HL Deb 24 April 1855 vol 137 cc1707-28

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.


said, he would remind their Lordships that when he proposed the second reading of this Bill he had agreed, upon the suggestion of his noble Friend the High Steward of the University of Cambridge (Lord Lyndhurst) that the discussion on the principle of the measure should be taken at this stage. Upon the present occasion, therefore, he would lay before their Lordships some of the more prominent features of the measure, and would state what alterations he intended to make in conformity with suggestions he had received, after which he would move that the House should go into Committee pro forma, in order that the Bill might be reprinted. He need scarcely tell their Lordships that the present measure was the result of a Royal Commission issued in the year 1850 to inquire into the discipline, education, and generally into the condition of the University of Cambridge, a similar Commission having been issued with respect to the sister University. The Commissioners made their Report on the 31st of August, 1852; and it was very satisfactory to him to think that in legislating on the present occasion, their Lordships would not have to deal with an unwilling body, but with a body that, in truth, was anxious for their Lordships to confer upon it what they considered the privilege of this legislation. Indeed, if the Bill contained anything offensive to the University it would be an exceedingly ill-deserved return for the exertions which the Report showed it had made during the last half century. Whatever might be the opinion in other respects regarding that learned body—either as regarded its constitution or other matters—it was perfectly impossible for anybody to rise from the perusal of the Report without being satisfied that the University had been most anxious and industrious in its endeavours to fulfil the great objects for which such institutions were designed. It was now far into half a century since he had himself had the honour of being a student at Cambridge, and from that time very great exertions had been made to improve the character of the studies. At that time the University course, as contra-distinguished from the collegiate studies, was made up solely of mathematics. He did not regret that, for he thought that it was most important that such a prominence should be given to mathematical studies; but thirty years ago the authorities, feeling that this was too confined a course, resolved to admit the classics into the cycle of the University studies; and—not confining their honours to those who had distinguished themselves in the mathematical tripos—they also instituted an examination, and conferred honours upon those who should distinguish themselves in classics. As society advanced, however, and as the appetite for knowledge became more diffused, even that enlarged course was felt to be still too restricted; and accordingly within the last five or six years, other branches of learning of a very extended character had been introduced as University studies. Those, therefore, that did not seek for distinction in the higher mathematical or classical rolls of honour were obliged to select either what was called the moral sciences tripos, or the physical sciences tripos. The physical sciences, chemistry, mineralogy, geology, botany, and many others, had been encouraged in the University, and it was still under discussion among themselves whether these could not among be further extended. It was almost a doubt with him whether they were not doing too much, rather than too little. He did not propose to dilate on this subject—he was sure that those who had looked at the evidence would see that he was not overstating his case. His Lordship then quoted a passage from the Report of the Commissioners, stating that the University had shown great willingness to enlarge the curriculum of studies, as far as the rigidity of their Statutes would permit, and had been liberal in the administration of their funds, not husbanding them parsimoniously, but bestowing them on objects of great academical importance, A Committee had been also appointed by the Senate some time before the issuing of the Royal Commission, to revise the laws of the University. In legislating on the subject of the University of Cambridge, therefore, it was their bounden duty to consider the sort of body they were going to legislate for; and they should repose confidence in them, because it would be seen from the high testimony borne to the authorities of the University by the Cambridge Commissioners of Inquiry, that they were persons to whom the discharge of their important duties might be safely intrusted. He would now state what it was that he proposed to do by this Bill, stating first what he did not ask their Lordships to interfere with. He thought it would be monstrous to ask their Lordships to attempt to carry into effect all the recommendations of the Commissioners—especially in regard to the studies and discipline. The study and discipline of the University were matters which must be left to be regulated by the University authorities, for it was impossible for the Legislature to interfere safely in such matters. What he proposed that the Legislature should do was to put the University in such a position that they could do all for themselves, which their conduct showed they had been anxious to do, but which their Statutes did not permit them to do. The first matter that would suggest itself to every one was, that inasmuch as in the last Session of Parliament a measure was passed to reform the University of Oxford, that measure should serve for the most part as an example for a measure in relation to the University of Cambridge. To some extent that ought, to be so. He thought the kind of reformation that was introduced at Oxford was the kind of reformation that should be introduced at Cambridge; that was to say, the Legislature should constitute a Board of persons likely to be conversant with the subject, and should give to the University and to the Colleges power to do that which of themselves they could not now do, obtaining the sanction of this Board, and afterwards that of the Queen in Council; and if the University neglected to do that in a year and a half which the Board thought ought to he done, then regulations would be made by the Board alone. Accordingly, the first clauses of the Bill provided for the appointment of seven Commissioners, as in the Oxford Bill. The names of six of these he could now state, but he was not in a position to name the seventh. They were the Earl of Burlington, Lord Monteagle, the Bishop of Chester, Baron Alderson, Professor Sedgwick, and a Gentleman who was distinguished at Cambridge, the Clerk now sitting at their table, Mr. John Lefevre. The nest question was, as to what was to be the form and constitution of the governing body of the University. In considering this, they must not lose sight of the fact, that the object of the University was not legislation. Its object would be entirely defeated if it was to be continually engaged in making laws for itself. But what was important was, that there should lot a body of persons appointed to promote the interest of the University including the interest of the public, and who should from time to time be enabled to consider and give their sanction to measures; and those measures being submitted to the Senate, that the Senate might make laws or graces as they were called, which from time to time the interest of the University might seem to require. The latter body was at present inconveniently constituted for any useful purpose. In Cambridge the governing body was the Caput Senatus, which from its composition was most eminently obstructive. The constitution of that body at present was this: the Vice Chancellor mimed three doctors, one from each faculty, law physic, and divinity, and also one master of arts of five years' standing, and one under five years' standing. Each proctor did the same thing, so that there were three doctors of law, three doctors of medicine, three doctors of divinity, three masters of arts of five years' standing, gush three of less than five years' standing, and then out of these persons so named, the Vice Chancellor and heads of houses selected one of each class, who with the Vice Chancellor formed the Caput; so that the Caput consisted of the Vice Chancellor, of three doctors, one of each faculty, and two masters of arts, all substantially nominated by the Vice Chancellor and the heads of houses. Their functions were defined by the University Statutes; and according to the statute of the 47th of Elizabeth, nothing could be proposed by way of amendment of the law, unless it met with the approbation of every member of the Senate, that was to say, unless it met with the approbation of the Vice Chancellor. It was not his present purpose to inquire whether the powers thus given had ever been abused or not; but their Lordships would admit that, in legislating on this subject, to leave the council of the University thus constituted would be most discreditable. Then the question arose, how was the new Council to be constituted? The Bill did not propose that a new Council should be constituted in the same manner as the Act of last year constituted the new Council at Oxford. The Convocation at Oxford answered to the Senate at Cambridge; that was, all the masters of arts who retained their names on the books were members of the Senate. The Convocation at Oxford was just the same; but at Oxford there had been known, in former times—he believed it had of late fallen into desuetude—a body called the Congregation, that was to say, a portion of the Convocation who were resident in the University, and the Council was elected by the Congregation. He had thought the best mode of constituting the new Council at Cambridge was to constitute it in the same manner as that at Oxford; but, in the first place, they had not at Cambridge any such body as the Congregation. One of two things, therefore must be done, if it was to be elected like the Council at Oxford—either they must begin by first constituting a constituency that was at present unknown, or the election should be by the Senate at large. Now he could not conceive anything less calculated than a general election by the Senate to secure the only object which there ought to be in electing such a body, namely, due attention to academical improvement; on the contrary, he feared there would be a contest to see who could get the most friends to vote for them. Another reason for proposing a different plan was the great preponderance of two colleges at Cambridge over the rest. He found on inquiry that most of their Lordships who bad been at the University had been at Oxford and not at Cambridge. Those who had been at Cambridge would know that it was absurd to look at any election to other than two colleges. The Senate of Cambridge consisted in round numbers of not quite 4,500 members. Of these above 1,500 were members of Trinity, and nearly 900 of St. John's. The two together had a great majority over all the rest. He could not of his own recollection name any person who for the last thirty years had been returned to the House of Commons as member for the University of Cambridge, who had not been a member either of Trinity, or of St. John's. There was another reason why this was not the best mode that could be proposed of constitu- ting a managing body to the University. He had stated that in the year 1850 a Commission was issued to inquire into this University. About a year previous, the University itself had constituted a Syndicate, as it was called—a committee to inquire into the best modes of reforming its Statutes. That committee recommended that instead of the Caput Senatus, nominated as it was now, the heads of houses should appoint three members, that the doctors should appoint three, the professors three, and that there should be nominated three non-regent masters of arts, and three regent masters of arts. He had already stated that two colleges had an enormous preponderance, and in order to avoid that influence in the nomination it was proposed that the colleges should have the nomination in turn, according to a cycle constituted by the statute of Elizabeth, called the Statute of Proctors. He thought there should be an intervening body, a sort of filtration, as it were, between the members of the University, and the governing body, and the Syndicate proposed that such a body should be constituted. They proposed three heads of houses, three doctors, three professors, three senior and three junior masters of arts. He had adopted that system with some modification. He had left out the doctors as a class altogether, as they were already practically included in the heads of houses resident in the University. He took four from the heads of houses, four from the professors, four from the senior and four from the junior masters of arts, making sixteen in all. His opinion in favour of this plan had been strengthened by the report of the Commission to which he had referred; he must, however, state that he was surprised yesterday at receiving a communication, just as he was about to take his seat on the woolsack, signed by four of the Commissioners, the substance of which was that they did not think that the expressions made use of in the report authorised him in the proceedings he had taken; but he must also say that he had communicated with others on the subject, and he considered that the measure he was introducing was calculated to meet the views of the Commissioners. When the Commissioners said that they hoped the plan proposed by the Syndicate would soon receive the sanction of the Senate, he certainly thought that that was sufficient indication of their approbation. After their Report was made a petition finding fault with it, signed by forty-three members of the Senate, had been presented, but, as this was a very small portion of the Senate he did not pay much attention to the petition. After this Bill was printed he had received communications from many quarters, not quarrelling with the general principle of the Bill, but pointing out the difficulties which would arise in the working of his measure. He had, during the Easter recess, carefully gone through the Bill, and various improvements had suggested themselves to his mind, and he hoped their Lordships would pass the Bill through Committee pro formâ, so as to enable him to introduce into it the improvements which had occurred to him and others, which had been communicated with a view of making the measure more perfect, and of obviating the objections which had been made to it. One of the provisions transferred to the council the powers now possesssed by the Caput Senatus. It had been suggested to him that that left the evil altogether unmitigated, as it left the veto in any single member of the Council—that was not so, but in order to remove all doubt, be proposed to alter the language and to enact that there should be elected a Council of the Senate, and that immediately after its election thereof it should have the duty of considering all graces, whether proceeding from the individual members of the Senate, or from the Syndicate. Thus, therefore, from time to time there would be appointed from among persons resident in the University, four heads of houses, four of the professors, four of the elder and four junior masters of arts. This was preferable to the constitution of the corresponding body in the Oxford University, which was composed of the heads of houses, six professors, and six masters of arts, all of whom must be of five years' standing. The interests of knowledge would be advanced, not by giving the government of the University to young men, but by stipulating that there should always be an infusion of young blood into the governing body, since those younger masters of arts, who were comparatively fresh from their studies would know what the wants of the students were, and would he able to render valuable assistance in the deliberations of the Council. Another class of enactments worthy of attention were designed to render unnecessary the taking of a large number of oaths that were now imposed in the University, and would therefore make it illegal to administer the oaths that were now taken not to disclose anything relating to the Colleges, or to aid in the promotion of any changes or innovations in their Statutes. These oaths were introduced in an age when a state of feeling prevailed entirely inconsistent with that of the present day; and they would, therefore, be repealed by this Bill in the same manner as was done in the case of the Oxford Act. It was also proposed, in conformity with what had been done for Oxford, to authorise the opening of private halls. He should not conceal that the Commissioners had negatived this proposition; they thought private halls were not necessary at Cambridge, where the custom already prevailed of permitting. the students to live in lodgings; indeed, out of 1,760 students, there were about 700 now in lodgings. He did not think the private halls would be much resorted to at Cambridge, but the same permission ought to be given to parties to open private halls there, if they thought fit, as at Oxford; and as such places would be under the control of the University, he could see no possible harm in it. The Oxford Act provided for the possibility of uniting together several private halls, to make one great hall, but it would not be necessary to specify that in the Cambridge Bill. The clauses which determined the constitution of the Council, and which were the main object of the Bill, did not require much explanation. A very important enactment of this Bill was that by which power was given to the colleges and the University to propose any alteration in the distribution and employment of the endowed funds, if they could get the sanction of the Commissioners with the consent of the Queen in Council. This extended to the 37th clause of the Bill. Then came a clause, also taken from the Oxford Bill, which rendered it unnecessary to take any oaths or declarations whatever on matriculating in the University. All his experience showed that such oaths taken on matriculation, whether religious or political in their character, were perfectly disregarded, and were, indeed, mischievous; that nobody recollected afterwards what he had subscribed; and he presumed that very few of their Lordships would be now able, if they were asked, to answer that question; and the best way, therefore, was to do away with those oaths and declarations altogether. Then came the 40th section which enabled the degree of bachelor of arts to be taken—excluding, however, any ecclesiastical advantages— without any oath or declaration, or signing any articles. He did not see, for his own part, why all degrees of arts should not be taken without such conditions, so long as the persons admitted were not invested with any governing power in the University, or with any authority in the Church; but he would not urge the principle to that extent. Having now explained what were the provisions of the Bill, and pointed out why he thought that on the whole the mode of constituting the Council laid down by its clauses was the one best adapted for Cambridge, he would now move that their Lordships should resolve themselves into Committee on this measure, and afford him an opportunity of introducing the alterations he had described.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee on the said Bill.


My Lords, I confess, for my own part, that I very much regret that it has been rendered expedient, and even necessary, by recent events, for the Government to introduce this Bill. My noble and learned Friend has stated with great frankness that for several years past the University of Cambridge has been actively and industriously employed in endeavouring to amend its Statutes in order to render them as extensively useful as possible, and that it has only been fettered in the carrying out of that wise resolution by the want of sufficient authority for the purpose; and, my Lords, I had myself thought that it would have been far better to introduce a Bill for the purpose of enabling the University to give effect to and complete its own amendments than to bring in a measure like the present, because it would have been preferable that the University itself should be led to complete its own adaptation to the circumstances of the times, rather than that the task should be entrusted to any foreign authority, however it might be constituted. Still, after what occurred during the last Session of Parliament and the passing of the Oxford Bill, I admit that it would have been difficult, and, perhaps, improper to pursue the course which I have just suggested. It might have created dissatisfaction and jealousy, and perhaps have excited some unpleasant feelings between the two Universities, which had always been united heretofore in the closest friendship, entertaining for each other the greatest respect and esteem. I shall not, therefore, oppose the second reading of this Bill. My Lords, I think that these Universities exert much less influence, and have a far weaker hold upon the public feeling of the country at the present day, than it was their good fortune to possess at a not very distant period. I will not now enter into the causes which have led to this change; but I will merely observe, that when I first entered public life, I found in the other House of Parliament that a majority of the members of that assembly had been educated in one or other of the Universities. Now, however, as I understand, not more than one-sixth, or at most one-fifth, of the representatives of the people have been educated at either of those great institutions. I hear it repeatedly said—and I hear it with great mortification—that the system of instruction at the University is becoming obsolete; that the Universities are behind the age; and that great, essential, and radical changes ought to be made in the system of instruction pursued there, and the mode in which it is carried out. My Lords, I think that there is not the slightest foundation for any such opinion, and I should feel very great regret at finding any essential alteration introduced into the system; for, after giving my best attention to the subject, I am satisfied that no better system of instruction could be established than that which has for ages prevailed, always with due regard to the progress of literature and science from one age to another. Young men enter the University usually between the ages of seventeen and eighteen, and continue there about three years and a half, The question is, how that important period in the life of a young man can be best and most profitably employed? It is not the object of the University to cram its students with a wilderness of facts, but its design is of a far different nature—it is to form the character of the young man, and to raise and develop his intellectual and moral faculties to the highest pitch to which his powers are capable of attaining. For that purpose the studies are directed to a cultivation of the taste, to a forming of the judgment, to a strengthening of the most important faculty of attention, to an invigorating of the reasoning powers, and, above all, to an instilling deeply into the minds of the students of the principles of religion and morality. By what course of study is this attempted to be effected? It may be divided into three branches—by the cultivation of classical literature, the study of mathematical science, and instruction in the great principles of morality and religion. When I speak of "classical literature," my Lords, it is not to be supposed that this consists merely of instructing young men to translate a few passages of classical authors. Far different is the course of study which is pursued at the University of Cambridge. The students are taught to read the most eminent authors, poets, philosophers, orators, and historians of ancient times, and to compare them, under the direction of their tutors, with modern writers of the best character upon the same subjects. In that course of study the most striking examples of patriotism and the highest virtues are presented to their mind, and they are taught to admire everything that is great and good. In ancient history they are instructed also in the laws and institutions—religious, military, and political—of the ancients; they are practised in composition, not merely in the ancient languages, but in their own tongue. I confidently submit to your Lordships that no system of study can be better calculated to form the character of a gentleman—and I use the term "gentleman" in its most comprehensive sense. So, also, with regard to the second branch of university education—mathematical science. It must not be supposed that that consists simply of the demonstration of a few problems in Euclid. On the contrary, that branch of science is cultivated to an immense extent in the University of Cambridge—some think to too great an extent; but every one who is acquainted with the subject must feel how strongly that study tends to cultivate the faculty of attention, and to develope the reasoning and reflective powers of the mind. It is not merely to pure mathematical science—geometrical or analytical—that the study is confined; but it extends to all the branches of physical science with which mathematical knowledge is connected—to the science of astronomy, which is founded upon mathematical science; to the laws of fluids; to the laws which regulate our atmosphere; and to the laws of light and heat—all of which are more or less connected with mathematical science. This has a most powerful effect in forming the character of the individual. Last, and most important of all, is the cultivation deeply of the principles of religion and morality. The history of religion is studied, including the principles of our own particular faith, the doctrines which at different times have been inculcated, with the arguments in their favour and against them. And lastly, there is the study of the operations of the human mind, as traced in the works of Locke and kindred writers. Such is an outline of the system of study at Cambridge. I venture to submit that no system of instruction could be better calculated for preparing a young man to enter upon his career of life, whatever it may be, whether the study of the learned professions, of political science, or of literature. But it must not be supposed for a moment that, other branches of science are neglected. It is far otherwise. There is a beautiful passage in the Orations of Cicero in which he describes with great eloquence the union and connection between all the different branches of literature and science, forming as it were one family, mutually assisting, supporting, encouraging, illustrating, and adorning each other. In that way the course of study pursued at Cambridge operates; and although it may be proper that young men at the University should study the sciences, yet as the elementary works are easily mastered, and as they call into exercise none of the strong powers of the mind, and do not even require a great strength of memory, I should be extremely sorry that they should in any great degree interfere with or supersede those more solid branches of learning to which I have referred. My Lords, no University has ever produced more distinguished or more extraordinary men than has the University of Cambridge. It gave to the world the great father of inductive philosophy, Bacon, and the immortal Newton. It produced Milton, the sublimest of poets, Spenser, the majestic Dryden, Cowley, Byron, and a long line of illustrious men of our own day. Among men renowned for their knowledge of English jurisprudence whom it numbered among its sons, are the noble names of Coke, of Camden, of Thurlow, and Ellenborough. In the statesmen who sprang from it are the sagacious Burleigh, the brilliant Walpole, and that finished orator and greatest of statesmen, William Pitt. Nor in modern times has it failed to furnish the country with a noble example of a statesman in the person of my noble Friend (the Marquess of Lansdowne), than whom no one has shown, during his long career as a statesman and a Member of your Lordship's House, more tact, more eloquence, or more sterling good sense. Then again, when I look to the right rev. benches, I cannot but call to mind the names of those great classical and learned men whom Cambridge has produced—Jeremy Taylor, Bentley, Porson, and a long list to repeat whose names alone would occupy a summer's day. Such, my Lords, is the system of instruction which has been followed at the University of Cambridge, and which, even in old times, produced such glorious fruits. Let us, therefore, be careful how we impair the efficiency of that system by new devices, interfering with that solid system of education which has hitherto been followed by such splendid results. This is one point; perhaps your Lordships will allow me to allude to another and a most important question—I mean the mode by which the system of instruction is conveyed. I do not find in the Bill now before us any specific clause making any alteration in that respect; but, although I find no specific clause, I find sundry provisions which, connecting them with what I have heard, lead me to suppose that very extensive alterations are in contemplation, and therefore a few words upon that subject may be necessary. The present mode consists of instruction by tutors of colleges, by private tutors, and by the lectures of professors. Now, with respect to the system of private tutors, when I went to the University, sixty years ago, very few students had the assistance of private tutors—it was the exception and not the rule. Now, however, I understand that the system has been entirely changed, and that every man who seeks mathematical honours is obliged, as a matter of course, to have a private tutor; nor does it follow that those who obtain the assistance of private tutors are always the most distinguished. I consider that a system which renders it necessary for every one who is competing for mathematical honours to have a private tutor is a very great evil. It leads to a system of cramming which overtasks the faculties and weakens the intellect, and at the same time it places those whose pecuniary resources are not sufficient to enable them to obtain the assistance of a private tutor at a very great disadvantage. I believe that the most distinguished members of the University are desirous, as far as possible, if not to put an end to the system, at least to modify and to limit it. With reference to the mode of education by lectures, some disposition had been shown to extend the professional system, of which I do not at all approve. A young man who hears lectures may easily be under the delusion that he is doing much, whilst he is, in fact, doing very little. He might have attended so many lectures, but his mind would wander, his attention would not always be kept alive, and it was in a passive instead of an active state. Studying in his own room would give much more accurate knowledge than the lectures of a professor, which, however, were not objectionable, and might serve to excite an interest in, and a love of, the subject to be studied. In the third method of education, by the tutors of colleges, I believe there are some defects at Cambridge which this Bill will rectify; but the system is excellent, and I remember that, when I was at college, I found the aid of the mathematical and classical tutors extremely beneficial. Between a student and his private tutor there might be too great an intimacy, so that he would rely upon the tutor to solve every difficulty without exerting his own mind; but the more general explanations afforded by the tutor of the college, who had to superintend the studies of a class, supplied a very advantageous guidance. I observe that some of the clauses of this Bill are copied from the Oxford Bill, and especially that with reference to the establishment of private halls. Now, the great distinction between the system pursued at Oxford and Cambridge is, that at Oxford no student is allowed to live in the town; so that if any one desires to be a Member of Christ Church, and that college is full, he will be obliged to become a member of some other college, whereas at Cambridge the system has been to allow the students to reside in the town, so that if, for instance, any one wishes to become a Member of Trinity College, and it is full, he may nevertheless join it and reside out. It had been asserted, indeed, that such a permission would have a tendency to relax discipline; but he could confidently deny that it had produced any such effect. But I am now told that the establishment of private halls will be of the greatest possible benefit to a poorer and more extended class of students, who, through their means, will have an opportunity of enjoying those advantages of a University education which, in consequence of their limited pecuniary resources, have hitherto been denied to them. My Lords, I do not believe it possible that in any private hall, superintended by a master of arts, who must naturally expect to make a provision for himself out of the establishment, young men can be provided for so cheaply as in their respective colleges, under the present system; and of course every one would in that case prefer going to the colleges where so many advantages are obtained rather than to these private halls. It has been supposed that the effect of the establishment of these private halls would be, that they would afford facilities for the attendance of the sons of Dissenters at the University. But the heads of these establishments are to be obliged to declare themselves to be members of the Church of England, and I do not believe that the parents of sons dissenting from the Established Church will be willing to send their sons to establishments of this description, where they will be so completely under the control, supervision, and influence of clergymen of the Establishment. I do not therefore see any advantage likely to result from the establishment of these private halls. The sons of Dissenters are, and have been treated with the utmost liberality by the University of Cambridge, and the most beneficial consequences have resulted from this liberality to persons dissenting from the Established Church. I do not, however, object to this part of the Bill, and I do not know that it will do any mischief—on the whole, I believe, that these clauses will be inoperative and a dead letter. I wish to say a few words on the subject of the Syndicate appointed by the University to revise the Statutes. Your Lordships are aware that I have the honour to hold a high office in the University of Cambridge, and I have therefore watched with great interest the attempts made by the authorities to improve the constitution of the University. My noble and learned Friend (the Lord Chancellor) told your Lordships that a year before the Commission was thought of the University of Cambridge appointed a Syndicate, consisting of some of the most eminent and learned members of the University, to consider what revision might be necessary in the Statutes of the University. This Syndicate was employed for two years in this important duty, and they recommended the appointment of a Council, the duty of which should be to consider and prepare all graces to be offered to the Senate, the duties of the Caput being limited to the consideration of supplicats and graces for conferring degrees. The Commissioners complimented the University that such a proposal should have emanated from itself, and they say that it was so constructed as to preserve a balance of power among the different colleges, as well as to prevent the excitement and rivalries of a more popular and unlimited mode of appointment. The proposal in question received the unanimous approval of the Syndicate, and when it was brought under the consideration of the Senate, out of 300 Members present only nine opposed it. It is impossible to say that the University has opposed all reform when such a change has been adopted with so little opposition; but, on the other hand, it was alleged (although this was before the Oxford Bill was brought forward) that, although so large a majority appeared in favour of the Report of the Syndicate, yet the unanimity was founded upon the consideration that the authorities were not likely to obtain anything better. A report was afterwards made in answer to Lord Palmerston's letter to Prince Albert, embodying these and other proposals. It is true that an address signed by certain members of the University was afterwards presented to Lord Palmerston, objecting to the constitution of the Council as proposed by the Syndicate, but, while the proposal of the Syndicate was adopted in a full Senate, only forty-three members of the University thought fit to sign this address to Lord Palmerston. It had been said that the Caput, Senatus was elected by the heads of houses, and that the heads of houses so influenced the fellows, that they were in fact the governing power of the University. But no one practically acquainted with the University would assert that to be the case; and by the proposals of this Bill the influence of heads of houses would be still further diminished by the addition of the masters of arts to the caput. It had also been urged that the governing body should be elected by open voting in the Senate generally; but what would be the effect of an open vote in the Senate? His noble and learned Friend had disposed of that question by showing that open voting would allow the two colleges of Trinity and St. John's to govern the University to the exclusion of the influence of all the other colleges. It was the object of the proposals of the Syndicate to guard against the excitements of a system of open voting, and this was one of the grounds upon which their proposal was approved by the Commissioners. What a scene would otherwise be exhibited every year at die time of an election of the Council, for it was upon their election the Government of the University would depend. There would be great excitement and party animosity, which would disturb that calm and tranquil state which is best adapted to the studies of this seat of learning. Your Lordships are no doubt aware that two persons are nominated by the heads of houses every year to fill the office of Vice Chancellor; but they are selected according to a certain rotation, and of the two names sent to the Senate, the first is always accepted, so that practically the heads of houses have no influence in the election of the Vice Chancellor. No recommendation has been made by the Commissioners to alter the mode of electing the Vice Chancellor, and no alteration in the mode of election of the Vice Chancellor at Oxford was made by the Oxford Bill, and there is no reason why any alteration should be made in the plan of electing the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge by this Bill. Well, my Lords, I have now gone through the Bill, and have made such observations upon its psovisions as have occurred to me. Future opportunities will be afforded in the course of the discussions in Committee for my making any further observations that may arise to my mind. I have to apologise to your Lordships for having occupied so much of your Lordships' time. But, my Lords, I believe the subject to be one of great importance—certainly of great importance to the University, and I also consider it to be of great importance to the public, affecting as it does the system of education pursued at one of the highest seats of learning in this country. I am glad to have had the opportunity of addressing your Lordships on this occasion. In the observations I have made to your Lordships I feel I have done my duty. In the further progress of the Bill I shall be ready to do everything in my power to make it a perfect measure, both for the interests of the University and for the welfare of this country and of the Church as it is established.


said, he had listened with great pleasure to the eloquent speech of the noble and learned Lord, in which he had given so vivid an exposition of the past and present condition of the University of Cambridge. That in former centuries that University was capable of producing men distinguished in the most difficult walks of life the list of names the noble and learned Lord had quoted sufficiently testified; while the notion that the system of the University was antiquated and inadequate to the requirements of the present day was sufficiently refuted by the presence of the noble and learned Lord himself, of whose brilliant powers and commanding talents it was difficult to say whether they had been more remarkably displayed in Westminster Hall, or in the two chambers of the Palace in which their Lordships were then assembled. He was happy that the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack, in framing this Bill, while taking for his model the Bill for the University of Oxford, had not observed the same minute interference with the systems of particular colleges which in the early stages of that Bill were attempted. By so acting he believed there was a greater chance of the present Bill passing without undergoing the many alterations and additions which that Bill received. Still there were some points in the measure which required consideration. For instance, it was stated in the interpretation clause that the words "cycle of proctors" should be taken to mean the cycle which had been or might be made by any statute of the University, but those words were not to be found in the whole body of the Act, but were taken from the Oxford Bill. According to the preamble of the Bill, it might be assumed that the necessity of interference with the University on the part of the Legislature was demanded by the inadequate provision made by the University itself for the extension of its usefulness and for the improvement of its system of discipline, studies, and government. But no one could look at the different changes and enlargements of the system of education which had taken place in the University without feeling that those who were particularly engaged in tuition had exercised a most salutary influence over the system from time to time, and that a careful consideration had been given by them to the subject; therefore, there had been in that respect an enlargement of the usefulness of the University. With respect to the founders of the fellowship's and scholarships in different colleges, and the control which they exercised over the University by the conditions attached to their endowments, it should be recollected that they were its liberal benefactors, while, on the other hand, the State had done very little for it. The State now, however, came forward with the most arrogant pretensions to deal with the foundations, scholarships, and fellowships of the University; and in the course of the discussions which had taken place on the subject there was no portion of the subject scoffed at more than the founders of those liberal endowments; and the system of education they had directed was charged as proceeding from men of the most bigoted and narrow minds. In numerous other instances which had occurred in recent days, the University had been largely benefited by the liberality of individuals, and particularly by the honours and prizes that had been instituted by means of the gifts of several Chancellors of the University and other public benefactors. Having shown that the University had derived its chief support from the bounty of its founders, without any material assistance from the State, he might ask, what had the State taken from the University? The small stipends of the professors were diminished by fees and taxes, and, more than that, there had actually been imposed a tax on degrees, which of late years had produced from the two Universities nearly 3,000l. At the same time exemption front these taxes had been given to the London University, and to the godless colleges in Ireland. By some mysterious process of reasoning, the two ancient Universities had been considered exceptions to the operations of the great dogma of free trade. In another respect the Bill offered a strange anomaly—he referred to the clauses which dealt with the salaries of the Regius Professors—in whom was the patronage of these appointments now to be? They were to be paid by the University; and was the Crown still to appoint professors whom the University was to pay? With respect to carrying out the details of the Bill, whether with reference to the University at large or the colleges, much would depend on the discretion of those persons who were to be appointed Commissioners, and to whom the powers defined in the Bill were to be intrusted; but he would take the liberty to call attention to the fact that the Commissioners, with the exception of the learned Judge, who, as such, could not be considered as a politician, all belonged to one political party, and had the same views, and that, therefore, opinions were not so well blended as in the case of the Oxford Commission. He regretted not to find the name of Lord Lyttelton among them, for he was a distinguished member of the University, and one who had done great good in the cause of education in the county and diocese in which he lived. As regarded the details of the Bill, he concurred in most that had fallen from the noble and learned Lord (Lord Lyndhurst). With respect to private halls, he was glad to hear what had fallen from the noble and learned Lord, because the distinction which he had pointed out between the cases of Oxford and Cambridge was one of considerable importance as affecting the position of students. There were other points with regard to which the custom of the two Universities differed, and those ought not to be lost sight of in considering a Bill of this kind. But on one point he could not subscribe to the position laid down by the noble and learned Lord. He believed that anything that would interfere with the free exercise of the students in the choice of their private tutors would be an interference with the efficiency of their studies; for it would often happen that the lectures delivered in a college would not supply all that a student needed to enable him to take honours. He should be very sorry to see any interference in this respect with the liberty of the student, and he rejoiced to see the Commissioners expressing in their Report a decided opinion against prohibiting students from taking advantage of private tuition, if they desired to avail themselves of that convenience.


said, he must congratulate the University of Cambridge on the benefit it had received from the discussion on the Oxford Bill last year; for pretty nearly every amendment which had been carried in the House of Lords and rejected in the House of Commons had been adopted in the present Bill; for instance, he perceived that, with respect to the constitution of the Council, it was proposed in the Cambridge University Bill that the heads of colleges should be nominated by the heads of colleges, and the professors by the professors. The same rule, then, had not been applied to both Universities, but a much larger measure of alteration had been extended to the University of Oxford than to the University of Cambridge. An amendment had been given notice of, which was precisely similar in effect to that which he had proposed in respect to the Oxford Bill, and which was resisted and rejected,—establishing some provision against the perpetual rejection of a measure by certain bodies. He (Lord Redesdale) had Ventured to propose, with reference to the Oxford Bill, that if the congregation resisted a measure three times sent down to it by the Hebdomadal Board, then that Board, should have the right of taking the sense of the University at large on the question by proposing it to Convocation. The proposition was rejected; but he now understood that the noble and learned Lord intended to insert some provision of a similar kind in the present Bill for Cambridge. He had no objection to offer to the Bill, which, on the whole, he trusted would prove a satisfactory settlement of the question, and he was glad to find that it included qualifications and improvements which he and others had not been fortunate enough to secure for the University of Oxford.


wished to say a few words after the allusion which had been made to the Oxford Bill, though he was strongly of opinion that the discussion at present, in respect to all that related to matters of detail, had much better be left in the hands of those well acquainted with the University of Cambridge. With reference to the difference of constituency for the election of the Council, he reminded the noble Lord that such a constituency as was created by the Oxford Bill would, in the case of Cambridge, have been liable to be overridden and swamped by the influence of the two predominant, and, if he might say so without offence, overgrown establishments of Trinity and St. John's. Again, though he confessed that he made this admission with some feeling of humiliation, the course pursued by the University of Cambridge, since the first sign of a desire for improvement in the Universities had manifested itself in the public mind, had been somewhat different from that taken from the University of Oxford. So far back as 1837, when the alarm was first sounded in their Lordships' House, and in the other House of Parliament in regard to University reform, their Lordships' would, perhaps, remember that on that occasion the University of Oxford, speaking by the mouth of its then illustrious Chancellor in their Lordships' House, gave what was accepted at the time as a very satisfactory and gratifying assurance of the commencement of a course of progress and improvement, from which the best result was anticipated. But, this anticipation not having been fulfilled, the Government felt that it was necessary to take some steps to secure the adoption of the measures which in their opinion were necessary. The manner in which they had dealt with the University of Oxford was unavoidable, in consequence of the apparent unwillingness of the authorities to take any steps in the matter; and, even after the Oxford Bill had been announced to Parliament, the scheme put forward by the authorities fell far short of the expectations of the Government. The measure of last session was in consequence proposed to Parliament. He thought that a stronger measure of reform was now about to be applied to Cambridge than had been applied to Oxford, but the present Bill would probably be less stringent, imperative, and obligatory in its provisions than the Oxford Bill.

On Question, agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

Amendments made.

The Report thereof to be received on Monday next.

House adjourned to Thursday next.