HL Deb 13 July 1854 vol 135 cc135-6

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.


said, in the discussion which had taken place on Tuesday on the report upon this Bill, it had been stated, and he believed more than once, that he had expressed a wish that the new private halls should be "retreats" for Dissenters. Now, he was not prepared to say that his words had been incorrectly quoted, but he did mean to say that his meaning had been inaccurately conveyed. His wish was—in accordance with the clauses introduced by the House of Commons, and happily adopted by their Lordships—that Dissenters should be admitted to the advantages of a University education; and his next wish was, that they should be infused into the general body of college students, among whom, both as regarded their general conduct and their religious feelings and habits, he did not anticipate they would appear to any disadvantage. That was what he thought would be a preferable course—that they should be infused into the general body, and admitted into the present colleges and halls. But he understood that it had been intimated by the noble Earl the Chancellor of the University that he thought it probable that the authorities of the present colleges and halls might impose conditions on the Dissenters who might be admitted which would be incompatible with their religious convictions—for instance, the compulsory attendance on divine worship, although he admitted that it would not necessarily be so. Now, he conceived that, in the new private halls, the same rigid adherence to existing rules and to existing customs and observances might not be so strictly exacted; and in that case, but in that case only, he expressed a wish that these halls should serve as retreats—he would not shrink from the word—that they should serve as retreats as well for Dissenters themselves as for that liberty of conscience which had been thus far given to them.

On Question, agreed to; Bill read 3a accordingly, with the Amendments; further Amendments made; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.