§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 17, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
§ * MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I beg to move the omission of Clause 17, which provides that the Commissioners should inquire into the subject of tests now to be subscribed by professors and report to the House. This I do with a view to subsequently moving further Amendments abolishing all tests. Before proceeding to discuss the Amendment, 1 desire to ask the Government whether they intend to give way on the matter of the declaration now imposed on lay professors and principals, because if I receive an affirmative answer time will thereby be saved, as I shall not enter into any arguments on that part of the subject, but confine myself to the 1272 question of the test required from theological professors. One would have supposed that in these days all tests on lay professors would have become wholly obsolete, and I trust the Government will now assure me that they accept, at least, so much of my Amendment as propose to abolish the declaration contained in the Act of 1853.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON,) Bute
As the hon. Gentleman has moved the omission of the clause it will be well, perhaps, that I should invite the attention of the Committee to the two very distinct and separate subjects which come under the' general denomination of tests in the Scotch Universities—the lay and the theological. Up to 1853 all the Chairs in the Universities of Scotland could only be filled by persons who subscribed very stringently to the whole Confession of Faith. But in that year the test in regard to all the Lay Chairs was modified, and merely required the professor to declare solemnly that he would not use his position in a manner hostile to the Established Church of Scotland. With regard to this test, it appears to Her Majesty's Government that its object could be attained by proper rules of academic discipline; for a professor who fills a Lay Chair and uses his position as such professor to inculcate theological doctrines is exceeding his province, and can be dealt with by rules of academic discipline. The question is raised in a very distinct form by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Inverness Burghs (Mr. Finlay), who has placed on the Paper an Amendment which does away with the declaration of 1853, and will leave the Lay Chairs open without tests. But the case of the Theological Chairs is different. It may be right that there should be some modification of the test, so as to make it one that might be taken by Presbyterians of all denominations in Scotland; but the exact manner in which this modification should be carried out is a matter of a somewhat complex character that requires careful consideration. In the discussion of this question it is quite clear that if, from a philosophical spirit, we treat the teaching of theology as we should treat any other scientific study, and apart altogether from its relation, to the profession for which it qualifies, 1273 then we must make up our minds how we are going to adapt the tenure of the Chairs so as to fit in with any scheme of scientific knowledge. That is a subject manifestly suited for dispassionate and careful examination. If we take the more limited view and suggest that these Chairs ought to be open to a limited number of religious denominations who hold the larger doctrines of our Christian faith in common, we must ascertain what are the arrangements or details on which we may secure the consent of the churches. That is the condition of success. We have already equipped colleges of theology outside the Universities; and the disposition or state of mind of the bodies who control those colleges is a matter which lays at the root of their success in adopting any scheme of that kind. We might cut and carve in our Faculty of Theology; we might relegate Biblical criticism and Hebrew to another faculty; we might suppress the remaining Chairs; but we cannot decide on the question of tests until we have made up our minds what we are going to do with the Chairs. There is a necessity for inquiry as to the tests applicable to the Theological Chairs. That is the state of the question. I have sketched it briefly, and I hope fairly. From what I have heard in this House I am unable to discover that there is any strong opinion in favour of tests for the lay Chairs; and when I compare the opinion adverse to the test with the terms of the test itself, I cannot say that it possesses intrinsic qualities which entitle it to any very large amount of enthusiasm. Therefore we have had to see how we can reconcile the just treatment of this question with a proper regard to the various interests outside the Universities—namely, the ecclesiastical bodies who are concerned in that matter. I venture to think that the best solution of then difficulty is now to do away with the tests for the lay Chairs. Accordingly, I am prepared to accept the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Inverness, by which we shall make access to all the lay Chairs in the Scotch Universities open, without exacting from the candidate the smallest requirement which could diminish his independence or his self-respect, while we should, at the same, do nothing to injure the Established Church or the interests of religion. I 1274 therefore hope that the statement I have made will remove any difficulty which might have been felt in any part of the House as to the course the Government propose to pursue. We eliminate from the operation of Clause 17 the whole of the Lay Chairs, and we concentrate the attention of the Commissioners on the various problems which I have stated to the Committee. Whatever may be the ultimate decision arrived at as to the test for Theological Chairs, it is surely well that the question should be maturely considered by a body which will treat it from an academical point of view, and that Parliament should in due course be put into possession of all the facts of the case.
§ * MR. BRYCE
I think the Committee will have heard with satisfaction the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that the Government at length propose to abandon lay tests. I am glad that it has come now, late in the day as it is. They have hitherto made no sign, and would have allowed Clause 17 to pass in its present shape, and it is not until the present moment that they have admitted that it ought to be amended, so as to be made to refer to the Theological Chairs only. I congratulate the Committee on having this question disposed of, and the Government on having at last made up their minds to get rid of the test. The right hon. Gentleman seems to have overlooked two clauses which stand on the Paper in the names of the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Esslemont) and myself, which come before that of the hon. and learned Member for Inverness. Those Amendments will probably be moved because we think that they will deal with the question in a better way than that suggested by the hon. Member for Inverness, which the Lord Advocate seems to wish to accept, in order that he may appear to assist one section of his own supporters. The question of tests for the so-called Theological Chairs still remains to be settled. The test imposed on these Chairs is a very stringent one; indeed, a test more rigid, more exacting in its demands on the conscience can hardly be imagined. It goes far beyond the Thirty-nine Articles, with which this House was often concerned 20 or 30 years ago. The Confession of Faith is a much 1275 longer document than the Thirty-nine Articles, and the test is most stringent and exacting. There are three objections to theological tests—first, that they exclude conscientious men; secondly, that they are ineffective and delusive as a security against unconscientious men who are perfectly willing to take them without believing them; and thirdly, that they narrow the University, make it sectarian, and exclude men who would confer honour upon the University. These arguments apply to all tests, and are so familiar that I need do no more than mention them. However, I admit, as the Lord Advocate put it, that the arguments in favour of the retention of theological tests are, in some points, different from those which apply to lay tests, and I proceed to examine the three on which stress is laid in the present case. It is said that to take away the Theological Faculty from the Established Church of Scotland would be probably to move in the direction of Disestablishment. I do not admit that that is so. There is already a majority of Scotch Members in this House who are in favour of Disestablishment, and I believe that the Scotch people have already made up their minds in favour of it. Therefore, if that argument is used it is not an argument of great force with the majority of Scotch Members. But I do not put this question as if it were a part of the Disestablishment Question, for the exclusive possession of a Theological Faculty in the Universities bound by tests is not essential to the existence of an Established Church. There are countries which have maintained a State Establishment of religion, but no test restricted Chairs; there are, in fact, many and various methods of dealing with the public teaching of theology. I will give three instances. In Germany there are Protestant and Roman Catholic Theological Faculties, but the former are not subject to any test. In Italy there is an Established Church, but theological instruction is not provided in the Universities, but is left to be given in the various seminaries and other institutions entirely under the control of the Catholics. That is another way of dealing with the question, and perhaps not a happy way, because it has tended to narrow and cramp the theological teaching. The most eminent and famous of 1276 the Universities of North America has a Theological Faculty, in which there are professors bound by no test whatever. These instances, and many more which I could mention, go to show that there is no necessary connection between the existence of an Established Church in a country and its possession of Theological Chairs in the National Universities. What reason is there that that should be done for the Established Church in Scotland which is not done for the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church, especially considering that the number of students and of ministers in the two latter Presbyterian bodies is in the aggregate greater than the number of students and ministers in the Established Church? There is a second argument which we may expect to hear from the Government, and that is that there are still Theological Faculties, restricted by-tests to the clerics of one denomination, at Oxford and Cambridge. There is, however, one great difference between Scotland and England. In England the theological professors are almost entirely at Oxford, and partly at Cambridge, supported by cathedral establishments, and the fact that they are connected with cathedral establishments is the great difficulty in the way of this branch of University reform. That difficulty does not exist in Scotland because there is nothing in the nature of a cathedral foundation. Why should we who desire to reform the Scotch Universities wait for England in this matter? If an English University Bill were before us we should move to set free the Theological Chairs in Oxford and Cambridge; now that a Scotch Bill is before us, we propose to begin with Scotland. One must begin where one gets a chance. Besides, it is a great deal easier to deal with this matter in the case of Scotland than of England. In the case of England, whatever the statistics be as to the relative number of adherents of the Established Church and of the other Churches, there can be no doubt that the proportion of the adherents of the English establishment—the proportion of ministers and students in the Universities belonging to her communion—is very much larger than the proportion of the adherents of the Establishment in Scotland. The Established Church in Scotland is in a minority as respects 1277 both ministers and students. There is also this point to be considered—that the hardships of excluding members of other Presbyterian bodies from the Chair and of practically excluding them from attendance at the theological lectures of the University is greater in the case of Scotland, because the theological differences between the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church and the Established Church are very much smaller than those which exist between the Established Church and the Nonconformist bodies in England; they are, in fact, so small as to be practically invisible to any but a Scottish eye. The third objection which can be taken to this proposal is one on which I suppose most Members of the House will feel most difficulty, and that is whether you can have a faculty of theology at all which is not bound down by tests to some specific denominational teaching—in other words, can you have Theological Chairs that are not test-bound? What are these Chairs? They are four in number—namely, Hebrew—or, as it is called in most Universities, Oriental languages—Biblical criticism, Ecclesiastical History, and Divinity. As regards the first three of these Chairs, there is no reason whatever why they should be dogmatic or test-bound. The Professors of Hebrew and of New Testament Greek have to deal with questions of scholarship and literary history, and must be permitted to deal with them freely. So the Professor of Ecclesiastical History has to investigate history in a scientific and critical—not in a dogmatic—spirit, and will be more likely to teach well if he is not obliged to accept foregone conclusions. In the University of Cambridge, where a few years ago a Chair of Ecclesiastical History was founded, it was founded as a lay and free Chair, subject to no test; and though the distinguished historian who now fills it is a clergyman, I can say, having been one of the electors, that this happened only because he was the best candidate, and not because he was a clergyman; and in regard to the fourth Chair—that of Divinity, or systematic theology—there are several courses which may be taken. As suggested by the Lord Advocate, it is open to the House either to abolish the Chair altogether, or to 1278 throw it open to every Presbyterian denomination, or to keep it as it stands. I confess I should be sorry to see it abolished, as I should be sorry to seethe faculty of theology abolished.. Apart from any sentimental reason I believe it to be a matter of practical value to the national intelligence and development of national religious thought that there should be a free faculty of theology in the Universities. It is desirable to prevent the subject of theology falling entirely into the hands of denominational colleges, and it is a benefit to the Universities themselves that there should be persons chosen by reason of their special fitness and competency to give theological teaching. There is no difficulty in teaching theology without the authoritative inculcation of dogma. A professor in a free faculty would not be put in his place to say, "This is true, and you must believe it: it is what the State, my master, and the Church to which I belong, hold to be true." He would treat the subject just as professors now treat the subjects of psychology, entology, and ethics.. The Lord Advocate suggested that we ought to know what is the opinion of Scotland and of the Scottish religious bodies on this question. The Free Church of Scotland expressed the opinion in its last deliverance on the subject a year ago, that it is desirable that Chairs and a Faculty of Theology should exist, but that they should be subject to no test whatever. The United Presbyterian Church is of opinion that all dogmatic teaching of theology in each of the Universities ought to cease as a State-supported institution. If the professor of theology is not bound to inculcate any particular doctrine, he is not a teacher of any particular religion, so that the objection felt very consistently and logically by the United Presbyterian Church to the present state of things entirely falls to the ground. The view I am pressing upon the Committee is therefore entitled to claim the support of the United Presbyterian Church as well as of the Free Church. The objection may be urged that if there are no tests it may be possible to appoint persons who are not Presbyterians, not Protestants, not even Christians at all. That is, of course, theoretically possible, but my answer is, are we to suppose that the 1279 appointing authority, be it the Crown or the University Court, will commit such an unpardonable blunder, such an insult to the people of Scotland and the Universities as to put in persons who from their professions and position would be obviously unfitted for the post? I think we may look with some confidence to the appointing authority choosing persons who will be suitable for the professorships. However, I admit there maybe difference of opinion as to whether this one particular Chair should be abolished, while thinking that it would be a distinct benefit to the country and more compatible with the principles which ought to guide us if the Chair were retained. Last night we adopted an Amendment by which the Commissioners have power to abolish any Chair. So if the Commissioners see fit to put an end to this Chair, they can do so without the need of inserting this 17th clause at all. This is, however, a matter of detail. In proposing to omit this 17th clause, we take our stand on the broad principle that all tests ought to be abolished, and desire to have the opinion of the Committee on that clear and simple issue. The Lord Advocate said the Government proposed to leave the matter to the Commission because there were two questions to be considered: the first question was what the relation of theology teaching should be to the other University teaching, and the second was what concession should be made to the other Presbyterian bodies, if the tests were so widened as to include members of every Presbyterian community. We conceive it is not necessary for the Commission to take evidence on these points. We think the more simple and more excellent method is to abolish tests altogether. The adoption of that course makes it unnecessary to enquire what the relation of theological teaching to other teaching should be. We are persuaded that there is in Scotland no middle course between retaining the present system and an absolute and complete abolition of the tests. The non-established Presbyterian Churches do not wish to be admitted to these theological professorships at the expense of the principles they advocate. I hope I have shown the Committee that there is no necessity for any further inquiry. It is not desirable that this matter should be 1280 brought up again in three or four years' time. We conceive that the Committee are now in possession of all the essential facts. We conceive that by simply abolishing the tests we shall put the question upon its true and natural basis. We wish to do the best we can for the religious life of Scotland, and to extinguish the last trace of a sectarianism which has prevented the Universities from being in this respect, as they have been in every other respect, the national possession of the people of Scotland.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I think that the hon. Gentleman dwelt rather too much upon this clause, as if his proposal were the only one consistent with the immutable principles of the party he so ably represents. The Committee is aware that the only difference between the proposal which the Government are now making and the proposal which the hon. Gentleman and his friends made when they were in office in this matter of ecclesiastical tests is that Her Majesty's Government are prepared to give up the lay tests, whereas the hon. Gentleman and his friends never hardened their hearts to make that proposal. I do not say that to convict right hon. Gentlemen of inconsistency. But it is well to remind the hon. Gentleman that three years ago he and his friends did not think that Liberal principles required the sacrifice of the ecclesiastical tests in Scotland. What we have to consider is not the relative claims of the Established Church and the other religious communities in Scotland, but whether we should have any tests whatever, and leave it to the Commission to advise what and how far tests ought to be retained. With regard to fees, let me remind the hon. Gentleman that the portion of the salaries of the professors paid out of the Consolidated Fund is very small compared with the part paid by fees. I believe that in Germany it is not the custom in the case of Protestant Chairs to require theological tests; nevertheless the appointments are made in many cases by the Theological Faculty. In many cases the appointing body is a religious body, and, therefore, the same necessity does not exist to see that the new professor takes the test.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
With regard to Oxford and Cambridge, the hon. Gentleman has to admit that the principle has been accepted by Parliament, and rigidly adhered to, that in the case of the theological professors subscription to theological tests should he maintained. The hon. Gentleman suggests that great difficulty has arisen in the way of the reforms he has recommended from the fact that these professors, as a rule, were attached to cathedral foundations. It is true in some cases there is that connection. But the reason why Parliament has refused to interfere is not the technical difficulty of settling the relations between the professorial and ecclesiastical functions of these gentlemen. The broad view which has influenced every Government is that in dealing with a subject like theology tests are an absolute necessity, unless we wish to see the whole system dissolved into an amorphous and wholly shapeless condition. That brings me to the four subjects dealt with by theological professors—namely Hebrew, Old and New Testament criticism, ecclesiastical history, and theological dogma. Now, taking the first two together, though it may possibly be said that the study of Hebrew and the study of the New Testament are subjects which may be removed altogether from the Theological Faculty, and placed in some other faculty, yet the hon. Member will see that when a religion is based upon doctrines, and when those doctrines are the whole subject which has to be discussed, it is not possible to eliminate the dogmatic element from the discussion. It is true, of course, and we know plenty of great examples of it, that the Old Testament and the New Testament have been discussed in the absence and to the entire neglect of all theological considerations; but what is the result? The result is that the teaching of the professor who has so dealt with the subject, has in many cases been of the atheological character which I have just indicated. A Chair conducted by a person of the high qualities, say of M. Renan, would not be a Chair devoted to the advancement of anything which in these islands is 1282 called religion. It might be for the advancement of what many regard as sound knowledge, but it would not be religious knowledge. The case is almost equally strong as regards ecclesiastical history. Early ecclesiastical history cannot by any human ingenuity be separated from the question of religion. Will the hon. Gentleman contend that the great series of works on the "Early History of Christianity," which M. Renan has just brought to a conclusion are works which can be considered apart from religion? You cannot possibly divorce questions of early ecclesiastical history from the question of Christianity, however wide be the definition which you choose to give to that term. I think the hon. Gentleman when he came to the last Chair which he discussed—namely, dogmatic theology—himself felt that his case was rather a difficult and a weak one. He held out an ideal state of things in which what he was pleased to call free theology should be discussed by the holders of this Chair. I do not know what he means by free theology. If he means the impartial consideration of religious dogma from a purely scientific standpoint, in the first place, that, if you got it, would not satisfy the people of Scotland, and, in the second place, you would not get it. By free theology you would not as a rule get that free discussion from an impartial standpoint of theological dogma; you would have an arbitrary series of theologians, each professing a different creed, none of them accepted by the other as a true representative of scientific theology, and none of them accepted by the Church of Scotland or by any Presbyterian body in Scotland as at all representing their view of what theology ought to be. The hon. Gentleman regarded it as practically absurd either that the appointing body would ignore the fact that the great mass of the people in Scotland are Christians, or that the appointing body would be so foolish as to ignore the general opinion of the people of Scotland and appoint somebody who differed from the people of Scotland in the matter of theology. If that is the argument, then the whole case of the hon. Gentleman is destroyed. I can understand the argument—and from certain points of view have sympathy with it—in favour of perfectly free scientific inquiry into all these matters, but that is not the 1283 point of view of the hon. Gentleman. He wishes to transfer the task of imposing tests on theological professors from the House of Commons to the appointing body. [Mr. BRYCE shook his head in dissent.] Well, I do not see how the hon. Gentleman gets over that. As I understand it the hon. Gentleman thought that if Strauss were to come to life again and compete for a Scotch Chair, or M. Renan, those two eminent theologians would be rejected because their views were not in harmony with those of the people of Scotland. That, I contend, is itself imposing a test, and if that test is to be imposed I would rather it was imposed deliberately Parliament than left to the caprice of the appointing body. The hon. Gentleman, using a dangerous argument, began his speech by saying that tests were useless because they hamper the conscientious man and they did not hamper the un-conscientious man; but towards the end of his speech, he said:—"After all, will not every professor whom you have appointed have the strongest motive to teach a theology agreeable to the students, because will not he consider his fees?"
§ * MR. BRYCE
The right hon. Gentleman will allow me to explain. I did not say that; what I said was, the theological professor will have the strongest motive for treating with respect and deference the opinions of those who do not agree with him. I never mentioned the fees; I never even thought about them.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, if we are going to admit that as a kind of motive which is to modify this free theology and this impartial consideration of dogmatic teaching from an impartial standpoint, we, after all, introduce, I will not say a meaner motive, but a much less lofty and creditable motive, than I thought was to actuate those who appointed the professors and those who occupied the professors' Chairs. It appears to me that the complexity of the question which the hon. and learned Member has brought forward, and the number of considerations he himself has been compelled to advance in support of his view, is, in itself, one of the strongest arguments for carrying out the plan which he and his friends were the first to suggest—namely, that of leaving these questions to the Commissioners themselves. They would have 1284 the opinion of the people of Scotland, of the great ecclesiastical bodies whose interests they were bound to consider, and of the academical interests of the Universities, and I submit that they will be far more qualified to discuss the question and to lay it before Parliament in a form mature for the decision of Parliament than we could possibly attain to by any other procedure that can be suggested.
§ MR. FINLAY (Inverness, &c.)
I think general satisfaction will be felt in the Committee at the announcement made by the Lord Advocate that the Government are prepared to abolish all tests in the case of Lay Chairs in the Scotch Universities. I certainly should have strongly objected to remitting for the consideration of the Commission a matter which I believe to be ripe for decision by Parliament. It is somewhat remarkable that a reform of this kind should have been delayed longer in the Scotch than in the English Universities. In 1871 they were done with in English Universities; in Scotland we have waited until 1889, and that is the more remarkable in that the Scotch Universities do not, as the English Universities do, profess to supply the moral and religious training for their students. With regard to the other part of the subject, different considerations altogether come into play. On one conclusion there will be general agreement—namely, that in the case of Chairs of Theology there must be a test of some kind. I cannot understand a professor of theology who does not profess belief in a God. My hon. and. learned Friend proposess that the professor of theology should teach theology on principles which are absolutely unintelligible. It is to be theology in vacuo. The professor of theology is to state every view, but not to express to his bewildered students his predilection for any view in particular. I should like to ask my hon. and learned Friend whether, in fact and in substance, a professor teaching theology on those principles would not be a professor of general scepticism. What would his teaching be? If we had a professor of theology stating every theory and not indicating to his students which theory they ought seriously to consider as representing truth in these matters, we should have a professor of theology teaching his students to disbelieve, in effect, in every theory. The hon. and learned 1285 Gentleman ought to explain how, on his principles, theology could be taught in this fashion. But the hon. and learned Gentleman has given up his position on this point. He is opposed to any direct test, but he advocated doing indirectly what he would not do directly; that is to say, he left it to the Commission to appoint men of particular religious views, while he shrank from adopting the principle that a certain test should be imposed. Of one thing I am certain, that if a Chair of Theology were established on the hon. and learned Gentleman's principles in Scotland it would have no students at all to attend it. The great Presbyterian bodies of Scotland would repudiate it on behalf of their studends if the teaching of theology or cognate subjects was based on such principles. The first conclusion I submit therefore is that there must be some test in the case of Theological Chairs. The second conclusion I submit is that the present test is too strict and too narrow. The Act of Security was passed just before the Union of the Crowns, and it declared that those Chairs could only be held by members of the Established Church, who had not only to subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith, but also to submit themselves to the discipline of the Established Church. Since that time circumstances in Scotland have greatly changed, and I believe it is impossible to suppose that the test of that day should be kept in operation at the present time. In these circumstances, how far should we go in this matter? My own view is that we should render these Chairs open to members of the great Presbyterian bodies in Scotland. The doctrines of all those churches are absolutely identical; in point of doctrine there is no difference whatever between the Established Church, the United Presbyterian Church, and the Free Church. Anyone, therefore, should be eligible to a chair in the Faculty of Theology in the Scotch Universities who is prepared to subscribe to the formula which is exacted by those Churches from a man who desires to become a minister in that Church. If this were done we might in time have a combined education for the students of the Presbyterian Churches of Scotland. But some hon. Gentlemen are disposed to go further, and to endeavour to extend admission to those Chairs to those 1286 who do not hold the tenets of any one of the Presbyterian bodies in Scotland. I think, however, that this is not practicable, because in these matters we must have some regard to the feelings of the people for whom we are providing the theological faculty, to the people from whom the students for those classes are to be drawn. The certain effect of extending the standard of admission so as to render eligible to those Chairs other persons than those who are prepared to adopt the Presbyterian views of doctrine would be this—the Established Church of Scotland would find it absolutely necessary for the training of its own students to set up a fresh college of its own. The result of having a separate training college for the Established Church of Scotland in addition to the Free and United Presbyterian Churches would be that the professors in the Faculty of Theology would be left without any students at all. The matter in my judgment is hardly ripe for legislation, and I think that the proposal of the Government to remit this matter for Report by the Commission is an eminently judicious one.
§ * MR. DE LISLE (Leicestershire, Mid)
I hope no apology is due from me if, for a few minutes, I intervene in this interesting and important debate. I voted yesterday in favour of retaining the Theological Faculties in the Scotch Universities, but it will not be expected that I shall vote in favour of the theology taught by the Faculties. On the other hand, supporting the legal status of the Established Church of Scotland, I am willing to refer the question of theological tests to a Commission such as is appointed in the Bill before us. As a Catholic I may be pardoned for taking a special interest in the fate of the Scotch Universities. Three of the Universities were established to be bulwarks of the religion I profess, but by strange irony of fate two of them became almost from the first foremost in attacking and seeking to overthrow the faith they were founded to defend. The University of Edinburgh, though founded since the Reformation, was founded by an alumnus of St. Andrew's, so that the Scotch Universities truly owe their being to the Catholic Church. The point I wish to put before the Committee is that in the present day, 1287 with the knowledge we have of the past religious history of these islands, that there ate many propositions in the Westminster Confession of Faith which no well-informed Scotchman really believes, and which every well-intentioned Scotchman would wish to be buried in oblivion. I do not refer to the strictly theological side of that document, which, indeed, contains a mixture of theological and political doctrine drawn up—as the historian Clarendon remarks, by men all of them of mean learning, and some of scandalous morals—by men many of them of infamous morals. [Interruption.] An hon. Member says "Rubbish"—I will leave it as matter of opinion, but it cannot he denied that these same persons who formulated the Confession of Faith, not long after sold their King to the British Government for £100,000. But I avoid many points on which the Confession of Faith is open to criticism. I desire to point to certain statements concerning the Church of Rome, to which I belong, which can only be most painful and offensive to thousands of the Queen's Scotch subjects. The two most regrettable statements in the Confession from this point of view, are these—first, that every Scotchman who teaches theology in a University Chair is bound by his promise to hold that the Pope of Rome is in no sense the head of Christ's Church, but that "he is Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, who exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God," and as a corrollary follows the disciplinary statement contained in the Confession of Faith:—And, therefore, such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolators, nor with such as are notoriously wicked in their lives.I am certain that no Scotchman in the present day, certainly no University man, will hold that Papists are idolators, and that they should only be put on the same level with persons of notoriously wicked lives. That is a thing which University Scotchmen would wish to see eliminated from the Confession of Faith; also the statements that the doctrine of transubstantiation is blasphemous, that the worship of 200,000,000 of Catholics is a devilish practice, that their Litanies are wicked ones, and that all who observe the festival days of saints are to be 1288 punished as idolators. This is not the kind of document which in the present day it is desirable to maintain. Therefore, I should have preferred to have moved an instruction to the Commissioners that in no case shall the Westminster Confession of Faith be any longer an obligation on professors of divinity in Scottish Universities. But I am prepared to leave this grave subject to the consideration of the Commissioners. Besides, I do not wish to support the Radical tendencies of the present day, which would subvert the definite teaching of dogmatic theology in Universities. Honest error, or misapprehension of truth, is sometimes better than indifference to truth. On the other hand, I should like to see the oath now taken modified, not in a latitudinarian, but in a more Christian sense, in a sense which would make the reunion of Christendom more possible, and at least enlarge the bounds and scope of Christian charity so as to enable the conflicting churches to look on each other with respect and goodwill. The declaration made by the Scotch Professors of Divinity is—I will never endeavour directly or indirectly to teach or inculcate any opinions opposed to the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures or to the Westminster Confession of Faith as ratified by law in the year 1690.The only change I would wish to see made in this would he to make it run thus:—I will never endeavour directly or indirectly to teach or inculcate any opinions opposed to the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, or to the Apostles' Creed as recognised by Westminster Catechism"—(made by the same authority as that which made the Profession of Faith)—to be a brief sum of the Christian Faith, agreeable to the Word of God and anciently received in the churches of Christ.That is a test, I venture to say, which would be regarded with respect by Christians of all denominations, and all Catholics who live in Scotland would, I think, hail it with satisfaction. Last summer I had the pleasure of visiting many parts of Scotland, and among other places I visited was the church of St. Giles, where I was struck by the evidences which are noticeable of the more Catholic development of religious thought which has been going on in Scotland of recent years. All that ministers to the sense of the beautiful 1289 in sculpture, painting, architecture, and music is no longer banished from the service of religion. Looking back on the history of the Church of Scotland, you see that it has been a reforming church for three centuries. The Church of Scotland 300 years ago reformed itself away from the centre of Catholic unity and what I believe to be the perfection of Christian doctrine; it is now, I am glad to think, reforming itself back again. In supporting this clause, I believe the work of the Commission will tend to remove a painful obligation, and to replace it by a test more conducive to the maintenance of Christian charity and truth.
§ * MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has embarked on a controversy of considerable width and some danger. I do not propose to follow him into that controversy, but will only observe that in one part of his speech, at all events, he did not show that he appreciated the distinction between the profession of the Solemn League of Covenant and the Confession of Faith, which ought to be present to the mind of every one who ventures on so perilous a discussion. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Inverness Burghs has made some remarkable admissions. I listened to his speech with satisfaction, with even more satisfaction than to the speech of the hon. Member for South Aberdeen, because it came from one who can hardly be described as friendly to the attitude of the majority of the Scotch Members on this subject. We had an admission from him that went the whole length we wanted. My hon. and learned Friend at the very beginning of his speech said he was dissatisfied with the law of tests in Scotch Universities, and that he was satisfied they could no longer be maintained. And he said that if the Lord Advocate had not begun by making a certain concession, he should have voted against Clause 17. I challenge my hon. and learned Friend to indicate what test he would put in place of that now in use. We all know the test imposed on Scotch professors. We all know it is a test to which hardly any honest man can subscribe his name. It is a test which implies all kinds of mental reservations and puts people in a position which, certainly, no one occupying the honourable and elevated position of professor 1290 of theology ought to be placed in. My hon. and learned Friend says we shall be able to devise some other kind of test. What other kind of test? Why, he told us a sentence or two afterwards that we had not arrived at that period in the history of Scotland when such a test could be devised, and he went on to say that it would be the business of the various Churches in Scotland to discover what were the Articles in their creed which they regarded as essential. It is very remarkable that at the last Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, which is not the least rigid of all the Churches, a decision was arrived at which practically throws over the Confession of Faith, as it has been preserved hitherto. My hon. and learned Friend says it is essential that the professor of theology should at least believe in the existence of a God. Does my hon. and learned Friend propose to stop there?
§ * MR. HALDANE
I am pleased to hear that statement, but my hon. and learned Friend did not give any indication of what the test should be.
§ MR. FINLAY
I did throw out a suggestion that anyone seeking to be admitted to a professorship should be able to subscribe to the faith of one of the great denominational bodies in Scotland. Perhaps my hon. Friend when he has done with what I did not say will come to what I did say.
§ * MR. HALDANE
My hon. Friend explained in another part of his speech that the denominational bodies are not agreed as to what the beliefs of their own clergymen should be, and he gave that as a reason why this was not the period at which any one could say what was the proper kind of test. The House can give a decision as to whether the existing tests are to be maintained. That is a plain business. We on this side of the House have made up our minds that we will not maintain the existing tests if we can get rid of them, but when we are asked to go further and to say what we would substitute, we are entitled to ask for some indication as to what it is we should be asked to subscribe to.
§ MR. MARK STEWART (Kirkcudbright)
I do not think this House is a very fitting tribunal to judge between the differentia of professions of faith.
1291 I think the Confession of Faith was in the main accepted by the Scotch people, although it is impossible to agree with every phrase in it. So long, however, as it holds its present position, and until the time when the Presbyterian Churches think fit to amend it, I think the House need not trouble itself about the matter. The clause turns over the 17th clause, and what is the alternative to the proposal therein contained? I have listened to the speeches which have been made, and I do not see that there is any solution if the proposal is not accepted, save the total abolition of the test. Hon. Gentlemen may think it very easy to abolish the test, but as a Scotchman I altogether protest against such a thing. The subject is not one which agitates the public mind in any form, and my own view is that the Government, by giving up the tests with regard to the Lay Chairs, have gone as far as they can to meet public opinion in Scotland upon the subject. If they were to go further they would alienate a large majority of the people of Scotland from their side, and it would not be a satisfactory result. I think if the House were to adopt the suggestion of the Government and pass this clause with the limitation indicated by the Government, it would give the greatest possible satisfaction to the majority of -the country. I, therefore, deprecate very strongly any further interference in this matter in dealing with the Theological Chairs. I am as certain as I am that I stand here that a large majority of the students who now go to the Universities, would cease to do so if there were no Theological Chairs in existence.
§ MR. C. PARKER (Perth)
The question raised by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, as to amending the clause as suggested by the Government will require attention, for they have delayed their concession till the forms of the House hardly permit the alterations to be made in the present stage of the Bill. But I will pass from the question of form to that of substance. I listened with great attention to the speech of the hon. Gentleman beside me (Mr. Haldane), and I agreed with a great deal of what he said, but not with his conclusion. It did not seem to me to follow from the premisses he laid down. Undoubtedly, the religious life of Scotland is highly organized, and if you once 1292 admit that you are going to keep the Theological Faculty in our Universities, which certainly the people of Scotland desire, you must deal with the large organized bodies of Christians in Scotland. Of what use will a Theological Faculty be if the principal Churches have no confidence in the professors appointed? The three great Presbyterian Churches are most influential. They have at present their standards of doctrine, and if they change their tests in the future it will be done after full deliberation, and with the consent of every part of the country. It is, of course, possible that without any tests these Churches might be satisfied, were the patronage of the Theological Chairs so vested as to command their confidence. But I doubt if that will be found to be a practical solution of the question, for this reason, if for no other—that professors after being appointed would then be quite free to change their opinions and teach contrary to the standards. The suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay) was more to the purpose—namely, that a theological professor should satisfy the requirements of one or other of the Presbyterian Churches to which the great majority of Scottish theological students belong. For my own part, I should be prepared to go further, and include Episcopalian and other smaller Protestant Churches; but that, again, might not be found practical. There are at present two streams of opinion in Scotland working the one against the other. On the one hand, the intensely sectarian feeling upon matters of Church government and the relations between Church and State creates a tendency towards sectarian theological education; and if the Faculty of Theology be abolished, or if all standards of doctrine for the professors be abolished, we shall be promoting sectarian theological education. For the great Churches in that case will certainly keep up separate training for their own students. On the other hand, if a University professor who is an able man satisfies the requirements of one of the Presbyterian Churches his classes will be attended by students from the other two Churches. For there is among the students, and in the country generally, also a contrary tendency towards breadth of thought and rejection of the 1293 old narrowness of sects. Now such being the case I must, in fairness, admit that the difficulty and delicacy of this question about the Theological Chairs, the novelty of it, and the necessity of adjusting it to the satisfaction of the Churches, brings me to a conclusion different from that of the hon. Member for Haddington (Mr. Haldane). I think it well that we should not attempt at present to solve the question offhand in Committee of the Whole House; but rather that the Commissioners under this Bill should first confer with the great Ecclesiastical Authorities of the country upon the subject, and with that large body of Scotchmen who care intensely about religious teaching and theological training in the Universities, and that they should report to Parliament. The House would then have the issue before them in a form which would enable them to arrive at a decision. Therefore, if the Government modify their clause as they propose I shall vote for referring the question to the Commission.
§ MR. W. SINCLAIR (Falkirk, &c.)
I should not have risen had it not been for a few words that fell from the hon. Member for Haddington, who seemed to say that the churches of Scotland are throwing every issue into the melting pot, not knowing what will come there from. Such an idea is repugnant to the minds of the people of Scotland. The truth is the Westminster Confession of Faith is a document of some antiquity, and the terminology therein used is not suitable to the present day, and the churches of Scotland are united in this regard. They agree in every respect as far as dogma is concerned, the best proof of which is to be found in what is called mutual eligibility between the various churches, by which a minister from one denomination can be chosen for a charge by any of the other denominations. I must say I think that the clause in its modified form will be acceptable to the people of Scotland.
§ MR. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
Every one who has listened to the discussion must admit that, though the range of the subject with which we are dealing is not a very wide one, yet the discussion raises questions of the utmost interest and importance, and I think that the situation is a very peculiar one. I am not able to follow the connection 1294 between the concession made by Her Majesty's Government regarding the lay Chairs and the course we are to take with respect to the Theological Chairs. The two questions are absolutely distinct, nor can I see why, the Government having done a sensible thing with regard to the lay Chairs, the House should proceed to do a foolish thing with regard to the theological Chairs. The hon. Member for Mid Leicestershire is going to vote for the clause although he thinks the language of the Westminster Confession of Faith quite intolerable.
§ * MR. DE LISLE
If the right hon. Gentleman will allow me, I said I should vote for the clause in the belief that the Commissioners will so modify the test that the Westminster Confession will no longer be of obligation.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I would observe upon that that the Commissioners will have a multitude of things to do for which they will be much more fitted than for framing new theological tests. And they will have no power to frame theological tests. We are told that one of the first things the Commissioners will do will be to get rid of the Westminster Confession. But they have no power to get rid of the Westminster Confession. We have also been told that modifications have been adopted by the Free Church and by the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland more or less varying from the sense in which the Westminster Confession was framed, and that a distinct disposition towards relaxation has been indicated by these Churches. But now the House is going to vote, and the hon. Member opposite is going to vote, that the Established Church should have no power to relax its subscription to the Westminster Confession, the terms of which the hon. Member has said are so outrageous. The effect will be that the professors will continue to be persons who have subscribed to those very terms, and the Established Church, though it may have become disinclined to those terms, will through the vote of the hon. Gentleman and the votes of other hon. Gentlemen who think with him, be prevented from effecting that very modification which he considers to be indispensable in the interests of Christian charity and Christian truth. To my mind, that is an extra- 1295 ordinarily foolish course. I must own I am entirely at a loss to understand the position of the hon. and learned Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay), who said the question is doubtful, and that the House would do well to refer it to the Commission. But the hon. and learned Gentleman does not doubt that the present test is a bad one; and yet he said that when we see clearly a proposition to be indisputable we ought not to refer it to a Commission, but to vote directly upon it. But the hon. Member is going to vote directly contrary to the principle which he laid down in his speech, and for the maintenance of a test which he disapproves. The maintenance of that test might not prevent a possible reform of it at some future period, but it is proposed, further, to make the test still compulsory with all the objections which can be derived from the extraordinary language of the Westminster Confession, and, on the other hand, from the fact that this vote excludes from the Divinity professorships not only the majority of the people of Scotland, but even the majority of the Presbyterian population, I much doubt the competency of the Commission. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, in his able and ingenious speech, said that the Commission would be more competent to consider this question than the House of Commons. I have no high opinion of the competency of the House of Commons to frame new theological tests; and I must say that the House of Commons has never in my experience shown more uniform and persistent good sense than in the disinclination it has always shown to mix itself up in matters of this kind. But, as between the Commission and the House of Commons, I cannot see why the Commission would be more competent to frame a new test than the House of Commons. The Government are presuming that a change is required in the tests, but are leaving it to the Commission to feel its way to the formation of some new form of test. That is a matter with which the religious bodies themselves would be perfectly able to deal, each in its own interest and its own sphere; and if they are left free to do so, I have no doubt they will do it in a manner satisfactory to themselves and efficient for the purpose. But to maintain the 17th clause would pre- 1296 vent the most important and the most numerous of these bodies, the Established Church, from making any change or relaxation in the terms of subscription. That is unquestionably the fact. We have now before us the proposal of my hon. Friend sitting near me to meet the case by the abolition of tests. The practical proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Inverness is that the House should enact, and enact by compulsion, tests which do not yet exist, and with respect to which we do not know what they are. I have a great respect for the Presbyterian I bodies. But I think Parliament ought not to impose any religious tests. What is the practical objection to the proposal of my hon. Friend? My hon. Friend proposes to leave the matter entirely free to the respective religious bodies in Scotland, and that the House should decline to exact any religious tests. Is there the smallest fear that the people of Scotland and the organ chosen to make these appointments will not discharge their duty properly? Is the sentiment of Scotland so divided, or are the people so divided as to make that duty a difficult one without the supposed security of an enactment which would exclude one-half, or more than one-half, of those who accept the doctrines-of Presbyterianism? We have to deal with a reformed country, a Protestant country, one of the most Protestant countries in the world, where not only are the people agreed as to Christianity, but five-sixths at least, or seven-eighths, are entirely agreed in the dogmatic form to which they gave their adhesion. Suppose the Motion of my hon. Friend is rejected. The House would give a new sanction to the principle that half the people who adopt Presbyterianism are to be excluded from these Chairs, and the House will be preventing the Established Church from relaxing the terms of its subscription. But will any practical difficulty arise from the adoption of my hon. Friend's motion? What would happen? A vacancy will occur in a theological Chair, and the University Court will proceed to deal with it. Whom will they appoint? Why, the man most competent to instruct the bulk of the theological students. If they do not they would offend against all the rules of common sense. Presbyterianism will be taught 1297 as it is now taught in these Chairs, but without any reference at all to those remarkable and objectionable words which have been quoted by the hon. Member opposite. This is an argument to which the hon. Member ought to have assigned considerable weight. But the question of tests in the University Chairs is to be decided by votes which in certain cases, like the vote of the hon. Member opposite, and that of the hon. and learned Member for Inverness, are determined by considerations essentially and radically based upon the maintenance in its present form of the legislative union between England and Ireland. It is not to be decided upon its own merits, but upon its possible bearing upon this subject. It appears to me that hon. Members on this side of the House are rapidly learning the lesson of that happy arrangement which has had such beneficial results in Ireland, and the price they have to pay for it. I contend that there are great theoretical objections and great practical objections to the present state of the law, and that it is most unjust that the whole body of Free Churchmen, and the whole body of United Presbyterians, who are just as firm defenders of Protestantism, and rather firmer defenders of Presbyterianism than the members of the Established Church, should be excluded from these Chairs because we choose to determine on an arbitrary test requiring them to submit, not only to the doctrine, but to the discipline and authority of the Established Church.
§ * Sir G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy)
I intend to vote for the omission of this clause for reasons stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. I shall vote against it because it is unnecessary. For my part I am very much in favour of abolishing the Chairs of Theology, but I cannot accept the view that there can be a Chair of Theology without dogma. Indeed, I am in favour of abolishing theology altogether, as I am one of those who would like to return to the simple principles of Christianity—to the fishermen and the carpenters and the mechanics, and the simple God-fearing men—and to get rid of priests and priestcraft. But as long as we have Chairs of Theology it would not do to have professors who are subject to no test. I altogether object to scientific theologians. If we must 1298 have teachers of religion, we must have men who represent certain views. Seven-eighths or nine-tenths of the Scotch people are agreed in their theological confessions and as long as that agreement exists I suppose we must have theological tests. If they are to be modified, it should be by the Churches and not by a Royal Commission. I shall vote for the omission of this clause, but I shall not vote for any proposition to abolish theological tests at present, though I would much like to abolish some Theo logical Chairs.
With respect to the observations made in the course of the debate, I think it right to point out that Clause 17 cannot now be altered. It is put to the House for adoption or rejection. I think it right also to point out that it will not be possible for the hon. Member to move the new clause which he has on the Paper.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
It appears to me that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian has misrepresented, unintentionally of course, what the question is which is before the Committee. His speech would imply that we are called upon by the proposal in the Bill to confirm the present tests, whereas the proposal is that the Commissioners shall inquire with a view to ascertain whether any and what changes in the tests are necessary and expedient. I would also take the liberty of reminding the right hon. Gentleman that this clause, against which he argues, was in his own Bill of four years ago.
§ * MR. DE LISLE
I wish to ask the Lord Advocate whether the construction the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian put upon this clause—namely, that it would stereotype the tests—is a correct construction?
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I did not understand the right hon. Gentleman to put that construction upon the clause. Irrespective of that, however, in my opinion the clause does not stereotype these tests. On the contrary, it desires the Commissioners to report as to whether any and what changes should be made upon them.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 219; Noes 157.—(Div. List, No. 167.)
§ Clause 18.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
I have next an Amendment to propose at the instance of University College, Dundee.
Amendment proposed, Clause 18, page 14, line 38, insert after the word "University," at end of paragraph, these words:—
In preparing such draft ordinances as relate to University College, Dundee, the University Court of St. Andrew's shall confer with the governing body of that college." (Mr. Bunter.)
Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I am afraid I cannot accept the Amendment, because I am not sure it might not have an injurious effect on the friendly relations between the two parties concerned. If we were to provide that there shall be a preliminary conference between them I am not sure whether University College, Dundee, would not be prejudiced by a scheme such as that proposed, and therefore I trust the Amendment will not be pressed.
§ MR. HUNTER
The clause is one prepared by the authorities of University College, and therefore I think there can be no objection to it from their point of view. I should have expected that the objection, if any, would have come from St. Andrew's. The consequence of passing the Bill as it stands now, would be that there would be no provision at all for any statutory communication between the two bodies. I trust the Government will adopt the words of the Amendment, as the College Authorities are strongly of opinion that it would greatly facilitate the working of the Act.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I cannot see what objection the Government can have to the Amendment, and I wish to know the ground on which they are opposing it. The University of St. Andrew's is not affected by the Amendment, which simply provides that the professors of Dundee College shall be consulted on matters specially relating to that institution, and this will prevent ordinances being arbitrarily made without the Dundee people being consulted.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. MOIR T. STORMONTH DARLING, Edinburgh and) St. Andrew's Universities
I think the hon. Member opposite can hardly appreciate the position as regards time. The Government are willing to give all possible facilities for the affiliation of Dundee to St. Andrew's, but the view we take is that this clause might tend to impede rather than to forward the negotiations. I may point out that the Act comes into operation on the 1st January next; but the ordinances need not be lodged until six months after that, and I should hope that long before that time the negotiations will have been concluded one way or other. There ought certainly to be the fullest consultation between the two bodies voluntarily; but I think it would be a mistake, when everything depends on consent, to make it a matter of statutory obligation.
§ DR. CLARK
I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman quite appreciates my point. If the University Court of St. Andrew's is making ordinances with reference to University College we ask that those ordinances shall be submitted to those who will be affected by them. Surely that is a reasonable proposal, and what objection can there be to consulting the professors at Dundee on proposals which solely affect them?
* MR. J. B. BALFOUR (Clackmannan)
It will be in the power of either Party to secure a frank interchange of views with regard to proposed ordinances, but why propose that there shall be compulsory negotiations? I think the Amendment is unnecessary, and will be probably mischievous in its operation. If a union is to be brought about between University College, Dundee, and St. Andrew's University, there must, from the necessity of the case, be an interchange of views between the two bodies. But there is no reason why there should be a special and exceptional provision inserted in the Bill for that particular case. Indeed I think the proposition would give rise to great dissatisfaction in other colleges throughout the country.
§ Sir W. FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)
I am anxious in the interests of education, and for the efficiency of St. Andrew's, that University College shall he forthwith amalgamated with St. Andrew's University. The colleges 1301 to be affiliated hereafter are in a totally different position to University College, Dundee, which offers means of increased usefulness, and I think it would be well if the Amendment were agreed to.
§ * MR. C. S. PARKER
I do not believe that the adoption of this Amendment will make much difference. But University College, Dundee, is in a somewhat exceptional position, and I am not aware that St. Andrew's has any objection to this proposal. As Dundee is anxious for the Amendment, I think it would be better that it should be inserted in the Bill.
§ * MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)
I hope the Lord Advocate will not agree to the insertion of the words. Negotiations will, of course, have to take place for carrying out the provisions of this Bill, but if we make this exceptional provision, we shall, I think, be showing a want of confidence in the bona fides of St. Andrew's in proceeding with the ultimate development of a large and conjoined University of St. Andrew's and Dundee.
§ MR. HUNTER
The Solicitor General for Scotland has spoken as if the application of St. Andrew's and University College will immediately take place. But that is quite out of the question, and it can only occur after a full agreement has been arrived at on matters of detail between the two institutions.
§ * MR. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING
Affiliation cannot formally take place until after the Bill comes into operation; but there is nothing to prevent the negotiations beginning the moment the Bill becomes law.
§ MR. HUNTER
Of course negotiations will take place on advances prepared by the University Court of St. Andrew's specifically relating to University College, Dundee; what possible reason can there then be for objecting to this Amendment.
§ DR. CLARK
There is an additional reason why the Government should give way on this point. If you refuse opportunities for discussion, the University College Committee will have to obtain the end they have in view by a public Bill, and you will obviate the necessity for that, and there need be no friction if you allow matters to be arranged in private conference. The right hon. 1302 Gentleman the Member for Clackmannanshire seemed to think we were proposing to place the Dundee College in exceptional position, and that no other colleges would be affected by the proposal. But the colleges afterwards affiliated will come into the settled plan. I therefore cannot understand why the Government are opposing.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 97; Noes 160.—(Div. List, No. 168.)
§ Clauses 18 and 19 agreed to.
§ Clause 20.
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I can hardly think that the right hon. Gentleman fully comprehends the force of the words which by my Amendment I propose to omit, for they appear to me to give the Chancellor automatic powers in regard to future alterations. I think it is an innovation which is not satisfactory. In no other part of the Bill, as far as I can remember, has the Chancellor practically operative power, except that he sits as a member of the University Court, where, of course, he can be out-voted by other members. But I take it that under this clause, he will be able absolutely to binder any new ordinances being passed. It is impossible for one who has read over the names of the Chancellors not to feel the greatest respect for these imminent men, but still they are only individuals, and future holders of the office may not be such men as we should like to see entrusted with these enormous powers. If the Government would consent simply to omit these words, there are plenty of other provisions in the Bill to safeguard against the passing of new ordinances hastily conceived and rashly proposed.
§ Amendment proposed, Clause 20, page 16, line 13, leave out "Consent of the Chancellor signified in writing, and the."
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ * MR.J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not press this Amendment. I think there is no reason to fear that the Chancellor will use the power to interfere with the decisions of the University Court; the 1303 proposal is rather a ceremonious method of authenticating the resolutions come to by the authorities of the Universities.
§ MR. HUNTER
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not withdraw the Amendment. I believe there is no University official whose services could be more easily dispensed with than could those of the Chancellor. In a Scotch University the Chancellor is appointed for life, and thus you would put it into the power of one official to obstruct all University reforms for a very long period. You are giving him power which I contend should only appertain to the Houses of Parliament.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I also hope that this Amendment will be pressed. It is not a mere matter of form, as the Lord Advocate seems to infer, but you are proposing to confer upon one individual, for life, powers which will enable him practically to defeat all reforms which the University Court may wish to carry out. I think the provision that the ordinances shall be sanctioned by Her Majesty in Council is a sufficient guarantee to the public that the ordinances have been properly considered. Yet you are proposing to give the Chancellor greater power than that which you are giving to Her Majesty in Council. If he chooses to veto the consent of Her Majesty in Council he will be able to do so. I think such a proposal as this cannot be acceptable, and it seems to me outrageous that we should have a University Court established upon a popular basis, and at the same time allow a Chancellor elected for life to veto its deliberations if he so chooses.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR (Leeds, South)
I think the power proposed to be given in this clause to the Chancellor is not consistent with the principle of the Bill. The Chancellor holds a high office, the dignity of which I wish to see maintained; but I do not think he should have power to refuse his sanction to any ordinances which the various University Courts may pass. He ought not to be allowed on his own ipse dixit to say that certain ordinances shall not take effect. Perhaps in order to save the dignity of the office, and at the same time to deprive the clause of its more objectionable features, the Lord Advo- 1304 cate will agree to provide that the ordinances shall be transmitted in writing through the Chancellor to Her Majesty in Council. You might do, away with the words insisting that he shall signify his consent in writing to them.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman is one which I feel it my duty to accept, and if the right hon. Gentleman will move an Amendment accordingly, I shall be willing to agree to it. We are in this Bill enlarging the powers of the Chancellor in another region, for we make him one of the Universities Committee, which ultimately decides on the Ordinances.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Further Amendment proposed, to insert after "fit" the words "shall be transmitted by the Chancellor for the approval of Her Majesty in Council."
§ Amendment put and agreed to.
§ MR. HUNTER
I propose to modify this clause by the insertion of a provision that the ordinances shall not be valid unless they are sanctioned by both Houses of Parliament. I cannot understand upon what principle this clause has been drawn. Previous clauses relating to the making of ordinances require that they shall be laid upon the Table of both Houses of Parliament. This clause gives the same power to the University Court as a Bill gives to the Commissioners with respect to the ordinances which have been paid by the Commissioners; and I should like to know why the ordinances to be passed by the University Court should be valid without the consent of Parliament. The legislative power which we delegate to the Commission is extensive and I think we ought to require a guarantee that their ordinances shall be submitted to Parliament. I venture to suggest that we are going too far in allowing the University Court to pass ordinances which need only to receive the approval of the Privy Council, and I may point out that the Privy Council would rarely interfere with ordinances of this kind, unless they were likely to affect the rights of property or of individuals. I hold the proper tribunal to control these ordinances would be the Houses of Parliament.
§ Amendment proposed, Clause 20, page 16, line 38, leave out all after "has been" to "thereon" in line 41, and insert "laid before both Houses of Parliament in the manner provided by Section 19 of this Act."—(Mr. Hunter.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
Under the scheme as it now stands, after the Commissioners have finished their work, the University will be completely equipped with bodies constituted under statute, and drawn from all possible representative sources. When these bodies are established it is contemplated that the University will have sufficient power to enable it, from time to time, to alter its own ordinances, and a double check is provided in the Bill to secure that this is done under proper conditions; all matters of dispute will have to come before the University Committee. It seems to me that these ordinances stand in a widely different position from the ordinances of an Executive Commission which has powers delegated to it by Parliament for only a limited period. Work done by such a body may be properly subjected to Parliamentary review, but once you have a complete and autonomous system established, such as is contemplated in this clause, I think it would be undesirable that; there should be constant discussion in Parliament upon any alteration—large or small—which it may seem fit to make.
§ * MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN (Stirling, &c.)
I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman does not accept the Amendment. Although there is some force in what he says, I am rather impressed by this view—that the first ordinances passed would be the result of the action of the Commission appointed under this Act, and would be passed under the impetus now given to the question at a time when the eye of the public is fixed upon the matter; but the clause also enables the Universities in a certain manner to alter old ordinances and to pass new ones, and it might be possible for ordinances of a reactionary, objectionable character to be passed without the public generally knowing anything about it. If the ordinances complete the work of the Commission and carry 1306 it out satisfactorily, then Parliament will have an opportunity of admiring them if this Amendment is agreed to, and, on the other hand, if there should be any departure from the intentions of Parliament in any respect, then the House should, at all events, have power to express an opinion upon it. I do not think it would be any derogation of the dignity of the Universities to have the proceedings reviewed by Parliament.
§ Dr. CLARK
I must congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the very bold principle he is advocating. The High Court of Parliament has generally been considered to be the final Court of Appeal. You have hitherto placed Scotch Universities under the control of Parliament, but now you are going to abolish that and give the University Court power to make ordinances upon which Parliament will not be allowed to express an opinion. You are going to give a body control of money which used to be voted by Parliament, and if the Bill is carried in this form the House will no longer have any power over higher education in Scotland, either in the way of granting public money, or of controlling its expenditure. Before long, however, we shall have our own Parliament in Dublin, and then we will see that it has control over the Universities. If the ordinances have to receive the approval of Parliament when first passed, any alteration subsequently made in them should also be submitted to the House for its consent.
§ * MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E)
May I point out that it is possible—although very improbable—that ordinances extremely unpalatable to particular University Courts might be passed and then when the powers of the Commissioners have expired the Courts would be able to turn round and revoke the ordinances. The only check upon that would be the supervision of the Universities Committee and I do not think that that is at all comparable to the supervision of Parliament. The occasion on which Parliament would deem it necessary to discuss these ordinances would be extremely rare—as is the case with the schemes laid on the Table by the Educational Endowment Commissioners. I do not think that there is anything in the Bill which should make the Government reluctant 1307 to grant this concession, and I therefore hope the Lord Advocate will agree to the Amendment.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
It may be in the knowledge of the House that under the Oxford and Cambridge Commission Act, passed 10 years ago, the Statutes framed by that Commission had to be laid before Parliament. The laying them on the Table of the House has, as a rule, been a mere formality, and I believe that in only one instance has there been a discussion on them. I would therefore urge the Lord Advocate to consent to the Amendment.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Question, "That these words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Clause 20, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clauses 21, 22 and 23 agreed to.
§ Clause 24.
§ MR. HUNTER
The Amendment which stands in my name is one of considerable importance, but before moving it, I should like to know how the Government intend to fill up the blank that follows immediately after the Amendment.
§ * MR. G. J. GOSCHEN
It may be convenient that I should say that there is a certain direction in which it would be possible for the Government to give further assistance. This perhaps is not the proper moment to enter into that question.
§ MR. HUNTER
It will not affect this Amendment. It has long been the practice of putting a charge on the Estimates for the Scottish Universities. The measure of the late Liberal Government contained a finality clause, and it was part of the idea of finality that the money granted should be thrown on the Consolidated Fund. That policy was abandoned; no convenience what- 1308 ever can arise from charging the money on the Consolidated Fund, but on the contrary great inconvenience, both financially and otherwise, must arise from adhering to the present form of the Bill. I need hardly point out that if the clause passes in its present form the Scottish Universities will be entirely withdrawn from the control of Parliament. At the present moment there is an effective form of expressing public opinion with regard to the condition of the Scottish Universities upon the Estimates. It is true it seldom happens that the time of the House is occupied with discussions as to the Scottish Universities, but the Estimates afford an opportunity for public criticism of the University administration. Whatever difference of opinion there may be as to the propriety of taking the money of the taxpayers, which is for the most part the money of poor men, and applying it to University education, there ought to be no difference of opinion upon this, that Parliament in giving the money should not cease to exercise control over the manner in which the money is spent, and the way in which the institutions are conducted. It is quite contrary to the rules of finance that charges of this kind should be put on the Consolidated Fund. Of course charges that are not susceptible to increase or decrease may be placed on the Consolidated Fund, but under ordinary circumstances nothing can be more inconvenient than to put a charge like the present on the Consolidated Fund. But I have a special objection to this proposal. We are going to establish a Commission with power to establish new professorships, and to incur various other expenditure on the part of the University. There is an opinion entertained by very competent persons that £42,000 is inadequate even for what maybe called the necessary reforms of the Universities. It seems to me that financially the Bill puts the cart before the horse. Instead of coming to the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a definite scheme showing how much money is required, the Bill proceeds on the other tack. It says "give us money, and then you shall see what we do with it." All the difficulties can be got rid of, if we adhere to the present system of putting the money on the Estimates, taking for the year what is necessary for 1309 the year. I would put it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that before the Scottish Universities should be entitled to come to the general taxpayers in England, Ireland and Wales for more money they ought to be in a position to show that they use properly the money they obtain now. There can be nothing more certain than that in the University of Aberdeen and St. Andrew's the sum of £4,000 is not beneficially and well employed, because it is used in training only 63 students. The sum is altogether unreasonable compared with the general requirements of the University, and it would be easy, without obtaining much more money, for the Exchequer to entirely equip the Arts Faculty in Aberdeen and St. Andrew's with all that is required. I say, therefore, there could be nothing more inconvenient and improper than the charging of this money on the Consolidated Fund, and I hope the Government will see their way to accept my Amendment.
§ Amendment proposed, Clause 24, page 17, lines 37 and 38, leave out "charged upon the Consolidated Fund on the growing produce thereof" and insert "paid out of moneys to be provided by Parliament."—(Mr. Hunter.)
§ * MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
It would be convenient, in order that we may make up our minds on this question, if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would explain what effect the Bill as it stands will have on the annual Vote we at present pass for the Universities, and in fact what the financial position of the matter will be as regards the House of Commons.
§ Dr. CLARK
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman this question. Taking away from the Vote the sums for the Observatory and the Royal Botanic Gardens, there are £38,000 on the Estimates this year. With the additional £4,000 offered there will be £42,000. How then do the Government make out that they are giving us £13,000 and not nearly £4,000?
§ Sir G. CAMPBELL
Before we go into these questions of detail, I think we ought to settle whether the money is to be put on the Consolidated Fund or not. For my part I heartily support the Amendment. It seems to me that the Consolidated Fund is an abomination 1310 and the refuge of all sorts of abuses. We go on paying by means of it for the feeding of hawks that never existed and for various other abuses, and I think it much better that we should have control yearly over the sum we grant. The Amendment is a kind of self denying ordinance on the part of Scotch Members, and I hope it will be accepted.
§ * MR. G. J. GOSCHEN
This proposal has been based, like others in the Bill, on previous recommendations, and on the proposals of previous Bills. I do not know the motives which influenced the right hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. J. B. Balfour) to put a clause of this character into a previous Bill, but no doubt the right hon. Gentleman can give the Committee adequate information on the point. I can, however, conceive a most excellent reason why the sum should be put on the Consolidated Fund. By this arrangement the Universities are to rely upon themselves. Parliament will place a certain amount of money at their disposal, so that the Universities can make both ends meet according to their own necessities. Parliament will not vote every year so much money for one purpose and so much for another, but the finances of the Universities will be put into the hands of the Universities themselves. By this means they will be administered from an academical and not from a House of Commons point of view. It appears to me that when the Commission have arranged the finances and the general management of the Universities it is desirable that the system should have a fair trial, and that the House of Commons should not interfere every year, as hon. Gentlemen wish, with new suggestions and thus practically take part in the financial administration of the Universities. From the educational point of view, therefore, the proposal of the Government seems to me the right one. If this sum were put on the Consolidated Fund, of course the items would disappear from the Estimates, and the amount would be placed at the disposal of the Universities, who might, from time to time, I presume, recast their endowments or their general expenditure according to the exigencies of the time. I think it will be necessary and desirable that the Scotch Universities should 1311 furnish more information to the House than is furnished by similiar institutions which have no endowment, but that will not be the same as casting upon the House the duty of annually voting the salaries of professors and so on.
§ * Sir G. TREVELYAN
I gather that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer wishes us to dispose, first, of the question whether this money is to go into the Estimates. As to the previous Bills which did not pass the House, I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not press his observations too far, because those bills were not brought forward with the full knowledge on the part of every one concerned which these debates have supplied. Hon. members who have followed the debates in this Committee must have felt that much further knowledge has been gained by these discussions. There is no doubt that the essence of previous Bills was that a lump sum should be handed over each year to the Universities; that responsibility should be placed on the Universities to dispose of this sum for the best academical purpose within the scope of their intelligence; and that the intention of Parliament was that they should be left to themselves and not kept within leading strings. It was therefore thought that the only mode of giving expression to that view was to put the charge on the Consolidated Fund. If the Bill passed in its present shape, of course it is necessary that the items should disappear from the Estimates. At present the salary of each professor is voted, but if the Chancellor of the Exchequer will go back to Vote 8, Class IV. of the Estimates he will see how kindred cases have been dealt with by Parliament. Under the Bill, £12,000 will be given in aid of the expenses of the Scottish Universities. At present the State gives £2,000 in aid of the expenses of the Victoria University, and £4,000 each in aid of the expenses of the three Welsh colleges. I think that is a much more satisfactory way of giving the money than the way in which it was formerly given to the Universities of Scotland. The items will disappear from the Estimates as much as if the money was placed on the Consolidated Fund. I think we should do very well to adopt the principle of entering on the Estimates the lump sum that is given. By 1312 adopting such a system we shall, without retaining too minute a control of expenditure, keep it within our control generally; whilst meeting every condition laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech.
§ * MR. G. J. GOSCHEN
To tell the truth, the view of the right hon. Gentleman comes upon me, and, I presume, upon my colleagues, somewhat as a surprise. I do not make the slightest complaint, but I had anticipated that we were practically in accord on the subject, and therefore we have not discussed this particular point among ourselves with very great minuteness. Perhaps the best course under the circumstances would be to reconsider the point before Report. I have not myself the right to personally decide the question, because the tendency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is nearly always to keep things on the Votes, and not to put them on the Consolidated Fund. I should, therefore, like to have time to consult with the Lord Advocate. I quite admit that putting a lump sum upon the Votes would considerably modify the objections to which I called the attention of the Committee.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
Personally I would very much like to see the change proposed by my right hon. Friend carried out. The system of granting a lump sum out of the Consolidated Fund has not worked well in the case of the Queen's Colleges, and I think the better plan is to put the amount upon the estimates.
§ MR. HUNTER
I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment, having regard to the promise to bring up the question on Report.
§ * MR. G. J. GOSCHEN
With reference to the proposal that the grant to the Universities should be £42,000, several representations have been made to me that the sum is inadequate for the purposes for which it is intended. An hon. Member has asked me how the sum is arrived at, and whether it is true that the increase upon what the Universities receive at present is £13,000. I think the hon. Member will see that the present sum is between £28,000 and £29,000, and if we add to that £13,000 or £14,u00, we bring the amount up to £42,000, which is what we propose to put in the Bill. All the Universities have carefully examined the matter for themselves, and have arrived at the conclusion that that is the increase. But it has been considered an insufficient increase. I have examined the matter with great care, and I am bound to say that before I could admit that it was insufficient, I should have to look at the present financial administration of the Universities. I have pointed out on several occasions that there appears to me to be a resource open to the Universities not usually taken into account—namely, the extremely large emoluments of a certain proportion of the professoriate, emoluments which seem to me, looking at the matter with English eyes, to be quite out of proportion to similar emoluments enjoyed elsewhere. I have, by the courtesy of the right hon. Member for Leeds, been supplied with certain statistics which show that there are four professors receiving between £2,000 and £3,000, 23 professors receiving between £1,000 and £2,000, 25 professors receiving between £700 and £1,000. These are all very high emoluments compared with similar emoluments enjoyed in other Universities. I think it will be one of the first duties of the Commission to review the scale of salaries enjoyed by the professoriate above a certain line. Not only do these professors receive these very high emoluments, but they are entitled to pensions, not only upon the basis of their salaries, but upon that of their total receipts, which include the large amount of fees which they receive from the students, an indeterminate sum which may run up from year to year. The system of pensions to the professors and teachers in the Scotch Universities will require reconsidering. 1314 When it is said that there are new Chairs which must be founded, and new directions in which expenditure must be undertaken, I must point out that there is a very large margin in the salaries of the existing professors. I am aware there are some Members of the House, and a great many professors and others out of the House, who think, on the whole, that if we were to redistribute this money amongst all the existing professors, there would not be much left for the endowment of any new Chairs. I am not prepared to agree to that. I think these emoluments are in many cases so large that there is a considerable margin for economy and for the endowment of new Chairs, and for carrying out some of the objects which will be put before the Commission. I believe it will be one of the first duties of the Commission to revise the old scale of salaries and emoluments, and in the course of their labours they may find that they have to deal with some existing interests which will give them a great deal of trouble. I am not prepared to increase the amount specified in the Bill beyond £42,000. But if the Commission, when it enters on its labours, should submit a general revised scale of emoluments in the Universities, and if in that process they should find themselves, as they probably will, involved in pecuniary difficulties with regard to compensation, I should be prepared to recommend to the Government a moderate increase of the annual amount already named, or a sum down, in order to enable the Commission to deal with that most difficult problem. But I should only consent to do this on one condition—that the compensations granted should be reasonable, and that the system of pensions should be such as would commend itself generally to the House. I think it would be wise for the Treasury to keep a certain liberty in that matter, as it would be a protection to the Commission against many influences which are absolutely certain to be used to induce them to be too liberal in the scale of those pensions. I foresee that the University Commission may be somewhat crippled in its movements if it has not a little latitude in regard to the funds at its disposal for the purpose of revising the scale of emoluments, and with that intent I shall be glad if I can render some further assistance.
§ Amendment moved, line 38, insert "£42,000."
§ Question proposed, "That £42,000 stand part of the clause."
§ MR. CALDWELL
There is one point to which I should like to call attention. The Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to think that all the professors have very large salaries, but I would explain that this arises from the great number of students. The fee of each student is three guineas, and if there should be a distribution of these fees between several professors so that each should have only what might be considered a proper number of students, the emoluments of each professor would sink very considerably unless the fees were increased. I think it will be agreed that three guineas is the lowest at which a fee could be fixed. No one can suppose that good professorial teaching can be had for less. The apparent largeness of the salaries arises from the enormous number of students each professor has in his class. The reform of the system will probably break up each class into smaller classes, but every penny of the amount now devoted to teaching will be used though it be distributed among more professors. The source to which the right hon. Gentleman looks for a fund will not, therefore, be available. Every penny will be required for the professorial teaching for which the student pays his fee.
§ * MR. G. J. GOSCHEN
That is precisely the purpose for which more money is asked, for the Commission recommended that there should be more teachers, and for this more money is required, and I argued that a certain proportion of the funds might be found by a revision of the scale of salaries.
§ MR. CALDWELL
In a scheme of this kind there must necessarily be increased expenditure at first, and if you are to invite public support to the scheme, you must first formulate the scheme and get it into operation. The responsibility will therefore be upon the Commissioners, unaided and alone, to formulate a scheme, that at first must involve the expenditure of a considerable amount of money. There is the fact that compensation must be given to every professor whose interest is affected in the slightest degree. If there is a class 1316 that qualifies for a degree, and if other classes are established to qualify for that degree, you at once confer on the professor of the first class a claim for compensation. There are matters that will entail expenditure at first, special circumstances that the Commission will have to take into consideration.
§ * MR. CRAIG SELLAR (Lanarkshire, Partick)
From the beginning of this discussion I have taken a lively interest in this point, for I felt that it was quite impossible that the Commissioners could do the work expected from them without a considerable amount of Government assistance. I am glad that the Chancellor of the Exchequer sees his way to do something for us. Speaking for myself though, I still think the sum is inadequate for all the purposes with which the Commissioners will have to deal, and although I should have been glad if the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have seen his way to have increased that sum, still I am of opinion that under the new proposal the labours of the Commission will be lightened, and we shall be able to make a better job of the work entrusted to us. I would just like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he could strengthen our hands — the hands of the Commission—against the pressure to which we may be subjected, by putting the views he has expressed into the form of a Treasury minute for our guidance?
§ Sir G. CAMPBELL
I think the proposal of the right. hon. Gentleman is reasonable. I sincerely hope that the recommendations of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to salaries will be carefully considered in regard to the emoluments attached to the Divinity Chairs. A desirable opportunity now offers in regard to St. Andrew's where a vacancy in the principal professorship was recently caused by death. I hope that full justice to St. Andrew's will be done in regard to other Chairs.
§ * MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the improvement on his first proposal, but I hope he may be induced to go a little further. The increase in the grant is about £13,000. But the recommendations of last Universities Commission involved, it is computed, an additional expenditure of £11,600 a year, and since that Commission reported, in 1878, other re- 1317 quirements have emerged, especially in connection with the teaching of science, calling for a further sum of nearly £12,000 a year; so that altogether for the new work to be done by the Universities under this Bill, there is need for an increased grant of £23,000, rather than of £13,000. With the increase proposed there will be no margin left to meet the claims for compensation that are sure to arise in carrying out any scheme for the redistribution of professorial emoluments. I quite agree that these claims will require to be carefully watched, and that the Treasury must be supported in their dealings with such claims for compensation for disturbance, as I may call thorn; but presuming that these claims are reduced to a reasonable sum, I trust that the Treasury may see their way to meet the whole of that expenditure, so that the Commissioners may be free to go forward with their work without check on this account. There is another subject on which I think we might look for assistance from the Treasury, and that is in respect to the pensions now granted to professors retiring on account of permanent ill-health. This system was established in 1358, and the Universities Commissioners reporting in 1863 say of it—One of the most beneficial of the changes which have been introduced under the provisions of the Universities Act, relates to the retirement of professors incapacitated by age or permanent ill-health from the performance of their duties. The practice which has heretofore prevailed in the case of a professor being so incapacitated, of having his class conducted by an assistant or deputy, remunerated from the income of the professor, has been found most injurious in its effects.The terms on which retiring allowances have been given may have been somewhat burdensome to the Treasury; but, if so, the blame rests with the Treasury of the time, who declined to agree to the proposal of the Universities Commissioners, fixing a maximum and a mimimum pension, and insisted on the terms which have since been observed. The allowance for pensions in the grant of £42,000 is stated to be £6,000. But the charge is a fluctuating one, and in some years it may considerably exceed this sum, so long, at least, as there are professors who have accepted office under the existing terms. With professors to be appointed hereafter, the University 1318 Courts may make their own terms as to pensions, but they have no discretion as to claims from professors now in office. I hope it will not be considered unreasonable to ask the Treasury to bear the burden of their pensions in so far as they may exceed the sum allowed for them in the grant, as was proposed by a clause in the Universities Bill of 1885.
§ Dr. CLARK
I regret the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not enlighten us a little more as to how he arrives at his statement that this amount is an increase of £13,000. Such is not the impression I receive from the figures and statements on page 399 of the Estimates. I will tell you why I am a little curious about these facts. I asked the Treasury for a Return not long ago, and they promised to give it, but I have seen nothing of it yet, although two Sessions have passed. I want to know how it is that although we are really voting £42,000 for the Scotch Universities we are told that it is only £29,000. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer should expect a single farthing from the other source to which he referred. And as to these amounts given to the Scotch Professors, and which seem in English eyes so large, I would tell the Committee that when I was studying in Edinburgh a certain gentleman was anxious for a professorship, but found himself unable to accept it as the emoluments were only £4,000 a year, whereas he was making in his profession £12,000. I do not think large salaries to professors are thrown away, because they enable you to get popular men, whose lectures attract large numbers of students.
§ * MR. G. J. GOSCHEN
I think it is trespassing on the time of the Committee to go into details on this matter. The sum now proposed to be given as the annual sum from the Consolidated Fund is in reality £13,000 more than was formerly given. I may say with regard to the question of compensation, that I am quite willing to support the action of the Commissioners, but I also want the Commissioners to support the Treasury. The Universities should have an interest in reducing compensation to the lowest possible amount. I should not think it right that the taxpayers should be called upon to pay the whole of the compensations without the Universities being in- 1319 terested in reducing them. They would only be human if, in such a case, they looked more to educational interests than the financial interest of the Treasury. The hon. Gentleman wishes us to restore the clause under which the Treasury undertook to pay the excess over a certain amount of pensions. It should be remembered that the additional £13,000 was given when that clause was struck out. If we restore the clause we shall have to take off the £13,000.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
I think the Government are wise in their decision as to the mode of giving supplemental aid to this sum of £42,000. The question of compensation will be a great difficulty to the Commissioners, but through the joint assistance which will be rendered between the Treasury and the Commissioners the money will be much more safely applied to educational purposes than would otherwise be the case.
§ * MR. G. J. GOSCHEN
I will consider whether that is the best form or not. I will, however, undertake that in some form or other the views I have announced shall be placed before the Commissioners and the House.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause 24, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 25.
Amendment proposed, in page 18, line 27, at the end, add—
But this restriction shall not apply to the Chair or Chairs of Hebrew or Oriental languages which may now or hereafter be attached to the Faculty of Theology."—(Sir L. Playfair.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clauses 25 and 26 agreed to.
§ Clause 27.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Dr. CLARK
I did not wish to suggest an Amendment on the subject of the amount to be paid to the Scotch Universities until I knew the result of the appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Knowing that result, I think it is neces- 1320 sary for us to try and modify Clause 27. I would propose that we should do that by leaving out the words "If any past or present professor," in page 19, line 1. I will subsequently move in line 4 to leave out the word "pensions," and in line 9 to leave out "professor," and at the end of the clause to insert the words "save and except the sum necessary to defray any claim for compensation for pensions made by any past or present professor." The object of the Amendments is to make any addition to the £42,000 which may be necessary to defray the claims made and the pensions asked for past and present professors in regard to changes which may be made under the action of the Commissioners. If you are going to carry out the preamble of the Bill, which is to endow the Scotch Universities, you must give them this money for their ordinary working and make other provisions for the compensations. No one knows what will be the amount required to pay the pensions and defray the claims consequent on loss of fees and salaries. I hope that in this matter the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer will regard Scotland as if it were England. If it were Ireland instead of Scotland we should get all we want——
The proposal of the hon. Member would tend to increase the sum of £42,000, and it is not in the power of a private Member to move to increase a grant.
The hon. Gentleman's arguments are quite inadmissible. If he can show that his Amendment will not increase the charge he may persevere with the point. But at present my view is that the Amendment would increase the charge on the Public Revenue, and it is out of the power of a private Member to submit a proposal which would have that effect.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
The Amendment would merely have the effect of applying this money in a different direction, and it would not, therefore, appear that the strict rule as to Motions involving taxation applies to this case.
The hon. Member cannot possibly hope to avoid the principle I have pointed out by merely playing upon words.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
Would not an Amendment be in order which would limit the purposes for which this sum is to be considered a full discharge?
§ Dr. CLARK
Then I will merely speak against the clause. I think it is an unjust one, and I will try to take a Division against it. My argument is that there were certain charges taken over when the Parliaments of England and Scotland were united, and that by this clause it is sought to cancel the obligation in regard to the Universities. If this were an Irish question the Government would not treat it in such a niggardly spirit. They always treat Scotland in this way. They can vote £40,000 for the two Queen's Colleges in Ireland, and £700 for the Irish Science College, but they refuse to vote anything for science in Scotland. As a Scotch Member I refuse to give the Government a full discharge from all its liabilities in regard to the Scotch Universities for this miserable contemptible sum of £42,000.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 78; Noes 40.—(Div. List, No. 10.)
§ Clause 28.
§ Motion made, and Question put, Clause 28, page 19, line 28, insert "forty-two" —(The Lord Advocate)—Agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question put, Clause 28, "That this clause stand part of the Bill"—(The Lord Advocate)—Agreed to.1322
§ Clause 29.
Motion made, and Question put, Clause 29, page 19, line 30, after "report," insert—
As to the statistics of attendance on the various classes, details of teaching staff, and such other information as the Commissioners, and, after the expiry of their powers, the Universities' Committee, may from time to time determine, and shall also make an annual Report."—(Dr. Cameron).
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question put, Clause 29, page 19, line 81, after "university," insert "and the college or colleges"—(Mr. Baird)—Agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question put, Clause 29, page 19, line 32, after "and "insert" the said reports "—(Dr. Cameron)—Agreed to.
Motion made, and Question put, Clause 29, page 19, line 35, after "determine," insert—
And to enable the University Court to make such report in respect of affiliated colleges, if any, the governing bodies of such colleges shall make an annual Report, duly certified to the University Court."—(Mr. Baird).
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question put, Clause 29, "That this clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—(The Lord Advocate)—Agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question put, Clauses 30 and 31, "That these clauses stand part of the Bill "—Agreed to.
§ New Clauses.
MR. J. B. BALFOUR
I have now to move the new clause standing in the name of the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce), and would point out that he and I omit from it that part which has been involved in the recent discussion, the only question being whether the mode I propose is not the best for accomplishing the object on which we are all agreed.
Motion made, new clause, page 8, after Clause 9, to move the following Clause:—After the passing of this Act it shall not be necessary for any principal professor or other University officer in the said Universities to make and subscribe the declaration mentioned in an Act passed in the Parliament held in the sixteenth and seventeenth years of the reign of Her present Majesty, intituled An Act to regulate the admission of Professors to Lay Chairs in the Universities of Scotland.'"—(Mr. J. B. Balfour.)
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The hon. Gentleman has omitted to observe that if you content yourselves with dealing with the Act of the 16th and 17th of Her Majesty the Queen, you leave the principals of the Universities subject to the very test from which you are proceeding to exempt the professors. For that reason I prefer the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness which, by repealing also a part of the subsequent statute, affords a complete instead of a partial mode of relief.
* MR. J. B. BALFOUR
I do not agree with that view. I hold on the contrary that this is the preferable Amendment, but under the circumstances I will not renew the discussion or press the matter to a division.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. FINLAY
I have to propose that the following new clause be added to the Bill; the effect of it being to carry out the arrangement announced earlier in the evening by the Lord Advocate to abolish all religious tests in the cases of Lay Chairs:—
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the following new clause be read a second time:—The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sections of the Act of the 16th and 17th years of Her present Majesty, Chapter 89, are hereby repealed, and the Act of the 22nd and 23rd years of Her present Majesty is also repealed in so far as it provides that any person shall make or subscribe the declaration set forth in the 2nd Section of the first-mentioned Act.'
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Clause added to the Bill.
§ * MR. HALDANE
The object of the new clause which stands in my name is to secure something like an infusion of new blood into the Board of Curators, and I propose that three additional curators shall in future be nominated by the University Court. In doing this I am not attacking, in any sense, the administration of the curators hitherto nominated by the Edinburgh Town Council.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the following new clause be read a second time:—The number of the curators mentioned in Section 13 of the Universities (Scotland) Act, shall be increased by three, and such three additional curators shall be nominated by, and 1324 vacancies occurring in their offices shall be filled up by, the University Court.
§ * MR. WALLACE
I beg leave to object in the strongest possible manner to this clause being added to the Bill. My hon. and learned Friend describes it as a very single measure. I think it is a very double measure. My hon. and learned Friend appears to have proposed it on the suggestion of the Government. But care was expressly taken in an earlier clause not to interfere with the status of the curators appointed by the Town Council of Edinburgh; this arrangement being defended by the Lord Advocate on the ground that it was a matter of honour to carry out the covenant that the patronage exercised by these curators should be secured to them in the future. Yet when the Lord Advocate was himself defending that arrangement the other night, to my astonishment I heard him express wonder that the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire had not done something to alter the composition of the curatorial body, the effect of that being to take away, in substance, what the Lord Advocate professed to retain in form. I never for a moment imagined that my hon. and learned Friend would listen to such a suggestion; he seemed at the moment to be paralyzed by it, for he sat down in silence, but when he has had time for—well, I will not call it reflection, but for a cerebral process in which he bad been indulging—he seems to have yielded to the temptation held out to him by the Lord Advocate; hence he has brought forward this Motion. I have very great difficulty in keeping myself within the limits of Parliamentary language when speaking of this matter. I feel much disposed to exhaust the resources of vituperation on the Lord Advocate and on my hon. and learned Friend for their action in this matter. I think it highly improper, after having retained an acknowledged right for the curatorial body in Edinburgh, that they should consent to an alteration of the constitution of the body which will take away the right professedly retained. At present the Edinburgh Town Council nominate four curators, and the University Court three, the express understanding being that the representation of the Municipality shall have the preponderance. But my hon. Friend now 1325 proposes that three more curators shall be appointed, all by the University Court, thus placing the Municipality representatives in a minority, and depriving them of that preponderance which was the very essence of the arrangement entered into by the Government. That is the moral character of the transaction, and I can only say it will constitute a most ungraceful conclusion to the work which the Lord Advocate so well begun during -the last three or four days. In common with, I believe, every other Member of the House, I can cordially say I have found it difficult to say which is most to be admired, the ability, the style, the tact, or the temper which the Lord Advocate has displayed. I think that the way in which he has managed this Bill has been in every way most admirable, and it would be to me a matter of lasting regret if he attaches so ungraceful—I was almost about to say so disgraceful—conclusion to his prolonged and lengthened efforts in connection with this Bill. And now I come to the legislative character of the transaction. My hon. Friend bases his proposal on the benefit which will accrue to the University by the infusion of popular representation, yet he is doing his best to swamp and extinguish that very element of popular representation—as embodied in the municipal representatives—which is now the distinguishing element of the curatorial body. These are the difficulties in which hon. Gentlemen land themselves when they stray into crooked paths; they become not only a source of shame to themselves, but they fall into a position of self-contradiction which is both discreditable and ridiculous. I do trust that this protest which I have felt it my duty to make will elicit from the Lord Advocate a declaration that he does not intend to force into this measure a provision opposed to what he has already declared, in substance, to have been honourably retained in the Bill. I feel sure that the other representatives of the City of Edinburgh will cordially join in this protest. We shall certainly divide against the clause if it is pressed, but I should be sorry if it were necessary to resort to such an extremity.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I hope the Lord Advocate will not agree to this clause. 1326 I think that all who have followed closely the discussions in Committee on this Bill would regret very much if, at the end of the discussions, the Lord Advocate should give the slightest reason for believing that he altered the views to which he gave expression a few days ago. I think the case against this clause may be put even more strongly than it was put by my colleague in the representation of Edinburgh. On a preceding clause, the Lord Advocate, after he had had a night to consider the matter, moved an Amendment, specially leaving out all reference to the curatorial body of the University of Edinburgh. At two successive sittings of this Committee we had an assurance from the Lord Advocate, speaking on behalf of the Government, that they would not interfere with the position of the City of Edinburgh in regard to the nomination of curators. The hon. Member for Haddingtonshire says his clause is designed to extend the popular basis of the curatorial body by the infusion of new blood. But that is the exact ground of our objection to it, for if the Government accept this clause they will be adopting a line of action contrary to that pursued in the earlier part of the discussions in Committee. On Clause 5 we had a very long discussion on the constitution of the new University Courts, and the Lord Advocate then agreed on the part of the Government to accept what was evidently the general sense of the House; he agreed that there should be a further infusion of the popular representative element on the governing bodies of the Universities. In consequence of that, he admitted the representation of the Town Councils on the University Courts of St. Andrew's, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. This Amendment will, however, instead of extending the popular element in the Curatorial Court of Edinburgh University, very considerably curtail it. On these general grounds I would urge the Lord Advocate not to adopt the new clause of my hon. Friend, and on personal grounds I ask him to adhere to the terms of the Bill, because we should deem it a matter of extreme regret if at the close of this discussion we should have any reason whatever for suggesting that he had altered his course of conduct.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
I am not surprised that my hon. Friend has moved on educational rounds his Amendment. In reality, it is an anomaly that a Board of Curators should exist in Edinburgh, and that there should not be a similar body in any other University. The reason is, as we know, to be found in the traditions of the University itself. The University of Edinburgh was originally managed by the Town Council, and, on the whole, I think that the Council exercised its rights of patronage extremely well. When the Act of 1858 was passed, the municipal element on the Board of Curators was maintained. If we were now constituting for the first time the Board of Curators, I should agree with the Amendment; but when we reflect that the whole interests of the University were at one time under the guidance of the Town Council, and that there has been for many years an honourable connection between the Municipality and the University—when also we remember that the Council has exercised its patronage well, I think that, on the whole, it would be as well to leave the Court of Curators constituted as it is at present. I, therefore, trust that the Amendment will be withdrawn.
§ DR. CLARK
I thought that this question was finally settled, and I hope that now the Lord Advocate will not give way in favour of this Amendment, and thus give us cause for regretting that he should have changed his policy in the conduct of this Bill. I should have been glad to support my hon. Friend the Member for Haddington if he had been able to give any reason whatever for the change, but he did not lay before the House a single reason. He did not complain that the curators had failed to dispense their patronage in the way the way they should have done. He cast no reflection whatever upon them, and, therefore, under these circumstances I ask why we should make such a complete change in the constitution?
§ * MR. HALDANE
When I moved this clause, I purposely abstained from going into details and thus occupying the time of the House, although I might have spoken at very considerable length upon the question. My reason was that on a previous occasion I had stated the 1328 grounds on which I now make the proposition.
§ DR. CLARK
At any rate, there was no charge made against the curators. The change is advocated evidently for academical reasons, and with the idea of placing the popular element in a minority in the Court. And I can only say that if the Amendment is adopted, it will be viewed as a reflection upon the Edinburgh Town Council.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I am not surprised that my hon. and learned Friend should have moved the Amendment which stands in his name. In the first place, it is admitted on all hands that the present mode of administering the patronage in the University of Edinburgh is an anomaly which, on principle, is altogether indefensible. We have had several proposals for laying down general rules as to the body which shall exercise the patronage of the University, and one which received the most general support was that all patronage should be vested in the University Court. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds has said, were we at the beginning of things, one could hardly imagine there could be any objection to the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend, and it struck me as one of the most remarkable facts that the defence of the existing state of things was based on grounds altogether remote from the question of the general advantage to the University. The hon. and learned Member for East Edinburgh has prayed, in aid of the case he supports, some considerations as to what I said at an earlier stage in these proceedings, and hon. Members below the Gangway have followed his example. It has been urged that the acceptance of this Amendment will mean a revocation of the settlement, or rather compromise, come to in 1858. And now, as to my personal position in this matter. I was astonished to hear an hon. Gentleman below the Gangway say that he was amazed to see there was some chance of my acceding to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Haddington, because he held it would be a complete stultification of what I said the other day. But the hon. Member for East Edinburgh saw so clearly the-import of what I said on that occa- 1329 sion that he stated to-day it struck him with horror and surprise.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
Well, what I said to the Committee on that occasion, and what I repeat again to-day, is that I am not prepared to depart from the understanding come to in 1858, so far as the existence of this body of curators is constituted. But I added that I thought the composition of that body was entirely open to discussion, and I was surprised that the hon. Member had not raised a question as to it. We have to consider this question in a practical light. We have, by the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, provided that a detailed and reasoned report on the qualifications of candidates is to be furnished to every body of patrons. That I regard as a great safeguard against any possible defects in the decision of any body of patrons. Any body of patrons must stand or fall nowadays according to the exercise of their patronage. By passing from this Amendment we do not confer any right, but merely show a disposition to give a further period of probation to the patrons now fulfilling the duty. I think the best solution of the question is to take that view of the existing situation; but it should be distinctly understood now, as in 1858, that it is the duty alike of the University Court and the Town Council of Edinburgh not to treat their representation on the curatorial body as a property, but that they have a duty to find, in one case four, and in the other three, persons individually qualified by their knowledge, experience, and impartiality to make selections of persons suitable for academic office.
§ * MR. HALDANE
In consequence of what the Lord Advocate has just said, I beg to ask leave of the House to withdraw the Amendment. In doing so I wish to express my gratification that the Government have been quite willing, as regards this point, to make the measure a thorough-going one. It was to me a source of surprise that two hon. Members representing two of the most Radical constituencies in the United Kingdom should have made use of arguments which would have been 1330 more appropriate to the Corporation debates of 1832 than to those of to-day. I cannot forget that the University of Edinburgh exists for the Scottish nation, and not for the Town Council of Edinburgh, and that at the present moment 16 of the Chairs of that University are in the exclusive patronage of curators who are dominated by the Town Council. It is a source of satisfaction to me that the Lord Advocate has, at all events, recognized that, in the interests of education and of the public, this condition of things is an anomaly which will be put an end to at no distant date.
§ Sir G. CAMPBELL
It is not desirable to look a gift horse in the mouth; but as my hon. Friend (Mr. Haldane) has expressed his gratification at the observations of the Lord Advocate, I must express my dissatisfaction at my hon. Friend's gratification.
§ DR. CLARK
I thoroughly endorse every word the Lord Advocate has said. I cannot find fault with a single word of the speech, or with a single idea contained in it. If the Lord Advocate continues to treat the question in the spirit he has just displayed, I have no fear of any future measure that may be brought in to diminish the power of the Edinburgh Town Council. I compliment the Lord Advocate upon having conducted this Bill in a fashion which will certainly add to the gratifying reputation he has got inside and outside the House both for tact and ability.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Schedule agreed to.
§ Question proposed, "That this be the Preamble of the Bill."
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill reported as amended, to be considered upon Thursday, July 11th, and to be printed. [Bill 307.]