HC Deb 14 June 1877 vol 234 cc1802-11

Bill, as amended, considered.

Clause 25 (Saving respecting Snell Exhibitions at Oxford).


moved after the clause to insert the following clause:— The Commissioners, in a statute made by them for the University of Oxford or for Oriel College in Oxford, may, if they think fit, with the assent of Oriel College signified under its common seal and with the concurrence of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England, provide that the canonry in the chapter of the cathedral church of Rochester, which is now annexed and united to the provostship of Oriel College, shall on a vacancy be severed therefrom, and may also, with the concurrence of the said Ecclesiastical Commissioners, provide that such canonry shall be thenceforth permanently annexed and united to some office or place of a theological or ecclesiastical character in or connected with the University of Oxford, or may, with the concurrence aforesaid, make such other provisions for the future disposal and patronage of such canonry as they shall think fit; and, in case any such statute shall be made annexing such canonry to such office or place as aforesaid, such canonry, or the income thereof, may, if they think fit, be reckoned and taken, in whole or in part, as a contribution of Oriel College out of its revenues to University purposes. New Clause—(Mr. Goschen,)—brought up, and read the first and second time, and added.

Clause 4 (Nomination of Oxford Commissioners).


moved, as an Amendment, to add to the clause which nominated the gentlemen who were to act as Oxford Commissioners, the name of Sir Henry Sumner Maine, Doctor of Civil Law. He could not imagine why the name of so distinguished a gentleman, after having been inserted in the measure of last year, should have been omitted from the Bill now under consideration.

Amendment proposed, In page 3, line 20, at end, to add the words "Sir Henry Sumner Maine, Doctor of Civil Law."— (Sir George Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted.


said, there was no one who could speak of Sir Henry Maine in stronger praise than himself. Everyone who knew him knew that he was thoroughly independent, and that he could hold his own against any man; but Sir Henry Maine had himself suggested that his name should be omitted, and therefore it had been done.


said, that not a more fit man could have been appointed'; but the omission of his name from the list would not be accepted as any slur upon it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 11 (Power for Universities and Colleges to make statutes).


moved in page 5, at end of clause, to insert as a new paragraph— The commissioners shall not approve a statute so made by a college until they have published, in such form as to them may seem fit, a statement with respect to the main purposes relative to the University for which, in their opinion, provision should be made under this Act, the sources from which funds for those purposes should be obtained, and the principles on which contributions from the colleges for those purposes should be assessed. Paragraph inserted.

Clause 13 (Limitation of fifty years).


moved the omission of the clause pro formâ, to enable the Secretary of State for War to offer an explanation as to its effect. The clause provided that the Commissioners should not make a statute altering the trusts, conditions, or directions affecting a University or College emolument unless the instrument of foundation or of endowment thereof was made or executed more than 50 years before the passing of the Act. It appeared to him that the words of the clause, as they stood, went further than the intentions of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, which, he believed, were limited to private endowments, and would leave old endowments to be dealt with according to the discretion of the Commissioners. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would promise to re-consider the matter, with a view, if necessary, to the clause being amended in " another place."

Amendment proposed, to leave out Clause 13.—(Mr. Goschen.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 13 stand part of the Bill."


took the meaning of the clause to be what ho had stated it to be when the Bill was in Committee—namely, that new gifts to the University made within 50 years would be excluded. The draftsmen had made no suggestion for an alteration of the clause, because it carried out what he had before described as its meaning. But he was willing to re-consider thepoint as suggested by the right hon. Gentleman opposite.


also expressed a hope that the wording of the clause would be re-considered in the manner indicated by the right hon. Member for the City of London.


protested against the introduction into that discussion of the name of the draftsman, a person not known to the law of Parliament, and who ought not to be brought upon the stage, though he might occupy the prompter's box. The Law Officers of the Crown were the responsible authorities to state to the House the legal bearing of Government Bills.


said, the draftsman had of late years been brought into the Committees upstairs very much to bring Bills into a good shape.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 14 (Regard to main design of founder).


moved the omission of the clause which provided that in making a statute affecting a University or College emolument the Commissioners should have regard to the main design of the founder, except where the same had ceased to be observed before the passing of the Act, or where the trusts, conditions, or directions affecting the emolument had been altered in substance by or under any other Act. He proposed the omission upon two grounds, the first being that when the same question was discussed in Committee the division took place during the dinner hour, and it therefore scarcely represented the opinion of the House; and, secondly, that the clause as it stood would materially hamper the action of the Commissioners dealing with what were called clerical restrictions.

Amendment proposed, in page 5, to leave out Clause 14.— (Mr. Osborne Morgan.)

Question proposed, "That Clause 14 stand part of the Bill."


said, the question had really been adequately discussed in Committee. It involved nothing more than had been already decided by Parliament under the auspices of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich and by the Acts of 1854 and 1869.


suggested that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War should consider whether the words "shall take into consideration the design of the founder, &.," would not express his intention as well as those now in the clause, "shall have regard to." It seemed to him that if the words he suggested were inserted the Commissioners would not be bound to further the designs of the founder, which was the practical effect of the clause as it now stood.


said, he had not the slightest objection to accept those words if there was no division on the clause.


said, he could not see that the words suggested by the hon. and learned Member made much difference, and he would recommend his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Osberne Morgan) to press his Amendment.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 170; Noes 105: Majority 65.—(Div. List, No. 176.)

Clause 16 (Objects of statutes for University.)


moved, in page 6, after line 33. to insert— For regulating the residence of Undergraduates at the Universities and the number and length of the terms to be kept by them as a qualification for a degree. Owing to the qualifications that were required before matriculation, it was unusual to matriculate before the age of about 18; but it was often the case that the student was perfectly well qualified at that stage to pass also the succeeding examination. Three or four years' residence was at present necessary before a degree could be taken; but he contended that two years' residence would be enough. If an Undergraduate had reached the age of 23 before he was allowed to take his degree, he still required two or three years of training for any commercial or professional career, and so late a start in life was such a serious disadvantage that many who would gladly send their sons to the Universities were deterred from doing so. As the Terms extended to only 17 or 18 weeks a-year, the difficulty might be met by taking into account residence during the vacation.

Amendment proposed, In page 6, line 33, after the word " students,' to insert the words " For regulating the residence of undergraduates at the Universities and the number and length of the terms to be kept by them as a qualification for a degree."—(Mr. Gregory.) Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


hoped the right hon. Gentleman would assent to the proposal. It was possible in two years to lay a foundation of law and history, the most useful and practical preparatory studies. It was often a great hardship to men going into commerce to remain nearly four years at the University.


trusted his right hon. Friend would not accept the Amendment. Young men did not go up to the University merely to pass examinations. They went there to learn social qualities as well, and for that purpose it was necessary that they should be there at least three years.


would not follow the last speaker into the social advantages of spending three years at a University. If a man were fit to take his degree at the end of two years, he saw no reason why he should be prohibited from doing so. He hoped his hon. and learned Friend would press the Amendment.


supported the Amendment. He thought that for a common pass degree two years were sufficient.


said, that according to the arrangements made by the University of Oxford with reference to the Indian Civil Service, only two years' academical training would be necessary before a young man went out to India. The same time ought to suffice for the B.A. degree, and therefore he should support the Amendment.


said, that the Amendment would give the Commissioners the power of regulating the number of Terms to be kept by Undergraduates, but that duty might very well be left to the University itself, especially as it had recently made special regulations for the Indian Civil Service students. The question was, whether the Commissioners were to force their views upon the University. He could not think it desirable to do so, as the University was quite competent to govern its own internal affairs.


remarked that the Bill already contained many directions as to the matters with which the Commissioners were to occupy themselves, and the Amendment would serve as an indication of the opinion of Parliament on this particular point. Commercial men who were anxious for their sons to obtain academic rank thought three years' residence too long.


as a man of business, expressed his hope that the Government would accept the Amendment. He knew from personal experience that many men were prevented from going to the -University by- the length of time necessary for a degree. He would vote for the Amendment because, while it would not diminish the value of a degree, it would admit a large proportion of men intended for professions and business.


supported the Amendment.


said, that the Amendment dealt entirely with a matter of discipline, and if the House was prepared to deal with it, many similar Amendments might be moved which could hardly be considered. He concurred, however, as to the desirability of altering the length of the University course. He deprecated the introduction of new matter into the Bill, and was of opinion that the Universities might be trusted to do what was right on the question.


remarked that the Governing Bodies of the Universities were the proper persons to deal with this matter; but he hoped that the general expression of opinion on both sides of the House would not be without fruit. It was most desirable that young men should be able to receive the advantages of University education without being required to spend three years before they could take a degree. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would introduce some words which would show the wish of the House.


differed from the hon. Member for Chester (Mr. Raikes), who considered this as a question of discipline, and not of teaching. What could relate to teaching if the length of time the student was to reside at the University did not?


said, that this was a matter far more within the competency of the Universities than of any body of Commissioners. In the University to which he belonged (Cambridge) this question had exercised, and would exercise, the most careful attention of the authorities, and the House might be satisfied to leave it to them.


expressed on behalf of the commercial classes, whom he might claim to represent to a certain extent, their anxiety that some such clause as that proposed should be inserted in the Bill. As a strong Tory, he would say to the Tory Government, restore the ancient Oxford custom, whereby the people were admitted to that which was now the privilege of one class. If the Government did so they would not be creating a revolution nor damaging the University of Oxford.


supported the Amendment. He considered it would be a great advantage to that large class of the community who could not spend three years at the Universities if they were enabled to obtain their degrees in a shorter period.


thought the views expressed by those who represented the commerce of the country ought to commend themselves to the Government. The University authorities were favourable to this proposal, and a Resolution of the House would strengthen their hands in carrying it out.


said, the House was asked to put into the hands of the Commissioners functions which ought to be in the hands of the Universities themselves. The Universities were carefully considering the question.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 143; Noes 197: Majority 4.—(Div. List, No. 177.)

Amendment proposed,

In page 8, line 29, to leave out from the word "learning," to the word "University," in line 32, inclusive.—(Mr. Gosehen.)

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Clause 29 (Saving for Headship of Magdalene College, Cambridge).


moved the omission of the clause, providing— That a statute made by the Commissioners shall not affect the right of nominating or appointing to the Headship of Saint Mary Magdalene College in the University of Cambridge, unless the consent by deed of the person entitled to that right is first obtained. He did this to obtain an explanation from the Government.

Amendment proposed, to leave out Clause 29.— (Sir Charles W. Dilke.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 29 stand part of the Bill."


suggested that there might be a clause to this effect—that the Commissioners should consider whether some better arrangement than that which was now in practice should be brought into operation to regulate the appointment of the Mastership of Magdalene. He, however, moved the Adjournment of the Debate, that the matter might be fully discussed.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." Fawcett.)


said, that there had been plenty of time to put down an Amendment if any hon. Member had wished to do so, and it would be most unreasonable to obstruct the Bill that night because that had not been done.


thought it was perfectly wonderful that Parliament should put in a clause which declared that the Commissioners should not have power to deal with the extraordinary anomaly that the Mastership of a Collegiate Institution should be attached to the ownership of an estate belonging to an institution. There might be a vested interest, and money might be required to get rid of it, but the Commissioners should have power to dispose of the vested interest.


supported the clause. It could not now be amended.


hoped his hon. Friend (Mr. Fawcett) would withdraw his Motion. They did not want any alternative clause. They were competent to deal with the question at once by voting for or against this clause.


said, that the clause ought to be amended by the Government, and by providing compensation to the persons holding the Mastership if it should be found necessary to do so.


recommended the withdrawal of the Motion for adjourning the debate.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 61; Noes 183: Majority 122.—(Div. List, No. 178.)

Original Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 144; Noes 95: Majority 49.—(Div. List, No. 179.)

Clause 36 (Election of Commissioners by Colleges.)

Amendment proposed, in page 12, line 37, to leave out the werd "three," in order to insert the word " two."— (Mr. Goschen.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'three ' stand part of the Bill."


said, he had given consideration to this matter since the Bill was in Committee, and he was still of opinion that three was a better number than two; but he proposed as a compromise that in cases where there was already one member of the College upon the Commission the number should be reduced to two.


suggested the acceptance of the compromise.


whilst not approving of the arguments by which the compromise was supported, thought they might content themselves by recording their protest and not troubling the House by going to a division.

Question put, and agreed to.


moved, in page 12, line 39, after " college," to insert— Provided always That, in the case of any College, one or more members of which shall be appointed by name Commissioners under this Act, no more than one person shall be so elected.


suggested that "one person" should be altered to "two persons."

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

Bill to be read the third time upon Monday next.

House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock.