HL Deb 19 July 1869 vol 198 cc125-45

(The Earl Russell.)


Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


My Lords, I rise to move the second reading of this Bill, which was introduced into the House of Commons by my learned Friend the Solicitor General, but which is not a Government measure. The principal object of the measure is to remove the impediments that now stand in the way of those who cannot sign the Thirty-nine Articles, and which prevent their receiving the full privileges of the Universities. It is founded on the principle that the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham are national institutions, and that the whole nation is entitled to share in their benefits. There are two inconveniences and anomalies involved in the restrictions which now exist. One is that persons who cannot conscientiously subscribe to every one of the Thirty-nine Articles or to the whole of the Liturgy of the Church of England, are debarred from taking part in the government or teaching of the Universities; and the other is that those institutions are deprived of the benefit of having the best instruction which they might impart—for it is evident that the persons who are the best fitted may be excluded from Professorships on account of the religious opinions they happen to entertain. A man, for instance, may be a, very accomplished chemist, but not being able to subscribe to the whole of the Thirty-nine Articles, he would be ineligible for a Professorship. Now, in the opinion of the majority of the House of Commons, this restriction should be removed, and the whole nation should be admitted to the benefits and emoluments of the Universities. It is because I concur in that view that I invite your Lordships to give this Bill a second reading. The measure may be divided into two parts—one relating to the Universities and the other to the Colleges. With regard to the Universities, it sweeps away all the restrictions of the Act of Uniformity, and enables any person, without making any profession of faith, or signing any formulary, to obtain lay-degrees, and become a member of the Governing Body. With regard to Colleges, it leaves them to frame their own regulations. Now, as to the wills of the founders, it should be remembered that about twelve of the Colleges at Oxford were founded before the Reformation, and that the wills of the founders providing for the Roman Catholic character of those Colleges have been set aside. Fellowships both in those Colleges and in the Colleges founded after the Reformation are confined to members of the Church of England. Even if this Bill passed, it would be possible for the Colleges, either by their own existing statutes or by any new rules which they might make, to continue that restriction; for while with regard to the Universities the Bill is compulsory, with regard to the Colleges it is optional. I should not have thought it necessary to say more had not the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon) given notice of his intention to move the Previous Question. I cannot help saying that that is a rather unusual course. It is true that when a Resolution is proposed which persons may regard as inconvenient or inopportune, they sometimes move the Previous Question; but in the case of the second reading of a Bill on a subject which has for many years been almost constantly under discussion it seems to me to be an unusual and extraordinary course. In the Middle Ages it was natural, perhaps, that the Roman Catholic Church should encroach on territory which did not properly belong to it; and at the Reformation it was not unnatural that those who succeeded to the power of that Church should in a similar way encroach on the rights of the civil power. Many years ago no person could be married in this country except in accordance with the forms and ceremonies of the Church of England, and parents could not register the births of their children unless they had them baptized according to the forms of the Church. Those restrictions were usurpations upon the rights of the civil power, and as such they have been removed. Marriages can now be solemnized both in the places of worship of different denominations and by registrars, while registers of births are no longer confined to children who are taken to church to be baptized. Now, the present restrictions with regard to the Universities and Colleges appear to me to be likewise an interference with the civil rights of the nation, and that every subject of Her Majesty ought to have the right of the benefits of those institutions. That they were intended to be Church of England institutions cannot be maintained, for many of the Colleges were founded before the Reformation, and the rules which their founders laid down are totally inconsistent with those which are now observed; while the doctrines now taught are such as the founders would have entirely disapproved. Nor can it be maintained that those Colleges which were founded after the Reformation should be confined to the Church of England, for it is clear that they were intended for the benefit of the nation at large. My opinion with regard to this Bill, as with regard to many measures bearing upon religious freedom, that have been introduced into Parliament, since 1815, is, that it is a wise and statesmanlike course to adopt the forms of our ancient Constitution to the circumstances and requirements of the present day, and it is on that ground that I ask your Lordships to give your sanction to this Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a." —(The Earl Russell).


My Lords, the noble Earl seems to take some exception to the Notice I have placed on the Paper, that I should ask your Lordships to adopt the Previous Question. Now, I can assure him that in taking that course I intended no want of courtesy or conciliation—indeed, he must himself perceive that it is more courteous than if I had moved the rejection of the Bill—my only object is that further time may be given for the consideration of so important a subject. The noble Earl said—and I heard the statement with great pleasure—that this was not a Government measure; but the cheer which he drew forth from the Bench opposite indicated that it was not one displeasing to the Government. Now, I regret that the Bill should have been introduced at the present time. We have come nearly to the close of a Session which has been engrossed with a subject quite enough to occupy most men's minds—so nearly, indeed, to the close, that, as my noble Friend behind me (the Earl of Derby) remarked, it has been found impossible to take the opinion of the University of Oxford on this Bill. Yet the noble Earl has selected this occasion for bringing before your Lordships this very grave question, which affects not only the Universities but the Colleges, the Church of England, and the whole system of religious education in this country. The Bill, as the noble Earl has stated, is divided into two parts—the one affecting the Universities, the other the Colleges. As regards the Universities the Bill is compulsory, while as regards the Colleges it is optional. It throws open degrees, with some few exceptions, to persons of all religious opinions, and gives them the right of admission to the Governing Body. Now, I have long thought that the simple admission of all persons to academicals degrees is, comparatively speaking, free from objection; while, on the other hand, I have always felt that there are difficulties in removing the tests and subscriptions which limit admission to the Governing Body. I conceive that the system which is in force at Cambridge is a wise one and to be defended on reason and on sound principle. At the same time I admit that there has, of late years, been a growing feeling in favour of giving admission to the Governing Body to persons other than members of the Church of England. If, therefore, the Bill had stopped there I should have considered the question one fairly open to discussion, even at this late period of the Session. It goes, however, much further, for it deals, not merely with the Universities, but with the Colleges. Now, whatever discussion there has been in the House of Commons, I beg your Lordships to observe that the question of tests with regard to the Colleges comes before us for the first time. Is it fair, I ask, that so large a proposal should, for the first time, be submitted to your Lordships at this period of the Session, encumbered as we are with other important questions. The noble Earl (Earl Russell) dwelt upon the national character of the Universities, arguing that it was the right of every subject of Her Majesty to receive his education there, no matter what his religious opinions. Now, as a matter of fact, that is the case at the present moment. As far, at least, as Oxford is concerned, I am not aware that any person of any religion is excluded from receiving University instruction. The noble Earl also referred to those tests as illiberal restrictions on freedom of conscience. Now, it seems to me that there is a true liberality and also a spurious liberality. When Professors and Tutors are required to subscribe certain declarations, it must be remembered that they hold their offices not for their private benefit, but for the discharge of the duties attached to such offices. Just therefore as we have a right to insist that the clergy shall adhere to a certain standard, so in the ease of those intrusted with the education of young men we have a right to exact pledges, and to insist on their adherence to a certain standard in the matter of education. Now, this Bill confuses the difference between the Universities and the Colleges. Its very title is misleading, for it is called "The University Tests Bill," whereas it touches the Colleges rather than the Universities, for its main point is the removal of all restrictions with regard to the former. A College has always been regarded more or less in the light of a family, and young men have been sent there not with a view to mere instruction, but with a view to moral discipline and the foundation of character; and we ought, as far as possible, to surround them with every safeguard. The Colleges, as your Lordships know, are governed by a certain number of gentlemen who are elected Fellows, and who may be of various opinions on almost every conceivable subject, but who have this one bond, that they all acknowledge a common religion. Now, if you relax this tie, one of two consequences must follow. Either you will have wrangling and dispute about every election of a Fellow, and every election will be impugned on the ground that it has been decided, not by the fitness or unfitness of the particular person, but by religious prejudice; or the Fellows will come to some sort of compromise by simply ignoring all religious teaching. Now, is the country prepared for either of these alternatives? We have had experience of the value of Parliamentary safeguards, and I remember that when the University Reform Act was passing through this House, assurances were given that nothing would interfere with the religious teaching of the Church of England in the Universities. I cannot forget the pledges which were given by the Prime Minister; yet, if I am not mis- taken, he is a supporter of this Bill. Now, when on a question of this sort there are great differences of opinion; when, on the one hand, as far as Oxford is concerned, there is a majority of members of the University against the Bill; when, too, there is a very large party in the country opposed to it; yet when, on the other hand, there is a majority in the House of Commons in favour of it—your Lordships, I think, will feel that it would be for the interests of the country, and for the interest of the Universities— which really ought not to be so frequently dragged before Parliament as has been the fashion of late years—if some understanding could be arrived at, and some common basis of negotiations accepted. It was for this reason that I moved the Previous Question, desiring to indicate the groundwork on which negotiations might, I think, be fairly entered upon, and to secure time, if possible, for the consideration of the question by the Universities and by the country. I wish it, however, to be understood that I am in no way binding the Universities, but am speaking simply on my own responsibility, and that should the scheme I am about to indicate not be adopted, or should it be met in any other spirit than that in which it is offered, I should hold myself entirely free to reconsider my individual position as regards this or any other similar Bill another year. It seems to me it would be but reasonable to ascertain, in the first instance, the number of Fellowships which are necessary for the practical working of the Colleges, and my impression is that it would be about half the present number. I say that, because I believe that recent changes in the discipline and work of the Universities have lightened and facilitated, to a certain extent, the work of the Tutors and Fellows, and that the Colleges have been made far more general than they used to be. Now, in that case, I would suggest whether it might not be possible to retain one-half of the Fellowships in all the Colleges on their present footing, with the same tests as at present, and to give up the other half to the University, the latter being held without any tests, and being open to men of all religions and creeds. The property would—for the present at all events, though perhaps not ultimately— remain in the possession of the Colleges, but would be partly applied to the Uni- versity Fellowships. Another point is to my mind of great importance. I do not see the justice or wisdom of the arrangement which now allows Fellows, drawing emoluments of the University, to reside at a great distance and take no part whatever in the duties or work of the University. It is most important that henceforth Fellowships should be held subject to residence. I do not wish to go into details, but simply to throw this proposal out for future consideration. It would be, in all respects, a true compromise, for each party would give up something, and each party would gain something. Those who are anxious for a change would gain the most; for whereas this Bill is permissive and might lead to no action on the part of the Colleges, the proposal I have shadowed out would in a short time open a fixed number of University Fellowships to persons of all opinions, so that members of the Church of England would sit side by side with Dissenters, and all dispute and controversy would be avoided. It would give full scope to learning, ability, and industry, which we are told are now excluded, for it would give them their due weight in the Governing Body; and it would strengthen the University, which, after recent changes, needs strengthening. Your Lordships will remember that a short time since Oxford of her own accord admitted undergraduates unattached to any College, and that no doubt has involved new duties and responsibilities; so that, as far as my proposal goes, it would have the effect of strengthening the hands of the University. Moreover, it would give facilities for the operation of that clause of the University Reform Act which has remained a dead letter, but which was intended to enable Roman Catholics and Dissenters to have private Halls, for henceforward there would be no difficulty in a Roman Catholic or Dissenter opening a private Hall. It would likewise save the Colleges from the embarrassment to which the Bill would subject them, and preserve the benefit of religious education — and it should be remembered that there has been no period in the history of either University—certainly not in that of Oxford—when the education was not distinctly coloured with religious teaching. The proposal is in the interest of Dissenters as well as of the Church of England, for are Dissenters really ready to enter into a compact with the Roman Catholics, as a noble Lord opposite told us they had done with respect to the Irish Church, with a view to sweep away the whole religious character of the Universities? Have they no misgivings of what the result would be if young men were exposed to the unscrupulous Rationalist on the one hand and the active Roman Catholic propagandist on the other? This is a Dissenters' as much as a Church of England question, and it is but fair to suppose that they will look at it calmly and dispassionately, since it involves all Christian education whatever. Are the Christian parents of this country prepared to set aside all religious teaching, and to deprive young men seventeen, eighteen, or nineteen years of age of all these safeguards which have hitherto surrounded them at a period of life equaled, as I think Dr. Arnold said, by none in importance? If young men with minds so impressionable are surrounded by an atmosphere of religious doubt and scepticism, the result of it will be apparent throughout their after life. I do not object to religious controversy as regards persons of mature age, who are capable of judging for themselves; but as regards young men I do say that they should be surrounded by religious influences. This Bill, I would, in the last place, point out, is wholly unnecessary; for if any class of persons really desire that their sons should be removed from the faintest suspicion of religious teaching they are able, at this moment, to secure that end by entering them as unattached students. They may, as undergraduates, Live in lodgings and be free from all religious teaching. On the other hand, by my proposal, they would take their degree and receive whatever emoluments or honours the University can confer, including a seat in the Governing Body; while the Roman Catholic and the Dissenter might receive religious teaching in private Halls, and would be also eligible for University Fellowships and for a seat in the Governing Body. The teaching of the Church of England would, on the other hand, be retained—and I would remind noble Lords who speak of the Universities as national institutions that the Church of England, being the Established religion and the religion of the majority of the people of this country, has a claim to some position in Colleges, whose system of religious teaching is so wide that the High Churchman and the Low Churchman can equally enjoy it. Dissenters, either as Professors or as the holders of University Fellowships, would be separated by no invidious line of demarcation from their Church of England colleagues, but would exercise the same rights and powers. It is in order to gain time for the consideration of this proposal by the Universities and by the country, as the groundwork for a fair, reasonable, and equitable compromise, and as not only a fair but a final settlement of the question, that I now move the Previous Question.


said, that with all deference to the noble Earl, he thought his speech had been one of the most inconsistent the House had ever heard. The noble Earl had found fault with the introduction of the Bill on two grounds. The first was that the House was so engrossed by the Irish Church Bill that it was incapable of entertaining anything else—an objection on which he would only remark that legislation would progress but slowly if only one measure could be passed in a year, particularly when a question had been discussed in both Houses for years. The second was that constant interference with the affairs of the Universities was seriously injurious to their interests. Now, he quite agreed with him in this; but the course pursued by the noble Earl was surely anything but likely to lessen that amount of interference; for if their Lordships rejected this measure now, they might depend upon it it would be very speedily returned to them in the same shape. The noble Earl had himself proposed a scheme which would interfere more with the polity and constitutional arrangements of the Universities and Colleges than the plan now under their Lordships' consideration. Fault had been found by the noble Earl with the title of the Bill because, as he remarked, there was no sufficient distinction drawn between the treatment of the Universities and the treatment of the Colleges. He (the Earl of Morley) would venture, however, to express his opinion that nothing could be more clear than the treatment proposed by the Bill to be dealt out to each. The provisions which affected the Universities were totally different from those which dealt with the Colleges—one part of the measure being compulsory, while the other was entirely optional. The Universities and Colleges were treated on totally different principles. He would, in the first place, say a few words respecting the effect the Bill would have on the constitution of the Universities. On this subject a great deal of very strong language had been used, which was somewhat exaggerated and disproportioned to the substance of the Bill itself. Without going at length into the question as to whether the Universities were national institutions or not, he would call attention to the fact that both recent legislation and the manner in which the subject had been dealt with by the Universities themselves tended to show that the Universities belonged to the whole nation, and not to any particular branch of it. The recommendations of the Commissioners, which had been carried into effect, the establishment of middle-class examinations, and the system of having non-collegiate undergraduates, indicated that every subject of Her Majesty was entitled to the advantages of a University education. How, then, did Nonconformists stand with regard to the Universities? They could take the degrees of B.A. and B.C.L., and hold the office of College Lecturer, and he believed that of Examiner in the schools. They could also become private Tutors—and. any noble Lord who had been at either of the Universities must well know what an important influence, especially over students who were reading for honours, a private Tutor possessed. The Bill merely proposed to allow Dissenters to take the degree of M.A. at Oxford without subscribing to any religious tests, and to enjoy all the privileges of that degree. It further provided that at Cambridge, where they could already graduate M.A., Nonconformists might act as members of the Governing Body. Now, on the principle which he held to be the true one, that the Universities were national institutions, Nonconformists surely ought to be qualified to sit in the Convocation or the Senate. For his own part, he did not believe that the measure would produce any great effect at present. If, on the one hand, there were so many Dissenters at the Universities that they could exercise great in- fluence over the government of the Universities, we could not in fairness and equity refuse them that position; whereas if, on the other hand, they were not sufficiently numerous to exercise much influence, there was no ground for the great alarm entertained by some noble Lords opposite. With regard to the Colleges, he was of opinion that the noble Earl had been a little hard upon the Bill. Its provisions were purely optional as far as the Colleges were concerned; and it should be remembered that all the existing Fellows had taken the tests to which the noble Earl attributed so great a value, and that it would be impossible for them to alter their statutes without the sanction of the Visitor, who was almost invariably an ecclesiastic. The noble Earl had remarked that Nonconformists might have, at the present time, all the advantages of a University education. This was, no doubt, quite true, but the noble Earl forgot to state from the prizes of that education they were altogether excluded. Of course the intentions of founders ought to be respected as far as possible; but he contended that when the condition of things had become so altered as they were at present from what it was when the foundations were made, Parliament was entitled to alter the application according to circumstances. This had been already done as regards scholarships restricted to particular localities or families, and he could not see, therefore, why their Lordships should refuse to pass this measure. It was said that the Bill would destroy the distinctive religious teaching at Oxford. In what, however, did that religious teaching consist? He had been at Oxford much more recently than many of their Lordships, and he believed that what he was about to state was correct. In the first place, Nonconformists were exempted from attendance at the College chapels. Then there were College lectures on the New Testament, which lasted two, or at the outside three terms during the residence of three years; and as a rule Nonconformists did not object to attend them. Besides these, there were divinity lectures, which Nonconforming students were not obliged to attend. At the University sermons, preached once a week, the attendance, he feared, was not very large. He could not see, therefore, how this Bill could alter the distinctive religious teaching at Oxford. The whole system of tests was out of harmony with the current of modern legislation. Public offices had been thrown open to all persons without distinction of creed, and he saw no reason why Dissenters should be debarred from obtaining the prizes of University education. Tests were not only useless, but a real evil. They had utterly failed in preventing those who subscribed them from afterwards changing their opinions. Was it not a notorious fact that in many common rooms at Oxford there were Fellows whose opinions differ widely from those they entertained at the time they graduated? Books had been written and things said which showed that these tests were, as a safeguard, perfectly useless. At Cambridge, he might mention, there had been during the last few years three Senior Wranglers who were Nonconformists, and who, in consequence, were unable to obtain a share in the emoluments of the University. In conclusion, he appealed to their Lordships to pass a measure which he felt assured would be for the interest of the Church as well as of Dissenters, and which would place the Universities in the position in which they ought to stand with regard to the nation at large.


said, that as a former member of the Governing Body at Cambridge, he wished to say a few words on this subject. He readily acknowledged the ability and good taste of the speech which had just been addressed to their Lordships, and he should endeavour to follow the noble Earl's example by discussing this somewhat difficult subject in a frank, conciliatory spirit. He must first say that he did not think that the noble Earl who moved the Previous Question was amenable to the charge of inconsistency which had been brought against him. The noble Earl had not moved the rejection of the Bill, but the Previous Question, and most rightly and consistently—his object being to afford their Lordships further time for the consideration of this important subject, and to enable them, if possible, to come to some understanding, whereby at some future time the great points at issue might be finally determined in a spirit of conciliation on the one hand, and with a due regard to the important interests on the other. He must next make a few comments on the circumstances under which the Bill appeared before them. The Bill had been introduced into the other House by an hon. and learned Gentleman, who stood in close relation to Her Majesty's Government, and yet they were told that that was not a Government measure. This fact put some of their Lordships in a position of some difficulty, and for this reason, that the purposes for which the Bill was avowedly introduced two years ago were somewhat startling, and such as the present Government must be supposed, by their relation to the proposes, to approve, and yet that this could not be fairly assumed in argument as certain and definite. He must refer to those purposes. He was, indeed, always most unwilling to enter into the opinions of any man, or even his professed purposes; he at all times preferred to consider the proposal that at the time might be before them, and not the presumed motives or views of him who brought it forward; yet it was impossible wholly to forget the speech with which the hon. and learned Gentleman, about two years ago, introduced that measure in "another place." The hon. and learned Gentleman pointed out that its design was to liberalize the Church of England and establish a nationality in the University as over against that of the Church. The University, it was said, was to guard and regulate the lamp of religious liberty; and we old-fashioned people were to be gradually illumined—like Melrose Abbey by the light from Michael Scott's opened tomb (as we were poetically told)—by the glow of this new-found light. Such statements rather startled sober people, and will linger in memory. He now mentioned these things to excuse himself, if in any respect he should seem to depart from strict impartiality in considering this measure, and should unconsciously show any bias when he desired to be perfectly fair. He now turned to the measure. This measure placed before them three very important subjects. The first was the removal of restriction in regard to degrees in both Universities. The Bill conceded a degree without tests, and also, if he understood rightly its words, a vote in the Senate at Cambridge and in the Convocation at Oxford. At present, in the University of Cambridge the degree of Master of Arts could be obtained with- out any signature or any test. They knew that at Oxford only the Bachelor of Arts degree could be so obtained. It would be his desire that both Universities should be put in the same position, and he should be extremely glad if the degree of Master of Arts were conceded by Oxford on the same terms as he thought it was rightly conceded by his own University. So far, then, he should go with the measure. Nay, more, to speak frankly, he did not know that he should feel any difficulty in conceding a vote in Convocation and in the Senate. He thought that arrangements that stopped short of enfranchisement, all other things being conceded, were ever unsatisfactory; and he did not believe that any very great harm would come to his mother University or to Oxford if the vote were conceded with the degree. But the Bill went further, and proceeded to enact that certain very important University offices which might be held by laymen— namely, the Professorships (except those of Divinity), on the one hand, and a position in the Governing Body of the University on the other—might be held without any religious tests having been imposed on the holders of the offices. There his difficulty began. In regard to the Professoriate, they might consider not only what was probable under a certain line of legislation, but also what was possible. For let them put the case conversely. Their Lordships had read a second time and passed through Committee a measure in which there was a sort of counter arrangement to this. In the Endowed Schools' Bill they had been so very tender in their regard to the consciences of others that they had provided not only a Conscience Clause, but a farther arrangement, by which any teacher, even in a secular lesson, might be prevented from inculcating any religious teaching that might be disapproved by any of those who might attend the teaching. Why had that been done? They had judged it to be so necessary to protect the rights of conscience that they had precluded a man's teaching what many of them hold to be truth in any of the secular lessons, lest he should hurt the consciences of those whom he taught. Well, was it utterly unreasonable to suppose it possible that there might be such a thing, now or hereafter, as some candidate for a place in the Pro- fessoriate, either at Oxford or Cambridge, who might conscientiously entertain opinions which many of them might think very far removed from the truth? Were they to take no precaution in such a contingency? Was it so unreasonable for them to wish to protect the minds of young men from what they conscientiously believed to be error? Were they to prevent a schoolmaster, by a Conscience Clause, from teaching the truth to boys, and not only leave a Professor perfectly free to teach error to young men, but even remove any obstacle that might at present prevent him doing so? All this, it might be said, was very old-fashioned; that there neither was nor could be any real danger with a conscientious teacher, whatever might be his creed. He hoped there would be no danger; but when there was such a tender susceptibility in regard to the Conscience Clause, let it not be thought that all the argument was on one side, and that nothing could be fairly and reasonably urged in behalf of the retention of religious tests in the case of Lecturers and Professors. It had been proposed that there should be a new form, of tests. That he did not consider desirable. If the subject were properly considered, some arrangement might be made without imposing a new test. Some provision might be made by which anyone so deviating from his bounden duty as to teach, in a secular lecture, that which was plainly opposed to the religious sentiments of the pupils should in some degree be brought to account. Then, with respect to the Governing Body of the University, by a paper that had been put in his hand he saw that the Oxford Council elected to the Greenfield Theological Lectureship. But the ease was stronger in the University of Cambridge, for there the Council actually elected to the Regius Professorship of Divinity; so that they might really have a body of men at the Council Board who might never have taken any religious test whatever, and who might even be of different forms of belief, suddenly called upon to undertake the grave responsibility of electing the Regius Professor of Divinity. The third point to which he wished to advert had reference to the Colleges. He shared the opinion which probably a great part of their Lordships held, that the last clause in the Bill, which permissively allowed the Colleges to arrange for the removal of tests, was a clause entirely to be deprecated. And yet, even here, he did not wish to seem wholly opposed and obstructive. Even that matter, difficult as it confessedly was, might, perhaps, in some degree be adjusted, but certainly not in the way that was now before them. Say what they pleased, there were essential differences between the Colleges and the University, and they must recognize them. They might legislate in some degree permissively, and might give facilities to Colleges in some degree to provide for distinguished young men, being Nonconformists, who had been educated in their walls, but to introduce at the will of a bare majority all the confusion that would arise from the Fellows of the College—the members of the Governing Body of the College—being, perhaps, of different creeds; nay, from the Master of the College being, perhaps, of a different creed from the majority of the young men under his charge—such a proposal as that was completely unreasonable. It might be said, that this would be for the College to settle for itself; that the contemplated legislation was only permissive. But even that statement did not take in all the difficulties of the case. There were some Colleges in his own University which, he believed, by their statutes, imposed no religious restrictions in regard to masterships and tutorships, because they relied upon the Act of Uniformity. It was proposed by this Bill to remove that security. Thus, then, it might happen that a College which had not protected itself by private legislation might see this important change brought about by the vote of a simple majority. If this Bill were to pass, fundamental alterations, which by the Act that regulated the Universities could only have been introduced when the new statutes were framed by a majority of two-thirds of the Governing Body, could now be sub-introduced, after the statutes had been framed and all things settled, by a mere majority. With regard to the suggestions of the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon), he was of opinion that it was well worth consideration whether there might not be permissive legislation, by means of which a restricted number of Fellowships might not be passed over by the Colleges to the University, and regarded as University Fellowships. Colleges might be invited to consider this. He admitted that it was a very great hardship that a young man should come to the University, take the highest distinctions, and then have to go away without any of its emoluments. Not that he valued those emoluments so very highly; he was not taking a mere loaves and fishes view of the matter. Emoluments were higher than that; they were in some sort a substantial proof of what a young man had been able to do for himself; they would not only help him onward in life, but would often prove abiding encouragements. He would not, however, go by any means so far as the noble Earl. Half the Fellowships of a College would be far too many. What the proportion might be would be very easily ascertained by Her Majesty's Government conferring with the authorities of both Universities. He could answer for his own University, which had never been behindhand or illiberal, that the question would be discussed fairly. Again, he would be very glad to see any measures adopted which would further the establishment of Colleges and Halls for those of a different denomination from the Church of England. Let them, if they would, give every reasonable facility for the establishment of denominational Colleges. Lot them also provide permissively that a certain number of Fellowships should be placed at the disposal of the Universities, and be regarded as University Fellowships, and that for them no tests should be required. Having done that, they would have done all that could be fairly required. That, he ventured to think, would be fair and reasonable legislation. He would not say that the Bill before the House was unfair, but he certainly did hold that it was unreasonable.


said, that his objections to the course taken by the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon), and supported by the right rev. Prelate, were two; in the first place, to move the Previous Question was, in another form, to move the rejection of the Bill, and to defer legislation for a year; and, in the second place, the proposals which the noble Earl had made, were not before the House. The compromise which the noble Earl had suggested was that they should throw open one-half of the College Fellowships for University competition — and he thought the Dissenters would be content with that. But it was not the number that they insisted upon, but the principle. As a member of a University himself, he protested against being supposed so far inferior to a Dissenter that the latter should be admitted to compote with him for half only of the Fellowships of the Colleges of the University to which he belonged. He did not think that the Church of England was in such a low state that it had need of such restraints for its protection. He would call their Lordships' attention to the fact that this Bill appeared before the House in a very different form and spirit from what any similar measure had done before. In the elections which had been hold last year, this question was brought before many constituencies, and in several rural places, in which one would not have imagined that the people had over considered such matters as University education, the candidates were subjected to a searching test, and asked what their course would be in the event of such a measure as the present being submitted to Parliament? Many of the Members who had been returned to the House of Commons had taken up this question in a very different manner from what might have been expected. It was no light matter, when they saw one of the Members of the University of Cambridge say that, so far as opening the M. A. degree, with all the privileges thereafter arising, he thought it was a proposition which might be assented to; and the other Member, his Colleague, took the same view; while one of the Members for the University of Oxford said that this whole question was worth consideration. Now, when this question was submitted to Parliament, two years ago, it was treated by the other side in a very different spirit. This Bill was to be regarded as a compromise. It was compulsory, so far as the Universities were concerned, but gave the Colleges power to act as they thought fit; it only said to the Colleges— "The nation will not interfere to prevent those who are deserving from obtaining Fellowships. We leave it to you, the Colleges, to say what rules you will make in this matter." This was a compromise; and, if rejected, the time might come when, as in the case of other compromises which their Lordships had an opportunity of accepting, but had re- jected, they would find themselves in the bitter position of having to consent to something much more sweeping. He thought the principle embodied in this Bill the very least they could ask the Dissenters to accept, and he would give his vote most cordially for the second reading.


said, that having voted formerly against a similar measure, he felt bound to admit that he had changed his views, and would now vote for the second reading of this Bill. He would say little of the Universities as distinguished from the Colleges. He had been long in favour of opening the Universities as far as this Bill proposed to do—not, indeed, on the ground of right, but of high expediency. He could not admit the ground of right. But the Colleges stood on entirely different ground from the Universities, and he was bound to say that he should see with much regret the adoption of the principle of this measure by any large number of those Colleges. He held that the Colleges were similar in principle to boarding schools, and he desired to see them maintain a distinct religious tone as places of education, and also of social intercourse; but he could not bring himself to the opinion that it was for the State to force that character upon the Colleges. It was for the Colleges themselves to regulate a delicate and difficult matter of that kind; nor was it certain that in every case that the Acts of Parliament it was proposed to repeal were the best means of insuring the religious character of those bodies. It was rather probable, as had been suggested, that, if the Colleges were left to act for themselves, many of them would maintain their specific religious character with more clearness than was done under the present system, while others might adopt a different course. At all events he believed it was right to allow the Colleges to determine the question for themselves in their own way.

Then a Question being stated thereupon, the Question was put, Whether the said Question shall be now put? —Their Lordships divided: — Contents 54; Not-Contents 91: Majority 37.

Hatherley, L. (L. Chan- Boyle, L. (E. Cork and
cellar.) Orrery.)
Calthorpe, L.
Cleveland, D. Camoys, L.
Devonshire, D. Charlemont, L. (E. Char-
Somerset, D. lemont.)
Clandeboye, L. (L. Duf-
Ailesbury, M. ferin and Claneboye.)
Lansdowne, M. Clermont, L.
Normanby, M. Congleton, L.
Foley, I,.
Abingdon, E. Hatherton, L.
Airlie, E. Lawrence, L.
Camperdown, E. Lurgan, L.
[Teller.] Lyttelton, L.
Clarendon, Methuen, L.
Cowper, E. Monck, L. (V. Monck.)
Dartrey, E. Monson, L.
De Grey, E. Mostyn, L.
De La Warr, E. Northbrook, L.
Fortescue, E. Ponsonby, L. (E. Bess-
Granville, E. borough.)
Kimberley, E. Romilly, L.
Lichfield, E. Rosebery, L. (E. Rose-
Minto, E. bery.)
Morley, E. Save and Sele, L.
Russell, E. [Teller.] Stanley of Alderley, L.
Stratheden, L.
Eversley, V. Sundridge, L. (D. Ar-
Halifax, V. gyll.)
Sydney, V. Vernon, L.
Wenlock, L.
Abercromby, L. Wrottesley, L.
Belper, L.
Beaufort, D. Rosse, E.
Northumberland, D. Rosslyn, E.
Rutland, D. Shaftesbury, E.
Stanhope, E.
Abercorn, M. (D. Aber- Stradbroke, E.
corn.) Tankerville, E.
Ailsa, M. Verulam, E.
Bath, M. [Teller.]
Bristol, M. De Vesci, V.
Salisbury, M. Doneraile, V.
Gough, V.
Abergavenny, E. Hardinge, V.
Amherst, E. Hawarden, V.
Annesley, E. Melville, V.
Bandon, E. Sidmouth, V.
Bantry, E. Strathallan, V.
Beauchamp, E. Templetown, V.
Brooke and Warwick, E.
Cadogan, E. Bangor, Bp.
Carnarvon, E. [Teller.] Gloucester and Bristol,
Dartmouth, E. Bp.
Derby, E. Lichfield, Bp.
Devon, E.
Ellenborough, E. Arundell of Wardour, L.
Harewood, E. Aveland, L.
Harrowby, E. Braybrooke, L.
Home, E. Brodrick, L. (V. Midle-
Kellie, E. ton.)
Lauderdale, E. Cairns, L.
Malmesbury, E. Chelmsford, L.
Mansfield, E. Churston, L.
Manvers, E. Clements, L. (E. Lei-
Mount Edgcumbe, E. trim.)
Romney, E. Colchester, L.
Colville of Culross, L. Rayleigh, L.
Denman, L. Redesdale, L.
Do Ros, L. Rivers, L.
Egerton, L. Ross, L. (E. Glasgow.)
Fitzwalter, L. Saltersford, L. (E. Cour-
Forester, L. town.)
Foxford, L. (E. Lime- Sherborne, L.
rick.) Silchester, L. (E. Long-
Grinstead, L. (E. Ennis- ford.)
killen.) Sinclair, L.
Hartismere, L. (L. Hen- Sondes, L.
niker.) Southampton, L.
Heytesbury, L. Stewart of Garlies, L.
Kilmaine, L. (E. Galloway.)
Lovel and Holland, L. Talbot de Malahide, L.
(E. Egmont.) Templemore, L.
Lytton, L. Tredegar, L.
O'Neill, L. Willoughby de Broke, L.
Ormathwaite, L. Wynford, L.
Penrhyn, L.

Resolved in the Negative.