HL Deb 13 May 1864 vol 175 cc442-55

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


presented petitions from the Venerable Archdeacon Thorp, of Bristol, and the Rev. J. F. Mackarness, Prebendary of Exeter Cathedral, against the Bill, and praying for the severance of canonries from all University offices. The petition of Archdeacon Thorp prayed their Lordships to take into their early consideration the recommendation made by Bishop Monk in a letter to the effect, that "It would be a beneficial change to transfer the patronage of these canonries as proposed by the Government of Lord John Russell from the Chancellor to the Prime Minister;" and secondly, the expediency of providing for the severance, on the next avoidance, of canonries from headships of colleges and professorships not directly connected with instruction in religious learning in the two ancient Universities; and thirdly, the expediency of humbly recommending to Her Majesty to take into consideration the recommendation of the Cathedral Commissioners with a view to enacting such reforms in the cathedral bodies as shall be found expedient; and lastly, he humbly prays their Lordships' House not to consent to the said Bill for annexing permanently a cathedral canonry to the Greek Professorship of Oxford, nor to any other measure by which cathedral endowments may be diverted from the legitimate and still beneficial purposes of their foundation. The Rev. W. Mackarness in his petition prayed their Lordships "not to pass the said Bill, or at least so to modify it as to separate the proposed professional stipend from the office and function of a canon residentiary in any cathedral church." A learned and influential Commission had pronounced a similar opinion in three Reports, but he was sorry to say that, up to the present time, not the slightest attention had been paid to their recommendation. Not long ago, the present Government, in reply to a question, frankly confessed that they had not taken the trouble to think about the matter at all, and he must admit that no great public feeling existed to stir them into action. Under those circumstances, though he still retained the opinion that more diocesan work should be imposed upon the cathedral bodies, he was not prepared to offer any opposition to the present Bill, which he regarded merely as one additional step in a direction which Parliament and Government had long followed. He was far from blaming the University of Oxford for having refused to endow the Greek Professorship, because it was bound by express statute to take into consideration the question of soundness of doctrine in professors; but Parliament was otherwise situated, and it might very fairly make provision for the only remaining unendowed Regius Professorship to be found at the Universities, wholly apart from any personal question.

Moved, "That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee on the said Bill."—(The Lord Chancellor.)


said, he wished to make some remarks on the Bill, which ought to have been addressed to their Lordships on a former occasion; and his apology was that, on communicating with his noble Friend the Chancellor of the University (the Earl of Derby), he was induced to think that the measure would give satisfaction to the University, and therefore he was then reluctant to offer any opposition to it. He was very unwilling, however, to allow the Bill to go into Committee without expressing his views with respect to it. He did not deny that the present state of affairs, in connection with the Regius Professorship of Greek, was almost a reproach to the University; and all must agree that it was desirable, if they could do so properly, to add to the scanty stipend which he at present was paid; but he (Lord Chelmsford) objected to the manner in which the Bill proposed to augment it, namely, by annexing to it a canonry which was in the gift of the Lord Chancellor as a perpetual endowment. They could not disguise from themselves that although this was a measure of a general nature, and intended for all times, yet it had been introduced to meet the difficulty that had arisen with respect to a particular individual. He was far from wishing to say anything in disparagement of the eminent Professor who now occupied the chair, whose scholarship and attainments he fully acknowledged; but if the question were, whether he was a fit and proper person to be appointed to a canonry, he thought it could not be doubted that different opinions might be entertained upon the subject; and he presumed that his noble and learned Friend on the Wool- sack, if he had the opportunity, would consider whether it would be a proper thing to appoint Professor Jowett to a vacant canonry. Now, by this Bill, his noble and learned Friend proposed to shift the responsibility from himself and throw it on the University. He could not help doubting whether canonries were appropriate remunerations for professorships, because he thought they ought to be reserved for persons who had served the Church long and faithfully, and had a very extended pastoral care, or who possessed great theological attainments which had been entirely devoted to the service of the Church. The rewards for deserving clergymen were but few, and those few had of late years been considerably abridged. He quite concurred with the noble Earl on the cross-benches (Earl Grey), who stated, on the second reading of the Bill, that its effect would be to narrow the choice of proper persons to fill the professorial chairs; although it had been stated, on the other hand, that no inconvenience had resulted in the change with regard to the Professorships of Hebrew and Greek at Cambridge, to which canonries at Ely had been annexed. His noble Friend, however, pointed out that if the Act had been in existence in Porson's time he never could have sat in the professorial chair, because he was not in holy orders; and the effect of annexing canonries to professorial chairs would be either to deprive them of the selection of the person best qualified for the office, or it would induce persons who otherwise would not be so disposed to enter the Church and to take holy orders with a view to a professorship, and after six years they would be qualified to accept high appointments in the Church to which they might be wholly unsuited. But was it so that no inconvenience had been sustained from the annexation of the canonry of Ely to the Regius Professorship of Cambridge? At the time of the passing of the Act, Dr. Lee, who was a man of considerable learning, who had devoted the whole of his life to study, who was a most distinguished Oriental scholar, and who was in every respect the person best qualified for the office, held a stall in Bristol Cathedral. This being more valuable than the canonry attached to the Regius Professorship, he was obliged to give up that chair, and the immediate effect of the Act was to deprive the University of the services as professor of a man most eminently qualified to fill that office. His noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack being extremely anxious to obviate any difficulties that might arise upon this subject, had offered a bribe to the University by giving to the heads of Colleges the appointment to the canonry on their again endowing the Regius Professorship. Now, he quite agreed with the noble Duke (the Duke of Marlborough) who said on a former occasion that if the Government wished to induce the colleges to endow the professorship by offering to annex a canonry, that it would be better at once to transfer the appointment of the Regius Professor to the University, and it being their own appointment they would be prepared to endow it; the only objection to their endowing it at present being that it was not in their gift but in that of the Crown, and that they were unable to apply any of their funds towards it; such an arrangement would no doubt put an end to all the difficulties of the subject. He objected to the Bill because he could not disguise from himself that it had been introduced for the purpose of meeting a difficulty that had arisen with regard to a particular individual, and because he thought that canonries ought not to be annexed to professorial chairs, but given to deserving clergymen.


said, that with all respect for the governing body of the University, he was bound, after their recent behaviour in this very case, to protest against the suggestion which had been made as to the transfer of the chair from the Church to the University. It would be injurious to the University, and most injurious to the professorship itself. He considered that the objections to the Bill were very serious. He was anxious that the present injustice to Professor Jowett and the scandal to the University should be brought to a close; but he could not approve the arrangement proposed in the Bill. It was not right that a layman, whatever his attainments, should be excluded from the Greek chair, and that tuition of this kind should be confined to the clergy. This was the adoption of a permanent measure to remedy a temporary grievance, and it might lead to permanent evils. He therefore thought that, on the whole, he should feel bound, if an opportunity were given him, to vote against the further progress of the Bill. He was sensible of the inconveniences of the present state of things in the University of Oxford; but, having considered both sides of the question, the objections to the Bill ap- peared to him to preponderate. He did not like to take away one of the few prizes given to a body by no means overpaid—he meant the working clergy. The whole thing seemed to be what was vulgarly called a "botch," for it was an attempt to attach to a professorship which ought to be properly remunerated, a payment of another description. The University had received a large remission of taxation to the amount of £12,000 or £16,000 a year, and he therefore trusted that that body, having received such an advantage, would consider the fitness of attaching an adequate salary to the Greek Professorship. He had brought his mind to the conviction that, on the whole, the present Bill ought not to receive their Lordships' assent.


said, he must confess he felt himself in a position of difficulty with regard to this Bill, and to the position which he had the honour to hold in the University. Their Lordships would remember that on the Motion for the second reading, finding no other noble Lord disposed to offer observations with respect to it, he felt it right, in his peculiar position, to state at once the ground on which he conceived he was not entitled to take upon himself the responsibility of advising the rejection of the measure. At the same time, he stated the strong objections which he felt to the measure. These grounds of objection were, on the one side, that the proposed arrangement would neccessarily confine the professorship in question to a clergyman, and on the other hand would deprive the working clergy of one of the few prizes remaining to them, and would extend the principle of separating cathedral honours from anything connected with cathedral residence. At the same time, he did not feel himself authorized to move the rejection of the Bill on the Motion for the second reading; and for this reason—that he was given to understand that the arrangement would settle a very delicate and difficult question in a satisfactory manner —satisfactory in the sense that it would relieve the University from a great difficulty. The measure was brought forward, as he understood, on the avowed and only ground that the Greek Professorship was not at the present moment adequately endowed by the University of Oxford, In the discussion which took place on the second reading, he was somewhat favourably impressed with the suggestion thrown out by his noble Friend (the Duke of Marlborough); but when he came to the consideration of it he felt the difficulties of acceding to it which had been mentioned by his noble Friend. It was one thing to vest the patronage in the University at large, and another thing to vest it in a certain portion of the University. He felt a strong objection to place the canonry and professorship in a position to be scrambled for by a general canvass among Convocation. There was a proposal some years ago to endow the Regius Professorship of Greek, and that the patronage should be placed in a small board, of which three were to be nominated by the Crown and two selected from persons holding particular offices in the University. It was thought that in that way the rights of the Crown, and the interests of learning, might have been jointly protected. That proposal, however, was not felt to be satisfactory to either the Crown or the University, but certainly not to the University. But a proposal of this nature was different from one to place it in the University at large. He thought his noble Friend (Lord Taunton), who had just sat down, was rather hard on the University when he said that in his opinion the University ought to provide for the endowment out of their own revenues; because now that the attention of the University had been drawn to the matter, he believed that the University would not be found indisposed to make a proper provision for the' Greek Professorship if it were not for the strong objections entertained by the majority of the University to the teaching and opinions of the individual now holding that professorship; and, so far as he could learn, it would be hopeless, as long as that individual should hold it, to make any application to the University to endow it; not because the professorship was not inadequately endowed, but because the University objected to do any thing which might be taken to indicate an apparent acquiescence in opinions to which they objected. He would not take upon himself the responsibility of proposing the rejection of the Bill to their Lordships; but if it should go into Committee, and should the clause suggested by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack be adopted, he should propose a provision founded on that clause; but seeing that the difficulty was on the one hand temporary, and that the objections to the Bill were of a permanent character, it would be very satisfactory if, after the discussion which the Bill had undergone, time were given to the Uni- versity of Oxford and to Parliament more fully to consider the measure. He thought that the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, who had undoubtedly proposed the Bill with the sincere desire or serving the interests of the University and the public, would do well voluntarily to postpone pressing a measure, to which on all sides there was great objection, and on which, if a division took place, it was quite clear the decision would not be guided by party views or political considerations.


said, that if he were asked by their Lordships whether he considered the present Bill the best mode of proceeding to endow the Greek Professorship at Oxford, he should certainly answer that it was not. The best mode undoubtedly would be for the University to do that which justice and reason pointed out, and which, in fact, good faith demanded; for the University had received great gifts from the Crown with the understanding that the duty of endowing public professorships should be fulfilled on their part. The duty of the University was not that of superintending the system of private instruction which was carried on in the colleges, but of adequately endowing for the benefit of the whole community within its walls—as the name of University implied—public professorships. A statute had been lately brought into the University—and he alluded to the subject reluctantly, because at the very onset he bad earnestly deprecated the introduction of personal allusions into the controversy, if controversy it could be called—and it was therein declared that in passing the statute the University was not to be considered in any manner whatever as having sanctioned, acquiesced in, or approved the peculiar opinions of Professor Jowett. Unfortunately, the hopes which were then raised were not fulfilled; but the avowed reason given by the majority for refusing to endow the professorship was, that it was the duty of the Crown to endow it. He believed he was perfectly right in stating, on the authority of the public prints, that in the language used by the majority that was assigned as the prominent reason for the adverse vote given. He had accepted that explanation in all sincerity, and in order to remove the difficulty had introduced the present Bill. There were, he admitted, at the outset grave and considerable difficulties. He had not the least objection to discuss them. But let them proceed in all honesty:—if they disliked the Bill, let them consider whether it ought to be rejected or not; but if their Lordships were of opinion that the Bill should pass as the smaller of two evils, why, then he would beg of them to swallow the dose with a good grace. Let them come now to the consideration of the main merits of the case. The noble Lord who had presented petitions on the subject (Lord Lyttelton) would pardon him for saying that he thought if he had read one of them he would not have presented it. He had no doubt that the petitioner was a clergyman entitled to extreme respect; but the first I part of his petition was full of lachrymose complaints because his own merits had not been rewarded by a canonry, and the second contained an expression of his extreme indignation that part of the preferments of the Church should be tied up to a Professorship at Oxford, with the almost certain result of branding the office with the stamp of comparative mediocrity. The reverend petitioner was of opinion that an office which would be confined to ecclesiastics would be branded with the stamp of comparative mediocrity! He (the Lord Chancellor) had not the smallest apprehension that if it should happen once out of 500 times that it would be proper to have a layman professor, the difficulty would be met by the University or by the Crown. If the House would permit this Bill to go into Committee, he would take the opportunity of explaining, even for the second time, the nature of one or two Amendments which he intended to propose. He proposed, if any one college should endow the Professorship of Greek, that the canonry with which for the time being the professor should be endowed should be attached to the headship of the college, In introducing that subject, he had referred to the new statute of the College of Corpus Christ. Corpus Christ College was one of the earliest foundations of the University, and the founder, in the quaint language of the time, expressed his desire that part of the revenues of the College should be devoted to the endowment of public lecturers in Latin and Greek. If the College revenues increased sufficiently, the Professorship of Latin was to be endowed with £600 a year; and he (the Lord Chancellor) consequently thought that the endowment of the Greek Professorship should in like manner be £600. Now it would, he thought, be a small thing to carry that statute into effect; and in the expectation that the authorities would do so he had introduced a clause which would have the effect of annexing the canonry to the headship of the College, if the College should carry out the statute by endowing the Professorship with the appointed income of £600 a year. His noble and learned Friend (Lord Chelmsford) had said that those canonries ought to be the reward of great services in the Church; and in that he (the Lord Chancellor) quite concurred. He quite admitted that they might be appropriated by a new law and by new regulations to more useful purposes than they served at present. But he must take them as they were, as they had been for a considerable period, and, so far as could be seen, as they were likely to remain; and, he asked, was there any purpose by which the cause of religion or education could be better promoted, by which meritorious clergymen could be better rewarded, than by making use of one of those canonries to induce them to attend to the duties attaching to this public Professorship, and which until lately had never been discharged? In deference to the suggestion of the right rev. Prelate, he should propose that at present the canonry annexed to the Professorship should be a temporary annexation, and that the canonry should ultimately be one in the cathedral church of Bristol. He trusted that their Lordships would accept this Bill in the spirit in which it was offered—namely, a desire to promote the interests of the Church and of learning, of fulfilling a great want and pressing obligagation that lay upon the University and the Crown.


said, that the recommendation of his noble Friend (the Earl of Derby), that a little longer time should be given for the consideration of this Bill, was so reasonable that he would move that the Committee he postponed for three weeks. He could assure the noble and learned Lord that he made this Motion in no spirit of antagonism to the Bill. The more he considered the measure, however, the less he liked the mode in which this endowment was carried out. There were three parties whose interests were involved —the Cathedral Church, the church generally, and the University. Many changes; had been made of late years in capitular endowments, and residence had been very properly made more obligatory upon the canons. In the next place, canonries were no longer treated as sinecures, but as offices tending to develop the efficiency of the cathedral endowment, and making the cathedral the centre of the diocese. What was the ease of the cathedral church of Rochester? There were four canonries, one of which was appropriated to the Provost of Oriel. Each canon had three months' residence, and it was clear that the long vacation was the only time of the year when the Provost of Oriel could be in residence. If, however, there were to be two canonries of this kind it was impossible the terms of residence could be complied with. The noble and learned Lord proposed that a canonry of Rochester should be temporarily annexed to the Professorship— [The LORD CHANCELLOR: If it be vacant]—and then afterwards to attach the canonry of Bristol permanently to the professor's chair. But was that a satisfactory mode of dealing with the question? It might be many years before the canonry at Bristol fell vacant; and meanwhile, Parliament was called upon to enact that which was anomalous, inconvenient, objectionable, and contrary to the whole spirit of recent legislation. With regard to the interests of the Church generally he objected to withdraw the few rewards that now remained for zealous and hard-working clergymen, especially as a great many of the canonries were already annexed, so to speak, to offices foreign to the cathedrals, or at all events having no direct connection with them. Then, with respect to the interests of the University itself, there was one point which had not yet been touched upon. By the University Act, passed eight or nine years ago, a great change had been made in the whole character of the lay schools of the University. Up to that time almost the whole of the fellowships were held by clergymen, but a great change had since been made, and half the fellowships were now not only tenable, but were actually held by laymen. By this Bill their Lordships were asked to deprive a moiety of the intellect of the University of their fair share in the rewards they formerly enjoyed. For these reasons he trusted that the Bill would be postponed.

Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and insert("this Day three Weeks.")— (The Earl of Carnarvon.)


said, he greatly regretted that the Lord Chancellor had not acceded to the proposal of his noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) to withdraw the Bill for the present year, because the discussion had convinced him that the measure in its present shape ought not to pass. The Amendments to be proposed by the noble and learned Lord in no way touched the main objections to the Bill. He should certainly support the proposal of his noble Friend to defer the Committee on the Bill for three weeks, and would even venture to express his wish that it had been for three months. There was a very good attendance of their Lordships, the subject had been fully discussed, and the House was quite in a position to pronounce a decision.


said, that there was no use in postponing the Bill for three weeks, for at the end of that time the same questions would again arise. He believed that the Amendments of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack had been introduced with the best possible motives; but he did not think that they would remove the objections which existed. With the view of giving their Lordships an opportunity of saying whether they wished to proceed with the Bill upon the present occasion, he moved the Previous Question.

Motion objected to, and a Question being stated thereupon, the Previous Question was put, Whether the said Question shall be now put?


said, that if the proposal for an adjournment of three weeks had been accompanied by the assurance that the noble Earl believed that in the course of that three weeks any proposal would be made, or anything would occur, to render this Bill unnecessary, he would most gladly acquiesce in it; but if the real motive — but thinly disguised— were to defeat the measure by a Fabian policy, then he thought that it would be better to raise the direct issue on the Motion for the postponement of the Committee, and take the decision of the House upon it. But to put forward a specious proposal for adjournment, knowing all the time that the real intention was to do nothing in the interval, and that the Motion was a mere hollow pretence, was a proceeding which he trusted their Lordships would not sanction or concur in. There were objections to this Bill, no doubt. There were objections to everything; and all that could be done in this world was to accept whatever embodied the greatest amount of attainable good; and this condition, he submitted, was secured by the present Bill. He repeated that he would rather take the opinion of their Lordships at once whether they would proceed with the Bill or not.


thought the noble and learned Lord was scarcely courteous i in the way he had received the proposal of the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon). He did not gather from his noble Friend's speech that he had any other intention than to give the House, the country, and the University of Oxford further time for considering the Bill, in order to ascertain whether the objections might be removed, But it was not fair to call upon his noble Friend to give a promise, which it might not be in his power to fulfil, that in three weeks' time matters would be in a more satisfactory condition than they were now. He agreed, however, that a postponement for three weeks would be of very little advantage, because he believed that matters would then remain very much as they were now. The proposal he made was that the Bill should be withdrawn for the present Session, to give an opportunity of considering whether any satisfactory arrangement might be come to, and further time for all parties interested to give their attention to this very important question. He confessed that, in his mind, the subject was hardly ripe for treatment by their Lordships, and he thought the Previous Question moved by the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees afforded a very convenient method of pronouncing a decision, especially as that Motion, by the rules of the House, took precedence of all Amendments. If carried, it would have the effect of postponing the further progress of the measure indefinitely, at the same time that it would be competent for the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack to give fresh notice in case he thought it desirable to do so, and the postponement for the whole of the Session would not necessarily be involved.


said, he desired to state the grounds of his objection to this Bill. It seemed to him that there was one great principle which ought to govern all their legislation, except in cases where there was an evil so crying or of such magnitude as to be absolutely intolerable—and that was, that they should look more to the future than to the immediate present. If they were for a moment to abstract themselves from present circumstances, and to look to the future alone, there would appear such strong objections to this measure as to render it hardly possible for their Lordships to accept it. The simple ground upon which he felt a repugnance to the measure was that it appeared inevitably to have the effect of damaging the Greek Professorship of Oxford. It was impossible to say that the imitation of the Professorship to a single Class would not have the inevitable effect of lowering its value and its dignity. He was quite aware of the importance of those studies which it was the object of the Professorship to cultivate for the interests of he Church; but while he conceded that it was very important indeed that those he were destined for the clerical profession should have the best possible instruction that could be afforded in the University, he did not consider it as at all necessary for that purpose that the clergy should be the body which was to furnish the best possible instructor in those studies: on the contrary, he believed that the effect of annexing this Professorship in perpetuity to the clergy would be to prevent the possibility of being always sure that the best instruction would be obtainable. He was not insensible to the other considerations so eloquently urged in behalf of the measure; but his objection was that, if carried, it would have the effect of applying a remedy of a most unsatisfactory kind to an evil merely of a temporary character.


said, he felt, in common, probably, with a majority of their Lordships, considerable doubt as to the vote which he ought to give. He entertained great reluctance to support any Motion having the immediate effect of rejecting the Bill, lest he should become identified with opinions entirely repugnant to his own feelings. On the other hand, he could not be insensible to the objections raised to the measure. Understanding that there was a sum of money in possession of the College which might possibly be appropriated to the endowment, he thought three weeks by no means an unreasonable delay.


explained that the revenues of Corpus were not sufficient to endow the Professorship, and consequently that the sum of money referred to was not in existence.


said, the revenues of the College, although insufficient at the present moment, might hereafter become adequate for the purpose, and some information on the point would be very desirable.


said, he was anxious to guard against the supposition, in voting for the Previous Question, that he was at all desirous of defeating the object of the Bill. He gave the noble and learned Lord credit for the motive with which he had introduced it, but there were so many and such great difficulties in the way that he heartily desired further time for consideration, and he thought the Bill might be fairly postponed till next Session. He always looked forward to the probability of the endowment coming from the University itself.

On Question:—their Lordships divided: —Contents 25; Not-Contents 55: Majority 30.

Resolved in the Negative.

Westbury, L. (L. Chancellor.) Camoys, L.
Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)
York, Archbp. Dacre, L.
Devonshire, D. Dartrey, L. (L. Cremorne.)
Somerset, D.
Foley, L. [Teller.]
Normanby, M. Lyttelton, L.
Monson, L.
Cathcart, E. Ponsonby L. (E. Bessborough).[Teller.]
Clarendon, E.
De Grey, E. Seymour L. (E. St. Maur).
Ducie, E.
Granville, E. Suffield, L.
Saint Germans, E. Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll
Zetland, E.
Sydney, V. Wodehouse, L.
Canterbury, Archbp. Down, &c., Bp.
Armagh, Archbp. Ossory, &c., Bp.
Oxford, Bp.
Grafton, D. Rochester, Bp.
St. David's, Bp.
Bath, M.
Bristol, M. Helper, L.
Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery).
Airlie, E.
Amherst, E. Brodrick, L. (E. Midleton).
Carnarvon, E.
Derby, E. Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont).
Devon, E.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry). Chelmsford, L.
Churston, L.
Colchester, L.
Effingham, E. Colville of Culross, L. [Teller.]
Ellenborough, E.
Grey, E. Cranworth, L.
Hardwicke, E. Dunsany, L,
Minto, E. Egerton, L.
Nelson, E. Heytesbury, L.
Romney, E. Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Stanhope, E. Overstone, L.
Polwarth, L.
Clancarty, V. (E. Clanearly). Redesdale, L. [Teller.]
Rollo, L.
De Vesci, V. Silchester, L, (E. Longford).
Hawarden, V.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore). Stratheden, L.
Taunton, L,
Sidmouth, V. Wensleydale, L.
Strathallan, V. Wentworth, L. (V. Ockham).
Cork, &c., Bp. Wynford, L.

House adjourned at a quarter past Seven o'clock, to Monday the 23rd instant, a quarter before Five o'clock.