HC Deb 17 July 1889 vol 338 cc605-51

Order for consideration of Bill, as amended, read.

MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)

The Amendment which I propose to move is one which relates to the constitution of the proposed University Court. I have placed on the Paper what are real y three consequential Amendments, but the decision of the House upon the first will be conclusive in regard to the other two. The University Court, as it is proposed to be constituted, is one in which the professors will, under ordinary circumstances, have a governing voice. It is to consist, nominally, of 14 members, but practically of 13, and an average attendance of nine or ten is about as much as can be expected. Out of those nine or ten who will be actually present, under ordinary circumstances, there will be no fewer than five professors, including the principal, so that at an ordinary meeting of the University Court the professors will really have a majority. That is not the only point, because the assessors, although nominated by the Chancellor, are in many of the Universities practically selected by the professors; so that even supposing the representatives of the University Court were to be of a class that might be disposed not to be entirely subservient to the professors, the professorial body-would really have it all their own way. We know from past experience that that has been the case, and that the University Court has been entirely dominated in the interests of the professors. I have no kind of antipathy to the professors, but what I object to is to give a preponderating voice and vote to the professors in this particular body. The reason of that is that the University Court has no ground for its existence, and no object in the world except to control the professors. Therefore, we are in this ridiculous position—that we are to establish a University Court on the assumption that somebody is required to control the professors, and then upon the controlling body we are asked to place for all practical purposes a majority of professors. What are the functions which this University Court is to perform? It is only necessary to look into them to see how intolerable and absurd it would be to give the professors a preponderating voice. One of the functions is to review the decisions of the Senatus Academicus. After providing an appeal the Bill proceeds to appoint an appellate body in which the preponderating and governing voice is that of the professors themselves. There is another function of the University Court which is of the greatest possible importance. I mean the appointment of examiners, to see that fair play is given to the different classes of candidates for the various degrees conferred by the University. It is most important, if we are to have examiners at all from the outside, that they should be independent examiners who do not owe their position to the influence which it is their business to control. Perhaps I may be allowed to refer upon this point to the University of Edinburgh. There is a degree granted by the University called the "B.D." degree. With rare exceptions the University Court appoints as examiner a divine of the Established Church, and consequently the control of the examinations is practically in the hands of the Professors of Divinity for the time being. In most cases the notes of the professors' lectures are made the texts of examination, and those persons who have not attended the Divinity lectures have had to encounter serious obstacles which have not confronted those who have attended the lectures. Everyone who has watched the Scotch Universities during the last 20 years must know that the professorial element is supreme, and that practically the examiners are appointed by the professors, which means that the very man appointed to watch the watchman is himself appointed by the watchman. That is bad enough now, but under this Bill things are made ten times worse. What was formerly an overpowering influence will become an absolutely irresistible and controlling influence. It is not a Bill that is calculated to improve the education in the Universities, or to do much good to education itself, but it consolidates and confirms the power of the professors, whose control of the Universities has already been the subject of much just animadversion. The University Court is the body which governs the whole of the University as an Appeal Court, and the constitution of that Court involves in reality the whole question of the government of the University. Under the Bill as it now stands, the popular representation which formerly existed has been, comparatively speaking, much diminished. One of the good things in the Scottish Universities hitherto has been the appointment of the rector and the rector's assistant by the students. At present the rector and his assistant form one-third of the Court, but as the Court is now proposed to be constituted they will only form one-fourteenth. The power of the students is reduced to an insignificant fraction, while the vested interest of the professors, in their own comfort, convenience, and sometimes in their own indolence, is multiplied by four. I think that I should be wanting in my duty if I did not use every influence in my power to prevent the Court from being so badly constituted as to be able to obstruct education, and promote only the vested and selfish interests of the professors. I maintain that to give this governing and controlling power to the professorial element is perfectly monstrous. I have no doubt the answer of the Lord Advocate will be that the professors and principals together are only five out of 14. That is true, but they are five who will always be on the spot, and, as a matter of fact, the total number is really 13, and not 14.

An Hon. MEMBER: There are the affiliated colleges.


The affiliated colleges do not at present exist, and when they are affiliated they will send professors also, who will simply strengthen the professorial element. The five professors, out of a body consisting of 14, will be a solid body, always united and acting steadily together for the promotion of their own interests. The remainder, all told, are only nine; they are a fluctuating body, several of whom in all probability will rarely be present at the meetings of the Court. I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.

Amendment moved, in page 2, line 37, to leave out the words "three assessors," in order to insert the words "one assessor."—(Mr. Hunter.)

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

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

I cannot say that I have been entirely convinced by the argument of my hon. Friend. In fact, the concluding part of his speech answered the first, because, after all, he showed that the professors are to form a small part only of the University Court. In the University of Edinburgh there are nine representatives who may be said to be popularly appointed, and only five who represent the professorial element. My hon. Friend implies that the nine will absent themselves and do their duty imperfectly, but I think that those who have to elect the members of the Court will take care that the persons they select are persons who will properly discharge the duties, and who will attend on all fitting occasions. Considering the work which seven professors have to do, and the great stake they have in the Universities, together with the fact that the Court will have to control the funds and the property of the Universities, I think there is every reason why they should be substantially represented in the Court, and be able to watch any proceedings that may be taken, not only against the University, but against themselves. Therefore, I am not, on the whole, disposed to follow my hon. Friend. Mention has been made of the election of examiners. So far as the appointment of medical examiners is concerned, I am of opinion that the appointment has invariably been a good one. To imagine that the Court would feel the slightest desire to perpetrate a job is altogether illusory, and the gentlemen selected for examiners are invariably unknown to the candidates. Hitherto the work of examination has been extremely well done. For these reasons I am in favour of the three assessors proposed by the Bill, and I do not think that it will give a preponderating influence in the University Court to the professorial element?

* MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire (Mr. Hunter) has given a somewhat extraordinary account of the object of this Bill. According to my hon. Friend, the object of the Bill is to strengthen the position of the professors. Now, the real object of the Bill is to carry out certain reforms recommended by the last University Commission, with the light which has been thrown upon the subject since. Its object is in no sense to strengthen the position of the professors. My hon. Friend seems to have a very low opinion of the motives of the professors. He says, in fact, that their only object is their own personal interest and advancement. Now I do not know what should make a professor so much worse than any other man, and I think we shall find in the University Court, as it is proposed to be constituted, that we shall receive very great assistance from a few members of that despised class. My hon. Friend says the duty of the Court should be to control the professors, but the great business of the Court is to administer the affairs of the University, and in doing so why should it not receive the assistance of some of those who have had the chief charge hitherto of University administration. So far as I am aware there has been no allegation that the affairs of the Universities have not been well managed. I believe that the Bill gives full security against anything in the shape of narrowness, and that the Court to be elected under it will be one which will command the confidence of the country. The Court will consist of 15 members, without counting those who may be appointed afterwards by affiliated colleges, and out of that number there will only be five professors. I trust that the Government will not accept the Amendment.

The House divided:—Ayes 115; Noes 37.—(Div. List, No. 218.)


I beg to move in Clause 5, page 2, line 38, after "colleges," to insert "not exceeding four in all." The object of the Amendment is to replace some words which were removed from the Bill in Committee with the addition, a little further on, of words which, to a certain extent, will modify the effect of this Amendment. My object is to prevent the University Court from being unnecessarily large, and also to prevent it from becoming flooded with an excess of one particular element. There has been a general complaint that the University Court, as proposed by the Bill, is, if anything, somewhat too large in its numbers, and yet, as the Bill stands, there is no limit placed upon the additional representation of colleges which may be affiliated to the Universities. The words which I propose to reintroduce were in the Bill of last year, which was discussed in another place. That Bill was before the public in Scotland during the winter, and was much discussed both in the Press and in University circles, and at meetings of the General Council. At the meeting of the Glasgow Council there was no objection to the limit proposed in the Bill. All I propose now is to reintroduce the limitation with a provision giving power to the Commissioners, and after them to the Universities' Committee of Privy Council, to amend the limit of four assessors if special circumstances seem in any instance to require it.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 38, after the word "number," to insert the words "not exceeding four in all."—(Mr. J. A. Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'not exceeding four in all' be there inserted."

* MR. C. S. PARKER (Perth)

As a matter of form I think the hon. Member would do better to let the words follow the word "number." In substance I entirely agree with the argument he has used. I hope the House will understand that the effect of the words proposed would not be to reverse the decision arrived at in Committee, but only to modify it. There is nothing in the Amendment to set bounds to the representation of affiliated colleges in the future, the only question is as to the present. While we are in a state of transition, it would not be well to disturb the balance by the introduction of this new element in such proportions as to outnumber the representatives of the General Council or of the Senate. The Amendment must be taken in connection with a proviso which is to follow. It is not intended by my hon. Friend even during the existence of the Commission to prevent their increasing the number beyond four, should new circumstances arise. And after the expiration of the Commission he would leave the Universities Committee free to make such arrangements for the representation of affiliated colleges as may be found expedient. I do not know what may be the opinion of hon. Members who are Commissioners on the point, or whether they consider themselves at liberty to express an opinion; but so far as I have had any communication with the Commissioners on the subject, I believe they would prefer, upon the whole, not to have the power placed in their hands of going beyond the number of four. Because if they had that power, and if it should happen that more than four colleges should apply for affiliation, they would find it difficult to refuse representation.

* MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)

I cannot say I have heard anything to convince me that the change made in Committee was an improper one, and I would much prefer to leave the matter as it stands. To make the alteration proposed will discourage the affiliation of colleges beyond the number of four, because when that number of colleges become affiliated any other colleges who may desire affiliation will be discouraged by the circumstance that they cannot get a thorough representative of their own interests upon the Governing University body. I think it would be very much better to leave this matter to the discretion of the Commission and the University Committee, as the Committee of the House thought it better to do. I have heard no reason advanced why we should go back from the position arrived at in Committee after due discussion.

MR. J. B. BALFOUR&c.) (Clackmannan,

I hope on consideration the Government will accept this Amendment. The scheme of the Bill in regard to the University Court is to give an indication by numbers of the representation of the different professors and interests, and on that basis the Commissioners have a very distinct guide as to what they shall do, in fact more than a Parliamentary indication of what they shall do as regards all the other interests. I admit there is a difference in the case of affiliated colleges, for it is impossible quite to know how many colleges may come forward and in course of time be affiliated; but the fact of this being undetermined and impossible of determination seems to make it necessary or advantageous that the Commissioners in the performance of their duty should have a Parliamentary guide or indication as to what the proportion of representation of affiliated colleges is to be. Now there is a proper latitude given by Section 15, but this does seem hardly enough, because if they do not get some indication, the Commissioners might not be aware of what Parliament did or did not intend under certain conditions, and might join members to a fixed unalterable body, until the latter become swamped by the additions from the outside. I think then it is desirable there should be some indication by Parliament. Then what should that indication be? The hon. Member for Glasgow University proposes to revert to the number of four, and that does seem to me a fair number to represent the external or affiliated interest. It should not be forgotten that the term affiliation which is used has an interpretation which is not altogether sentimental. These colleges will be daughters or children of the University, their Alma Mater. That is the idea; and there should not be the possibility of any dread of an undue or preponderating influence to subvert that which should be the right of the fixed body, who are not elastic like the others. I think the House will do well to accept the Amendment.


I agree with the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. C. S. Parker) in thinking that should the House proceed to adopt the Amendment that would not in any sense be reversing the decision come to by the Committee of the House. The question that was before the Committee was this—whether there should be a fixed and final number of four, or whether some more elastic power should be conferred on the Commission, such as is presented in the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow University. The reason that moved the Committee to put the Bill into its present form was the desire that there should not be a fixed and definite rule that would exclude further representation of the affiliated colleges afterwards, should the number of these render it necessary that there should be a change in the representation. I say this with the more readiness because I was a party to the decision of the Committee. Had this Amendment been put before the Committee, I think the Committee would have adopted this as solving the difficulty. "We are now quite prepared to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend.

MR. CRAIG SELLAR (Lanarkshire, Partick)

The hon. Member for Perth (Mr. C. S. Parker) said he did not know whether those who are nominated to the Commission should or should not express an opinion on this matter of the constitution of the University Court. For myself, I am strongly of opinion that we whose names are proposed as Commissioners ought to be very chary as to what opinions we now express upon matters that will come before us for consideration as Commissioners; but this is a question as to leaving the Commissioners with discretion in this matter. Speaking for myself, and for those of my colleagues on the proposed Commission with whom I have spoken on the subject, we should very much prefer that our discretion should be limited in this matter, and that for many reasons. It is quite obvious that pressure might be brought to bear upon us directly or indirectly in this matter that would be difficult for us to withstand, or anyhow, that would be embarrassing. For that reason I think our discretion should be limited. A more important reason is that which has just been referred to—that in the case of all the other representatives the number is fixed, and I cannot see why the number should not be fixed on this point, at least at the beginning. But if there are many colleges to be affiliated the proportion may be changed, under the proviso to enable future representatives to be appointed in course of time. The opinion of the Committee was that the number should not be excessive, and under the Amendment the number will not be excessive. For these and other reasons which it is scarcely necessary now to urge I hope the Amendment may be accepted.

MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)

This is one of the few parts of this Scotch Universities Bill upon which an English Member may be permitted to express an opinion in a very few words. I hope that in future some of the colleges that may be affiliated may be situated south of the Tweed, in England; and it seems to me, after careful consideration of this possibility, that the colleges should not have so large a representation as to swamp the governing body of a Scotch institution. I do not think that would be fair to the Scotch University or just to the English colleges who become associated or affiliated, for they would desire to become associated with the Scotch Universities as they are, and not as they may become changed or modified by a large representation of English colleges. On this ground, and in the behalf of English colleges that may be affiliated, I hope the House will agree to the Amendment.

MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

The hon. Member has given an illustration that appeals very forcibly to us, as a reason why this Amendment should be accepted. The provisions as to affiliation are of a very experimental character. I believe it had not occurred to any of us that English colleges may apply for affiliation, but it is, I admit, perfectly possible under the Bill; and when we are entering upon such an experimental course as affiliation, it is undesirable to excite the apprehension of a possibility of such an enlargement of the University Court in such a way as has been suggested, and as the present form of the Bill would permit. I would also observe that under the powers of election given to the General Council this representation may come in.

MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)

I would point out that the power of the Committee to admit a number of representatives is the same under the Bill as it is as under the Amendment, taken in connection with the proviso. There is no limitation of their power to appoint as many as they think fit. All that the Amendment suggests or indicates is that, in the opinion of Parliament, the number should, as far as possible, be restricted to four representatives of affiliated colleges. The Committee will have before them this suggestion—that it is not desirable to have too many representatives, and that they should not throw all the representation upon the first affiliated colleges, but take into consideration the future affiliations that may take place.

The House divided:—Ayes 129; Noes 54.—(Div. List, No. 219.)


My next Amendment is not important now that the number is restricted, and I do not propose to move it. I move the consequential Amendments on line 11, page 3.

Amendments proposed:—Clause 5, page 3, line 11, after "number," insert "not exceeding four in all"; line 24, after "number," insert "not exceeding four in all"; line 37, after "number," insert "not exceeding four in all."

Amendments agreed to.


I now beg to move the insertion of the proviso by which I propose to give power to the Commissioners, and, after the expiration of their powers, to the University Committee of the Privy Council, to increase the number of representatives of colleges, if special circumstances, in their judgment, seem to require that increase.

Amendment proposed, Clause 5, page 3, line 40, before "seven members," insert— Provided always that the total number of representatives of affiliated colleges in the University Court of any University may be increased by the Commissioners or, after the expiration of their powers, by the Universities Committee, if, in their opinion respectively, special circumstances should arise to require such increase.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments proposed:—Clause 5, page 4, lines 8 and 9, leave out "in the case of the three assessors to be first elected by the General Council"; line 10, after "years," leave out to "body," in line 13; line 15, after "be," insert "nominated or"; line 27, leave out "Commissioners," and insert "assessors."

Amendments agreed to.


I now beg to propose to delete the words in lines 37 and 39 which were introduced in Committee without discussion. The proposal in the Bill is that no member of the Senatus Academicus shall vote or take part in the election of any assessor of the General Council. The members-of the Senatus Academicus are members of the General Council; but in this sentence they are selected for disfranchisement for no particular cause. It appears to me a very invidious and unnecessary provision, and it is difficult to see why they should be selected for this particular disfranchisement. It may be said that they elect assessors from the Senatus Academicus to the Court themselves, and that members of the General Council take no part in that election. That happens because members of the Council are not members of the Senatus. But why should not the-members of the Senatus take part in the elections of a body of which they are themselves members? In case it should be thought their influence would be too great I will mention their numbers in proportion to the whole body of the General Council. At St, Andrew's they are 14 in a General Council of 1,500; at Glasgow, 29 in 4,500; in Aberdeen, 23 in 3,100; in Edinburgh, 40 in 6,000. Why should this small number of 106 be prevented from exercising their functions in a body of 15,000? I cannot see any reason, and therefore I move to delete the words.

Amendment proposed, in page 4, line 37, to leave out from the word "retired," to the end of line 39.


I cannot agree to this Amendment. We have conferred upon the Senatus Academicus separate representation on the University Court, which we think adequate though not excessive, and I feel bound to preclude them from having part in another representation. I cannot give way on this point.


I should like to point out to the House the motive, the animus, that has guided the hon. Member in this Amendment. Not content with having a preponderating power for the professors in the University Court, be actually objects to excluding them from interference in the election of members of the Council where their influence is still most powerful.


I should like to ask what is the meaning of the words "shall not be entitled to take part in the election." Will a member of the Senatus be subject to any penalty if he gives advice, or canvasses with a view to any such election?


I confess I do not attach much value to the words, but I think they had better stand. My only doubt is whether a member of the Senatus should remain in the chair supposing an election is going on. On the whole I think it better to keep in the words.


I will not press the Amendment in view of the discouragement expressed by my right hon. Friend.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments proposed, Clause 5, page 4, line 39, after "Council," insert "of that University;" Clause 6, page 6, line 8, after "thereof," leave out "if any." —(The Lord Advocate.)

Amendments agreed to.


I beg to move after "colleges" to insert "thereof existing at the passing of this Act." There might be an ambiguity if we left the clause as it is. It would certainly be wrong for Parliament to give power to the Commissioners or the University Court to appoint from among the members of the Senatus Academicus persons to manage museums and libraries of independent colleges having nothing to do with the University at all, and it is therefore in the interest of independent colleges that these words should be inserted.

Amendment proposed, Clause 6, page 7, line 19, after "colleges," insert "thereof existing at the passing of this Act."—(Mr. M. T. Stormonth Darling.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


Has the hon. and learned Gentleman considered the question of Dundee? The provision of the Bill is that it will form part of St. Andrew's, and I think that these words would interfere with that.


The Commissioners will have power under the special clause to make all necessary arrangements for the future relations of the University with Dundee College, if affiliation should take place, but until affiliation does take place it would be just as wrong in that case as in any other to provide that the University should have any control over the College.

Question put, and agreed to.


I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name. The object is to give to the University Court the election of the representative of the University on the General Medical Council. This election has hitherto been made by the Senatus Academicus, and some doubt has been expressed as to whether the Senatus was the proper body to make the appointment. Now that, under this Bill, the University Court is reconstituted with increased administrative powers, it appears to me to be the proper body to act as representing the University in such a matter as this election.

Amendment proposed, in page 7, line 28, after the word "Court," to insert as a new sub-section— To elect the representative of the University on the General Medical Council, under 'The Medical Act, 1886.' "—(Mr. James Campbell.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted.'"

Sir WALTER FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)

I cannot consent to this Amendment being passed without giving some reasons against it. There is an Amend- ment farther down in the Paper in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bridgeton (Sir G. Trevelyan), which proposes that the representatives shall be elected by the General Council of each University, and that seems to me infinitely preferable to this proposal. The members of the General Medical Council are elected for the purpose of regulating medical education generally in the interest of the whole medical profession, and I think it is only right that the whole of the medical graduates of the University affected should have the duty of selecting their representatives. Such representatives ought to feel that they are backed up by the whole of the medical graduates and not by a few professors. I think it would give much greater satisfaction to the medical profession in Scotland, and add to the strength and importance of these representatives, if they were elected by a more extended constituency.


The Government are favourable to the Amendment of my hon. Friend, and, therefore, opposed to the other Amendment to which reference has just been made. The simple question is, what is the best body to elect a representative on the General Council in the interest of medical education, and how will a person qualified to represent this particular medical school be best obtained? I think the natural body to elect such a person is the governing body. The inconvenience of an election by, in some cases, 6,000 persons is obvious. The task could not be safely intrusted to so large a constituency, and above all to a mixed constituency.


In order to form an opinion on this point, I should like to know what is the particular body at Oxford and at Cambridge which elects the member to represent them on the Medical Council?


I am informed that, at Cambridge, the medical representative is chosen by the Council, which consists of Masters of Arts f and those of a higher degree residing within a certain distance of the University.

* MR. D. CEAWFOED (Lanark, N. E.)

I think that the Congregation appoint the delegate at Oxford, and that is certainly not a body corresponding to the University Court.


I cannot agree that the Congregation at Oxford does not correspond to some extent to the University Court in Scotland. I am glad the Government are going to support this Amendment, because I believe it is very undesirable that we should add to the number of contests carried on by means of voting papers and circulars in the Scotch Universities. I should much prefer to have the election made by the University Court.


I very much agree with the last speaker. How is the election to be decided in the case of a contest? Are you to have the contest carried on by the enormously expensive means of circulars and voting papers? I think that the Court is a much more reasonable electoral body.

* DR. McDONALD (Ross and Cromarty)

I think it would be a very great pity that the representatives of the Universities on the Medical Council should be mere nominees of the Court, and I think it would give the representative on the General Medical Council much greater weight if he were elected as in the past. Objection has been taken to the expense of these elections as carried on now, but I do not know that the expense is anything considerable at all. I wish to see the Medical Council carry weight among the medical men in this country, and I am certain it would not carry such weight as it does now if the representatives went to the Council merely to support the interests of an individual school.


I think that scattered as graduates are all over the country, and most of them having no special connection with the medical profession, we are more likely, on the whole, to get good men to serve on the Medical Council by making the constituent body the University Court, than by adopting the proposal of the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Foster).


I must oppose the Amendment. Anyone who is elected by such a body as the University Council will necessarily be in a position of eminence, and another advantage of having an extended constituency is that you will interest the whole medical profession in the work of the Medical Council.


The Debate which, has taken place has persuaded me that the best course will be to let the whole body of graduates elect the representative. There are no doubt objections to such a course, but I think that the balance of convenience is on the side of having a large constituency.

The House divided:—Ayes 126; Noes 76.—(Div. List, No. 220.)

MR. J. P. B. EOBERTSON moved, in Clause 7, page 8, line 3, after "colleges," insert "thereof existing at the passing of this Act."

Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.


I think that the 10 for each 1,000 is too large for a quorum, and according to the clause here power would be given to the University Board to increase that quorum, and I think that would be a most unfortunate state of matters. The number of 10 was fixed after very careful deliberation, and, surely, no circumstances can arise to necessitate an alteration in the extent of that quorum. I, therefore, move, Clause 8, page 8, lines 16 and 17, leave out "such number not less than."

Amendment proposed, in page 8, lines 16 and 17, to leave out the words "such number not less than."—(Mr. Caldwell.)

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


This is not a very important matter; at the same time, the hon. Member wishes the Bill to be so framed as to apply to all the Universities of Scotland. I may say that we are quite prepared to accept another Amendment of the hon. Member, which proposes to insert the word "complete." When you recollect that the Council is a deliberative body, besides having power of voting, I think it will be seen that it would really be absurd to fix the limit suggested. It would be better to leave it to the latitude and discretion of the University Court, giving them not less than 10 for every completed 1,000.


The only way of dealing with this matter is to bring up a new clause. The other three Universities should not have their interests sacrificed simply for the sake of uniformity.


I hope the Government will concede this small Amendment, seeing it is not a question of first-rate importance. Ten will be an ample quorum.


I think it will. When there is an attendance it should be sufficient, and I do not suppose a smaller quorum than 10 to every 1,000 would exercise any influence on public affairs.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 120; Noes 86.—(Div. List, No. 221.)


T have now, on Clause 7, to move the omission of the words "Alexander Smith Kenniar, Esq." I think it is very desirable that we should know the intentions of the Government with respect to the composition of this Commission. There are to be 15 members of the Commission, but among those nominated there is not one who knows anything whatever of the system in vogue at the University of Aberdeen. There is one gentleman named who, prior to the year 1660, was a member of one of the colleges that formerly existed in Aberdeen, but he knows nothing of the system that has existed there for the last 30 years. When this subject was under discussion in Committee I addressed an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury with reference to the composition of this Commission. It was then arranged that four names should be added. I put in three on behalf of the University of Aberdeen, and certainly from what then occurred I was not prepared for the formation of a Commission not a single member of which can be said to represent one of the most important Universities. Now, there is one reason in particular why Aberdeen should have a representative. In that University alone, of all the Scotch Universities, we have practically free education. The number of bursaries is exceptionally large in the Arts classes, and most of them by open competition. You have practically in Aberdeen what you get in no other University in the world—namely, a free education for every boy who, in competition, shows he is capable of taking advantage of Uni- versity training. One result is that in Aberdeen you have the contest for academical existence carried on under conditions more severe and more stringent than in any other University, and while we have not been too well provided with distinguished professors, yet the graduates who have left Aberdeen have been practically as well trained as those leaving other Scotch Universities, and this notwithstanding that we have an antiquated system of education. That is the special feature which dominates everything which arises in connection with Aberdeen University. But I do not put forward any claim on the ground of fairness alone. I say, of course, it is monstrous that on a Commission of 15 members Aberdeen should be wholly unrepresented, and I contend that there is an absolute necessity to have Aberdeen represented. The constitution of the Commission at present is practically a denial of justice to Aberdeen. One of the most important tasks of this Commission will be to divide £15,000 a year among the Scotch Universities. Edinburgh and Glasgow are both largely represented on the Commission, and undoubtedly their interests will be carefully looked after. But there is no one to look after the interests of Aberdeen. Human nature is human nature all the world over, and in the scramble for the money there is the probability, nay, almost the certainty, that gross injustice will be done to Aberdeen in the distribution of the cash. I hope the Government will not compel us to take a Division on this question.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 3, to leave out the words "Alexander Smith Kenniar, Esquire, one of the Senators of the College of Justice."—(Mr. Hunter.)

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


I confess the hon. Gentleman has taken the first possible opportunity of stating his objections to the composition of this Commission, on the ground of the insufficiency of the representation—or rather, as he puts it, the non-representation of Aberdeen. But how do the facts stand? Sir Arthur Mitchell, one of the Commissioners proposed, is a distinguished graduate of Aberdeen.


Not of the present University.


He graduated certainly before the fusion of the colleges took place, but I cannot regard that fact as ousting him from any participation in sympathy with the University of which he is a distinguished ornament. Among his claims to the position which he was good enough to accept was the very fact that he was an Aberdeen man, and he was represented to the Government as being in complete sympathy with and having full knowledge of this University. But when I continue my examination of the list of Commissioners, I find upon it the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen University, and surely it cannot be doubted that he will have regard to the interests of his constituents. Now, Sir, I will refer to the question raised by the hon. Gentleman regarding the four additional names put on the Commission. He complains that we have not taken this opportunity of adding an Aberdeen man. Well, I may say that in the selection of the four Commissioners the Government sought to find a distinguished graduate of Aberdeen, and I do not hesitate to say that Professor Robertson Smith was invited to join the Commission, but unfortunately his engagements prevented him accepting the post, and we were unable to find any other gentleman specially connected with Aberdeen who possessed all the necessary qualifications. As right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite know, the Government were not merely open to suggestions, but they invited them and acted upon them. When the four places on the Commission were left blank, it was distinctly understood that they should be filled up with due regard to the representation on the Commission of the various interests which it was supposed had been overlooked. We have endeavoured to carry out that arrangement, and have selected gentlemen who we believe possess those qualifications. I hope that the Committee will view the matter in this light. In the first place, Aberdeen is represented on the Commission, and I contend adequately represented; and I trust that the House will support the Government in their effort—which I believe has been successful—to re-constitute the Commission in such a way as to command confidence.


I quite agree with what the learned Lord Advocate has said as to the intentions and efforts of the Government, for I hold that they have fully carried out the agreement come to with hon. Members on this side of the House. I myself ventured the other day to suggest that the Commission ought to be strengthened by having directly represented on it those who have taken the most active part in initiating and advocating the reforms embodied in this Bill. I also said that if they were introduced the existing teaching bodies should also be adequately represented on the Commission. Now the four names which the Government have put on the Paper perfectly carry out the suggestion I made, and the agreement which subsisted between us at that time. But with regard to this particular question of the representation of Aberdeen, although I am not in any sense connected with Aberdeen, yet I have a considerable degree of sympathy with my hon. Friend, because I think with him that this is more than what the Lord Advocate described as a question of a particular locality. As I understand it, Aberdeen, in its University system, does differ in material points from the system prevailing at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Government have endeavoured, as the Lord Advocate has said, to meet this view. Several names were suggested to them, but objections of one sort or another were raised. To my knowledge Professor Robertson Smith was recommended for appointment, largely on the ground that he had knowledge of the Aberdeen system, but unfortunately he could not accept the post. It is a blot undoubtedly upon this Commission that there is not one member on it who has recent and familiar acquaintance with the Aberdeen University system; and if my hon. Friend can induce the House to take off the name of some other member in order to introduce that element into the Commission, I shall be very happy to give him what support is in my power. But in regard to the particular strengthening of the Commission which was agreed upon when the matter was under discussion in Committee, I am bound to say that I think the Government have rightly and properly carried out the arrangement made on that occasion, and I have no fault to find with them on that ground. Still, there are names undoubtedly on the-Commission which I think, with all respect for those who own them, do not add very much strength to the Commission, and have no particular or special claim for being retained on it. If the Government should see their way in place of one of these names to introduce an Aberdeen name, I think it would be of advantage to the interest of Scotch Universities generally, as well as of Aberdeen in particular.


I look upon Aberdeen as a separate entity in the matter of University education. It certainly has a different University system, and I think it would be most unfortunate if there were no one on the Commission who has had recent personal experience of the working of that system. No one has greater respect for Sir Arthur Mitchell than I have, and no doubt he would be a very useful member of the Commission. But he has had nothing to do with Aberdeen since the Universities came together, and a great many things have happened since then. The interests of this University require great and special attention on the part of the Commission; and I quite agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Aberdeen that it would be a great misfortune not to appoint some one with recent experience of, and familiarity with, the affairs of this great institution.


As a Representative of the City of Aberdeen I wish to add my testimony to what has been, said by my hon. Friends as to the extreme desirability of having someone on this Commission with a special and direct knowledge of the conditions prevailing in Aberdeen University. Undoubtedly the arrangements in that University differ very materially from those prevailing at Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Government may tell us that these facts can easily be brought out in evidence before the Commission; but any hon. Member who has sat on Royal Commissions in this House knows very well how difficult it is to get facts out of evidence unless you have on the Commission a Member who has personal knowledge of the matter under examination. I do, therefore, hope that the Government even at this stage will try to give Aberdeen satisfactory representation, and will thus deal with this matter in a conciliatory spirit. I have an Amendment down suggesting the name of one eminent person; but at this stage I do not think I am entitled to state his claims to be added to the Commission. Still, I would urge the Government to give consideration to those claims.

MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)

I think the Government should grant this concession, which is fair and reasonable. I am not entitled at this stage to speak of a gentleman whose claims to sit on this Commission will not, I think, be disputed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is only fair I suggest that Aberdeen University should be represented; and I hope the Government will, at any rate, consent to the addition to the Commission of the gentleman who will be proposed by the hon. Member for South Aberdeen; otherwise I fear we shall have to enter on a most undesirable contest. The Government, by making this concession to the University of Aberdeen, will save a long wrangle with regard to the composition of the Commission, and will prevent the necessity arising from a series of Divisions.


I must say view with some apprehension the course the House is now embarking upon of discussing the names of the Commissioners, for the Debates must be unpleasant not only to those who are the subjects of them but also to those taking part in them. It is admitted that the numbers of the Commission ought not to be increased. If, then, we carry out the suggestion of the hon. Member it must be by omitting one of the names which has run the ordeal of discussion by a Committee of this House. The Government have somewhat reluctantly accepted the principle that there should be on the Commission advocates of particular interests. We do not pretend we think that to be the best plan; but we made the concession after consultation, both in public and private, with right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, on lines so wide that we hoped, and had reason to hope, we should be spared these painful, disagreeable, and unprofitable discussions as to the qualifications of particular individuals. I do not pretend there has been any breach of faith; but I contend that the Government had grounds for hoping and expecting they would have been saved this discussion on Report. The Government have made special and serious efforts to obtain persons in every way qualified for the work, and they do not think that in respect to Aberdeen any injustice will be done. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen, who has taken so useful an interest in these discussions, has pointed out that the enormous number of bursaries in Aberdeen makes an essential distinction between education in that University and in other Universities. I frankly admit there is a distinction to be drawn between the University of Aberdeen and other Universities in Scotland; but nothing that has been said in this House has convinced the Government that those gentlemen who form the Commission are not fully acquainted with what Aberdeen requires. That being so, and the difficulties and objections to prolonging this discussion about the qualifications being so great, I earnestly ask the House to acquiesce in what has already been accepted in Committee as a fair compromise of the matter, and allow the names now on the Paper to stand unchallenged.


I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is an unpleasant and invidious task to discuss these names, and to go through the list with a view to finding room for another Commissioner. I feel personally so strongly on the point that I am not prepared to vote against any particular name. It seems to me the best solution of the difficulty would be to add another name to the Commission. The right hon. Gentleman opposite suggests that that is impossible; but where, I may ask, does the impossibility arise? I am sure the people of the North of Scotland will not be content with this Commission unless they have on it a spokesman well acquainted with the modern conditions prevailing in Aberdeen. I think it will be a great pity if the Government do not make this concession, for Aberdeen stands in an exceptional position, in consequence of the number of bursaries being such as to give every boy of good ability in the neighbouring counties an opportunity of attending University classes. The district, too, differs from the rest of Scotland, in that many Masters of Arts are to be found teaching in the ordinary parish schools.

MR. ASHER&c.) (Elgin,

I find it impossible to give a silent vote upon this question. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen has moved to omit the name of Mr. Kenniar, which stands first on the list of proposed Commissioners. Now, had his name been challenged on the ground that he ought not to be a Commissioner, I should not have supported the Motion. But the Motion is raised for the purpose of protesting against the manner in which the University of Aberdeen has been treated in the composition of this Committee. I sympathize most fully with what has been said as to the invidious character of these proceedings, supposing it becomes necessary to deal in this manner with each name; but I think my hon. Friend has excluded the invidious character by taking the course of challenging the very first name, although it is one to which no exception has ever been taken. As a member of the University of Aberdeen, I protest most strongly against the way in which the University has been treated; and, while I shall vote for my hon. Friend's Motion, I desire it shall be understood that in so voting I am not expressing any opinion hostile to the name of Mr. Kenniar.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 168; Noes 87.—(Div. List, No. 222.)


I now beg to move another Amendment, to omit the name of the Marquess of Bute. The Forms of the House precluded me from making any answer to the observations that were addressed to the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate; but I am bound to say that his statement was characterized by a great want of knowledge and information regarding the University of Aberdeen. It convinced me, if further evidence were necessary, of the absolute necessity that there should be on this Commission some one acquainted with that University. As a fact, there is no one knows anything about the system of Arts prevailing there, both in its relation to the University itself and in the relation it bears to secondary education in the North of Scotland. Of course, the whole system of education in the North of Scotland is dominated by the University of Aberdeen; and I think it is perfectly monstrous that the Government, seeing that Aberdeen is not represented on this Commission of 15 members, should persist in their attitude, and force us to discuss the names seriatim. The right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate has referred to one gentleman connected with the medical profession, who attended some classes at Aberdeen prior to the year 1860. But he was not a distinguished student of the University. I do not find his name in the records of distinction in any college, and I deny that he has the necessary knowledge or qualifications to fit him to represent the University. Because my right hon. Friend the Member for Stirling Burghs entered into an arrangement without consulting the Scotch Members generally, it is no reason why we should allow such a gross and indefensible defect to remain in the constitution of the Commission. It is disgraceful that we should be forced to discuss individual names in this way. It so happens that the nobleman whose name I am now obliged to move the omission of has taken special interest in one of the Scotch Universities. He has unexceptional claims to be a member of this Commission, and, therefore, I move the omission of his name not with the desire that it should be omitted, but in order to raise the question of the position of Aberdeen. I have now a suggestion to make to the Government. There is nothing sacred in the number fifteen, then why should you not solve the difficulty by adding one more member to the Commission? Our demand is an extremely moderate one; we ask for the placing on the Commission of only one person who is acquainted with the system of Aberdeen University, and in this we have the support without exception of all the Members for the North of Scotland. I hope the Government will give us an intimation that they will accept the name of the gentleman to be nominated presently by the Member for South Aberdeen, and who is one of the very few really distinguished men who have been connected with this University.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, lines 5 and 6, to leave out the words, "the Most Honourable John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, Marquess of Bute, K.T. "—(Mr. Hunter.)

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


I should think that the desire uppermost in the minds of all of us is to avoid if possible debating these names. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has referred in rather pointed terms to the share I have had in the negotiations on this matter, and has, as usual, found fault with the Front Bench. But when he has sat as long on this Bench as it has been my misfortune to do, he will have become hardened to attacks of that nature, and will know that in the simple endeavour to do one's duty it is impossible to please everybody. But now to come to the real point at issue. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that there is a strong case for having a direct representation of the University of Aberdeen on this Commission. I should have been glad if it had been possible to include in the four names which have been suggested by the Government, and which stand in the Lord Advocate's name on the Paper, an Aberdeen representative who possesses the other qualifications. That would have been the best solution of the difficulty. But the Government have found it impossible to do so. I think it is most necessary that the two great associations connected with the Glasgow and Edinburgh Councils should be represented, and in my judgment the names of Dr. W. Graham Blackie and Dr. Patrick Heron Watson adequately fulfil that condition. But why should not the Government add an Aberdeen representative to the Commission? My hon. Friend (Mr. Bryce) has suggested the name of Dr. Alexander Bain, who occupies a comparatively neutral position in regard to these academic questions. He is not an advocate of the views either of the present teaching body or of their opponents, and I think that is a strong recommendation in his favour, for the addition of his name would strengthen the Commission without affecting the balance of the opposing forces on this question. I think the acceptance of his name would be the shortest solution of this difficulty. The hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire was a most savage opponent of a large Commission, yet I think he will assent to this addition to the Commission, and we should thus effectually avoid the difficult and delicate task of discussing the claims of individual Commissioners.

MR. W. SINCLAIR&c) (Falkirk,

I should on this point be Very glad if the Government could see their way to adopt the suggestion first made by the hon. Member for North Aberdeen, and so warmly taken up by other Members, that is, to add another gentleman to the Commission who would specially represent the University of Aberdeen. I do not press this so much in the interest of Aberdeen University as in the interest of those who look up to Aberdeen, because, as my hon. and learned Friend has said, Aberdeen has a very peculiar connection with teachers throughout Scotland. I know how very much teachers of elementary and secondary schools throughout Scotland are looking forward to the results of this Commission, and on this ground, if on no other ground, I trust the Government will see their way to add this sixteenth member. If they do not do that, however, I should not be able to vote against any of these names in this clause. I do trust that the Government will remove all difficulty by adding a sixteenth name as suggested.


As no exception was taken to the language I must accept it as in order when the right hon. Gentleman described my conduct in this matter as somewhat savage. But I desire a word of explanation. Holding strongly as I do that it is better to have a small number of Commissioners, still I am anxious that we should not be put to the painful necessity of discussing the claims of these fifteen gentlemen in succession in order that we may do justice to Aberdeen, and I should—I hope I may say as usual—be willing to make a very large concession in order that we might get out of this somewhat painful operation that we think necessary in the interests of Aberdeen University. I hope the Government will see there is a desire on all sides to meet them fairly, and will concede this point in order that we may proceed with the other clauses of the Bill.

MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

I hope we shall not go on dividing against each name—for it is acknowledged that all of these gentlemen are well qualified for the position to which they are nominated even by those who urge the uncertain claims of Aberdeen University to representation. I feel there is such practical unanimity that the peculiar educational position of Aberdeen University has not adequate representation on this Commission as it stands, that though we are opposed to the increase in the size of the Commission, yet, seeing that a sixteenth name will not make much difference, the Government might well agree and make the addition. I hope we shall not embark upon an unseemly wrangle over these 14 names, but that the Government will consent to the nomination of this distinguished Aberdonian or some other representative of that University.


I waited until the last moment in the hope that a Member of the Government would rise to answer the appeal and bring this discussion to a close. I must warn the Government of the strong feeling which exists on this side of the House on this subject. We have proposed a name which will be generally acceptable to University reformers in Scotland, the name of one who, besides being an ex-student of Aberdeen and a distinguished professor there for a long time, though now retired from the active work of teaching, and who cannot therefore be looked upon as a direct representative of the teaching staff, has twice had the distinguished honour conferred upon him of being chosen Lord Rector of the University by the votes of the students. I do not know what practical objection there can be to this nomination which will satisfy all who have the interest of Aberdeen University at heart. The Government will greatly facilitate the course of business if they will consent at once to the nomination of Dr. Bain.

DR. CAMEEON (Glasgow, College)

I understand and perfectly appreciate the motives that have induced my hon. Friend to adopt the course he has taken in reference to the names on this Commission, and I must admit his reasons as he has put them before the House are unanswerable. But I do not feel that I can vote against this name, and for this particular reason—The Marquess of Bute is a nobleman who has done a very great deal for Glasgow University; he has spent a large sum of money upon various good works for the University, and his name is identified with it. Moreover, he is a gentleman of education and research, and eminently qualified for a seat on the Commission. I think, instead of moving the omission of names, the less invidious course would be to move the Adjournment of the Debate so as to give time for coming to an agreement. I therefore propose that the Debate be now adjourned.

MR. PEOVAND (Glasgow, Black-friars, &c.)

formally seconded the Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Dr. Cameron.)


I hope the hon. Gentleman will not press the Motion. Everybody must admit that the Government have not shown themselves unreasonable, nor averse to taking suggestions from any quarter of the House. We share the opinion of Gentlemen on the other side that the Commission, as now proposed, is large enough, but we might consent to the addition of one or two names. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are not content with this. They want the Government to add a particular name—the name of a distinguished gentleman, whose claims have been advanced by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, and that, I think, is carrying the matter much too far. We have shown ourselves prepared to make all reasonable concessions, but we do not think we ought to be bound under threat—I will not say of obstruction, because that would be unparliamentary—but under a threat of long delay, to go back upon a compromise accepted solely for the sake of hon. Gentlemen opposite, to be bound not merely to the general principle they advocate, but to the particular mode in which they want to carry it out.


I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to speak of obstruction by Members on this side—[Mr. A. J. Balfour: I did not]—even in the insinuating way in which he alluded to it. There is no obstruction in the matter. What my hon. Friend says he is going to do is to go down the list of names and advocate the claims of Dr. Bain as a representative of Aberdeen University in place of each of the names on the Commission. I do not think there is anything obstructive in that proceeding. But the right hon. Gentleman says that all this turns on the particular name suggested.


The Motion before the House is the Adjournment of the Debate; the right hon. Gentleman cannot carry on the discussion as to the names of the Commissioners.


To give greater latitude, I will ask leave to withdraw the Motion, and by the indulgence of the House I may be allowed to say that the reason for the Motion no longer exists if the Government consent to extend the number of Commissioners.


Perhaps I may be allowed to say in explanation that nothing was further from our minds than obstruction or a threat to the Government. What we want is consideration of the claims of Aberdeen University, and we suggest an Adjournment in order that this matter may be arranged. No doubt the compromise was made with the Front Opposition Bench; but the circumstances are different. It is within the knowledge of the House that the eminent gentleman whose name we propose was suggested before. I hope, under the altered circumstances, it will not be thrown against us that we are holding out a threat when we are considering, as we think, the interest of one of the Universities vitally concerned in the Bill.

Leave to withdraw refused.

Motion for Adjournment put, and negatived.

Original Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 183; Noes 95.—(Div. List, No. 223.)


I beg to move that further proceedings on the consideration of this Bill be postponed. I think it is desirable that the Government should bring this controversy to a close. We have explained our position, and I make this Motion to enable the Government to intimate to us that they will end this controversy by saying they will accept the name of this very distinguished man as a member of the Commission.


I second the Motion, and I hope the Government will now listen to reason.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That further proceedings on the consideration of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned."—(Mr. Hunter.)


I do not know-that I have anything further to say. I do not know whether I should be in order in recapitulating what the Government are prepared to do. As the Motion is made in order that we may make a statement, I assume I may do so. We are prepared, for the sake of peace, to increase the number of Commissioners. We have offered already an additional seat to hon. Gentlemen opposite. If the hon. Member for North Aberdeen himself (Mr. Hunter) will consent to serve, the Government will most gladly accept his service, or there is another distinguished alumnus of Aberdeen University whom I see opposite, the late Solicitor General for Scotland, whom we would be most pleased to have on the Commission. Now, I cannot think that any fair-minded man will deny that we, having gone this length to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, have done as much as is reasonable. If an additional representative is given to Aberdeen, either in the person of one of the two hon. Gentlemen I have mentioned, or of any other gentleman who will consent to serve, it must be left open to the Government to add still further names if they think the general balance of parties is disturbed on the Commission. But to make the hon. Member the arbiter of what particular name should be added is asking too much.


I would gladly accept the offer, and would not hesitate to incur any labour in the service of the Commission; but it is utterly impossible, having regard to my engagements, that I can undertake work of the kind. The right hon. Gentleman is mistaken if he supposes I am indisposed to accept any person who would adequately fulfil the duties, but far and away the most distinguished and capable man is Mr. Bain, and it is solely on account of his eminence that he is objected to by a miserable clique, of which some persons in this House have made themselves the mouthpiece. No more ignoble or un- worthy opposition to a reasonable proposal was ever offered. But I do not take my stand upon that. I shall be glad to bring this controversy to a close.


Then may I express a hope that the late Solicitor General will consent to add the duties of a Commissioner to his many labours? If he will so act we may close the discussion.


Before my hon. and learned Friend replies, let me appeal to him to accept the nomination. He has voted with us against one of the names; but I am sure that no one inside or outside the House will maintain that he is thereby disqualified from accepting the appointment.


As my name has been mentioned, I think it right to say that I could not possibly undertake the duty unless I felt in a position to discharge it thoroughly. But I am bound to say that numerous engagements would make it impossible for me to devote myself to it in such a way as I think would be incumbent on any person accepting the office of Commissioner. Perhaps I may be allowed to say, in regard to what has been said by my hon. Friend, that I voted with the minority in both the last Divisions without the slightest reference to the names of the Commissioners proposed, but solely as a protest against the Commission being constituted without a proper representation being given to Aberdeen. But I must add that I consider the name put forward by the hon. Member for Aberdeen is that of a gentleman in every way eligible for the post. At the same time, I feel the force of the view that has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, that we are not entitled to dictate to the Government who shall be the Commissioners, while we think chat this is the best name. I do not feel justified in taking part in the process of dividing against all the names as an attempt to coerce the Government. I maintain the opinion that Aberdeen is not fairly represented, and I have given effect to my protest in the proper form. For my part, I shall be satisfied if the Government will add to the Commission the name of a gentleman who may be considered a representative of Aberdeen University, but I shall not persist in opposition to the nominations.


I understand with some regret that the hon. and learned Gentleman cannot take a place on the Commission. The Government will do their best to find some one who combines the qualifications that have been insisted upon; but, in view of the numerous failures we have experienced, we cannot submit a name off-hand.

Question put, and negatived.


I move to omit the name of the Earl of Elgin. I would say——


The discussion must now be confined to the names. It would not be proper to allow the question of principle to be discussed on each name. I permitted it on the first two names it is true, but only in the hope that a compromise would be arrived at.


I have no objection to the individual, and therefore have no observation to make. I move that the name be omitted, in order afterwards to move the insertion of another name.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, lines 6 and 7, to leave out the words, "The right hon. Victor Alexander Bruce Earl of Elgin and Kincardine."—(Mr. Hunter.)

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

* THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH,) Strand, Westminster

I wish to appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite not to persist in their opposition after the undertaking that has been given to submit another name, if it is possible to find one. [Several hon. MEMBERS: We have found one.] I think hon. Gentlemen will feel that it is hardly fair and right that hon. Members should pursue the course they are adopting. A mistaken impression is likely to be produced, and I earnestly trust they will see that they are not serving the interests of the cause they desire to promote.

The House divided:—Ayes 196; Noes 97.—(Div. List, No. 224.)


I claim, Sir, to move that the words of the clause down to the words "Donald Crawford, Esquire," inclusive, in line 12, stand part of the Bill.


The question is, that the Question be now put, and that the words down to "Donald Crawford, Esquire," inclusive in line 12, stand part of the Bill.


I have an Amendment on the Paper, Sir, which I wish to move.


It cannot be done. The Question must now be put.

* SIR W. FOSTER (Derby, Ilkestone)

I rise, Sir, to a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman did not use any words about the Question being now put.


I put that Question from the Chair.


I am referring, Sir, to the original Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman. These words were not used in my hearing by the right hon. Gentleman.


If that is so, the right hon. Gentleman could not have said anything.


I understand, Sir——


Order, order! The Question before the House is, that the Question be now put.


May I suggest—


Order, order!

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided:—Ayes 200; Noes 117.—(Div. List, No. 225.)


On a point of order I wish to ask whether, on the Report stage of a Bill, it is competent to any one to move that "all these words stand part of the Bill?" I have always understood that on the Report stage the only Question to be put is the omission of certain words from the Bill; as all the words of a clause do stand part of the Bill till some Amendment is made to strike them out. Such a Motion could, no doubt, be properly made in Committee where a Motion has to be made that each clause stand part of the Bill, but on the Report the case is different. I ask, is it competent that such an Amendment can be taken?


The Standing Order has, in this case, been complied with, the Motion having been made in accordance with the Standing Order. The Motion is one that can be made in order to avoid the consideration of a number of Amendments that might otherwise be moved.


May I say, by way of explanation, that the distinction my hon. Friend draws is between the Committee and the Report stages, and he says that while this course is perfectly in order in Committee, on the Report the House does not interfere with the clauses of a Bill except an Amendment is moved to omit.


I understand the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman; but there is nothing to show that the Closure Motion is not to apply to a Bill on the Report, and that if repeated Amendments are made to a clause—say as to names—there is nothing to show that it is not competent to an hon. Member to move that the clause, down to a certain part, shall be added to the Bill so as to avoid the putting of Amendments which are on the Paper.

Question proposed, "That the words of the Clause, from the word 'Kincardine,' in page 9, line 7, to the words 'Donald Crawford, Esq.,' inclusive, in line 12, stand part of the Bill."

* MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

I must say that I do not see how such a Motion can be put from the Chair. The Motion that a clause stand part of the Bill is never put to the House on Report; the only Motions submitted are Amendments to the Bill, either as omissions or additions, and until an Amendment is moved there is no Question before the House.


It is quite competent for an hon. Member, where a number of Amendments are on the Paper to be moved, to anticipate those Amendments by a Motion that the words down to a certain point be regarded as outside the Amendments, and that they shall stand part of the Bill.

The House divided:—Ayes 205; Noes 120.—(Div. List, No. 226.)


I beg, Sir, to move the adjournment of the Debate, in order that the Scotch Members may be able to consider the position in which they are placed by the action of the Government. This is the most important clause of the Bill, and under it the House is about to appoint a Commission, and the whole future of the Scotch Universities will depend on the men who constitute that Commission. In consequence of the position in which we have now been placed we require still further to consider the matter, and I think we ought to have the opportunity of meeting to determine what ought to be done, so as to ensure that the Commission shall fairly represent the reform element in Scotland, and that when they do meet they will do the work which this House desires to see done. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury can say that the Scotch Members have been obstructive in any shape or form. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman stated only last night that they had assisted the Government as far as they could. For my part, I am anxious to see the Bill passed, and I think the quickest way of securing that result would be to adjourn the Debate on this, the most important of all the questions raised by the Bill, except, perhaps, the financial question. I beg to move, therefore, that this Debate be adjourned.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That further proceedings on the Consideration of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned."—(Dr. Clark.)


I second the Motion for Adjournment, on the ground that not only ought the Scotch Members to have an opportunity for reflection, but that Her Majesty's Government ought also to have a corresponding opportunity. I think that if there had been the necessary amount of reflection on that side of the House, the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury would not have specially selected the Amendments I put down to the Bill for the Motion of closure; because the Amendments standing in my name have been put down for several days, and if I had been a person generally desirous of obstructing, the right hon. Gentleman must have known that on this occasion there was no intention on my part to obstruct the Bill. I can assure him I have been by no means animated by Aberdonian zeal in the matter: my ideas have been of a totally different character; and I feel that it is somewhat hard upon me for the right hon. Gentleman to prevent my making what I consider to be in the nature of a personal explanation; because it is an unpleasant and an invidious thing to put down Amendments proposing the omission of certain names. I feel this as much as any hon. Member can do, and therefore I was anxious to show that by sticking to the Amendments and explaining them I was actuated by motives of which I had no occasion to be ashamed, and which I believed would be approved by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. My object was simply to lighten the Commission, which is confessedly an unwieldy one, by abstracting names from it so that it might be more wieldy, without at the same time giving offence to anyone whose name might be withdrawn. Therefore I cannot understand what can possess the right hon. Gentleman and his followers so as to induce them to interfere at this particular juncture. Having so deep an interest in the matter I cannot resist the impression that they are under the dominion of excited feelings, and that it would be better for themselves and for the House and for Scotland if they were to take a period of repose in which they might consider the question. Consequently I think that if an adjournment be accepted by the right hon. Gentleman and his followers they will return on the next occasion when they put the Bill before us in a frame of mind much bettor adapted to ensure the success of the measure, which is what both they and we desire.


I am very sorry that this conflict has arisen on the consideration of a Scotch Bill, the proceedings on which have hitherto been conducted with perfect harmony. There is, Mr. Speaker, one matter I have to submit to your consideration, and on which I wish to ask your opinion. The Motion of the right hon. Gentleman took the House very much by surprise, and it was understood that the Motion as put from the Chair was not exactly the Motion as made by the right hon. Gentleman. That, however, is not the point I am about to submit. The point I desire to put is this: that the Motion just carried by the House was irregular, as being ultra vires, and not in accordance with the Standing Order. The Motion put from the Chair and carried by the House was that a certain portion of the clause stand part of the Bill. Now, that is a proper and appropriate Motion in proceedings in Committee, but there is no authority under Standing Order No. 25 to make any such Motion on Report. Perhaps I may be allowed to read to the House what is the Motion, and the only Motion, that can be made for closure in this matter. The Standing Order says:— If a Clause be then under consideration, after the Closure has been carried— A Motion may be made, the assent of the Chair, as aforesaid, not having been withheld, that the Question, 'That certain words of the Clause, denned in the Motion, stand part of the Clause, or that the Clause stand part of, or be added to, the Bill, be now put.' That, however, was not the Motion which was made or on which the House divided. This portion of the Standing Order only refers to proceedings in Committee, as is evident from the preceding words. The House divided on the Motion that certain words of the clause, defined in the Motion, stand part of the Bill. The Standing Order does not authorize such a Motion on the Report, and therefore the Motion was ineffective, and ought not to have been put, as against the Standing Orders of the House. No such Motion can be made on the Report as that certain words do or do not stand part of the Bill. If the Standing Order had meant to apply such a Motion as this to the Report, it would have said so; but the Standing Order only authorizes what is, after all, the exceptional and perhaps violent proceedings of the Closure, and, therefore, being legislation of a penal character against discussion in the House, it ought to be construed strictly and not loosely. We ought certainly, in using this extraordinary power of Closure, to follow the precise wording of the Standing Order of the House; and I submit that the wording of the Standing Order has not in this case been followed. As the Motion is not in the words of the Standing Order, I contend that that is a flaw in the Motion which makes it bad. That, I think, is an argument against the Motion. We cannot have loose interpretations of Standing Orders of this kind, and as it is quite clear that the Standing Order is applicable only to proceedings in Committee and not on the Report, I have thought it well to bring the point under the consideration of the House, because I hope that my doing so may afford the means of finding our way out of what I think was rather a hasty proceeding on the part of the Government. Had they shown a little more patience, although the business might at the moment have taken rather more time, we should upon the whole have got on more rapidly. I hope the right hon. Gentleman opposite will take advantage of the fact that the Motion was irregular, and allow the House the opportunity of repairing it so as to meet the views of hon. Members from Scotland.


The right hon Gentleman has, in his remarks, whether he desired to do so directly or not, raised a point of order, and has said that the proceedings on the part of the House have been irregular, and that some reparation is necessary. There has been no irregularity whatever. The point of order was raised at the proper time before the Motion was put, and I ruled upon it, as I considered it my duty to do, that it was a perfectly valid and regular Motion. The first point made by the right hon. Gentleman is that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury did not comply with the Standing Order by moving that certain words mentioned stand part of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman did make that Motion, and mentioned the words down to "Donald Crawford, Esq.," which he moved should stand part of the Bill, and I put that Motion from the Chair. This point seems to me to be completely covered by the Standing Order. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby next raises the point which, I admit, is one of more difficulty—that the words of the Standing Order which provide for such a Motion as this only refer to proceedings in Committee. The words, "that certain words stand part" were precisely totidem verbis the words of the Motion. I do not understand that any distinction can be drawn between "part of the Bill" and "part of the clause," because the House well knows that 20 or 30 times during this sitting I have put from this Chair "that the words stand part of the clause." The phrase "that the words stand part of the clause," is convertible with "stand part of the Bill." Under the circumstances, I cannot think that any irregularity has been committed. I cannot accept as correct the right hon. Gentleman's reading of the Rule, nor is he correct in saying that this was a casus omissus in the Debate on the Closure Rules. I rather think that the point as to whether the Rule applied to Committee or Report was raised, and was then accepted as applying to both.


I am sure, Sir, the House accepts your ruling, as it will accept any ruling of yours, as a perfect statement of the law of Parliament applicable to the point in question. I wish again to say that the Government and the House are indebted to the Scotch Members for the moderation and the care they have bestowed on this Bill, and I should exceedingly regret that the proceedings of the last few minutes should in any way mar the cordial relations which have so far existed. The hon. Member for North Aberdeen gave notice that he would divide against every name on the Commission.


I beg pardon. I informed the right hon. Gentleman that I did not intend to move the rejection of the name of Sir Francis Sandford. That was to be objected to by one of my hon. Friends.


Yes, because the Motion of a Colleague of his would accomplish the same object. The Government in the concessions they have made have given evidence of their very great desire to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House as well as those on this side. The hon. Member for Aberdeen will do us the justice to admit that. I was surprised, on looking at the Paper this morning, to find that objections were still made to the Commission. If I have been guilty of an offence in moving the Closure, I am sorry for it, but I think the House generally will admit that it was almost time to put an end to discussions which are not agreeable and which we had notice would go on with regard to every name. The Government have stated to the hon. Member and to the House that they will endeavour to meet his views in every way except as to the particular person whom he intimated he intended to force upon them. It is not unfair that the Government should exercise their own discretion and responsibility as to the individual to be accepted for the discharge of duties of this important character. They have given an assurance that they will endeavour to find a gentleman acquainted with Aberdeen University who shall be placed on the Commission, and it is customary even with opponents to accept an assurance of that kind.


Will you state any objection to Mr. Bain?


The Government have endeavoured as far as possible to refrain from discussing the names of individuals. I think it is most invidious, and I do not intend to do so now. We asked the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hunter) to serve himself, and the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Asher), but they both declined, and it is notorious that we have spared no pains to procure the services on the Commission of a gentleman acquainted with Aberdeen University. I hope that after the assurance of the Government we may still hope, in spite of the incident which has just occurred, to proceed with the Bill in the same spirit of conciliation which has existed hitherto.


We are well accustomed to be out-voted, but a new feature has been introduced this afternoon. We are to be closured it seems. The right hon. Gentleman has chosen his time with much dexterity. He has selected as the moment to apply the closure the time when the most obnoxious name on the whole list came up for discussion. The great majority of the Scotch Members are entirely opposed to Sir Francis Sandford's name, which is synonymous in Scotland for everything that is detestable, obscurantist, reactionary, anti-Liberal, and anti-Scotch. That was the moment the right hon. Gentleman selected for shutting our mouths and preventing a vote being taken on that particular name. I hope my hon. Friend will press his Motion to a Division, and give us the only opportunity we shall have, though an indirect one, of expressing our sense of the name of Sir F. Sandford.


I must say, that it seems to me, that the strongest argument in favour of Adjournment came from the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury himself. He says he has been anxious to find some one who will be acceptable to the Scotch Members as representing Aberdeen University, and as yet he has been unsuccessful in his search. Under those circumstances it is right, I think, that they should take a little time to try and find some one. I feel compelled to vote for the Adjournment, because by the Amendment or Motion moved by the First Lord of the Treasury I am myself precluded from moving the addition to the Commission of a gentleman representing the medical profession. I wanted to obtain a fair representation of the profession to which I belong, and the education of which forms, if not the greatest, certainly a large part of Scotch University work. The Faculty of Medicine is the most flourishing and most important Faculty of all in some Universities, and I asked to put forward the claim of some gentleman who might be supposed to represent the whole profession of Scotland. Under the circumstances, the clause being passed down to the name of "Donald Crawford, Esq.," I presume I am unable to move my Amendment. Under any circumstances, I should like the Government to take an opportunity of considering whether they can accept my proposal.


The hon. Member is not precluded from making a Motion to add another name to the Commission.


I am glad to hear it.


I do not think I ought to allow the remarks made by the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) to pass without protest. My hon. Friend poses as the Representative of the people of Scotland, but he certainly failed to speak as the Representative of the people of Scotland in using the language he did use as regards Sir Francis Sand-ford. I protest against that language. He mistakes the opinion of his own little circle, on this and many other matters, for the opinion of Scotland. I venture to say that in Scotland generally there is no man who is recognized, in the opinion of those best qualified to guide, as more eminently fitted for a Commission of this kind than Sir Francis Sandford.


I shall not follow my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Inverness (Mr. Finlay) into his little circle. The people of Scotland are well able to judge as to which is the larger circle, the hon. and learned Gentleman's or ours. But my purpose in rising is to offer a word of personal explanation. I was telling with my hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen up to a certain point. That point was the question of the Adjournment, and I was very sorry my hon. Friend did not press the Adjournment to a Division before. It has been said by the First Lord of the Treasury that concessions have been made to Scotch Members. Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman that all the concessions have been made by Scotch Members to the Government. If he will look at the Division List he will find that the majority of Scotch Members have given in to the proposals of the Government, and that the Government have not given in to the Scotch Members. I have been as desirous as anyone that we should not in detail discuss the 15 names, and therefore I hope the Government, after what has been said—I admit, complimentary to us as Scotch Members—will reconsider this matter. They have it in their power, undoubtedly, by reconsideration, to satisfy the whole of the Scotch Members with regard to this Commission. The point raised is a very fair one. We propose a representative of the Aberdeen University, and no objection has been taken to the name. I, therefore, cannot see why the Government do not concede the point.

The House divided:—Ayes 127; Noes 222.—(Div. List, No. 227.)


I beg to move to insert after the word "esquire," "Sir William Thomson."

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 12, after the word "esquire," to insert the words "Sir William Thomson."— (Mr. J. P. B. Robertson.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I hope the Government will now, considering the hour (5.25) at which we have arrived, postpone the further consideration of this question. I see no reason why, if they had been a little more liberal in their views, we should not have settled this question long ago. There is no desire on my part to occupy a moment longer than is necessary; and the fault of the delay lies with the Government. I think it would be well that we should now adjourn, and endeavour to come to some arrangement before the subject is again taken up.


It is all the more necessary we should do that because, while I see no objection to the gentleman now proposed, the constitution of this Commission is very peculiar, and political feeling is reflected in it. It so happens that Sir William Thomson is a very keen partisan; he is one of the keenest partisans of a small dying section in Scotland. I have the highest opinion of the gentleman from a scientific standpoint, and think he may fairly represent what is wanted in the future in Scottish Universities, yet I find he used to profess broad Liberal ideas, but now supports the most Conservative and illiberal proposals. That is why I am chary of electing him on this Commission. I find that some hon. Gentlemen around me who used to be very broad and liberal in their views now vote against what they used to vote for. Sir William Thomson is one of the ablest Members in the University which he adorns, but it may be that since he has come under the blighting influence of the present state of things, his views on University Reform may have changed. It is a very curious mental disease which, as a student of psychology, I have been studying. It is a form of monomania, and I am not sure that the gentleman now proposed is not afflicted with it. I refuse to put a man on the Commission unless he is sound in every particular. I do not at the present moment feel qualified to vote for this gentleman, although I have very great respect——

It being half-past Five of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the consideration of the Bill be resumed to-morrow."


I should like to know what is going to be done with reference to the business to-morrow. It was understood the Tithe Bill was to be taken to-morrow as the first Order. I do not know whether that arrangement is to be disturbed. I certainly think that if this Bill is to be taken to-morrow it ought to be taken after the Tithe Bill Perhaps it would be more convenient that this Bill should be postponed until Friday, and that in the meantime an endeavour should be made to arrive at an amicable arrangement as to the constitution of the Commission. Possibly the difficulty might be removed by recommitting the Bill so as to reconstitute the Commission, an agreement having been come to as to the persons who shall compose the Commission.


The Government will be very glad to consider any suggestion which hon. Gentlemen may make. The Tithe Bill stands first for to-morrow, and this Bill will be put down second in the Order Book.

Question put, and agreed to.