§ Order for Committee read.
§ * MR. W. A. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
In moving the Amendment which stands in my name, I do not intend to detain the House at any length, as I have already addressed the House on the same matter in reference to another Bill which was discussed only a short time ago. I think, however, that we should not allow this opportunity to pass without making a practical protest in the sense of this Resolution, because if there ever was a measure that ought to be sent to a Committee of the kind suggested it is the one now before the House. The subject moreover is one that is not understood by those who belong to other parts of the kingdom than Scotland, so that it will be generally admitted that it would only be a proper step to send the Bill to such a Committee 755 as is provided for in my motion. I shall now be content to rely on what was said on the previous occasion, and will merely move the Resolution which stands in my name.
Motion made, and Question proposed:
That the Order for Committee be discharged.
That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee composed of Scottish representatives and Thirty other Members to be nominated by the Committee of Selection.
That the provisions of Standing Order 50 shall apply to all Bills reported by the said Committee.
§ * THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON,) Bute
I gather from what the hon. Gentleman has just said, that it is not intended to press this Motion on the House as a matter of great urgency. I quite recognize that the hon. Gentleman feels the necessity of entering his protest with regard to a Bill which he considers one of so much importance, and which is of very great importance in the view of the whole House. At the same time, I must say I think the Bill is not of that complexity or speciality which required the detailed investigation of a special Committee. In referring the measure to a Committee of the whole House, I think it will be found that it was not necessary to resort to such an expedient as the kind of Committee the hon. Gentleman proposes, in order to bring to a high degree of perfection a Bill which I hope will pass through Committee without material modification.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 69; Noes [...].—(Div. List, No. 154.)
§ * MR. W. A. HUNTER
I wish, Sir, to ask if it is competent for any Member to move the instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Dundee, who is not in his place. Otherwise we shall be placed in a difficult position, for unless the instruction is moved we shall not be able to make certain Amendments of the Bill in Committee. I wish, therefore, to move the instruction.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! It is not competent for the hon. Member to move the instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Dundee.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.756
§ Clause 3.
§ MR. W. A. HUNTER
I wish to direct the attention of the Lord Advocate to the desirability of postponing this, the Definition Clause, till the end of the Bill is reached. I think it is usual in Acts of Parliament to take the Definition Clause at the end. I shall have to deal with a difficulty which arises as to the definition of the words "Universities Committee," and, as I think some modification is necessary on this point, I would suggest it would be convenient to take the Definition Clause last.
§ Amendment proposed, "That this clause be postponed until the other clauses in the Bill have been considered."
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I should, of course, be glad to take any course which would further the object which the hon. Member has in view. But I would point out that Clause 9 is the clause which constitutes the University Committee. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds has a competing proposal on that clause, which the Committee will have to decide upon, so I think there is no need to postpone this clause.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. HUNTER
I have now a small matter which I hope the Lord Advocate will see his way to deal with in the manner suggested in my Amendment. It has reference to the definition of the word "college." The clause provides that this shall mean any institution established on a permanent footing for the purpose of teaching the higher branches of education. I submit that that is sufficient, but in the clause as it now stands the words are added—And which shall be sufficiently endowed in the opinion of the Commissioners, and, after the expiry of their powers, of the University Committee.I hold that those words are quite unnecessary, because if an institution is of a permanent character, it ought to satisfy the Government, and the retention of the further words as to a sufficient endowment might lead to a considerable difficulty.
§ Amendment proposed, Clause 3, page 2, line 9, leave out from "which," to end of sentence.757
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I think the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen will not dissent from the view which I have already expressed that it is desirable we should not encumber the existing Universities with affiliated colleges, which would be a drain on their already too narrowed resources. I think the clause as drawn will best secure that end.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
§ Clause 5.
Amendment proposed, Clause 5, page 2, after line 31, insert:—
(c.) The principal of St. Mary's College, and the principal of University College, Dundee, if and when the said college shall be affiliated to and made to form part of the University. (The Lord Advocate.)
* MR. J. B. BALFOUR (Clackmannan)
I desire to ask the attention of the Lord Advocate to the phraseology of this clause. It provides that the Principal of the United College, the Principal of St. Mary's College, and the Principal of the University College, Dundee, if and when the said college shall be affiliated to and made to form part of the University, shall be members of the University Court. It was, I think, recommended by the Royal Commission that there should be but one Principal for the two colleges, and in the series of Bills, introduced both by Liberal and Conservative Governments, there has been a proposal to empower the Commission to incorporate the various colleges of the University of St. Andrew's. I would suggest whether the phraseology of this addition proposed to be made to the clause is not inconsistent with the practicability of that scheme being carried out. With respect to the University of Dundee, while it has so eminent a principal as it now has, it is natural he should be a member of this Court. But it may be well worth considering if it would not be better to leave greater elasticity in the choice of a representative, and if that view should find favour with the Committee of that College the object sought might be secured by the next Amendment on the Paper, which is in the following terms:The head of each College presently existing in the University, and an assessor elected by the governors of University College, Dun- 758 dee, if and when the said College shall be incorporated therewith.I think it would be wiser to give a larger amount of latitude in the selection of a representative.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I think the question of free choice stands somewhat apart from that of efficient representation. The theory of the Government Amendment is that these three colleges—the United College, St. Mary's College, and the University College, Dundee—should each have its Principal sitting on the University Board as a right, and I should deprecate the putting of the University College, Dundee, upon a different footing from its elder sisters. I have carefully considered the matter, and I think the course which the Government have taken will best conduce to the creation of an efficient and representative Court. I should like to add that the proposal to incorporate and fuse the two colleges is now out of date. It was contained in the recommendation of the Universities' Commission of 1878, but that was before University College, Dundee, had risen to its present importance.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
Let me point out that you will if this is carried have this condition of things. The principals of the affiliated colleges connected with the University of St. Andrew's will each have a right to a seat in the University Court, while the heads of other colleges affiliated with the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen will not be members of the Court. I think there ought to be uniformity in this matter. Why should you make an exception in the case of St. Andrew's?
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The position of St. Andrew's University of the last few years has been a very peculiar one. We must draw the line somewhere so as to prevent the addition of an indefinite number of members to the University Court.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S)
I agree with the Lord Advocate that the position of St. Andrew's is unique in Scotland. Dundee College is extremely well equipped in various branches of science as well as in medicine. It has also a function to perform as a technical college. None of the other colleges in Scotland so far as I know have at all the position of this 759 college, and it is therefore right under the circumstances to give it a particular measure of favour in the Bill.
§ Amendment put and agreed to.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy)
I did not desire to take any considerable part in the discussion of the academical portion of the Bill, but I want very much to press upon the House the importance of the introduction of what I may call the lay element into the government of Universities. In my opinion, there is nothing so bad for education or for the management of these institutions as that they should be controlled entirely by academic people, who are sometimes the most conservative and sometimes the most reactionary people in the country. I attribute much of our backwardness in educational matters to the fact that academical people manage their own affairs without lay assistance. I not only wish to have a strong lay element, but I also wish to have a local element, and I hope the day will come when local funds will be contributed for the purpose of improving higher education in Scotland. Allusion has been made to the Zurich school, to which people flock from all parts of Europe. Now, that is a local school, established, equipped, and maintained in a small town, the population of which is less than that of many of our towns in Scotland. I know that there is a great disposition on the part of modern academicians to pooh-pooh the idea of management by a Town Council, and they say that the Edinburgh Town Council is not fit to manage a great academic institution. But the fact is that in the Middle Ages the City of Edinburgh did exactly what the Canton of Zurich is doing in these days. They established a great school, which was so successful that all Europe flocked to it, and up to the beginning of the present century the school was a most famous school, and many great men attended it. Now, that was a school locally established for the city of Edinburgh. It may be said of it now that it has outgrown the capacities of its mother and cannot properly have its management entrusted exclusively to the Town Council of Edinburgh. Still the Council retains some share in its management, although I think that share ought to be more ex- 760 tensive. Now, the Government are also extending this principle to the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, and I wish to see them in addition introduce the lay element in the case of the University of St. Andrew's. That is not a large city, but it is an ideal place of education; it is a city of culture, and I do not see why it should not be represented in the University Court. I want to bring into the management of the Universities the popular voice and popular ideas, and I say that the more you introduce of this lay element the more you will break down that academical conservatism which is responsible for Scotland being lagged behind other countries in the matter of education. I do not propose to hand over the management of the Universities to the Town Councils, I only ask that those bodies should be represented in the University Courts, and the concession I am seeking is not a very large one. And there are special reasons why this should be done in the case of St. Andrew's, for there University life is very much mixed up with local life, and it would be a great advantage if the University management were brought into closer touch with the administration of the town. St. Andrew's, too, is a town which abounds in schools, in the management of which the Local Authorities have a large share, and I think it would be well for those who represent these schools to also be represented on the management of the University. I therefore hope that the Amendment will be accepted.
Amendment proposed, at the end of last Amendment to insert the words
(c) An assessor nominated by the Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of St, Andrew's."—(Sir George Campbell.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ * THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. MOIR T. STORMONTH DARLING,) Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities
The hon. Gentleman has said that St. Andrew's is an ideal place of education. There I perfectly agree with him, and I rather think it is chiefly because the town is small. St. Andrew's stands distinguished in that respect from all the University seats of Scotland, and that, I think, affords some indication of the reasons which have influenced the Government in not including a repre- 761 sentative of the municipality in the University Court of St. Andrew's. The hon. Member knows very well that the position of Edinburgh is quite peculiar. The connection between the Municipality and the University is an old one, and an honourable one to the Municipality; and the size and importance of Glasgow and Aberdeen seem to make it proper to include the Lord Provosts of those cities in the University Courts. It is otherwise with St. Andrew's.
§ * MR. ANSTRUTHER () St. Andrew's Burghs
I am not at all sorry that the Amendment I have put on the Paper should have received the additional advantage of being moved by my hon. Friend (Sir G. Campbell), and I hope the Government will see their way to concede this small point. No doubt the Lord Advocate feels that if he gives way on this Amendment he will have to give way on all the Amendments which have for their object the extension of popular representation on the University Courts. Let me point out, however, that the Amendment, of which I have given notice, would merely have the effect of putting St. Andrew's upon the same footing as the other University cities of Scotland. The first Amendment of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir G. Campbell) drew, I thought, too hard and fast a line, and, therefore, I though it a wiser and perhaps a more moderate demand to ask the Government to accede to my request—that there should be a municipal representative nominated by the Town Council, though not necessarily one of their own number. I do not maintain that St. Andrew's is in the same position as Glasgow and Aberdeen; and I acknowledge the argument of the Solicitor General that the previous connection which has existed between the Municipality of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh University draws a distinction in that case in which it offers from the case of St. Andrew's. At the same time I would remind the Solicitor General that the Municipality of Edinburgh is to have two representatives, whereas the other Municipalities are only to have one, and I only ask that St. Andrew's should be placed in the same position.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I do not think the Solicitor General has given a very conclusive reason why this Amendment should not be adopted. 762 The hon. and learned Gentleman says that the City of St. Andrew's is small. As a set-off against that we may say that the University of St. Andrew's is a very small one. I prefer the original form of the Amendment to the present. By the Amendment in its original form we should not only interest the lay element in the University, but pro tanto add somewhat to the dignity of the Chief Magistrate of the City. I am in favour of the Amendment, because I believe that the City of St. Andrew's has a very important interest in the University, even more than Edinburgh and Aberdeen have in their Universities, and also because I have an eye to another Amendment on the Paper to allow the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of Dundee, to elect a representative to St. Andrews University Court. I do not think the Government will be acting wisely if they persist in refusing this very small concession.
§ * MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
I do not think the Solicitor General for Scotland has put this matter upon the right ground. The only valid ground is the utilitarian one, that it will be useful to the Court of the University, and to the University itself through the Court, to have representation upon it of popular feeling. The best representatives we can get are those who have been selected by the people themselves to manage their affairs. If, because of the smallness of St. Andrews, it happens that the Lord Provost is sometimes a very efficient representative, that would seem to be rather an argument for giving the Town Council the right to send two representatives than for taking away one. It is unfair to describe the representatives of the people as uneducated. They may be uneducated as regards specialisms, but they are not uneducated as regards what is best for popular education. They are really practical men whose opinion is of immense value.
§ * SIR L. PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S)
As an old graduate of St. Andrews, and for long its representative, I have a word to say. The Solicitor General said there was nothing in the traditions of the Provosts of St. Andrews to justify any addition to the University Court from the municipality. I differ from him in that. I will recall to his recollection that there was quite a Napoleon of Provost, who bore the same name as 763 I do myself. He was long Provost of St. Andrews, and under his active reign the new University buildings were created. He was instrumental in introducing various useful reforms into the schools of the city as well as the University. If there was once a Provost like this there may be again. I think it is very desirable to interest the Civic Authorities in the prosperity of the University, and for that purpose I intend to support the Amendment.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The principal reasons have been given by the Solicitor General. It is well-known that the Lord Provosts of Glasgow or Aberdeen are invariably men of prominence and position, representing a large variety of interests, and are, besides, good business men, whose presence on such a Board as the University Court is valuable. Without implying the smallest disparagement to the Town Council of St. Andrews, I cannot say the same with reference to that body. It would have been agreeable to the Government to have given way in favour of St. Andrews in this respect, but all the considerations point in the other direction.
§ SIR G. TREVELYAN
I should like to point out that the Amendment provides that an assessor should represent the Town Council, and that being the ease there is no doubt the best man would be found—a man of practical good sense, and probably with the highest education and the greatest interest in education that the locality could muster. It is extremely important to have at least one representative of the town where an educational institution is situated on the governing body of that institution, for a good feeling between the University and the town would be thus maintained.
§ * MR. W. A. HUNTER
The Lord Advocate has not sufficiently distinguished between the two Amendments. The objections which he has raised are, no doubt, pertinent to the first Amendment suggested—namely, that the Lord Provost of St. Andrews should be an ex officio member of the Court. It is quite possible there might be occasions 764 on which the Lard Provost might not be the best possible man for such an office; but I think the suggestion that the whole Town Council should have power to nominate an assessor rests upon an entirely different basis.
§ * MR. C. S. PARKER (Perth)
I should be the last person to wish to introduce in the University Council a non-educational element which would be embarrassing to them; but I think there is a great deal in the argument that it is not necessarily the Provost of St. Andrews who is to be a member of the Court. The proposal is that a representative he nominated by the Town Council. It is probable that the Town Council would take pains to find one who would be of assistance to the Court. Remembering how closely the Universities of Scotland are connected with popular education, I think it would be safe, on the whole, that we should have a representative nominated in the way suggested.
§ * MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
There is a great deal of force in what the Lord Advocate said regarding the position of public officials—such as the Lord Provosts of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. He is right in saying that such persons are generally men of business capacity, and of important position in the localities. But let us recognise what we are doing in this matter. We are practically constituting St. Andrews a University for Dundee also. In Dundee we have one of the four largest town in Scotland, and therefore we have a Lord Provost ready to hand, and analagous to the Lord Provosts of Glasgow, Aberdeen, or Edinburgh. We might get rid of the difficulty by having two representatives of the municipalities on each of the University Courts. Under that arrangement, while it would be better that in the case of St. Andrews the Town Council of that town should be represented by an Assessor rather than by the Provost, the Lord Provost of Dundee might be the second municipal representative for the University of St. Andrews.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I hope the Government will see their way to accept this Amendment. I approve of the Amendment, on the ground that the principle of representation extended to Glasgow and Aberdeen should 765 be given to St. Andrews, with the difference in the latter case that an assessor should be chosen to give strength and dignity to the University.
§ * MR. CRAIG SELLAR
It appears to me that the only objection to the Amendment is the danger of unduly increasing the number of the Court. If that danger be overcome I do not see why the lay element should not be represented in the case of St. Andrews as in the case of the other Universities.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
With reference to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman, I would remind him that there are Amendments on the Paper by which it is proposed to make the Courts smaller by reducing the number of representatives of the Senatus Academicus and of the General Court.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I would point out that St. Andrews will, even if the Amendment is accepted, be placed in an exceptional position, because it is impossible to put a representative of the St. Andrews Town Council on the governing body without having a representative of Dundee as well. This means that, as compared with Aberdeen and Glasgow, it is proposed to give St. Andrews two lay members as against one in the case of the other towns. The Government, though not averse to adding the lay element where it can be added conveniently, are averse to putting two members on this governing body, especially when it is recollected that though St. Andrews University is connected with the town, it is not connected in the same close way as are the Universities of Glasgow or Aberdeen with those towns.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I hope the Government will pause before pressing this matter to a Division. It will be an unfortunate omen for the future proceedings of the Bill. The Scotch Members, save the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General, are unanimous in supporting the proposal in the Amendment. If the Lord Advocate is going to conduct the Bill in this spirit we have a miserable prospect before us.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 62; Noes 68.—(Div. List, No. 155.)
§ * MR. HUNTER
I beg to move, in line 31, to insert the Amendment standing in my name. I hope that the Government, having told us, with 766 regard to the last Amendment, that it was too small, will not object to mine on the ground that it is too large. I will discuss this proposition in respect of the Town Council of Dundee. All the members who are suggested as members of the Court form a united whole, and the arguments which support a separate and particular proposition like this necessarily relate to wider topics; and I hope that without violation of the rules of order I may be able on this Motion to indicate the grounds on which I think that, at all events as regards Dundee, the Government should give way. The selection of the persons to form the University Court should very much depend on the work the Court has to do, and the relation of that work to the Senatus Academicus. The powers of the University Court under the Bill will be mainly these—it will be a Court of Appeal for the Senatus Academicus, and to it will be entrusted the appointment of the examiners who are not appointed in any sense hostile to the professors, but who are appointed because it is considered that the professorial examination alone is not sufficient to create public confidence, and, therefore, the examiners are in a sense appointed for the purpose of watching these examinations as representing the public. And I find also that there is ascribed to the University Court the power of granting recognition to individual teachers for the purpose of graduation. So that we find, in respect to these three great powers, the position of the University Court is this—that it is absolutely essential if the Court is to be anything real and valuable in the administration of the University, that it shostld be entirely independent of the profeusorial element. There can be no tasks more difficult or more invidious for the University Court to perform than that in regard to extra-mural teachers. It was a duty which puts them at once in conflict with the interests of the professors. So also as to the appellate power of the Court. It is a mockery to appeal from Philip to Philip, which will be the case if you appeal from a body purely consisting of professors to a body substantially governed in its decisions by the professorial element. Therefore, I think that in order to have a really efficient University Court it is 767 essential that a larger number of members of the Court than is proposed should be altogether outside academical intrigue and professorial manipulation. I attach no value, comparatively speaking, to a University Court in which the professors are able, directly or indirectly, to carry whatever they please. That is to defeat the primary purpose of the University Court. Now, Sir, as the Bill stands, to any one who is at all acquainted with the practical working of the existing system it is perfectly obvious that the assessors are so selected as practically to put the University Court under the control of the professors. On paper, no doubt, the professors have not a numerical majority; but some of the members of the Court may be relied on to be occasionally absent, and the effective power of the majority is to be estimated not by the number which you can show on paper, but by the numbers you can actually bring to a division. Those absent from the Court are, to all intents and purposes, non-existent. Therefore, in looking through the list we should not have regard to those who are named as members of the Court, but to those who in practice actually attend it. The University Court of Aberdeen at the present moment consists of six members, and frequently it has happened that the principal of the University and his brother-in-law have formed the majority in a Court of four, the principal having a casting vote. Thus the principal and his alter ego have on many occasions practically formed the Court in the University of Aberdeen. It is true that, so far as this alter ego is concerned, the graduates on a recent occasion took the opportunity of making a change. But that is what we shall be liable to under the Bill as framed; and if you look at the University Court merely from the point of view of academic efficiency, the Lord Advocate will find that a Court which is to be a Court of Appeal, and to exercise functions of a delicate character, frequently hostile to the interests of the professors, cannot be controlled by the professorial element, but must have predominant on it a wider interest than that of the professors. The Bill, as drawn, practically takes no account of the public at all. In the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen one person only who may be 768 said to represent the public of Scotland is nominated for the University Court; but the constitution of this Court is characterized by an entire absence of any persons who could be said to represent the general public. Now, I consider that that is a very unfortunate state of things. In the first place, I consider it is bad for the University. It is bad for the University, because when you have got a small close Corporation running in a certain Conservative groove without any impulse from the public outside, it is difficult to obtain anything like reform in the somewhat stagnant waters of the interior. But the University loses a great deal more than that. It loses in popular interest. In spite of a great deal that has been said here, I am confidently of opinion that the people of Scotland take excessively little interest in the Universities. This Bill, which has been described as one for which the people of Scotland would die, has been before the House two years, and I have never received a single letter, or direction, or suggestion, or hint from any one of my constituents in reference to it. Whether it was that they considered that my opinions were so sound that it was unnecessary to fortify them, or whatever may be the reason, I do not know, but at any rate it does not indicate very lively interest in the Universities Bill. The reason so little interest is taken in the Bill in Scotland is, that the Universities have become divorced from the life of the people. They have got out of the running. They have got into an antiquated groove, and it is most important in the interests of the Universities themselves that they should be brought into living contact with the people of Scotland. Now that would benefit the Universities in two ways. In the first place, I think it would benefit them in a pecuniary sense. If you have representatives of the great public bodies members of the Courts they would receive an education in respect of the wants of the Universities; they would receive an education in respect of the work done by the Universities; and as most of these persons will almost inevitably be persons of some position and wealth, I cannot doubt that the effect of introducing such representatives as I propose in this Amendment will be to awaken an interest that at present does 769 not exist in University work, and to create an appreciation of the work done and a keener criticism of the work not done. I believe, therefore, so far as the Universities are concerned, it would be of the greatest possible advantage to get outsiders introduced into the administration. I am the more emboldened to make the proposition from this fact—that the elections of the rectors and the appointment of their assessors have been the most successful features of the work of the Universities. I joined the University of Aberdeen in the year the new system was introduced, and I have followed very closely what has been done in the matter of the composition of the University Courts. Strange as it may appear, I will venture to say that the element which has been introduced by the students in Aberdeen has been by far the most beneficial. I feel sure, therefore, that the effect of introducing public bodies, such as the Town Council of Dundee, will be on the one hand to promote the benefit of the University, to increase the efficiency of the Court, and, at the same time, to awaken what is very much needed—an interest in the welfare of the University amongst Scotchmen. On the question of the interest Scotchmen take in the University, I think there is no better test than the amount of money contributed. We find in the North of Scotland that it is hopeless to ask people to subscribe to the University. They will not do so unless they see that the money is to be applied in a satisfactory manner. There are many arguments which I must advance in support of the proposition of giving a large share in the University Court to public bodies; but I think I need hardly trouble the Committee with further observations of this kind. I beg to move the Amendment on the Paper.
The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member was as follows:—Clause 5, page 2, line 31, after subsection (b.)to insert—(c.) An assessor nominated by the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of Dundee; (d.) An assessor nominated by the county council of Fife; (e.) An assessor nominated by the county council of Forfar; (f.) An assessor nominated by the county councils of Clackmannan and Kinross; (g.) An assessor nominated by the county council of Kincardine; (h.) An assessor elected by the General 770 Council; (i.) An assessor elected by the Senatus Academicus.
I must point out that the Amendment contains a number of distinct propositions, which will have to be put and dealt with separately.
§ MR. W. A. HUNTER
It is true that the Amendment involves a number of propositions, but I had no intention of treating them as one Amendment; it is a mere matter of the way in which they have been printed. My remarks now are intended to apply to the case of Dundee, and my object is to prevent the professional element being too largely represented. If the Court be looked at from the point of view of efficiency it ought not to be controlled by professional influence, as it has often to act contrary to professional interests. The constitution of the Court is characterized by an entire absence of anybody who can be said to represent the public interests.
I shall put the first part of the Amendment marked (c).
Amendment proposed, at the end of the foregoing Amendment, to insert the words—(c.) An assessor nominated by the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Co until of Dundee."—(Mr. Hunter.)Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
It is quite plain that there is one main principle involved in all these Amendments, and that is the introduction of the municipal element. In my opinion it is manifest that we should be wasting time if we were to discuss them in detail; and with regard to the Amendment now before the Committee I can hardly suppose that it is intended to give exclusive representation to the municipality of Dundee when it has been denied in the case of St. Andrews. I am, therefore, under the necessity of resisting a proposal which would give an invidious preference to a town which is not yet associated with a University.
§ * MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
For my part, I should prefer that the Lord Provost should himself be a member of the University Court; but I think it most desirable that there should be some representation of the lay feeling of the locality, especially in the case of one of the largest towns in 771 Scotland, and one of the four great cities of that country. If any town is deserving of representation it is Dundee.
§ MR. BARCLAY (Forfarshire)
The question is whether there is to be popular representation in the University of St. Andrew's, and I hope the Scotch representative generally will not be led to vote against this Amendment in consequence of what has been said by the Lord Advocate. The real question to be decided on this Amendment is whether the public are to be represented in the University Court? It seems remarkable that various bodies not specially interested in the University should have special representation, and that those whose sons are sent there, and who are therefore specially interested in that institution, should have no representation at all. The professors have at least six votes out of the 16, and this preponderance will enable them to resist public opinion in the future as in the past. That probably is the reason why the Universities do not occupy in the public mind the position they held some years ago. I speak more particularly with regard to the north of Scotland. At one time the Universities did provide an education such as would enable men to make their way in the world, but there has since been a great change in this respect, and it is now generally recognized that they do not provide the kind of education which at the present day is necessary for that purpose. If education were really felt to be of the importance it ought to be, and the students found in the Universities the best education they could have to fit them for the battle of life, the people of Scotland would be ready and willing to make sacrifices to provide that education, I would make an appeal to the Leader of the House in this matter to accede to the wishes of the Scotch Representatives in this matter. Ample provision is made for the representation of the graduates, and for my part I fail to see on what ground they are entitled to the representation they get, except so far as their opinions are of value on general questions of education. I also fail to see any valid or sufficient reason for rejecting the proposal now before the Committee, and believe that it would prove of great advantage, particularly in the case of Dundee. I should not desire to tie the Government to any special form of 772 representation, but I do think there ought to be reasonable and adequate representation of the public in the Universities.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I am greatly disappointed at the action taken by the Government in this matter and surprised at the argument used by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate. Dundee is the third great city in Scotland, and is certainly entitled to some consideration from the Government. I do not know whether the Lord Rector of St. Andrew's knows the local circumstances sufficiently well to be aware of the fact that Dundee does now and always has supplied the largest group of students to the University. The opening of Dundee College, I believe, has not altered that fact in any degree whatever. I venture to say that Dundee contributes as large a proportion of students to St. Andrew's as Glasgow. But the Lord Advocate scouts the notion of the representation of Dundee on the University Court of St. Andrew's because he says Dundee is not a University city at all. You only propose to make it a University city by this Bill. The University College of Dundee is already admitted to a place in the University Court of St. Andrew's, and I therefore hold that it is illogical to say that because Dundee is not yet a University town it is not to have a representative, yet that the University College of Dundee is to have a representative. I support the appeal to the Leader of the House, whose unfailing courtesy the Scotch Members would be the last not to recognize. He knows the situation in which the Committee is placed. He knows the disastrous division which has just taken place, a division in which took part the entire force of Scotch opinion on the one side, and only the official opinion of the Government on the other, backed by the silent votes of the English Members. Not only that, but three or four of the most stalwart and indefatigable and most unfailing supporters of the right hon. gentleman joined their voices to ours in this case. Let the right hon. gentleman trust to his own sound sense, let him do-that which in his heart he wishes to do, and give effect to that which is no destructive movement on our part; let him give bold way to his authority, and let this Amendment be carried without a 773 division, and do not let him drag his followers into such a disastrous and pitiful victory as that which the Lord Advocate headed on the last occasion.
§ MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen)
I desire that it should be universally known that the Scotch Members join in that appeal to the Government on this point. One of the main advantages of this Bill is that it will bring the large and prosperous city of Dundee into sympathy with the University of St. Andrew's. The Government having said that the Lord Provost of Glasgow shall form part of the constitution of the University, and having done the same with regard to Edinburgh and Aberdeen, I think there is no argument which can be advanced against the prosperous and growing city of Dundee being represented on, and brought into sympathy with the University of St. Andrew's. Why, when no principle is involved, and when the same thing has been conceded to Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, should not the University of St. Andrew's be brought into sympathetic relations to the prosperous city of Dundee by giving its Chief Magistrate or some one else a seat in the University Court? If this is not conceded, I am sure it would be taken as an indication that the Government are determined to resist the popular feeling in regard to the Universities of Scotland. There is no jealousy in the matter. The people all over Scotland concede the principle, and I would appeal to those who have charge of the Bill also to make the concession. I hope the appeal will not be in vain, and that Dundee will not be left in this exceptional and peculiar position, which, I believe, would operate greatly against the interests of the University of St Andrew's.
§ * MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark)
I do not think we ought to approach this Amendment in a controversial spirit. The University of St. Andrew's is placed by the Bill in a position peculiar and different from the rest. In the case of the other three Universities, the Chief Magistrate of the town in which each is situated is made a member of the University Court. In the case of St. Andrew's it is not proposed that that shall be so. The Committee have decided, by a small majority, that the Chief Magistrate should not be a member of the University Court. There are 774 certain reasons in favour of such representation which apply to the other large towns which do not apply to St. Andrew's. St. Andrew's is not nearly so large nor so important a municipality, and it is impossible to say that the same proportion of students is drawn from St. Andrew's that is drawn from the other large towns. In that case, it would be natural to look to Dundee, a near neighbour and a feeder of the University, and very suitable to be put in the same position as one of the great towns of Scotland. There is only one objection which requires serious consideration, that the Bill itself creates special relations between the University College of Dundee and the ancient University of St. Andrew's, and if the effect of this Amendment were to duplicate the influence of the University College of Dundee, and to give it an unfair representation, I do not think it would be a reasonable Amendment. Although the ease is not without difficulty, I am bound to say my opinion leans to the opposite direction. I do not think that by making the Chief Magistrate of Dundee a member of the University Court you would increase the influence of the University College, and on the other hand it would be of great consequence to the University that the municipality of Dundee should be interested in its welfare. But I think this Amendment would have to be followed by consequential Amendments, reducing the number of the Court and dealing with the question of the representation of country districts. It would probably strengthen the Court of the University of St. Andrew's if the Convener of the County Council of Fife, who would be popularly elected, were a member of the Court also. In voting for this Amendment, I do so with the desire that we should make the Convener of the County Council of Fife a member of the Court, and that we should reduce the number of the Court considerably.
§ * MR. CRAIG SELLAR
The question is rather one of whether we are to have a municipal assessor at St. Andrew's or not. That question was very fairly raised, stated, and discussed on the last Amendment, and a majority of the Committee decided against appointing this assessor to the St. Andrew's University, to be elected 775 by the Town Council of St. Andrew's. The Committee having done that, though I regret the decision I cannot see my way to supporting the Amendment, and I shall vote against the Amendment.
§ * SIR G. TREVELYAN (Bridgeton, Glasgow)
I think my hon. Friend behind me throws up the game very easily. On the contrary, it seems to me that the Government have now a very good opportunity of re-considering their position of an hour and a half ago. It is quite true that every Scotch Member, except those on the Government Bench, spoke in favour of the Amendment divided upon, but the Government could not be certain until the division took place, whether they represented the enormous preponderance of Scotch opinion. The division has taken place, and it is quite plain that Scotch opinion is entirely in favour of giving local lay assessor at the very least to the University of St. Andrew's. The Government can now, with a good grace, revise their attitude either on Report or now in Committee. It is quite evident that this is no obstructive Amendment. If the Government repudiate what is the almost universal feeling of Scotch Members, really the measure might as well not have been presented to Parliament at all. As far as the last division is concerned, this Bill is the ipse dixit of the Government; and Scotch opinion in the House has nothing whatever to do with it. On this side of the House, there is an eager disposition to get the Bill through. My own intention is to move, with as few words as possible, the Amendments which stand in my name, and if one of them if defeated by a general expression of Scotch opinion, and with the evident approval of the Committee, I shall withdraw all kindred and supplementary Amendments. I think that other hon. Members on this side of the House have a similar intention, but it will be extremely difficult to carry out that intention in face of what appears to be the resolution of the Government to ignore Scotch opinion on matters in which it ought to prevail.
§ DR. CLARK
I did hope that the Lord Advocate, when he appealed to Members on this side of the House to assist the Government in getting this Bill through, would have done something himself to shorten the discussion. We have done all we could 776 in that direction; we took a division on a very important question after a debate of less than five minutes, and now on this point, although Scotch opinion is almost all on one side, the Government, with the aid of a few unofficial English Members, intend to go against the Scotch opinions, and they will call to their aid other English Members who know nothing of the subject under discussion, but who will vote as the Whips dictate. If we are to be treated in this way we must meet the Government in the same fashion. I hope that even now the Government may be induced to pay some attention to Scotch opinion, and will allow the municipal element to be introduced into the University Court of St. Andrew's. Of course, if the Government intend to depend upon their purely mechanical majority and persist in ignoring Scotch opinion we cannot help it. So far as I am concerned, all I can say is that I am glad of it, because it will help forward immensely the cause of Home Rule for Scotland. Still, I will even now appeal to the First Lord of the Treasury to intervene and put an end to the present state of affairs.
§ MR. BRYCE
With regard to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for the Partick Division of Lanarkshire, I may point out that he seemed to think we were precluded from arguing strongly in favour of giving the municipality of Dundee representation in the University Court because we have not given similar representation to the borough of St. Andrew's. But the privilege was refused to St. Andrew's on the ground that the municipality was too small to justify granting it the privilege. But that argument does not apply to Dundee, which, on the score of population, has an equal right with Aberdeen and Glasgow to be represented in the University Court.
§ * MR. FIRTH (Dundee)
I notice that, although the municipal element is introduced by the Bill in the case of three Universities, it is not granted to St. Andrew's. Now Scotch opinion is to-day unanimously in favour of granting it to St. Andrew's, and I think we cannot possibly have a stronger illustration of the remarkable character of Scotch legislation than is presented by the fact of the Scotch opinion being all on one side, and yet being defeated on a 777 division. Is there any reason, having regard to the strength St. Andrew's receives from Dundee, why the municipal principle which is applied in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Glasgow, should not be extended to St. Andrews? The Government are to be congratulated on having taken up the advanced position of conceding the principle of University representation in three of the Universities, and I submit that in ordinary fairness St. Andrew's should be placed on an equality with them by acceptance of this amendment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I can assure the Committee, on the part of the Government, that we are extremely anxious to meet their views. We frankly admit that the argument has been conducted in a fair spirit. But I wish the Committee would bear in mind the position in which we are placed. The Committee have rejected the proposal that the town of St. Andrew's should be represented on the governing board of the University. The proposal now before the Committee is that the city of Dundee should be granted that representation. But is it possible to reject the principle of municipal representation with respect to the locality in which the mother University is situated, and yet accept it in regard to the city in which one of the colleges is situated. I observe that under the Bill, as it at present stands, there is power granted to the Commission to give representatives to the number of four on the governing body in respect of the affiliated colleges, and if you carry the present Amendment the affiliated College of Dundee will not merely be represented by the four persons selected by the Commission, but it will have in addition the municipal element from Dundee, which would, if associated, be more associated with the affiliated College than with the mother University, I think the Committee will therefore see that it is in no spirit of senseless or blind opposition that we feel we cannot accept the Amendment now under discussion. But I would, on the general question, ask the Committee whether it is wise in unduly emphasizing and exaggerating the question of the local element in University Education in Scotland. I entirely admit that it is desirable wherever it is practicable to introduce the municipal element into the Government of the Universities. But 778 the Scotch Universities are not local institutions; they are institutions to which people come from all parts of Scotland, from England, from Ireland, or from the Continent, and even from America. By all means give municipal representation up to a certain point, but are you really serving the interests of popular representation in University Government by giving an undue porportion of power to the particular locality in which it happens that this great international institution is situated?
§ MR. CALDWELL
I am surprised that the Chief Secretary for Ireland should have found fault with the representation of local interests, seeing that it is the Government themselves who have introduced the principle as regards the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. Now, the population of Aberdeen is 120,000, while the populalation of Dundee is 160,000, and therefore Aberdeen has no more claim to have its municipality represented in the University Court than has Dundee, which has a considerably larger population. The principle of municipal representation is really the basis of the Government Bill, and by this Amendment we are simply asking to have that principle extended to the University of St Andrew's. It is said that the last decision arrived at by the Committee has prejudged this question, but I cannot agree with that. The objection which was raised to giving the town of St. Andrew's representation on the University Court was that it had a population of only 7,000. Now that objection cannot apply to Dundee. The only other objection which was raised in the case of St. Andrew's was that if you give that town representation you must also give representation to Dundee, and that the University of St. Andrew's would thereby have placed on its governing body a larger proportion of municipal representation than any of the other Scotch Universities. But the Committee have already decided that the town of St. Andrew's shall not have this municipal representation, and therefore the question of duality does not come in now, and we are now only asking that Dundee with its 160,000 inhabitants shall be placed on au equal footing with Aberdeen with its 120,000 inhabitants. Remember that Dundee 779 represents the East of Scotland as much as Aberdeen represents the North-East. We must also bear in mind the necessity of having regard to the future welfare of the University in bringing students to it. The Lord Advocate told us in his opening speech that the attendances of University students had more than doubled in number since the year 1868. It is quite true that if you take a period of twenty years the attendances have increased, but if you take only the period of the last two years you will find that the number is going back. Now we want to encourage attendance at the Universities. The best way to do that is, I think, to have some link between the great body of the people in particular districts and the University, and that link will be afforded by municipal representation. Now, we have to-day another illustration of the difference between English and Scotch legislation. The English Local Government Bill was hurried through the House on account of the concessions that were made from time to time, but in regard to the Scotch Bills the position is that the Scotch Members find themselves opposed to the Lord Advocate, who is by profession an advocate, and who naturally fights for every inch of his Bill, and will make no concessions whatever. It is the natural result of his training. But I think it is to be regretted that the fate of this Bill should be entirely at the mercy of one man. I am a supporter of the Government, and of their Unionist policy, but I am bound to say that there is a feeling in Scotland, not merely in the Liberal and Radical Party, but also in the Liberal Unionist party, that Scotch opinion is being far too much beaten down by the introduction into the Division Lobby of the Government majority. I think the Government will do well, in matters which really do not involve vital principles, but which are matters of detail that cannot possibly prejudice the administration of the Universities, if they will accept some Amendment which is favoured almost unanimously by Scotch Members, and I therefore appeal to them to accept this Amendment, which I intend to support.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I do not understand the anxiety of the Secretary for Ireland that the local element should not be unduly represented on the University Court. I think he need not 780 fear that there will be any undue representation, for I find that the Court is to consist of 19 members, as provided for under the Bill, and yet the Government refuse to give representation either to the town of St. Andrew or to Dundee. Now, similar proposals are to be made in regard to the counties of Fife and Forfar, and I would ask the Government to tell us at once if they intend to concede any local representation at all in the case of St. Andrew's University. Will they let us know if they intend to take their stand upon the simple ground of "no surrender?"
MR. WILLIAMSON (Kilmarnock)
I hope that the Scotch Members will practically stick to the clauses of the Bill. In the case of Edinburgh University the local element is practically duplicated, and surely as this is the Government proposal, it is an argument for at least permitting the introduction of the same element into the constitution of St. Andrew's University Court. No better method of doing that can be found than that contained in this Amendment.
§ * MR. ANSTRUTHER (St. Andrew's)
I should like to correct a misapprehension which may arise from the statement of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dundee. He said that Scottish opinion on this matter was unanimous. Now, during the debate on the last Amendment I urged strongly, and not without a measure of success, that the Town Council of St. Andrew's should be in a position to nominate a representative on the University Court, but as the Committee has now decided against the representation of that royal and ancient burgh, I certainly cannot vote in favour of giving it to the comparatively new city of Dundee.
§ * MR. W. A. HUNTER
The Chief Secretary for Ireland has told us that the Scotch Universities are not local institutions, but that they are international institutions. I do not know whether he ever was in a Scotch University, but if he had been he would have known that there were no institutions so intensely local as a Scotch University. Every bursary belonging to Aberdeen Universary is the result of local subscriptions; and because we extend a liberal hospitality to students from every quarter of the world, is it to be said that the people of Scotland are to have no voice in the management of their Universities?
§ MR. BARCLAY (Forfarshire)
I very much regret the conclusion at which the Government have arrived, because this is a point on which the people of Scotland feel very strongly. I base my support of this Amendment on the ground that the public have a greater interest in the University than any of the bodies which you propose shall be represented. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland objected to what he called the local element. But let me point out that the representation on the University Court is purely local under the Bill. We know that the Scotch Universities have long been suffering because they have not been open to popular influence, and now that this Bill has been brought in with the object of improving matters I think the people of Scotland will have great reason to be disappointed if effect is not given to their views. I object altogether to the local character of the University Court, and I have supported the proposal that the Town Council of Dundee should be represented on the University Court for the express purpose of taking from it the local element. I do not at all understand the position taken up by the hon. Member for St. Andrew's, surely he might have sunk his local interest in the ancient borough for the sake of the University itself. One reason why St. Andrew's borough need not be specially represented is that the Court consists almost entirely of professors and others living in St. Andrew's. I hope that the Government will yield on this question for the sake of making progress with the Bill. It will be the duty of the Scotch Members to express their sense of the injustice that is being done to them by pressing further the consideration of these matters.
§ * MR. C. S. PARKER
I would join in the appeal to the Government to make this concession, the unanimity of the Scotch Members on this Amendment being nearly as great as on the last Amendment. The exception proves the rule. No one would expect my hon. Friend the Member for St. Andrew's to give this representation to Dundee until he sees it conferred upon St. Andrew's. I think I can promise him, however, that if this concession is made to Dundee the Scotch Members will make every effort on subsequent stages of the Bill to get St. Andrew's placed in an equally 782 favourable position. The Secretary for Ireland based his arguments mainly on the ground that St. Andrew's was not to have representation. As St. Andrew's was not to have it, therefore Dundee should not have it; but there is no reason why they should not both be represented. I hope that on the early stages of this Bill the Government will consider what the position is becoming. There is no great principle at stake. They themselves are giving local representation to three out of four of the Universities, and they are refusing it to the fourth on account of local differences. Is it well to afford the spectacle of the Scotch 'Members voting in a body for an Amendment touching no great point of principle and being over-ruled by the Votes of Gentlemen who come in when the Division Bell is rung, but otherwise take no interest in Scotch. questions. I am not one of those who believe in the existence of a strong demand in Scotland for Home Rule, but I must say that if anything would create such a demand, it would be the conduct of the Government in a matter of this kind which is so eminently fit to be dealt with exclusively by Scotch Members.
* MR. SINCLAIR (Falkirk, &c.)
I hope the Government will give way, because, speaking from my experience of the University College, Liverpool, I can say that where the popular element has been introduced into the University Court, it has called forth from the public a wonderful recognition of the claims of University education. I need only say on that subject that University College, Liverpool, has received something like a quarter of a million from the citizens of Liverpool in support of that college; and I venture to say from that experience if the popular element is introduced to a large extent in the Scotch Colleges and Universities, you will find largely increased support given to them by the public.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
The remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Andrew's would lead the House to suppose that the constituency he represents are opposed to the present proposal, but I think the hon. Member must have evolved that out of his inner consciousness, for I believe they would welcome this proposal and the co-operation they would obtain, if it were carried, from the young 783 and growing town of Dundee. I do not believe the Amendment would do harm, therefore I would urge upon the Government as strongly as my colleagues have done, or whatever side they happen to sit, to accept this very reasonable proposal.
§ SIR A. ORR-EWING (Dumbarton)
I think that, in view of the unanimous opinion expressed, the Government ought to consider the whole question on the Report, with a view to meeting both the claims of St. Andrew's and Dundee.
§ MR. A. ELLIOT (Roxburgh)
My opinion is that we should not divide on the question now, as we are clearly not in a position to deal with the whole question. If we did divide I should feel bound to vote with the Government, as we have rejected the claim of the municipality of St. Andrew's; but I think it would be well for the Government to deal with the matter on the Report stage. I am surprised at the remarks which have been made by the hon. Member for Caithness and others about the purely local character of Scottish Universities. Those remarks were certainly wide of the mark. If the muncipalities are to he represented it will be hard to exclude the County Councils.
§ DR. CLARK
The hon. Member, who has just sat down, is altogether mistaken, as I have never made the statement he gives me credit for. I would suggest to the Government that instead of wasting an hour and a half on obstruction on the question under discussion, they should consider the question of appointing an assessor jointly for the two municipalities of St. Andrew's and Dundee.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I venture to think it is almost time the Committee came to a decision. The main thing the Government have to provide for is the efficiency of the Universities, and we are bound to see that the constitution of these Courts shall be such as will maintain the ancient reputation of the University. I will undertake that between the present time and the Report the Government will consider whether it is possible, with a due regard to efficiency, to introduce some such dual representation as is desired by the hon. Member who has just spoken.
§ * SIR L. PLAYFAIR
I must say I think the Amendment before the 784 Committee is worthy of being dealt with on its own merits. I am sorry the Government have not conceded the claim of St. Andrew's. University College, Dundee, which is a well-equipped institution, presents some conditions which might bring it into antagonism with St. Andrew's. If an assessor were appointed from the Town Council of Dundee, any animus of this kind would be likely to be diminished. I hope that the Committee will now divide on the question.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 97; Noes, 127.—(Division List, No. 156.)
§ MR. W. A. HUNTER
The next Amendment on the Paper is so like that which has just been disposed of, that it is hardly necessary to trouble the Committee by repeating any of the arguments already used. I will, however, point out with respect to the County Councils, that it seems to me that they furnish the very constituency which Scotchmen have been looking for to supply the University Court with the element in which it is most painfully wanting. Prior to the Local Government Bill, it would have been extremely difficult to suggest any form of constituency, which would at once fairly represent the public interest in the University, and at the same time insure general confidence; and I do not think the Government before the divisions we have just taken, could have been aware of the strong feeling on this matter existing amongst Scotchmen. On the Second Reading I stated that the Bill was framed by persons more or less associated with the professors of the Universities, but that it did not represent the public, and that the public entertain very different ideas of what is wanted in the Universities. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, whether he will not consent to report Progress, so as to be able to consider the position which ought to be taken up. The Government, I think, must be aware that they have recognized the claims of the public to representation, only to give them a representation totally inadequate and insufficient in amount. It is, therefore, well worthy the attention of the Government to consider the propriety of giving some representation to the County Councils. I am not wedded to my own proposal, and if the Government will themselves introduce some arrangement by which, 785 in addition to the burghs, the counties may, as they would, contribute most valuable elements to the University Court, an adjournment of the debate would be convenient to all parties. I beg to move to insert after subsection (b) "An assessor nominated by the County Council of Fife."
Amendment proposed, at the end of the foregoing Amendment to insert the words,—
(d) An assessor nominated by the County Council of Fife."—(Mr. Hunter.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ * MR. D. CRAWFORD
I have a suggestion to make in a single word as to this Amendment. I think my hon. Friend has very fairly explained that he is not wedded to his present proposal, although there is a good deal to be said for it. It is, however, perhaps too much to expect that the Government can concede so large a representation of the County Council on the University Court, but I would suggest they might have the Convenor of the County of Fife upon it. The Convenor will be a gentleman of very high position and he will have this advantage among others that he will be elected by a large body of electors within the county. He would be a valuable addition to the University Court, and it is a proposal to which I hardly think the Government can have any objection in principle.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
The hon. Member who moved this Amendment said he was not wedded to the County of Fife, but I am wedded to the County of Fife. The argument adduced by the Government against previous Amendments does not certainly apply against this, the objection on the ground of size urged against the Burgh of St. Andrew's cannot be urged against the large and distinguished "Kingdom of Fife." The University of St. Andrew's is situated within the county, and draws a large proportion of its students there from, and I think it is perfectly reasonable that there should be this local representation on the University Court, and the claim of the county of Fife is above all others. If any concession is to be made I hope it may be made in this direction. Fife contains a large population, urban and rural, and I can we no argument against their repre- 786 sentation except one that would deny any outside representation at all.
§ * SIR A. CAMPBELL (Renfrew, W.)
I regret that the Government have not been able to see their way to give a representative of the Municipal Authorities of St. Andrew's and Dundee. We now come to a new crop of Amendments of which I will say that it appears to me utterly inadmissible to suppose that every county in Scotland is to find representation on the Scotch Universities. If you allow that you will get together a body of men from whom it would be impossible that the work of University education would be carried on as we desire it should be carried on. I am quite sure that the opinion of the Scotch people would not be in favour of any such proposal. Certainly I shall oppose any proposal of this nature, for I am convinced that its adoption would not conduce to the educational success of the Universities.
§ * MR. BARCLAY
I do not think the argument of the hon. Gentleman carries much weight. We are contending for the principle that there should be some sort of popular representation in the University Court, and this principle I trust the Government will see their way to accept. I am inclined to support the suggestion that we should report Progress, because I think it might conduce to an economy of time. If the Government had the opportunity of thoroughly considering this matter, they might offer us some form of popular representation that would be acceptable and that would facilitate the progress of the Bill. I do not think this particular proposal can be considered open to the objections with which we have hitherto been met. Clearly the Universities of Scotland were in the first place intended for the benefit of the people of Scotland. We are glad to see students from other parts of the world taking advantage of these institutions, but certainly they exist primarily for the people of Scotland, and the people may well claim a voice in the administration and management. Various suggestions have been made of means for providing representation of popular opinion, and I cannot say that I have heard any formidable argument against the principle. The right hon. Gentleman, the First Lord of the Treasury, does not seem to understand the character of our municipal institu- 787 tions, and is afraid to trust the administration of the Universities in any degree to the representatives of the people. He wishes the administration to continue to be of an academic character. But I could show the right hon. Gentleman by historical references that the Universities in past times were much more under popular control than is now the case. I have not the slightest doubt that a municipality or a County Council would return a representative who would be an acquisition most useful in the University Court, would be an advantage to the University, and bring the University system more into accordance with popular wishes and feelings.
§ * MR. C. S. PARKER
I hope the suggestion to report Progress will not be entertained. I am sure it would he the cause of great dissatisfaction in Scotland if we lost even half an hour's progress with the Bill. The hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment seemed rather to favour the proposal to report Progress, for this reason. He frankly admitted that his proposal was the work of a single mind that he had had no consultation with his colleagues on the subject, and that further consideration might induce him to modify his views. I would suggest as an alternative to reporting progress that as the expression of Scotch opinion might induce the Government on reflection to make a concession, we should accept the Government assurance that they will consider the matter with a view to Amendment on Report stage, the Committee passing over the rest of the clause without Amendment now, and the Lord Advocate taking an opportunity of consultation with Scotch Members with a view to its future modification.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The question at present before the Committee relates to the proposal that an assessor shall be nominated by the County Council of Fife, and, to a certain extent, this question has been mixed up with the question of the local representation of the district within which the University of St. Andrew's is situated. My right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury has undertaken that the question of the representation of the University seat, so to speak, shall be considered before Report; but the question involved in the 788 present Amendment raises a much more general one. It is a most delicate and anxious question to determine how far there should be in an academical body a represention of what may be called the popular political interest, unconnected with the responsibility of academical government. Our primary duty is to make sure that the University Court which has the responsible Government of the University should be specially qualified for that function. It is therefore right to say that, having carefully considered this subject the Government do not think that the University Court should be recruited by any such general representations of municipalities as is suggested by the pages of Amendments before the Committee. Accordingly, the proposal is one which the Government cannot entertain. It has been one of the characteristics of the Scottish Universities that there has been an admixture of the municipal element in the large towns, Edinburgh for instance. The Government propose to continue that representation, and the great City magnates at Glasgow and Aberdeen will sit in the University Court, but we do not propose to do anything to lessen the responsibility attaching to the administration of a University, which should pay due regard, not to external politics or influences, but merely to the promotion of education. The wide proposal thrown out that representatives of Town, Councils and of County Councils should sit by right in the Court of the University is one that leaves out of sight the primary object we ought to have in, view. I ask hon. Gentleman seriously do they consider that by the method of selection proposed the community would send to the Court a representative specially qualified for the work the Court will have to discharge? The expression used by the hon. Member for Forfar was significant: he assumed that we desired that the administration should be conducted in an academic manner. Certainly I adopt the phrase, and do say Universities should be managed in an academic (which is another name for University) manner.
§ * MR. BARCLAY
What I intended to say was that the First Lord did not seem to believe that the municipal bodies or the County Councils would elect a man who could be trusted with academia administration.
§ * MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I do not think my right hon. Friend said anything at all like that, and that point has not been raised in the present discussion. No doubt they could find men apt and suitable for County Councillors, who would manage University affairs very well, but the question is whether a man popularly elected to the County Council would not find himself in an altogether alien region in the University Court.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
The speech we have just listened to is in every way more amazing even than the speech from the right hon. and learned Gentleman earlier in the debate. To show the utter misconception under which the right hon. and learned Gentleman labours, he talks of the position of the University Court as being an alien region, and an assessor appointed by the County Council of Forfar or any other county.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
But the proposal is to appoint an assessor; it is not proposed to transport the County Councillors into an alien region. The right hon. Gentleman seems to have got into confusion as to the functions of the Senatus, which are, strictly speaking, academical, and the functions of the University Courts, which are not academical at all. The principal functions of the University Courts as described in the Bill are "to administer and manage the whole revenue and property of the University, and the college or colleges thereof"; to appoint factors or collectors, to grant leases, and draw rents. Can these functions be described as partaking of an academical nature, or as those which a business man could not discharge as well as or better than a member of the University? It appears to me these functions rather present an alien region to the academically qualified member of the Court. Let me point to another of the duties of the University Court, the appointment of professors. I am not at all sure that the duty of appointing professors is best discharged by a strictly academic body. We know in English Universities the professorial appointments are in the hands of a professorial ring, and this is very apt to be the case when the appointments are left 790 to an academic body entirely. There are many non-academic functions that could be best discharged by representatives such as we suggest as holding a neutral position. But I rose more especially to call attention to the situation in which we find ourselves in reference to the state of this Bill. The hon. Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) made a suggestion—I do not know that it was a very felicitous one—that St. Andrew's and Dundee should for representation on the University Court be combined in one constituency; it was not a felicitous suggestion; but it drew from the First Lord of the Treasury a promise that some consideration should be given to the claim for more popular representation. I suppose we may take it from the Lord Advocate, though he was not very precise on the point, that similar consideration shall be given to County representation?
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I can only speak of the impression made upon Members sitting on this side, and it might be taken as logically following the promise of the First Lord in reference to St. Andrew's and Dundee that similar consideration should be given to the question of the representation of Fife, Forfar and other counties. We are now told the Government do not intend to do anything of the kind. I think in regard to this Bill, the Scotch Members are not treated with fairness. I cannot help recognizing the fact that two officials, Law Officers of the Crown, sit there face to face with us, they represent a miserable minority of the Scottish people, yet they refuse to yield one inch to the repeated representations we as representing the great majority of the Scotch nation make. I feel this so strongly that I will give practical effect to the suggestion of my hon. and learned Friend, and move that Progress be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again,"—(Mr. Edmund Robertson).791
§ * MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
I believe we are all at one in our wish to improve the organization and usefulness of the Universities; and the way to do it is to make progress with this Bill. The principal impediment to its progress has been the attitude of the Government in declining to give any sort of promise to consider favourably Amendments that have been urged and supported by the majority of Scotch Members. The general opinion of those Members, of those who support as well as those who oppose the Government in general politics, is in favour of some more extended system of local lay control in University matters. We have heard a great deal about academic control and academic methods, but I do not bow down and worship before the academic system of management, and I think the majority of people in Scotland are somewhat distrustful of arrangements left mainly in the hands of academical persons, as I suppose we must call them. As I look down the list of those who are to constitute the University Court, I am bound to admit that eminent persons, as they are they are not likely to command the full confidence of the community interested in the welfare and prosperity of the Universities. Two proposals have been made for the representation of St. Andrew's and Dundee City, and now we have a proposal for the representation of the County Council of Fife. I do not wish to go into the merits of that question on a motion to report Progress, but I may say that although at first sight I was captivated with the idea of representation of the County Council, yet I saw that the proposal was open to two objections on the face of it—first, that it would make the governing body much too large if every county returned an assessor; and, secondly, I cannot allow that the County Council represent all the active intelligence of the county. I can speak of Fife particularly; part of it I have the honour to represent, and I maintain that the Burghs are as much deserving of a voice in this matter as the County. I do not think, therefore, that we ought to insist on this Amendment; and I understand it is not the intention of my hon. and learned Friend to do so. What we want is an explicit undertaking that between now and the next 792 meeting of Committee, not only will the Government take into consideration the question of Local Representation, but that they will do so with a distinct desire to meet our wishes. That is an important difference from a vague and general undertaking. We do not merely ask that they should consider it in what I may call an "academic" manner, but with the actual desire to devise some means of carrying out that which they find to be the general wish of Scotch Members. If that promise were made more explicit in this sense I should be disposed to hope my hon. and learned Friend would not press his Motion.
§ * Mr. W. H. SMITH
I have listened with very great interest to the right hon. Gentleman. He has very fairly stated that he does not agree with the proposal of the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Dr. Hunter), and he has pointed out the grave objection there is to admitting, other counties under the Amendments hon. Member desires to introduce. Then he makes an appeal to me that I should adjourn the discussion. There is nothing the Government desire more than to meet the reasonable wishes of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House. The desire of the Government is to present a measure to the House and the country which shall benefit the Universities of Scotland and the people of Scotland generally. We must, however, adhere generally to the provisions which we believe to be necessary for the efficiency of the Universities. I have already indicated that Her Majesty's Government are prepared to consider whether they can by any means consistently with the general lines on which this Bill is framed give local representation, and such as will not interfere with the efficiency of the institutions we are dealing with. We do not believe that that efficiency will be improved by a representation to the extent proposed in the Amendment on the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman opposite does not himself believe it will be improved by it, and objects to the length to which the proposal is carried. All I can say is, that we desire to improve the Bill, and that we will consider, in the terms of the undertaking I have given, if we can do so with due regard to the efficiency of the University. I, however, hold out no promise whatever to 793 extend the representation to such a degree as to impair the Bill.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
I hope that before the Report stage the Leader of the House will consider in what way the local element may be introduced without affecting the proper academic supervision of the Universities. Under the circumstanses we can probably allow the Bill to be proceeded with, especially as the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Amendment respecting County Councils has, I believe, no intention of proceeding with them on this occasion.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury will consider the representation of the territorial element—the element of the county or counties circumjacent to the University—as well as that of the towns? If he will do that I think we may fairly put ourselves into his hands, but if he takes up the position of Lord Advocate who, in a speech worthy of an old monk, or an old schoolman, defending his institution from the inroads of outer barbarians, tells us he will on no account interfere with the management of the institution by academic people, I think the Motion had better be pressed to a Division.
§ * MR. W. A. HUNTER
I hope that, after what has occurred, the Motion to report Progress will be withdrawn. I intend to take a division on the principle of my Amendment, and then, if the Government, having heard the opinions of the Scotch Members, will be made aware that if they do not discover some means of giving an effective voice in the University Court to the public, they will probably have a renewal of the struggle on the Report stage.
§ Question put and negatived.
§ * MR. W. A. HUNTER
I should not have troubled the Committee again if the Lord Advocate had not rather misrepresented the position in which we now stand. The only question raised by this Amendment is whether any representation whatever is to be given to the counties in Scotland. As to what form and what extent that representa- 794 tion should be given, I should be glad to leave that entirely to the Government. I thought it was only fair to the Government that I should put down a general scheme in order to shadow forth the views which I think might be properly carried out. But I desire the Committee to remember that the only question in this Amend-is whether any representation is to be given to the counties. The form of the Amendment is that the County Council should elect a representative. Under ordinary circumstances the Convener would be elected, but it might suit the convenience of the Convener that somebody else should be appointed for this special purpose. That is, however, entirely a matter of detail.
§ * MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
There is one point to which I wish to draw attention. In the cases of the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, you have large cities surrounding them, and the result is that the General Council has a considerable civic element infused into it. In the case of the University of St. Andrew's the facts are different, and the very people who constitute the Senatus in point of fact control the General Council. Under the circumstances I shall feel bound to support the Amendment, although I do not think it by any means a perfect one.
§ Original Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 105; Noes, 162.—(Div. List, No. 157.)
§ * MR. BARCLAY
The next Amendment on the Paper relates to my own constituency, and in order to give the Government time to consider the question of popular representation I beg to move, Sir, that you now report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Barclay.)
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I do not wish to oppose the Motion if persisted in, but I must point out to the hon. Gentleman that the Government have not shown any indisposition to consider the question raised in the Committee.
§ * MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
We have no desire to hinder in any way the progress of the Bill, and if anything 795 could be gained by going on for five minutes I should be glad of it, but as it is now five minutes to twelve I do not see that there is much advantage in going on.
§ DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)
I am certain that business will be facilitated if the Government will be guided by the opinion of the Scotch Members in this matter. If the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury will look at the Division List published to-morrow morning, I am certain we shall get along very much better by reporting Progress than by going. on wrangling to-night.
§ * MR. BARCLAY
I do not think I can be accused of obstruction, but as the Government have disregarded the opinions of the Scotch Members, I must persist in my Motion.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury whether there is any foundation for the rumour that the Government do not intend to carry through the Scotch Local Government Bills this year. A good deal of countenance has been lent to the report by the fact that they have put an unimportant Bill like the Private Bill (Procedure) Scotland Bill in priority to the Local Government Bills.
§ The Question was not answered.