HC Deb 24 July 1889 vol 338 cc1200-29

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to the Bill [17th July] on consideration as amended.

And which Amendment was, in page 9, line 12, after the word "Esquire," to insert the words "Sir William Thomson."—(MR. J. P. B. Robertson.)

Question again proposed, "That the words 'Sir William Thomson' be there inserted."

Debate resumed.


There are several reasons why the name of Sir William Thomson should not be inserted in this Commission. In the first place, the excessive representation of Glasgow and Edinburgh of which we have complained is aggravated and intensified. I hold that each of the Universities of Scotland is entitled to equal representation on the Commission irrespective of the number of students. Undoubtedly Aberdeen will fare badly when the Commission comes to deal with financial arrangements, as there is scarcely one representative of Aberdeen upon it. I do not say that men who come from Glasgow and Edinburgh will be consciously guilty of unfairness towards Aberdeen in the distribution of the grant of £12,000 a year, but I think it requires no special knowledge of human nature to understand that Glasgow men will see more clearly and feel more strongly the wants of Glasgow; that Edinburgh men will see more clearly and feel more strongly the wants of Edinburgh, and that they will not see so clearly or feel so strongly the wants of Aberdeen. That is one ground for objecting to the addition of this gentleman to the Commission. There is, too, another objection. The original desire was to abstain from putting on the Commission any University Professors. I think the Government were wise in that respect. It is quite true that, so far as expert knowledge is concerned, the professors are most capable, but then, unfortunately, their pecuniary interests are involved. Human nature is human nature, and although any professor appointed on this Commission would, so far as any personal interests were concerned, try to be perfectly fair, still he would hardly be in a pleasant position when dealing with unreasonable demands by his fellow professors. I remember an old story of a Professor of Chemistry, who was sent to London by a certain Senatus Academicus to make certain demands. When he returned it was noticed that he was very chary of giving information. The Professor of Humanity asked what he had done for him. The answer was nothing. The Professor of Greek's question received a similar answer, and when at last it was inquired what had been gained by the visit to London the reply was that he had only got another £100 a year for the Professor of Chemistry. There were strong reasons why there should be no professors on the Commission. I know that Sir William Thomson is an extremely spirited and original thinker, and we have not too many of such men. I should, therefore, be extremely sorry to divide against his name, because it might be construed as a slight to him. As Scotchmen we are proud of his eminence and distinction. Under these circumstances I will not move now the adjournment of the consideration of this Bill, but will agree to Sir William Thomson's name being added.

Question put, and agreed to.


I now beg to move that the further consideration of this Bill be postponed, and my object is to put myself in order and to call the attention of the Government to the position in which we stand. Last Wednesday we divided against two or three names, but when we came to the name of Sir Francis Sandford, which is peculiarly obnoxious to the great majority of the people of Scotland, we were debarred from considering his merits or demerits by the step which the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury thought fit to take on that occasion. He left us the only alternative of moving the Adjournment of the Debate and thus put us at a great disadvantage, because we could not go into the general question, and there are some hon. Members on this side of the House who, on principle, vote against Motions for the Adjournment of the Debate. On that occasion 30 Scotch Members voted for the adjournment and only 20 against, and this Division may be taken as showing the hostile Scotch opinion on the name of Sir F. Sandford. Do the Government intend to retain this and other names on the Commission in the face of a hostile Scotch opinion? The name of Mr. Frederick Fuller was particularly objectionable to Scotch Members. The addition of that is simply adding insult to injustice, and if the Government insist on retaining it, the Scotch Members must use such weapons as are placed in their hands for bringing the matter before the people of Scotland. I appeal to the Government now to consent to the omission of Sir F. Sandford's name.

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


I am rather surprised at the tone in which the hon. Gentleman has made his proposal. I must remind the House of various stages at which the Government have shown a great readiness to consider not only the reasons, but the prepossessions of the House. Criticisms and comments were not unfairly made of the composition of the Commission as it then stood, and the Government considered how they could give effect to the wishes expressed. Communications passed between the two sides of the House, with the result that four names were struck off the Commission. That in itself was a most distasteful operation, involving personal disappointment and personal explanation; and, moreover, gentlemen would be unwilling to serve on the Commission if their names were always to be subject to hostile criticism. Then came the question, how were those four places to be filled up? The Government put themselves frankly in communication with the Opposition with regard to four names to be substituted for those struck out, and two of the four were nominated at the suggestion of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am not aware of any instance in recent times in which a Government has gone further in the way of modifying the composition of a Commission. If criticisms are passed on the four names, all I can say is that the Government have entertained a doubt as to whether it was well to put on the Commission professors and extra-mural teachers, thinking it better to appoint persons not so directly concerned in the questions coming before the Commission. But the opinion of the other side of the House was that it was necessary to have representatives of extra-mural teaching, and that consequently the professors should also be represented. The Government have placed two professors on the Commission, one of whom excites the critical displeasure of the hon. Member for Aberdeen. I offer no comment on the gentlemen who represent extra-mural teaching, but merely state that I believe they will be worthy Members of the Commission. But the hon. Member for Aberdeen, not acting apparently in direct conference with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burgh, has lodged a most vehement objection to the omission of Aberdeen, and has proposed a name to give effect to the representation of Aberdeen. That name has not met with general acceptance in all quarters of the House, and certainly has not on the Government side of the House. The Government, while thinking that the representation of Aberdeen is inadequate, were willing to concede the point, and in the negotiations about the four names they made an offer that there should be special representation of Aberdeen among the four. But the right hon. Gentleman opposite thought that it was not necessary. In the Debate last Wednesday the Government were asked whether they could supply a representative for Aberdeen, and the need of the representation was urged on purely academical grounds, hon. Gentlemen opposite especially desiring some one who was acquainted with the more modern teaching in Aberdeen. After consideration the Government found a name open to no objection whatever.




Order, order! There is a certain amount of irregularity in the whole discussion. The reasons for the adjournment may be entered into, but it is not in order to discuss the representation of Aberdeen, which has been, and which will be again, the subject of Debate.


I will then confine myself to declaring that the Government has not exhibited the smallest indisposition to consult opinion in all parts of the House. I am, however, anxious to say one word about Sir F. Sandford. Except on some narrow and personal ground, I cannot understand why such vehement objection is taken to Sir F. Sandford's name. He is one of the oldest and most honoured public servants in the country, and one of the most distinguished of living Scotchmen. He served a long time in the Public Service when Scotch education was administered with English education, and when the severance took place he entered the Scotch Office, and his administration has been universally applauded as giving the Scotch Office a fresh and fair start. I speak of Sir F. Sandford in the presence of an ex-Secretary for Scotland; and I say that there is no man who more completely combines a knowledge of Scotch affairs and opinions than Sir F. Sandford.


It is, Sir, after your ruling, extremely difficult to discuss this question without touching upon names.


Order, order! The irregularity was in discussing names on a Motion for Adjournment.


I think the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate has misunderstood the gist of the hon. Member for Aberdeen's remarks. When he complains that the Government are not regarding Scotch opinion he is not referring to the negotiations which have taken place, but to the Division upon the name of Sir F. Sandford. With regard to the selection of those names, the right hon. Gentleman is quite accurate in what he said, within certain limits, but I should like to state my side of the case.


Order, order! The matter which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to discuss is quite irregular. The Question before the House is that the further consideration of this Bill be postponed.


I trust I may appeal to the hon. Gentleman not to press his Motion.


I ask leave to withdraw it.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 12, to insert the words "Dr. Blackie, Dr. Watson."—(Mr. Campbell-Bannerman.)

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


The reason I suggested the names of Dr. Blackie and Dr. Watson was that they represented, as fairly as anyone who could be thought of, the reforming party in the University Councils, the one of Glasgow and the other of Edinburgh. For myself, I should have very much preferred a much smaller executive Commission of perfectly neutral men, but I wish to absolve the Lord Advocate from any responsibility with regard to the composition of the Commission. We are all aware the Bill has been drifting about in the currents of Parliamentary accident for a great many years, and the Commission as now proposed is the growth of years. Since I and my Friends failed to secure a smaller and stronger Commission, the next best thing was to have both sides on educational questions fairly represented. I think there can be no objection fairly taken to the constitution of the proposed addition to the Commission if only the Member who is to represent Aberdeen interests is satisfactory to those who have those interests so much at heart. Unfortunately there is a difference of opinion between the Lord Advocate and his Colleagues on the one hand, and my hon. Friends behind me, who know more about Aberdeen, on the other, as to the suitableness of the particular names the Government have suggested.


I have only one word to add to what has been said by my right hon. Friend, and that is that there was a complete understanding on these Benches when the Government agreed to add four additional names to the Commission that the intention was to add four names which would be satisfactory to this side of the House. The difficulty which has arisen is entirely due to the fact that the Government have insisted upon putting on two more names in place of those they struck off.

Question put, and agreed to.

Amendment proposed, after the foregoing Amendment, to insert the words "Samuel Henry Butcher." —(The Lord Advocate.)

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


I regard the introduction of the name of Professor Butcher as a very serious matter indeed, and all the more on account of the very great respect I have for Professor Butcher as a man, and, what goes with me very far, as a scholar. There is no Cambridge man but must be proud of Professor Butcher, alike as a man and as a scholar, but his views on the subject of extra-mural teaching are such that his presence on the Commission cannot be regarded with anything but feelings akin to uneasiness. This Bill would never have been introduced if it had not been for the object of throwing open the Universities of Scotland to a proper system of extra-mural teaching. I think the Government ill- advised in putting on the Commission a gentleman who is absolutely committed by the most openly-expressed opinions to refusing that boon for which Scotland has asked, and for the sake of which the Bill was given. In an address to the Edinburgh branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland, given in November last, Professor Butcher argued against extra-mural teaching in medicine; but he drew a distinction between medicine and arts, and went on to say:— Competitive extra-academical teaching in arts meant undoubtedly, in Scotland, competitive teaching down to the pass standard of the M.A. degree. It meant a rivalry of crammers, a lower level of teaching, a lower conception of the teacher's office. In arts more than in medicine would the evil be felt, partly owing to the difference above noted between professional and non-professional subjects of study; partly, also, because extra-mural teaching in medicine merely supplemented a professional practice. The eminent doctors who lectured in the extra-mural schools were raised above sordid care, and could afford to have a mind and soul above examination results; whereas in arts extra-mural teaching would itself be the profession, the bread-winning pursuit. The teachers would be dependent on the success of the moment; by the necessities of their position they would teach with an eye to immediate results, and impart the minimum of knowledge required. But this is not all. Professor Butcher, not knowing that he himself was going to be a Commissioner, looked forward to this Commission for the express purpose of extinguishing the very idea of extra-mural teaching. He said:— A Commission, it was hoped, would soon be sitting, and they should then have the opportunity of remodelling the framework and their educational curriculum by enlarging the range of their teaching, and allowing freer play to special bents and aptitudes. The reform must work from within. What was needed was not outside teachers, who, as a duplicate and quadruplicate professoriate, should in each branch repeat the same facts, travel over the same well-worn ground, and impart the routine acquirements of an ordinary degree. They should aim at making each University into an intellectual organism, not at forming accidental accumulations from without. I do not think you could have put into more forcible and eloquent language the non possumus on the subject of extramural teaching. I think it most unfortunate that because two gentlemen have been added to the Commission to represent extra-mural teaching it should have been thought necessary to counterbalance them with two gentlemen, one of whom is a declared opponent of what the Bill is intended to effect. I think I have shown to the House that I have very grave reason for objecting to this name.

* THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. Balfour,) Manchester, E.

While no one can object to the right hon. Gentleman's remarks about Professor Butcher on personal grounds, I think the House has some reason to complain of the line of argument adopted by the right hon. Gentleman. In the first place, it is inconsistent with the argument of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) near him, who has recognized not only the right of the Government to do what they have done, but also the fairness of the course they have adopted. The Government have never been in favour of putting upon the Commission avowed partizans, but have always thought it better to leave these questions to men who are not committed to one view or another. But from the other side of the House we were urged to adopt another system—namely, that of having on the Commission advocates committed to one view or the other. In deference to the wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite we reluctantly accepted that course, and consented to put on the Commission two gentlemen who are committed to the theory of extra-mural teaching, but we say that if the House is going to adopt the system of advocates we must have advocates on both sides, and surely that is consistent with the elementary principles of justice. Nobody has made any secret of the fact that Mr. Blackie and Dr. Watson are committed to extra-mural teaching. One is the head of an extra-mural college, and the other, I believe, is engaged in extra-mural teaching. Under the circumstances, I feel that the arguments the right hon. Gentleman has addressed to the House, so far from being any conclusive reason why Professor Butcher's name should not be added to the Commission, have amply justified the course taken by the Government. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will feel that we have taken a course not only fair in itself, but one which in common justice to all interests involved we could not have avoided taking.

* MR. C. S. PARKER (Perth)

I hope that in a spirit of fairness hon. Members on this side of the House will not think it desirable to divide against a name so eminent as that of Pro- fessor Butcher. I agree with, my hon. Friends who have spoken, that the Commission as originally proposed would have been of a very one-sided character, that it represented rather the predominance of opinion in the House than the predominance of political or academical opinion in Scotland. But I must admit that the Government have met us very fairly on that point, and that they have well discharged what was a most difficult task—that of obtaining the withdrawal of four of the gentlemen who had accepted seats on the Commission, that is to say who were originally proposed. It was in order to meet the views of Liberal Members that the Government have consented to abandon the principle of putting on the Commission only gentlemen who were uncommitted, and are taking strong advocates on the one side, and balancing them with persons known to be committed on the other side. I do not know that the original method of framing the Commission was not the best, but as we on this side urged on the Government to accept candidates strongly committed for the extra-mural interest, it is only fair if they bring us eminent men on the other side that they should be admitted. Now, we shall have this state of things on the Commission. We shall have the arguments of those who are committed, and a considerable body of gentlemen uncommitted, to judge of those arguments. I am sorry to differ from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir G. Trevelyan). I think he took rather a one-sided view of the object of the Bill. He held that its main, almost its sole, object was to introduce largely this extramural teaching. No doubt that is one of the objects, and there is a considerable amount of feeling in Scotland in favour of that; but only look at the clause which gives to the Commissioners their powers. Every one can see that to favour extra-mural teaching is far from being the sole or even the principal object of the Bill. With regard to Professor Butcher, only two points have been made by the right hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division, that to introduce outside teaching is the whole Bill, that Professor Butcher is committed to the principle of extra-mural teaching. With the former point I have dealt, and to the latter my answer is that it was at the request of hon. Members on our side of the House that the Government departed from their original intention to appoint gentlemen who were uncommitted. I hope the House will see the fairness of allowing the name of Professor Butcher to stand.

Question put, and agreed to.

Another name, "Patrick Heron Watson, Esq.," agreed to.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 12, after the foregoing Amendment, to insert the words "And Frederick Fuller, Esq."—(The Lord Advocate.)

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


I regret very much that the Government have placed the name of Professor Fuller on the Paper in such a position that it has to be discussed before my own Amendment, which proposes to add Professor Bain to the Commission. Of course, the Government have a perfect right to bring on their Amendment before that of a private Member; but if, in consequence of that action of the Government, I am obliged to say disagreeable things of Professor Fuller, the Government have only themselves to blame. If they had allowed the name of Professor Bain to be discussed we should have avoided making any odious or invidious comparisons; but as the right hon. Gentleman has thought fit, in the exercise of his undoubted right, to put us in that position, upon his head must be the consequences and not on mine. Now, my objection to Professor Fuller is not so much that the Government have selected him as that they have deliberately gone out of their way to avoid taking a man incomparably better. They have taken a man who is agree able to the Tories, which Mr. Bain is not. That raises a great question of principle, which is of much concern to Scotland—namely, whether a man, on account of his eminence I might almost say, but, certainly, in spite of his eminence, should be ostracized and boycotted merely because he is a Home Ruler and a Liberal. Mr. Fuller has not even the advantage of being a Scotchman. He is an Englishman educated in England, and naturally more or less fond of English ways of education. He has served in Scotland as a Professor of Mathematics, first in King's College, of Old Aberdeen and afterwards in the University. Now, I am not going to say one word against Professor Fuller. I had the pleasure, such as it was, of sitting in his class; but this I think I may say, without the possibility of challenge or dispute—that Professor Fuller, although a perfectly respectable professor, was not a distinguished or an ideal professor. He was not a man of any remarkable, extraordinary, or exceptional originality or power. Scotch professors have full six months' leisure in the year, and such men ought to do something to enlarge the bounds of human knowledge, or at least add something to the literature of the subject which they teach. That can hardly be said of Mr. Fuller. When Mr. Fuller's term of office expired he left Aberdeen, and he has not been there since. If it had been desired to select a man from the whole list of professors who has the fewest claims and no preeminent claim for this office, Mr. Fuller ought to have been selected. Of course, as I have said, he possesses in the eyes of people influencing the Government— I do not say the Government themselves, but a little miserable clique of Aberdeen professors—the inestimable advantage of being a Unionist, and that to their minds outweighs all the other circumstances connected with the Universities. I take it that I should not be in order if I alluded to Professor Bain, and therefore the strength of my objection, which lies in a comparison between the two men, cannot be shown on this occasion. The strength of the objection rests upon comparison. Mr. Fuller, though possibly well qualified, has not the distinguished position of Dr. Bain. I have no right to complain of the Rules of the House, or that the Government should take advantage of their position; but if I do not say anything further it is rather because I do not wish to say anything disagreeable in reference to a worthy gentleman whom the Government have preferred to Dr. Bain.


In one or two uncontroversial sentences I will at once state to the House the qualifications of Mr. Fuller to be a member of the Commission. For 25 years he was Professor of Mathematics in the University of Aberdeen, from which he has for some years retired, and he is in possession of University experience, and that which is a valuable possession for a Commissioner—leisure, which eminently qualifies him for the position to which we have nominated him. His professorship covered the period from 1860 to 1878, and during that time he largely participated in the arrangement of the system of examination that prevails at Aberdeen, and to him belongs the great credit of sending from Aberdeen to Cambridge that brilliant band of young mathematicians who achieved such remarkable success at the English University. He was Secretary to the Senatus, and is intimately acquainted with the business of the University of Aberdeen, and has a combination of qualifications not often to be met with; his experience well qualifies him for the position, while he is separated from all the prejudices of the surroundings of a professorship.

Question put, "That those words be added."

The House divided:—Ayes 167; Noes 122.—(Div. List, No. 256.)

Dr. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

I beg to move the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen (Dr. Hunter), and I may say at the outset that no apology is needed for pressing the appointment of one whom we all feel would be an ideal Commissioner. I think when we first heard that a Commission was to be instituted the name that came first to our minds and was readiest on our lips was that of Dr. Bain, familiar to all with any knowledge of Aberdeen University, and known, I may say, throughout the inhabited globe. Associated with University reform for many years, to him has fallen the unique honour of being twice elected by the students of Aberdeen to fill the responsible and honourable office of Lord Rector of the University. His knowledge and experience are such as alone would be sufficient to give that confidence in the Commission which, as at present constituted, I may say it somewhat lacks. It was understood in the first instance that there was one objection, and that a very serious one, to his nomination, that Dr. Bain was unwilling to serve on the Commission, but I think the Government, the House, and the country generally, owe a debt of gratitude to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, for he, I understand, prevailed upon Dr. Bain to overcome his scruples, and induced him to give up some portion of his well-earned repose to the performance of this responsible duty. I am quite prepared to admit that the Government have met us half-way in regard to the representation of Aberdeen on this Commission, but why, I ask, will they not go the whole way? I must say that I look forward with very considerable interest to the production by the Government of any objection to this distinguished University man. I will go so far as to challenge them to produce any objection that will in any way remove those feelings of suspicion that are called up by the mysterious attitude they have taken upon this subject. I believe an objection may be taken that the health of Dr. Bain is not strong enough for him to undertake the duty. I do not know whether the Lord Advocate is a constant reader of the Aberdeen Free Press, but if he is he must have seen a letter lately communicated to that journal by Dr. Bain, in which he stated that he is quite willing to serve on this Commission if his services are required, to meet the wants and wishes of the Northern University, and that his health is strong enough to enable him to carry out the duty. Has he been too great a reformer? The period during which he was Lord Rector was a period marked by the greatest prosperity of the University, and when his reforming interests in the prominent position gave him great influence for good or harm. Considering that this is a reforming Commission, this is a very great advantage and not an objection. I will say nothing on the question of religion. There has been some idea that Dr. Bain's views are not orthodox, but I have not heard that any religious test is required from the Commissioners, and if any objection is taken on that score I would like to ask the Lord Advocate whether all the other Commissioners are perfectly sound upon the 39 Articles. It is a very invidious thing to have to consider the personal claims of gentlemen who are nominated for this Commission one by one, and to give reasons for and against, but the position is forced upon us. We want this gentleman appointed, and we have had no reason against his appointment. His consent has been formally obtained, and I think it is our duty to press upon the Government the urgent necessity of showing why it is that this name is not accepted by them, I heard my hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen suggest the possibility that it was on the ground of his extreme—not too extreme —political views that Dr. Bain was objected to. It is possible that there is an apprehension that Dr. Bain's appearance on the Commission might disturb the sweet serenity of the Tory and Unionist gentlemen who form the large proportion of that body. But let the Government say, let them give us a reason for it. Yet we have had none. I will sit down, and in Shakesperian phrase, "I pause for a reply."

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 12, after the foregoing Amendment to insert the words "Alexander Bain, Esquire."—(Dr. Farquharson.)


I am extremely happy to say that I find it unnecessary to say one word that would be distasteful to any friend of Dr. Bain. Of his eminence and distinction there can be no doubt, but that is really not the question now. We have equipped the Commission to the number which is regarded on all sides as complete and abundant, and there is no occasion for prosecuting further any invidious personal comparisons, to pronounce eulogies or indicate disqualifications. All that is closed. We have endeavoured to meet the views of hon. Members opposite. We have stated fairly that the name of Dr. Bain did not command that general assent to induce us to believe that his appointment would conduce to the smooth working of the scheme, and having so said, I have said all that I have to say in regard to Dr. Bain. Hon. Members opposite have thought fit to hint a great number of things, and have said incomparably more against Dr. Bain than I have thought it necessary to say. The Commission is now complete, and I hope I may be excused if I do not enter further into the discussion.


It is futile for the Government to think that the people of Scotland, that Members who represent the North of Scotland, and know anything of Aberdeen University, will accept of this "go by" the Lord Advocate has offered us. I have had the honour of personal acquaintance with Professor Bain for some 40 years, and it is of no use for the Lord Advocate to declare that his action needs no defence in this case. It has repeatedly come to our ears that there were objections to this very eminent man which are most unworthy of the Government to entertain. We have been told by Members of the House that this gentleman is not in health, so as to be able to undertake the duty of a Commissioner, that he has lately been suffering from a stroke of paralysis. There is no foundation for these reports. Dr. Bain is in perfect health and in full possession of his intellectual powers. He has had a life-long connection with the University of Aberdeen, in which from a very humble position he has raised himself to the most eminent position among the professors of Scotland. He is well known throughout Scotland as the man whose knowledge and intellectual attainments mark him out as an almost indispensable member of this Commission. He is the simplest-minded, fairest-minded, most agreeable man I have ever met, and I have met many agreeable men in my time; but he is one that will not swerve one jota from what he believes to be the fair path of duty. My hon. Colleague (Dr. Farquharson) made a slight allusion to his religious opinions. Now, I have watched this eminent man for many years, but I never heard him say one word in disapproval of anyone's religious belief, it is the last thing he would think of doing. I feel that in regard to the representation of our Northern University the Government have treated us very shabbily. We have been most anxious that the names on this Commission should not be discussed at all. We proposed that we should have the number reduced, and that we should begin de novo in regard to our Motion. But, still, with the knowledge that Professor Bain has the confidence of the people of Scotland, that he is in political harmony with the general opinion in Scotland, and that he is an able and a sincere reformer in University matters, his presence on the Commission has been denied to us. The people of Scotland have very strong reason to complain that the Government, instead of complying with their wishes, have stepped out of their way and asked us to give our confidence to a gentleman of whom I have not a word to say but of commendation, in order that they might deprive us of that representation that we, on the part of Aberdeen, most desire.


I intend to vote for the name of Mr. Bain. I cannot conceive a Scotch University Commission being constituted without the presence of a man who has done so much for the advancement of the mental and moral sciences as this distinguished Scotch professor. Scotland has always been famous for the teaching of mental science, and Professor Bain has advanced these sciences with which his name has been so long connected by new modes of investigation which have been accepted not only in Scotland, but very largely accepted in England also, He has been examiner in mental science at the University of London, and has exercised much influence on the study of mental science throughout the country. He has been a professor of many years in connection with Aberdeen University, and twice he has been elected Lord Rector of that University, which shows the high appreciation in which he is held there. In appointing a University Commission, not only should the name of Dr. Bain be there almost as a matter of course, but all the Representatives of Aberdeen have expressed themselves most anxious that Aberdeen University should be represented by this distinguished professor. I intend to record my vote in favour of this name.

MR. W. P. SINCLAIR (Falkirk, &c.)

I think the name of Dr. Bain has been supported by some arguments that had better been left unused. Whatever the political opinions of the gentleman may be, they ought not to have any weight in this matter, and are no disqualification. If he be—as has been said—a Gladstonian, I certainly do not agree with him in that, but I do not think that this unfortunate fact will prevent him from exercising a fair, impartial, and independent judgment upon questions this Commission are appointed to determine. The arguments addressed to the House in support of the candidature of Dr. Bain have been grounded upon his representation of Aberdeen University, but it is not from that point of view that I support the name. Aberdeen University has always been closely connected with the teaching element throughout Scotland, in elementary, secondary, and higher schools, and I know that teachers are most anxious that their views should find representa- tion on this Commission in the person of Dr. Bain.

* MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, East)

I cannot understand the nature of the Lord Advocate's objection to Professor Bain becoming a member of this Commission. He said that the Commission was fully equipped; in short, that it was too large already. I want to know whose fault is that? I certainly gave the Government the opportunity of lightening the Commission by the excision of three names, for which excision I would have given satisfactory reasons. I did not get an opportunity of doing so. I was closured; so that they were wilfully blind to good reasons for lessening the number of the Commission, of the excessive number of which they now complain. How long ago is it since the Commission was fully equipped? I suppose it was not fully equipped before the name of Mr. Fuller was proposed. But, therefore, if the size of the Commission is the only objection to the inclusion of Mr. Bain, it is an objection which was entirely within their own power. The Lord Advocate did not deny his worthiness to be placed on this Commission, and it seems to me that the reason of the Commission being already sufficiently large is more ingenious than ingenuous, though I do not say very much for its ingenuity either. I think the Lord Advocate said that there were reasons which made his name not generally acceptable. I do not know that there are many names on the Commission that are generally acceptable, and I think that it is a most unfortunate thing that the name of Professor Bain should have been omitted. The name of Professor Bain is accepted in Scotland as of the very highest standing, on the grounds on which a philosophical reputation ought to be sustained. Many of us do not agree with him in his philosophical exclusions, but we recognise the ability and devotion which he has shown in giving himself to the high task he has set before himself in educational matters. There is not a name on that Commission which is more or equally deserving of respect in these matters than the name which the Government now so obstinately and so unaccountably exclude. I can only infer, in conclusion, that the reasons which actuate the Government are reasons of which they are so pro- foundly ashamed that they cannot state them.


On the last Division 28 Scotch Members went into the Lobby with me, and 12 on the other side. I do not know what the policy of the Government is, but it seems to me that they are determined to flout in every possible case the opinion of Scotch Members. He has distinctly stated that he shall give no reasons. He dared not stand up in this House to give utterance to the shabby bigotry and disgraceful enmity to the nomination of Mr. Bain. I do not know whether he has had any part in this business; I do not know who has been the channel of communication between certain obscure individuals and the Government. But I defy him to stand up in the House and state one reason in support of the policy which has been forced upon the Government from the Benches behind them. I will tell the House the real reason why Professor Bain is hated. Professor Bain has interested himself in subjects of philosophy; his name will rank among the highest in this country, along with Lock, Dugald Stuart, Adam Smith, and the two Mills; his name will be imperishable in the records of British philosophy. He is doubly dear to Aberdeen. He is an Aberdeen man, and in his own life he is an admirable illustration of some of our Aberdeen institutions. We have practically got free University education in Aberdeen. Professor Bain began his career as a weaver in Aberdeen, but he was enabled, at the age of 18, to enter Marshall College. From that time his career has been remarkable and rapid. When he was in London he served in a very important official position, and from his knowledge of business he is extremely well qualified to take part in this Commission. In the year 1860 he was appointed Professor of Logic to the University of Aberdeen. I remember as a boy the insinuations directed against Professor Bain, and I remember when I sat in his class it was with very considerable prejudice, and I expected to see, if not horns and hoofs, something like a monster in human form. Prom his very first appointment he was the object, on the part of a small number of individuals, of the most envenomed and bitter hostility, but everybody who gat in his class learnt what manner of man he was. Of all the worshippers in the temple of truth there never was a purer nor more sincere than Professor Bain He was not only an original thinker himself, but he possessed the faculty of quickening the minds of his pupils. He was not an idle professor, content to receive his salary. He has been a voluminous author, and has written works of great importance. It is a test of what the world thinks of him that his books circulate at home and abroad, and to such an extent as to put him in possession of an extremely handsome revenue. He retired from office in 1880, and in 1881 he was elected Lord Rector, a position which is jealously guarded by the students, and is given only to men eminent in literature or science. He is the only instance within the recollection of any living being of a professor being elected to that distinguished office. The students, who are generous, and who can appreciate truth, elected him by a large majority; but on that occasion the professors behaved so indecently as to canvass against their own colleague. It would require an Alexander Pope and a new edition of the Dunciad to enable the House to understand the nature and kind of opposition which led the professors to take that step. But it was vain. Professor Bain was not only elected, but re-elected. From whom does this opposition come? It is a little bit of rivalry on the part of obscure mediocrities, who rule persons more eminent than themselves. But I believe these gentlemen would actually have forgiven Professor Bain for his eminence if only he had been a snob. Professor Bain is, and has been all his life, an active politician. I do not think he has taken part in public meetings, but he is well known in private life as a man of very decided Liberal views. This miserable clique, this wretched gang, are opposed to him because he combines liberality of thought with a great degree of eminence. The House does not know, and my hon. Friend the Member for the Universities does not know, the kind of people with whom he is dealing. I can tell him this, from an experience of more than a quarter of a century—that any man, however eminently qualified for his post he may be, will be boycotted and ostracised unless he belongs to the Tories who have got control of the Universities, and it is a very little section from whom the opposition comes. I feel bound to go to a Division on this question for the honour of Aberdeen, for the honour of the University, and for the honour of human nature; because a more disgraceful and scandalous opposition never was offered to a distinguished man; nothing shabbier, or meaner, or more contemptible was ever done in this House, and that is the reason why the Lord Advocate has not given any reasons for his objection. I am sure, if the Lord Advocate knew the unfortunate part he has been made to play, he would be the last man to act as he has done. And I believe the hon. Member for the Universities would tear his tongue out sooner than be a party to such miserable and contemptible action.

MR. ELLIOT (Roxburgh)

I will not imitate my hon. Friend by using violent language in this matter. He told the House that the test of a man was what the world thought of him; but it would appear to me that it is not what the world, but what my hon. Friend on my right thinks of him. Sir F. Sandford is a man of mark and sound knowledge; but Sir F. Sandford was loudly denounced by my hon. Friend, because he happened not to agree with him. Now, Professor Bain is undoubtedly a distinguished man, and many of us are thoroughly acquainted with his name. My hon. Friend praised him to the skies, and says, therefore, he ought to be on the Commission. As to Professor Bain's political opinions, I do not believe that one Scotchman in 10 knows what they are. That is a matter brought in for the purposes of Debate, and for Party purposes. It is not true that Scotch opinion is in favour of or against Professor Bain, because Scotch opinion has not been brought to bear upon the subject. His politics were to me, up to the present moment, absolutely unknown. It is now said that he is a strong Liberal, or a strong Gladstonian, which is a very different thing. I am in the position of 99,000 out of every 100,000 Scotchmen, of being absolutely ignorant of his politics. I have no doubt, in respect of his personal distinction, he is thoroughly fit to be a member of this Commission. That is not the question. We have now arrived, at almost the last stage of this Bill in this House, and the Commission has been constituted after much discussion and conference between Members of the House, and the Commission now represents the general sentiments of this House. If at the last moment a new name is to be introduced, and we are to be put in the position of proving the unfitness of any new name suggested, I say it is evident to any honest, clear-thinking man, that they are brought forward for Party purposes, and have nothing to do with the benefit of the University.

The House divided:—Ayes 143; Noes 179.—(Div. List, No. 257.)


I beg to propose the addition of the name of Dr. Bruce, the elected representative for Scotland on the General Medical Council. In the first place, he is a medical man, and we are a doctor short on the Commission, inasmuch as the Government have excised the names of two doctors. As the Scotch Universities are essentially Medical Schools, I think it is important that the medical element should be well represented on the Commission. Dr. Bruce is a man of the highest eminence, and has been elected by the whole medical profession in Scotland to represent them on the Medical Council. He would go to the Commission freed from any University trammels, and would represent the rank and file of the practitioners.

Amendment proposed, in page 9, line 12, after the foregoing Amendment, to insert the words "William Bruce, A.M., M.D., elected representative for Scotland on General Medical Council."— (Dr. Farquharson.)

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


I need only say I have not a word to utter in disparagement of Dr. Bruce, who is, I believe, very eminent in his profession; but I am sure the House will be of opinion that it is impossible now to add any other names to the Commission. I hope the hon. Member will rest satisfied with the assurance that Dr. Bruce's name is one which readily occurred to those in charge of the Measure.


The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary said the other day that the Government were not indisposed to make the number 16 or 17. Of course, if they adopt the same principle here as they did in the case of the other names they would add not only this name, but another also.


I cannot see my way to support this Amendment. One member was put on the Commission in order to satisfy the claims of Aberdeen. I voted in the last Division for Professor Bain as a protest against the way in which he has been treated; but having disposed of the controversy that circled round the name of Professor Bain, I really cannot see my way to support the addition of any further name.


I really think we should require to add still another name if Dr. Bruce were affixed, as he is the very reverse of a reformer. I think we can leave the interests of the profession in the hands of Dr. Watson.

Question put, and negatived.


I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name.

Amendment proposed, in page 11, line 42, after the word "University," insert the words "and the college or colleges."

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


The series of Amendments which are standing in my name and in the name of some other hon. Gentleman have, I think, cleared up this matter, and I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman wants to press his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


The Amendment which stands in my name has, no doubt, to a great degree been met by the Amendment which has just been passed, and which enables the Commission to aboblish any professorship. It may, perhaps, be that the words in the Bill enable the Commission to fix the number and character of the faculties and enable them to abolish any faculties; but I think it would be better to make it quite clear by my Amendment, which is to insert the words, "abolish existing faculties in any Universities, and." Within the last few days the Government, having staring them in the face the Amendment of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, and having heard the arguments in favour of the abolition of the Theological Faculty of Aberdeen and St. Andrews, have appointed a new Professor of Divinity in the University of Aberdeen. I think it is indecent at this season of the year, when there is no teaching going on and no occasion to hurry, that the vacancy should have been filled up. If the Government are going to fill up these Professorships and stop the House from deciding whether they shall be abolished or not, I think it is desirable that we should in so many words give the Commission power to abolish faculties. I should like the Commissioners to have power to abolish the Faculty of Medicine in any University where there is no real teaching of medicine, and, still more, to abolish the Faculty of Divinity in Universities where it is not required. I do not in any degree desire to raise the question of establishment or disestablishment. I have said I am quite willing to acknowledge that as long as the Church of Scotland exists it has a fair claim. It is notorious that four divinity classes are far more than are needed by the Established Church. Besides, many of the divinity students are frauds. There is a great demand for schoolmasters in Scotland at present, and there is a great desire that schoolmasters should be fully educated. Many of the young men studying for schoolmasters enter themselves as divinity students simply in order to keep the bursaries, and without the slightest intention of following the profession of divinity. I am delighted they should in that manner be able to qualify themselves fully and thoroughly for their profession; but it is an abuse, and altogether contrary to the real meaning and intention of a divinity school, that such a school should be kept up and fully equipped in order to enable these gentlemen to hold their bursaries.

Amendment proposed, in page 12, line 6, after the word "to," to insert the words "abolish existing faculties in any university, and."—(Sir G. Campbell.)

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


I should have thought the original words of the clause were amply sufficient for all purposes, if it had not been for the manner in which this subject was discussed by the Government in Committee. The Bill, as it stands, gives the Commissioners power to alter the number of the existing faculties, and to create new faculties. Considering the very large powers given to the Commissioners in other respects, I submit that it would be expedient that they should have an entirely free hand with regard to the faculties as well. It may be extremely improbable that in the case of a single University the Commissioners should decide that one of the old faculties should cease to exist; but there are two things to consider. In the first place, the Commissioners are empowered to create new faculties; and, in the second place, the existing Faculties of Law, Medicine, and Divinity are very old university arrangements: they come down from other ages and from other countries. Considering the very large powers given to the Commissioners, I do not think it ought to be absolutely assumed beforehand that the Commissioners may not desire to make some change in the old historical existing nomenclature and classification of the faculties. A more practical consideration, however, is that these Universities differ in size. There are four Universities in Scotland, two are much smaller than the others, and ought it not to be left an open question whether the complete equipment of the existing faculties is to remain in each of the four Universities? Is it not possible—I do not think it is probable —that one or other or both of the smaller Universities may desire to specialize themselves to a certain extent, and that one of the faculties may cease to exist there? According to the interpretation put on the Bill by the Government in Committee it would be impossible for the Commissioners to initiate or to sanction such an arrangement, and I rose simply for the sake of endeavouring to elicit an expression of opinion from the Lord Advocate. Perhaps I was too hasty in putting my own interpretation on what was said by him in Committee; but I put it to him whether it would not be desirable, according to the spirit of the clause as it stands, to give an absolutely free hand to the Commissioners in dealing with the faculties.


The Government cannot accept this Amendment for reasons which were fully stated when the Bill was in Committee. The Commissioners have, no doubt, very full and ample powers in regard to faculties; but I should not be dealing frankly with the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy if I did not say that, in my opinion, the power to abolish faculties is very different from the power to abolish Professorships. I do not think that the Bill as it now stands confers on the Commissioners power to abolish faculties. The hon. Member has very plainly avowed that his main object is to procure the abolition of the Faculty of Theology in St. Andrew's University. There is a special reason why we should not give the Commissioners instructions to that effect now. It is possible that as the result of their report on the subject of tests, the Theological Faculties may hereafter be made available for a larger number of divinity students than is the ease at present. There has never, I believe, been a time when there were not all the three Faculties of Arts, of Theology, and of Medicine in the Scottish Universities.

The House divided:—Ayes 125; Noes 196.—(Div. List, No. 258.)


I now beg to move to insert, after "faculties," in line 6, And to abolish the theological faculties in the Universities of Aberdeen and St. Andrew's, and employ the endowments of the theological professors to endow new professorships in the faculty of arts. This Amendment rests upon different grounds to the one we have just disposed of. The Amendment of my hon. Friend was permissive. This is compulsory, and the object is to deal with a great abuse in the wasteful expenditure of money belonging to the Scotch Universities. I do not believe that even many Scotch Members are aware of the extraordinary extravagance which characterizes the Divinity Faculties of Scotland. In each of the Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities there are, on an average, about 107 divinity students, and in Aberdeen the average is 31, and in St. Andrew's 33—I am taking the average of the last five years. My contention is that for the wants of divinity students the two Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are amply sufficient; because if you were to distribute the divinity students in Aberdeen and St. Andrew's between Edinburgh and Glasgow you would still have comparatively small classes. What is the proportion between the entire number of divinity students and the number of art students? Taking the average of the last three years, the entire number of divinity students in the Scottish Universities is 278, while that of the art students is 2,826.


Order, order! It appears to me that this Amendment was covered by the last Amendment, which gave power to abolish faculties. This Amendment gives power to abolish the Faculty of Theology in particular Universities.


I asked the Chairman of Committees, and he thought the Amendment was not carried by the last. On the point of order, let me say that the Amendment of my hon. Friend did not refer to the Theological Faculties at all.


Theological Faculties are included in faculties.


Then I beg to give Notice that I will move that the Bill be re-committed in order that I may discuss this point.


I beg to move to insert after "students." in line 17— Provided that no fees in existing classes above three guineas shall be increased, and that no fees in new classes or classes in which the fees are now three guineas or under shall be fixed above three guineas. The object of this Amendment is to meet what I fear will be a very great danger in the practical working of this measure—namely, the danger that is already beginning to appear of making higher education in Scotland too exclusively the privilege of the wealthier classes. Hitherto it has been one of the great distinctions of higher education in Scotland that it has been accessible almost to the very poorest. In the local schools University preparation could be obtained so cheaply as to be accessible to all, and in the Universities themselves to a large extent the same arrangement prevails. I do not say that in the Universities education is as accessible as it should be. In some of the professional classes the arrangements point to the expectation that certain professions are to be shut against the poor man. This is more particularly the case in the profession of law, the classes being so arranged that the education is accessible only to those who have a considerable capital to start with in life. The same state of things prevails to a considerable extent in the profession of medicine. This is a most unwholesome state of things. In the machinery of this Bill I am afraid there is a threatened aggravation of this evil, because under Clause 14 the Commissioners are to have power to regulate the amount and the manner of the payment of the fees and other payments made by the students. Comparing the recommendation of the last Royal Commission upon the Scotch Universities with the statement made by the Lord Advocate in the course of this debate, I think there cannot be the slightest doubt that one of the purposes of this Bill is to invite the Commissioners to very considerably raise the fees, if not in all the classes in some of them. The probability of an increase of fees is strengthened by the pecuniary arrangements or want of them in the Bill for carrying into practical execution the reforms it invites the Commissioners to imitate. The consequence of these pecuniary arrangements is that the Commissioners will be driven to new expedients for the purpose of raising money, and I am afraid they will attempt to throw the burden of supporting the Universities more upon the students who largely attend them. The Lord Advocate has told us that there are certain classes which will be perfectly prepared to pay considerably higher fees. I have no doubt he was alluding to the classes of law and medicine, but I object to making any of the learned professions exclusively the professions of those who are well to do. The only security against this is to insert some provision by which the Commissioners shall be prevented from making regulations which would tend to develop the evil which I say already exists. I, therefore, propose the Amendment of which I have given notice, feeling sure that unless something in the character of my proposition is adopted, this Bill, instead of being a blessing to the studentship of Scotland, will be something in the nature of a calamity.

Amendment proposed, in page 12, line 17, after the word "students," to insert the words— Provided that no fees in existing classes above three guineas shall be increased, and that no fees in new classes, or classes in which the fees are now three guineas or under, shall be fixed above three guineas."—(Mr. Wallace.)

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


Everybody will agree that it is most desirable that no deserving student should be debarred from University education merely on account of poverty, but I had thought it was the pride and boast of the Scotch Universities that they did extend their education most freely to poor students, not only from the fact that the education is cheap, to begin with, but also that there are an immense number of bursaries and foundations to aid poor scholars. But really this proposal is one which is intended to express distrust, not only of the Commissioners, but of the University Courts, which are to succeed the Commissioners in their functions. Now, surely if there is anything as to which the House may fairly trust the Commissioners and the University Courts, it is a matter so entirely and completely one of University regulation as the fees. And yet the hon. Member proposes to fix for all time the fees which are to be exacted. That is a proposal the Government cannot assent to.


While sympathizing with the object my hon. Friend has in view, I do not think we should tie the hands of the Commissioners in the matter of fees. In a great many courses of practical instruction such as those of chemistry, physics, and engineering, in which materials are used for demonstrations it is necessary that greater expense should be incurred than would be covered by a three guinea fee. It is therefore very important the Commissioners should not have their hands tied.


I think this is a case where it would be very well to tie the hands of the Commissioners, because the only use they can make of their hands if they are untied is to do mischief. We know there is nothing upon which the heads of the professors are so set as an increase of fees, and therefore of their own emoluments. I think that a Session in which we have been instrumental in giving a large sum for the reduction of fees in elementary schools in Scotland is a very unhappy time to select to give the Commissioners power to increase the fees in the Universities. I hope the tendency of events will be entirely in a contrary direction, and certain as I am, judging from the character of the Commission and the kind of influence which will be brought to bear on it, that the tendency will be to raise fees, and certain as I am that there is no justification for such increase and no advantage being derived from it, but on the.contrary great dis- advantage, I shall vote for the Amendment of my hon. Friend.

The House divided:—Ayes 114; Noes 199.—(Div. List, No. 259).

It being after half-past Five of the clock, Further Proceeding on Consideration, as amended, stood adjourned.

Further Proceeding to be resumed upon Monday next.