appearance of a now venerable acquaintance, the Burials Bill. But Professor Smith's extraordinary attainments are the least of his recommendations for the office of Commissioner. His chief recommendations for that office are the solidity of his judgment, his great experience of Oxford business, his services on the Science Commission, and his conciliatory character, which has made him perhaps the only man in Oxford who is without an enemy, sharp as are the contentions of that very divided seat of learning. The right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of the Bill may think me rather insatiable if, approving so much of one appointment which he has made, I still raise the question whether the Commission might not be further improved. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman, who wishes, I am sure, for nothing but the good of the University, will give his experiment a fair trial if he does not represent on the Commission that side of science which, as I pointed out last year, is not represented on it. Surely, Sir, there should be upon it some one person who has studied one or other of the sciences into which life enters, and surely there should be also some one person who knows intimately what is going on in foreign Universities. There is nothing sacred in the number seven; and when we get into Committee, I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will either be able to grant, in some form or other, substantially what I ask, or convince me that it is unreasonable.


considered that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. Hardy), had chosen a right course in introducing the Bill first into the House of Commons; but he could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Mowbray), that it was an advantage to include both Universities in one Bill, because, as Cambridge had the better provisions, those of Oxford might derive a certain advantage from being rubbed together with them. As to the personnel of the Commission, which was a matter of the utmost importance, the present Oxford Commission was a great improvement upon the last, and he desired to thank the right hon. Gentleman for having made the alteration. It was impossible to find, either in or out of Oxford, a man better qualified to serve upon a Commission than Professor Smith. He knew nothing personally of Dr. Bellamy, but that Gentleman was the respectable head of a respectable College, and had a knowledge of the University with which he had to deal. He greatly regretted, however, the loss of Sir Henry Maine, who was not only a man of great intellectual culture, but of proved administrative capacity, and if it were found necessary to throw somebody overboard, he thought they might have found some other Jonah. He was also glad to welcome back his hon. Friend the Member for Northumberland (Mr. Ridley). Having said thus much, however, his approval of the Bill must come to an end. He regretted that the Government should not have thrown overbeard that old Man of themountain—the "pious founder." If you held to the wishes of pious founders, you would have to burn half of the persons whom you now proposed to benefit. He regretted very much, too, the clause disfranchising the junior Fellows, who were the life-blood of the Colleges. The clause as to Cambridge had been expunged, and he should endeavour in Committee to gain for Oxford the same advantage. Then, again, he regretted that the Government had not dealt with the subject of clerical Fellowships, which formed between one-third and one-half of the Fellowships in all the Colleges, and were the great blot upon our University system. These Fellowshsip were the test system in its most obnoxious form. They were bad both from an academical and an ecclesiastical point of view, for he feared that the men attracted to the Church by these Fellowships made neither good Fellows, nor good clergy. It was said that it was desirable to retain clerical Fellowships in order to encourage the study of theology; but there could be no greater delusion, for you could no more encourage the study of theology by such means than you could encourage the study of jurisprudence by requiring a certain number of Fellows to be called to the Bar, or the study of chemistry by requiring a certain number of Fellows to practise as chemists and druggists. His main objection, however, was to the principle of the Bill, if he could use such a term in reference to a Bill that had really no principle; and the ground of his ob- jection was that a power which was practically unlimited was given to seven men without preliminary inquiry, without defining the lines upon which they were to act; and with it they would be able to suppress Headships, to suppress Fellowships, to suppress Scholarships, even to suppress whole Colleges. He would not give such power to the Seven Wise Men if they could be found. The Bill was said to be so framed because the University was poor and the Colleges were rich. Now, much might, no doubt, be said for the German or Professorial system; but, judging by results, no Universities in the world could show such results as Oxford and Cambridge. In Trinity College, Cambridge, were to be seen, side by side, the statues of Bacon, Newton, Whewell, and Macaulay; and the College that produced such men, let alone such a scholar as Bentley and such a statesman as Pitt, had surely given pretty good proofs that it was worthy of being entrusted with the task of educa ing Englishmen. At a banquet recently given by his (Mr. Morgan's) own College at Oxford, Balliol, there were present, or might have been present, the head of the English Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury; the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England, Cardinal Manning; one of the Lord Chief Justices; the Leader of the House of Commons, the ex-President of the Royal Society, the Head of the Civil Service, and a number of other men of distinction, such as the Dean of Westminster and Mr. Matthew Arnold. If you asked these eminent men how they had become what they were, would they say that it was by attending the class-rooms of Professors or by acquiring a smattering of Chinese, Slavonic, Mongolian, or Tartaric? On the contrary, they would say that to this decried Collegiate system they owed that thorough education in the true sense of the word which had served them in good stead in after life —that through it they had learnt thoroughly what they professed to learn, and had thus acquired a sound substructure upon which to build in after life. To say that the Collegiate system needed improvement was simply to say that it was human; but that system had produced great and good men, and it was therefore not without some compunction that he saw this proposal to hand over these enormous powers to these "ancient mariners," who would embark on an unknown sea, bound for an unknown port, without either chart or compass to guide them on their way.


said, that the speech to which the House had just listened caused in his mind alternate dissent and strong agreement, succeeding each other like the figures in a kaleidoscope. As to the extremely ingenious speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lowe) it might be practically put in this way—"Our old Universities are so sacred and useful that you should not touch them with an unhallowed hand; and my reason for so saying is that from experience I can pronounce them to be so useless." This is a fair summing up of that speech. With the main point of the speech of the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down lie (Mr. Beresford Hope) thoroughly agreed—namely, as to the preservation of the Collegiate system, and he would also have joined the hon. Member in his opposition, if he had, like him, read the Bill as giving unlimited powers to the "ancient mariners "to carry off the precious cargo. But he saw those rovers of the sea fast bound by every Conservative check from Universities, Colleges, persons interested, Judicial Committee, and Parliament; and therefore, looking at the measure with the amount of checks and counter-checks it provided, he thought that however moderately potent it might or might not be for good, at least it would not be potent for the evil apprehended by the hon. and learned Member. The more safe alternative suggested by his hon. and learned Friend would, as he believed, be really found by far more risky. It must be read in the light of the last year's suggestion of the right hon. Member for the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews, who had suggested a national Commission of non-University men to overhaul every one of the Universities, on the plea which he rode so hard that they were national institutions—that was, institutions without a continuous historical character of their own. If that suggestion were adopted, what would happen? An inquisitorial Commission would after much contention be somehow hit off, and would keep the Universities and Colleges in hot water for a year or two. That Commission would make its Report, while Parliament would very likely be dissolved, and the two Parties change sides across the House. So that Report in another Parliament would be embodied in another Bill, that new Parliament being elected on Heaven knew what cry. A new and now Executive Commission would then be instituted by another Government, of which the two right hon. Gentlemen would probably be Members—the Members for the Universities of London and Edinburgh, as well as the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire, full of "national" action, and with a phalanx of advanced supporters below the Gangway to pacify. The result of that course of proceeding, he feared, would be far more fatal to the system of self-government of Fellowships and of tuition at the Colleges than the quiet, sober, and domestic provisions of the present measure. There was an old and hallowed maxim" Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him?" and, therefore, seeing in the future the phantasm of Professorial instruction, and that uncontrolled craving after "Research" which came to us under the aspect of £1,000 a-year, he was now anxious to make, as much as he could, friends with individuals who might prove to be troublesome in the days when the Conservatism of the right hon. Member for the University of London and Edinburgh, and the hon. and learned Member for Denbighshire, would not improbably thaw under the warm sun of the Ministerial bench. He did not approve of the rolling of the two Universities into one Bill, and he should therefore the more jealously watch the provisions affecting Cambridge.


I presume there is a general accord in this House that we are fully justified in dealing with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the interests of the nation. That right was successfully asserted in 1854, when a Commission for each University swept away a mass of obsolete statutes and restrictions, and relieved Universities from preponderating ecclesiastical influences by bringing the teaching under legitimate academical management. The right of Parliament was again asserted in 1869, when tests were abolished and emoluments were opened to all citizens, irrespective of their religious belief. The right of interference with Oxford and Cambridge depends upon their being national institutions, and not mere private corporations. With what object is this Bill now brought under our attention? Certainly not with the limited view of benefiting Oxford and Cambridge alone, but of benefiting the nation at large through the rich stores of intellectual wealth in which every citizen is or ought to be a partner. The Colleges and the University may have certain interests which are different; but they have the common object of promoting education; and in spite of some remarks from the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope), few persons will now maintain that Parliament has no right to exercise a vigilant supervision in order to ensure that the endowments are productively applied to their educational uses. At all events, the Bill proceeds on this assumption, by giving the Commissioners large powers to deal with College funds for educational objects. In one word, then, the Bill assumes that Oxford and Cambridge are great national institutions with national ends. The object of the Bill is to give them greater breadth, and to bring them into a better harmony with national wants. The Bill indicates these wants, on the whole, in a comprehensive way in the 16th clause, but only by indication and not by legislation. We do not legislate, but hand over our powers of legislation to certain Commissioners, who are not common to both Universities, but special to each. Nevertheless, each Commission might have a truly national character, representative alike of the peculiarities of the two Universities, and of the interests of learning and science, which are cosmopolitan, and are limited by no accidents of locality or training. The present Government knows quite well how such national Commissions should be constituted. They have recently appointed one for the reform of the four Scotch Universities—not one for each University, as this Bill provides. The Commission for Scotch learning and science was issued by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and how did he constitute it? It now consists of 11 Commissioners, of whom, I believe, no fewer than five are graduates of Oxford and Cambridge, only four were trained exclusively in the Scotch Universities, one is a graduate of a German University, and one is with- out University training. Not a single murmur as to the national character of this Commission has ever been heard in Scotland. We rejoice that we have the experience of so many English graduates to help us in our reforms. We have found the experience of the German graduate of use, and the freedom from University tradition of the distinguished Commissioner who never had University training is of infinite value to us, because he looks at the questions in a purely national point of view. This large and comprehensive constitution of a University Commission is the work of the present Government, and it has therefore no excuse that it is ignorant in what spirit a scheme of University reform should be undertaken for the benefit of a nation. Unfortunately, the Home Secretary is not responsible for this Bill, for the Chancellor of Oxford University (Lord Salisbury) took charge of it last year in "another place," and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University (Mr. Hardy) takes charge of it now, though they do not choose to remember that the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are great national institutions, but they treat them as close corporations with mere local habits and peculiarities. Had there been even an infusion of Oxford graduates into the Cambridge Commission, and of Cambridge graduates into the Oxford Commission, we should at least have had the benefit of the excellencies peculiar to the one University being extended to the other. Last year there was one instance of this kind, when Sir Henry Maine, a Cambridge graduate, was put on the Oxford Commission. Why is he struck out now? Sir Henry Maine, by his writings when Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, has shown a large knowledge of University reform, and his services to a Commission would have been of great value; but I presume because he injured the close character of the Commissions now confined to the graduates of each University, he has been omitted in the Bill of this year. I do not intend to criticise the names of these Commissions, because I have neither the knowledge, nor inclination to do so. But, with the single exception of the hon. Member for North Northumberland (Mr. Ridley), they were men who graduated under the old system previous to 1854, when the Universities started into new life. If their University experience be worth much, those of them who have not lived in academic functions within the University must have an antiquated experience, of little value to guide the vigorous movements for reform which now characterise both Universities. This exclusive construction of the Commissions is to my mind a serious blot in the Bill, and I trust the Government will not deem us unreasonable if, from this side of the House, we propose the addition of one or two names representing the interests of science and of learning, without caring to what Universities they may belong. I should prefer, however, to see a Scotch and an Irish graduate on each Commission; for the interests of Scotch and Irish Universities are intimately connected with the prosperity of our great English Universities. From Scotland especially we send both to Oxford and Cambridge a constant stream of students, and the honour-lists of both Universities show that they are not unworthy additions. This is not a new practice, for it has existed for centuries; and, so far from feeling a jealousy of the richly-endowed English Universities, the Scotch Universities encourage their best students in arts to proceed to them, because we know that the Colleges and endowments enable the learning to be carried further than it is our function to impart, for our object is to infuse culture into the professions and industries of the people, and not to carry culture to a high position for itself alone. That undoubtedly is the highest and most unselfish idea of education, but is one which can only be the lot of the wealthy classes, or of the poor when they are made partners in rich endowments. Why, then, when the whole Kingdom glories in the success and even in the characteristics of the great English Universities, do you not make the nation at large a party to their reform, by constituting the Commissions so as to be representative of national interests, and not merely of the local peculiarities of Oxford and Cambridge? It would be presumptuous in me, at the second reading, to suggest to the Government the names of persons who might be added with advantage, but perhaps I may indicate offices which are representative. The Oxford Commission has two men distinguished in physical science—Mr. Justice Grove and Professor Smith; and Cambridge has one in the person of Professor Stokes. But science is divided into two great sections, physical and biological, and there is not a single man versed in biological science on either Commission. It so happens that the President of the Royal Society, Dr. Hooker, is a naturalist and a Scotch graduate; and that the President of the Linnean Society is a distinguished zoologist—Dr. Allman, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. The addition of such names would gratify Scotland and Ireland, and materially improve the composition of the Commissions. The Commissions of 1877 differ from those of 1854, because the functions of the latter were chiefly to remove existing obstructions, and allow academic influences free play; while the present Commissions are largely creative, and have to bring the two Universities into accord with the present development of learning and science. The more is the need for their national character. They are short lived, for they expire in 1880; but if they do their work badly and without a full knowledge of modern wants, they will leave an inheritance of mischief which cannot be remedied in our time. Our English Universities, proud of them as we may justly be, are still far from fulfilling the full functions of Universities. A University should fulfil three conditions—it should possess within itself a full representation of learning and science in its academic staff; it should widely diffuse these to the nation through its teachers; and it should widen the boundaries of learning by the researches of its Professors, Fellows, and graduates. Can we say with truth that, rich as both Universities are, they nearly fulfil these conditions? The Bill admits these three-fold functions in its 16th clause, but the application of them is left to Commissioners who cannot be considered catholic representatives of the full conditions of University life. Our object is that our Universities should become the home of learning and science, and that they should receive new developments; but we know that the present system limits the capacity of the home and stunts the developments, and yet we appoint Commissioners wedded to the old system, and none having experience of other systems. Universities which do not in the broadest sense magnify their functions by trying to advance the boundaries of science, as well as to teach it, cease before long to become centres of intellectual activity. The unpopularity of the cry for the endowment of Research has chiefly arisen from the contemplated separation of this important duty of all Universities from the primary function of teaching. The latter, however, is best fulfilled by teachers who are themselves learners in science, so that they may infuse freshness into the subjects taught. But a teacher is a learner only when he is exploring new truths of science, and it is by the example of this combination between the teachers and the investigators that students are induced and stimulated to advance the boundaries of science. My experience, both in foreign and home Universities, has been that the best investigators are the best teachers, and that the union of a spirit of investigation with a spirit of instruction is always found where University life is most vigorous. We heard a good deal last year from the Government itself of the endowment of Research, but have heard little to-day. Though it was imprudently advocated as separate from the primary teaching functions of a University, do not now let us start the Commissioners with the belief that the House is indifferent to the duties imposed upon our great English Universities of advancing the boundaries of learning, as well as of teaching anciently-ascertained facts. I spoke at such length last year that I do not intend to detain the House longer. I would simply remark, in conclusion, that I hope I understand rightly the effect of the 51st and 52nd clauses of the Bill. Their purpose, as I take it, is to leave the University and College free to alter statutes and make new ones after the Commission ceases in 1880. These provisions are very important. I confess if the Bill simply gave to the Universities new powers and removed disabilities, I would have much more confidence in the academic influences now at work within the Universities to effect salutary reforms than I have in the powers to be exercised by Commissioners under this Bill. For the Universities show active efforts to adapt themselves to new wants. The opening up of new but restricted courses of studies, which enable men to devote themselves to the special subjects for which they are most suited; the system of unattached students, on the Scotch system, by which men with moderate means can study and acquire habits of economy and independence; the inter-Collegiate system of lectures, which increases the educational resources of the several Colleges and engrafts Professorial on tutorial methods; and the erection of new laboratories and museums, all indicate an internal spirit of reform which I trust the Commissioners will endeavour to foster by strengthening the academic influences now in full play, and without producing any fixity of system by statutes of too rigid a character.


said, that as the Bill was brought in by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Hardy), and was supported by the remaining Members for the English Universities, they might therefore take it for granted that it was acceptable to those Universities. At the same time it was, he thought, most desirable that every care should be taken, having regard to the views which had been expressed, to guard the interests of the Colleges. It was possible that some portion of the revenues of the Colleges should be applied to University purposes, but the Colleges were doing excellent work. The Collegiate system was conducive to the welfare of students and to their advancement in life, and he ventured to suggest that some limitation should be placed on the power of the Commissioners in dealing with the revenues of the Colleges, and intended to propose an Amendment dealing with the subject when the new clauses came to be considered. Some rule should be laid down under which, while the Commissioners should have sufficient powers to take such portion of the College revenues as was necessary for University purposes, they should not have those revenues placed absolutely at their disposal. At the same time he did not object to a moderate contribution from each of the Colleges, which he thought would be sufficient for any object which they could fairly be called upon to perform. Another defect of the present University system was the length of residence required from the undergraduates. At present no undergraduate could take a degree without residing for nine Terms, which involved a residence of three years in the University. When he was at the University, young men frequently came there from the public schools who were perfectly competent to go in for any examination. After passing their first examination with credit, they had two years before them during which they were called upon for no serious exertion. This second year was accordingly devoted to pursuits unconnected with University studies, and by the end of the third year he was demoralized. A young man seldom went to the University under 18 or 19 years of age, and as residence for three years was required, he was 22 or 23 years of age before he could enter upon the real business of life. He did not see why, if a young man was fit to take a degree at the end of his second year, he should not be allowed to do so, and should propose a provision in Committee to that effect. He thought it desirable young men should go to the University for two years, because a residence there was useful both in regard to their habits and connections. He had found, however, in his own profession that a young man required to be specially trained for his calling after he had gone through a general University training.


said, that having served on a Commission appointed to report on some of the subjects with which the Bill dealt, he might, perhaps, ask the indulgence of the House for a few minutes. The Preamble of the Bill expressed views very generally entertained in both Universities. It would certainly be desirable that the Colleges should contribute more largely out of their revenues for University purposes; and he quite believed that under any general system the great majority of Colleges would be ready and even anxious to do so. There might, however, be some exceptions, and there might well be considerable differences of opinion as to the amount which individual Colleges should contribute and the principle on which those amounts should be assessed. This amount would, however, be determined for each College by the seven Commissioners and the three Delegates elected by the College. Of course, if the seven Commissioners were all present and all agreed, they could outvote the Delegates; but, on the other hand, if there were differences of opinion among the seven Commissioners, the introduction of three Delegates, constituting so large an element, might result in dif- ferent Colleges being very differently treated. In other respects, he did not object to the powers given to the Commissioners, because anything they might propose to do would have to come before Parliament, so that the House would have an opportunity of making objections if necessary, and the Commissioners would therefore not have such unlimited powers as some hon. Members appeared to assume. Clause 27 preserved the right of nominating or appointing to the Headship of St. Mary Magdalene College, in Cambridge, unless the consent by deed of the person entitled to that right was first obtained. Whether this was desirable or not, it was scarcely consistent with the previous clause, which expressly authorized the Commissioners to modify the trusts of the Dixie Foundation as regarded any right of nomination vested in the heir of the founder, and to commute that right in such a manner or make such other arrangement touching that right as to the Commissioners might seem just and beneficial, only providing that they should give notice, in writing, to the heir of Sir Wolstan Dixie. Now, surely some reason should be given why these two cases, apparently, at least, so similar, should be so differently dealt with. The object of this Bill, as stated in the Preamble, was the encouragement of science and other branches of learning, where the same were not taught, or were not adequately taught, in the University. He therefore trusted that the Government would carefully weigh some of the suggestions which had been offered by the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, the Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff) and the Member for the Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities (Mr. Lyon Playfair). It was highly desirable, not only in the opinion of men of science, but in that of those eminent in other branches, that those who went up for their degree should have some knowledge of science; but whatever arrangements might be made that science should be taught in the Universities, it would never be learnt until more weight was attached to it in the distribution of Fellowships and in the system of examinations. There were over 700 Fellowships at Oxford and Cambridge, but according to the last Returns only 12 had been given for natural science. As regarded the examinations, if we except the requirements at Cambridge of elementary mechanics, nothing was done at any part of the course in either -University to exact from the students generally any knowledge, however small, of even the elements of the sciences of experiment and observation. The Royal Commission, so ably presided over by the Duke of Devonshire, called special attention to this point, and expressed their unanimous opinion that while some literary cultivation ought to be expected from the scientific student, in like manner evidence of corresponding culture should be required from the student of classical literature and theology, and that "no one should receive a degree who was not grounded in science as well as in languages and mathematics," though such knowledge need not exceed that which might be easily acquired before coming up to the University. No one, indeed, would suggest that ignorance of science should exclude anyone from entrance to the Universities; against any such misconception the Duke of Devonshire's Commission took care to guard themselves, their suggestion being that in such a case there should be an obligation to pass an equivalent examination at some subsequent period of the University course. Very high classical authorities themselves gave strong evidence in support of the view —the Regius Professor of Greek, for instance, said he would require from everyone a certain amount of science before he took his degree. No one would wish that our Universities should become technical schools; but considering the nature of things, the importance of training the powers of observation, and the utility, he might almost say necessity, of French and German, he could not but wish that some acquaintance with modern languages and science should be required in the examinations for degrees. No doubt the Universities possessed even now laboratories and apparatus, libraries and museums. They had excellent Professors and admirable lectures, and the proportion of science Fellowships had been increased. But how were the lectures attended? The Camden Professor had an average attendance of six; the Professor of Moral Philosophy of five or six; the Professor of Botany three or four; of Mineralogy four or five; of Geology very few, and those principally ladies. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) was in favour of abolishing these lectures. Surely it would be wiser to render them more useful? The scientific lectures, however, would never be well attended as long as science was neglected in the distribution of Fellowships and ignored in the requirements for a degree. The effect of this was not only that the Universities did not encourage science in our system of education; more than this, they positively discouraged it. The Universities alleged that they did not offer Scholarships for natural science or require any science in the examinations for degrees, because they feared they would not get good candidates from the schools; and the schools did not teach natural science, because they were afraid of injuring the prospects of their pupils by diminishing their chances of obtaining a Scholarship, and taking a high degree. It could not be doubted that the effect upon the schools of this unequal distribution of rewards had been and was very discouraging to scientific study, and that it exerted an unfavourable influence upon the number of natural science students and on the general system of education in our great public schools. This was not a matter which could well be settled by Act of Parliament; nevertheless, when the Universities came to Parliament for legislation, it was open to us to urge on them the consideration of this important question. A degree ought to be something more than a mere certificate; it ought to imply that the possessor had enjoyed and profited by a good education; but a system under which all the sciences of observation were practically ignored could only be regarded as one-sided and incomplete.


said, he had intended to have re-opened the burning question of "idle Fellowships," if it had not been for the state of the House and the turn the debate had taken. One of the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for London University (Mr. Lowe) was that you ought not to draw money from the Colleges, because the Colleges had done their duty and the Universities had not. That observation was made, he believed, chiefly in reference to Oxford, where, for anything he knew to the contrary, it might be true, but it was not true of Cambridge. One of the causes that kept the standard of examination there so low was that the University was, to a great degree, dependent for funds upon the men who passed its examinations, and the consequence was the authorities were influenced by that consideration of poverty which the right hon. Gentleman said ought not to be corrected.


said, that the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope) spoke of the prospects of the Bill with alacrity, just as if it were going into Committee that evening. He (Mr. Goschen), however, thought the discussion had not been too long, considering the enormous interests at stake, and he assured the hon. Member that he did not share his views. The truth was they might debate the Bill as long as they liked in that House; they might state fully their views as to Fellowships, Professorships, and systems of education; they might speak of every question which was most important in connection with the Universities; but the fact remained that they had actually no power to determine anything on the subject. They might certainly endeavour to influence public opinion with respect to those matters; but otherwise all they could say in regard to them was scarcely to the purpose, because the Government handed over the settlement of the important questions which had been referred to during the debate to two Commissions. What did the Bill do? It stated that it was desirable to carry out certain objects of a very undefined character, and gave very extensive powers to the Commissioners to do certain things. They would even be able to abolish clerical Fellowships and to change the tenure of those Fellowships. That was a matter which, he believed, would be contested if it were brought to a vote by hon. Members opposite. For himself, however, he desired that that power should be exercised, and he trusted that some directions in accordance with it more positive than had been already given to the Commissioners would be given before the Bill passed into law. It was a matter of supreme importance; but he thought the hon. Member for Cambridge University had, to use a colloquial expression, let the cat out of the bag as regarded the Conservative view of the Bill. That policy was—"Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him," and accordingly it was intended to settle every question of University Reform in advance while the Conservatives had the majority, and while the Members of the Privy Council, to whom the measure would be referred, were Members of the Conservative Party. ["No, no!"] To say the least, it was a curious coincidence, too, that the Government had also shortened the time for the operation of the Commission in reference to this debate from 1883 to 1881, on which date this Parliament would terminate. Therefore, the question of University Reform was to be settled by a Commission composed of men who commanded the full confidence of the hon. Member for Cambridge University, and who were to settle for some time the disposition of the £900,000 which constituted the revenues of the national Universities. It was of no use debating questions which would have to be settled by the Commission, and they could only hope that they might be settled satisfactorily. Many very important matters might depend upon the vote of a single Commissioner; and therefore it was very much to the purpose, seeing that the Commissioners were to decide almost every question by themselves, except such as hon. Members of the House were able to bring before Parliament, that they should do all they could to support the Government in strengthening the Commission, and in making it deserving of the support of the public, for it was of no use, as he had indicated, discussing what he might call the greater questions of principle connected with the Universities. The Government had justly been congratulated on the improvement in the Commission since last year; and, for his own part, lie wished to endorse everything said by the hon. Member for the Elgin Burghs (Mr. Grant Duff) in that respect as merited. No words could be too strong as to the propriety of the selection of Professor Henry Smith; and as the suggestion had originally come from that side of the House—he believed from his noble Friend the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice)—it showed that after all there was some use in the struggles of a minority. They last year took up the attitude that it would be difficult to pass this Bill unless the Commission were improved, and he thought they might congratulate themselves that they did not allow it to be hurried through, for the Universities and the public would reap considerable advantages from their action. It had been suggested by his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair) that a more national character should be given to these Commissions by adding to them representatives who were not graduates of Oxford and Cambridge; and, looking at the fact that they claimed them as national institutions, the plea was a very strong plea, and he trusted it would receive a very favourable reception from the Treasury Bench, and that the hon. Member for Cambridge University would not withdraw his approval of the Commissioners. Another particularly important point, and one which would be required to be watched in the progress of this measure, was, what control would Parliament have over the scheme for reform before it was finally adopted? It was one of the provisions of the Bill that each College should propose its own scheme of reform; but he had not been able to see either in the Bill of last year or in the Bill of this year how any general comprehensive plan could be formed if each College were able to hand in its own plan. He should have thought that what would have been necessary would have been that the Commissioners should first have ascertained what were the wants of the University, and then, having ascertained these, what would be the most equitable distribution of the available funds upon the basis of these wants. Then there was a clause in the Bill that the schemes of the Colleges should be submitted to Parliament; but, how could Parliament exercise any control over the scheme as a whole? Hon. Members must be exceedingly watchful in Committee, so as to prevent any final decision being arrived at without its being first submitted to Parliament. Another danger to which hon. Members should direct their attention was that if the Commission sat for three or four years, it was possible that one of the Members might resign, and the Commission might appoint a successor. Now the Chairman had two votes, and supposing, for some reason or other, Lord Selberne were to resign before the Commission had concluded their labours, there was nothing to hinder Earl Redesdale being sub- stituted, in whom they could not have the same confidence. The Commission would continue their functions, but where, again, was the Parliamentary control? He thought that, on the whole, both sides of the House and the public outside had been led too much away by one feature in the Bill—namely, the application of College money to University purposes; but there were other points which were most important. He would call the attention of the public to the fact that under many of the powers given to the Commissioners the most sweeping changes could be made both at Oxford and Cambridge — changes which might revolutionize entirely the government of the Colleges. Enormous powers were given to create College offices, and those offices would not have to be given away as Fellowships were, by open competition, but they might be determined by the principle of nomination, so that Colleges might be governed by a number of chaplains, sub-chaplains, and assistant-chaplains, which might neutralize, to a certain extent, the University Tests Act, and give a decided Party colour to certain Colleges. That was a proposal to which they must look with watchfulness, and, perhaps, with some anxiety. He also asked hon. Members of the House to look to that clause of the Bill which disfranchised the young Fellows. He trusted that amongst the concessions which those on his side of the House might be able to induce the Government to make during the progress of the measure, it would be found that the clause in question would not be adhered to; but that every Fellow who was a member of the College would be allowed to exercise his franchise, and to assist in giving life and variety to the government of the institution. In conclusion, he hoped ample time would be given for the discussion of its various clauses, considering the great interests which were at stake.


said, he did not think the shortness of the debate argued any want of interest in the subject, and he felt quite sure that if it had been thought desirable by those hon. Gentlemen who took an interest in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge that there should have been a wider discussion at this stage of the measure, that there would have been every disposition on the part of the Government to have met them, and there might have been a full, and, doubtless, interesting, discussion on the whole principles of University education. But what would really be the wisest course in this case would be to discuss the Bill very carefully in Committee. They had plenty of the Session before them, and there would be ample time for the full discussion of those interesting questions with which the Bill would be found to deal. As the Government were not anxious to press forward the going into Committee, hon. Members would have full time to consider the measure and the Amendments they would wish to introduce. He hoped those Amendments would be put on the Paper, so as to give ample time for their consideration. With regard to the general question, almost the only speech which could be treated as a speech against the principle of the measure was that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe). The right hon. Gentleman held that a different course ought to have been adopted, and that, instead of bringing forward a Bill, the Government ought rather to have appointed a Royal Commission of a sufficiently extensive character which would have gone into the whole circumstances of the Universities, and should have waited the Report of the Commission before proposing legislation; and the right hon. Gentleman fortified his arguments partly by precedent, and partly by general observations. But that objection was answered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Mowbray); and it should be further remembered that things were very different now from what they were in 1854, when, for the first time, the whole question of the Universities was opened up. Since that time 23 years had elapsed, and during those 23 years the attention of the public had been continually directed to the condition of the Universities. We had had a Commission such as that to which the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbeck) drew attention, and of which he was so distinguished a Member. That Commission recommended that education should be forwarded in this way and in that, and particularly in a scientific direction. Coincident with that, we had the Commission appointed by his right hon. Friend opposite, which had been inquiring into the revenues of the Universities. The result of those Commissions was that the country had come to the conclusion that more might be done by the Universities for the promotion of learning and science, and also that there was a great deal of waste power in them which might be turned to better account for the purposes suggested. We should be losing valuable time, therefore, for purposes of education if we were to throw any more away in inquiries, not absolutely necessary, and, perhaps, not necessary at all. The object was to get on as fast as we could to supply wants to which attention had been called, and to bring the resources of the Universities into such a condition that we could make the most of them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair) wished to enlarge the scope of the whole matter, and to treat it as a large question of education. No doubt, that might be a very important and beneficial object; but the point to which they were now directing their attention was what better use could be made of the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge? Attention had been called to the fact that the resources of the Universities might be turned to better account, and the Government were desirous that the task should be performed as far as possible by the Universities themselves. The task was one of a domestic character, the object being, as lie had said, to turn the resources of the Universities to the best possible advantage, and he, therefore, contended that the Government had taken the proper course in laying down that the main principle of the Bill should be to induce the Colleges to improve themselves. No doubt, when they came to inquire into its clauses and details there would be found many points on which it would be desirable to have full discussion, and he would, therefore, repeat what he said at the beginning, that he hoped hon. Members would at once frame those Amendments to which they desired attention to be called when the House should be in Committee. In so doing, they would do well.


said, he wished to make two important corrections in the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Goschen). The right hon. Gentleman had stated first, that the Executive power of the Commission was so extensive as to enable it to do almost anything; and secondly, that the only control over its acts would be that of a Committee of the Privy Council, which Committee would be constituted in such a manner that, in point of fact, it would be a political body. The fact, however, was the Executive control of the Commission which was appointed by the present Bill was a totally different control from that conferred upon the Commission by the prior Act of Parliament. In the former case there was no appeal from the Commission, but from this there was an appeal which Colleges or Universities or other parties interested might make to the Privy Council, and it was a matter of the utmost importance that the constitution of the Committee to which the appeal lay should not be misunderstood. Under the former Act, when the schemes were laid on the Table, on Motion made in that House, they were sent to the Privy Council, and the Members of the Council to determine the case were appointed by the Ministry of the day. In this Bill, however, the promoters had purposely put in the Members of the Council who were to determine the question in order that they might not be taken haphazard, and that the public might have the more confidence in them. The right hon. Gentleman would find that the Committee was composed of seven members. Two of those were unquestionably persons who held, in a sense, political offices—the Lord President of the Council and the Lord Chancellor—but they were also offices of an independent and judicial character; and he (Mr. Walpole) thought it was an equal chance whether those two would not be filled, when this part of the Act should come into operation, by Members sitting on either side of the House. The third Member was the Archbishop of Canterbury, who rather belonged to the Party on the opposite side of the House than to the Party on that (the Ministerial) side. The other Members were the Chancellers of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, one of whom was a Conservative and the other a Liberal, whilst the two remaining Members were to be appointed by the Crown, and one of them, at all events, was to be a Member of the Judicial Committee. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, the Universities and the public, would therefore see that the ultimate tribunal to determine these appeals would be an independent tribunal, and could be fully trusted to do fair and ample justice between 'all those who were or might be interested in the questions which would have to be brought before it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.