§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, that the object of the measure was to enable persons to share in the government of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge without any test as to their religious persuasion. In bringing forward such a measure he felt a very deep sense of responsibility. Having been himself educated at Oxford, and having a deep respect and regard for his University, he could assure their Lordships that he should not make such a proposition had he not come to the conclusion, after serious reflection, that it was calculated to improve and benefit both that and the sister University. He would first state to their Lordships the progress this measure had made in the other House. A Bill, not precisely the same as the present, and applying only to the University of Oxford, was introduced into the House of Commons in 1864, and passed a second reading by a small majority; but it went no further that Session. In 1865 it was introduced again with a similar result. In 1866 a Bill almost the same as the present was introduced, and passed its second reading by a majority of 114; but it was driven off to so late a period of the Session that it was unable to pass through its remaining stages. It was again introduced during the present Session, and so great was the progress which it had made in the opinion of Members of the House of Commons, that the second reading was agreed to without a division. In Committee a proposal was made which materially altered the character of the Bill, applying its provisions to the University of Cambridge as 44 well as to the University of Oxford, and that alteration was carried, in a House of more than 400 Members, by a majority of 83. The Bill came up to their Lordships, therefore, recommended by a very strong expression of opinion in the other House, and he was sure it would receive, under these circumstances, the fullest consideration from their Lordships. Now, at present, the state of the law on this subject was different at the two Universities. At Oxford, until 1854, all persons were obliged on matriculation to declare their unfeigned assent to the Thirty-nine Articles—clearly a most unwise requirement—but under the Act of that year that provision was abolished, and no religious test was imposed at matriculation or on taking the degree of B.A. On proceeding, however, to the higher degree of M.A., all persona were obliged to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles and to the tests imposed on clergymen, one of the oaths pledging them to use only the Book of Common Prayer in public service and in the administration of the Sacraments. They had also to subscribe to the Ratifications of the Thirty-nine Articles, one of which stated that Queen Elizabeth was Queen of France—a rather singular proposition. These tests were obviously intended for persons in Holy Orders only, and it could not be reasonable to require laymen to promise to use the Prayer Book in public service and in the administration of the Sacraments; and if, moreover, it was preposterous to require young men to subscribe the Thirty-nine Articles before taking their B.A. degree, it was equally preposterous to require them to do so on taking their M.A. degree. He maintained that absurd as it was to require young men to subscribe ex animo to the Thirty-nine Articles, which contained according to some 500, and according to others 900 distinct propositions on the most abstruse theological questions, it was not much less unwise to require such a test from laymen at any age. He believed there were many men who were attached members of the Church of England, but who were yet unable conscientiously to subscribe to everything contained in the Articles. At Cambridge the circumstances were rather different. Under the Cambridge University Reform Act of 1856, persons not belonging to the Church of England might proceed to the M.A. degree without any test; but before becoming Members of the Senate at Cambridge or of the governing body of the University, 45 they must subscribe tests which could only be taken by members of the Church of England; so that in effect no person could become a member of the governing body of either University without taking the test. Before discussing the objections to Dissenters being members of the governing body it was well to understand the nature of that body. At Oxford the principal governing body was the Hebdomadal Council, consisting of the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Proctors, six Heads of Houses, six Professors, and six elected members of Convocation; and it was a singular fact that several of the Professors were not required to take any test, so that, without being members of the Established Church, they might be elected to the Hebdomadal Council. The governing body of Cambridge only differed from that of Oxford in certain details. He might rest the defence of this Bill on the ground that it was not probable that any large number of persons not belonging to the Church of England would become members of Convocation, and that the infusion of so small a body of Nonconformists would not produce any material change. But he should not be dealing candidly with their Lordships if he did not say that the Bill rested upon a broader ground. The principle of the measure was that the great Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were, in fact, national institutions, and that they ought to be open without distinction of religious opinion to every subject of the Queen. To say that Nonconformists were dangerous persons and not fit to be entrusted with the education of youth at the Universities was an argument only intelligible of bygone times and not of the present day, when they had already broken down the system of exclusion, and Nonconformists and members of the Church had a right to be placed on an equality up to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. If they excluded Dissenters, it must be on the ground that the Universities were exclusively Church corporations. He, however, maintained that the Universities were essentially lay corporations. He would not assume, as some asserted, that the Nonconformists amounted to one-half of the population, for that was probably an overestimate; but they were a very important body in the State, comprehending many men of wealth and intelligence, and he believed it to be of great importance that they should have access to the Universities and be admitted to a share in their government. What were the dangers to be ap- 46 prehended? It was said that the Bill would interfere with the religious teaching of the Universities; but it did not interfere with the theological degrees or teaching of the Universities. The Bill was confined to the Universities properly so called, and did not interfere with the Colleges; and the government of the Universities still remained with Convocation, which consisted wholly of members of the Church of England. It was not essential that Examiners at Cambridge should be Masters of Arts; they might be Bachelors of Civil Law, and an Examiner might be a Jew or a heretic. He maintained that this Bill would be an advantage not merely to Nonconformists, but also to the Church itself. It would be a great advantage to the Nonconformists to be subject to the influences of the Universities. They would be brought into contact with bodies of a venerable character, and nothing would be more likely to remove that narrowness of opinion with which they were sometimes charged. The Bill would be an advantage, on the other hand, to the Church, because the contact with persons not of her communion would be sure to engender a more comprehensive spirit. He was afraid that the Bill was likely to be severely opposed; for, to his great regret, he found that the noble Duke the President of the Council, the Minister of Education of the present Government, gave notice the other night of his intention to propose the rejection of the Bill. He did not expect such a Motion from a Member of the Government, because the Government had offered no opposition to this Bill in the Commons; but now the President of the Council, specially charged with the education of the country, came forward and said on behalf of the Government that it was not fitting that the Universities should be opened to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, but that they ought to be maintained as narrow Church corporations on ancient Conservative principles. He believed that these narrow views were as much out of date in Church matters as in political legislation. He asked their Lordships to pause before they rejected this Bill. If they passed this Bill, and if there should come a time of danger to the institutions of the country, the Universities would be the rallying point of all that was good and wise; if, however, they rejected it now, he ventured to prophecy they would have to pass it in a short time, and then, instead of being regarded as a graceful concession, it would be held as inflicting a 47 humiliating defeat on the Church of England.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Kimberley).
§ THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
said, that the noble Earl had truly reminded their Lordships that the Bill proposed to re-open a question that had been very recently under their consideration. In 1854 an Act had been passed, after very mature deliberation, regulating the future government of the University of Oxford: in 1856 a similar Act was passed regulating the University of Cambridge; and both those Acts were based on the Report of a Royal Commission which had carefully inquired into all the changes that were necessary. Now, his first objection to this Bill was, that, after so short an interval as thirteen years in one case and eleven in the other, it re-opened questions which were then maturely considered, and asked Parliament to revoke its deliberate decision, and, to some extent, to stultify its previous legislation. The noble Earl had not brought forward a single argument for now propounding this measure. If it had been shown that circumstances had changed, and that a large number of Dissenters had entered, or were anxious to enter, the Universities, or if it had been shown that opinion had long been divided on the matter, their might be some justification for asking their Lordships to review their legislation on this subject. But the noble Earl had not been able to adduce any such reasons, or to show why any new system should be adopted, except that many Dissenters were anxious to obtain greater influence in the Universities, and chose to describe themselves as "branded" by being excluded from them. He wished to draw their Lordships' attention to what the noble Earl had said with regard to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The noble Earl had correctly stated the present position of the law. At Oxford no religious tests were required at matriculation, or on taking the Bachelor's degree in Arts, Law, or Medicine; but a test was required before taking the Master's degree, which conferred a seat in Convocation. At Cambridge the law differed in this respect—that the minor degree and the degree of M.A. might be taken without any test, and persons not members of the Church of England might even vote in the election of Members of Parliament for the University, but no one could be a Member of the 48 Senate without declaring himself a bonâ fide member of the Church of England. When this Bill was first introduced it was consequently confined to the University of Oxford, but it had since been extended to include Cambridge. It could not be pretended, therefore, that any stigma or brand was imposed on Nonconformists at Cambridge, and the existing system had worked perfectly well, for a large number of Dissenters were graduates, and Roman Catholics and Jews might also take degrees. Indeed, the debates in the other House in 1864, 1865, and 1866 turned wholly upon Oxford, and this was the first occasion on which, not content with making an important change in that University, the promoters of the Bill had extended its application to Cambridge, notwithstanding the opposition of a large majority of the members of that University. The Bill, as drawn, somewhat concealed its real purpose. It drew a distinction between offices tenable by laymen and those for which degrees in divinity were required, and it seemed unreasonable, primâ facie, to impose on laymen the same declarations as those imposed on clergymen. The real issue, however, which it raised, was not whether some of the tests related to events long past and required amendments in their terms, but whether persons not members of the Church of England, and, indeed, directly opposed to it, should be admitted into the governing body. The noble Earl (the Earl of Kimberley) had told them that the Colleges were not included in the Bill: now the fact of excepting the Colleges was a strong argument against the Bill, for why should the Universities be dealt with in a way different from that of the Colleges? According to Clause 3, if a Fellowship were attached to a Professorship in the University, a person admitted to the governing body might not be a member of the Church of England. When they came to consider what the effect of this would be upon the Convocation at Oxford, it was important to bear in mind what were the duties of Convocation, which was entrusted peculiarly with the whole government of the University. The object of this Bill was to introduce an alien body into Convocation, and to give them the rights and powers of interference with the government of the University. It was quite fair that the principle of the Bill should be raised; but it was also fair that the issue should be put clearly before their Lordships, and that upon that issue their Lordships' 49 decision should be based. In order to show the drift of the measure, he would read a few sentences from the speech of the very able Gentleman who introduced the Bill and had charge of it in the House of Commons. It would then be seen that the ground taken up by the promoters of the measure was not merely the admission of persons not connected with the Church of England to the benefits, powers, and privileges of the governing body, but also the abolition of all religious tests and teaching of whatever kind. The words of Mr. Coleridge were—It must be plain, I think, to any one who studios the signs of the times, and who lives at all amongst educated men, that the Church will be obliged greatly to widen her gates and largely to liberalize her tests if she is in any way to retain within her communion the substantial majority of men of religious feeling and religious thought. … Can any fair man doubt that already the Thirty-nine Articles are costing us dear?"—[3 Hansard, clxxxv. 1221–2.]Now, that was a fair position to take up, and the line of argument a fair one; but let it not be thought that the argument could be one-sided. It was the fashion of certain highly cultivated and intellectual people to object to religious tests, and to maintain that in these days, when thought ought to have a large amount of expansion, anything which should circumscribe religious opinion should be put an end to. But their Lordships should remember that if that were done in one direction it should be done in another. Their Lordships had been lately engaged in some warm debates on a subject which was now creating a great deal of interest throughout the country, and had heard language of a very fervid character from a noble Earl who was accustomed to urge the House with great eloquence to pass measures which should stay the influx of Popery into the Church of England, and prevent religious ceremonies gaining ground within her which were contrary to her doctrines and principles; but were their Lordships prepared to adopt the line of argument laid down by Mr. Coleridge, and to say that they would widen the gates of the Church of England, do away with the Thirty-nine Articles, and abolish religious tests—that they would do all this in one direction and not do it in another? He maintained that unless they upheld the essential features of the Church of England in the case of the Universities, any legislation on the subject of Ritualism 50 which might take place in consequence of the Report of the Commission would be at variance with the principles of justice. What would be the effect of admitting to the governing body of the Universities persons of different religious opinions? Was there anything more likely to excite religious discord and increase religious animosities? Could there be anything more detrimental, more poisonous to the state of society, than to have the governing body of the Universities composed of men of every variety of creed which was known to exist? There could be but one solution to the difficulty—the Universities would become purely secular institutions — if peace and harmony were to be secured they could be secured only on such a basis. But were their Lordships prepared to place those great institutions, which guided the minds of the youth of this country, on a purely secular foundation? He would put a case in point — they knew how great the influence of Dr. Newman was at Oxford in former years, and there had been a pet scheme in certain quarters to establish a Roman Catholic College in Oxford; the idea had been frequently mooted, and if facilities had been granted it might have been founded there. Let their Lordships conceive what would be the effect of this measure if Roman Catholics were admitted to the governing body:—for with respect to Dissenters he acknowledged that the case was different, because on the main principles of Christianity Protestants of all denominations were united—but let their Lordships contemplate the harmony which would be likely to exist when the principles of the Church of England and those of the Church of Rome were brought into antagonism in the governing body. He must further oppose the Bill because it was totally at variance with a principle which had always been upheld by the legislation of this country. Not very long ago the Act was passed relating to endowed schools and a great deal of debate arose on the subject. It was asserted with a certain amount of justice that, as these endowments were given in the first instance for the benefit of the Church of England, they should be appropriated to that purpose; but, on the other hand, it was not deemed fair to exclude children or other denominations from the advantages of the schools, and therefore in 1860 an Act was passed providing that persons not belonging to the Church of England might be ad- 51 mitted to the schools, but that none should become Governors unless they were of the religion of those for whom the schools were originally intended. That principle was also carried out with regard to the national schools. Where, in thinly peopled localities, there were not means for supporting two schools it had been thought fit to enable persons not belonging to the Church of England to benefit by the education of the Church of England schools, and to introduce the "conscience clause" for their protection. But had the question been seriously raised that persons not belonging to the Church of England should have any part in the direction of those schools which were mainly supported by the contributions of the members of the national Church? The same principle was applicable to the great Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He thought their Lordships would agree with him that this subject had not been well or happily brought forward. The state of things at Cambridge was a perfectly fair one; and there was no difficulty in acceding to the proposal that Oxford should be placed in the same position, so that persons should be able to take their M.A. degree without subscribing a religious test—subject, of course, to the condition that to enable any person to form part of a governing body of the University he must be a member of the Church of England. But the promoters of the Bill were not satisfied to accept this as a fair compromise, and showed their animus by including Cambridge in the Bill, though the system there was as fair as it could be consistently with the rights of the Church. He would only read in conclusion the statement made by the learned Gentleman who introduced this Bill into the House of Commons—a Gentleman of the highest honour and candour, who scorned not to make the House fully aware of its true objects and purposes. Mr. Coleridge said of the Bill on that occasion—But, on the other hand, I should not be dealing candidly with the House if I disguised from it that the Bill put forward a very important principle. It will establish the nationality of the University as against the Church of England; it will destroy its Exclusive character, and change its constitution.".—[3 Hansard, clxxxv. 1425–6.]It was because he was not prepared to advise their Lordships to change the constitution of our ancient Universities that he begged to move them to read this Bill a second time this day three months.
§ THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
said, that among those of their Lordships who were connected by office with the Universities, it was not improbable that he should be the only supporter of this Bill. It was with sincere regret that he found his opinion at variance with those which he had no doubt preponderated in the University of Cambridge, for it would be much more gratifying to him to support by his vote in that House the opinions entertained in the University upon any matters which were thought to affect its interest. With respect to the state of opinion in the University of Cambridge, one of the Petitions he had just now presented was from the University in its corporate capacity. That Petition met with no opposition, and must be considered as representing the sense of the authorities of the University. The other Petition was signed by 170 resident members of the University, and by twelve out of the seventeen Heads of houses. The whole number of resident members was about 280; that was the number on what was known as the electoral roll of the University. Thus, upwards of 100 resident members of the University had not signed the Petition. He did not mean to say that all those who had not signed it were in favour of the Bill. No doubt some might have been prevented by absence, and others might have formed no decided opinion upon the subject; but he believed he might say on good authority that two-sevenths of the resident members approved the Bill. Now, considering in how great a degree the resident members consisted of clergymen, and how easily, as all experience showed, the apprehensions of the clergy were excited upon any measure which in their view might possibly affect the privileges of the Church, he did not think that such a minority as he had described was either unimportant or insignificant. Now, what were the objections taken to this Bill? One had been alluded to by the noble Duke, and was put prominently forward in the Petition of the University. They complained that Parliament should think itself free to deal with this question at all. They urged that it was only a few years since the affairs of the University passed under the yoke, and an Act received the Royal assent, effecting considerable alterations in the constitution, the government, and the educational con- 53 cerns of the University generally; and they said they had a right to expect that Parliament would not again interfere in the affairs of the University. Now, to a certain extent, he was willing to admit the force of this objection. Upon this, as upon every other question, he thought that it was most undesirable to disturb, without very strong reasons, arrangements which were considered at the time to be a settlement of any question, and which were accepted as such at the time by the parties concerned. He thought it would be very unreasonable and impolitic to introduce measures effecting alterations in the principal provisions of the Bills passed upon the subject of the University unless it could be shown distinctly that the intentions of Parliament at the passing of those Bills were evaded. But the question of the relations of Dissenters to the University appeared to him to stand upon a different footing. It was not originally intended to include that subject at all in the Oxford and Cambridge Bill. When my noble Friend below me introduced the Bill, he said he was in favour of the admission, but thought it unadvisable then to deal with that subject. It was only by an Amendment introduced in the House of Commons that the subject was in any respect included in the Bill. The case of the University of Cambridge no doubt differed considerably from that of the other University. Larger concessions were made at Cambridge than at Oxford; but anyone who would read the debates at that time in the House of Commons would see that the arrangements made with respect to Dissenters were treated by all those who advocated their admission as altogether unsatisfactory, incomplete, and such as could not be regarded as a settlement of the question. It appeard to him, therefore, that so far as the admission of Dissenters to the University was concerned, Parliament was not precluded from again entertaining that question. But the principal objection made to the Bill, one which lay at the root of all the opposition to it, was that which had reference to the connection between the University and the Church. He was of opinion that that connection, as far as regarded the purposes for which it was valuable, would not be in danger of sacrifice by this Bill. What were the aspects in which the Church of England character of the University was particularly manifested? They appeared to him to be these:—The course of religious 54 services in the chapels of the several Colleges was, as far as he was aware, at Cambridge, at least, the only form of religious instruction required by the Heads of Colleges, and these were exclusively the Services of the Church of England. Again, there was the fact—a most valuable and important one in its influence on the whole nation—that a large proportion of the clergy of the Church were educated at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. With respect to the first point, the Bill would not have the slightest effect upon the Colleges; at least that was true in regard to the University of Cambridge, and he did not think it would have more operation in the Colleges of Oxford. So far as the provisions of the Bill extended, the Heads and Fellows of every College at Cambridge would still remain members of the Church of England. He did not wish to be misunderstood upon this question. He was not opposed to another Bill in the House of Commons, which had passed the House of Commons, and which, to a certain degree, repealed the Act of Uniformity, and it was quite true that if that Bill became law, the Colleges would be at liberty to propose Nonconformists to their Fellowships. It would be a wild and extravagant idea to suppose that the Church of England character of those Colleges would be appreciably diminished. The Colleges would be unaffected by this Bill, and there was not the slightest reason to suppose that the religious services of the Colleges would be in the slightest degree interfered with. This remark applied also to the question of young men designed for Holy Orders resorting to the Universities. Fortunately for the Church of England, their general education was the same as that of other young men; and it appeared to him impossible to conceive in what respect this Bill would operate so as to prevent their joining the Colleges. It was quite true there was a certain theological examination, but that was purely voluntary. It was said that the Bill struck a blow at the connection between the Church and University by admitting Dissenters to the governing body, and there seemed to be a mysterious notion of the mischievous influences which would be exerted by the presence of Dissenters in what was called the governing body. It was quite true that if the Bill passed Nonconformists would be admitted to the Senate of the University of Cambridge; he was not sufficiently acquainted with the University 55 of Oxford to say whether it would be the case there or not. No doubt, the Senate was the legislative body of the University, but it could only decide questions submitted to it by the Council of the Senate, and it therefore became important to consider how the Council was constituted. It was elected of Heads of houses and other members by what was called the electoral body, and this consisted almost exclusively of Fellows and Heads of houses. This Bill made no alteration with respect to the electoral body, which would consist, as at present, exclusively, or almost exclusively, of members of the Church of England. This was pretty good security that no Dissenting influence was likely to be felt strongly in the Council, and no measure would be entertained by the Senate which had not received the sanction of the Council. It was well known that non-resident members of the Senate did not take a prominent part in the affairs of the University, and that all practical questions affecting the regulation of the University were virtually decided by the resident members. Even if Dissenters were to become more numerous than there was any reason to suppose they would in the Senate, there was really no change in the religious character of the University which they could be desirous of affecting. The only subjects of a religious character which entered into the examination were the Acts of the Apostles and Paley's Evidences of Christianity; the examination in these subjects was very simple; a certain number of Dissenters passed it every year; and he was not aware that in a single instance any objection had been raised by a Dissenter. There was therefore really no great grievance to Dissenters in the character of the examination. The facts, then, were that Dissenters would not be able to exercise any great power in the Senate; and, if they could, there was not any object for which they would desire to exert it. Perhaps it might be urged as an objection against this Bill that it would remedy a merely sentimental grievance; but, if no mischief would follow from the admission of Dissenters, why were they to be placed in a position of inferiority? Unless mischievous consequences were likely to ensue from their admission, we had no right to expose them to inequality. In one of the Petitions from the University, reference was made to the Report of a Commission of Inquiry of the University of Cambridge, and a passage from that Report was quoted 56 in such a manner as to suggest that the Commissioners opposed their authority to this Bill. The Commissioners were very eminent persons, intimately acquainted with, and equally attached to, the University, and the passage of their Report referred to would hardly bear the construction put upon it. They said that the question of the relation of Dissenters to the University was not one upon which they were expressly called on to report, and they therefore confined themselves to indicating the principles on which the question ought to be considered. As this part of the Report possessed considerable importance, he would ask their Lordships' attention to this extract from it—Beyond this line there lies another and a larger question, on which we do not enter—namely, the expediency of admitting persons to degrees in arts, and law, and physic, who are not members of the Church of England. The subject would present comparatively few difficulties if it involved only the conferring of a certificate and title of academical proficiency. But the real difficulty lies in another point, whether the internal system of collegiate discipline and the course of academical administration could be so adjusted as to comprehend persons of different religious opinions, without the neglect of religious ordinances, the compromise of religious consistency, or the disturbance of religious peace. Not seeking to disguise our impression of the greatness of the difficulty, we yet desire to express our sense of the importance of the question itself. The University is a great national institution invested with important privileges by the favour of the Crown or the authority of the Legislature. It exercises a most extensive influence on the education of the higher and middle classes of the community, and, consequently, on the intellectual, moral, and social character of the nation. But its capacity of exercising this high prerogative fully and completely must depend on its keeping pace with the progress of enlightened opinion, and moving in sympathy and unison with the spirit of the age. It is one of the noblest characteristics of our times that the barriers which so long excluded so many of our fellow-subjects from the equal enjoyment of civil rights on account of differences in religious opinion have happily been removed by the prevalence of a generous and wise policy. The University will be placed more or less in a false position if it estranges itself from this great movement of liberal progress. There is a manifest and intelligible challenge to it to throw open the advantages of its system of education, under proper securities, as widely as the State has thrown open the avenues to civil rights and honours. Undoubtedly, many of the endowments of its Colleges are connected with the Church by links which it would be an injustice to sever. Its school of theology is identified with the Church and incapable of a separate existence. But as a great school of liberal education for the lay professions, for the pursuits of general literature and science, for the business and offices of active and public life, it should seem to be capable of a 57 freer range and a more extended usefulness without any compromise of duty or apostacy of principle. Were it to enter on this more open course in a spirit of generous magnanimity, it might draw to itself a yet larger measure of public sympathy and even find increased safety in thus identifying itself with the liberal policy of the age.Now, it certainly appears to me that that would be entirely in agreement with the objects of the present Bill. When they state that certain endowments were connected with the Church, it might not unfairly be inferred that there were other endowments which might, without injustice, be conferred upon Dissenters. There were various Professorships in regard to which it was impossible to assign any reason why they should not be open to Dissenters. Then, again, a member of the Senate had no endowment at all; and he did not believe that any of the persons who signed that Report would object to the admission of Dissenters to the Senate of the University. He might mention that two of the Commissioners were non-resident members of the University—namely, the noble and learned Lord the Master of the Rolls and Sir John Herschel; and he wished particularly to point out that the other Commissioners were men who had passed the greater portion of their lives in the University, and were therefore practically conversant with the details of the University system. The Chairman was the late Bishop of Chester, who had been tutor and subsequently Master of Christ's College. Dr. Peacock, the late Dean of Ely, also sat upon the Commission, as did also a gentleman still living—Professor Sedgwick, whose fame was sufficiently well known to their Lordships. He had been informed that the Professor cordially approved the present measure. It was important to recollect that the three Commissioners whom he had just referred to were gentlemen whose sincere attachment to the University was beyond all suspicion. He might likewise refer to the name of the Secretary to the Commission, and although, of course, it did not necessarily follow that the Secretary approved the Report in all respects, still it might be assumed that he agreed with it generally. The Secretary was Dr. Bateson, at that time Public Orator of the University, and now Master of St. John's College. He had no authority to state what opinion Dr. Bateson entertained in regard to this measure; but, at all events, his name was not appended to the Petition which had been presented against it. Now, it was alleged 58 by the Petitioners that the attempts to legislate on this subject had already produced mischievous consequences in the University; but could any one suppose that if the present measure were rejected by their Lordships the subject to which it related would be allowed to drop? No one who had paid careful attention to the history of the gradual removal of religious disabilities in this country could doubt that this question would be continually brought forward in the other House of Parliament, and few could entertain any doubt as to the ultimate result. The agitation said to have been already produced by this question would be increased rather than diminished by the rejection of this Bill. For his own part, he was convinced that the sooner this question was settled the sooner would the University relieve itself from the reproach of retaining a system of exclusiveness. For that reason he should give his vote most cordially in support of the second reading of the Bill.
THE BISHOP OF PETERBOROUGH
said, that, as no Member of the House had spoken from that Bench, he would venture, as one, the greater part of whose life—neither a short nor an inactive one—had been devoted to endeavours to implant the University more deeply in the affections of the people and to extend its influence, to claim a right to address their Lordships for a very few moments. Of the results of the endeavours in which he had co-operated he had no cause to be ashamed. The charge, in a great measure, of the character of the academical studies, the reform of the University itself, and the establishment of the middle class examinations, which showed how the University had won the confidence of the country, were matters in which he had been permitted to take a share. It was with regret, therefore, that he felt compelled to support the Motion of the noble Duke which tended to the rejection of the Bill. He had availed himself with satisfaction of the aid of Parliament on a former occasion; but the aid of Parliament was then given to remove shackles which the law had itself imposed. He desired that the University should have fair play, and that free scope should be given to the deep public spirit which he knew animated those who were regarded in some quarters as narrow-minded and bigoted. This he would have done, but the law had placed on the University and Colleges shackles which could not be removed without the 59 aid of Parliament. At one point, however, he was forced to stop. The Preamble of the present Bill resembled in some respects the Preamble of the Bill of 1854, but there were two words which had been rightly, honestly, but, he was grieved to say, necessarily omitted. The Bill which was introduced by the noble Earl opposite, the late Prime Minister, began with the same words as the measure now under discussion, "Whereas it is expedient," but it went on to say, "for the advancement of religion and learning." No one, however, could pretend to say that the present measure was intended to advance religion; indeed, the utmost that could be said of it was that it might, perhaps, not impede the progress of religion and learning. At that point, he was bound to stay his hand, and the hands of others if he were able to do so. Gladly would he admit more and more to the benefits of that University to which he owed all, and in particular the honour of addressing their Lordships; gladly would he extend to others what he valued so much himself, were he not restrained by the highest considerations for the interests of the University and of the Church of the country. The whole of the argument which had been adduced in favour of the Bill was based on a fallacy. It had been said that the Universities were national. Now, there certainly was a high and a great sense in which he, for one, would never disclaim their nationality, but the word "national" was very vague, and according to the maxim, Dolus latet in generalibus, perhaps it might be said that the Universities were national, because the nation was their parent, but he denied that they were national in that sense. Centuries and centuries ago, before the House of Commons was even thought of, and when their Lordships were only imperfectly sharers of the Government, voluntary associations of men repaired to the banks of the Isis and of the Cam, attracted bands of scholars around them, and admitted them, when sufficiently instructed, to the ranks and duties of teachers. Such was the origin of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge; such was the origin of degrees. The Universities of London and Durham, and other new creations, might owe their degrees to the favour of the Sovereign or of Parliament, but that was not the case with respect to Oxford and Cambridge. Then, were the Universities national in another sense? Were the Universities supported by the State? They 60 were not. Of themselves they were not wealthy. The wealth they possessed was owing to their own frugality, to their own skill, to the way in which they had administered their affairs, and in a great degree to the endowments of the Professors, which he himself had joined in establishing. The Universities could not, therefore, in that sense be considered national. But did he disclaim their nationality in another sense? They overshadowed the nation, they tended to form the national character, and so far they affected the history of the world. They had devised a system of education which inquiry after inquiry had proved to be in the main the best and soundest yet devised. In that sense they were national, because they conferred benefits on the nation. If the Universities were great, they were great not because they were national, but they were national because they were great. Was he to question the right of Parliament to interfere with the Universities? He would do nothing of the kind. Their Lordships had heard that evening that the Legislature might do what it pleased. But the pleasure of Parliament was not caprice; its pleasure was to be limited by reason. Parliament might interfere with the Universities, as it had done before; but in doing so it ought to be guided by justice, prudence, expediency, and even delicacy. They had been interfered with advantageously; but let their Lordships call to mind the manner in which the noble Lord who had brought about the measures to which he was referring had acted in the matter. He wrote a letter to the Duke of Wellington, couched in the most courteous language, and acknowledging the great advantages which the Universities conferred upon the country. Further still, the Commissioners were appointed in a spirit of fairness, the University of Oxford having been requested to nominate one of them. Under the Government of Lord Aberdeen negotiations were carried on with the Universities, and when legislation had taken place the measures consequent on it were carried out in a spirit of fairness. The subject before their Lordships was not one which ought to be left to this or that individual Member of the Legislature. Any measure dealing with the Universities ought to be brought forward with the full sanction of Her Majesty's Government. Many of the flaws pointed out during the debate could be—and be believed, if the 61 Bill were rejected, would be—dealt with by the Universities themselves; and he, for one, would recommend them to take the matter into their serious consideration, and make such changes as might be thought desirable spontaneously, and with all the liberality that was consistent with their duty to God and the Church. He had, he thought, disposed of the argument that the Universities were national. Parliament had not founded them, nor had it given them their wealth. It could, however, interfere with them; but there was strong reason why it should not interfere with them in the manner proposed. It was said that the Bill would make but a very slight concession. If it would admit only a small number, as was contended, was it worth while—was it wise for that end to wound and irritate the feelings of the many? But would the result be small? Was the question at issue really that which had been brought forward? It was said that the effect of the measure would be the admission of certain Christian Nonconformists to the government of the University. But how stood the case? The scholarships, the prizes, the honours, and the first degrees, which were the only test of merit, were open to all men without distinction of creed, or nation, or colour. But they were told that not to throw open Convocation was to put a brand upon the Nonconformist. That view he considered could not be sustained. Was a brand put upon him (the Bishop of Peterborough) because he was not allowed to interfere in the government of Maynooth College? Surely the term was too strong for the occasion. It was no hardship for a man to be excluded from the management of a body whose creed was entirely different from his own. But in fact the test did not exclude the great body of Wesleyan Methodists, the Presbyterians of Scotland and Ireland, and many other Dissenters. It did, however, exclude those who rejected Christianity altogether in its essence. The abolition of the test would, in point of fact, be the removal of every obligation to profess any creed whatsoever. If it were abolished, a Professor might stand forward and avow any of the forms of unbelief which were included in the materialistic philosophy which prevailed in many of the Universities of Germany. Would they like their sons to be educated in a University where one Professor could as freely deny the existence of a God as another could denounce the Episcopal government 62 of the Church? They were told that Democracy and Conservatism were now synonymous terms,—and he was willing to admit the new political nomenclature. It should be remembered, however, that there could be a good and a bad democracy; it might be a wise form of government, respecting institutions and over-rating that which was venerable. On the other hand, it might be a malignant and destructive form of government, but sure he was that if the new form of government were to prosper it would respect bodies like those on whose behalf he pleaded. It would be tender, and even indulgent towards them, and venerate those great truths which were the glory of the nation.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
said, he had heard with surprise and regret the speech of the noble Duke the President of the Council. The Bill under consideration having passed its second and third reading in the House of Commons unopposed by the Government, he had, until he heard the remarks of the noble Duke, been under the impression that the Government agreed with its principle. He hoped they would hear from some Member of the Government whether the Cabinet were united in their opposition to the Bill, or whether the noble Duke had merely expressed his own individual opinion. If the Government were opposed to the measure they ought to have come forward in the House of Commons and stated their objections to it. They did not, however, think fit to do so. They did not divide against the Bill, but allowed it to pass; and it was therefore a not unnatural conclusion that the Cabinet approved of its provisions. He had also listened to the speech of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) with deep regret. He alluded to the progress of Democracy, but the conclusion which he (the Duke of Somerset) would draw from the increase of Democracy was, that if, after the new franchise came into operation and large masses of the working classes were admitted, the same Liberal ideas prevailed in the country that prevailed now, they would not long be able to resist the measure which was now proposed. The political power which they were now about to give so largely to the working classes would vastly increase the power of Dissenters in England. These were a body that were peculiarly apt to act together on political questions, and the result would be that they would not rest satisfied till this question, on which they felt so strongly 63 was settled. Was it wise, then, to unite the poorer class of Dissenters against them in a matter of this kind? It would, he contended, be wise to allow Dissenters the privileges which this Bill proposed to give them, and thus encourage them rather to support than to seek to destroy the institutions of the country.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
said, his chief object in rising was to call the attention of the House to certain remarks that had been made on a former occasion in reference to the Act of 1854. It was truly observed by the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Devonshire) that when that Bill was originally introduced to Parliament by the noble Earl opposite it did not contain any provisions for the admission of Dissenters, and it was also correctly remarked by the noble Duke that the admission of Dissenters was provided for by a clause moved by Mr. Heywood in the House of Commons, and inserted in the measure. The noble Duke went on to say that the admission provided for in that Act was not at the time regarded as satisfactory. Now, it so happened that that Bill was one of the first measures which he (the Earl of Carnarvon) took some share in debating in Parliament, and he could say that both the supporters and the introducers of that Act disclaimed in the most distinct manner any intention of interfering with the government of the Universities, which was in the hands of the members of the Church of England. He had been looking into the debates that took place at that time, and he had marked some passages in three speeches which he desired to bring under the notice of their Lordships. The first was contained in a speech of Mr. Gladstone, who introduced a Bill into the House of Commons. That right hon. Gentleman said—I hold that the discipline and government of the University of Oxford is, and should be, in conformity with the principles of religion held and taught by the Church of England.The second was to be found in a speech delivered by the noble Earl opposite (Earl Russell) who said—The governing body of the University and the Colleges should be composed of those who belong to the Church of England.The third was in the speech of a noble Duke not now present, and whom he could consequently mention—the Duke of Argyll—who said—It appeared to him that in this clause the entire governing and teaching powers of the University of Oxford were carefully preserved; and, 64 so long as that was the case he had the most thorough and sincere conviction that these extensions would tend to strengthen the bonds of the Church of England." — [3 Hansard, cxxxiv. 1364–5.]He read these extracts to show what opinion was held on this matter by those who were responsible for the Act of 1854. He thought the University of Oxford had cause to complain that after that Act was passed she was not to be allowed sufficient time to work out the constitution then given to her. It was given to her, and she accepted it in perfectly good faith, and she had since acted with the bonâ fide intention of giving effect to it. The introduction, therefore, of these small Bills was to be deprecated; for after all they only touched a small portion of a large question, which nearly every one admitted should be dealt with not piecemeal but as a whole. Instead, however, of such a policy as that being pursued, they had Bills introduced year after year touching this point and that point separately, and it was impossible to say what would be the result if such a course were insisted upon. It was not fair to deal with the Universities in this way; any institution would have a right to complain of the constant recurrence of these small Bills, à fortiori, a great seat of learning, whose whole course of study and discipline ought to be as little disturbed as possible. Paradoxical as it might seem, the Bill was open to objection, both as being too small and too large. The Bill had been described as raising a great principle—the nationality of the Universities against the exclusiveness of the Church of England. He thought that a great question of this kind ought not to be raised upon such a measure. There were two or three Bills before the House of Commons dealing with some other part of the University question, and it was only right and reasonable that their Lordships should have these Bills before them, so as to deal with them altogether. If, on the other hand, this was the small question it had been represented by some to be, then he maintained that the course of academical studies ought not be disturbed except on some case of urgent importance. Under these circumstances, he hoped their Lordships would pause before they gave the Bill a second reading. A noble Lord had told their Lordships that the prospects of Reform made it desirable to settle this question. If the passing of this Bill would effect the settlement of this question, it would be a strong reason in its favour; 65 but the Bill only touched one point in the University question, and could not be expected to lead to its settlement. Their Lordships had now before them a Bill which, whether for good or for evil, effected an enormous and gigantic change in the Constitution of the country. The present measure, however, belonged to a large class of questions which would have to be considered by the new lights and the new conditions of a new Parliament. He strongly deprecated their coming, then, to any decision upon the subject at what he might call the close of one Parliamentary dispensation and the commencement of another.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said, that the present Bill affected the University of Oxford, and, as he was one of their Lordships who had been most lately a resident of that University, he wished to say a few words. When a measure was brought forward, on the acceptance or rejection of which depended the extension or contraction of the University, he thought that all who loved and reverenced her were bound to come forward and raise their voices, however feeble they might be, in her behalf. The Bill was in harmony with the legislation of the last thirty years, which had all tended to the abolition of penal laws, and the removal of religious disqualifications. Echoing the sentiments which had been expressed on the other side of the House, he appealed to their Lordships not to stultify themselves, but by passing this measure to adhere to the course which they had hitherto pursued with so much honour and so much success. He denied that the Universities could be in any sense of the term regarded as national institutions so long as they confined their benefits to members of the Anglican Church. The resident members of Convocation might have petitioned against the Bill, but all the members of that body were not ecclesiastics, and every Master of Arts had a right to express his opinion upon the subject. It had been said that the existing test did not exclude Presbyterians from the benefits of the University; but he was acquainted with the case of a Presbyterian who was excluded because he could not conscientiously sign the Thirty-nine Articles. The noble Duke (the Duke of Marlborough) told their Lordships that Parliament had legislated on this subject in 1856, but had not public opinion changed since 1856? Had it not changed since last year? Had it not even changed during the present 66 Session, during a period of ten minutes? Then it was said that the Bill would interfere with the religious education of the Universities. But did the members of the University ever receive any religious education from the University as such, beyond attending two or three University sermons and being examined two or three times in the schools? Then, too, an attempt was made to frighten them with the old cry that the Church was in danger, and the wedge — the thin end of which it was said, they desired to insert—was burnished up and brought forth shining and glistening as if it had never been used before. Was it to be believed that the very strongest Establishment that this world had ever known, and which had been in existence for 300 years, was to be afraid of a few Dissenters? It could not seriously be argued that by admission of a few Dissenters to the governing body, or even to Fellowships, the existence of the Church of England would be imperilled. It seemed to be assumed that there was some necessary connection between the Church of England and the Universities, but the testimony of lawyers was against the theory that the latter were ecclesiastical foundations. No doubt it was desirable that the clergy should be educated there; but unfortunately the word "literate" now very frequently occurred in the list of persons admitted to Holy Orders. To object to the admission of Dissenters argued either fear or exclusion for exclusion's sake. On the former hypothesis there must be some intellectual inferiority in members of the Church of England, which he entirely denied: the latter involved the principle of protection, which had been abandoned in every other department. He asked who had petitioned in favour of the Bill? Were there not among them some of the greatest and most learned men the University of Oxford had ever known? Had their Lordships put before themselves the injustice which now existed? A Churchman and a Nonconformist entered College together, competed together for College and University prizes, entered the schools together, took their B.A. degree together, and it was only when the crowning of their academic career came—in virtue of no merit or examination, but merely of the lapse of a certain number of terms—that the University made a difference, receiving the conforming Anglican lamb within the fold, and leaving the Dissenting goat to wander in the wilderness. Let them take 67 care that by refusing to deal with this question now they did not hand it over to those who would force upon them a stronger measure, in which the Colleges as well as the Universities might be concerned. Let them not by their vote to-night prevent the University of Oxford from becoming truly national. She asked them to take away that restriction which alone prevented her from being so; she asked them to open her doors, and to allow them to remain open to the admission of all. He disclaimed all party feeling on this question, and indeed he believed that neither side of the House regarded it in that spirit. If this Bill were rejected those who supported it must proceed to attack the citadel itself, confident that success would attend them in the end, and that they would one day find the doors opened and the flag pulled down. In conclusion he implored them not to reject this Bill, which he looked upon as one of the most important of the Session.
§ LORD ARUNDELL OF WARDOUR
, as holding the principle of a State-Church, felt bound to adhere to that principle alike when it operated for and when it operated against him. The Bill might benefit a perhaps increasing number of Catholics, but he should never ask for any concession which he should be unprepared to make in his turn to others. On the broad question his principles were substantially identical with those of noble Lords on that (the Ministerial) side of the House. It was only fair to noble Lords on the other side to say that if the case were reversed he could not vote with them.
THE DUKE OF ST. ALBANS
said, that he could speak for this cruel instrument of moral torture from his own knowledge of its working at the University of Cambridge. He could remember there one instance of a student who took high honour in mathematics, another who gained the first degree in the same science—the Senior Wrangler of the year. These gentlemen should have received the final rewards as students, rewards in which their Colleges as well as themselves were interested. But one held the tenets of the Baptists; the other was a member of that other communion which was acknowledged by the Crown and Parliament as that of the State across the Northern border. The tests stood before them to debar their further advance, with the bribe of worldly advantages and its threat of worldly degradation, to tempt them to lie to their God and themselves. He could 68 well remember, on account of the painful impression it made on the minds of their fellow-students, for further advancement to them was impossible, how they went away with the slur of Nonconformity and eccentricity, and took from the scenes of their early triumphs that excellence which would have had its scope there so usefully. Were they likely to be better friends of the Church of England? Mr. Goldwin Smith said—By tyrannizing over conscience you can hardly fail to arouse a rebellion against your tyranny, which will probably be carried by the sense of wrong far beyond the bounds of rational resistance.The Halls and Colleges of the two Universities, like other establishments of the kind, owed their existence to the piety of impiety of persons of former times. The clergy, then the only educated class, became their natural heads, and these great centres of national education, if not originally granted, lapsed to the Church. But at the present day the laity, as a body, were in advance of the priesthood, even on their own subjects. He would remind those who claimed the Universities for the Church of England, on account of the gift and intention of the founders, that if this were to hold good the Church of home should have more than half the Colleges. The question really which this Bill involved was—did the Universities belong to the Church or the nation? If they were to be national, Anglican tests should be abolished, and their duty be national. If they were to be looked upon as a means for propagating Anglican opinions, they should impose their tests at the commencement and not at the end of the academic career. Goldwin Smith asked—Is it to secure unanimity of opinion on religious subjects in the Universities you impose these tests?In truth, the greatest diversity existed in Cambridge and Oxford, and it existed also in the Church of England, in spite of all these tests. He would go further, and ask if the right rev. Bench itself was marked by such unity? But if the danger was said to be the opening of the Senate, the governing body of the University, to Dissenters, he frankly confessed he did not consider an entire clerica Government a wholesome one. At Trinity College, Cambridge, the pensioner who was lowest in the social grade of under-graduate life redeemed his presence at the College chapel by a fine of money. The 69 soul of the fellow-commoner was priced more highly; while the nobleman's salvation was commuted at the highest price. It would surprise their Lordships to learn that the great College of Trinity, with all her lands and all her wealth, stooped to increase her stores by a fine for non-attendance at the holy Communion, which was levied on all—Christian, Jew, or infidel. All that was proposed by this Bill was to remove tests imposed by political power on candidates for literary and scientific degrees, This Bill had received very careful attention in "another place," and without presuming, as one of the younger Members of their Lordship's House, to seem to impugn their right of discussion, he should be sorry if the country were led to the belief that those Bills which had in view the removal of religious intolerance had no chance in that House.
§ EARL STANHOPE
said, that in the interesting speech of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Camperdown), which they had heard with much pleasure, he was surprised to hear him ask what Petitions had been presented against the Bill. The noble Puke the Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (the Duke of Devonshire) might have supplied him with an answer, for it might be remembered that he had presented a Petition, not merely from individuals, but from the University of Cambridge as a corporate body, against the Bill.
§ THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said, that the question he had asked was not who had petitioned against the Bill, but who had petitioned in its favour—whether eminent men, both at Oxford and Cambridge, had not done so?
§ EARL STANHOPE
was sorry to have heard the noble Earl imperfectly. As regards the Petition which he had last mentioned, and which had been presented by the noble Duke, he was far from saying that the wishes of the Universities were to be held as absolutely conclusive on the question; but he would say that when the wishes of the Universities had been publicly and deliberately expressed to both Houses of Parliament it behoved their Lordships to see that, without grave cause, those wishes were not set at nought. In his early days when they were discussing a Reform Bill he remembered that great objection was taken to those who wished to proceed slowly, and they were called "bit-by-bit Reformers." Now he objected to the system of bit-by-bit Reform with 70 respect to the two Universities. Like a noble Friend who had spoken before him (the Earl of Carnarvon), he maintained that if they wished to deal with the question of religious disabilities in the Universities they ought to deal with it as a whole, and not from year to year and bit-by-bit. He would not deny that a change in the tests might be made with great advantage. He would admit that with certain guards and limitations to be carefully defined, various academical degrees might be fairly open to those who had not subscribed the religious tests. But this Bill made no distinction, and was liable to the charge of opening the government of the Universities to those who were not Members of the Church of England. The noble Duke who had spoken last (the Duke of St. Albans) asked to whom should the Universities belong—to the nation or to the Church? He answered—to both. To the Church as well as to the nation, because it was the national Church. He maintained that, as long as they recognized an Established Church the government of the two Universities should not be dissociated from the principles of that Church. The noble Earl, to whose speech he had before referred, pointed out how strong the Church of England was; but if the noble Earl only considered the divisions with which it was threatened from within and the many enemies that assailed it from without, he might perhaps come to the conclusion that he had over-rated its strength. In his opinion, all reforms obtained from the body itself which was the subject of reform were more stable and satisfactory than any which were forced upon it from without. Now there was no reason to suppose that the two Universities would not even willingly and gladly relax their rules, so far as they could do so, short of surrendering the control of the governing party. It must be remembered that a new constitution was given to each of these Universities no very long time since, and it was unjust to assume, so shortly after their new constitution, that they were indisposed to accept any practical improvements that could be suggested. He had some little experience in these matters, since during a short period he had the honour to act as an Examining Tutor in one of the public schools at Oxford. He had always found on the part of the University authorities an anxious desire to adopt measures of a liberal and progressive character, short of surrendering the 71 University to the sway of those who dissented from the doctrines of the Church of England. Was this unreasonable? Could their Lordships wish that the Universities should be dis-associated from the Church of England? While admitting that there were points which he was willing to concede, and relaxations which might properly be made, he believed that the Bill required much more deliberate attention than it had hitherto received. He regretted that the proposal to assimilate, in the first instance, the system of the two Universities, which was a just and politic proposal, had been so coldly received. Without denying, therefore, that improvements might be safely made, he trusted that their Lordships would not sanction the second reading of this Bill, and he should be prepared, without any hesitation, to vote in opposition to it.
§ EARL RUSSELL
I wish to state as shortly as I can the reasons upon which I shall vote in favour of this Bill. I agree in thinking that there is considerable difficulty in dealing with a question of this kind, which is brought before the House fragment by fragment, and when we do not know the extent to which the House of Commons proposes to go. This Bill has passed the House of Commons with the general assent of a large majority of the House, and with the tacit consent of the Government, though it is met here with a decided negative from the noble Duke the President of the Council. Every noble Lord, therefore, must consider to what principles he will adhere with respect, not only to this Bill, but to other Bills of this kind. In former days, at the beginning of last century, a most able book was published by Dean Stanhope as to the principles on which the Legislature should act; and he used able arguments to show that men should not be admitted to seats in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, or to offices under the Crown, unless they belonged to the Church of England; because, if they did not, there could be no reliance on their support of existing institutions. But, my Lords, able as that argument was, and much as it prevailed for some time, it has been broken down—first, by the admission of Protestant Dissenters into the House of Commons; next, by the declaration of Parliament that Protestant Dissenters should be admitted to office; next, by the measure which admitted Roman Catholics to office and to Parliament; and lastly, by the admission 72 of the Jews and the relaxation of the oaths which placed certain very offensive restrictions upon the Roman Catholics. Having proceeded thus far, I think it is necessary for us to consider, having entirely abandoned these principles of the last century, upon what principles we are to stand at present; and, in considering this, it seems to me that you cannot stop short of this principle—with regard to everything that is properly and strictly ecclesiastical, you must leave the Church of England untouched and unaffected, in order that it may be maintained and preserved; but with regard to those institutions which are not properly ecclesiastical, which are more of a lay character, and which ought to be for the general benefit, in that case you should give the nation the advantage of those institutions, and should not confine them to any class. Looking, then, at the Universities from this point of view, I cannot adopt the principles laid down by the right rev. Prelate. I find that in former times the Universities followed the rule I have mentioned. In the reign of Edward VI. they were Protestant. When Queen Mary came to the Throne the Heads of Houses were immediately changed, and Roman Catholics were appointed. When Queen Elizabeth succeeded, those in turn were ejected, and Protestants were put in their places. So again under the Commonwealth, not a member of the Church of England but Dr. Owen, an eminent Presbyterian theologian, governed the University. I should say that the spirit of the age, and the principles upon which Parliament has acted in the present day, require that, in case of all civil institutions, persons of different religions should have perfect religious liberty, and should enjoy all the benefits which can be conferred by these institutions. In the case of such an office as that of Dean of Arches, who may be called on to decide questions relating to the Church of England, it may be quite right that the most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) should choose the person whom he thinks most fit to be intrusted with those duties, it is certainly a part of the University system that theological instruction should be given, but it is not the main feature of the Universities even as they stand. While the religious instruction is strictly confined to the Church of England, very little of such instruction has been given. For my own part, I do not think that it is well to prevent Roman Catholics and Dissenters from 73 attaining all the honours due in the University to industry and learning; it is invidious—it is grating, and most objectionable in point of feeling, to say that they shall not enjoy all the honours and all the privileges, exclusive of ecclesiastical honours or trusts, which the University can confer. It is in that way, and in that way only, that these Universities can become national I admit that the principle goes further than the present Bill, but not further than the intentions of Mr. Coleridge. The noble Duke the President of the Council, who moved the Amendment, read a declaration of Mr. Coleridge, and ended by saying, "From that declaration I entirely dissent;" I, on the other hand, to that declaration of Mr. Coleridge give my full and entire assent. If a Dissenter attains to classical eminence, he ought to be allowed to become a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and I do not see that in doing so it is incompatible with the interests of that institution, or even with its high reputation in England find the world. I should wish to see, either on the suggestion of Mr. Coleridge, or by the assistance of the Government, something like a system framed and passed by the House of Commons, so that we could say "Aye" or "No" to it. I can find nothing in the way of obstacle to Bills of this kind in what the right rev. Prelate said when he affirmed that the endowments of these institutions had not come from the State. There may be some truth in the allegation that these endowments were left for purposes to which they are not now applied. Taking it as a question of the wills of founders, I am reminded of a remarkable discussion which took place in the House of Commons between two Friends of mine, Sir Robert Inglis and Mr. Sheil—"You surely would not depart from the wills of the founders?" said Sir Robert Inglis. Mr. Sheil thereupon went into the Library and returned with a large volume from which he read the directions in the will of William of Wykeham respecting New College at Oxford. One of these directions was that four or six of the brethren on certain days were to pray for the soul of the founder. Mr. Sheil said—You must attend to the wills of the founders, or what becomes of the will of William of Wykeham?Sir Robert Inglis had an answer to that, and that answer is, I think, applicable to the present time. He said— 74There was a great change of opinion in England, and a Reformation took place, and so made it necessary and made it right to act in a way different from that indicated in the will of founders.I believe that was a good defence, and I say, in a similar spirit, that the times are changed; that now there is a wish that these institutions, which can be properly lay institutions, should be no longer the monopoly of the Established Church, but should be thrown open to the laity of England. If I am right in that—if that change has taken place, the House of Commons will be right in sending up Bills of this nature, and we shall be right in supporting them. It would be more convenient to have them altogether, and I should wish to have them together; but, together or separately, I must maintain the principles of civil and religious liberty which, I think, are involved in this Bill, and I should go contrary to my principles and convictions if I voted against it.
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
said, he could not give a silent vote. While as a Dissenter he felt grateful for the relief which the Bill proposed to afford, he would warn their Lordships, lest in attempting to deal liberally they sacrificed a great principle. The second clause of the Bill provided that no person, on taking a public Professorship, should be required to subscribe to any article of faith, or to make any declaration on oath respecting his religious profession. For one, he would never cease to urge the necessity of maintaining some public recognition of religion in education. He was most hostile to a godless system, and was convinced that, if we did away with the test of religious belief, there was no knowing what mischief we should come to. Their Lordships would not expect him to be the apologist of the Church of England; but he thought they were bound, in the interests of the community at large, to see that there was a definite recognition of religion on the part of all who undertook to teach the youth of the country. There was no subject — except, perhaps, pure mathematics—in the teaching of which the mind of youth might not be more or less operated upon by a Professor. It was obvious that in history, geology, and many other studies, religious faith or the want of it in the Professor, might operate most mischievously upon students; and on this ground alone he must vote against the Bill.
said, the noble Earl 75 opposite (Earl Russell) had asked on what principle measures like the present would in future be opposed? He would reply, the principle was, that Dissenters should not belong to the governing body of the University. If, by the adoption of safeguards, Dissenters could be admitted to Fellowships, let them be admitted; but do not let every safeguard be abandoned. He looked upon principle as that which induced a man to suffer for his opinions. He much preferred to the noble Earl's family's original title to Woburn, the case of his own ancestor, of whom in a verse (with a fearful false quantity) it was written—Rectorem Ordsalia Maria regnante remotum,Restituit Princeps Elizabetha Gregi.He believed if Dissenters were to govern Universities and Schools, that such a scene as he had witnessed that morning (it being St. James's day), of the boys of the school where the noble Earl was educated attending Divine service, could not have taken place.
§ On Question, That ("now") stand part of the Motion? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 46; Not-Contents 74: Majority 28.76
|Devonshire, D.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)|
|Saint Albans, D.||Camoys, L.|
|Somerset, D.||Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)|
|Camden, M.||Cranworth, L.|
|Normanby, M.||Ebury, L.|
|Gage, L. (V. Gage.)|
|Abingdon, E.||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Dartrey, E.||Lyveden, L.|
|De Grey, E. [Teller.]||Monson, L.|
|Granville, E.||Overstone, L.|
|Kimberley, E. [Teller.]||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)|
|Minto, E.||Romilly, L.|
|Morley, E.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Russell, E.||Seaton, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)|
|Falmouth, V.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Stratheden, L.|
|Leinster, V. (D. Leinster.)||Suffield, L.|
|Chester, Bp.||Wentworth, L.|
|Canterbury, Archp.||Buckingham and Chandos, D.|
|Chelmsford, L. (L. Chancellor.)|
|Abercorn, M.||Boston, L.|
|Exeter, M.||Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)|
|Amherst, E.||Cairns, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Castlemaine, L.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Clarina, L.|
|Bradford, E.||Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)|
|Brooke and Warwick, E.|
|Cadogan, E.||Clonbrock, L.|
|Cardigan, E.||Cloncurry, L.|
|Carnarvon, E.||Colonsay, L.|
|Cawdor, E.||Colville of Culross, L. [Teller.]|
|Denbigh, E.||Crofton, L.|
|Devon, E.||Denman, L.|
|Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)||De Ros, L.|
|De Saumarez, L.|
|Home, E.||Digby, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Feversham, L.|
|Mansfield, E.||Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Nelson, E.||Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)|
|Romney, E.||Hay, L. (E. Kinnoul.)|
|Rosse, E.||Hylton, L.|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)|
|Tankerville, E.||Lyttelton, L.|
|De Vesci, V.||Raglan, L.|
|Hardinge, V.||Redesdale, L.|
|Hawarden, V. [Teller.]||Saltoun, L.|
|Templetown, V.||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.||Sondes, L.|
|Oxford, Bp.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Arundell of Wardour, L.||Thurlow, L.|
|Bagot, L.||Walsingham, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative; and Bill to be read 2a on this Day Three Months.