§ Clause 2 (Boroughs named in First Schedule to become parts of counties or boroughs).
§ MR. BRYCE,
in moving, as an Amendment, in page 1, line 12, after the word "boroughs," to insert the words "and Universities," with the object of securing that, from and after the end of the present Parliament, the Parliamentary boroughs "and Universities" named in the Schedule should cease as boroughs and Universities respectively to return any Member, said, that the duty of asking for the disfranchisement of the Universities was a delicate one, especially when the person undertaking it was himself connected with them. He trusted, however, that the Committee would believe him when he said that he was acting in what he believed to be, rightly or wrongly, the interests of the Universities themselves; and there was no hon. Member in that House who was more filled with sentiments of loyalty, affection, and gratitude towards his University than he was towards those to which he owed his education—the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford. He altogether disclaimed being animated by any other feeling than that of wishing to promote the well-being of the Universities themselves; nor did he wish to rest his case upon the ground that the Parliamentary representation of a University was an anomaly. He saw no harm in anomalies if they were practically useful. If this representation rendered any service either to the University or to the country, let it by all means stand, however great an anomaly it might be. He also disclaimed the idea that any Party motive actuated him in bringing the subject forward. Any slight alteration which the disfranchisement of the nine University seats would make in the existing difference between the two political Parties was of too small a kind to merit much consideration. At the present moment, seven of them were held by Members sitting on the other side of the House, and two by Members sitting on that side. The reason why he moved this Amendment was because he believed it to be for the distinct benefit of the Universities themselves. He would now endeavour to 324 justify that statement. In the first place, the existing system was bad for these seats of learning, because the possession of Parliamentary representation brought Party polities not only into the Universities themselves, but into the academical Governing Bodies of the Universities—the Senate of Cambridge and the Convocation of Oxford. That was a serious evil, because it tended to make parties in a University form themselves upon political lines. Thus it prevented persons from forming as fair and impartial a judgment on educational questions as they would otherwise do, by making them associate themselves with political sections which had nothing to do with education. Not content with introducing political issues, in some cases the evil was carried so far as to run candidates for academical appointments on Party political grounds. This not only produced bad appointments, but affected peace and good feeling within the academic body, and was felt to be so serious a matter at Oxford, that nearly all appointments had now been taken away from Convocation. It was found that the wire-pullers who managed the Parliamentary elections turned to account their knowledge of the registers, and brought up men to vote in case of appointments who were their own political adherents. The result was that appointments had been made with little reference to the merits of the candidates themselves, but solely from political considerations, or to reward political services. In fact, the disfranchisement of the Universities would leave them stronger, more tranquil, more united, and better fitted for their real educational work. But the evil of Parliamentary representation went further, for it positively falsified and misrepresented the wishes of the University itself. The Members who sat in that House as Members for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge—and it was to these Universities that he chiefly wished to direct attention—were not really Members for the University at all. They knew nothing about the University. He hoped they would pardon him for saying so, but they were the Members for a large number of persons scattered over the country, and not for the true Universities as Teaching Bodies. What was a University? The real University was a number of 325 teachers, residing in the towns of Cambridge and Oxford, Dublin, and so forth—Heads of Colleges, Professors, Fellows, Tutors, and Lecturers. In the cases of Oxford and Cambridge the number reached about 250. Bodies of men of that kind, though small, were real bodies, possessing a corporate life and existence, each constituting a centre of culture and a distinct social entity, and perhaps worthy of Parliamentary representation. Small as it was, such a constituency would be, at any rate, exceptionally intelligent, and would be different in kind from the other constituencies of the country. But who were the voters of the technical and legal constituency? In the case of Oxford it consisted of 5,382 persons, and in that of Cambridge of 6,458. The persons who actually voted as the technical constituents were gentlemen who, at one time of their lives, between the ages of 17 or 18 and 21, had spent three years at Oxford or Cambridge, who might have devoted little or no attention to their studies while there, and who, after leaving the University, had not kept up, in most cases, their connection with it, seldom or never visiting it, and knowing little or nothing of what was going on there. Few of them took any interest in it, and if they had any tie, it was a tie with their College and not with the University. Nor was it even the fact that all of those who had taken their degree of M.A. had a vote, for the right of voting was confined to those who paid a certain sum per annum to keep their names on the College and University books. Thus the University voters were, to a great extent, men belonging to the wealthier class; and, instead of forming a large body of highly educated men, they mainly consisted of persons not substantially superior to the rest of the upper and middle classes, and by no means those who had most profited by the University or its studies. It was, in fact, a comparatively small section of the graduates who, because they kept their names on the books for the sake of this privilege, enjoyed the right of choosing Members who purported to be Members for the Universities, and, as he had pointed out, it was the richer and not the more cultivated section. How did the privilege come into existence? It was in the year 1603 that James I., by Letters Patent—whose legality was disputed at the time-—gave to the Uni- 326 versities of Oxford and Cambridge the right of returning Members. What were the constituencies at that time? They were nominally the same as now, including Doctors and Masters whose names were on the books, but in reality altogether different. In those days the elections were, practically, in the hands of those who were engaged in the active work of the Universities; because the difficulties of communication were so great that it was impossible for graduates to come up from a distance in order to record their votes in Convocation, where the Members were chosen. The constituencies created by King James I. were therefore practically constituencies of persons resident within and actively connected with the University. They were constituencies which had a genuine life and individuality of their own, which, in a certain sense, entitled them to representation. In process of time, when communication became more easy, and especially in the present century, when swift coaches begun to run, and were in their turn superseded by railways, it was rendered quite possible for voters living at long distances, and in different parts of the Kingdom, to come up to Convocation and record their votes. As a consequence, the nature of University representation entirely changed; the power of returning Members fell into the hands of persons who resided away from the University, and who knew little or nothing of its working; and there sprang up conditions wholly different from those under which the representation was originally granted. That state of circumstances continued to go on until the expense of bringing the voters to the poll became so serious that people began to think it would be better to do away with the trouble of bringing them up at all; and about 21 years ago an Act, introduced by the present Lord Monk Bretton, was passed, which substituted a system of voting papers, transmitted by post, for personal voting. Now, under the present system of voting papers, a man might go and live in Cardiganshire, or Northumberland, and never revisit his University for 40 years, and, nevertheless, retain his vote as much as if he were Dean of Christchurch. He hoped this digression would not be useless, if it pointed out to the Committee how entirely altered were the circumstances which originally led to the 327 establishment of these constituencies. He would now point out the result of the change. The University constituencies had come to be composed of a large number of persons who had little or no practical connection with the Universities at all. The majority of the Oxford and Cambridge University voters were, as was well known, country clergymen. In point of fact, the Members for Oxford and Cambridge of late years had been entirely elected and governed by the clerical interest. He did not make that a ground of accusation, for the country clergy were as well entitled to have second votes as squires or barristers; but he mentioned it as explaining the regrettable fact that the Members for Oxford and Cambridge Universities had, on more than one occasion, been altogether misrepresentative of the opinions of the University residents and the University Teaching Body. Hon. Members would recollect that down to the year 1871 a long struggle was maintained at Oxford and Cambridge for the abolition of the detestable system of religious tests which then existed. The strongest opponents they met in their endeavour to destroy that abominable system, which tormented and degraded the consciences of young men, and excluded Nonconformists from the national seats of learning, wore the Representatives of Oxford and Cambridge, because, they maintained, tests represented the clergy. The consequence was that for many years University tests were continued, which nearly all the best men connected with the Universities—all the most energetic and useful teachers—were anxious to see swept away; but which the University Members, at the bidding of the clergy, who formed the bulk of their constituents, were most zealous in supporting. That would show the misuse of their electoral privileges by persons who had no real connection with the Universities. Whenever an election occurred, it was found that the wishes of the residents were opposed and overborne by the majority of the non-residents. There was a case in point, when the present junior Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. J. G. Talbot) was returned. One of the candidates then brought forward was one of the most eminent scientific men in this country, or, indeed, in Europe. He was a moderate politician—so moderate that some Liberals did not approve of 328 him—but although he had a considerable majority among the residents, and a large majority among those who were engaged in the work of education, out of a constituency of more than 5,000 he did not get 1,000 votes altogether. Hon. Members would recollect that something similar happened not long ago in the case of the University of Cambridge. The junior Member (Mr. Raikes) was returned by a large majority, although his opponent had a majority—not a very considerable one—among the resident voters, and a decided majority among the resident teachers.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, he might perhaps state that he was not aware what the majority of his opponent was among the resident teachers; but among the residents he had a majority of nine.
§ MR. BRYCE
said, that although it was annoying to the residents to find that their official Parliamentary Representatives were always opposed to the educational objects they had in view, he wished to put the case upon the more serious ground that it was an injury to the University herself that the wishes and plans of the Teaching Body—those who were concerned in and responsible for the proper work of the University, educational, scientific, and literary—should be counter-worked by the Parliamentary Representatives of the University, those persons having no knowledge of the concerns of the Teaching University, no special interest in her educational functions, no familiarity even with the arrangements of the Colleges and management of College property, simply because such Members had come more recently from Oxford or Cambridge, and maintained a closer personal connection with members of the Teaching Body. It might be said that they could get all—by inquiry in Oxford or Cambridge—the information that was necessary; but anyone could collect information, and, in fact, many other Members of the House were better informed on subjects relating to the Universities and the work of education carried on by them. Perhaps, in speaking of the interests of the Universities in having special Representatives, he might be allowed to support his arguments by a quotation from Anthony Wood, who said, in his annals 329 of the history of Oxford, under the year 1603—When the King, by his Letters Patent under the Great Seal of England, granted to either of the Universities that they might elect two Burgesses to serve in Parliament, it was then commanded that two grave and learned men professing the Civil Law should he by writ chosen to serve for them as Members of the House of Commons: which grant, though for the present it was accounted a great favour to the Universities as to the prosecuting their affairs in Parliaments, yet since not, as it hath been observed by many. For whereas before most of those Members that had been students in the Universities would stand up as occasion offered on behalf of their respective mothers, now none would do that office, because it is incumbent on two, who commonly are found negligent by following their own affairs or else not able as to their parts or understanding to undergo what their places require.This judgment of old Anthony Wood was not far from the actual truth now, and it would be far better if the interests of the Universities were left to those who knew of their present condition and practical needs, and not intrusted to the legal guardianship of nominal Representatives. He did not, however, propose that the electoral franchise should be confined to residents, for although this would create real living University constituencies, those constituencies would be open to the objection he had already stated of suffering in their educational work from political Party spirit, and would, moreover, be much too small. In these days of disfranchisement, it was hardly to be expected that the House would call into existence two constituencies, neither of which would exceed 400 electors. Hence, the only course was to disfranchise the Universities altogether; and it must be remembered that the graduates who now had University votes would not suffer entire disfranchisement by losing their University representation, because arrangements had already been made which gave the clergy the right of voting for the boroughs or counties in which they resided, and as regarded others who were not the fortunate possessors of livings, they would be entitled to a vote as lodgers. Every non-resident who now possessed a University vote, was practically certain to have another vote already, and therefore could not be deemed to be damnified by losing his second vote, while as to University residents, it would be easy to give them the right of voting for the boroughs in 330 which the Universities stood. He was quite aware that, as far as he had already gone, he had only endeavoured to show that this apparent privilege was of no benefit, but rather an injury, to the Universities themselves. But he might be told that it was maintained not for the sake of the Universities, but for the sake of the country at large, whose interest it was to have independent constituencies, educated constituencies, constituencies which, at any rate, differed from the ordinary borough and county divisions. He knew perfectly well that that was the feeling which animated many hon. Members who had asked him privately why, being himself connected with a University and not a fanatical democrat, he should desire to bring everything down to the dead level of a dreary democracy. "Why," they said, "do away with variety? We now have a means of getting superior men representing Literature, Art, Science, and Education. The Universities are picturesque, historical, independent. Why not leave us this romantic element to relieve that monotony of equal electoral districts which we are rapidly approaching?" He might be much moved by such an argument if there was anything in the past history of the representation of these Universities to justify the merits claimed for them. But what foundation was there for the claim. As a matter of fact, no constituencies were less independent than the University constituencies. And why was that? It was because they had no local life. These bodies of 6,000 or 6,000 electors were distributed all over the country, under such circumstances that the electors of each party could never possibly meet together for consultation or discussion, and they were, therefore, at the mercy of the agents and wire-pullers of the political Party to which they belonged. Talk of Caucus dictation! There was no constituency in the United Kingdom more absolutely at the mercy of an irresponsible and unrepresentative Caucus than the University of Oxford, none upon which the Carlton Club could more easily impose a Member. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, that that was so; the experience of the last 20 years proved it. If hon. Members looked at the matter, they would see that it must be so, because the means which existed in the case of other constituences for the electors to 331 vindicate their freedom of choice, did not exist here. They could only communicate with one another by letter, and when the small knot of wire-pullers, in Oxford or Pall Mall, brought out their candidate and went to work, it was found impossible for independent voters to resist them successfully, as might be the case in a constituency of the ordinary kind. Anybody who knew the history of Oxford and Cambridge Elections for some years, would agree that this was so, and would add that they had been comparatively well treated by the Carlton Club; for, whereas the managers of that Club might have returned whomsoever they liked as Members for the Universities, they had given the Universities Representatives of whose personal characters none would complain. He made no attack on them, but must insist that the four Members who sat for the English Universities did not represent either Education or Literature or Science or Art. They were very estimable and, in their way, very eminent men, no doubt; but while everybody respected the great knowledge of the Forms and Usages of the House which two of the Members for the English Universities possessed, and the acquaintance with Ecclesiastical Art and History, as well as with the sentiments of the clergy, possessed by the two others, and while everybody felt that the House would suffer a loss if any one of the four were withdrawn from it, it could not be denied that not one of them did in any special manner represent Literature, Learning, Education or Science; and if any candidate was ever brought forward for the University who did represent Learning, Education or Science, he met with an ignominious defeat. For instance, Professor Henry Smith did not poll 1,000 votes at Oxford in 1878; and in the case of the Cambridge Election two years ago, Mr. Stuart, now happily a Member of the House, only obtained 1,200 or 1,300 votes. Whenever an attempt was made to put forward as a candidate for the University of Oxford or Cambridge, on non-political grounds, a man of conspicuous culture, distinguished in Literature or Science, or a great lawyer who had maintained a specially close connection with the life of the University, it was certain to be unsuccessful, because political considerations only were taken 332 into account. Sixteen years ago, when a vacancy occurred at Oxford, an attempt was made to bring forward one of the most eminent sons of the University, distinguished first as a scholar, then as a jurist, fervently attached to the Church of England, and very moderate in his political views. What happened? The constituency was canvassed by letter for a few days, and it was found that the support which Sir Roundell Palmer was likely to receive was so insignificant in point of quantity, however respectable in quality, that his supporters at once withdrew him, and abandoned the idea of bringing forward a candidate. He might, therefore, fairly say that it was not the interests of the Teaching Universities, or of Literature, Education or Science that were considered, but that a University contest was conducted purely upon political motives; and if the aim of giving seats to the Universities was to provide for the representation of Literature, Education, Science and Art, that aim had utterly and hopelessly failed of attainment. Let it also be remembered that the House gained no new element from these seats, because the Members returned for the Universities were not Members who were new to the House. He must say that there had been one important exception in regard to the Scotch Universities, that of the Member for the Universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, who did contribute most valuable special knowledge and experience to their debates; but if they looked at the English Universities, they would find that for a long time back, the Members who had sat for them were Members of the ordinary type, and had already been Members of the House before they were returned for the Universities. Mr. Walpole long represented the University of Cambridge, and was regarded with universal respect and, he might say, affection while he was a Member of the House; but he had been Member for Midhurst before he was returned for the University. The present senior Representative for the University of Cambridge had sat for Stoke; the present junior Member had been Member for Preston. With regard to Oxford, Sir William Heathcote, who represented the University for some years, was, in the first instance, Member for South Hants; Mr. Gathorne Hardy, now Lord Cranbrook, had been Member for Leo- 333 minster; the present senior Member had represented Durham, and the junior Member one of the divisions of Kent. It would be found that no English University seat had, for a long time past, been the means of introducing a new Member to the House, and, therefore, the special object for which University seats were now alleged to have been given had not been attained. He had spoken so far of the English Universities only, not merely because they were those which hon. Members generally knew most about, but because it was on their model that seats had been given to the other Universities. If no seats had existed in connection with the English Universities, it was quite certain that none would have been given to the other Universities in other parts of the Kingdom. So far as the University of London was concerned, it was an artificial creation, if ever there was one, for it was not even a Teaching Body, and ought not to be called, in the ancient and proper sense of the word, a University at all. [Mr. E. N. FOWLER: It used to be.] That was quite true. It was once a Teaching Body, and he hoped to see it made once more a Teaching Body and a true University. But at present it was not; it was merely an Examining Body. He would pass on to the Scotch Universities. There, again, the seats had been conferred on the example and model of the English Universities. In the Scotch Universities the number of residents was extremely small, and one might say that the whole constituency consisted of persons unconnected with the teaching, and very faintly connected with the government, of the University. The number of voters for Glasgow and Aberdeen was 6,438, and for Edinburgh and St. Andrews 6,583. But these non-residents had no tie to bind them together; they were mostly medical men, scattered all over the country, who had not even the College feeling which existed among Oxford and Cambridge graduates, and they never took the slightest interest in their University, except when they received a circular asking them to vote for a particular candidate. They might as well give a man a vote for Brighton for the rest of his life, because he once happened to spend a year of his life there, as to give one to an English or Irish graduate of a Scotch University, who 334 had lived in Glasgow or Edinburgh during the period that was occupied in taking his degree. Let them have, if they liked, a representation of professions as such—of physicians, of lawyers, of architects, of authors, of bankers, and so on; but do not give to the Members elected by clergymen in England and physicians in Scotland the artificial and unreal name of University Representatives. He felt more difficulty with regard to the two seats for the University of Dublin than he did with regard to the others, because, although they were practically mere ex officio seats for the Law Officers or ex-Law Officers of a present or late Conservative Government, as to the present Members, they were all glad to see them on the Front Opposition Bench, and they felt that the right hon. and learned Gentlemen in question might experience considerable difficulty in securing other seats in their own country. But still they gave an access to the House to men of distinction who might not so easily find their way in through other Irish constituencies. But, no doubt, there would remain a number of seats available for the so-called "Loyal" minority in Ireland; and the Irish Conservatives would be only too glad to put in the forefront such redoubtable champions as the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen. Therefore, he did not think that, so far as the University of Dublin was concerned, the cause of the Loyal minority would suffer if these seats were taken away. With respect to the number of new residents and teachers in the constituency, the University of Dublin was in a very similar position to the Scotch Universities—that was to say, the constituency consisted almost wholly of persons whose practical connection with the University had long since ceased; and it would be hard, upon any principle, to justify the allowance to it of two Representatives, because Dublin, with 4,000 voters, had two Members, while each group of Scottish Universities, with more than 6,000, had only one Member. He trusted that he had said nothing which could give personal offence to the University Members; and he hoped he had convinced the Committee that, whether he was right or wrong in his proposal, he had some substantial grounds for his belief that its adoption would be for the benefit of the Uni- 335 versities themselves. At present, the Universities lost something, and the country gained nothing, by the existing system of University representation. Not wishing to put his case too high, he did not maintain that any harm was suffered by the country, nor that the question was one of capital importance to it, but there was certainly no gain; and he contended, therefore, that a system of representation founded upon no solid sufficient ground, producing no practical benefit, giving second votes to persons who had no substantial claim to them, ought not to be continued. At that moment, they were going to increase the number of Members of the House when they ought rather largely to reduce that number, and there was, therefore, a special and grave reason for taking away these University seats. He could not but hope that this undesirability of enlarging the House would form a ground for inducing the Committee to give serious consideration to his proposition. Both the Government and the Leaders of the Opposition must see that the feature of their compact which excited most disapproval in the country was this particular proposal to increase the already overgrown number of Members. If they abolished University representation, they would obtain nine out of the 12 seats they required for increasing the Scotch representation, and the other three could be got from the three smallest boroughs. It was more than probable that his Amendment had very little chance of being accepted, because, although nearly all Liberals in their hearts approved of it, the Ministry might feel bound by their compact with the Opposition to resist the true interests of the Universities. Nevertheless, in those interests he felt bound to take the opinion of the Committee upon the matter. He submitted that while University representation might have been a fair experiment to try, and while there might have been valid reasons for instituting it three centuries ago, and for continuing to give it a chance for some years after 1832, it was an experiment which had been tried long enough, which had altogether failed to bring about any substantial or beneficial result, either to the country or to the Universities themselves. The time had now arrived when it became desirable to dismiss this device of the 336 Stuart Kings to the limbo to which so many other of their devices had been relegated. He believed that when that happened, and no University any longer returned a Member to Parliament, no persons would be more pleased than the now misrepresented resident teachers of the Universities themselves.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 12, after the word "boroughs," to insert the words "and Universities."—(Mr. Bryce.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
Perhaps it would be convenient I should say a few words on behalf of the Government, before the University Members take the opportunity of addressing the Committee. Sir, my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Bryce) began his very able speech in a Committee which was much smaller than it is at the present time; indeed, it was almost entirely a Committee of University Members. The state of the Committee was, I should think, unique in the history of Parliament, for all of the nine University Members were present. My hon. and learned Friend has spoken of University representation with considerable ability; but it is my duty to state why it is undesirable, at the present time, to disturb that representation. Speaking on a Bill which is the result of an arrangement, or of general consent, between the different Parties in the House, I must state, at once, as I have stated on a former occasion, that it is impossible for the Government to agree to the Amendment the hon. and learned Gentleman has moved. At the same time, although in this respect I do not speak the opinion of my Colleagues, I must say that, in my opinion, my hon. and learned Friend makes out an unanswerable case against University representation in the abstract. I believe it is perfectly unlikely that that representation will survive the next Conservative Reform Bill. My hon. and learned Friend has given many reasons for objecting to the University vote; but there is one reason which weighs with me more than any other. It applies equally to the freehold vote. I believe it is unwise and undesirable to give double representation in the House, because of any special qualifications; 337 and in connection with the point, I observed that one of the University Members opposite contradicted my hon. and learned Friend when he said most of the persons who possess University votes, also possess other qualifications. ["Not all!"] Well, substantially all. The fact that, in the past, a considerable number of the clergy did not possess the franchise was always one of the reasons which weighed with me in the extension of the franchise. Formerly, many curates were excluded from the franchise; but, now, under the extended franchise, almost the whole of the clergy will possess the franchise. ["No!"] I believe it is perfectly true, as stated by my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Bryce), that almost all of these gentlemen will now have votes. Now, the position of the Government to this matter is simply one of objecting to the Amendment which is placed before the Committee, and which, under the circumstances, I hope the Committee will reject by a large majority. Of course, we are free to express our individual opinions, and we should feel ourselves free to vote as we please if the subject came before the House in a separate form, and I should exercise that privilege in the manner I have shown the Committee. My hon. and learned Friend has shown, conclusively, that it is not necessary to have special University representation in order to represent learning in this House. A very singular illustration of this occurred the other day. A most distinguished man (Professor Stuart), immediately after an election in which a very small minority of the residents of the Cambridge University voted in his favour, came up to London and in one of the most democratic parts of the Metropolis was elected to this House by an overwhelming majority. That shows very clearly that the right hon. Gentleman the junior Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Raikes) could, if he liked, be returned for any Conservative constituency. It is perfectly clear that special University representation is not needed in these days for the purpose of returning to this House men of education and intelligence. The days of special representation of that kind have passed. But my hon. and learned Friend has shown, I think, in his speech that, while he desires to see the opi- 338 nions he holds on the subject make way in the country, as I am convinced they will, he does not expect to carry his Amendment on this occasion. I feel quite sure that he is well aware that his Amendment will be rejected by the Committee, for the Bill is one which has the general concurrence of all sections of the House. In many matters it is a compromise between various opinions; and, as we intend to stand by its provisions, I call upon the Committee to reject the Amendment.
§ SIR JOHN E. MOWBRAY
believed he expressed the views of all the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who represented Universities, when he thanked the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke), for the conclusion at which he had arrived. While they would be very happy to go into the Lobby with the right hon. Baronet, they certainty could not accompany that act with an expression of thanks for his speech. Having regard to the fact that this was a Bill brought in by the Government after consultation with the Leaders of the Conservative Party, he was extremely surprised that the Member of the Cabinet in charge of the Bill should come forward to express his own individual opinions, and say that while he hoped the Committee would reject an Amendment, the arguments by which that Amendment were supported were unanswerable, and that if the subject were brought up in a separate form on another occasion, he would be prepared to vote for the change proposed. He (Sir John B. Mowbray) wished the right hon. Gentleman the Head of the Government (Mr. Gladstone) had been present to hear his Colleague's speech. It was well the Committee should know how far the President of the Local Government Board had represented the feelings of the united Cabinet. Hon. Members had a perfect right to complain of the course adopted by the right hon. Baronet, because the right hon. Baronet was one of the Members of the Cabinet who was specially concerned in arranging the compromise on the question of redistribution between the two great Parties of the House. If the right hon. Baronet thought that the argument in favour of the University seats was untenable, and quite indefensible, he (Sir John B. Mowbray) 339 would ask how the right hon. Baronet could consent, as a Member of the Committee of the Cabinet which met the Members of the Front Opposition Bench, to make so great a concession? He would not attempt to answer the speech of the right hon. Baronet, because he happened to know that they were going into the same Lobby; he would rather direct his attention to the speech of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce). It really was very affecting to hear the language in which his hon. and learned Friend introduced this proposal to the Committee. The hon. and learned Gentleman said it was a delicate duty he had to discharge. He (Sir John E. Mowbray) thought it must be a very delicate duty for a Regius Professor of Civil Law in the University of Oxford to propose such an Amendment as the Committee were now considering. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Bryce) protested he was full of affection and loyalty to the Universities; that he spoke in the interest of the Universities, and for the benefit of the Universities. But his hon. and learned Friend could not be said to represent the whole University Body; indeed, he was obliged to construct a limited University of his own, a University of teachers, of whom there were 370. It really was very affecting to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman describe the disturbances which might arise in the academical walks of Christ Church and Magdalen by the introduction of politics. Who was injured by the introduction of politics? He supposed that the hon. and learned Gentleman himself did not wish that undergraduates should not talk politics. Many men had qualified themselves to take part in the debates of Parliament by being members of the Oxford Union Debating Society. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister was one of the most distinguished men the Oxford Union Debating Society had turned out. That Society had also turned out Archbishops of Canterbury, Lord Chancellors, including the one to whom the hon. and learned Gentleman himself alluded, and other Cabinet Ministers. Did the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets speak for Heads of Houses; did he think that the introduction of politics into Universities disturbed the serene 340 repose of Heads of Houses? No; he knew quite well that there was only one Head of a House who at all agreed with him in this matter. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of wrangling which went on in the common rooms on political matters, and said that University Tutors and Professors had no time for the discussion of politics. It was really absurd to ask the Committee to believe that this desire for quiet and exclusion of politics was the absorbing feeling of the residents. The hon. and learned Gentleman claimed to speak in the interest of the Universities. What support had he obtained in the Universities for the proposal he now made? He (Sir John B. Mowbray) might not ordinarily represent the opinions of the residents, but he did so to-night; and he asked the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets, if he had not tried for some weeks and months past to get up some movement, some sort of organization, some sort of Petition within the University of Oxford, and if he had not found cold water thrown on all his actions? If these 370 highly-educated men wished to devote themselves to literature and education and science, and did not wish to be disturbed by Party wrangles, why did not the hon. and learned Gentleman get half-a-dozen of them, or 37, say, out of the 370, to come to that House and present a Petition, praying for release from the political life into which they were plunged? His hon. and learned Friend said also that Convocation did not represent the University, and that Members of Parliament did not represent it either. The hon. and learned Gentleman argued that Convocation consisted, to a great extent, of men who had only been three years resident in the University—from the age of 18 to 21—that they then went away, and knew very little of what went on afterwards in the University. But were not those three of the most important years in a man's life; were they not years in which a man's character was developed and fixed; and, therefore, was it not very probable that a man having spent such years of his life in the University, retained throughout the rest of his life an affection for his College or University? The hon. and learned Gentleman really talked as if the Members for the Universities knew nothing about the Universities. He 341 (Sir John R. Mowbray) could tell his hon. and learned Friend that he had belonged to the University of Oxford close upon 62 years; and not one of those years had passed that he had not been within the walls of the University. He was intimately acquainted with every gentleman of any note in the University; he did know something of the University; indeed, he felt that, in opposing the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets, he represented the wishes, not merely of Convocation itself, but of the 370 teachers for whom his hon. Friend claimed to speak. The hon. and learned Gentleman made one most startling statement—namely, that the Members for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were the nominees of the Carlton Club. If one suggestion more ludicrious than another had been made, it was that the Carlton Club had anything whatever to do with the elections in the Universities. His hon. and learned Friend must know better; he must know that no man could be a candidate for the representation of a University who had not been tried in the House. Men who were elected for the Universities must be known in public life and in University life; and it was because they were known in University life that they were accepted by the Universities. Nominees of the Carlton Club! A more unwarranted statement was never made in this world. His hon. and learned Friend went back to the origin of the representation; he said the representation was given to people resident within the University, and argued that now it was no longer necessary as it was in the days when the right was first conferred. He (Sir John R. Mowbray) might inform the Committee that, in the archives of the University of Oxford, there was a very interesting letter which was read in 1604, at the first election of Members for the University, and which set out the ground of the granting to the Universities of the privilege of returning Members to Parliament. The letter was written by Sir Edward Coke, who was then Attorney General, and it was read publicly in Convocation at the election in 1604. It was dated the 16th of March, 1603, and was as follows:—Having found by experience in former Parliaments, and especially when I was Speaker, 342 how necessary it was for your University to have burgesses, and finding especially now of later times that many Bills are preferred in Parliament, and some have passed, which concern your University.And then it was stated that the Government had granted to the University the privilege of returning Members. Well, everyone knew that many Bills had been preferred in Parliament concerning the Universities, as Sir Edward Coke, as Speaker for many years, had observed. It was therefore very important that the Universities should have representation in Parliament. Within the last 30 years, within his own experience, several Bills concerning the Universities had been brought into the House of Commons; and, during that time, it was as important as ever that there should be Representatives of the Universities in Parliament when those Bills were being discussed. There had been the Oxford Reform Bill of 1854, the Cambridge Bill of 1856, the Tests Act in 1871, and the Universities Act of 1877. Besides these Bills, there had constantly been Motions made with reference to ordinances and statutes; and, indeed, no Session had passed without some University question turning up. In fact, that which was now proposed was altogether a retrograde step. It was only 30 years ago he heard Lord John Russell, the then Leader of the House, when introducing his Reform Bill, propose, with universal assent, to give the privilege of returning a Member to the, University of London; and when Mr. Disraeli, in 1867, carried out that which was the original proposal of Lord John Russell, there was one universal acclamation that a Member should be given to the University of London. And he (Sir John R. Mowbray) believed the whole House would agree with him that they had great reason to be proud that representation was conferred upon the University of London, when they recollected that that University had been successively represented by such eminent men as Lord Sherbrooke and the hon. Baronet (Sir John Lubbock) who now so worthily represented the constituency. He thought that even the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets would admit that the hon. Baronet represented literature, education and science, although, perhaps, 343 he did not represent teaching. The House went further in 1868. Having, in 1867, given a Member to the University of London, in the following year they gave two Members to the Universities of Scotland. Did anybody regret that that was done? The right hon. Gentleman (Sir Lyon Playfair) who represented the Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities, had filled a high post in the Government of the country; he had been Chairman of Ways and Means in the House; and it could not for a moment be doubted that he eminently represented literature, education and science. Was not the hon. Gentleman who now sat for the University of Glasgow (Mr. J. A. Campbell) a Gentleman whom they were all proud to have in the House? Well, now, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets appeared dissatisfied with the class of men who had been returned by the Universities. It was true that Professor Smith was a very scientific man, and that he was rejected; the hon. Gentleman who now sat for Hackney (Professor Stuart) had been rejected; and the present Lord Chancellor was rejected. The hon. and learned Gentleman complained that whatever qualifications a man possessed he would not be returned for Oxford or Cambridge, unless he held Conservative opinions. That might be so, because the Member of Parliament was to represent the political views of Convocation, and they were Conservative. It was a mistake to suppose that it was intended that Professors and residents should be burgesses. That was not the ground upon which the franchise was originally given to the Universities. To show what were the instructions sent down to the University of Oxford, with respect to the men who were to be returned, he might make another quotation from the letter of Sir Edward Coke. Sir Edward Coke particularly enjoined Convocation as follows:—That now at this first election you make choice of some that are not of the Convocation House, for I have known the like to have bred a question, and it is good that the beginning and first season be clear and without scruple.He (Sir John R. Mowbray) should be sorry to cast reflections on any one of the distinguished Members of the constituency he was proud to represent; he was on the best terms with everybody in 344 his constituency; but he did not doubt that in the present day, as in the days of the Stuarts, there were in the Convocation House men who, though very good men, were more likely to breed questions in debate than to be practical politicians. The provisions of the Letters Patent, by which the privilege was conferred on the University, were in the most general terms. There was nothing about all that was now imported—about literature, education and science. The members of Convocation were enjoined to send to the Council of State two of the more discreet and sufficient men—"E discretioribus et magis sufficientibus vivis." The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets made another point. He said that nowadays the University representation was a representation of the country clergy; that the hon. Gentlemen who were returned to Parliament by the Universities were under clerical influences; that they were put under all sorts of compulsion; that they did not express their own opinions; that they were, in fact, the nominees of the country clergy. Now, what was the fact with respect to this great delusion? He had been at some pains to look into the matter. In 1845, the constituency of the University of Oxford numbered 3,000, and of this number no less than 2,195 were clergymen, the lay members were only 803. In 1869, when he had the honour of being returned for the University, the number of electors had risen from 3,000 to upwards of 4,000. The clerical members numbered 3,060, and the lay members 1,340. In 1888, the number of electors had risen to 5,300; the clerical members of the constituency had decreased from 3,060 to 3,008; while the lay members had increased from 1,340 to 2,292. Now, if they took some of the greater Colleges at Universities—Christ Church, Balliol, University and Trinity, for instance—they would find that the lay members were already in a majority. Surely, if the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets had the courage of his own opinions, as he ought to have, he would see what was clearly the fact—that the clerical constituency was diminishing in itself, and diminishing still more in comparison with the increase of the lay element. Could it be supposed that the 370 teachers, who were so active 345 in forming the minds of the rising generation, had not instructed the hon. and learned Gentleman that, if he would look forward to a period 20 years hence, there would be a great preponderance of laymen in the Universities? He (Sir John R. Mowbray) contended that really this was a very extraordinary moment to make such a proposition as this. Parliament had just, by the Franchise Act, added 2,000,000 of capable citizens to the electoral roll. He cordially agreed with the extension of the franchise; he had never objected to it, provided there was a fair redistribution of seats; but no one could deny—the hon. and learned Gentleman could not deny—that the 2,000,000 of new voters included amongst them some who were not educated and who were not at all conversant with political questions. He (Sir John R. Mowbray), therefore, asked, was it reasonable that, at the present moment, they should try the experiment proposed; was it reasonable that, while adding to the electoral roll 2,000,000 of persons, a large proportion of whom were not educated and not intelligent in political matters, they should disfranchise somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 men of the highest education and the highest intelligence—entirely independent men, men who had studied politics in their earliest days, and who were eminently capable citizens? The hon. and learned Gentleman argued that he would not disfranchise such men, because he would let them have votes for the City of Oxford. Were the graduates of Oxford University to be transferred from the high academical constituency of which they were now members to that most corrupt constituency, the City of Oxford? The corruption of that city was so well known that a Writ was not issued when a vacancy occurred a year or two ago; and yet the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets would bring the men of his own University, for whom he had such tender and kindly feelings, such affection, loyalty and regard, into the corrupt mass of the civil constituency of the City of Oxford. He (Sir John R. Mowbray) was sure the true sons of Oxford University would no more thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for that suggestion than they thanked him for his present Amiend- 346 ment. Now, did the hon. and learned Gentleman really mean to say that the Universities had not, for 300 years past, well discharged their duty to the country and to the Crown by the men they had returned to the House of Commons? The hon. and learned Gentleman said he did not wish to introduce personal topics, and he was very good to speak in a kindly way of the Members for the Universities; but each of the Universities was brought up in a more or less disparaging manner. Let them see what sort of men had been returned by the Universities. Had not Oxford reason to be proud of such Representatives as Selden, Sir Matthew Hale, and Sir "William Scott? Were they not among the greatest jurists who ever adorned any country? Had not Oxford reason to be proud of Sir Robert Peel, and of the present Prime Minister? Ironical cheers.] Yes; he expected that interruption, and he was not surprised at it. Oxford returned those distinguished men, and when they changed their opinions in consequence of which Oxford returned them, Oxford rejected them. But what did that rejection imply? It implied a very high spirit on the part of the University. The men Oxford rejected on each occasion were the foremost men of powerful Ministries; they were Leaders of the House of Commons; and one was associated with the Duke of Wellington and the other with Lord Palmerston. That they rejected those two great men was, to his mind, a proof of the disinterested character of the constituency. He maintained that, whether the Universities had or had not returned men whose political opinions coincided with those of hon. Gentlemen opposite, they had returned men of whom the nation had reason to be proud. The elections in the Universities had always been conducted conscientiously. The electors had always been guided by intelligence, and there never had been a suspicion of corruption. He repudiated the suggestion that the Members for the Universities were the nominees of any political Party, and felt satisfied that the feeling both in and out of the House was favourable to the retention of the. University constituencies. There was nothing to justify the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets, and therefore 347 he hoped the Committee would reject it by a large majority.
§ MR. ALBERT GREY
said, he heard, with some surprise, the speech of the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke). The right hon. Baronet declared it was his bounden duty to vote against the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce), because of the compact entered into by the occupants of the two Front Benches; but he accompanied that declaration by a speech which was nothing less than a command to hon. Members sitting on the Ministerial side of the House to vote in favour of the Amendment. What was the fundamental reason brought forward by the right hon. Baronet in support of his view that the Universities ought to be disfranchised? That it was undesirable to give a double representation to certain persons because of particular qualications. Well, he (Mr. Albert Grey) entirely agreed with his right hon. Friend that it would be very undesirable to give a double vote to any person in the Kingdom, if the Redistribution Bill about to be passed gave a security that the vote of every single elector should, as nearly as electoral arrangements would permit, count for as much as that of any other elector. If they were to have a system of fair and honest representation, which would insure to equal number of persons equal representation, then he would admit there would be a great argument in favour of the disfranchisement of the Universities. But when they were about to adopt a plan which, so far from giving true representation, would give an altogether sham representation of the people, a plan which would make the votes of one set of electors worth three or four times as much as that of another set, there was not only a very strong, but an absolutely overwhelming case in favour of the preservation of the University constituencies; the retention of the Universities was necessary to repair in some degree the inequality created by the present Bill. It was the experience of other countries—of France and of America—that, under the single-district plan, the more educated and cultivated portions of the community were swamped altogether—unable to find any representation, either in their National Assembly or in their Congress; and it had 348 been held both in America and in France, that, if by the substitution of proportional representation the more intelligent minorities could secure the return of their own candidates, intellect would be able to return its own Representatives to the Representative Assembly, and those Representatives would wield in the Chamber an influence out of all proportion to their numerical strength. It was because he believed that the effect of the single-district plan would be to reduce the influence of the intelligent minority, that he was in favour of the retention of the University constituencies. The right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board pointed to the hon. Member for Hackney (Professor Stuart) as a proof of the fact that intellect could find representation in the most popular constituencies; but they ought not to forget the saying of Lord Palmerston—that the extension of the franchise might not result in sending a different class of Members to the House, but the difference would be this, that the same men would play to the gallery, instead of to the boxes. Depend upon it, that the men of culture who were returned by men of culture would be a very different class of Members to the men of culture who were returned by men wanting in culture. What was the object of Reform? Was it not to obtain a good House of Commons? If so, he thought the right hon. Gentleman would admit that variety in the representation was absolutely essential. They must have security for an adequate variety of representation in order to get a good House of Commons. All former Reform Bills had been framed with the object of securing this variety. In order to get a compound House of Commons, Parliament hitherto had been careful to preserve inequality of franchise and great difference in the size of constituencies; but by the Bill which was now brought forward by the two Front Benches they were about to remove these securities for variety. They were to have a uniform franchise; and they were about to make their constituencies almost identical in size; and that meant that, with the levelling agency of the Press and the railways, nearly every constituency in the Kingdom would tend to become more and more similar. They were thus about to abandon that old security 349 for a variety of representation and for a compound House of Commons which they had when they had an unequal franchise and different sized constituencies. He was not making these remarks as an argument in favour of the system that was being left behind. He believed there was another way of securing a compound House, a way based on absolute justice, being founded on the principle one man one vote, and every vote an equal value. That was a way, however, which at present was more popular in the country than, he was sorry to say, it was in the House. As, however, the House had determined not to adopt the only other alternative for insuring adequate variety in the representation, and was resolved upon establishing a system which would deprive the country of all security for a compound House of Commons, he maintained that, so far from wishing to abolish University representation, which introduced the only element of variety into their otherwise uniform plan, they ought to preserve it most carefully. While upon this point, he would like to quote two authorities, whom he was sure would be accepted as good authorities by those who sat on the Ministerial side of the House. The late Mr. Stuart Mill, who strongly favoured University representation, advocated the bestowing of additional votes upon those who satisfied a certain standard of education and intelligence, relying upon direct representation of intellect and the adoption of some form of proportional representation as the chief safeguards against the danger of democracy. Mr. Bagehot, who regretted that direct representation of intelligence was impossible, maintained, nevertheless, that it was of vital importance that whatever could be done in this direction should be done. He said—All that can be done in this direction must be effected by a gradual extension of the principle which has given Members to our Universities. No one can obtain admission to these bodies without a prolonged course of study, or without passing a strict examination in several subjects. This is a kind of franchise not to be manufactured; it is only obtained as a collateral advantage by persons who are in pursuit of quite different objects. Such bodies, however, are obviously few, and such kinds of franchise are necessarily limited. But they should be extended as far as possible.The arguments of his hon. Friend the 350 Member for the Tower Hamlets struck him (Mr. Albert Grey) as being very surprising and very inconsistent. The hon. Member objected to University representation, because men living outside the Universities swamped, the votes of those who resided in the vicinity of the University itself. That he offered as a reason for abolishing University representation altogether. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: Hear, hear!] The Secretary of State for the Home Department cheered that remark. He (Mr. Albert Grey) did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was in favour of University representation or against it. Perhaps he had not made the point clear. The argument of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets was that the electors living outside the University swamped the votes of the men living in the University; therefore, University interests were insufficiently represented in the House of Commons, and therefore the Universities should not have any representation at all. His hon. and learned Friend went on to say that in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, against which his speech was chiefly directed, matters were mainly controlled and governed by clerical influence. He (Mr. Albert Grey) admitted that readily; but that was no argument for the abolition of University representation; it was rather an argument for the extension of the University franchise than for its extinction. It was in the power of the House to secure that the electorate of the old Universities should be framed upon the model of the electorate existing in the Universities in Scotland. If that were the case, the whole body of graduates would have a vote for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge; and once that came to pass, it would soon be found that clerical influence, so far from controlling the representation, would only be a minor fraction in the constituent body. Of course, the clerical influence at Oxford and Cambridge controlled, at present, the representation of those constituencies, and why? Simply because, up to 1871, every elector for Oxford and Cambridge had to subscribe his adherence to the formularies of the Church of England; they had to do that before they could exercise the privilege of voting at a University election. At Oxford, the 351 degree of M.A. could not be obtained without a subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. At Cambridge, no religious test was required for an M.A.; but only those who declared themselves as members of the Church of England were qualified for the Senate, with whom the election of Members of Parliament rested. Therefore, up to 1871, no one but those who subscribed to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England had the privilege of voting at a University election. The great majority of electors on the register for Oxford and Cambridge were thus not unnaturally in favour of strong Church of England candidates; but that was not a reason for abolishing University representation, although it was a very strong reason for hurrying on any process which might infuse into the electorate a larger number of men who had not been obliged, as a necessary condition of their electorship, to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. This widening process had been at work ever since 1871? Why not hurry it? Why should they not give to the whole body of the graduates in Oxford and Cambridge the right to vote? The system worked very well in Scotland. ["No, no!"] The hon. Gentleman who cried "No, no!" would have to go a very long way before he found a more capable Member, or one who was a greater adornment to the House, than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Play fair). Do not let them abolish University representation, simply because the clerical element at Oxford was, at the present moment, in the ascendant. Let them bring in a Bill to extend the electorate of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities; let them give the vote to the whole of the graduates. Personally, he would like to go further. He would like to give the vote for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to every University extension student who held nine first-class certificates. The University extension movement had made great progress in the country; it had met with an extraordinary and marvellous de-development in his own county of Northumberland. There were Northumbrian miners who, up to a few years ago, execrated the names of the old Universities, but who were now enthusiastic well-wishers of those institutions, in conse- 352 quence of the University extension scheme which had been set on foot through the instrumentality of his hon. Fiend the Member for Hackney (Professor Stuart). It would not be possible to invent any method or plan which would give so great a stimulus and incentive to the cause of higher education than to allow every workman who could show nine first-class certificates under the University extension scheme a right to vote at a University election. So, he said, rather than abolish University representation, let them extend it. That was his alternative proposal, and it was one which he believed would be of great advantage to the community. Before he sat down he would like to make one or two further remarks as to the arguments advanced by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets. The hon. and learned Gentleman advocated the abolition of University constituencies, because the men they sent to the House of Commons did not represent literature, education and science; and yet, while he did so, sitting behind him was the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock), and sitting within two yards of him was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Play air). He asked any hon. Gentleman to point out two hon. Gentlemen equal in scientific attainments to the hon. Gentlemen the Members for the Universities of Edinburgh and London. [Mr. HOPWOOD: Oxford and Cambridge.] The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Stockport (Mr. Hopwood) interrupted him, and said the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets referred to Oxford and Cambridge; but the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets had made the deficiencies of Oxford and Cambridge the chief reason for sweeping away the Universities of Edinburgh and London. His answer was, make the electorate of Oxford and Cambridge like that of Edinburgh and London, and more men like the Members for the Universities of Edinburgh and London would be sent to Parliament. Obtain that end by improving the electorate. Well, then, the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Bryce) told them that University representation brought old Members into the House; it never gave birth to a new Parliamentary 353 genius. Take the case of the University of Dublin. What was the Parliamentary history of the right hon. and I learned Gentleman the Member for that University (Mr. Plunket)? He was defeated for the City of Dublin, and the University gave him a refuge; and he (Mr. Albert Grey) did not think there was a single person in the House who would wish to see the right hon. and learned Gentlemen excluded from Parliament. He had now endeavoured to bring before the Committee some answers against the arguments adduced by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets, and some reasons why it was desirable not to get rid of University representation until a system of fair representation was adopted. If there was proportional representation, which would give every vote an equal value, then University representation might go; but until we got that, he should cling like a leech to every University seat. As he had mentioned the words proportional representation, let him make one suggestion to the right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke) who spoke from the Front Bench. The right hon. Baronet told them he was against University constituencies, but that he was obliged to vote for them on this occasion. If he was against University constituencies, he could not care very much what method of representation was put in force in those constituencies. They were exceptional constituencies; therefore they were the very constituencies on which an experiment might be made. Why not amalgamate the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and elect their Members by the system of proportional representation? [A laugh.] He made the suggestion to his right hon. Friend in earnest. It was not yet too late. On Report, let them make the Amendment. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had received a warning; and, if they wished to retain the University constituencies, they ought to adopt some system which would make them palatable to Members on that side of the House. Let him say what he thought would be the best thing to do. Let them take away a Member from Oxford and Cambridge and give it to the Scotch Universities. Let them make Oxford and Cambridge one constituency, and the Scotch Universities one constituency; and then let the Members, each 354 constituency having three Representatives, be elected upon the single transferable vote system. Such a suggestion could very easily be adopted on Report. As the University Members were to be retained, the method of election could not be a vital matter. He hoped that, by accepting the suggestion, the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board would show he had something more than an academical sentiment in favour of proportional representation. He (Mr. Albert Grey) trusted the House might see fit, on the Report stage, to make an experiment on the very constituencies which ought, from their exceptional nature, to be made the subject of a most important and interesting experiment.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
said, the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Albert Grey) referred to an argument which was used by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke), in expressing his approval of a great deal of what had been said in favour of the Amendment. It was argued that University representation gave double representation, and the right hon. Gentleman was opposed to that. He (Mr. J. A. Campbell) did not follow the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Northumberland in his answer to the right hon. Gentleman; but he thought there was another answer which could be made to the President of the Local Government Board, and that was that the argument against double representation could scarcely be fairly brought forward in favour of the Amendment, inasmuch as double representation was not against the principle of the Bill they were now discussing. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce), in his speech in introducing the Amendment, gave a description of a University which he (Mr. J. A. Campbell) was rather surprised to hear from one who knew the Universities of Scotland so well as the hon. and learned Gentleman did. There seemed to be an idea in his mind that a University consisted of a body of teachers only, rather than of University graduates. That was not at all the idea in Scotland. The Scottish Universities were certainly teaching Universities; they had a large staff of teachers; but it never occurred to the people of Scotland that the teachers 355 constituted the University. His hon. and learned Friend threw rather a slight upon the Universities of Scotland as constituencies by saying that the graduates never heard of their Universities, except in connection with Parliamentary elections. That was a mistake. The graduates of the Scottish Universities were associated together for other purposes than for electing Parliamentary Representatives. They were reminded twice a year of their duties as members of the General Council; and they had to take part in elections which had nothing whatever to do with politics. It had been asked whether the Universities gained by having Parliamentary representation. Now, he should say that that was not the object for which Parliamentary representation was given to the Universities; certainly, it was not the object in view when the franchise was conferred upon the Universities of Scotland and of London. He could not speak so confidently of the franchise given in olden times to the ancient Universities of England, and he was not aware of what the case was in Ireland. But although the franchise was not granted with the object of benefiting the Universities, he could say that the possession of the franchise had been a gain to the Universities of Scotland. It came after some important measures of reform which gave the graduates a much greater interest in those institutions; it was the crowning work of that reform; and since that time—he did not say altogether in consequence of the franchise being given them—there had been a new start made by the Universities. The real question for consideration, however, was, whether the country gained by the arrangement—for representation was conferred on the Universities not for the sake of the Universities, but for the sake of the country. It appeared to him that the franchise was given to the Universities in order that there should be some Members of the House of Commons whose special duty "was to attend to a certain class of interests; to attend to education and all connected with it, including the interests of the learned Professions. Other interests were represented in the House. The borough Members took the special responsibility of attending to questions 356 of trade and commerce; and county Members were supposed to have a special responsibility with regard to agricultural matters. Well, why should not the interests of education and cognate subjects also have their special Representatives in the House? It did not follow, by any means, that there might not be borough and county Members more influential in regard to educational subjects than the University Members. He had many Members in his eye, who were much more qualified to speak for education, literature, and science than at least one of the University Members, and he did not know that there was any one better qualified to speak on such subjects than the hon. and learned Gentleman who had brought forward the Amendment. At the same time, that qualification on the part of borough or county Members was an accident; they had not been elected to Parliament on account of it, but had been returned to watch over other subjects, and upon other considerations altogether. This question must be dealt with in an impersonal manner. He would say that, although the University Members might, as individuals, have failed to come up to the standard of qualification and of service expected of them, yet it still remained true that the interests of education and of cognate subjects were of sufficient national importance to justify the election to the House of certain Members, who should be looked upon as having a special responsibility in regard to those subjects, so as to secure for them full attention from Parliament. It was in that view that he ventured, humbly, to say that University representation was valuable, and that he trusted the Committee would, by a large majority, reject the Amendment.
MR. LYULPH STANLEY
said, he rose to support the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce). The hon. Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. J. A. Campbell) had, he thought, put the matter thorough on the right ground. They were not concerned at all with what might have been the original motive which prompted the King or Parliament to give Members to the Universities; they were not concerned with the question whether or not the franchise so conceded had been of advantage to the 357 Universities as corporations. The question they had to put to themselves was this—Was it to the advantage of the country, and an advantage to the Parliamentary representation, that there should be special Representatives in the House of the special interests or corporations which existed in the Universities? The presumption, he thought, was against those who wished to constitute special Representatives of groups of persons taken out of the general mass of citizenship. They had these University Members, and, therefore, many acquiesced in the idea of retaining them; but he did not suppose that anyone would suggest an extension of this kind of representation. They remembered that when Mr. Disraeli brought in his first draft of one of his Reform Bills in 1867, there were what were called, "fancy franchises" in it. They were not to be grouped together into separate constituencies, if he (Mr. Stanley) recollected rightly; but, at any rate, the idea of giving a man a vote because he was a doctor, or a lawyer, or had taken a University degree, or anything of that sort, was not viewed with favour in Parliament. The general feeling was, he thought, that the basis of Parliamentary representation was common citizenship, and that the natural centre round which a constituency should be aggregated was a local centre—a centre of local community of interest. Well, was there any reason why these exceptional constituencies should be favoured, or should be allowed to continue to exist? Did they confer any benefits on the nation through the Representatives they were likely to send to Parliament? He did not wish to say anything discourteous—it would be improper, and not in accordance with the facts, if they were to say anything derogatory to the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who now represented the Universities in Parliament. It was not from that point of view that he would wish to approach the question at all; but they were told—the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Glasgow had just told them—that the justification of these constituencies was that they sent Members to Parliament specially charged with the duty of watching over the interests of education. That, he (Mr. Stanley) thought, was a fair representation of the justification that 358 the hon. Member put forward. Well, he could bear cordial testimony to the fact that, at any rate, so long as he had been in Parliament, the Members for the Scotch Universities had taken a great and progressive interest in the cause of education; and he thought it was one of the most refreshing things they experienced in their contact with Scotch Members that, irrespective of political Party, they all alike desired to promote the cause of education. It was a most remarkable thing—if he might be allowed to use it as an illustration—last Session, when a Bill was passing through Parliament with reference to the reform of Scotch educational endowments, to see hon. Members on the opposite Benches, especially the hon. Member for the University of Glasgow and the hon. Member for Bute (Mr. Dalrymple), so active in pressing on the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) a more progressive, and a more liberal policy in the matter of education than the Government were inclined, in the first instance, to take up. Therefore, they could not help recognizing the fact that the cause of education had been generally supported by the Scotch University Members irrespective of their politics. But could hon. Members believe, for one moment, that it was because these hon. Gentlemen represented Scotch Universities that they supported the cause of education? Was it not rather because of the healthy foundation of the Scotch political character? Was it not rather to be accounted for by the love of education which, for generations, had been instilled into the Scotch character? He thought, however, that the more highly they appraised the character of the English University Members, the more they must recognize the fact that—-probably owing to some inherent defect in the constituencies they represented—the attitude of those hon. Gentlemen towards education in England had been found rather antagonistic to, than in favour of, the promotion of the cause of education. The right hon. Gentleman the Representative of the University of Oxford (Sir John R. Mowbray) had told the Committee how, for many years in the House, he had had to watch over Bills affecting University education. He (Mr. Stanley) would like to ask the right hon. Member whether 359 it was not the fact that the vigilant watchfulness which he had exercised over all the University Bills had rather the effect of postponing their passing into law, or introducing into them restrictive Amendments which the country did not approve of; and he could not help remembering the speeches delivered year by year, on the Education Estimates, by the other hon. Member for the University of Oxford, in which there was no plea for the extension of education, but rather of keeping it back in accordance with the limited means of the denominational system. He regretted to find that the influence these constituencies brought to bear on their Representatives was not an influence which made them the champions of education, a title which their own cultivation would, doubtless, have resulted in their winning, if they had had the good fortune to plunge into some democratic constituency. He felt quite sure that, if either of the two Members for the University of Oxford were representing the Conservative side in Manchester or Sheffield, the House would find them very much more in favour of an advanced and liberal elementary education, such as the school boards of those great towns had so successfully promoted, than they were now, representing the ancient Universities. As a matter of fact, it was quite idle to say that the Representatives of the English Universities represented learning or culture in any sense whatever. In the first place, as had been pointed out by the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Albert Grey), the constituencies of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were not the graduates. The constituencies were plutocracies. The Universities, he was sorry to say, did not give their degrees in relation to merit, or in relation to advancement. The degree of Master of Arts, which entitled a man to vote, was sold for a money consideration; and yet that degree represented not one atom of educational progress beyond the degree of Bachelor of Arts. ["Oh, oh!"] Those who cried "Oh, oh!" probably had not had the advantage of a University education The Universities not only "sold" the degrees—and that was the plainest word for a plain fact—but they also charged a yearly tariff for the privilege of exercising the University franchise. 360 It was not only necessary to have taken the Master of Arts degree to have the franchise, but to pay annual fees, or commute them by the payment of a lump sum. He would not say a word against any Member now in the House; but he might, perhaps, be allowed to refer to an analysis of the votes taken on the great occasion when the Prime Minister was turned out of the representation of the University of Oxford. That analysis was very remarkable—he was not speaking of a comparison between the resident and non-resident voters, but of an analysis of the University voters that had been taken. The analysis showed a perfect curve—he did not know what formula could be found to express it mathematically; but the curve descended from University prizemen, First Class men, and men who had Fellowships, through the Second and Third Classes, until they got to the Fourth Class, and then the upward curve, in favour of the Prime Minister's opponent, who was elected, reached the level of the descending curve, or those who had voted for the Prime Minister. When they got to the pass men, that curve mounted up with great rapidity, and placed Lord Cranbrook—then Mr. Gathorne Hardy—in a vast majority; and he (Mr. Stanley) could not help thinking that if the person who had prepared the table had ascertained who those who had obtained their position on the roll through two or three successive plucks, they might be found to mount up even more rapidly. The electoral roll of the University represented, to a large extent, the willingness of people to go on to the Master's degree, and to pay the necessary foes. They were anxious to keep their names on the books for election purposes. In many cases, however, gentlemen were less animated by political considerations than what he might call a desire for millinery—a strong desire to wear the crimson hood, which had a better appearance in church than that which was presented by the less ornamental ermine tippet of the Bachelor of Arts. That would explain how it was that so many more clergymen than laymen were members of the Convocation of the University of Oxford. The hon. Gentleman who had spoken below him (Mr. Albert Grey) had sketched out a possible constituency of the Universities 361 of Oxford and Cambridge—an amalgamation of the two, and a new method of voting to render the representation acceptable. But he (Mr. Stanley) was sure it would be much better to abolish the four seats of the Universities altogether than to jerrymander them in that way; to subject them to arithmetical calculations, shifting votes, and arrangements, which would only lead to hopeless confusion. These constituencies were much too old to alter their ways, and to be made the subject of an experiment in proportional voting.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, it had no doubt been satisfactorily proved to him that he was an unfortunate creature, who knew nothing nor cared anything about literature, or culture, or science; and that he represented a body of people who were in the same unfortunate position; yet, with or without success, literature was a subject which had occupied a good deal of his time and thoughts during his life; indeed, if he had attended less to literature and more to politics, his success might have been greater. He would admit his want of culture; but, at all events, he would not, like the honourable and very superior Gentleman who had just spoken, treat this subject by a series of bad jokes about ermine and red hoods. It would, at all events, receive serious treatment from him. The only attempt at an argument used by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Lyulph Stanley) was a sort of inchoate argument, a little timid creeping thing, like a rabbit in a warren, which murmured about representation being based upon a local centre. But was not a University a local centre? The Universities were concentrated centres of learning and teaching, and, as some had said, of high thinking and low living. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) felt that; but he went wrong from not feeling something more. The Universities were not only a joint stock company for the promotion of research, entitled it might be to the representation of that research as exclusively embodied in the limited number of persons engaged in such research, but they were also the machinery by which a large class of the people, belonging generally to what was called the governing class, were able to attain that culture which was necessary to enable them to discharge 362 their duties in life with reason, with success, and with a broad view of the proportion of things. The non-resident was not the old-fashioned country bumpkin depicted in some comedy of the last century. The non-residents were rather the mind of the country. ["Oh, oh!"] He would trouble the ton. Gentleman who called "Oh!" to deny that the lawyers and the doctors and other educated Professions were the mind of the country, and yet the lawyers and doctors and so forth formed a large proportion of the non-resident graduates. Anyone cognizant of University politics must know very well how large a share the Temple and Lincoln's Inn had had in settling the representation of the Universities. Even, if among the non-residents might be found country squires, whose degree was a poll or a pass one, and whose talk was of bullocks and such things, was it not something to be able to talk of bullocks with that reasonable education which any degree indicated, and which gave that average of culture which every man who was more or less a leader of his countrymen ought to possess? As for the cry of clerical preponderance, that was amply and fully disposed of by the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Albert Grey). Of course, as long as there were tests, the representation was of necessity Church of England representation; but when the tests were abolished the Universities were at once thrown open to all beliefs. The old constituency had been an excellent one; but it was limited. Now it was not done away with, only enlarged. As to the contention raised about the formal process by which the degree of Master of Arts was attained, it was conveniently forgotten that the degree of Batchelor came necessarily first, and that the examinations came at that stage. After all, what was this outcry against University representation? The numerical principle as governing the distribution of seats was now to be made stronger, more consistent, and more universal than by any previous Reform Bill, and yet they were afraid of nine men out of 670. It seemed to be thought that those nine men would be more than a match for the remaining 661. The weak point of the new distribution was the risk of giving an undue preponderance to mere local feeling; and this was, to a certain 363 extent, counterbalanced by such widespread constituencies as those of the Universities with an intellectual qualification. He had but one more consideration to urge. He would ask what sort of men had of old been returned for the Universities? He owned to some pride when he thought of such Representatives as Palmerston, or the present honoured Chancellor of Cambridge, the Duke of Devonshire. But he had greater names than these to advance. He was the successor of Bacon, Newton, and Pitt. He could not, let him say, name these without confessing how deeply he felt the responsibility of such an inheritance. Such men might be again returned for a University, would they certainly be so for the division of a county or the ward of a borough? He must resist the proposal as hopelessly reactionary and deplorably Philistine.
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) is such a friend to higher education, and is such an excellent type of academic training, that the Universities may well be surprised that the blow against their representation has come from him. If we were now engaged in founding a new representative system, some of his arguments would be strong. A double vote to one man, it may be in the same town, is certainly an anomaly; but our existing representative system is full of anomalies, even in regard to double voting. This special anomaly of which he complains has existed in regard to the older Universities since 1603 for England and 1613 for Ireland. University representation was then granted by Charter, perhaps by a stretch of Royal Prerogative. But it was accepted by the House of Commons, and was ratified by the Court of King's Bench. The Universities exercised so well their privileges that Parliament extended them by statute to the Scottish Universities, and to the London University. In the long exordium of the original Charters, James I. explains that the interests of learning and of religion deserve to be represented in the House, as well as the material interests of the Kingdom. We now know more clearly than that Monarch did how much the material interests of a nation depend upon the diffusion of learning and science. This recognition 364 of their mutual dependence is, to my mind, the only justification for the representation of Universities at the present day. Undoubtedly, University Representatives must be politicians; for, if they are not, they should not sit in Parliament. But they must be more than mere Party politicians. They are returned, or they ought to be returned, to Parliament because they are fitted to represent the higher interests of learning and science. There are numerous subjects affecting the common weal which are above the region of Party conflicts. They may, or may not, have direct reference to Universities; but they relate to their work. For instance, the primary education of the people, the secondary education of the middle classes, the relations of science to the progress of manufacturing industry, the health of large communities, are subjects depending upon learning and science, and these then become important factors in the deliberations of the House. When University Members put their Party politics in the background, and discuss such questions as these with a single desire to promote the common good, the House always bestows confidence on them, and, frequently, is guided by their advice. Is it not wise that we should have among us a few Members to whom such questions are of more interest than the struggles of Party warfare? Personally, I can state with pride and satisfaction that I have always found the House on both sides willing to allow me to share in such deliberations without accusing me of pedantry. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock), who sits on this side, as well as my University Colleagues on the other side, can state, with equal satisfaction, that they have received similar indulgence from the House when they have had occasion to address it on academic or scientific subjects. I wish to draw the attention of the House to the difference between the position of England and foreign nations as to higher education, so as to explain why it is important for this country to continue University representation. Unless this difference is understood it is, undoubtedly, a strong argument that, while our Continental neighbours promote science and learning more than we do, they have not found it necessary to represent Universities in 365 their Legislative Assemblies. In those nations all education—primary, secondary, and University—is the special object of State supervision and control. Each nation has a separate Minister of Education, with large funds at his disposal; and that Minister is the responsible Representative in Parliament for their progress and efficiency. In our country we had no national system, even of primary education, till 1870; our secondary education is even now entirely chaotic, and is independent of State supervision; while our Universities are autonomous, and are only responsible to themselves. Even the Scottish Universities, which are the only Universities to which we give Parliamentary grants, are independent of administrative control, and do not even make Reports for the information of Parliament. It is under these different circumstances that this nation has thought it wise to have Representatives of higher education in this House. Whether we should abandon our system of Representatives of education for the centralized system of Ministerial responsibility is a question too large for discussion at present; but you must have one or other, unless England is to abandon her position among nations. ["No, no!"] For my own part, I believe that representation of higher education, rather than administrative centralization, is more consonant with our ideas and institutions. I observed that there was some dissent when I said we must have one or other system inside Parliament, so I venture to give my reasons. I doubt whether even all the Members of this House are aware of the enormous efforts which have been made in recent years on the Continent to promote University education. These efforts are founded on the conviction, in which I profoundly share, that the competition of nations, both in war and in peace, has ceased to be a competition of brute force, or of local advantages, but has resolved itself into a competition of intellect. As Jules Simon has tersely put it—that nation which has the best educated people must become the greatest nation, if not to-day, certainly to-morrow. Let me state in a few words what France is now doing for her University education. Before the Great Revolution France had 22 autonomous Universities, which gave intellectual life to the Provinces. Napoleon, with the 366 powers of a despot, and the instincts of a drill sergeant, converted them into Faculties, and created a single University of France, which was centralized in Paris. Under this baneful centralization the Faculties dwindled away. By 1868, the subventions to the University had diminished to an insignificant sum. The war with Germany came, and France was beaten. Then the French Institute fully discussed the causes of the disaster; and came to the conclusion that the intellectual paralysis of France was due to the destruction of her higher education. France, though loaded with debt, and competing with us in iron-clads, has made surprising efforts to recover her intellectual position; for she feels that it is not by men alone, but by the intellectual and moral force of her people, that she can cope with Germany, either in war or in peace. Since 1868 no less a sum than £3,280,000 (82,000,000 francs) has been spent by France in rebuilding her provincial Colleges, and the annual subvention for their support in 1884 was, in round numbers, £500,000. Has Germany been indifferent to this remarkable development in the higher education of France? Has she merely strengthened the fortifications of Strasburg which passed over to her in the war? Germany has rebuilt the University at great cost, having equipped it with eight laboratories, the smallest of which, that for physiology, cost £14,000, and the largest, for chemistry, £35,000. It also gives to it an annual subvention of £46,000. Germany has now 21 Universities, with 24,000 students and 1,800 Professors. The annual Votes are close on £400,000, besides the extraordinary expenditure for buildings, amounting to half as much more. I have only time for one other illustration, and I take the case of the Netherlands, because its population only slightly exceeds that of Scotland, and its total revenue is only £9,000,000. Yet, it has four Universities, and votes for their support £136,000 yearly; while Scotland, with the same number supported by the State, receives from Parliament £30,000 annually. You will now understand why I have drawn attention to this remarkable progress of higher education among our Continental competitors. Either foreign nations are extravagantly absurd in the attention which they give to higher education, or 367 we are surprisingly weak in doing so little. If, however, it is possible that Continental nations may be right in believing that the competition of the world has become a competition of intellect, it is unwise at this time that you should be asked to do anything that will depress the position of our Universities in the public estimation. In the eyes of the world the suppression of University representation is not an act that would commend higher education to the people, or promote the development of institutions absolutely essential to our national progress. Unless you are prepared to imitate the system of foreign countries by substituting Ministerial responsibility for their administration and welfare, I trust that you will continue our present mode of recognizing the importance of our Universities by allowing their Representatives to share in the deliberations of the great Council of the nation. The right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) has spoken to us to-night in a manner different to that in which he spoke when the question of the reform of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was before the House. Then, wrapped in his University toga, he spoke as a Conservative. Now, he has cast it off, and has spoken as a Radical. My right hon. Friend has advanced far in his Radicalism with respect to education, and fails to see the danger there is to the community if we show how little regard we have for the higher interests of education when it is proposed to abolish its representation in this House. I hope the House will not agree to the Amendment, and will not consent to refuse admission to the great Council of the nation of those who especially represent the interests of learning.
§ MR. HORACE DAVEY
said, he was obliged to say, though he said it with reluctance, that he felt constrained to vote for the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce). He was not likely to underrate the value of University education or the extension of University education and University influence in the country. There was, he supposed, no one who owed more to University education and University training than the humble individual who had the honour to address the Com- 368 mittee at that moment, and he quite agreed with what the right hon. Gentleman below him (Sir Lyon Playfair) had said on the subject as to the advantage to the House of having in it Representatives of the higher education and higher culture of the country. But, he would ask, what had that to do with the representation of the Universities? Could it be said that University representation was, in any sense, the representation of a living University? It was difficult to discuss the question without appearing to make personal allusions, and he therefore said at once that he was quite aware, and cordially agreed, that there were no Members in the House who were more respected and whose opinions were more looked up to than those who represented the Universities. But, admitting all that, he would ask, did the University constituencies at the present time represent real living Universities? Now, what was a University constituency? It was not a number of people who were engaged in teaching and were connected with the culture and education of the country at a University. It consisted of Masters of Arts, and Masters of Arts were gentlemen scattered all over the country—country clergymen, country squires, London lawyers, and people of that kind. What connection had they with that living University which was supposed to represent the learning and literature and science of the country—the body concentrated within the walls of the University itself. If the University representation were a real one—a representation of science and learning and literature—though he should look upon it as an anomaly, he should not be disposed to vote with the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets. But everyone knew that the constituencies of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who represented the Universities in the House were people whose connection with the Universities consisted, for the most part, in their having succeeded in struggling through a pass degree, some 20 or 30, or perhaps 40 years ago, with a view to admission into Holy Orders—people who had no real connection with the living University, which we supposed to represent science and literature and learning. He believed it was notorious that, if they took into consideration the votes of the resident mem- 369 bers of the Universities, it would be found that the majority of those gentlemen were not on the side which elected the present University Members to the House. It appeared to him that the conditions had entirely changed since representation in the House was accorded to the Universities. The greater facilities for communication which now existed, and the change of habits which had taken place had entirely altered the character of the University constituencies. In the days when University representation in Parliament was accorded to the Universities, the difficulties of communication and expense of travelling made it practically impossible for the nonresident Members of Convocation, who had severed their connection with the University, to exercise the franchise. The franchise in those days was practically confined to those men who were actually engaged in the teaching and learning of the Universities. They were the men whom it was intended to represent in the House. But of late years the conditions had entirely altered. Fellows of the Colleges no longer continued to reside at their University, as they used to do formerly, and the University constituencies now consisted of people scattered all over the country, who, perhaps, took no interest in, had no care for, and no connection with, the Universities, beyond the fact that they were periodically asked to fill up a voting paper for the election of a Member of Parliament. Now, he need not say that he should regret extremely the absence from the House of the right hon. Gentleman who had just addressed them (Mr. Beresford Hope), and, if he might venture to say so, of the other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who represented the Universities in the House on either side of it; but he felt certain that those Members would speak with quite as much force, and probably with greater freedom, if they represented constituencies other than Universities. Why was this representation anomalous? Why, the constituents of hon. and right hon. Members who represented Universities in the House, in almost every instance, had a vote for some other qualification. If he (Mr. Davey) was a resident in London he had a vote for the metropolitan borough within which he resided; and if he was a country clergyman, he had a vote for the county in which his living was situ- 370 ated; so that the University franchise was merely a means of giving a second vote to a certain class of people. He asked by what justice, by what right, was it that any of the country clergymen, or, he might say, that he (Mr. Davey) himself, had a second vote for a University when he already possessed one as the occupier of a house in the borough in which he resided? In olden times, he could quite understand that it was right that the Universities should be represented, because the constituents, for the most part, consisted of resident members within the Universities. These gentlemen were excluded from the franchise in the city of Oxford and the borough of Cambridge, and it was but just and right that they should return their Members, otherwise there would have been no representation for them in Parliament. But now the constituents had facilities for voting, in the shape of voting papers, great facilities for travelling and communication, and were not resident members of the Universities. The resident members did, in a sense, represent science and literature, and learning; but that could not be pleaded in the case of the non-residents scattered all over the country, who were already represented by other qualifications. The right hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope) had—with justifiable pride—referred to his distinguished Predecessors in the representation which he adorned; but it had occurred to him (Mr. Davey) that that was rather an unfortunate topic to touch upon. The right hon. Gentleman had mentioned Lord Palmerston's name; but, if he (Mr. Davey) remembered rightly, when Lord Palmerston exhibited an independence of thought on the question of Catholic Emancipation he ceased to represent the University. Well, Oxford University was at one time represented by Sir Robert Peel. How was Sir Robert Peel dissevered from the University? Why, when he announced that he was convinced of the necessity of Catholic emancipation, and when he determined to vote for it, and showed some independence of thought on a subject in regard to which, no doubt, every Member of the House to-day would be in entire agreement with him, the University of Oxford at once dissevered itself from one of its most distinguished Re- 371 presentatives. They all knew what occurred when the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) exhibited an independence of thought, which did not suit the constituency of the University of Oxford. The right hon. Gentleman had not only adorned the representation of that University, but his connection both with literature and learning and the distinguished degree which he had taken as a student there, marked him out as the person who, of all others, mostly justified University representation. But what happened? The right hon. Gentleman was dismissed from the representation. And hon. Members would find that, invariably, when a University had had the good fortune to be represented by a man—he would not say of the distinction of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, but by any man who took an independent line of his own, it had rejected him. It seemed to him (Mr. Davey) that his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets had been amply justified in bringing this question before the Committee. The hon. Member could not have taken action through any feeling of disrespect to the Universities, for not only was he a distinguished member of one of them, but he had an official connection with it. University representation, however, was in itself an anomaly, and was not justified by the circumstances of the case.
MR. STAVELEY HILL
said, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Horace Davey) had said he would have no objection to there being a representation of a University, if that representation were of, what he was pleased to call, the real living University. Those who knew Oxford at the present day would not have much difficulty in following the hon. and learned Gentleman in distinguishing between the teaching Body of the University and those who had gone forth from the University. He (Mr. Staveley Hill) and others of the University of Oxford, who possessed seats in the House, claimed to be as great apart of the real living Body of the University as was the teaching Body. Why should the teaching Body be represented, and not the thing taught; why should those whose object was to instruct persons before they went out into the world have their Representative, and 372 those who had been taught in the University not be considered such a portion of the University as to have also a share in the representation of the University in the House of Commons? The hon. and learned Gentleman, who brought forward this Amendment (Mr. Bryce), said that, although it might have been the right thing in old days that the Universities should have their Representatives, at the present time circumstances were so altered, and people were so entirely separated from the Universities, that it was not necessary that the Universities should have special representation. Allow him (Mr. Staveley Hill) to say that a close examination of those who still remained members of Convocation in Oxford, and of those who still remained members of the Senate in Cambridge, would show that there was a far closer connection between them and their University at the present time than there ever was in days gone by. The facility which persons living in the country had of obtaining information as to what went on in their University, and the great intimacy that was kept between those remaining in the University and those resident in the country made University men a far more close and united body than they ever were in times gone by. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets said it was a bad thing to bring politics into the Universities, because it caused a great amount of discord amongst the teachers. He (Mr. Staveley Hill) had been a Fellow of his College for a great many years; he had lived in Oxford, and seen a great deal of Oxford during those years; and, therefore, he was not a little surprised to hear the hon. and learned Member, whose opinions the House much respected, say that the introduction of political questions was a great element of discord. In the common room, no doubt, there were political differences; but those differences did not affect the teaching of the Universities. The members of the teaching Body of the University were not so weak as that; they could teach and make their teaching useful, whether they were of one side of politics or of the other. He would only venture to draw attention to a few of the words which were omitted by his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow University (Mr. J. A. Campbell), when he quoted the 373 original Charter to the Universities. He did that because it seemed to him that the words of James L, as quoted by Blackstone, were well worth considering, and formed in themselves an argument in favour of University representation. The University was ordered—To send two of their own Body to serve for those students who, though useful members of the community, were neither concerned in the landed nor in the trading interests, and to pro-toot in the Legislature the rights of the Republic of Letters.Just as much now as in the old days, there were numbers of men who were not concerned in the landed, or the trading interests, but who had a deep interest in the community of Letters, men who were living at or away from Oxford, amongst hundreds and thousands of persons who were looking to them for an example. If there was to be class representation at all, he failed to find any class in the community who were more deserving of representation than the class of persons constituting the elective Bodies for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
MR. THOROLD ROGERS
said, he did not suppose that any Member of the House would entertain any doubt as to the service the right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope) had done to Letters generally, and a thousand other good objects. He had also not the smallest doubt that the House thoroughly acknowledged the extraordinary services rendered to science by his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair); but that was not the question at present before the Committee. He failed to see, in the lengthy account his right hon. Friend (Sir Lyon Playfair) gave of the services that were done to Letters by foreign Governments, any relevance to the subject. He was aware that this was, in more senses than one, an academical discussion; and that the conclusion was a foregone one. It was, he supposed, necessary, in consequence of the underderstanding which had been entered into between the two Front Benches, that this most anomalous part of our representative system should be maintained. He should not, therefore, have got up to say anything on this subject—believing that the proposal of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Bryce) was 374 only a barren protest against what he (Mr. Rogers) believed was mischievous—if he had not something to say about his own experience. He had lived for 40 years in Oxford—since he took his degree he had lived there uninterruptedly. He had had an opportunity of watching the whole course of academical business, and he had taken no small part in the business of the University. He even took no small part in the business now, for he had the honour to be the largest holder of unpaid offices in the University. He was going down to-morrow to discharge the duties of two of his offices. What he complained of was the mischievous effect of political squabbles on the internal life of the University. For years past there had not been an election for a single academical office, into which the most mischievous and demoralizing wirepullers had not thrust their noses; and offices were not given to persons because of their competence to fill them, but because of their partizanship. All this had entirely come out of the mischievous representation of the University. The different posts of the University were looked upon as so many places for the majority of Convocation, and that was members of the Conservative Party. The enfranchisement of the Universities had been confirmed by divers Acts of Parliament; but it was most important to remember that, at the time the franchise was originally given, a great majority of the members of the University held what were called spiritual estates—namely, the estates of clergymen, though they might be laymen. They were, therefore, only represented in Convocation; and one of the motives in giving the franchise was that property in the University should be represented. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Beresford Hope) had mentioned some of the distinguished men who had been returned by the Cambridge University. There were not very many—10 fingers would be quite sufficient to count them; and, similarly, it would not be difficult to count the distinguished men who had represented the Oxford University. Certainly, one of the men who represented Oxford University was, perhaps, the most infamous person who ever sat in the House of Commons—he meant Speaker Finch. The less said of Selden the better; but these were antiquarian con- 375 siderations, which he admitted were of little moment now. The real question was, whether this representation of the Republic of Letters, as it was called, did any good for the Republic of Letters. He did not think it did any good. He thought it degraded, and demoralized, and opened these seats of learning to Party conflicts, and to a perpetual system of Party preparation. In the next place, he did not believe it was expedient that there should be anomalous or double franchises created by Parliament. He was aware that this franchise was to be maintained. He knew very well that the understanding between the two Front Benches was not likely to be disturbed, whatever might be the remonstrances or opinions of hon. Gentlemen on the subject. But it was not unlikely that Members of the House would remember and talk about the matter, and that they would not fail to tell the country to whom it was they owed the retention of this kind of franchise. He would not say it was certain'; but, perhaps, when a new Parliament was elected, this, with other mischievous retentions in this Redistribution Bill, would be swept into the limbo of past defects, and they would wonder that any person, except James I., was so foolish as to give such representation, and that any persons, except the Parliament of the year 1886, or thereabouts, were so unwise as to maintain it.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he need not address the Committee at any length; but as some things had been stated by the assailants of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which certainly did apply to the University of Dublin, he would like to take an immediate opportunity of setting his own constituency right. He must say that, during the whole of this debate, the arguments that had been brought forward for the great change proposed by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) had been utterly inadequate—he could hardly say they were serious arguments—when they came to consider what the change was that it was proposed in this offhand way to make. Now, for the first time since Universities obtained their right to send Members to Parliament, was that right impugned or challenged. For more than two and a-half centuries the old Universities of England and 376 the University of Dublin had continuously sent Members to the House of Commons. Not only was that the case; but, in more recent times, on every occasion when the representation of the country was reviewed and reformed, so far from any attack being made on the principle of the Parliamentary representation of the Universities, the principle of that representation was sanctioned and further developed. For instance, in the great Reform Bill of 1832, the University of Dublin, which, since the Act of Union, had been deprived of one of its Members, had that Member restored; and, when Parliament came again in 1867 to consider the representation of the country, so far from any attack being made upon the representation of the Universities, nine Members instead of six were given to the Universities, for it was so late as 1867 that the Member for the University of London and the Members for the Scotch Universities were added to the House of Commons. Therefore, he maintained that all precedent, all teaching of history, all the decisions of previous Parliaments were in favour of the representation of the Universities in the House of Commons, and, until to-night, as far as he had been able to find out, the principle of that representation had never been seriously challenged. Now, let them consider what were the arguments which had been brought forward for this great change. He submitted they were wholly inadequate; they were of a most hypothetical nature; they were of a most unsubstantial character. What was the first argument? Why, that the Parliamentary contests created a pernicious excitement within the Universities, an excitement which overthrew the ordinary tranquil course of University life. It was said that the Members for Universities were elected by a caucus vote. In the University of Dublin such a thing had never been dreamt of. He knew the University of Dublin perfectly well; and when hon. Members said that only a Professor or a Fellow of the University should represent the constituency, he took issue with them at once. He attended his University as much as any member of it. He was constantly going in and out of the University, and he knew every bit of the University of Dublin quite as well as the hon. and 377 learned Member for the Tower Hamlets knew the life of his own University. It was absurd to say that they who did not happen to be Professors were unable to represent the wants and wishes of the University. All the arguments he had heard advanced in support of the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets appeared to him to divide themselves into two classes. One of those classes contained various criticisms upon the kind of Gentlemen who were returned by Universities to Parliament. It was very easy to make a general imputation that the sitting Members were not fit persons to represent Universities, and that, after all, they did not contribute much more then the Representatives of any other body to the advantage of the country. He (Mr. Plunket) was not going to speak of himself, especially after the far too flattering way in which the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Albert Grey) referred to him personally. But who were the Members who, at present, represented Universities in the House of Commons? Almost every one of them was either an ex-Minister, or privy councillor, one who, by his character and antecedents, had a right to sit on one of the Front Benches of the House; and several of them had actually been selected by the House itself to occupy the Chair of the Chairman of Ways and Means, or to preside over the Private Business of the House, because the House had the greatest confidence in their ability to direct its proceedings. Really, until the debate that evening, the only argument he ever heard advanced against University representation came from hon. Gentlemen who said—"Yes, they may be very distinguished persons, and useful persons in the House of Commons, but they are not exactly the kind of people we want." It was said that Universities should be represented by Professors, and that the men returned did not smell of midnight oil, or the must of the old library. Hon. Members opposite gave different definitions of the kind of men University Members ought to be; but what he observed as curious was, that when a Professor described what the Representative should be like, the description was a faithful photograph of the Professor himself. The great complaint of certain hon. Gentlemen was, that some persons were not University 378 Members instead of those who were. He would put one question to the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets. Suppose a majority of the electors of the University of Oxford were as the electors of one of the Scotch Universities and of the University of London were, sympathizers with the hon. and learned Gentleman's political views, and they had pitched upon him—and they could not have pitched upon a more distinguished scholar—would he have declined to accept the representation, and, if he had accepted it, would he have been found to-night proposing to extinguish University constituencies altogether? He (Mr. Plunket) would pass away from that and come to the real question. What were the serious arguments that were brought against University representation? The two arguments he had been dealing with could hardly have been seriously advanced, because there was nothing at all substantial in them. The serious argument was, that the seats could not be spared, as they were wanted so badly for other places. Did hon. Gentlemen grudge the Universities nine Members out of the 670? In the first place, it had been said that the Members returned did not represent the living Universities of the present day. He claimed that they did represent a living University. He, himself, claimed to represent the living University of Dublin as distinctly as any Professor or Fellow who could be chosen. There were men far more eminent and able than himself; but, so far as knowledge of the institution, and so far as sympathy with everything which went on in the University, his heart beat with every throb of University life. But the Members for the Universities did not only represent the living Universities. In the present state of affairs, when the great learned Professions had no separate representation in the House of Commons, it was of great advantage to the State that those classes should find representation through the Members for the Universities. He was not at all sure that in the University of Dublin the clergy were now the majority of the constituency, because he knew that, for some time, the voters who were not clergymen had been rapidly increasing in number; but he claimed to represent in Parliament not only the clergy of the Protestant Church, but the great 379 Professions of Law, of Medicine, and of Engineering. He did not mean to say that every lawyer, and doctor, and engineer in Ireland were his constituents; but he maintained that the vast majority were, and he asked, if they did not get direct representation through him, where were they to get it? If that was necessary in former times, when the constituencies were less democratic, and smaller than they were now, what would be the case in future? How were the members of the great Professions to find representation, when they were scattered about in constituencies of 50,000 people each? Why, the thing was quite absurd. It would only be by the merest accident that they would have any substantial weight. If they got the ear of their Member of Parliament, it would be by the goodwill of that Gentleman, and not from any special claim they would have upon him. Therefore, he said, University representation was requisite, in order that the views not only of the living Universities, but of those members of Universities who were now most learned in the different Professions should be put forward in the House. He did not stop there. He contended that what was referred to as the Republic of Letters was as nearly reached by the representation of the graduates as it was possible to reach it. He did not care a pin whether they drew the line at M.A. or B.A.; but he contended that the graduates of the Universities were as good a body of electors for the purpose of representing the great Republic of Letters as could be found. He was very unwilling to detain the Committee longer; but, perhaps, he might be allowed to say another word with regard to the constituency which he had the honour to represent. It had been charged against Universities that they sold their degrees in some way or other, and that the sale was in some way connected with the right to vote. He did not know what the case was at Oxford or Cambridge; but whatever the charge was, it did not apply to the University of Dublin, for every man who took the degree of M.A. was entitled to be placed on the Register without any fee or payment, annual or otherwise. A man was put on the Register without his even making a claim, so that the charge which had been made in no way concerned the University of Dublin. He 380 wished, further, to say that he had never heard any opinion expressed by any Party whatever that the representation of the University of Dublin should cease on other than political grounds. A statement was made in the House the other night to the effect that it was distasteful to the so-called National Party in Ireland that there should be Members in the House obstructing their cause. Now, he had no wish to reopen the somewhat heated controversy which took place in the early portion of the evening; but when they were asked to abolish the representation of the Dublin University, because the Members returned ran counter to what was called the Nationalist Party, he was entitled to say that outside of Ulster there were 304,227 Protestants.
§ MR. SEXTON
They have increased 100,000 since the right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke some little while ago.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he corrected himself at the time. There was no doubt of the matter; the number of Protestants in Ireland outside of Ulster was 304,227. Well, according to the mere numerical calculation, these people were entitled to six Members. They were, however, scattered amongst the multitudes of Catholics, and, therefore, their voices would be, practically, silent in the House. He just asked this question, and asked it frankly—under these circumstances, could anyone allege that the two Members allotted to Dublin University too many to represent in this House the wishes of the scattered Loyalists?
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
said, he did not rise to discuss the general question; he simply wished to offer one or two observations with reference to some misleading remarks which had been made in the course of the debate in regard to the University which he had the honour to represent. His hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Bryce), in bringing the subject before the Committee, had referred to the University of London as being a merely examining University; and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Southwark (Mr. Rogers) had expressed the same idea more tersely and more forcibly. He (Sir John Lubbock), however, would be able to show, in a very few words, that this statement was calculated to convey a wrong impression, and that he ought not to pass it altogether without 381 notice. In Oxford and Cambridge Universities instruction was mainly given not by the University, but by the Colleges. When the University of London was founded, University College, London, stood in the same position in regard to the University as University College, Oxford, stood in in regard to the University of Oxford. But there were persons who were anxious to receive degrees without the necessity of going through a course of College residence; they brought their case before the Government, and it was considered that it would be a great advantage to have some Body which should give degrees without requiring residence. The University of London undertook the duty, and had discharged it to the best of its ability; and those who were conversant with the facts would, he believed, agree that this had been of great advantage to the country. One other remark he had to make in reference to an observation which had fallen from an hon. Member as to Members not representing their own Universities, and not being interested in their Universities. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Plunket) had commented on this statement as regards himself; and he (Sir John Lubbock), for his own part, would merely say that he had been a member of the Senate of the University of London for 20 years, and for eight years had been its Vice Chancellor. Though that University could, no doubt, have sent an abler Representative to the House than himself, it could not have sent one who took more interest in it, or in the work it was performing.
§ MR. HICKS
said, he did not wish to trouble the Committee with more than a single remark. As one of the class which had been spoken of in such contemptuous terms by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Davey), he wished to say he was prepared to leave this discussion entirely in the hands of those who were more intimately connected with the Universities than he was; but with regard to the extraordinary speech of the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke)—a speech which he (Mr. Hicks) was sorry to say had been addressed to a very empty House, and had not been heard either by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's 382 Government, or by the right hon. Baronet the Leader of the Opposition (Sir Stafford Northcote), but which, no doubt, by this time, had been fully communicated to them—he desired to ask whether the Prime Minister intended to offer any explanation of it? What did this extraordinary apparent want of agreement between the right hon. Baronet and the other Members of the Government mean? As an independent Member, he (Mr. Hicks) must protest against the attitude assumed by the right hon. Baronet. They had heard a great deal about a compromise and agreement between the two Front Benches, and about the Redistribution Bill having been brought in in consequence of that agreement. The measure had been passed through its earlier stages almost without a word of discussion; and now they were told that, when it was finally disposed, of there was an end to the compromise and agreement as to its provisions. ["No, no!"] He heard cries of "No!" but the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Local Government Board told them distinctly in his speech that, the moment the Bill was disposed of, he was open to consider any Resolution or proposal to alter it. It was to be regretted that there were so few Members in the House at the time; but he trusted that the right hon. Baronet's speech would be fully reported in the Press, that it would be read, and that when the Bill came again before the Committee, the House would be prepared to take it into its own hands, and to deal with it in a calm and impartial spirit, clause by clause. He trusted that the debate would not be brought to a close without Her Majesty's Government explaining how far they agreed with the views which had been expressed by the right hon. Baronet, and which had been endorsed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir William Harcourt).
§ MR. WEBSTER
said, he should like, before this debate closed, to say a few words on the subject of Scottish University representation. He had been so long connected with one of the Universities that he could speak with some experience and knowledge of the working of all of them; and, from long observation of what occurred in them in regard to Parliamentary Elections, he thought he could reasonably give an opinion upon 383 that subject also. All his experience and observation had led him, very reluctantly, to the conclusion that the system of giving to the four Universities in Scotland l-30th of the whole representation of Scotland was utterly indefensible. He would remind the Committee that this system of academical franchise had no hold on the past history of Scotland. There were none of the associations, none of the recollections which had, no doubt, hallowed this system in the case of the English and Irish Universities. It had its rise only in 1868, when it was introduced, for the first time, into the system of Parliamentary Elections in Scotland on the express ground—he thought he quoted the exact words of Mr. Disraeli—That it would insure the presence in this House of men eminent for their knowledge and qualifications in learning, literature, and science, and would enable them more properly to do justice to those subjects in this House.Then, on the same lines, his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair), who did honour to that University, had given an exposition of his own views as to what a University Member ought to be. One of the conditions was, that there should be an absence of Party politics and Party feeling, and that the Member should be a man chosen as eminent in knowledge of higher education, and should devote himself in the House to the interests and promotion of education. Well, all this was very fine in theory; but how did the system operate in practice? He had risen to-night to state that he knew that it was utterly untrue. No such thing existed in the practice of Parliamentary Elections. With regard to the University of Aberdeen, of the Governing Body of which he had long been a member, he might fairly say that the election there had turned entirely upon Party politics; and, with regard to the University of Edinburgh, the right hon. Gentleman who represented it had, it was true, every qualification that could enable him to serve it, and do honour to it; but could it be said that he had been elected with a view to his possession of those qualities? The very reverse was the case. His election, in 1880, went upon purely Party lines. He was returned by the narrowest majority. His eminence then was all that it is now, 384 and his opponent was a man whose name at this moment he (Mr. Webster) did not suppose anybody in the House remembered, and yet that gentleman had polled only 74 votes less than the right hon. Member. It was the practice on the opposite side, as well as on this side of the House, to speak with pride of the right hon. Gentleman; but how were they (the Opposition) going to treat him at the next Election? Why, he was to be opposed as violently as on the last occasion. Was his opponent a man distinguished, whether in letters or in science? No. He was a lawyer of ability, no doubt, in his own Profession, but with no pretence to the possession of those qualities which the right hon. Gentleman had himself told them should, in theory, distinguish the Representatives of those Universities. The truth was, that these Universities, in place of being, as the right hon. Gentleman who represented the University of Cambridge (Mr. Beresford Hope) had said, centres of culture and high thinking, were strongholds of narrow class and sectarian feeling. Let them take the strongest case possible. It was part of the duty of the Council of Graduates, who choose Parliamentary Representatives, also to elect representatives from their own Body to the government of the University. At a recent contest in the University of Aberdeen Dr. Bain, whom everybody knew to be the very man to be a member of the University Council, who had been a Professor in the University, and had great knowledge of both higher and secondary education, was rejected by a very large majority in the election of a representative in the Governing Body of the University. He cited that case as an illustration, and submitted that the elections in Scottish Universities, in place of being governed by a regard for those qualifications of Members, which ought to be the real consideration, were governed entirely by what, in their case, he must call wretched Party politics.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
After the very interesting and able speeches which we have heard from the Representatives of the different Universities who have seats in this House, I think it quite unnecessary for me to enter into the general discussion. I rise for the purpose of saying a few words upon a subject which has been already referred 385 to—namely, a speech which I understand was made by the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke). I had not the advantage of hearing that speech; but I am quite aware that the opinions of the right hon. Baronet—and the House is quite aware too—that his opinions upon many questions, and upon this amongst others, differ from those of the Party who sit on this side of the House, and, I am happy to think, from those of many who sit on his own side of the House. As I have said, I, unfortunately, did not hear his speech; but I understand that what he did was to say that it was impossible for him to support or accept the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce), though, at the same time, he reserved to himself on any future occasion the right to take a different course. Whenever that time comes the right hon. Baronet will find, in the Conservative Party, his steadiest and firmest opponents; and we shall be quite prepared to argue the question on the lines fully before us, and to do our best to show that the right hon. Baronet is in the wrong. But what I understand at present to be the feeling of the right hon. Baronet is that disfranchising the Universities lies altogether outside the scope of the present Bill; and that it is on that account that he is ready to adhere to the understanding which exists on the subject of this Bill, and to resist the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets. But I think that, irrespective of the merits of the case, it is an irrefutable argument against the proposal that the Bill was introduced under peculiar circumstances. I do not mean with reference to any understanding between the different Parties in the House; but I allude, if you like, to the character and circumstances of the Bill, and to the circumstances of its introduction, and to what it is intended to do, and that it is not within its scope to deal with the question of disfranchisement. Let me ask the Committee for a moment to consider what it is that this Bill proposes to do. The House has already passed an Act largely extending the franchise of these Kingdoms; and in order to accommodate that extension to the circumstances of the country, it is necessary that there should be an extensive redistribution of seats. 386 This Bill has, therefore, been brought in for the express purpose of so redistributing them, and to give fair and proper expression to the great extension of the franchise which was passed last year. There is, or there ought to be, nothing disfranchising about it. It has been pointed out several times that this Bill and the previous one, taking the two measures together, are intended to disfranchise no one; but if we were to take away representation from the Universities, we should disfranchise a number, perhaps a considerable number, of persons. There is no reason whatever why you should introduce into a measure intended for one purpose that which is totally at variance with it. Moreover, let me ask the Committee to consider whether this is the proper time when we ought to attempt to reduce the representation of learning in this House. Remember what you are doing. You are enormously increasing the power of the numerical majority; you are seriously increasing the representation of mere numbers. Ought you not to have some kind of reservation, if only a small one—some kind of counterbalance? Do you not see the importance of preserving some kind of counterbalancing force—however slight—against the power of mere numbers? Property, to a certain extent, under any system, will find a way of obtaining some amount of representation; but this is a question of the representation of learning—of doing, through the Universities, what, undoubtedly, is not done by any other portion of our representation—and providing that which otherwise would not be provided for. At the same time, without going into the great argument which has been so well illustrated by my hon. and right hon. Friends on both sides of the House who represent Universities, we have sufficient ground on which to stand, and I hope the Committee will refuse to accept the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman.
Though the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Stafford Northcote) has only detained the Committee for a very few moments, I shall be still shorter in my observations. I wish, without making any particular reference to the closing sentences of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, to express my concurrence with what I take to be his main argument. The right hon. Baronet, 387 without having heard the speech of my right hon. Friend (Sir Charles W. Dilke), accepts the position taken up by my right hon. Friend, who endeavoured to urge upon the Committee, as I should myself be respectfully disposed to do, that this question is not one which can, consistently with the general figure of the work we have before us, be dealt with in the course of the present Bill. The two measures—namely, that for the franchise and that dealing with the areas—might, as the right hon. Baronet said, undoubtedly be considered from one point of view as one measure; but, at the same time, although they are two parts of one great subject, yet the Government has kept them rigidly and entirely separate and distinct. The one we are now dealing with relates entirely to the distribution into areas of the constituencies provided for the country; and the other determines who is a "capable citizen" to exercise the franchise—to use a phrase which has been used by others as well as myself. We determined what was a "capable citizen" in dealing with the franchise. We are not now concerned with the question of the "capable citizen," but with the question of the areas into which the constituency is to be divided; and, undoubtedly, it is true, as has been urged by the right hon. Gentleman, that if we were to accept the proposition of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Bryce) we should introduce into this plan an element which it does not contain, except in the rarest instances, and accidentally, perhaps, we might discover it; but, in principle, the Bill may fairly be said to exclude everything in the nature of disfranchisement. On the general question I do not venture to give an opinion, as it is one which, when it is brought forward, will require very mature consideration. I do not venture to convey an intimation as to the course I should myself take. My position is a rather peculiar one. I represented a great University for a longer time than it is usual for it to be represented, and was so unfortunate as finally to lose its favour, though I must say not until I had greatly tried its patience, and not until I had received from it many striking marks of favour and indulgence. I do not, therefore, hold out any engagement of any kind with respect to my own course outside of this Bill; but I confidently put it to 388 the Committee, that the Government is making no undue compromise of its principles in holding that in this Bill, which has nothing to do with the question of franchise—indeed, I will go further and say, in this plan which does not embrace any element of disfranchisement—the occupants of this Bench will certainly, on this occasion, give their vote cordially, and go into the same Lobby with the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and will decline to support any proposal for the destruction of the representation of the Universities in this measure, which I hope will shortly be passed into law.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he had continually noticed that the method pursued by the Government in dealing with questions brought before the House was to argue "Not now, but some other time." They said—"We do not say that what you propose is not very admirable; but what we contend is that this is not the proper season, and if you will only bring the subject on some Sunday in next week, or next month, or next year, we will take your admirable plan into our most indulgent consideration." He (Mr. Healy) would tell hon. Gentlemen interested in this subject, however, that this was a case of "now or never." Either the Government or the House must deal with it now, or they would never get a grip of it again. They had now got these Universities in their power, and his advice was—"Cut their throats." Kill them now; for, if they had another chance, it would be giving them a fresh lease of life. Therefore, for right hon. Gentlemen to say that they confined themselves to nothing, that they made no pledge, and that some day, in some future generation, if they were spared—as he trusted the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister would long be—they would come forward and lend this subject the magic influence of their name, amounted to nothing. The present Government might fall next week, or the week after, or any day, then they would have the opposite Party in power, and no chance of a question like this being dealt with. Hon. Gentlemen opposite should not be deluded by statements such as those of the Prime Minister. If they thought they had a chance of doing this University system a mischief, now was the time to hurt it. As to what had fallen from 389 the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket), it was contended that there were in Ireland above 300,000 loyal Irish Protestants who would not be represented in the slightest degree if it were not for the Members for the Dublin University; what did that amount to? Why, it amounted to this—that, in the Irish Provinces, no one had any feeling other than that of a Nationalist—["Oh, oh!"]—he meant for Parliamentary purposes. The Loyalists in the three Southern Provinces of Ireland could not get a single man to represent them except the right hon. and learned Members for Dublin University; and, because that was so, therefore Parliament must invent a fancy franchise. If the Loyalists could not get a Representative in Ireland in the ordinary way, then, logically, let them do without it. There was no reason why a loyal minority should have a fancy franchise invented for it. There appeared to him to be every reason why these fancy franchises should be cut off altogether. The door should either be open or shut. If the loyal minority were entitled to representation in Ireland, let them have it; but if, by reason of their number, they were not, then let them be without it. There was no reason in the world why because a man, by a grinding process, went through a series of preliminary preparation to-day, which he would not be able to do perhaps next year, if he were tested, that, therefore, he should have a right in perpetuity to vote for Members of Parliament. If the most loyal Catholic—a Catholic who would grovel in the dust before the name of Royalty—were to offer himself for election at Dublin University, they would set the dogs at him. It was not loyalty that this constituency wanted, it was ascendency; but, of course, it was only natural for Englishmen to be gulled on this point. This House was entering upon a democratic course. It might be right or it might be wrong. He (Mr. Healy) would say—"Let us go on fairly and squarely. If you are going to trust the people, trust them all through, and do not fall back upon such a system as this." What did the University electors do when they had a chance of distinguishing themselves? Why, they put out the right hon. Gentleman, who was now First Lord of the Treasury, and who was the 390 most distinguished man who had appeared in Europe for, perhaps, a century. That right hon. Gentleman was Member for a University, and they turned him out. And for whom? He (Mr. Healy) did not intend to make any invidious comparisons; but was there any Gentleman in that House at the present time who could be compared with the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown? Yet that was the result of the University franchise. He would ask those who believed in the University constituencies to consider what those constituencies had done in the past—to remember that the most distinguished men who had been brought forward had got the kick out and the go-by, unless they were prepared to give way to the influence of these wretched little centres. He would ask the Committee whether they were prepared to trust these wretched University Dons; or whether they would not rather trust the broad masses of the people, who might be wrong sometimes, yet who, in the main, he would venture to say, were always in the right?
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND,
who spoke amidst considerable interruption, assured the Committee that if he could only believe that the groan which arose simultaneously with himself was a groan against the monstrosity of University representation, he should be very glad indeed that that groan had been heard. However, he did not intend to detain the Committee for any length of time; and, therefore, he hoped that Radical Members opposite would not give vent to their unpleasant habit of groaning, in which they indulged whenever an Irish Member rose to speak from an Irish point of view. There could be no doubt whatever that it was a very extreme injustice indeed that the Universities should have special Parliamentary representation. The University of Dublin was an institution which was opposed to every aspiration, national and religious, of the great majority of the people of Ireland; and he did not believe the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen who represented the University of Dublin to-day (Mr. Gibson and Mr. Plunket) would be able, if they were thrown out of that constituency, to find another constituency in any part of Ireland at all. In a few counties in the North, those right hon. and learned Gentlemen 391 might possibly get elected; but, as his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Monaghan(Mr. Healy) had pointed out, the great majority of the people in the other three Provinces of Ireland were extremely national, and the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen to whom he referred could not possibly get a seat in any of those Provinces. It was, then, a monstrous injustice that they should be allowed to have seats as Representatives of the University of Dublin. The first principle of Parliamentary representation was, that Members returned to represent a particular part of the country should be voted for by a large number of the people of that part or the country, and should represent the wishes of a great number of those people. But he would venture to say that the right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Members for the University of Dublin did not represent the wishes of even one-fourth of the people of Ireland; and it was monstrously unjust that a handful of men belonging to that University should have the same political privileges as constituencies containing thousands and thousands of people. He was entirely opposed to the principle of University representation. If it was argued that the Universities should have Members of their own because they were learned Bodies—if the graduates were to have a right to the franchise simply because they possessed so much learning—then he did not see why a right to the franchise should not be given to other people simply because they possessed so much property. Neither property nor learning ought, in his opinion, to have any weight in the matter. ["Hear, hear!"] He was very glad to hear Conservative Members cheering that sentiment. He did not think that because a few hundreds of specially learned men were brought together in a University, that was any reason why they should have the same privileges given to them as were only given to their fellow-countrymen when congregated in thousands; and he believed that the average electors of any constituency were quite as rightly and as well-qualified to vote as those gentlemen who returned the Members for the University of Dublin. ["Oh, oh!"] As the Committee appeared to be very anxious not to give him a hearing, and as he had been subjected to 392 continual interruption since he rose to give his opinion, he should conclude by moving that the Chairman be directed to report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. William Redmond.)
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he wished to appeal to the Prime Minister to allow this Motion to pass. He supposed it was not a very popular Motion to make at that time of night (10 minutes past 12 o'clock); but it must be perfectly evident, from the reception which had just been given to his hon. Friend the Member for Wexford (Mr. William Redmond), that it was quite impossible for the Irish Members to present their aspect of the case involved in the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) with any probability of getting any sort of a hearing. The question of the representation of Dublin University had been very slightly touched upon, although it had been very efficiently opened by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for that University. It was a matter of very considerable importance. The Irish Members, or many of them, certainly objected very strongly, however they might feel regarding the general question of the representation of such Universities—such real Universities—as those of Oxford and Cambridge, they objected very strongly indeed to the representation of the University which was supposed to be the University of Ireland, but which was really only the University of a very small section of the Irish people. Whatever claim might have been made out by the supporters of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the Irish Members certainly did not consider that either the Government or the supporters of the University of Dublin had, so far as the debate had yet gone, made out any satisfactory claim for the representation of that University. The question of the representation of the University of Dublin had not been at all adequately dealt with so far, nor had any good claim been established by those gentlemen who might be supposed to be the supporters and upholders of the maintenance of the representation of the University of Dublin. He, therefore, re- 393 spectfully submitted that if this question were not to be raised later on—and it could not be conveniently raised later on, because then it could only be raised on the Sehedules—the Irish Members should be allowed an opportunity of placing their views upon it before the Committee, and of discussing the maintenance of the separate representation of the University of Dublin with the same freedom with which, during the whole of this evening, there had been discussed the merits of the maintenance of the separate representation of the English Universities. So far, the question of Irish University representation had hardly entered into the case, except under the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin. Grave and weighty considerations of policy, justice, and expediency were underlying this question of the maintenance of the Dublin University; and he had yet to learn that the English House of Commons intended to refuse to the Irish Members the right of putting their views upon this all-important question before them. He did not know any matter that was of more importance in regard to the question of the educational interests of Ireland than this same question of the representation of the University of Dublin. Of course, he was not allowed, under the Rules which regulated the proceedings of the Committee, to enter at this moment into the merits of the question; but, certainly, he himself, and many of his Friends, would be desirous of laying their opinions before the Committee. All he could say, in conclusion, was that he did not desire to interfere with the convenience of the Committee in coming to a decision upon the particular question which had been occupying their attention, and which had been debated for many hours that evening—namely, the question of the English Universities. But he could not see, at the present moment, any way in which the Irish Members could reconcile their own duty in this matter with the convenience of the Committee—that was to say, he could not see how, if a division were taken on the Amendment which had been proposed from the Chair, his Friends and himself could raise the subject anew in any form which would be of the slightest practical use. As he had said a few moments ago, 394 they would have to wait until the Schedules of the Bill were reached; and then, of course, as they all knew, when that period came, it would be impossible to raise any discussion such as they desired to raise. They would be told that the matter had been finally closed in the discussion on the clauses, and they would be hustled out of the way. If the Government could show that there was any reasonable method by which the question could be raised again, he and his Friends would not desire to raise the Irish branch of the subject while the debate on the English branch was going on. They did not desire to obtrude themselves now; but they did desire to have an opportunity of thrashing this matter out. They were very willing to be the last served in these matters, as the history of the proceedings of the House of Commons had already proved; and if the Government could point out any way in which the Irish Members could yield to the convenience of the Committee now, and allow the immediate question before the Committee to go to a division, while, at the same time, they retained the right to raise again that part of the question in which they were specially interested, he could only say that he and his hon. Friends, on whose behalf he spoke, would be most happy to adopt it. They felt that the University of Dublin, however it might have succeeded as a higher educational establishment for a section of the Irish people, had undoubtedly failed as a national institution; and that the question was one of so much importance that they could not, with the slightest regard for their own position, and for their duty to their countrymen, avoid attracting to it that attention in that House which its importance demanded.
I am sorry I cannot meet the appeal of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken (Mr. Parnell). The hon. Member who made this Motion for reporting Progress (Mr. William Redmond) complained of the reception which he met with from the Committee. "Well, Sir, that hon. Member has not lived so many years in this world as I have; but, as he gathers experience, he will find that mankind are apt to become indifferent to favours, and appreciate them less in proportion as they are profusely bestowed upon them. ["Hear, hear!"] The favours of the hon. Gen- 395 tleman have been bestowed, even in the course of the present evening, with such liberality and bounty upon this House, that I admit that in some portion of the House there is not that high estimate formed of them which unquestionably ought to prevail. I am quite certain, however, that that does not indicate any indisposition on the part of the Committee to discuss this question. The hon. Member for the City of Cork has said that we have been spending the evening in discussing the case of the English Universities. I am quite sure the hon. Gentleman has not heard the debate, or he would hardly have made that statement. It has been a very interesting debate, not on English Universities, but on the principle of University representation. The hon. Member says, however—and here I am wholly at one with him—that the case of the University of Dublin is, in some respects, unique. I am certain that if the hon. and learned Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy), who rose to offer some remarks on a collateral issue, had thought fit to make them upon the University of Dublin, he would have been heard—I will not say with patience, for that would not do justice either to him or to the Committee—but with the utmost interest and attention, and were he to do so now, I am sure the same result would follow. If the hon. Member for the City of Cork himself (Mr. Parnell) is disposed at this hour to enter upon the question, I will answer for it that there is no doubt whatever that he, likewise, will be heard, I may say, to his heart's content; for the intelligence which he brings to bear upon such a subject, and the relevancy with which he always argues, put us in the most favourable state of mind to hear him. I hope that this Motion for reporting Progress will not be pressed, and that we maybe permitted to proceed with the debate upon the subject.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the Committee had lately been treated to many novelties, and the most startling of these was the method which the Prime Minister had taken of conducting the debates. Instead of allowing a Member to rise of his own motion and at his own discretion, according to the ideas in his mind, the Prime Minister, not satisfied with the New Rules and with the operation of Urgency, took upon himself the posi- 396 tion of dictator of debate, and presumed that he had met the necessity of the case, and shown a due regard to the proper functions of the House, by calling upon one particular Member or another to address himself to the subject before the Committee. That was an arrangement which he (Mr. Sexton), for one, could not accept; for he thought the debate should be ordered and conducted according to the individual desire and intention of any hon. Member who took part in it. The Prime Minister, when he condescended to be jocose, which was not often, was as a rule intelligible; but perhaps it was owing to the dimness of his (Mr. Sexton's) understanding—[Laughter]—he confessed that he saw no great intellectual skill in taking advantage of an admission which a man was perfectly ready to make—but perhaps it was owing to the dimness of his understanding that the joke ventilated upon his hon. Friend the Member for Wexford (Mr. William Redmond) by the right hon. Gentleman was unintelligible to his mind. It was no proof of its point that it should be applauded by the followers of the Prime Minister, who were equally ready with a due facility to worship the right hon. Gentleman's politics, or his wit. He (Mr. Sexton) was not aware that his hon. Friend had addressed to the Committee more than a few brief words that night; and he thought ungenial wit might well be spared from, if not the oldest, at least the most experienced Member of the House, to the youngest. As to the question before the Committee—this great question of the University representation of the three countries—it was only reached at the dinner hour, and had only occupied about three hours of the time of the Committee. Yet they were told that the subject had been adequately discussed. He was glad to say that when Sir Arthur Otway was in the Chair they never had the startling decisions upon adequacy of discussions which were sometimes given under other circumstances; but there had recently been decisions in that House on that point which left one in doubt as to what might be deemed, according to the ideas prevailing there of propriety and justice, the precise limits of adequate discussion. The Prime Minister had said that the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) could not have heard the de- 397 bate, and that the debate had not been upon Irish, English, or Scotch University representation, but upon the principle of University representation as compared or contrasted with the ordinary Parliamentary representation of the general community. Now, he (Mr. Sexton) had sat in the House for some portion of the evening, and had heard the very eloquent speech of the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) on the particular claims of that institution. He had also heard a speech on the difference between the qualifications of voters in the Scotch and English Universities; and he had heard a proposal made which had quickened the risibility of the Prime Minister, that the graduate qualification should be extended to the whole body in Oxford and Cambridge, as in Scotland. If these were not matters concerning the comparative merits of the University system of representation in Ireland, England, and Scotland, he did not know what they were. The representation of the Prime Minister was not an accurate representation of the debate. The representation of Trinity College, Dublin, was peculiar. The Dublin University held a peculiar position towards politics and the public life of the community. The Irish Members who sat near him (Mr. Sexton) represented that section and part of public opinion in Ireland which was most entitled to be heard on the question of the University representation of the country; and a few words from two Members of the Party, rising at midnight in a jaded and unwilling House, did not represent as fully as was necessary the views which ought to be laid before the Committee. Under these circumstances, he appealed to the Prime Minister to give an opportunity of concluding the debate another night, for he was certain that in that way the time of the Committee would be saved.
§ MR. HEALY
said, that as his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had pointed out, the Irish Members were in no sense whatever anxious to stand between the Committee and a division. All they desired to do was to save their right to debate the question of the Dublin University, either now or at some future time. Unfortunately, the enacting clause of the Bill with regard to this matter was the 398 second; and it set forth that from and after the end of this present Parliament the Parliamentary boroughs named in the first part of the 1st Schedule should cease to return any Member. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) proposed to insert the words "and Universities." If the Committee allowed this opportunity to pass, it would not be possible afterwards to raise the question of the University of Dublin. He (Mr. Healy) would like to know from the Chair whether that view was or was not correct? He agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork that it was reasonable enough that the question of the Irish University should be separated from that of the English Universities. It was not wanted to raise them upon the same lines; and he would like to ask the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke), or the Chairman of Ways and Means (Sir Arthur Otway), whether, if a division were now taken on the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, they would not be excluding all opportunity of raising the Dublin University question before the Report stage? Of course, he was aware that it could be raised on the Report stage; but what was wanted was to have the question discussed in Committee.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I believe that on the Order Paper there is a proposal to deal with the question of the Universities generally by a new clause, to be proposed, I think, by the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton.) I think that probably, Sir, you would rule that, if the question should include all Universities, it could not be raised again after a decision had been taken upon the point on which it is now proposed to divide the Committee; but I would suggest to the hon. Member who has just spoken, and also to the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), that that does not arise in the present case. If their Amendments are intended to be pointed solely to the University of Dublin—I am not to be understood as suggesting in any way that we should support or oppose such proposals; but for the information of hon. Members who may desire to raise the question, I would point out, and especially to the two hon. Members whom I have named, 399 that if they choose to propose a special clause affecting only the University of Dublin, they might do so, and their object would thus be gained. If that meets their views, they might allow the division to be taken on the general question, and reserve to themselves the opportunity of debating this particular point afterwards.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he preferred to have a ruling from the Chair on the point. He wished to know whether or no, after a division had been taken on the present Amendment, and that Amendment had been defeated, the Chairman would exclude any new clause which any hon. Member might desire to propose for disfranchising the University of Dublin.
§ MR. BRYCE
said, he wished to say a word on the point of Order before this question was answered. The Amendment which he had proposed was followed, later on, by an Amendment to the Schedule. In that Amendment to the Schedule he had put down the names of all the Universities. Of course, if the present Amendment were defeated he should not move the following one; but that Amendment would be equally in Order if it named only the English and Scotch Universities, and not the University of Dublin. It would be equally an Amendment properly following up the present Amendment. He submitted that, as the present Amendment spoke only of Universities in general, and did not imply that Dublin was to be one of the Universities disfranchised, so it would be perfectly open to hon. Members opposite to move a special clause in reference to the University of Dublin.
So far as I am able to form an opinion at this moment, I should consider the matter determined by the division to be taken now. It is obvious that if any hon. Member could raise the question in regard to the University of Dublin hereafter, it would be competent for him, or any other hon. Member, to raise it in regard to any of the other Universities. In my opinion, the question would be determined now, and could not be raised again in Committee.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he understood that in the opinion of the Chairman, if the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Mem- 400 ber for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) be now rejected, it would not be competent for the Irish Members to raise again in Committee the question of the representation of the University of Dublin. In face of that decision, which, of course, he would not challenge, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister whether he remained of the same mind? To the Irish Members the question was of the gravest importance; and, in their opinion, it had not been adequately discussed. In the early portion of the evening some of his hon. Friends were able to show, to his mind at all events, that the Party they represented had been most unfairly treated by the Boundary Commissioners; and their feeling on that subject intensified their objection to the monopoly of University representation by the Members for the University of Dublin. There was not only the question whether Dublin University should continue to retain its Members, but the extended question was involved—namely, whether the University should retain its Members alone, or in conjunction with another University? That was a question of the very gravest importance.
The hon. Gentleman is now going into the general question. The Question before the Committee is, "That I do report Progress."
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
assured the Chairman he had no intention to discuss the general question. He was only endeavouring to bring home to the mind of the Prime Minister the large number of grave issues which were involved in the discussion which the right hon. Gentleman wanted to close. As a matter of fact, there had only been three hours' debate, and but short speeches had been delivered to an impatient and tired Assembly by the Members of the Party chiefly interested. A more monstrous proposition than that of the Prime Minister had never been submitted to the House of Commons; and it would be the duty of the Irish Members to resist it to the utmost of their power.
said, that when he spoke a few minutes ago he was fully under the impression that it would be competent for hon. Members to raise the question, as it affected Ireland and the University of Dublin, on the Com- 401 mittee stage. He must, however, be wrong, as the Chairman had ruled the point the other way. He was far from saying that the matter should be left as it was; and though he was extremely sorry they could not divide on the general question now, he would, under the circumstances, consent to the Motion to report Progress.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Tuesday next.