§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 10.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)
I beg to move the Amendment which stands on the Paper in my name and which limits the number of the Commissioners to ten. The preponderance of Scotch opinion is in favour of a smaller Commission than that proposed by the Bill. I quite appreciate the well-timed remark which was made last night that we ought to discuss this somewhat delicate subject with as little reference to individuals as possible, but after all the learned Lord Advocate had to confess that he bad given quantity for quality. If my Amendment be adopted, the Government can take time to consider the names of the Commissioners, and then I hope that such names will be proposed as will meet the general views of the House and of the Scotch Members. The Government have made fair concessions in regard to the constitution of the Universities Courts, and they now have an opportunity of making similar concessions in regard to the Commission, which the Scotch Members desire should be a most efficient body, and one in which those who are interested in education would have the greatest possible confidence. I now submit the Amendment, hoping that the Government will see their way to accept it.
§ Amendment moved, Clause 10, page 8, line 14, after "following" insert "ten."—(Mr. Esslemont.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word ten' be there inserted."
§ * MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
Upon this question I must confess that I have considerable sympathy with the hon. Gentleman who has moved the Amendment. I voted last night for reducing the number of Commissioners to seven, rather by way 1025 of showing that I was in favour of a somewhat smaller Commission than that proposed by the Government than because I thought there was any particular virtue in the number seven. I think that the figure named by the mover of the present Amendment pretty accurately expresses what might be accepted by the Committee and the Government. At the same time, I am well aware of the difficulty the Government might have, at this stage of the proceedings, in reducing the number of Commissioners to that point. We are not now engaged in creating an absolutely new Commission, but in the, perhaps more difficult task of endeavouring to make an old Commission better than it is; and I appeal to the Government to state, if they can, how far they are disposed to meet the views of Scotch Members on this side as to the constitution of this executive Commission. The First Lord of the Treasury and the Lord Advocate last night indicated a desire to meet our views in this matter, and I think it might contribute materially to the progress of the Bill if we could now come to some understanding on the subject. This is an executive Commission of the utmost importance in the interests of the Universities; it is to carry out and apply the provisions of this measure; and I cannot forget that this Bill and the general line of reform which it embodies are really the offspring of certain active Members of the councils of the Universities who have agitated for and advocated some alteration of this sort for many years. It is surprising to find among the Commissioners a most inadequate representation of that particular class of persons among those interested in University matters. Again, the House has not yet decided what is to be done in the important matter of tests and Theological Faculties; but assuming that the Government have their way in that matter, then the great question of tests and theological faculties will be remitted to a Commission on which there is not a single member connected with any of the great Presbyterian bodies of Scotland outside the Established Church. Now, with a view to strengthen the Commission in these respects, I have ventured to put upon the Paper the names of two men, Dr. Heron Watson, a distinguished medical practi- 1026 tioner in Edinburgh, and Dr. Blackie, a well known citizen of Glasgow, both of whom have taken a leading part in the movement which has led to the introduction of this measure. They have also, I believe, the qualification of being members of one or other of the Dissenting churches. There is also another name proposed by the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter)—the name of the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. J. Stuart), who is a Scotchman—very much a Scotchman—and a graduate of St. Andrew's, and who has had a large experience of educational matters in the University of Cambridge, and especially in the popular development of University education. These are three names which I should say would certainly give strength to the Commission, and would, to a great extent, meet the feeling of which I am the mouthpiece. But if the advocates of change are thus represented, it is also desirable that the teaching body should be directly represented upon the Commission. Indeed, every aspect of the question of Scotch University education ought to be adequately represented even if some of the members of the Commission should be regarded by their colleagues as advocati diaboli because they represent an unpopular cause. The professors and the teaching body should also have their due representation. I ask the Lord Advocate whether the Government will be willing to add for these purposes four members to the Commission—two out of the three whom I have named, and also two members of the Senatus of one or other of the Universities. I would suggest as one of these Sir William Thomson, as being not only a Scotchman, but head and shoulders above all his contemporaries in scientific matters. He is, moreover, a man of equable temperament, who would probably take moderate views in this matter, and another qualification is that he is President of the Royal Society of Scotland. I now come to the rather delicate question as to what names are to be taken off in order to make room for these new members. I should be glad if the Government could see their way to take off a great many, but on the assumption that the Government mean to adhere to the number which they propose, how can we proceed in the least invidious way to select the victims 1027 for sacrifice? Let us begin at the bottom of the list. If the Government took off the three members at the foot of the list, room would be made for my suggestion, and, as we require one other vacancy, I would say that if in these discussions there is one name more than another which has been alluded to as being somewhat superfluous it is that of Sir James Crichton Browne. It has been pointed out, in the course of the debate, that he is one of two medical men on the list, belonging to a particular branch of the medical profession, which is thus over-represented, and that, if in Scotland, he is not resident in Edinburgh. I think I was bound in suggesting that now names should be adopted to indicate the way in which they could be added, and I shall be glad to know whether the Government can accept the proposals I have made. We, on this side of the House, are all agreed that the Commission proposed is too large, and if it could be reduced in number I should be very pleased. I have, however, made my suggestions on the supposition that the Government intend to adhere to the full number of the Commission, and I believe if the changes I have suggested were introduced, they would not only tend to make the Commission a more satisfactory one, but would also very materially assist the passing of the Bill through the House.
§ * MR. SHAW-STEWART (Renfrew, East)
I earnestly hope that the Government will take advantage of the suggestion which has been so well put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs. 'They may, by a timely concession, save considerable discussion on this point now, and the question may be settled on Report so as to please both sides of the House.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, West)
I voted last night for the Motion to reduce the number of Commissioners to seven, but at the same time I could not help feeling the great force of the remarks made by the Lord Advocate against running down the Commission to such a small number, inasmuch as it has to do such varied work. I am bound to say, however, that the proposal of my hon. Friend to reduce the number of 10, seems to me to be thoroughly practicable. We can have 1028 three lawyers, three doctors, three educationalists, and last but not least one of those ornamental personages of whom we have heard, and who are to a certain extent worthy of being put on the Commission. I quite recognise the difficulties the Lord Advocate had to contend with in forming the Commission especially in the selection of the doctors. It is hopeless to expect medical men of large practice in London to take journeys to Edinburgh to carry on the work of the Commission. Gentlemen who are connected with lunacy practice have, however, a certain amount of intermittent leisure, and would be able to go to Edinburgh occasionally to do the work. I am bound to say that the medical men se-looted are gentlemen of ability and public spirit, and I think they might very fairly be left on the Commission as representing the medical interests. I think my right hon. Friend wanted to take too many doctors off the Commission and to leave on too many lawyers.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. P. B. ROBERTSON,) Bute
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs has very fairly recognized the difficulties of a Government which, having framed a Commission, is asked to dismiss some of the members and to add new names. I stated last night that while very careful consideration had been given to the selection of names, and while we are prepared to support every name we have put forward, we must necessarily have regard to the confidence which the Commission should inspire in the public mind. When I hear my hon. Friend (Mr. Shaw-Stewart) on this side support the suggestions of the right hon. Gentleman opposite it becomes very difficult to insist upon our present list. The right hon. Gentleman has pointed to two interests which he considers inadequately represented on that Commission. The first is described as the body of academic reformers, and the other as the body of Presbyterian dissenters. As to the first point, an effort has been made to place on the Commission names that have been prominent in academic discussion. As to the second, if the House should decide, as I hope it will, to defer for Report the question of tests, I think it is very desirable that there should be some member on the Commission who is personally identified with the body of 1029 Presbyterian dissenters. The two first names which the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned are those of men of position, ability, and note. What, however, strikes me with regard to both is that each is personally identified with teaching, and is therefore to some extent in competition with the Universities. That is a point which requires very careful consideration. He has also suggested the eminent name of Sir William Thomson, who will represent the professorial body. Turning to the mode in which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to obtain vacancies, I will at once say that I notice with great regret the names which would be removed from the Commission. The right hon. Gentleman has adopted a very uninvidious method of reducing the number; but when I look at the three names I observe with great regret that we shall lose Mr. Erichsen, a valued public servant; Mr. Richard Varny Campbell, a capable lawyer; and Mr. McGregor, a Glasgow citizen of high repute. I also see with great regret that Sir J. Crichton Browne would disappear from the Commission. If, however, some process of excision has to be gone through, I am not sure the right hon. Gentleman has not hit upon a method as appropriate as any that could be suggested. I take the three last names because they were the last, and for the removal of Sir J. Crichton Browne's name he urges the reason that if it were retained a comparatively small section would be doubly represented in the Commission. I will merely observe that if the Committee should see fit to delete these four names, they may leave them blank in the meantime, trusting to the spirit of conciliation and the good understanding which at present exists, and which I believe will be carried out in the selection of the four names to fill the blanks. I cannot say I regard with complete satisfaction the suggestion for the representation of contending interests. The suggestion is that an extramural teacher should be put in, and that on the other hand there must be found a representative of the intramural or professorial element. I hope it is not too late for the right hon. Gentleman opposite to reconsider that matter. I think we shall best arrive at a harmonious settlement of this question by consenting to the deletion of the four 1030 names and leaving them blank until the stage of Report.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
With reference to the very satisfactory statement we have just heard from the two front Benches, I rejoice that means have been found to avoid an unpleasant discussion. With regard to admitting one or two professors into the Commission, I would urge the absolute necessity of Aberdeen being represented. There are at Aberdeen an enormous number of bursaries, and I think some professor of the Arts section conversant with the details of the system should be on the Commission.
§ * SIR B. W. FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)
Whilst recognizing the very liberal spirit in which the suggestions of my right hon. Friend have been met by the Lord Advocate, I am still inclined to support the Amendment reducing the number of the Commission to ten. I should like to see the Commission completely reconstituted. I do not think it would be fair, as my right hon. Friend proposes, to strike two medical men off the list without replacing them by other medical representatives. These Universities are great centres of medical teaching, and we send from England a large number of students on account of the excellence of that teaching. They compete with our English Universities, and I think we have a right to demand that as regards the granting of degrees they should be administered in the most liberal spirit, and that we should not pay them to compete with ourselves, and, at the same time to exclude our students from their degrees unless they spend a certain time north of the Tweed. If there is one medical man who should have a place on the Commission it is Dr. Bruce, who has been chosen by the whole medical profession of Scotland to represent them on the General Council, and whose academic position and general culture would eminently fit him to discharge the duties of a Commissioner. I shall support the Amendment with the view of having the constitution of the Commission remodelled.
§ MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
I am strongly in favour of a reduction in the number of members of this Commission, and for several reasons I shall support the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I have suggested the 1031 omission of four names, and I propose to state my reasons for so doing, in order that my motives may not be misconstrued. The members of the Commission include representatives of four classes—Educationalists, Members of Parliament, lawyers, and medical men. Now, in the first place, it seemed to me possible to omit some of the gentlemen named as members without the slightest disrespect for them. For instance, among the Educationalists I think the name of Sir Francis Sandford might be left out, because we have on the Commission another gentleman, a well-known Scotch Educationalist, the Member for the Glasgow University, and however much we may differ from him, not only on general, but on University and Educational questions, I think he is entitled to be considered an eminent Scotch University Educationalist. The gentleman whose name I suggest for omission is certainly not as great a specialist on these questions as the hon. Member. Then I come to the Members of Parliament, of whom there are five. I do not wish to make any personal contrast or reflection whatsoever, and I do not think I am doing wrong when I say that of the five Members, four of them, at all events, are more or less prominently identified with University educational matters. The hon. Member for Manchester, for instance, has a peculiar eminence of his own in regard to science as connected with the Universities, while the hon. and learned Member for North-East Lanarkshire necessarily and naturally commands the highest respect, for he is an accomplished scholar, who has a unique experience in Scotch, English, and Continental University Education. He is, therefore, peculiarly fitted to do valuable service on this Commission. Then, again, the hon. Member for the Partick Division of Glasgow has long interested himself in educational questions, and occupies a certain position of pre-eminence in connection with University matters. I cannot, therefore, feel justified in moving the omission of either of these gentlemen. But I do not think I am saying anything derogatory to the hon. Member for Ipswich when I suggest he is not a specialist, and ought not to be put in competition with the hon. Members I have named. No doubt, in 1032 a certain department of public usefulness the hon. Member has distinguished himself in a manner that is suitable to his qualifications, but I do not think I am saying anything disrespectful to him when I suggest that his name might be omitted from the list. Now, there are a considerable number of lawyers on the Commission—men in high positions, and others in positions not so high. Some of them have claims on grounds to which I have already referred. Of the others there are two Senators of the College of Justice, and one member of the junior branch of the profession. I think that one Senator of the College of Justice would be sufficient, and it seems hardly right that two thirds of the representation of the profession should be given to what is numerically the very much smaller body, while the ordinary Bar of Scotland has no representation at all—for that would be the effect of adopting the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs in proceeding by the haphazard method of striking out the latter, a proceeding which is evidently in obedience to the precept which commits the hindmost to a patronage which is not always safe. With respect to the medical profession I think there need be very little difficulty indeed. The proposal of the Lord Advocate is to give two thirds of the representation of the medical profession on the Commission to gentlemen who are versed in lunacy. I think one of these gentlemen might safely be spared, and if there is a representative of what I may call sane, as distinguished from insane medicine, I think the matter might be safely left in the hands of Mr. Erichsen. I have made these suggestions in the hope that they will prove helpful in showing how still further to reduce the size of the Commission without doing anything indelicate or invidious, and I have also given my reasons in order to defend myself from suspicions of unworthy motives. The Lord Advocate yesterday said it was easy to invent and to utter sarcasm in connection with personal names. That is a facility of which the Lord Advocate does not too abundantly avail himself, but if he was indicating a reference to any Members on this side I will venture to assure him that he was mistaken, for we desire to say nothing undeservedly offensive to any individual, while we are nut indis- 1033 posed to fire a broadside into the general mass.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S.)
The question before us is whether the Government are disposed to agree to a compromise which involves the acceptance of my right hon. Friend's suggestions, with a view to securing the representation of certain interests, while leaving out the names of some proposed members of the Commission who could be spared because they have no special qualifications. If the Government are willing to adopt this course I do not think that we can go any further with the matter at present, seeing that the Government cannot say who will be put forward to supply the vacancies. I am glad that the Government have indicated that the teaching staff of the Universities will be represented. I find on the Commission a gentleman with whom I have served on several Commissions, and who will give a judicial mind to the work—I mean the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities (Mr. Campbell). But I also want to see a real academical reformer appointed. One name suggested is that of a very advanced politician, but a moderate academical reformer. I have never found him to he more advanced than myself on these matters, although we have served together on Academical Commissions; and as the Lord Advocate has been pleased to acknowledge me as a moderate reformer, I think he can have no objection to the hon. and learned Member for Shore-ditch (Professor Stuart), whom he will find has thoroughly at heart the interest of the English as well as Scotch Universities. I do not think it wise now to discuss individual names; if necessary that must be done on the Report stage.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I hope, now that the Government have accepted the proposal of the hon. Member for the Stirling Burghs, this discussion will not be further prolonged. In the appointment of the four gentlemen who are to be placed on the Commission Her Majesty's Government will endeavour to give complete effect to the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Possibly, this compromise does not give entire satisfaction to some hon. Gentlemen opposite, but it is as far as Her Majesty's Government can go.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I understand the arrangement arrived at 1034 is that four names shall be deleted from the present list, and four new names proposed on the Report stage. I think that that is a very curious result to have been brought about by a discussion on a Motion to reduce the number of Commissioners to ten. Still, if my hon. Friend thinks it right to press his Amendment to a Division, I shall vote with him. I will not discuss that Amendment now, but in regard to the four new names to be chosen, I trust I am within my rights in expressing a hope that these nominations will not be understood to be a matter of private arrangement between the two Front Benches in this House, because I think on this subject private Members ought to be consulted. There is one other point on which I should like to touch. I do not like the argument which has been advanced for the selection of two names—namely, that the question of tests might have to be referred to this Commission, and that persons supposed to be specially competent to deal with it should therefore be elected on the Commission. I think, in the first place, it is pre-judging the question whether the matter should or should not be referred to the Commission; and, in the second place, if you make provision now for Commissioners specially qualified to deal with it, then you, to some extent, pre-judge the decision of the House on the important point whether or not the tests should be abolished by a vote of this House, or whether the point should be referred by the Bill to the Commission. Then, again, the suggestion that persons specially selected by the Presbyterian bodies should be specially selected for that purpose seems to be one of a suspicious character. I do not admit that such persons are specially qualified to deal with the question of tests on that ground, and I think the House should secure a more judicial, a more neutral, and a more independent opinion on the Commission.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT
As I wish to facilitate the progress of the Bill, I will withdraw my Amendment, although I may point out to the First Lord of the Treasury that the question is a most important one, and he ought not to begrudge a little time for discussing it. It is understood that the matter will be brought up on the Report stage.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.1035
§ Amendment proposed, Clause 10, page 8, lines 21 and 22, leave out "William Mackintosh, Esquire, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates." (The Lord Advocate.)
§ Amendment put, and agreed to.
§ Further Amendments proposed, Clause 10, page 8, lines 20 and 21, leave out "Sir James Crichton Browne"; Clause 10, page 8, lines 24 and 25, leave out "Richard Varny Campbell, Esquire, and Alexander Bennet M'Gregor, Esquire."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Question proposed, "That Clause 10, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
As this is the last opportunity we shall have of pressing observations on the Government with regard to the filling up of vacancies, I should like to point out that on the Commission, as it now stands, there is no one who has anything like a substantial knowledge of the requirements of Aberdeen University, and I hope that an attempt will be made to secure a place on the Commission for someone with special knowledge of that University. I have endeavoured to obtain consent to serve from Dr. Baines and Professor Robertson Smith, two graduates of the University, but owing to the pressure of other engagements they have declined. Perhaps Her Majesty's Government may be able to overcome their reluctance.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clauses 10, 11, 12, and 13, agreed to.
§ Motion made, "That Clause 14 stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. HUNTER
I hope that the Government will not object to the insertion of the words "and students" after "teachers."
§ Amendment proposed, Clause 14, page 9, line 29, insert after "teachers" "and students."
§ Amendment put, and agreed to.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I thought it better to honestly and clearly indicate the particular form in which I think inquiry should be made, and therefore my Amendment is divided into two parts—first, in general terms, to inquire 1036 into the expediency of abolishing any college which may no longer be required, or to alter its functions; and then, in particular, I direct inquiry into the maintenance of St. Mary's College, St. Andrew's, as a School of Divinity. I wish to say at once that this has no connection with the question of Disestablishment. I bring this proposal forward in no spirit of hostility to the Established Church. I have my own opinion as to Disestablishment; but so long as the Established Church exists and Divinity Schools are required as part of the system, I do not wish to raise that question. But the question I do want to raise is—whether it is desirable that this particular Divinity College should he maintained as such, or whether the funds required for its maintenance might not, with advantage to the University of St. Andrew's, be devoted to other purposes, making that University what we all desire to see it. So long as it exists, the Established Church of Scotland is entitled to Divinity Schools in connection with the Universities. Provision is made for divinity students in each of the four Universities; but the number of students never exceeds 270 or 280, and the number has fallen so low as 200. Now, at the first blurt, I say, taking the maximum number 280, that four colleges for the education of these students are too many; but when we come to the Colleges of Aberdeen and St. Andrew's, we find the number of students is ridiculously small. Within the last few years the number of scholars in each has fallen below 20; in one case 18, in the other 19. Then a proposal was mooted to abolish these Divinity Halls, and an effort was made, and the attendance in the two rose to 70. But are 70 students sufficient to keep up these two well-equipped Divinity Schools? I do not think the necessity can be shown. Aberdeen, perhaps, may establish a claim; but as regards St. Andrew's, I think there is a consensus of opinion that the Divinity School is not required. There are fully - equipped Divinity Schools at Edinburgh and Glasgow, both places as near to St. Andrew's as Cambridge and Oxford to London, and a large proportion of the students at St. Andrews come from places much nearer to Glasgow or Edinburgh than to St. Andrew's. There is no necessity for keeping up this Divinity School, while 1037 by making use of the funds-for the equipment rind building of St. Mary's, and for the general purposes of the University, you might make St. Andrew's an ideal place of education. I admit that St. Andrew's has done its best with very limited funds at its disposal. Its income is small, and has diminished of late years, for no county has suffered more from agricultural and commercial depression than Fife. Adding, however, the building and equipment of St. Mary's to St. Andrew's, for general purposes, you might have a modern school of the very best class. An opportunity offers for carrying out the work now, for recently two of the most highly-paid professors have died. I am satisfied the changes might be made without doing any harm to the Church of Scotland and with immense advantage to St. Andrew's. The salaries paid to professors at St. Mary's are high, and the income is derived from what are for Scotland considerable endowments. Putting the matter on the ground of utility, I may say with confidence there cannot be two opinions. Everybody must allow that St. Mary's is superfluous, and with immense advantage to St. Andrew's University might be abolished as a divinity college. I can see no ground for resisting my proposal but the mere ground of conservatism, the determination to keep it as it is simply because it is, not justifying it or considering how best to benefit the cause of education.
Amendment proposed, in Clause 14, page 9, line 30, after "expedient," insert—
(1) To abolish any college which may no longer be required, or to alter its functions. And in particular to inquire whether the present demand for theological instruction in the Universities of Scotland and at St. Andrew's is such as to require the maintenance of St. Mary's College, St, Andrew's, as a school for divinity students, in addition to the divinity schools of the other Universities, or whether the funds might more advantageously be devoted to other purposes in the University of St. Andrew's.''—(Sir G. Campbell.)
§ * THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING,) Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities
I cannot accept this Amendment. With regard to the first branch of it, I will simply say it is altogether inconsistent with the general spirit of the Bill, which is rather to multi- 1038 ply than to diminish the number of colleges. The number of colleges is not so great as to make this Amendment desirable. The hon. Member proceeds to point specifically to the College of St. Mary's, and says it is not justified because of the small number of students. But the Theological College of St. Mary's is not the smallest in Scotland, it has the attendance of about 50 students. When the hon. Member talks of 18 students, he does not refer to the existing state of things with which we have to deal. I am not ashamed to say, in reply to the hon. Member's remarks, that we do on Conservative grounds desire to maintain the college. We have some regard for the feelings of reverence and affection that have gathered round an institution which has existed for four centuries. St. Mary's has a distinguished past, and deserves the veneration which it enjoys from those who have studied within its walls. I do not think the hon. Member has stated anything to justify its destruction; and I answer his challenge by saying that it is entirely in accordance with principles we are not ashamed to hold that we stand by this ancient institution and defend it against this attempt at abolition.
§ MR. HUNTER
I do not rise to continue the discussion, but to make a suggestion to my hon. Friend. In principle I support his proposal, but it is expressed in a somewhat inconvenient form. It is confined to St. Andrew's, and it proposes the abolition of colleges that may no longer be required, or to alter their functions, and there may be a doubt whether the Commissioners would not be obliged to deal with the whole of a college or not at all, not dealing with one Chair only for instance. The question my hon. Friend desires to raise could be disposed of in a more satisfactory manner in connection with Sub-section 8, which gives power to found new professorships, and to which I have put down an Amendment which would, subject to compensation herein provided, enable the Commissioners to deal with individual Theological Chairs, and abolish existing professorship. This would cover the case of St. Andrew's, and would, I think, se rye my hon. Friend's purpose.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I should like to say, in reply to the remarks of the 1039 Solicitor General, that I quite agree in the desirability to multiply rather than to diminish the number of colleges, and I confess that I have some share in those sentimental feelings to which he alludes in regard to St. Mary's. It is a charming little college, and I should be sorry to see it abolished. I only wish to alter its functions, to change it from a School of Divinity to a school for some other purpose more required. I do not say it is the smallest of Divinity colleges, and within the last few years its attendance has equalled that of Aberdeen. The Solicitor General has frankly told us that he does not defend St. Mary's on the ground of utility, but on Conservative grounds—its age and history.
§ * MR. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING
No, I did not say that. I said its history entitled it to respect, and its present condition did not justify abolition.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL
I did not gather from the hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks that he showed the College as a School of Divinity was a very useful institution. My Amendment only gives expression to an opinion shared by many. Sentimental feelings on such subjects have their value, but in public institutions we must consult purposes of utility before we indulge in sentiment. But as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeen thinks my point can be more broadly raised on a later proposal for the abolition of professorships, I will not press this Amendment now.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ * MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
This section gives power to the Commissioners to rearrange foundations and endowments that have been in active operation for 20 years, before the passing of this Act, and I propose to extend the period to 30 years. I happen to know of one important endowment which under the clause as it stands would be brought under the purview and revision of the Commissioners to the considerable disappointment of the family of the founder. Twenty years is a very short period, and I think 30 years is a reasonable time within which a foundation should be exempt from disturbance.
§ Amendment proposed, line 3, to leave out "twenty" and insert "thirty."1040
§ * SIR ARCHIBALD ORR-EWING (Dumbarton)
I think my hon. Friend might have gone a little further and have adopted the principle of the Bill of 1882 making the period 50 years. I am quite sure it would be an advantage as regards future bequests to have a longer period before any fund left for educational purposes should be subject to alteration.
§ * MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
I think my hon. Friend is referring to a different subject. I think his mind is running on the Educational Endowments Act. This subject of University endowments has never before been under the consideration of the House.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, N.)
No doubt the hon. Member for Dumbarton was thinking of the Education Endowments Act. I should like to know what is the amount of the endowments to be dealt with and the difference between the amount in the two periods of 20 and 30 years. The hon. Gentleman spoke of one large endowment he desires to have excluded, no doubt for very good reasons, but I should like to have some idea of the amount that would be excluded by his Amendment. I may point out that the period of 30 years would in effect exclude from the operations of the Commission all endowments dating from the time of the last University Commission, and that would mean a serious limitation in the powers of the Commissioners to make alterations in endowments.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
I hope the Committee will adhere to the figure we have in the Bill. The world is moving very fast, and even now 20 years is a long period considering the progress in science and other subjects for an endowment scheme to remain without revision. I have at the request of the University of Edinburgh, placed an Amendment on the Paper asking that schemes may be subject to revision during the lifetime of the donor when he shall desire the revision. This is because they have found the inconvenience of there being no such power even when a donor himself desires to make his endowment more useful and in accordance with modern requirements.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I beg to support the Amendment. It is pretty well known that a provision such as that in the Bill 1041 would have a restrictive effect on bequests. The case to which the hon. Member (Mr. J. A. Campbell) refers is one with which I am perfectly familiar, and I am aware that the legislation which permits the disturbance of the terms under which bursaries have been founded has deterred persons from carrying out their inclinations. It is a well known fact that in Glasgow there have been many instances in which people have changed their deeds of settlement on this account. Thirty years is certainly not an unreasonable time within which a foundation should remain undisturbed. As to the case referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds (Sir Lyon Playfair), I do not see that there will be any difficulty in providing that if the founder desires to make some change in the terms of his bequest to meet altered circumstances, he shall, with the consent of the college or University, have the means of making the change.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I admit the force of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds as to allowing donors power to revise their bequests, and when we reach his Amendment I shall be quite prepared to accept it. As to the subject immediately under consideration, I admit that there is much to be said in its support. Perhaps it would be preferable to adopt the period of a quarter of a century. I am prepared to alter 20 years to 25 years.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT
I regret this change. We hear much of people not leaving money for educational purposes because the terms of their bequest may be subject to change. On the other hand, there are persons who object to foundations because they must tie up the fund in terms which change of circumstances may render quite inadequate for the carrying out of the founder's intention. I do not think we ought to limit the discretion of the Commissioners beyond 20 years.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out "20" and insert "25."—(Mr. J. A. Campbell.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Consequential Amendment in line 4 agreed to.1042
Amendment proposed, line 5, after "dormant" insert—
Or which they may be asked to revise and regulate by the Senatus Academicus and the founder of the trust conjointly, with the approval of the University Court."—(Sir Lyon Playfair.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. BRYCE
The Amendment I have to propose contains practically two propositions, and will, perhaps, be best to separate them. I believe it is pretty well known that bursaries under private patronage are not exercised to very much advantage. They do not do so much good when conferred as a favour as when bursaries are made the subject of competition, and they do not carry out the intentions of the founder. The results show a remarkable difference between the holders of bursaries given by private patronage and those not in competition; few of the former rise to eminence in the University. In the first place, I move the first part of my Amendment.
Amendment proposed, page 10, leave out Sub-section (c), and insert—
(c) To transfer the patronage of bursaries now vested in private individuals to the Senatus Academicus."—(MR. Bryce.)
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
It would be well to avoid interference with private patronage, so as not to deter what may be called public beneficence. At the same time, it is most desirable that the patrons of private bursaries should be put under such limitations as would conduce to benefit of education. I venture to think that what we propose is going far enough, and accordingly I deprecate the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. W. P. SINCLAIR (Falkirk, &c.)
Will the word "individuals" include such bursaries as are held by private trusts?
§ Question, "That these words stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.
§ * MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
I now move to insert after the word "individuals" the words "or corporate or other bodies." The object is not to interfere with the patronage of bursaries by individuals or corporate or other bodies, but to give the Commissioners power to make 1043 regulations so as to secure that these bursaries will be usefully employed. This subject was under the consideration of the last Universities Commission, and they expressed the opinion that there should be some regulations to guide the application of the bursaries.
§ Amendment moved, Clause 14, page 10, line 16, "after 'individuals' to insert 'or corporate or other bodies.'"—(Mr. J. A. Campbell.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The method of dealing with the matter proposed by the hon. Gentleman seems to me to be the right one. I do not think it is possible to distinguish between the case of individuals and corporate bodies.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I do not know how far the proposal of the hon. Gentleman will go. So far as Edinburgh is concerned, a good many bursaries are left for the benefit both of the University and the Town Council. The Town Council have a great variety of them, and they impose the regulations. For instance, in some cases they provide that the bursaries shall be given amongst poor students, only so that before a student can obtain one of them he must prove his poverty. I quite see that the Commission ought to be empowered to make regulations, but I should deprecate the Commissioners having power to step in between a body like the Town Council and these trust funds in order to vary the conditions under which those funds are dispensed. They should not have power to vary them, so to speak, away from the poor.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
The case the hon. Member refers to is, no doubt, one where the judicious administration of the patrons would render interference unnecessary or, at all events, make the regulation of an extremely slight character. I do not for a moment believe that regulations would be imposed which would upset the purposes of the trust so as to transfer to one particular class that which was meant for another. The matter is one that I am certain the Commissioners would examine into very carefully by framing any general regulations, and in regard to which, if they erred at all, it would 1044 be on the side of abstaining from interference.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT
On this matter I would vote for the Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen. I have had large experience of the administration of these bursaries by corporate bodies, and I agree that it is not at all in the interest of education that that administration should be left unrestricted. It often happens that bursaries administered by a town become useless, and that it is necessary in such cases that regulations should be laid down so as to make them beneficial.
§ MR. CALDWELL
In the case of "individuals" you may be dealing with a bursary left by a man who has been dead 25 or 30 years, whereas in the case of a corporate body you are dealing with an existing patron, and that is the reason why, in former Acts, these words "and corporate or other bodies" were not inserted. If you add these words it will be inconsistent later, or to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Sir A. Orr-Ewing).
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
Corporate bodies are often bound by wills and by conditions which they themselves would like to see done away with, so as to give them more liberty and freedom. Moreover, the Commission which will be established will be a Conservative body, which will not deal remorselessly with these bursaries.
§ MR. WALLACE
I do not understand the argument of the Lord Advocate that corporate bodies and individuals stand on the same footing in this connection, and that if the clause is necessary in the case of individuals it is also necessary in the case of corporate bodies. That seems to me to boa denial on the maxim that "two heads are better than one." We may take it that the fact of the patrons being corporate bodies will be greater security for judicious dealing than if they were fortuitous individuals. In 1870 the principal of the University of Edinburgh, reporting on the mode in which the Municipality of Edinburgh had dealt with the large revenue, which they have on trust, in the form of bursaries, acknowledged in the strongest terms, on behalf of the Senatus, the admirable management of the Town Council and the business-like way in which the 1045 records of the management were kept. He also stated that the students holding the Town Council bursaries were always well selected and superior, owing to the pains taken by the Municipal Education Committee. There is an element of public opinion necessarily developed on a large body, and a salutary effect in the way of mutual criticism, which cannot be found in the case of an individual. Accordingly, I am not at all satisfied that it will be advantageous to put public bodies and semi-public bodies on the same footing in these respects as individuals.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
The last Commission reported that no bursar should hold his bursary for more than one year unless he passed a satisfactory examination, and it is with the view of introducing such a regulation as that, and to secure that bursaries shall not continue to be held from year to year by young men who are not profiting by them, that I move this Amendment.
§ * MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
I think the remarks of the hon. Member are much to the point. His Amendment, however, if engrafted on the clause, would go too far, as it would do more than restrain an error of the kind he mentions. It would give power to frame regulations as to the way in which appointments to bursaries should be made, but not as to the tenure of bursaries only. I would suggest that an Amendment to carry out the intention of the hon. Member should be framed and considered on the Report stage.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
All this will be qualified by words in the Bill, which provide that the attention of the Commissioners must be arrested by something wrong before they proceed to frame regulations.
§ * MR. CHILDERS
That is clear and proper; but the present Amendment goes not so much to the conditions under which a bursary should be held as to the conditions under which the patronage should be exercised. I do not, therefore, think the Amendment should be pressed now.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I will accept the Amendment of the hon. Member; but I will undertake to recon- 1046 sider the matter before the Report stage to see what can be done.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ * MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
I beg to move, with regard to paragraph (d), which gives the Commissioners power to transfer the patronage of professorships now vested in individuals or bodies "other than the curators of the University of Edinburgh" to the University Court, to omit the words excepting the curators of the University of Edinburgh. This Amendment will, if accepted, place the curators of the University of Edinburgh on the same footing as everybody else in the matter of the patronage of professorships. The Lord Advocate on the last Amendment said the powers of the Commissioners were powers which were to be exercised only after due inquiry and consideration of all the circumstances. I desire emphatically to say that in moving the Amendment I make no charge against the curators or the council of the University of Edinburgh, who constitute the majority of that body; but I wish to point out that it is remarkable that in this Bill there should be in the case of the curators of the University of Edinburgh, and of Edinburgh only, this anomaly—that the exercise of this patronage is not to be subjected to scrutiny. Many people believe that if the patronage is looked into it will be found that it is exercised properly. In that case the Commissioners would not interfere. If, on the other hand, it was found that in the 20 years that have elapsed since the last Scotch University Act was passed the patronage has become an anomaly and ought to be dealt with, they would deal with it. It is said that some sort of bargain was entered into on the passing of the last University Act; but though I have looked into the matter I do not find evidence of that bargain. I find that the Town Council of Edinburgh opposed the clause that transferred the patronage to the curators. The Government of that day proposed this Amendment as a kind of compromise, with a view to getting rid of that opposition; and, really, I think after 20 years the time has come for com witting the matter to so eminently a Conservative body as this Commission will be. The University Court for Edinburgh 1047 University has exclusive patronage of one chair and partial patronage of another, while the curators have the exclusive patronage of 16 chairs and the partial patronage of eight.
§ Amendment moved, Clause 14, page 10, line 18, leave out from "bodies" to "to" in line 19.—(Mr. Haldane.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
While I am bound to admit that the hon. Member has pointed to a very singular anomaly in the patronage of the Edinburgh University, I must point out that he seems to disregard the fact that the Town Council of Edinburgh held that faculty for a very long time before the Act of 1858 was passed, and I am not prepared to upset the arrangement then made. It must have occurred to the hon. Gentleman that it is matter for consideration whether the curatorial body should not be allowed to remain with other elements in it. At present the curators consist of seven persons, of whom four are nominated by the Town Council and three by the University Court. The duty of the Town Council and the University Court is to put aside all idea of competing influences and select the persons best qualified to act. That is the policy of the Act of 1858.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. BRYCE
I have an Amendment here, the object of which is to enable the Commissioners to transfer the patronage vested in the Crown to the University Courts. My Amendment is not a direction to the Commissioners, but merely gives them a power, and the Commissioners will not be obliged to take any patronage out of the Crown unless they are clearly satisfied it will be better vested in the University Courts. I think the new Courts will be better able to exercise the extensive patronage now vested in the Crown than the Crown itself. There are at least primâ facie reasons for allowing the Commissioners to consider the question.
Amendment proposed, in page 10, line 20, at end of Sub-section (d), to insert the words—
(e) To transfer (with the consent of the Crown) to the University Court the patronage
of professorships now vested in the Crown."—(Mr. Bryce.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I am not prepared to accept the Amendment now before the Committee, but I am prepared to accept that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds. The Amendment I refer to is this—Clause 14, page 10, line 20, after 'Court,' insert the following sub-section:—(e.) To prepare a scheme by which a detailed and reasoned report on the qualifications of candidates for chairs may be submitted to the patrons so as to assist them in the discharge of their patronage.This announcement will, I hope, induce the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) to consider whether he ought to go on with this Amendment.
§ * SIR G. TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton Division)
I am on the whole somewhat disappointed by the concession the Lord Advocate proposes to make, because I think it will not meet the views put forward by my hon. Friend (Mr. Bryce) in such a way as to command my warm sympathy as an ex-Secretary for Scotland. Although there is a certain value attaching to the Report of an academical body that Report is very different from their decision as to what professor should be selected. We all know that when a number of men have to make a Report as to the qualifications of a person in their own profession they will doubtless make a very practical one up to a certain point, but they will stop short just at that point where they ought to be most pronounced. I consider the suggestion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds (Sir L. Playfair) is quite inadequate as a substitute for the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen, and as one who has had experience in making such an appointment I think it most important that in such matters patronage should be taken out of the hands of the Crown. In my own time as Secretary for Scotland, the appointment to a Chair, in regard to which if I were competent to form an opinion on such a matter at all, I ought to have been able to exercise some judgment, fell vacant. I fancied I had some knowledge of the special branch of learning to which the professorship related, but when I looked into the matter 1049 I found that my experiences was sadly rusty—as rusty, indeed, as my recollection of what was taught in that particular department of knowledge, because I had not followed the careers of the men eligible for the appointment. I believe there was no complaint when the appointment was conferred—far from it—but the trouble it gave me was enormous, as I had to create the best substitute for a University Court I could devise by applying for competent advice in many quarters. I had, by way of comparison with my own case, the opportunity of observing the action of the Committee of the Council of a great Scotch University in a similar appointment some time before, and I do not particularize, because I do not wish to praise two members of that Committee (Mr. J. A. Campbell and Mr. Orr Ewing) to their faces. The contrast between the advantages possessed by the Committee, who made that appointment, and the means of knowledge which I possessed as Secretary for Scotland was very great, because, in the first place, they had much more ample time on their hands, and in the next they had much fuller and more complete information than I had to draw upon. I must own that I was never more impressed with the excellence of the process by which such an appointment was made than on that occasion. Now, if, instead of being called on to make one appointment in the course of the few months I held that office, I had had to make five or six, or even more, the difficulties I then expressed would have been largely increased.
§ MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.)
I think we have all had some opportunity of observing the way in which Crown patronage is exercised in these professional appointments, and for my own part having for several years had an opportunity of observing the process from an inside point of view, I can fully confirm the remarks of my right hon. Friend (Sir G. Trevelyan) and my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment. I am not without some experience of how very great is the ignorance of the Departments as to who is the best person to receive a particular appointment. Often with the best intentions in the world the more they try to 1050 realise this desideratum the more they find how impossible it is to get correct information on which to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. This being so, it follows that other considerations and influences are too apt to creep in; and looking at the matter as a whole it is impossible for anyone who knows enough about it to say that the administration of Crown patronage, though I have no doubt it is always performed with perfect integrity, is really satisfactory. The only real doubt is as to whether the University Court will discharge this function any better. I am inclined to think it will. I do not say this with perfect confidence; but at any rate we are already committed to the policy of this clause whereby the patronage of all University professorships is to be entrusted to the University Court, and what we have now to do is to try and make that Court as good an instrument for the exercise of that patronage as possible. I therefore venture to support the Amendment now before the Committee.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
I wish to point out that the Amendment I have put on the Paper was not placed there as a substitute for that of my hon. Friend; it is directed against both Government and private patronage. I must confess that when I sat here as Member for a Scotch constituency, one of the most disagreeable portions of my duties, in consequence of my long connection with the Universities of Scotland, was when I was pressed to use my influence in regard to the patronage of the University Chairs. It was an excessively disagreeable thing to be called on to make a selection. I remember the ease of one of the most enlightened of our Scotch University men—one who has lately died, and whose correspond once was recently published — Principal Tulloch. I see that in one of his letters he shows that he was exceedingly disappointed and angry because I would not support the claim to patronage in his own case. Now, I did not know that I had anything to do with the matter. It was not an appointment to a Professorial Chair; but he, no doubt, thought that as a Scotch Member I was bound to have supported his claims, and felt aggrieved that I did not support them. Now, I think that this is a position in 1051 which the Scotch Members ought not to be placed. This exercise of patronage or influence is exceedingly disagreeable to those who are called upon to use it, especially when it is attempted to import political considerations into the endeavour to move Scotch Members to the support of particular candidates. The Government, I think, would do an immense amount of good if they would transfer this patronage from the Crown and place it in the hands of the University Court, and so divest it of any association with political influence.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I entirely concur with the general tenour of the remarks just made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, and also by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow. I think the very nature of the case with regard to the patronage exercised in these cases shows that it is one from which politics should be absolutely excluded, and if the question before the Committee were simply whether we should retain or abandon Crown patronage, I should be inclined to give my vote for its abandonment. But we have to consider the question whether Crown patronage does not afford a better machinery than is obtainable in the case of mere University control. It is my belief that it does. I think there can be no doubt that if the Crown patronage be abolished it may not be so well administered in certain cases. In the case of the University Court there are two qualifications—namely, information and leisure, and if with their knowledge of the case they are obliged to bring before the bar of public opinion the reasons inducing them to prefer this or that candidate they will be precluded from any suspicion of jobbery, and the Minister who for the time being has the disposal of the Crown patronage will have no difficulty in making a proper selection. In these matters it is a very delicate matter to make the selection, and it is not easy openly to discuss the different considerations that arise without offending various susceptibilities and prejudices. And, moreover, it is probable that the University Court may be apt to select not the best man, but the man who is the best known to them. If there be two candidates, and one of them has only a University reputation, while the other is 1052 a man of European repute, the first of these, of course, being extremely competent, and with the additional advantage of being thoroughly known as one who has worked in the University itself, the Court would be apt to say, "That is a man who has done good work among us; here is an opportunity of giving him promotion," and the consequence would be that they would appoint him and reject the one who was really the better man. It would, however, be impossible to do this if the Court be called on to make public the grounds of the selection. The reason I desire to retain the Crown Patronage is not that I think it the best thing we could have taken by itself, but I think that the University having practically all the knowledge, and being obliged to lay before the Minister of the Crown their reasons for the selection, the Crown will be justified in making the appointment without being open to the charge—I will not say of jobbery—but of being influenced by political considerations or any other kind of objectionable machinery.
§ MR. HUNTER
I am glad that for once I am able to agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland; but I would point out that in the debate on this subject no reference has been made to the fact that this question was thoroughly threshed out before the Royal Commission of 1878. That Commission, of which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds was an influential member, examined the subject with the greatest care and dealt with all the difficulties surrounding the problem. What were those difficulties? In the first place, it is most important in a Scotch University to get the best man we can because the appointment is for life, and he is charged with functions of great moment to the University. Next in importance is the desirability of having some mode of selecting professors which would ensure public confidence. Young men who have the necessary attributes for developing into good professors will not devote the time and attention necessary to qualify them for professorships, because under the existing system there is no certainty of their being appointed. Then there is always the difficulty of finding who is the best man, and then comes the difficulty of finding a dis- 1053 interested authority who would appoint the best man. In the existing University Courts this difficulty is partly overcome by a method which has been in use for many years, the principle adopted being the division of labour between two bodies—one body having the selection of the professor, and the other having the election, there being, first of all, the sifting of the claims on the part of the candidates by the Senatus, and then the election by the Council, so that while the election, if left to the Senatus, might be made a matter of jobbery, and, if left to the Council, want of special knowledge might lead to the appointment of a man not properly qualified, the result is that, on the whole, the matter being left to the two great authorities of the Universities, a very distinguished class of men has received the available professorships. What the Royal Commission of 1878 did was to recommend that patronage in England should be extended to Scotland, and, perhaps, under the circumstances in which we find ourselves, the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds being accepted by the Government, the best thing that could be done would be for my hon. Friend to take the course I propose to adopt in regard to some Amendments I have put down, and withdraw it in favour of that of the right hon. Gentleman. On the question of University experience, I may state that there is abundant evidence in the Report of the Commission of 1878 showing that the University Courts were influenced by political, social, religious, and other considerations which ought not to be introduced into matters of this kind.
§ MR. BRYCE
I regret that I cannot see my way to the withdrawal of my Amendment. It seems to me a matter of great importance that we should take beyond the range of political influence every piece of patronage that can be so removed. With regard to the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, the Report that would be required would not necessarily be a public document. In fact, it could not be a document of such a character, otherwise the Committee could not state all the reasons by which their action might be influenced. With regard to the suggestion of the hon. Member for 1054 Aberdeen as to double action by the authorities, that is a plan which combines selection and election in an admirable manner, and if my Amendment be carried, I shall propose in a subsequent Amendment to adopt that principle by providing for Reports by the Senatus Academicus being laid before the University Court. As it is, I am unable to withdraw my Amendment.
§ * MR. CRAIG SELLAR (Partick)
It seems to me that whether you exercise patronage by the Court or by the Crown, there must be some difficulty. If you leave it with the Court you will have pressure put upon that body, by friends of the Candidate in the locality, and if you leave it to the Crown you will have a continuance of the political pressure which has been referred to. The Crown, however, is responsible to this House and can be called to account in this House, while the University Court is responsible to nobody. I should advise the hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen to withdraw his Amendment.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 113; Noes, 93.—(Div. List, No. 162.)
§ MR. BRYCE
With regard to the second part of my Amendment, I may say that as I see my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, and my hon. Friend the member for Lanarkshire, have both put down Amendments to the same effect, and as the wording of those Amendments follows more exactly than mine the recommendation of the Commission of 1878, I will not persist in my Amendment, but will withdraw it in favour of that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, which I understand the Government are willing to accept.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment proposed, and Question put, Clause 14, page 10, line 20, after "court," insert—
Provided also, that where a professorship, the patronage of which is so transferred, shall have been maintained, or partially maintained, by funds provided annually or periodically by any corporate or other body, in which, or in the governing body of which, such patronage shall, in consideration of such annual or other periodical payment have been vested, it shall upon such transfer be in the option of such
corporate or other body to cease making such annual or other periodical payments.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR A. ORR-EWING
I beg to move the Amendment, which stands in my name as additional to Sub-section (d)—namely, Clause 14, page 10, line 20, after "Court," add—But nothing in this sub-section shall apply to any bursary or endowment granted by any incorporation or society whose funds, capital, or revenue have been and are contributed and paid by the members of such incorporation or society by way of entry moneys or other fixed or stated contributions.
§ Amendment put, and agreed to.
§ MR. WALLACE
I beg to move an Amendment, the object of which is to protect poor scholars against the danger of their being sacrificed to what I consider the moloch of scholarship. This Amendment is called for in the circumstances of Sub-section (a), I would here ask the Committee to consider the wording of that sub-section. It provides that the Commissioners shall have powerTo alter the conditions or directions affecting the same.That is the foundations, mortifications, gifts, endowments, and bursaries—If it shall appear to the Commissioners that the interests of learning and the main design of the donor, so far as is consistent with the promotion of such interests, may be better advanced by such alteration.Now the wordsSo far as is consistent with the promotion of such interests,seem to me to be very significant. The main design of the donor, whatever it may be, is thereby to be sacrificed to the interests of learning, and the interests of learning cannot be effectively secured otherwise. Now, if the main design of the donor is simply to have certain poor scholars educated, the effect of this will be that the interests of learning are to be paramount to their interests and prospects. And the effect of the clause as it stands will be that such scholarships or bursaries will necessarily go to that class of persons who have been rich enough or fortunate enough to procure some high preliminary training. In another part of the clause it is provided that the Commissioners are, 1056Where it shall seem requisite, to frame regulations under which the patronage of existing bursaries vested in private individuals shall be exercised.Then under Sub-section 5 the Commissioners areTo regulate the management and ordering of the Universities, and the manner and conditions in and under which the students shall be admitted thereto and in particular (a). The amount, manner of payment, and appropriation of fees, and other payments made by students.In the Report of the Royal Commission of 1878 it is recommended that the Commissioners might be authorized to make regulations for raising the fees in most of the colleges, and under those circumstances it seems to me that there is a danger that the rights of the poor scholars may be overlooked, and that the main or only thing in the eyes of the Commissioners will be how they can most successfully secure the existence of a learned class. I do not at all deprecate that object, but I think there are two points in connection with the provision of learning that must be kept in view in considering these things—namely, that we have not only to consider the elevation of national learning, but also its equal diffusion. In my opinion the horizontal movement of learning is just as important as its vertical movement, and I am not at all certain that there is no danger of the diffusion of learning being forgotten in the endeavour to elevate the standard of it. in a petition presented to this House by a convention of the Royal burghs and signed in their name by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, who has been accepted by this Committee as a member of the University Court for the Edinburgh University, the petitioners express their opinion that the proposal to alter the conditions on which the endowments, foundations, and bursaries have been based by private donors of upwards of 20 years ago, is unjust both to the donors and to the humbler classes of the people, and they go on to show the danger thereby created with regard to the prosperity of the Universities. My own fear is that in the desire to ensure a more highly learned class than that which now exists in Scotland, sacrifice will be made of the interests of the aspiring poor, and of the kindly intentions of the donors. It is not right to leave out of acc mat the prospects, 1057 hopes, and ambitions of the moderately intelligent portion of the poorer class. We ought not to lay down a hard and fast rule that good can only be done by finding out who are the absolute geniuses among the meritorious poor and encouraging them to the detriment of the rest; and I do not think there need be any controversy as to the fact that the diffusion of the higher learning, even among the moderately gifted poor, must prove a good and useful thing in all respects in which University education is of advantage to the country. I hold that the objects to be gained by securing that the moderately gifted among the intellectual poor shall have the opportunities afforded by the Universities are of a high order; that it is important to secure the happiness of a considerable portion of the community in whatever way that can be done, and that it is quite certain that the intellectual class among the poor will be made happier if they are assisted in attaining positions in which their learning may be made useful than if they are left to the prosecution if those duties and occupations which are beneath their natural endowments. It is one of the great ends of all Government to promote the well-being and happiness of the substantially largest class of the community; and I may say that while one of the considerations I have in view in this Amendment is that of helping the intellectual class of the poor to a position in which they can use their gifts appropriately, another object is to advance the capabilities and efficiency of the public service. With these views of the possible danger to which the poor scholar may otherwise be exposed and of the necessity of safeguarding the interests of this particular class, I hope the Amendment I now move will meet the acceptance of the Government.
Amendment proposed, Clause 14, page 10, line 20, after "Court," insert—
Provided always, that no such alterations or regulations made or framed as in this subsection provided shall have the effect of diminishing the advantages provided for poor students by such foundations, mortifications, gifts, endowments, or bursaries aforesaid."—(Mr. Wallace.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."1058
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
I am sorry to say I am unable to accept the Amendment moved by the hon. Gentleman in the form in which it now stands, although I fully concur in the object he has in contemplation which is the benefit of that class of bursaries, which by the direction of the donors are destined for the poor. I would point out that one of the powers already conferred on the Commissioners in Committee on this Bill isTo alter the conditions or directions affecting the same if it shall appear to the Commissioners that the interests of learning and the main design of the donor so far as is consistent with the promotion of such interests, may be better advanced by such alteration.I am prepared to carry out the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman as far as I can, but I do not think his Amendment would be very effectual for the purpose he has in view, and I would therefore suggest that the Amendment should read—Provided always, in framing such regulations, and making such alterations, the Commissioners shall take care not to diminish the advantages provided for poor students by such foundations, mortifications, gifts, endowments, or bursaries aforesaid.
§ MR. J. P. B. ROBERTSON
Yes; I think we are all of us familiar with that, and with the satisfactory results that have flowed from it.
§ MR. WALLACE
I am glad the learned Lord Advocate has taken so, favourable a view of this matter, and I shall be happy to accept his proposal, and withdraw my Amendment in its favour.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment proposed, in Clause 14, page 10, line 20, after "Court," insert—
Provided always, in framing such regulations and making such alterations, the Commissioners shall take care not to diminish the advantages provided for poor students by such foundations, mortifications, gifts, endowments, or bursaries aforesaid."—(The Lord Advocate.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
Amendment proposed, in Clause 14, page 10, line 20, insert the following sub-section—
(e) To prepare a scheme by which a detailed and reasoned report on the qualifications of candidates for chairs may be submitted to
the patrons so as to assist them in the discharge of their patronage."—(Sir Lyon Playfair.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I have next to propose Clause 14, page 10, line 26, insert—And to abolish the Faculty of Theology, and transfer to the Faculty of Arts such professorships of the Faculty of Theology as they think fit.I may point out that this Amendment does not in any way anticipate the Amendment to be moved later on on the question of tests. This deals with an entirely separate subject, and one of considerable importance; but I shall not be misunderstood when I say I propose to deal with it in the shortest possible way, in order to save the time of the House. The proposal I make is that theology in the Scottish Universities should cease to exist as a separate faculty. I will not now enter into the question at large. I will not ask whether theology is a philosophy or a science, but I may point out that the subject of philosophy has this peculiarity—that there is a total absence of that common ground of admitted facts which we have in other sciences. There is, on the other hand, the presence throughout the entire field of the subject called theology the most vital and fundamental controversy, and, therefore, the State should not interfere with it in its University institutions. The Faculty of Theology, considered as a group of teaching Chairs, is not entirely open to that remark. There is nothing in the study of Hebrew to raise irritating questions. The same may be said of ecclesiastical history; and I am not sure whether it may not be said about the Chair of Biblical Criticism. I am perfectly willing to leave that to the Commission. I propose that the Commissioners should have power first to abolish theology as a separate faculty, and then take such Chairs as in their opinion may not be teaching Chairs, and transfer them to another faculty. I and my Liberal Friends hold that the Faculty of Theology, so far as it is engaged in dogmatic and creed teaching, ought not to be recognized by the State at all; and in so far as it does not attempt to teach creeds, I am perfectly willing that the Chairs should continue to exist. I believe this Motion wilt have the warm and universal sympathy of those in Scotland who are sincere in their demand 1060 for religious equality, and with reference to the line taken by the United Presbyterian Church, in my opinion the courage, consistency, and fearless logic with which that section of the Presbyterian Church has carried out its views in all branches entitles it to the warmest admiration of the Liberal Members of this House. It is not merely in connection with the Universities and the Church Establishment, but in every Department in which the State interference thrust into the field, this large body has acted in a manner which commands the warmest approval. They wish to abolish denominational teaching everywhere.
§ An hon. MEMBER: Not in schools.
Amendment proposed, in page 10, line 36, after the word "faculties," to insert the words—
And to abolish the Faculty of Theology, transferring to the Faculty of Arts such professorships of the Faculty of Theology as they may think fit.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted,"
§ Mr. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING
I hope that the hon. and learned Member will not press this Amendment. It seems to me a little strange and remarkable that a proposal of this kind should come from one who is so admirable a representative of a Scottish constituency, because I think that if there was one Faculty in the world which is congenial to the genius of the Scottish people it is the Faculty of Theology, and also in Scotland, of all countries of the world, it is very suitable to have that Faculty, because between 80 and 90 per cent of the people think exactly the same way, and hold substantially the same creed, though divided into a great number of bodies. But the proposal has a practical side. These are general considerations which should influence the counties. It is the business of the Universities to give that teaching for which there is a general demand, and so long as the Presbyterian Churches exist in Scotland there will, I suppose, be a certain demand for the particular teaching they require. It may be urged that it is not necessary for this purpose to have Universities in the different parts of the country, but I may remind the House that Divinity students are 1061 very commonly drawn from classes of the population which are not rich, and thus it is a great advantage to them to be able to pursue their studies close by their own homes, and the adoption of the Amendment will therefore simply handicap them. With reference to the proposal to transfer certain Chairs, as I read the Bill, power is given already to the Commissioners by this very subsection to do so.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT
I shall support my hon. Friend if he takes a Division on the Amendment. It is a fact, I believe, that at the present time we have in the Free Church 310 Divinity students studying Theology; in the United Presbyterian Church 114, and 18 belonging to other denominations, making those who are prohibited by principle from attending the Chairs of Divinity at the Universities 442. There are attending the Established Church only 240 who can receive theological instruction from the University, and we have therefore got a majority of 202 students who are prohibited from taking their theological education through the Universities. It is notorious that the Church established by law is the richest in the country, and has within its membership the largest amount of wealth proportionately to its numbers; yet the dissenting bodies are educating at their own expense 202 more students in Theology than the wealthier Church. What we claim is that those who undoubtedly teach denominational Theology should pay for their own specific dogma, and that we should not have these richly endowed Chairs restricted as they now are. Believing that it is no part of the duty of the State to provide specific Theology for any part of the community, I shall support the Amendment of my hon. Friend.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
As it is now a quarter to seven, and as an opportunity for discussing this question will arise on the Amendment as to religious tests, I would suggest that a Division may now be taken.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I wish to ask the Solicitor General for Scotland a question. Do I understand him to say that in the opinion of the Government the Bill as it at present stands the Commissioners would have the power to transfer say the 1062 Chair for Hebrew to one of the other Faculties?
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
What is to become of my Amendment? I wish to vest power in an University to abolish the Faculty of Theology or of Medicine.
§ DR. CLARK
I should like to know is this a farce. Such an important question of abolishing the Faculty of Theology is worth more than 10 minutes' discussion. I think we ought to discuss the principle once and not on three or four occasions. I, therefore, move to report Progress, as there is no time to proceed with the discussion to-night.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I hope the hon. Member will agree to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Dundee.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday, 1st July.