HC Deb 09 March 1896 vol 38 cc536-40

*SIR JOHN MOWBRAY (Oxford University) moved:— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying Her Majesty to withhold her Assent to so much of the Scheme for the management of the funds contributed for the purpose of the Central Welsh Board by the county governing bodies established by Schemes made under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, 1889, as relates to the matter of the Meyrick Fund. The portion of the Scheme to which he objected proposed that the Meyrick Fund, amounting to £20,000, of which the Principal and Fellows of Jesus College, Oxford, were trustees, should be appropriated in aid of intermediate education in Wales; and his object was to retain it, as the original donor intended, in aid of higher education, for which it was more needed in Wales. The clause in the Scheme dealing with the Meyrick Fund was as follows:— The Board shall, in each year, carry to a separate account the income received in respect of the Meyrick Fund for administration under this Scheme. Until any statute in respect thereof shall be made by Jesus College, Oxford, on the application of the Board with the approval of the Charity Commissioners, the Board shall apply the same, after payment of expenses of management and business, in the maintenance of scholarships to be called "Meyrick Scholarships," tenable in accordance with regulations to be framed from time to time by the Board by scholars in intermediate schools under the Welsh Act. He asked the House with greater confidence to accept his proposal, as the rejection of this portion of the Scheme would not in any way invalidate the remainder of the Scheme. He thought it would be admitted that there was no longer a want of funds for intermediate education in Wales; but that on the other hand money was needed for the encouragement of higher education. What the Principal and Fellows of Jesus College, Oxford, desired, was that this money should be continued to be devoted to higher education; but that it should be applied to a certain extent in accordance with the wants of the present time. Their proposal was:— The net interest of £20,000 at present invested in Consols in the name of the Principal and Fellows of Jesus College, Oxford, shall be applied annually within the college as follows:—

  1. "(a) One or at most two Scholarships of the value of £80 per annum each, tenable on the same conditions as the Meyrick Scholarships mentioned in Clause 3, shall after examination duly advertised be awarded to graduate members of the University of Wales, or of St. David's College, Lampeter.
  2. "(b) The whole amount of the above interest which in any one year is not applied to the maintenance of such Scholarships shall be assigned to Minor Exhibitions of not less than £5 per term each, tenable by Welsh undergraduate members of Jesus College qualified according to Clause 4, such Exhibitions to be awarded at the end of each term to such candidates as shall be approved by the Principal and Fellows after due consideration of the circumstances of each candidate and of his progress during the term."
And further:— The Principal and Fellows shall elect to a fellowship under the same provisions as in Clause 31, but with a place on the Governing Body of the College, in rotation, one of the following representatives of Higher Education in Wales, to wit, the Principals of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (Cardiff), St. David's College (Lampeter), the University College of Wales (Aberystwyth), and the University College of North Wales (Bangor) respectively, provided that he be not elected at any one time for a longer period than three years, and that he vacate the fellowship if he vacate the office or cease to discharge the duties of Principal; provided also that the emoluments attached to such Fellowship be fixed at a sum not exceeding £50 a year. The Petition he held in his hands was signed by the Principal and Fellows with only one dissentient. He thought the House would see that if this portion of the scheme was set aside, the result would be beneficial to Wales. She would have all she wanted. There was abundant funds for intermediate education, and there was no reason why this, £500 should be scattered all over the Principality in small sums and thus virtually lost. If the proposal of Jesus College was accepted, a ladder would be set up which would enable an enterprising young Welshman to mount from the Schools and Colleges of his native land to the Halls and Colleges of Oxford. He would be introduced to the traditions and surroundings of an University which I had been famous for a thousand years. He would meet there his own compatriots in that College, which for more than 300 years had been associated with the Principality. Becoming an Oxonian he would remain a devoted Welshman. He concluded by moving the Motion standing in his name and presenting the petition to the House.

MAJOR WYNDHAM QUIN (Glamorgan, South)

seconded the motion.

SIR G. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, W.)

said, he sincerely hoped this Motion would commend itself to the House. It was the result of a very careful compromise which he thought was exceedingly fair. As the scheme originally stood the Meyrick Trust was made part of the funds contributed for the purposes of the Welsh Central Board. To that Jesus College, not unnaturally objected. The result was that a statute was passed by the Principal and Fellows of the College the effect of which had been stated by his right hon. Friend. The main point of that statute was that one on more Exhibitions of £80 would be given to graduates of the Welsh University or of St. David's College, Lampeter, to be held by them at Oxford. He could not help thinking that would be an admirable thing both for the new Colleges and for the old Colleges. It would do for Jesus College what the Snell Exhibitions had done for Balliol. He was perfectly certain the young men who were fortunate enough to obtain these Exhibitions would be good Oxonians, and they would not be the worse Welshmen.


said, he did not wish to oppose the Motion, and although he was exceedingly sorry to find himself even in a condition of quasi-opposition to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University, whose views carried so great weight with the House, he protested against the terms of the compromise. More than one member of the governing body of Jesus College, and many of the best friends of education in Wales, were against it. [Cries of "Name!"] He could not give the names. He did not think that it was fair to ask him, but he was prepared to give the names privately. He repeated more than one felt very strongly that this compromise ought not to be made. They might have a man added to the governing body of the College who would not be qualified by residence or degree, a man who had no connection with the College or University at all. This money was left absolutely for the benefit of Jesus College, and that being so, it ought to be given back to the College without any conditions being placed upon it. Nor could he see why the scholarships founded should be confined to certain Colleges and Schools instead of being open to the Welsh people as a whole. The feeling among many whom he represented that evening was very strong on those points, and although it was to him a matter of the deepest regret that be found himself in the least opposed to the Member for the University, he had felt bound to make that protest, and he reserved to himself and others the right to take such steps as they might deem fit and proper to alter those terms if any opportunity arose.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire,) Eifion

said, he only rose for the purpose of protecting himself in the same way as the hon. Member with respect to the alternative application of the funds. He objected very much to some portions of this Scheme which had been adopted as a compromise. It said that the sum of £20,000 was to be applied for the benefit of education in Wales generally, but the fact was that it was now to be given to the College to establish new scholarships of the value of £80, which were to be carved out of this fund. These scholarships were to be confined to certain graduates. That was what he objected to. These scholarships should be open to all. He would not exclude graduates from competing, nor would he exclude poor teachers and ministers who could not devote the time to go through a College course.

MR. W. T. HOWELL (Denbigh Boroughs)

said, that he intended to detain the House for a few minutes only in reference to this subject. The Welsh Members who were entitled to give voice to the opinion of Wales on this question, were entirely agreed in favour of this Motion, and they did not intend to be led away from that opinion by that which, might come from any quarter of the House, however much they might respect the individuals who expressed it. The two hon. Members who had spoken had asserted that the benefits of the fund ought not to be confined, according to the terms of the compromise, to the members of the University of Wales and of Lampeter, but he was of a contrary opinion.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was in error in supposing that his hon. Friend the Member for the Tunbridge Division was alone in his opposition to the compromise which had been suggested; on the contrary, he represented a considerable body of opinion. He was not, however, surprised, that his hon. Friend should have taken the line he did, because some hon. Gentlemen had got into the habit of asking the House to deal as it liked with property which did not belong to them. The property in this case belonged to Jesus College, and it was not astonishing that the friends of the College should feel unwilling to part with that property.

Motion agreed to; to be presented by Privy Councillors.

House adjourned at Half after Twelve o'clock.