HL Deb 08 May 1871 vol 206 cc338-98

House in Committee (according to Order.)

Clause 1 (Short Title) agreed to.

Clause 2 (Interpretation of Terms).

Amendment moved, in page 1, line 26, after ("professorship") insert ("other than professorships of divinity").

Amendment agreed to; Clause agreed to.


My Lords, I rise to move the principal Amendment which has been recommended by the Committee to which your Lordships referred this important Bill; and in doing so I shall enter into the general question at issue between the two parties before the House, and into the objects which the Committee had in view in their recommendations. This measure has come up to us recommended by a large majority of the House of Commons and by a considerable agitation out of doors—which no doubt is a consideration calculated to have weight on your Lordships' minds; but it will not have escaped those who have followed the course of this agitation during many years, both in the motives which have actuated it and in the persons by whom it has been carried on, that it is divisible into two distinct parts. The most numerous of those who have urged the relaxation or abolition of the Tests are what are commonly called the orthodox Dissenters. To them the question at issue was not strongly a religious one, but rather one of political equality, of social standing, and of conflicting claims to certain endowments, some of which have descended from very ancient times. We think they are wrong; but they hold firmly and strongly that they have an equal claim with all Churchmen not only to these colleges, which had been dealt with summarily at the Reformation, but they hold also that as to the Universities, which possess national privileges, they have claims not only for equal education but also for an equal enjoyment of all their emoluments. These persons form the mass and strength of the agitation for this Bill; but they do not take the direction of it—its leadership and guidance are in the hands of men of very different aims and temperaments. Those who now direct the movement and the forces by which it is carried on desire something very different from an equal share of education and emolument between Church and Dissent. They desire that the dogmatic theology which has hitherto been considered identical with Christianity shall not be taught as of necessity in these national places of education, and that secular objects of study shall be put in a far superior position, and be treated as of more account than any religious instruction with reference to dogmatic belief. There is no doubt that this party, though very scanty in numbers, is distinguished by the ability of its leaders, and by the intellectual power it can bring to bear on the objects which it seeks. The result of this double impulse is represented in the Bill. The first apparent object of the movement, the first apparent aim of the Bill, was religious equality; but that was only the apparent object. The effect of the Bill, long after it had satisfied all claims to religious equality, was to do something far wider, in our belief far more important and disastrous—to banish distinctive religious teaching from the Universities altogether. These were the two different effects of the measures, and these are the two different policies between which it has been our duty to draw a strongly marked and decided line. This feeling has governed the recommendations which the Committee have made to your Lordships. Whatever justification there may be for the claims which the Church has set up and in past years maintained for the exclusive enjoyment of the emoluments of the Universities, we are ready to concede two things—first, that in the existing political constitution those claims are hardly maintainable; and, secondly, that they are of infinitely smaller importance than the other matters involved in the issue before us. We value, of course, the secular rights of the Church, but we treat them as mere dirt compared to the paramount object of securing the supremacy of religion in the education of the young. That is the feeling that has guided us in making the recommendations that have been laid before you. Our recommendations are briefly these. We desire that all honours and emoluments, all fellowships and scholarships, shall be thrown open without distinction to all subjects of the Queen. We are further willing that all offices involving teaching shall be thrown open to all those who agree upon the essential points of Christianity—that is to say, to 99 out of every 100, and, indeed, a much larger proportion—of the population of these islands. We say, however, that the office of teaching rests upon a very different footing from the enjoyment of emoluments. In distributing emoluments you may merely consider the claims of those who seek them; in distributing offices you must consider the claims of those on whom those offices are to be exercised. Supposing that there are no proprietary rights in the way, which at present are put aside, it is fair to give equal enjoyment of mere money; it is not fair to give to all, without consideration of their qualifications, the right to take part in the education of the young. I have heard it said sometimes that it is unjust on account of differences of opinion to exclude people from the honourable and lucrative office of teaching. I will not say whether it is lucrative or not; but I say that the tenant of the office is not to be considered in the least degree compared to the persons towards whom the office is to be exercised. It is the rights of the pupils which we have to consider; and with regard to the tutors we have to consider only whether they are fit for the office or not. Our proposals are mainly directed to the maintenance of religious teaching. We propose that the tutors should be required to make a declaration—that is, a promise, that in the exercise of their office they will teach nothing contrary to the Divine authority and teaching of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. That is the Motion which I shall place in the hands of the noble and learned Lord in the chair (Lord Redesdale) when I sit down. We also propose that the chapel services shall be obligatory; that sufficient religious instruction shall be given to those members of the Church of England in each college who desire it; that no one shall be forced against his conscience to attend any kind of lecture; and that the head of the college shall be excluded from the operation of the Bill. There are some other provisions reserving the decision of Parliament on the controverted question of clerical fellowships. As to the heads of colleges, they do not take a very active part in education, but the importance of the provision principally turns on the selection of the Vice-Chancellor. Unless you exclude heads of colleges from the operation of the Bill, you will place the Chancellor of the University of Oxford in a very invidious position. It will be impossible for him to select the Vice-Chancellor by rotation, as at present, and for the sake of avoiding that invidious choice this exemption is proposed. Of course, the main point is the question whether tutors are by promise to be prevented from teaching doctrines contrary to the Divine authority and teaching of the Holy Scriptures. I must deal with the objection which will probably be the first raised by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Kimberley.) The noble Earl will probably say, "Your object is a very good one, but this test is wholly ineffective for its purpose;" and to prove that he will probably point out the various holes which an ingenious litigant could pick in it, and how he could drive a coach-and-six through it. Now, I freely admit that this or any other declaration which you might frame, if tested as a conveyancer tests the words put into a deed, is of no value whatever;—anybody could break through it. I do not, however, propose to bring such a declaration to the interpretation of a court of law, or to support it by the agency of a court of law. Such powers already exist in the Universities. But the truth is such powers are in their very nature exceedingly difficult to assert, and the Universities perhaps will seldom or never use them. The value of the test is something totally different. It is not a legal security, but it is a security in the court of honour or the court of conscience. We have not arrived at such a point that we are to suspect the generality of those who reach high academical position of a deliberate attempt to deceive or evade by subterfuge. I feel certain that there is no such danger. All the evidence we have received leads us rather to believe that any indication of the will of Parliament is received by those in the Universities with a devotion and an obsequiousness which to us of the outside world appear rather superstitious. I feel sure that when Parliament has indicated its intention, and when these men have pledged their personal honour to the promise that they will not teach anything contrary to the Scriptures, you are in the vast majority of instances absolutely secure against any breach of your confidence. It is not merely their personal feelings that you have to appeal to—and I believe in the majority of cases that would be quite enough. But all their teaching is carried on in public, in the presence of those who are sufficiently prone to criticism as it is, and they would certainly be looked on with little respect in their college or by their pupils if they deliberately, for the sake of proselytism, broke a solemn declaration deliberately made. In these days, when feelings of honour are very much stronger than, I regret to say, feelings of conscience are, I am sure that a declaration of this kind will not err upon the side of weakness, and that when you have obtained this promise from the tutors you may be quite certain that in the vast majority of cases it will not be broken. The great fault of our existing tests—it is admitted that they have failed—is that they are too minute, and that they were drawn up by a past age. The consequence is that persons can salve their own consciences — and persuade themselves in the fashion that the Endowed Schools Commissioners have done—that the framers of the tests, if they had lived till now, would have altered them entirely. That is a species of sophistry very common, and which has impaired the effect of former tests; but I do not believe that a similar danger attends this declaration, and my belief is supported by the opinion of those who know the Universities best. Well, supposing it to be admitted that this test is efficacious, you will ask—"Have we a right to enforce it?" It will be said—"You are interfering with liberty of conscience." I do not suppose anybody in this House will say—"We do not want the teaching to be religious;" but it will be said—"The colleges will make the teaching religious if they are only left to themselves." Now, I quite echo that sentiment if you only leave them alone; but that is precisely what you are not doing. The responsibility ought to be left to the colleges if you had left to the colleges the correlative of responsibility—namely, unrestricted liberty; but you have tied them up in every way. You have told them that they are no longer, as they did 20 years ago, to select fellows at their will, but are to be tied by the result of a competitive examination; and now you are about to tell them that they shall apply no test whatever to ascertain the religious or doctrinal fitness of those whom they select. If you thus set the Universities aside you put yourselves in their place; you accept their responsibility, and are bound to do that which they would have been bound to do—namely, to satisfy the parents who send their children there that you will fulfil the duties which the colleges formerly undertook. You have forcibly brought the colleges under control, and you stand as their representative and share their responsibility before the nation—or, rather, before the parents whose children you receive. I am conscious that in mentioning parents I am introducing what is deemed rather an ungenial element in the question of University education. Among University Liberals the popular view is that a parent is nothing but an inconvenient appendage to an undergraduate. I do not share their view. They repel with extreme irritation the idea that their magnificent philosophies and splendid researches are to be subjected to anything so prosaic as the wishes of the parents whose children they educate. I take a different view, and look at all this grand machinery as merely representing the relations of employer and employed. Parents employ the University to educate their children. If you left it free, I have no doubt it would consult their wishes; but if you deprive the colleges of their liberty and force them to educate as you like, you then assume the same responsibility towards the parents. You are the employed, and it is your business to bring up the children in the manner desired by the parents. The question narrows itself to this—Is there any danger in the present state of the Universities that young men, if the Bill passes, will be brought up in a manner to which the parents will object? If there is any moral infection that taints the air—if there is any spiritual evil creeping over the Universities or threatening to do so—it is your duty, having accepted the responsibilities of the colleges and Universities, to take sufficient measures of precaution that this infection shall not spread, and that this poison shall not infect those committed to your care. Is there any such poison? Nobody who watches the literature of the day can be unaware that in a very narrow, though influential, class of society there exists a strong tendency to extreme speculation—that there is a bitter hostility to Christianity itself, and that that hostility has reached such a point that they will rather advocate the most bizarre and extravagant propositions than accept Christian belief. That is the state of things to a terrible extent on the Continent. I am happy to say that it prevails to a much smaller extent in this country; but still we all know that we can lay our hands on half a dozen influential publications of recent times which have for their principal objects to destroy the beliefs on which the hopes of Christians rest. If this was merely a general phenomenon I do not say that a case for much special precaution would arise; though perhaps even then it might fairly be required of those who have assumed to govern the Universities to take care for the special evils of their time, and try to make this poison innocuous, and to shield those who are little fitted to bear it from its influence. It is not true, however, that it is merely the general tendency of a particular class of thinkers towards infidelity with which you have to struggle. One of the most striking facts brought out by the investigation of the Committee has been that in one of the Universities, at least, not only is there a full response to whatever infidel invitations modern literature may hold out, but that the studies of the University itself are affected in a manner which, if it had the free course given to it by this Bill, would lead to the most terrible and dangerous results. The most important evidence on this point is that of a gentleman who is in favour of the Bill, and whose evidence, therefore, is all the more entitled to weight. Mr. Charles Appleton, a fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, and a gentleman of distinguished literary reputation, gives this evidence— I think it is quite impossible for any man to throw himself into the system of education for the final classical school at Oxford at the present time, as so much knowledge, but really to assimilate it, I mean not only to study it ab extra, without having the whole edifice of belief shaken to the very foundation. At the same time the agencies which are brought to bear upon him, the philosophical ideas and modes of criticism, not only destroy but ultimately re-construct belief; and what I should say with regard to tests is this, that the test intervenes with a definite proposition which a man has to subscribe just at the time when he is beginning to re-construct the edifice of belief naturally out of the ruins which had been undermined. I may point out in passing that the test we propose intervenes with no definite proposition, and is, therefore, not open to objection on that ground. The witness adds, in another place— So far as I know, the strictest and most delicate reticence is always observed in approaching the mind of a young man, so as not to upset his beliefs; but I believe the upsetting of his beliefs, and the entire loosening of them from all their moorings, is an inevitable consequence of the system of education which now exists in Oxford. [Ministerial cheers.] I think I can interpret that cheer. It means that even under a system of tests these things will happen. This, however, is not the deliberate action of the fellows of colleges, or tutors, or examiners. This is, so to speak, the automatic and mechanical result of the mode of study, the subjects of study, and the time allowed to study. Within three years it is expected that a man is to master most difficult subjects of metaphysical study. He is expected, according to the same witness, to— Read Spinoza, Hobbes—I do not say all, of course, but portions of their writings—portions of Locke, of Berkeley, and of Hume are also read, and the First Principles and Psychology of Mr. Herbert Spencer are beginning to be very widely studied. Kant and Hegel are also among the authors studied. The natural result is that, having to master these things within a limited time, and being forced to complete his line of study before the examination comes on, he has no time to enter into the opposite arguments. Negative philosophy is the easiest to master, and will carry most honours in the schools, and that is all which the young man, or those who press him forward, care for. Whatever the cause, here, at all events, is the result, as stated by a liberal witness favourable to the Bill—that the present system of education tends to unloosen all belief. What happens? The colleges are tied up within the iron bonds of competitive examination—they must elect to fellowships those men in whom all belief is loosened, and in a few years they become tutors, teachers, the educators of the youth of England. This is a serious danger; and if you take the responsibilities of the Universities and colleges, you are bound to meet it. Do not imagine that the case rests on the evidence of Mr. Appleton alone. There is the evidence of Mr. Ince, sub-rector of Exeter College, Oxford — a gentleman who is on the other side of the question—to the same effect. Canon Liddon, also, with whose name, and probably with whose words, many of your Lordships are well acquainted, says— Cases have come within my own experience of men who have come up from school as Christians, and have been earnest Christians up to the time of beginning to read philosophy for the final school, but who, during the year and a-half or two years employed in this study, have surrendered, first their Christianity and next their belief in God, and have left the University not believing in a Supreme Being. With that knowledge and that testimony I think I may well say that the question raised by this Bill is not a question between Church and Dissent, but between Christianity and infidelity. Now, I think none of your Lordships will doubt that the parents of England, if their opinions could be collected, would strongly object to submit their sons to teaching of persons of this kind. Some persons, I know, entertain a notion that the proper way to educate a young man of 18 is to put before him all the arguments and systems of belief which ever have been or can be devised, and let him take his choice; but I am quite convinced that no such notion will ever commend itself to the general mass of parents in this country. They are well aware that thorny questions of controversy are not fit for men of unripe and unpractised minds, and that the only effect of asking them to choose impartially between all beliefs is to make them think that no belief is of much importance, and that at an age when temptations are strongest they may come to the conclusion that the moral maxims which rest on belief and belief alone are mere ancient and valueless superstitions. I am sure that no more certain method, not only of dechristianizing, but demoralizing the youth of the classes who send their children to the Universities could be found than subjecting them to the influence of tutors who would start with the idea that all beliefs should be submitted for free selection to the consciences and intelligences of their pupils. The only argument that remains in support of this Bill is the common phrase that public opinion has decided in its favour. I utterly deny it. Public opinion has never decided the issue as we have put it, and has never had that issue before it. Hitherto, in all parts of the country, this controversy has been looked upon as merely one between Church and Dissent, and as a mere fight for proprietary rights:—the deeper and more intensely important question has never been brought to the surface—and therefore the opinion of those who have children to educate has never been brought fairly to bear upon the question. We are laying a new issue before the country; we are asking for a new decision—and the issue is practically this—Will the constituencies of the country give effect and sanction to that determination which was so determinedly displayed at the school board elections of last year? Will they or will they not sustain the doctrine that the first and most important point of education is religion, and that education which is not Scriptural is worse than no education at all? That is the issue we have to lay before them. My Lords, I hope I shall be pardoned for making one other quotation to show what is the result of the system of University teaching which this Bill will encourage, and what is the danger which parents have to avoid. It is from some letters re-printed from The Times, which appeared last autumn, with reference to the state of religious thought in Germany. I do not know by whom they were written; but they were evidently written by a man of great ability, and one certainly not prejudiced in favour of Christianity. He says— It is true there is a sprinkling of believers left in every part of the country, and there are whole districts in which Protestant or Catholic orthodoxy may be said to prevail to this day. But these are exceptions—rari nantes in gurgite vasto. The Wapperthal, on the borders of Westphalia, is a tower of Lutheranism; the adjoining Münsterland is more Catholic than Rome itself; but who expects belief on the gay Rhine, or in latitudinarian Brunswick, although situated in such close propinquity to these stricter localities? To take a broader view, who that knows modern Germany will call it a Christian land, either in the sense Rome gives to the term, or in the meaning Luther attached to it? Scholars have begun to denominate Christianity an Asiatic religion, and the public, proud of their vaunted European enlightenment, accept the degrading name. Then follows a sentence pregnant with meaning to those about to vote on this Bill— Already things have gone so far that men who have had a University education scarcely dare go to Church lest they be taken for hypocrites or sentimental enthusiasts. That is the result of University education in Germany, where the tutors are chosen without reference to religion. University Liberals, I dare say, would look complacently on such a prospect; but I do not think parents would—for the school board elections showed that they intensely appreciate the importance of Christian education. That is the issue we have to face. We have to ask you whether you will sanction a system which leads to the results which Germany has reached; whether you will sanction a system in which, as was said in the House of Commons the other day, the Church ought to be looked upon as an intruder; a system under which literary excellence is regarded as everything, and religious instruction as nothing; or whether you will rather sanction the ancient system of this country, a system under which religious instruction was regarded as the most important, the most precious gift which the old could give to the young, a system which is founded on the belief that "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." That is the issue we have to place before your Lordships to-night, and which we fearlessly leave to the verdict of the country.

Amendment moved, after Clause 2, to insert the following clause:— No person shall be appointed to the office of tutor, assistant tutor, dean, censor, or lecturer in divinity, in any college now subsisting in the said universities, until he shall have made and subscribed the following declaration in the presence of the vice-chancellor, or, in the University of Durham, of the warden, that is to say: 'I A.B. do solemnly declare that while holding the office of [here name the office] I will not teach anything contrary to the teaching or divine authority of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.'"—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)


My Lords, I venture emphatically to deny that the issue before us is that which has been put by the noble Marquess—namely, between Christianity and infidelity. He knows well the value of the old proverb "give a dog a bad name," and that nothing is more likely to raise a prejudice against those whom he calls "University reformers" than to seek to identify them with certain views of German philosophical thought described in the letter which he quoted from The Times. The real issue is this—Is it advisable to retain the existing tests, and, further, is it advisable to adopt a new test, which the noble Marquess has invented? Knowing his great ability and ingenuity, I was somewhat curious to hear how he would defend something so novel and startling in the present day as a new test. We have been accustomed to regard tests, political or educational, as things to be dropped one by one as a matter of course; but the noble Marquess thinks such a test not only advisable but practicable. He used, however, a rather singular argument, or paradox as I think it, in support of it—namely, that the existing tests have failed. He asks us to look at the condition of the Universities as proved by the evidence taken before the Committee. He showed us how at the Universities young men read dangerous philosophy, and that, notwithstanding the present tests, a state of things is growing up in Oxford contrary to our system of religion, and that this has arisen from the study of the German metaphysicians. Now, what would be the proper mode of avoiding the danger which he apprehends? Clearly it would be to establish in the Universities a censorship, and to place these dangerous authors on an index expurgatorius. Even Professors who have taken this test may be imprudent enough to give their pupils the very books against which it is directed. There is no man more skilled in metaphysical learning than the Dean of St. Paul's (Dr. Mansell), and no man to whose teaching at the University I am more indebted; but I was surprised at his laying stress on such arguments as these. I never heard that he hesitated to place metaphysical works before his pupils; yet, unless young men are forbidden to study works of modern philosophy, I do not see how you are to prevent their sometimes drawing conclusions which you may not altogether approve. Unless, however, they are acquainted with the opinions of the greatest thinkers, young men would hardly be fitted for the storms and difficulties of after-life. For I do not believe in a hothouse religion. I believe men are fortified by the frank and careful study of all the best thinkers on all sides, and I have sufficient confidence in the truth and vigour of religion to think that, at all events, the majority will come forth from the ordeal unscathed and strengthened in faith and character, and that they will in after-life bear testimony to the soundness of the principles of Christianity. Apart from this general objection to the test proposed by the noble Marquess, the question arises, how is it to be interpreted? The noble Marquess says it should be interpreted not as it would be by a conveyancer, but in a broad and general sense. That, however, is surely the gravest objection to which a test can be open. It is to be loosely taken by men of loose consciences, while it is to be a rigid bond on those with tender consciences. It is to be capable of all manner of interpretations; and it will subject a man to the reproach of having broken it who may yet honestly believe that his teaching is in accordance with it. Its language is—"I do solemnly declare that I will not teach anything contrary to the teaching a Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures." Now, what is teaching contrary to the Divine authority of the Old and New Testament? For my own part, I should have the greatest difficulty in interpreting it, and taking it I would not undertake to teach any species of learning, for it would be open to anybody to come forward and brand men as dishonest, and as teaching geology or astronomy in a manner contrary to the Divine authority and teaching of the Scriptures. This is no imaginary case, for the varieties of opinion on geology, and how far they impugn what some persons consider the Divine authority and teaching of Scripture, are well known. You ought not to impose a test which will give rise to accusations of having broken it and to loose interpretations. Are we, moreover, to have such little faith in those who are to teach in the Universities? The noble Marquess thinks that if parents only knew the present state of things they would not send their sons to Oxford or Cambridge; but are we to suppose that they are unaware of the teaching which has existed there, to my own knowledge, for 20 years? Is it not singular, too, that little if any evidence was offered to the Committee showing that parents ever object, or have ever objected, to University teaching? The fact is that the Universities, if they are vigorous institutions, will be a reflex of the general thought and opinion of the country; and if they are dwarfed into institutions with narrow views they will lose the place to which they are entitled. If they are to be the greatest educational institutions in the country there must be some freedom of thought and a certain power of discussing all the doctrines prevalent at the time; and I maintain that you will find nothing in the Universities but what is more or less connected with current opinions of the times. I do not believe that the introduction of a new test will be more acceptable than the old tests. I do not believe this new test, if it could be imposed, would have the effect of preventing the teaching which my noble Friend is so much alarmed at; and I do not believe that the other House of Parliament or the country would accept any such contrivance. I should therefore see with extreme regret the adoption by this House of the Amendment of the noble Marquess.


, as a member of the Committee, desired to make a few observations relative to what had fallen from the noble Earl who had just sat down, and to the general question of the present Amendment. He must begin by acknowledging the dexterity with which the noble Earl had addressed himself to the arguments of the noble Marquess, and the general skilfulness of his reply; he must, however, at once call attention to the extremely light way in which he had passed over the very dangerous ground as to the effect of the system now pursued at Oxford in the final school for classical honours upon the interests of religion in that University. The noble Earl considered it to be raising an entirely false issue when the present state of things was represented as a conflict between Christianity and Atheism, and he charged the noble Marquess, not only with raising such an issue, but with bringing up prejudices by means of the usual and much abused arguments founded upon the real or supposed evils of German philosophy. Such charges, however, called off attention from the very grave state of things which the evidence had disclosed; so before he noticed the specific objections urged by the noble Earl against the present Amendment, he must recall their Lordships attention somewhat in detail to the very serious state of things in regard to religion, or rather irreligion, which existed at one of our great Universities. He must point out the area over which this evil influence extended; he must go further, and show that those who were most affected by it were the present teachers, and even in apparently increasing measure, the teachers of the future. If this state of things were brought before them by some legislative accident, they would be bound to take notice of it; but being brought before them by the formal inquiries of a Commission, and just at a time when they were about to remove ancient, and certainly not wholly inefficient safeguards, it was the duty of the House and of the nation to do their utmost to stem this rising flood of infidelity, and to make provisions which, at any rate, might seem likely to mitigate and modify the almost certain evils of the future. The noble Marquess had substantiated the grave view he took of religious opinion at Oxford by three very serious quotations. Two of those quotations amounted to this—that the tendency of the education at Oxford in the final school for honours was in many cases to vitiate all belief. Now, it had been urged that these quotations did but represent the opinions of one or two prejudiced witnesses, and that rebutting evidence could be produced from the examination of others, especially from that of the Master of Balliol. It had been said that the evidence alleged had been and was exaggerated. How did the case really stand? He had himself tested these statements before the Committee. He had taken the words of Mr. Appleton and put them in the shape of questions to Canon Liddon, who, as their Lordships well knew, was one whose knowledge of young men was very great, and in whose evidence great confidence might justly be placed. He did this, as he was anxious to arrive at the exact truth. And how did it come out? Thus: the serious statement of Mr. Appleton was this—that the vitiating of belief was the inevitable consequence of the system of education which now exists at Oxford. He put that in the shape of a question, and what was Canon Liddon's answer? He said he could not adopt the word "inevitable." He again asked if, rectifying the statement by leaving out "inevitable," what he had described was sometimes a consequence of the present state of things; and what was the answer of that thoughtful and experienced man? It was this—"Certainly; and I fear I must add it is not an unfrequent consequence." He ventured to think that answer was one which might very well call for their Lordships' serious notice. He then put before Canon Liddon the second of the two answers of Mr. Appleton, formulated, as he had already said, in the terms of a question—whether it would not be impossible for any man to throw himself into the system of education for final classical honours without having every belief in his mind loosened for the time? Canon Liddon most properly took exception to the word "impossible;" but that word being withdrawn, his answer was that it was only too possible for a man throwing himself into the system of education for final classical honours to have every belief in his mind loosened for the time being. This was an answer given on consideration, after weighing the terms of the question, which he could not deem otherwise than especially significant and monitory. There was another point in the evidence of Mr. Appleton to which he must call attention. It was the statement that moral philosophy was wholly disconnected, in present teaching, from religious questions. He put the question also to Canon Liddon, who expressed his cognizance of the fact, and his profound regret that it was so; and he added that it was one of the things that now most sadly marked the teaching of moral philosophy in the University of Oxford. Mr. Ince, a well-known tutor of Exeter College, made similar statements relative to the state of religious opinion at Oxford. Nor were these all. A thoroughly practical man, Mr. Neate, stated distinctly his conviction that the unsettling of belief at Oxford was due to the philosophical school. After such evidence, was it not time to take some steps with regard to such teaching, especially at such a crisis as the present? Let no one think that this affected but few. More than one witness assured them that the area over which the influence extended was wide; that it was not only those few who might be directly brought in contact with this teaching, but the many that were influenced by these few, who must all be considered to be sufferers from the present state of things. Further, let it be remembered that they who were thus affected were those who had received higher education and who thus formed some of the teachers of the present, and, in a greater degree, would become the teachers of the future. This line of study was pursued not only for the final schools, but for fellowship examinations, in which, it was clear from the evidence, much stress was laid upon modern philosophy. Thus, unless some decided safeguards were now interposed, the whole teaching of the future would seem to be in danger of becoming sceptical and irreligious. What, then, would seem to be the best course to be pursued in this anxious matter? What suggestions were offered by those who were consulted? Several of them gave the not very hopeful answer that there was nothing left but to trust in public opinion; but what was this public opinion, and where was it to be looked for? It was very difficult to find out whence this public opinion was conceived to emanate. One witness stated it to be the general feeling of the Universities; another looked upon it as the current of feeling in the colleges; while a third regarded it as the view of honest men through society generally. It came, however, all to this—that public opinion was to guide the Universities. Now, he had thought that the Universities were intended to guide public opinion, and to assist in giving it a healthy tone, and not that public opinion and public prejudice were to influence the teachers of our ancient Universities. But what was the remedy suggested by the Committee? The declaration now before their Lordships. Well, he admitted that it was not by any means a perfect remedy. It might be said that it could easily be evaded, and that it might be made and teaching still be as loose as before. But had sober declarations such as the present no force over honourable men? Were they to think that the teachers at the Universities—men of high intellectual culture and of elevated character—were insensible to plain moral obligations? No; he was fully persuaded it would be otherwise. The men who would be asked to make the declaration were honourable men, not one of whom would make such a declaration without resolving faithfully to abide by it. Every one of them would say—"I am warned against abusing my opportunities in regard to the tender minds of the young committed to my charge; I acknowledge that to be the spirit of the declaration I have made, and take it in that spirit without cavilling as to the interpretation of the words." Further, the declaration would be the mind, he trusted, of the majority of the House, and as such would not fail to carry with it all the weight which such an approval could not fail to give. If it were rejected, especially after the evidence submitted to them, would there not be a danger of their being supposed to be indifferent to the religious teaching at the Universities? But he must now pass on to notice the second argument used by the noble Earl. The argument was inapplicable. The noble Earl really could hardly have read the clause he referred to with sufficient accuracy. The noble Earl referred to the case of a teacher of geology as one that might illustrate the case before them. He pointed out that such a teacher might feel himself in considerable trouble when, on the one hand, he had to give a lecture on the fossil remains of some supposed pre-Adamite man, and when, on the other, he remembered the nature of the declaration which he had signed. But that objection was utterly illusory, for the declaration was not to be taken by Professors or public teachers, but by the college staff—by the tutors, assistant-tutors, Deans, Lecturers in Divinity—observe the restriction; those, in fact, who were mainly concerned with a young man's religious teaching, and stood to him in loco parentis. The noble Earl's objection was pointless. Before he sat down he wished to call their Lordships' attention to the evidence of two of the witnesses before the Committee. He would not otherwise specify this evidence than as describing it as that which commenced on page 255, and on page 294 of the volume of evidence taken during the present year. He did not wish to speak hardly; but he could not refrain from saying that the evidence of the first of those witnesses showed an utter recklessness as to all consequences. Several times that witness was pressed as to what was likely to be the result of changes proposed, and his reply in substance was—"All I am concerned for is the repeal of the tests—the consequences must take care of themselves." That, surely, indicated the utmost recklessness with regard to issues of the greatest moment. Tests must be repealed; let the young and the future take care of themselves. The evidence of the second witness alluded to was nothing more than a deification of public opinion. It was useful, however, as also showing the programme of the future. That programme seemed to be this—that as this was only a period of transition, the tests of Divinity Professors should, be tolerated for a time, but simply as something belonging to the past and to be ultimately got rid of. One of the witnesses before the Committee was asked—"If Divinity Professors are to be absolved from tests, how about the tests of the clergy generally?" The distinguished gentleman to whom the question was put made a little protest about being called upon to answer it, but he ultimately admitted with the greatest frankness that he thought the tests of the clergy might hereafter be dispensed with. But if their Lordships went a little further in their study of that very startling evidence, they would see that it was hoped that the services in the chapels might be materially altered. The first of the two witnesses referred to—doing, he thought, a great wrong to the honourable body of men whose name he used—went so far as to say that the Dissenters would not be contented unless other religious services were allowed in the chapels. But the Nonconformist ministers used very different language, more than one of them expressing the view that Churchmen and themselves had ends in common, though they might differ about the means. The programme appeared to go yet one step further, and that was to secure the complete secularization of all money set apart for religious endowments. That was to be the culminating point, and then the fate of the Universities was settled; irreligion would then have become part of the national system. But would their Lordships allow irreligion ultimately to claim a national endowment in our ancient Universities? He had always understood that the Universities were places for religion, learning, and education; but it seemed that religion was to be deposed from her supremacy, and, as one witness very ingenuously admitted, learning and education were to occupy the foreground, and religion to take care of herself. In that case the Christian land of England would have brought a heavy judgment upon itself, for it was a judgment of the most serious kind to have permitted in any way, whether directly or indirectly, by action or inaction, the rise of an irreligious, a creedless, and, it might be, a Godless University.


My Lords, I rise with great pain on this occasion, because I shall differ from some others of my right rev. Brethren, and may appear to some to be striking a blow at one of those institutions which, above all others, are beloved and revered in this country, and which I myself hold in the greatest respect and affection. But I wish to recall your Lordships to the exact question before the House. We have been a good deal diverted from the question by being told that the Universities were originally places of religion, learning, and useful education, and that if we fail to pass the Amendment they will cease to have that character. The Amendment, however, says nothing about the Universities, and neither the Bill nor the Amendment of the noble Marquess says anything about the Universities, and the words which have been quoted as to religion, learning, and education, are contained in every college statute. These statutes require that— The Master and Fellows shall elect (as Fellow) that candidate (being otherwise duly qualified according to the statutes in force for the time being) who, after such examination, shall appear to them to be of the greatest merit, and most fit to be a Fellow of the college as a place of religion, learning, and education. These words remain written in every college statute, and I hear of no intention to remove them, or to qualify or alter them in the least degree. Every college is intended to continue a place of religion, learning, and liberal education. The true state of the case, to speak with perfect frankness, is, that we have all undergone considerable changes of opinion in this matter; and instead of the noble Marquess being able to contend that this is of all tests the best and most complete, we are endeavouring to keep this last fragment of a test, seeing that the time has come when we must remove almost all tests whatever. I have then a right—and it is, indeed, my duty—to examine this test, and see what is its nature; and I find that it would carry us a great deal further than the scope of the Amendment. If Oxford is, as it is said to be, sunk in infidelity—though I deny the truth of the statement—then that is a strong comment upon the system of tests already existing. If, moreover, this test be a grand panacea for all those evils of irreligion and infidelity, why retain other tests in the government of the Universities? Why does not the Church of England, with the Bishops at her head, proceed to abolish the other tests, and take this one only as the instrument for protecting religion? Let us look at the truth of this matter. In and out of the Universities there is at this moment a great searching of the mind upon the question of religion. I regret many of the developments of that inquiry; but tests are not responsible for causing it, and tests are not capable of curing it. It is a mental state which exists now; but it is not one which will or ought to continue. You have had it from time to time heretofore. It existed in the last century, and then passed away; it exists now; but will, I believe and trust, also pass away. As long as this country values religion, so long will the Universities teach religion; and as soon as the country ceases to attach a value to religion, so soon, and no sooner, will you have at the Universities a state of things which no tests you can devise will prevent. I deny that the state of Oxford is as bad as it has been represented. I have read the evidence of Canon Liddon, but I have also seen something in the University to which he belongs. I was lately in my own college on a Sunday evening, and the college hall was lent for a voluntary lecture upon the Greek Testament. The lecturer was Canon Liddon himself, and it was calculated that one-ninth of the whole of the members of the University in statu pupillari were present. Surely that is not infidelity. It is said that the young men have taken to reading Hegel. I believe it was Hegel who said, when he was dying, that there was only one man in the world who understood him, and that man did not understand him. Such studies may produce some confusion of thought, but will not exercise a strong and lasting influence in a country where common sense for the most part prevails. I object, then, to this Amendment, because we are about, for a temporary purpose, to erect a new test, which, if it is good for anything, ought to have a much wider application. And now I come to the inequality which haunts the proposed application of this test. It is to be applied in the colleges, but not to the University Chairs. That is to say, persons who teach in the colleges the same things which are taught outside—the same chemistry, logic, geology, and history—for it is now the fashion to have assistant teachers and lecturers in all the colleges—are to be restrained by tests if they teach in the colleges, but not otherwise. There is no sort of justification for such a distinction. You will certainly be able to see how the two systems work side by side, for you will curb one man and let another man in precisely the same position go free. My last objection to the proposed test is that it will be useless for the purposes for which it is designed. I do not believe that, except under great pressure of circumstances, the noble Marquess would have proposed it as the best remedy that could be found for the evils besetting us.


Not as the best remedy.


It does not protect the teaching of the Church of England, and that is the ground on which we have always gone before. I have been reminded that, some years ago, I signed a Petition, emanating from the University, for the maintenance of tests. I did sign it; but, on reflection, I saw that the great contract which was made between the country and the Nonconformists so long ago as 1855 had never yet been fulfilled, and until the Universities are thrown open never will have been fulfilled; and on this ground I have seen reason to change my mind on this question. But this test before us is a new test, which may at first please some Nonconformists, but which I believe they too, on reflection, will perceive does not answer their purpose. It is useless, because it is a test which everybody can take. Mr. Voysey does not object to take it; the most extreme Rationalists do not object to take it. The nationalist would say—"Yes, I believe the Scriptures to be in a certain sense divine; Homer and Plato, and every work of genius, is divine," and so he would sign the test. But, on the other hand, to a conscientious man it is a test of the most powerful grasp and the most enormous reach. I can imagine many men of tender conscience stopped at the gate by this test—which meantime is failing to do the work for which it is intended—and saying—"I will not appear to do, either by word or deed, that which is dishonourable, and I will not therefore sign a test which is a snare to my conscience." I trust I shall not be accused of any indifference to the interests of religion or to the University in which I have passed the greater portion of my life if I give your Lordships, before I sit down, one piece of advice. We are not about to change the status of the Universities with reference to the Church of England; that point has been already settled. The Amendment of the noble Marquess is a virtual abandonment of Church of England ground. We shall do very ill if we legislate from panic and in the fear of a certain temporary state of things. I grant the state of religion at this moment is a cause of anxiety to us all—to noble Lords on my own side of the House, as well as on the other. We are all anxious about its relations with science. I see no hope for religion if this test is to be our only protection for its teaching. A better security is that every man who takes an interest in our great national institutions should do his best to strengthen as much as possible the religious teaching in them. Not by means of tests which have been tried for ages, but by stirring up religious thought and by endeavouring to assist those who are engaged in stirring it up can you best attain this great object which we all have in view. There are three or four later Amendments, too, which are intended to act as safeguards; but, whether they pass or not, I deny that the teaching in our Universities is likely to sink into irreligion in its teaching:—because every fellow of a college is bound in conscience in electing a new fellow to choose a person fitted to occupy that position in his college as a place of religion, learning, and education; secondly, because the Universities being places of education for the people of this country, three-fourths of that education has hitherto been in the hands of the Church of England. How can we, I would ask, suppose that those parents to whom allusion has been made will stand still and allow the great schools of this country to be turned into irreligious schools? Whether they be Nonconformists, or whether they be attached to the Church of England, they have a common interest in preserving inviolate the instruction on the common vital doctrines of Christianity—they will be anxious that the colleges should give their sons a liberal education, and at the root of such education religion is to be found.


said, the most rev. Prelate who had just sat down had been a Member of the Select Committee on this Bill, and he thought he would better have fulfilled the duties of his august office if he had lent the Committee the benefit of his knowledge in framing some more efficient test than the present instead of showing how that test might be evaded.


I asked that my name might be removed from the Select Committee on the ground of diocesan engagements.


He felt bound to observe that, in his opinion, it was due to the House when a Member placed his name on a Committee that he should not permit even diocesan engagements to prevent him from attending deliberations in which Imperial interests were involved. So far, however, from the plea of diocesan engagements standing the most rev. Prelate in stead, he might add that on the very day on which the Committee were considering their Report, the most rev. Prelate was engaged—very usefully no doubt—in delivering a lecture in another part of the metropolis; and he thought that something was due to their Lordships from persons entrusted with the high and august position which the most rev. Prelate held. The most rev. Prelate had stated in 1870 that he had always been in favour of some such Bill as the present; but, so far from that being the case, he had in 1863 given his adhesion to a Petition condemning in toto the Bill of that year, so that as the most rev. Prelate had changed his mind on the subject before the House between 1863 and 1870, he (Earl Beauchamp) had not before he rose been without a hope that he might have changed it again, and that he might rank him among the supporters of his own views on the present occasion. The most rev. Prelate told them now that though he had formerly been in favour of some such test as was proposed by the Amendment, that he had changed his mind, and was in favour of the present Bill because the contract of 1855 had not been fulfilled; but that he (Earl Beauchamp) could not help thinking was a most flimsy pretext on which to rely. The University legislation of 1854 and 1855, which opened the University of Oxford to Dissenters in statu pupillari, was passed in that House as a final settlement of the question, and as removing the bone of contention which existed between the Church and the Dissenters. Experience, however, proved that each concession was simply regarded by Dissenters as a starting-point for demanding others, and the contract of 1855 was not, at all events, fulfilled in 1863, when the most rev. Prelate had signed the Petition to which he had referred. The most rev. Prelate, however, went on to say that fellows of colleges were bound, in the election of new fellows, to choose men who were best fitted to the position in our Universities as places of "religion, learning, and education." These words, he granted, existed now; but if religion were removed from the consideration of the electors, and no regulation was provided which, though not binding when submitted to the ingenuity of Archbishops or conveyancers, was, at all events, binding in foro conscientiæ, could it be doubted that it would be said that the contract of 1871 had not been fulfilled so long as those obsolete words remained in the college statutes? For his own part, he felt confident that the present Bill would not be a final measure, and that, if passed, it would be impossible to maintain the provisions to the effect that the colleges existed as places "of religion and learning," to which the most rev. Prelate attached so much value. The question was too serious to be dealt with by the mere retention of such words in the college statutes when Parliament had deprived them of all meaning? He would now turn for a moment to the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, who said that if the Amendment became law he, for one, could not undertake to teach anything whatsoever; that he would find it impossible to teach geology, philosophy, or history with the fear of such a test before his eyes. That argument was surely a sufficient answer to the most rev. Prelate, who regarded the test as idle and nugatory. The test was a declaration on the part of the person who made it that he would not teach any opinion opposed to the teaching or Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and he did not think the declaration would fail of its purpose. The noble Earl seemed to suppose it would banish from the Universities those books to which exception had been taken. So far as he (Earl Beauchamp), however, understood the matter, there would be nothing to interfere with inquiry to the utmost limits of metaphysical speculation, while the teachings in the Universities would be carried on under the overshadowing and beneficial influence of religion, and the idea that there were other duties beyond the indulging in speculation of the kind, such as those which we owed to our neighbours. This declaration was a solemn reminder that there were other things paramount beyond the mere acquisition of human knowledge; and their Lordships might safely appeal on this subject from those factious combinations of the political friends of the Dissenters to the overwhelming belief which the people of England had on the authority of the Bible and the teaching of religion.


My Lords, having sat as a Member of the Committee of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) for two Sessions, I wish to say a very few words on this subject. I will not take up your Lordships' time by citing those Blue Books which I spent so many months in helping to fill—I am too tired of them for that:—but I wish, in the first place, to express the gratification with which I heard the speech of the most rev. Prelate. My Lords, it was indeed a pleasure to me to find that the Church of England, as represented by the most rev. Prelate, was not opposed to education. That is the line that we want to see taken, and not that of fear, timidity, and alarm at all education and all science—a charge continually made against the Church, and, I believe, made most unjustly. My Lords, let us look at what this test is that we are to send down to Oxford. Send a test down to Oxford! Why, my Lords, I am old enough to remember when Oxford found the way to take tests in a non-natural sense. The test would be useless. Everybody knows it. If the House of Commons were weak enough to accept this Amendment, and send such a test as this to Oxford, the Bill would be worth nothing. The noble Marquess comes forward and says—"We propose this test to protect Christianity." Do you think your Lordships' House is the only security for Christianity? Your tests are to protect Christianity! Why, my Lords, Christianity may survive even your Lordships' House. But "See," says the noble Marquess, "what terrible things Canon Liddon told us about the infidelity of the young men." My belief is that many of those things are monstrously exaggerated. Witnesses like sensational evidence. They came to astonish the Committee, and they certainly did astonish it. They showed that the young men would begin by losing their belief, and would then have to build it up again. But anybody who knows anything of young men must know that is a monstrous exaggeration. If you pass this Bill there will be no danger of the kind—the danger will be entirely different. The "coach" will be the man who will influence the young men who have not their opinions "crystallized," as it is called. The tutor takes the test; but the "coach" who teaches the young man takes no test at all. Now, is it wise when you are passing this Bill to try and hamper it in this manner? We are told it is only young men of the Church of England who want this protection, and that the Dissenters are all orthodox and do not need it at all. But I do not know what an orthodox Dissenter or an orthodox philosopher means. I asked many questions to find it out; but at length I gave it up. I ask again, my Lords, is it wise, having got rid of all other tests, to hamper the Bill with this? I hope that your Lordships will not accept the Amendment.


(who was almost inaudible) begged to protest against the declaration being considered as a test. A test was an inquiry into a man's opinions, and in some cases it would be a hardship on a man and undesirable to make him descend into himself, as it were, and force him to declare the extent of his opinions and convictions; but this did nothing of the sort, and surely it was not at all unfair to ask him to say that he would not teach what the Parliament of his country required him not to teach. It was to his mind no argument to say that because a protection was insufficient there should therefore be no protection at all. It might not do everything; but it did something, and when they appealed to the honour of men, and told them what was expected, he could not think the appeal would be quite in vain. In passing a Bill of this kind it was an imperative duty—to take care as far as we could that our young men should not receive instruction of an irreligious character. It was not as a test that he relied on what was now proposed so much as on a declaration of what Parliament thought fit, and expected from those who were to be placed in the position of teachers. Voluntary institutions would not need any such protection, for the support of subscribers would be withdrawn; but endowments, of which a man cannot be deprived without cause shown, needed some such provision.


said, he was convinced that this was a question that would affect the moral and religious character of the middle and upper classes of the community which were trained in our ancient Universities, and would affect the religious and moral character of the Universities themselves. He was therefore of opinion that this question must exercise a great influence on the future destiny of the English nation, and he presumed to express his opinion that its principles should have been debated before it was presented to the House in Committee in its present shape. He knew that this measure had been brought before their Lordships with a most laudable intention of removing disabilities which pressed upon persons very eminent in literature and science, who were debarred by their conscientious scruples from taking those tests which were pre-requisites for the attainment of emoluments and endowments in our colleges. He should rejoice if those disabilities could be removed without injury to our colleges; but the removal of them as proposed would impose pains and penalties on the nation at large. This Bill, if it should receive the sanction of their Lordships, would be of the nature of a Bill of Pains and Penalties upon the parents of the great majority of the upper classes of society. This was not a question which their Lordships should consider with reference to the few, but with reference to the nation at large. Our colleges and Universities were not founded in order to give prizes to a few. They were founded to educate the English nation in sound religious learning. The Universities and colleges were very dear to the English nation, and if the House injured their religious character, they would—no doubt unintentionally—inflict a very severe wound upon the dearest affections of the great bulk of the English nation. If the Universities were deprived of their religious character, the attachment of the nation to those Universities would be very much weakened. He entreated their Lordships to pause before they entered upon such a course as was proposed. If this Bill were passed into law the young men in our colleges might be called upon to listen to lectures on religion and on the New Testament by men who might insinuate doubts with regard to the inspiration of the very Book on which they lectured. Would not that be a great hardship? And that hardship would be inflicted if their Lordships adopted this measure. If it was true, as their Lordships had been told, that the time of tests had passed, then they must abolish the tests of the clergy of the Church of England. That might be called the liberty of the clergy—he would rather call it licentiousness—and the licentiousness of the clergy would be the slavery of the laity, who might have to listen to infidelity preached from the pulpit. Reference had been made to the statutes of the colleges as safeguards; but they were not safeguards, because the Governing Bodies of the colleges—who were a small and despotic oligarchy who sat within closed doors, and whose debates were not reported in the Press—could frame certain resolutions, which, when sanctioned by the Visitor and by the Crown, became the law of the college for all posterity. Though he did not think this declaration was the most perfect that could be devised, he earnestly entreated their Lordships to accept it as the best thing they could adopt in the present circumstances.


said, he had one broad objection to the test which the noble Marquess opposite proposed—that it was a test. He disbelieved in the possibility of devising machinery so accurate and so self-adjusting as to produce the results for which the noble Marquess looked, without producing also an amount of evil wholly exceeding the advantages, if there should prove to be any, which he expected from his Amendment. No test of the character proposed could possess any real and vital importance—it could do mischief, but no good. He had this further objection to the test proposed by the noble Marquess—that it was absolutely unintelligible who was to be entrusted with its interpretation. The right rev. Bench itself admitted its inability to understand its actual import, and upon whom were the Universities to fall back? Again, it would only act upon a small number of those on whom it was intended to be imposed, and, as regarded that small minority, it would afford a temptation to casuistry. If their Lordships consented to the imposition of this test, the tutors and assistant tutors on whom it would be inflicted would say— Necessity will make us all forsworn Three thousand times within this three years' space. At Cambridge, offices had been created in order to secure the admission into the University of gentlemen who were unable to subscribe to any existing test. At Oxford there were recognized and paid assistant tutors of whom no test or any other kind of safeguard was required—upon all of these the noble Marquess's test would be inoperative. The issue before their Lordships would have to be decided according to the view that was taken of the functions of a University. Views changed with the times; but that expressed by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) was an extraordinary one, for he seemed to think that the teaching body in a University stood towards the general body in the merely commercial relation of the employed towards their employers. Instead of simply throwing out temptations to parents to induce them to send their sons to the Universities, the duty of the Governing Bodies ought to be to raise the standard of education, to make the Universities into centres of intelligence and of truth. That was the direction in which changes had been steadily going on for some years. A wider extent of studies was pursued, more natural science was being taught, a different class of students was being admitted, in every way education was being popularized at the Universities, which were being given back to the nation whose property they were. At such a time tests of whatever kind were an anachronism and an intolerable one. A distinguished member of that educational Parliament which had recently been elected in London under the Act passed last year had said, that it was the duty of all who had the cause of education at heart to attempt to co-ordinate the different educational resources of the country in such a manner that they might form a continuous chain, of which, the highest link should be in the Universities and the lowest in the gutter. That was, he was happy to say, a view which was gaining ground every day, and it did so because it was the only true view of the position and province of the Universities, which would never have that position assured to them in the eyes of the country, or in their own estimation, until Parliament had swept away, without reservation or regret, the last remnants of this old abuse.


said, he desired to call the attention of their Lordships to the evidence of the five Nonconformists who were examined before the Committee; because it had been set aside and met by a conspiracy of silence, and he considered it of great importance in legislating on this question. All of them stated that the feeling of the Dissenters was in favour of the maintenance of religious instruction at the Universities; there were, however, among those who desired to see this measure passed some persons who were not Dissenters, but ought, more properly, to be called sceptics, because they did not recognize the divine authority of the Decalogue. One of the witnesses, Mr. N. E. Hartog, was asked— Does the objection which is entertained to tests to be taken by each individual man extend to provisions controlling the nature of the teaching to be given—that is to say, controlling it in a prohibitory sense? To that he replied— The same objection would certainly not apply, because no man could conscientiously object to being forbidden to teach a certain subject. Of course, it is another question how far it is advisable to control the teacher's liberty, and whether a man would accept the office of teacher under such conditions. But it can hardly be called a 'test' in the sense in which the word is used at present. That was the evidence of one who had been prevented from trying for a Fellowship at Cambridge owing to the existence of tests: he was a Senior Wrangler and an Israelite. He begged leave to differ from the observations of the most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of York), since of the young Oxford men that he had known, every second man was a sceptic.


said, he should be unworthy the office he held if he did not contradict the statement of the noble Lord who had just sat down (Lord Stanley of Alderley). His experience of the state of religious opinion in the University had brought him to a conclusion widely different. He had no reason to plead guilty to the charge of having changed his opinions, because he had always desired that the education in our Universities should be a religious one. At a former period, however, it seemed to him that the maintenance of tests was the best way of keeping up that religious character; but he was now satisfied that such would not be the case. He had carefully examined the facts—he had considered in what way tests would possibly act—and he had been unable to find any class of persons that would be prohibited or restrained by them. The net result of the Amendment, should it pass, would be to affect the Jews, and they were the only persons who did not seek to proselytize. From the point of view in which he regarded the Bill, he implored their Lordships not to send down to the Universities a fresh cause of discord, for the inevitable consequence of the clause which had been proposed would be to raise a new and most disagreeable controversy as to the sense of the proposed declaration, and how far certain persons might conform to it. It would be utterly impossible to define what was the scope and meaning of the declaration; and he hoped our great seats of learning would never be placed in the position of being called upon to decide how far a person was conforming, or not conforming, to this declaration. He did not share that excessive scrupulousness which some displayed in reference to tests, nor did he understand why a man should be unwilling or unable to give an account of the faith that was in him; but he could not be blind to the fact that the great body of those who desired the passing of this Bill regarded every sort of declaration as a test. The objection was to having any test whatever, and that objection would remain in full force to the test they now proposed to impose as much as to those tests they all agreed to remove—for no one had proposed to maintain existing tests as they were. But it might be asked what they were going to do for religion if they did not provide for it by tests? As to that he would make a statement. An experiment had recently been tried at Oxford with most marked success. Two years ago a college was founded at Oxford with no tests, with no endowments, no opportunities for social extravagance, none of the objectionable features of the old colleges of which critics complained—a college conducted with admirable efficiency and simplicity, and with an entire absence of tests. Yet that college was eminently religious, and the great bulk of liberal-minded persons connected with the University had held out to it the right hand of fellowship, rejoicing to see it do its work intellectually, morally, and religiously. There had, no doubt, been opposition to the new college; and if that opposition had come from the great body of holders of liberal opinions, he should well nigh have despaired of the University; but he ventured to state that the great body of liberal persons connected with the University had fairly and honourably accepted that college with a determination to give it fair play. It was, therefore, possible to have free religious institutions without the infliction of a test. He trusted their Lordships would not send down this test to the University of Oxford, and that they would solve the problem of the connection of religion with education in some other way than that proposed by the noble Marquess—by the influence of good men finding their way to the hearts of those whom they had to teach, and by the influence of fair freedom offered to all religious teaching. He was sure that might be done without a test; he was certain it would not be done by such a test as that proposed by the noble Marquess.


said, there had been several but not very clear objections to the proposal of his noble Friend. It had been objected, on the one hand, that this was a revival of the old attempts to interfere with religious freedom, and on the other that this was a new test. So far he agreed that the proposal was new; but he differed entirely in regarding it as a test. The objection to this proposal on the ground of its being a test was not very fair. The object of his noble Friend and of those who voted with him in the Committee was, if possible, to arrive at some common ground which they could all occupy. He distinctly repeated this was in no sense a test. A test was something imposed before the acceptance of office; this was a declaration to be taken after office was accepted. Not only was this not a test—not only was it a declaration, but it was a negative declaration, and not a positive one—a declaration not to teach anything contrary to the teaching and authority of Holy Writ. There was still another distinction:—this was a declaration, not to be made to the University, but to the collegiate authorities, who stood in a totally different position. More than this—it was a proposal that had never been before their Lordships before. He himself made a proposal on the subject two years since, and he still thought it was one that might have recommended itself to both sides;—but somehow the proposal fell through. There were two sets of persons to whom he would earnestly recommend the proposal now made, and it was upon their decision more than upon the decision of Parliament that the determination of the question must in the end depend. That decision rested first of all on the parents who sent their sons to the University; and, secondly, upon the great body of the Nonconformists of England. He said it was a question for parents to decide whether or no henceforward the teaching at the Universities was to be in any sense at all religious. It was not a question of denominational teaching—it was not a question of the Church of England; it was simply and solely whether they would have the education given in the Universities in any degree tinctured with religion. The answer of the question in reference to the constitution of the school boards had been singularly plain and almost unanimous—it had decided the question as regards the education of the children of the poor, and it remained to be seen whether a different rule should be applied to the children of the wealthier classes. He could not conceive upon what principle it should be decided that the children of the poor should be taught religion, whilst that privilege should be denied to the wealthy. Then, with regard to the great body of Nonconformists, he would ask them to look at this question, which came before them for the first time altogether in a new light, calmly and dispassionately; not in the heat and glare of political action, but in the light of those considerations which after all were above politics. Let Nonconformists ask themselves this simple question—Did this proposal give them what they had sought on former occasions? His answer was it did. It gave them free admission to the Universities; it gave them an open career as regarded honours and endowments, as regarded teaching and the Governing Bodies; it gave them what they had over and over again contended for—the power of teaching; and, lastly, it gave them what he ventured to state the great body of Dissenters in this country would prize—it gave them the power of co-operation in spiritual and educational matters with the Church of England. The first question which the Nonconformists had to ask themselves was this—whether if by their influence they rejected this proposal in company with whom would they reject it? They would reject it in co-operation with that party which called itself the Secularist party, and which objected to all religious teaching, and who contended that the mind of a child should be left a sheet of blank paper to be afterwards written upon as chance might direct. There had been little real love between the Nonconformists and the Secularists, and the Nonconformists could even now hardly forbear occasionally from uttering some very hard words of their allies. On the other hand, the Church of England offered to the Nonconformists a greater degree of freedom than had ever been offered them before; and would they reject it simply because the offer was made them by the Church of England? That Church might have been in former times exclusive, and even oppressive; but would it be prudent or wise for the Nonconformist Body now to reject the proposal because the Church was once exclusive, and had now become conciliatory? It appeared to him that the Nonconformists had to consider in this matter whether they would throw their lot in with those with whom they had many points of agreement, who were not so much their antagonists as rivals in the great work of educating the people; or whether they would join those who stood on an entirely different platform from them, whose principles were antagonistic to theirs, and who consented for a time to act with them only for the purpose of afterwards destroying them.


said, he was much indebted to the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) for the pains he had taken in this matter; and, feeling the great value of two or three of the Amendments which he was about to propose after the present clause was disposed, of, he wished to explain why he could not support the particular Amendment now under consideration. One or two speeches had been made which he thought more suitable to the Motion for the second reading of the Bill; but, as the second reading had been passed, it was now proper not to enter upon the general principle of tests, but to consider the particular declaration proposed by the noble Marquess. The noble Earl (the Earl of Kimberley) seemed to throw overboard the argument with respect to the check which the declaration would put on teachers. The effect of this Amendment would be that it would subject equally those who taught theology and history and the tutors and assistant tutors to a test. Now, he would state that in the University with which he was connected the action of the proposed declaration would certainly be in that direction, as regarded subjects connected with philosophy and some other subjects. The declaration was to be made by Lecturers in Divinity; but he apprehended that it would be almost an insult to tell such men that they must declare that they will not teach anything contrary to the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures. The office of Dean at Cambridge was of an entirely religious character, the Dean having to do with the regulation of the chapel services, and it seemed again an insult to tell such a person, an ordained priest of the Church of England, and charged with the conduct of her services, not to teach anything contrary to the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures. It might, indeed, be a question whether tutors and assistant tutors should not be subject to some declaration or test, because they might have perhaps to teach Divinity, though the great bulk of their teaching would be mathematics and other things in which no body could find anything either for or against religion. They would, no doubt, teach philosophy, history, and the natural sciences; and, in reference to these, he thought that any test would be mischievous. He believed that Archbishop Whately had said that if he were an arbitrary Sovereign, one of his first laws should be that, in discussing scientific matters, no reference should be made to Scripture; and, no doubt, the principle was a correct one. They had better leave tests alone, and let their great object be to get holy and religious men who were fit to stand in loco parentis to their students. Let men who could be trusted be appointed, and no such declaration as that proposed would be wanted from them. It had been said that this was a negative declaration. Well, he objected to it on that very ground—because he thought that it was not at all worthy of any sincere and educated man that he should make a negative declaration. He thought that such was one of the worst kinds of declaration that they could inflict upon any man. It was sometimes said that if their Lordships did not pass a particular measure, they would have a very much worse measure submitted to them at some future time. He protested against an argument of that kind, as being most unworthy to be used in that House. As an indication of opinion, however, and with no wish to frighten their Lordships, he could not shut his eyes to that which occurred two years ago in the other House of Parliament; when Sir Roundell Palmer moved an Amendment which was, in some respects, a great improvement on that now submitted to the House. It required that every person hereafter appointed Professor or tutor or lecturer in any college should solemnly and sincerely declare that he as such Professor, tutor, or lecturer would never, directly or indirectly, teach or inculcate any opinion opposed to the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, or to the doctrine or discipline of the Church of England as by law established. Eight speeches were made upon this Amendment, but only one was in favour of it, and the Amendment was withdrawn without a division.—[3 Hansard, cxcvii. 1090.] He wished that the present Amendment might also be withdrawn. If he believed it would produce even a small fraction of the results expected from it—if he thought it would help the cause of religion in the Universities—he would support it; but being of opinion that it would insure none of those results, he must record his vote against the Amendment.


said, that as an old tutor of Balliol, and for more than 30 years Head Master of one of our public schools—and having also sent five of his sons to the University—he might claim to possess some experience on this question. Though he did not think the proposed declaration would have so great an effect as he could wish, he should support it, as far as it went, with all his heart. He had sent thousands of his own pupils to the Universities, and for many years past had sent them with a heavy heart, feeling that they were going to a place where their young and immature minds would be exposed to an amount of infidelity shocking to think of. From a large experience of Oxford, he believed that—not in consequence of tests, nor likely to be removed by tests—there had swept over the University a wave of scepticism and infidelity which had produced the most grievous and fatal results. If undergraduates went to Oxford, really young men of 21 or 22 years old, he should be content to leave them there without requiring any security whatever. But we really sent youths of 18; and though they went there well-grounded in religion, their minds were not so well matured that they could be trusted to resist the widely-spread scepticism which now reigned in the University, and therefore he thought they were bound to provide some protection for them. The tutorial system was an essential part of the Oxford method. He wished every Professor to be uncontrolled; but the tutors discharged quasi-parental duties towards these immature youths, and there should be some security that their teaching was at least in general sympathy with, and obedience to, the religion which their Lordships held most dear, and which the tutors, he presumed, mostly professed. The most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of York) said that parents might cry out in some wonderful way against irreligious teaching. But how were parents to cry out? How were they to make their voice heard? What security were they to have?


They need not send their sons.


said, this surely pointed his observation. Parents were to deprive their children of a high social and educational privilege because Parliament would not try to save them from the danger of irreligious teaching! He had sent many young men of high powers to the University, and they had passed under instruction which he did not like. At the same time, he could not help saying that some of the instruction, which, he regarded as the most dangerous, had been the most kindly, industrious, and loving, and had produced the greatest amount of love on the part of those who had undergone it. Less than this he could not say, speaking particularly of his own College, Balliol. On the part of parents, of schoolmasters, and youths proceeding to the University, he asked for some security against irreligious teaching. He admitted that this security was not much; but he did desire the tutor to give at least so much. Of course, neither this nor any other test would bind a dishonest man; but such an argument against tests—that they did not bind wicked men, while good men were restricted from accepting them—rested on the transparent fallacy that it was possible to divide all men into bad and good—quite regardless of the fact that mankind were of very varied characters, and acted from very mixed motives.


My Lords, I have listened with sincere regret, and with some alarm, to the dreadful picture which has been drawn of the moral and religious condition of the University. If that picture be true, I regret there is no warning voice to dispel the notion that the University is a temple of religion, and to proclaim instead that it is a den of infidelity and hypocrisy. Now, how has this result been produced? Has it been produced by the want of tests? Has it been produced by the want of bigotry? I tell you how it has been produced. You have for centuries insisted that the University of Oxford should be deemed the special inheritance of the Church of England. You have insisted that nothing but dogmatic theology should be taught there. And now the human mind, rising up against that system, takes its revenge by inculcating a greater amount of liberality in proportion to the fetters you have imposed upon it. What the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) proposes is a sheer mockery, and worse than a mockery. Just consider for a moment what will be the operation of this test. By whom is a tutor appointed now? Either by the heads of colleges or the Governing Body. If he takes from the men who appoint him this obligation, who is to determine when the obligation is fulfilled? Primarily the persons who appoint. But then the person who is appointed, appealing from the judgment of those who appoint, goes to the Visitor of his college. Now, instead of furnishing any real security, the words which the noble Marquess has selected will, in my opinion, serve no other end but to raise a difficult question, on which hardly two of those to whom the appeal may be made will ultimately be found to agree. The law, therefore, to which the tutors are to be subjected will be uncertain and unknown. But misera est servitus, ubi jus vagum aut incognitum. Again, consider for a moment who it is whom you will drive from the office of tutor by requiring that this test should be taken. You will drive from it the conscientious man, because he will say—"I am called upon to take on myself a solemn obligation, and I know not by what standard the fulfilment of that obligation is to be measured." The independent man also will say—"I am called upon to fulfil a solemn duty; but whether I fulfil it or not is to be determined first by the judgment of one and then by the judgment of another." The tutor of College A will be subjected to a different judgment from the tutor of College B. What, then, will be the result of the noble Marquess's provision? To drive men from the office of tutor who are worthy of it, and to place in it those who care nothing about it or the mode in which it is administered. Is this the sort of provision with the view to the security of religion which comes from the noble Marquess the Chancellor of the University of Oxford? Will it not be a mockery, and will it not end in introducing a miserable hypocrisy into our Universities? What is its object unless it is to secure religious teaching? But in order to have religious teaching you must have religious teachers, and you cannot bind men by this form of words; nor by a standard which in truth is no standard at all, and which allows it to be decided by every feeble man's judgment, whether the obligation has or has not been complied with. I quite concur with the noble Marquess in the opinion that the foundation of all teaching should be the sanctions of religion; I entirely agree with him in his desire that religious teaching should be carried into effect in our Universities:—and I am happy to say that having spent yesterday and the antecedent day at the University of Oxford, and having visited St. Mary's and some chapels in Oxford, I observed there nothing to justify the strictures which the noble Marquess has passed on the state of religion in that University — strictures which, were it not for the source from which they have proceeded, I might almost be tempted to designate as a slander. Let us trust the Universities freely. For my part I am not afraid of the tutors of our Universities, either in point of religion, morality, or acquisition; but if you rely upon this miserable substitute for better things, you may depend upon it that while you get men in whose case it will be no security, you will shut the door against men animated by the highest motives, but which highest motives can be found only in company with great liberty of thought and great liberty of conscience. I trust the noble Marquess will have more confidence in the University over which he so worthily presides than to insist upon this test, which is unnecessary, unworthy, and incomplete—which will serve only to generate endless controversies, instead of producing that harmony which it is so desirable should exist.


said, that having been a Member of the Select Committee on this subject, and paid much attention to its proceedings, he begged leave to offer a few remarks on the subject before the House. He had heard it said by a noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Lansdowne) that the Amendment presented no difference of importance from the existing test. He ventured to think that they who had hitherto opposed the abolition of existing tests were, in deference to public feeling and the opinion, of leading men in and out of Parliament, making large concessions on that subject, and that they were therefore entitled to some consideration in the small limitation for which they now asked. It had been often urged in these discussions that the University was a national institution; but the colleges, at least, owed their existence to the liberality of private individuals, deeply attached to the ecclesiastical institutions of their country, and they had become national because in a great measure they had drawn the nation into them. To the former tests two objections were raised—no doubt not without weight, though other considerations might outweigh them. One was urged years ago with great force by Mr. Goldwin Smith—that it was an unfair temptation to a man to ask him for his assent to a number of detailed dogmatic statements as a condition of obtaining what was a post of great importance to himself; the other urged by the witness so often referred to to-night, Mr. Appleton—that a man whose religious opinions had been disturbed in the period of his University studies was unwisely required to accept or refuse a strict theological test before he had time to re-construct definitely his religious belief. It was because the declaration proposed was a negative declaration that it was not open to these objections. It required no declaration of personal belief whatever; but it did require that a college officer should not impugn what was generally felt by the people to be religious truth, or disturb the belief of young men of immature mind, to whom he stood in a quasi-parental relation. As to the philosophical studies of the University of Oxford, to which allusion had been made, he was as anxious for a wide range of studies as anyone, and if the Amendment proposed to limit the studies of the University, or, as the noble Earl (the Earl of Kimberley) said, establish an Index Expurgatorius, he would be the last to support it. But he did think that the wider the range of study the more important was some security that such study be not turned by those under whose auspices it was conducted into a weapon against the religion in which the young men who entered the University had been brought up. He supported the Amendment as a recognition of the principle that religion should have its acknowledged place in the University. We were going to dissolve the ancient bond uniting the Church of England to the University and to the colleges, whether founded before or after it assumed its present character at the Reformation, by persons attached not less to ecclesiastical than secular interests; and what they asked was that by this moderate declaration the colleges might remain as their founders desired—places of religion as well as of learning.


said, he should regard it as a misfortune if this very moderate measure, which had been framed with just regard to the feelings of the friends of the Church, should not pass. He should like to hear from the noble Marquess and those who supported him what benefit they anticipated Christianity would gain from the Amendment being carried? Judging from the description given by the noble Marquess and some noble Lords who followed on the same side of the condition of things at Oxford under the stringent tests now in force, he did not think there was anything to encourage them, having got rid of other tests, to adopt the one before the House. He did not go so far as to assume that infidelity was rampant at Oxford; but it appeared evident that all the tests that Parliament had been able to frame had been of no effect in checking the spirit of free inquiry. It was said that the wishes of parents ought to be respected, and that it was very hard that infidel opinions should be taught to the children of parents who objected to those opinions. But it should be remembered that this question of tests had not come up now for the first time; and if parents generally anticipated any serious evils from the relaxations contained in the Bill, it was reasonable to think they would have made their influence felt in the House of Commons, and that the question now would have been in a very different position from what it was. There were, in his opinion, special objections to this particular test when looked at from the point of view of those who did not object on principle to the imposition of tests. If there was one thing more than another which a test ought to be, it ought to be specific, clear, and precise, and such that everybody could know what it meant. But no one could tell what this test meant:—and who was to interpret it? Would the proposed declaration answer the purpose? The noble Marquess attempted to impose it on a certain number of men; but why did he exempt private tutors? Their Lordships had it on the authority of the Dean of St. Paul's that the influence of the private tutor was much greater than that of the college tutor; another witness had given the same evidence almost in the same words—and both these gentlemen were in favour of tests, or at least of a declaration. If that were so, how could the noble Marquess expect that this declaration would be effective for his object? In his opinion, the view taken by the most rev. Prelate and by the right rev. Prelates who had spoken after him was much more correct, for they held that it was not to tests we were to trust for the security of Christianity, but to the vitality that was in Christianity itself.


(after "Question" had been loudly called for) remarked that if in exchange for giving up all tests in our Universities, the very small condition proposed by the noble Marquess was required from those entrusted with the education of young men, the question would arise whether the Bill should be carried with such a condition or be again rejected. It had been said that private tutors or coaches would not be in any way controlled by the proposed declaration; but it would be very easy to put it, as it were, as a dragchain upon those coaches, and such a condition, in lieu of tests, would bind the consciences of those who might make a declaration of an appeal to the Bible as an authority, and in voting for it their Lordships would do nothing derogatory to their character as legislators. He regretted that he had acted as a dragchain in retarding the time for a division.


said, that having given this question much consideration, he feared he should have to go into the opposite Lobby to the noble Marquess, should he think fit to press his Motion to a division. It seemed to him that the legislation to which their Lordships were invited by the noble Marquess was legislation under the influence of panic: and he considered that all legislation under the influence of panic was likely to miss its proper scope, and he emphatically considered that legislation under the influence of a panic touching so sensitive and delicate a subject as intellectual opinion—particularly when occupying itself with religious matters—was as unstatesmanlike as it was unwise. The evidence of Mr. Appleton seemed to have frightened the noble Marquess and the Committee. Mr. Appleton was, apparently, a young man of the Positive School, who believed that the human race was to go through various stages of progress, and that the human mind was to do the same—beginning with the loosening of all belief, then going on to a process of reconstruction, and, finally, settling into something like a creed again. He thought that the representations which had been made of the present condition of the University of Oxford were over-coloured, and the evidence on the subject more or less of a sensational kind. It had been said that a "tidal wave of thought" had come over from Germany and flooded our Universities; but he had read the evidence, and he found that this "tidal wave of thought" had not reached Cambridge. He took comfort, moreover, from the expression "tidal wave of thought," because he remembered that when tidal waves reach their highest they have a tendency to recede. He thought, then, he was not using disrespectful language when he said that they had been discussing this question under the influence of panic. The object of the Bill, as he understood it, was not to exclude sceptics, but to include Nonconformists. Now, he (the Bishop of Manchester) ventured to think that our colleges would be very much improved by the admission of Nonconformists, who would bring with them habits of thrift and study, not too marked at present in University life, and that such admission would be a gain to the nation, to the Nonconformists themselves, and to the Church of England, which hitherto had suffered in the minds of the Nonconformists by the exclusive possession of these privileges and prerogatives. It would give a more earnest tone of thought to the studies of the colleges, and would disabuse the Nonconformists of many prejudices against the Church of England. We were living in an age in which it was not wise to tie the tongue of any teacher on any subject. He believed the truth of Christianity would stand examination. He had no fear for Christianity; but he had the greatest fears for the interests of religion if it were subjected to objectionable and unnecessary tests. It was argued that if they destroyed these tests in Universities they must also destroy them in the Church of England; but he utterly denied that there was any analogy between the two cases. A definite religious body must have a definite creed and a definite discipline; but they were all agreed that the Universities should be institutions which should include those who professed various external forms of faith; and that constituted the essential difference. He did not believe that the Nonconformists, who under this Bill would be admitted to the benefit of University education, would be one whit behind the most earnest and most faithful members of the Church of England in making the colleges places of sound religious, as well as of sound secular education.

On Question, Whether to agree to the said Amendment? their Lordships divided:—Contents 71; Not-Contents 66: Majority 5.

Resolved in the Affirmative.

Northumberland, D. Hawarden, V.
Richmond, D. Lifford, V.
Rutland, D. Sidmouth, V.
Strathallan, V.
Bristol, M.
Hertford, M. Chichester, Bp.
Salisbury, M. [Teller.] Ely, Bp.
Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.
Abergavenny, E.
Amherst, E. Hereford, Bp.
Bathurst, E. Lincoln, Bp.
Beauchamp, E. Llandaff, Bp.
Brooke and Warwick, E. London, Bp.
Brownlow, E. Rochester, Bp.
Carnarvon, E. Salisbury, Bp.
Cawdor, E.
Dartmouth, E. Arundell of Wardour, L.
Devon, E. Buckhurst, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) Cairns, L.
Chelmsford, L.
Churston, L.
Ferrers, E. Colchester, L.
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.) Colonsay, L.
De L'Isle and Dudley, L.
Harrowby, E. Denman, L.
Kellie, E. De Ros, L.
Lanesborough, E. De Saumarez, L.
Lauderdale, E. Digby, L.
Powis, E. Egerton, L.
Romney, E. Eliot, L.
Stanhope, E. Fitzwalter, L.
Stradbroke, E. Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)
Strathmore and Kinghorn, E.
Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)
Verulam, E.
Heytesbury, L. Skelmersdale, L. [Teller.]
Hylton, L.
Lyttelton, L. Sondes, L.
Ravensworth, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield.) Strathnairn, L.
Tredegar, L.
Sinclair, L. Wynford, L.
Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.) Belper, L.
Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) [Teller.]
York, Archp.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Devonshire, D. Calthorpe, L.
Saint Albans, D. [Teller.] Camoys, L.
Somerset, D. Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)
Ailesbury, M. Congleton, L.
Lansdowne, M. De Tabley, L.
Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)
Abingdon, E. Ebury, L.
Airlie, E. Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.)
Albemarle, E.
Camperdown, E. Houghton, L.
Chichester, E. Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)
Cowper, E.
Dartrey, E. Lawrence, L.
Derby, E. Leigh, L.
Granville, E. Lurgan, L.
Grey, E. Lyveden, L.
Jersey, E. Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)
Kimberley, E. Methuen, L.
Morley, E. Monson, L.
Nelson, E. Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Russell, E. Mostyn, L.
Sommers, E. Northbrook, L.
Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)
Halifax, V.
Sydney, V. Robartes, L.
Torrington, V. Romilly, L.
Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)
Carlisle, Bp.
Manchester, Bp. Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.)
Oxford, Bp. Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)
Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)
Abercromby, L.
Acton, L. Vernon, L.
Ashburton, L. Westbury, L.
Barrogill, L. (E. Caithness.) Wrottesley, L.

Clause 3 (Persons taking lay academical degrees or holding lay academical or collegiate offices not to be required to subscribe any formularies of faith, &c.).


said, the Committee were more agreed on this point than on any other, because the Heads of colleges had the special duty of supervising not only the religious teaching in the colleges, but also the services in the college chapels, and in reference to the latter point it was important that the Headship should be confined to members of the Church of England. As matters stood at present it would not make any great change if the headships were included in the scope of the Bill, because, as regarded the majority of the colleges at Oxford and many of those at Cambridge, the headships must be held by persons in holy orders. From these heads of colleges the Vice-Chancellor must be selected, and if the heads were persons of various religious opinions the selection might be a cause of much heartburning.

Amendment moved, after ("aforesaid") insert ("except the headship thereof.")—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)


said, he was unable to see why, in a Bill the object of which was to relieve Nonconformists from special disabilities, the headships of colleges were to be excluded because Dissenters were thought to be unfit to be intrusted with the duties. That seemed to him to be a gratuitous insult to the whole Nonconformist Body, and one which he trusted the House would not sanction. With respect to the argument about the heads of colleges having the control of the chapel services, that would be better argued when the Amendment respecting that matter was proposed. If that were adopted, he could not see how any prejudice would be created by the head of a college being a Nonconformist. When disabilities were being removed generally, it would be impolitic and unadvisable to create further jealousy and agitation by reserving particular offices for members of the Church of England.

On Question? their Lordships divided:—Contents 57; Not-Contents 49: Majority 8.

Resolved in the Affirmative: words inserted.


proposed to omit Proviso 1 to Clause 3, and put an end to clerical fellowships. The noble Lord quoted the evidence of Professor Jowett, in answer to a question of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury)— Do you consider that the clerical fellowships act in any manner as a safeguard to religious teaching in the Universities?—No; I think not at all. The clerical fellowships are open to great objections. In the first place, you are compelled to elect an inferior man because he happens to be in orders, or because he expresses a willingness to take orders, and you reject superior men. That has a bad effect in many ways. In the colleges you have thus two classes of persons, one who are elected for merit, and another who are only half elected for merit—that is to say, they are elected for merit, combined with the condition of going into orders, and they have an equal vote at elections, and an equal voice in the education of the colleges. Again, it is difficult in any case to get a good tutor in a college, and if you are obliged to add the further condition that you can only take a person in orders, the difficulty is greatly increased. With regard, also, to the Church of England, I think the clerical fellowships have the worst effect. Men constantly go into orders, or profess their willingness to go into orders for the sake of obtaining a fellowship. I know instances of men who have done so, and of men who have stood for clerical fellowships, and not afterwards gone into orders, because they did not get a clerical fellowship. I think that the effect of clerical fellowships is injurious both upon the minds of the electors and upon the minds of the candidates; and I also think that the injury to the Church is very great in another way, for no religious society is really benefited by holding an invidious position. In this opinion he so entirely agreed that he need scarcely add any argument of his own; but, to show the importance of the subject, he would state that at Cambridge there were 11 headships in holy orders, and eight not. At Oxford there were ten in and six not, and at either University about half of the fellowships must be clerical. He must also say a few words upon the circumstances of this case. The subject was introduced in the House of Commons, and only objected to by the Prime Minister, as it might influence the House of Lords; for this reason 50 Liberals voted against it, and the division was 160 to 182, which announcement was received with loud cheers from the Ministerial benches. The compromise now, as it was called, was ended; and there was no reason why the Lords, to whom it was offered as a boon, might not reject it. It had certainly not been accepted by the noble Marquess, and therefore need not be maintained by the Government. As surely as the next Session succeeded this, so surely would this measure be again proposed; and why should not this proposal be anticipated by the Lords? Why were their Lordships always to lag behind public opinion? Why not, for once, take a step in advance, and thereby place themselves in a popular position with the country. The right rev. Bench could not wish themselves to appear as gaining members to the Church by the assistance of Mammon; and they also might set themselves well by discarding these means of getting hold of the tutors of the country. For all reasons he was most anxious to see the Church of the public disentangled of these obstacles to religion, and education being placed on fair and wholesome grounds.

Moved in line 28. to leave out from ("that") to ("(2.) Nothing") in line 39."—(The Lord Lyveden.)


said, he thought it was not desirable to go beyond the scope of the present Bill, and he consequently hoped the noble Lord would not insist on dividing upon his Amendment. Feeling bound to accept the measure as a whole without any material alteration, he should ask his noble Friend not to press the Amendment.


said, he must deny that the compact entered into between the Government and the Opposition was in any way binding on the House; and if Amendments like that of the noble Marquess in one direction were sent down to the other House they might be sent down in another. It seemed to him that clerical fellowships were objectionable on three grounds—first, that they admitted — or at least were the means of admitting—inferior persons into the educational body of the Universities, and thereby injured them as places of learning; secondly, that they admitted reluctant Professors to the priesthood, thereby injuring the Universities as places of religion; and, thirdly, that they acted as a stumbling-block to the scrupulous and were no barrier whatever—if they were not even an attraction to the unscrupulous — thereby injuring the colleges as places of morality. According to the evidence taken by the Select Committee, a short time ago, at one of the leading colleges at Oxford, possessing a considerable number of lucrative clerical fellowships, there was an election to a clerical and another to a lay fellowship. There were seven candidates for the lay fellowship, and the Examiners reported that they were all distinctly superior to all the candidates for the clerical fellowships: they were obliged, however, to elect a clerical candidate though they had to pass over six better men; and the college distinctly felt that to them, as an educational establishment, such a proceeding was a great wrong. In another case, upon a competition for two clerical fellowships, the Examiners unanimously protested against the filling up of the second fellowship, owing to the inferiority of the candidates. Under these circumstances, the colleges had sometimes been driven to the greatest straits, and had made overtures to the lay candidates to induce them to take holy orders. On one occasion the telegraph was employed to bring back a man to accept a clerical fellowship. A fellow writing to him as to one of the colleges, said— Merton is much oppressed by these restrictions, inasmuch as no such restriction was imposed in the ancient statutes by the founder, and this curtailment of our freedom was gratuitously imposed upon the college by the Commissioners, acting under the Act of 1854. Practically, the restrictions have injured us much. Over and over again we have been obliged to elect men decidedly inferior to other candidates on the open list. The effect of this is felt in the composition of the Governing Body, and especially in narrowing our field for the selection of tutors. It was a common speculation at Oxford as to how long a man would be able to hold out if unsuccessful for a lay fellowship. After trying in vain a few times he was pretty sure to go for a clerical fellowship, accepting it as a pis aller. Was the Church much benefited when such men joined the ranks of the clergy? Again, Lincoln's Inn had opened its doors, on certain conditions, to clerical students; and there were cases in which men had taken clerical fellowships who intended to follow the law. Did the Church gain much when such men obtained clerical fellowships? The law might gain, and it was possible that one day a clerical successor might—he hoped at a very long interval of time—follow the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. He had received a letter from the head of one of the greatest colleges of Oxford, who occupied a leading position in the University, but whose name he was not permitted to give. The writer said— As to clerical fellowships I should have been well content to let them sleep at present and devote myself to the abolition of tests. Colleges can abate clerical fellowships, and most of them are willing to do so. Colleges cannot touch tests, which are imposed by Act of Parliament. But I think this restriction of clerical fellowships an evil. I believe that now and for a long time as many fellows will go into orders voluntarily as are now compelled by the statutes to do so. But the obligation irritates, and prevents many young men from pledging themselves beforehand who would, if left to themselves, feel no objection. Several of our senior fellows who were elected to lay fellowships have been ordained. These clerical fellowships often operated as an irresistible temptation to a poor scholar, who might well look forward to an easy intellectual life in the cloisters of his college till the falling-in of a fat living offered him domestic peace. Such a system produced a very demoralizing atmosphere, when the talk of the common rooms was how many unsuccessful attempts a man would make for a lay fellowship before he became persuaded that his vocation, after all, was the Church. He did not know what the Church gained either from men like these or from the clerical lawyers who fed on ecclesiastical fleshpots in the recesses of Lincoln's Inn. In arguing in favour of the abolition of clerical fellowships he felt he was pleading on behalf of the Church itself. The power of the Church did not lie in compulsory tests and compulsory priests; which, like the mean buildings abutting on a great cathedral, did not strengthen or embellish the building they adjoined. He hoped their Lordships would support the Amendment.


regretted the charges which the noble Earl (the Earl of Rosebery) had brought against the clerical fellows now at Oxford, especially as he had produced no authority in support of them. Such charges were not to be made simply on anonymous communications. It seemed to him that the noble Earl must have been living in strange society, seeing he had been intrusted with a letter making dishonourable accusations, yet the writer of which durst not give his name. He was, indeed, very curious to know where the noble Earl got his story. A great deal of gossip, no doubt, went about in such places as the Universities—that gossip, too, was of various kinds, There was the gossip of the common room, the gossip of the undergraduates, and the gossip of the scouts. He wondered, at first, to which of those three authorities the curious selection of facts mentioned by the noble Earl was to be attributed; but, on consideration, he thought it most likely it emanated from the third of those sources. He must also remark that the noble Earl was a member of the Select Committee on University Tests, and that he had an opportunity of producing before that Committee witnesses as to the truth of his allegations, who might be subjected to cross-examination; but he had not thought proper to take that course. The charges should therefore be treated, as he felt himself justified in treating them, and that was as being of no value whatsoever. He should, under those circumstances, abstain from entering into details with respect to which the noble Earl appeared to have been thoroughly misled. As to clerical fellowships themselves, as the Government were not about to support the Amendment, he should say very little: he might, however, observe that those fellowships were regarded in the light of indemnifications which the Church of England had received for the large amount of bequests and donations specially made for her benefit, of which the University of Oxford was now in possession. If, he might add, they were interferred with, it would be necessary that the advow-sons which belonged to them should be sold also; and he was of opinion that the feeling of the country, which trusted very much to the education of the clergy, would be greatly outraged by such a course of proceeding.


said, he thought the noble Marquess had somewhat departed from the rule which enjoined the exercise of some forbearance when replying to the remarks of a young Member of the House, and who, having made a speech remarkable for its point and general ability, he might well have deemed a foeman worthy of his steel. The noble Marquess complained that his noble Friend (the Earl of Rosebery) had not brought forward in the Select Committee the particular statements to which he referred; but it should be borne in mind that the present discussion went somewhat beyond the scope of the Bill, and that the noble Earl might hardly feel himself justified in raising the question before the Committee, although it was perfectly natural that he should do so on speaking on a Motion such as that which was being debated, and which had been made by another noble Lord. It was, he might add, somewhat painful to him to speak in opposition to that Motion, supported as it had been by arguments of great weight used in a Liberal sense: but he entertained to it objections of a practical character, which would, he hoped, have weight with his noble Friends. It seemed to him that there had been indications furnished in the course of the debate which would render it unwise on the part of the Government to take any step which might lead to there being a collision between the two Houses of Parliament on the important subject under discussion. Besides, there was a tacit understanding in the House of Commons on the particular point relating to clerical fellowships and the headships of colleges by which the Government were entitled to have the Bill sent to their Lordships' House at an early period; thus avoiding all that delay which might be interposed to its progress through its various stages. That being so, and the real object of the Motion relating to a matter collateral to the Bill, and which, he believed, did not excite the same interest in Oxford as other points connected with it, he must appeal to his noble Friend not to put their Lordships to the trouble of a division of which there could be no doubt as to the result.


said, he could not refrain, after the statements which had been made, from rising to defend the clerical fellows of Oxford from the imputations which had been thrown upon them. He had himself examined many of them, and had found them to be men of superior ability, and who did full justice to the profession which they had selected. It had been asserted that the colleges as places of education suffered in consequence of the existence of clerical fellowships. He was, he must confess, astonished to hear that statement. In several colleges the clerical fellows were the only persons who could be depended on for residence; two-thirds of the lay fellows devoted themselves to various professions, and went down to the University once or twice a-year, in some instances only to reverse the decisions of the resident body. He though the could make out a very good case for the clerical fellows so far as education was concerned. He did not believe that these fellowships were any particular gain to the Church, and he repudiated the insinuation that they were making use of Mammon for the support of religion.


said, he would support the Amendment if his noble Friend went to a division, and his reason was because he held it to be a profanation to induce men to enter into holy orders from any low or secular motives. In the Ordination Service candidates were compelled to make a most solemn declaration that they did not take on themselves the charge of the ministry from any motives of that kind, and he did not think Parliament was justified under such circumstances in placing in the way of young men strong temptations to induce them to take orders, not because they were actuated by strong religious feelings, but because that was the condition attached to their gaining certain rewards for proficiency in University studies.


hoped his noble Friend would not press the Motion to a division. He should be very glad to support it if he saw a chance of success; but there were now more difficulties than before. The Government stood in the way, and on the other side of the House he saw no signs of relenting.

On Question? Resolved in the Negative.

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved an Amendment in line 38, after ("office") insert ("nor shall any such statute or ordinance be repealed, except by authority of Parliament"). This, he said, would be in accordance with the opinions of witnesses on both sides, for they urged on the Committee that all contentious questions should be settled within the walls of Parliament. Whatever might be the advantage of permissive legislation, he thought that on subjects like this it would be outweighed by the disadvantage of throwing down the gage of battle in every college.


hoped their Lordships would not agree to the insertion of these words. It was bad enough that they should have the odium of the transaction which had occurred to-night; it would be extremely repugnant to every good feeling to be always referring every small contest about fellowships to Parliament. The colleges should be left to decide those questions of detail themselves.


thought the words proposed to be inserted were retrograde in their object. The Bill at present did not deal with clerical fellowship and headships; but a great many who supported this movement were strongly in favour of their removal. The Bill left them precisely in the position in which they now were. He therefore put it to the noble Marquess whether it was wise to throw out a direct challenge to those who were in favour of the removal of the existing tests as affecting such offices by taking them out of the power of the colleges, and resting them on Parliamentary statute. The inevitable result would be an immediate appeal to Parliament to remove the statutory prohibitions which now existed.

On Question? their Lordships divided:—Contents 56; Not-Contents 54: Majority 2.

Resolved in the Affirmative: words inserted.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 (Act not to interfere with lawfully established systems of religious instruction, worship, and discipline.)

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved, in line 7, after ("discipline") to add— ("or the powers of supervision and control over the same possessed by the authorities of the said universities and colleges.")


feared that there might be some tremendous power behind those words. He believed there was some ancient dormant power in the Universities to punish heresies, and if there were it would be too much to give any legislative sanction to it at the present time.

On Question? Resolved in the Negative.

Clause agreed to.

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved, after Clause 4, to insert— It shall be lawful for the University of Cambridge by statute to provide that a degree in divinity shall be a necessary qualification for the Hulsean and Norrisian Professorships of Divinity and the Professorship of Moral Theology in the said university. The Morning Prayer and Service according to the order of the Book of Common Prayer shall continue to be read as heretofore daily in the chapel of every college; but nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the use of any abridgment of the same authorized by the head of the college.


objected to the clause. He objected, not that shorter services should be used, but to the possibility of a new Liturgy being drawn up under sanction of the clause.


doubted whether the words were the most convenient.


suggested that the power of shortening the service should be limited to weekdays.

Motion (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved the following clause:— The governing body of every college shall provide sufficient religious instruction for all members thereof in statu pupillari belonging to the Established Church.


was still of opinion that it was not desirable to enact this clause by authority of Parliament. He was ready to admit that it was not inconsistent with the removal of tests that a provision of this kind should be made; but when they were admitting Nonconformists to the Universities there was something invidious in Parliament selecting one body of the undergraduates, even though connected with an institution so important as the Established Church, and requiring by statute that every college should provide religious instruction for them. He was afraid that if one portion of the undergraduates were placed in that privileged position a certain amount of jealousy and heartburning might be perpetuated among the Nonconformists, for whose children Parliament omitted to provide religious instruction. This matter he thought might fairly be left to the governing bodies of the colleges. Their Lordships had heard a great deal about the necessity of maintaining the religious character of the Universities; but if one portion of the education of undergraduates was more neglected than another at the Universities it was just that religious instruction which the noble Marquess now proposed to make obligatory by statute.

After a few words from the Earl of HARROWBY, who was understood to support the clause,


said, he had some difficulty in knowing what the clause meant. What did the noble Marquess mean by "sufficient religious instruction?" Did he mean that there should be a course of lectures upon the Articles and upon the various doctrines of the Church of England? If so, the clause should distinctly provide to that effect. But if the college chapel was to be regarded as the place to which members of the Established Church were to go for religious instruction, then if the chapel were to be kept up on its present footing sufficient religious instruction was already provided by the present arrangements for members of the Established Church.


thought the objection of the right rev. Prelate belonged rather to the class of objections that one might expect from a conveyancer than from the bench of Bishops. Nobody reading that clause would say that instruction in Buddhism was to be given. He thought the noble Earl pressed rather hard on Dissenters when he said they would resent a clause of the kind. Nothing struck him more during the examination than the tenderness shown to the Church of England by Dissenters.

Motion agreed to; Clause added to the Bill.

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved to insert the following clause: — No person shall be required to attend any college or University lecture to which his parent or guardian shall object, or which shall be contrary to the tenets of the religious body to which he belongs.


opposed the clause. Nothing could be more difficult to determine than whether a particular lecture was contrary to the tenets of the religious body to which a student belonged. Who was to be the judge in such a case? Was the undergraduate himself to decide or the Vice Chancellor, or was the matter to be solemnly argued before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council? He could scarcely conceive any question which could better engage the attention of the acutest legal intellects. In the Committee this clause was suggested as being analogous to the conscience clause that was enforced in private schools; but that was not the fact. Power might be given to any parent or guardian to withdraw his son or ward from attendance at any particular college or University lecture, and that would be perfectly intelligible and practicable; but it would introduce a great amount of confusion if they went further, and enabled the student to withdraw himself from some lecture which might be contrary to some tenet of the religious Body to which he belonged. There were very strong reasons against the Amendment, and he suggested that the clause should stop at the word "object."


said, it was on his Motion that the Committee accepted the words at the end of the clause. It seemed to him that young men of 20 years of age were not incapable of forming opinions on religious subjects, and that, therefore, they ought not to be controlled by their parents or guardians. If a young man had conformed to the Roman Catholic Church it was very probable that his parents or his guardians would still desire that he should attend the Divinity lectures of the Established Church; and under the clause as it stood at first the young man would be compelled to do so. But would not that be a violation of the rights of conscience? With these views he had proposed to the Committee, and the Committee had adopted that part of the clause to which objection had been taken, and he continued to be of opinion that the clause as thus amended protected the liberty of young men and did not expose them to the caprice of parents or guardians.


thought the suggestion of the noble Earl (the Earl of Kimberley) would meet the difficulty of the case. The argument of the noble Earl (Earl Stanhope) could scarcely be borne out in fact, because if an undergraduate became a Roman Catholic, his Protestant parent or guardian would cease to maintain him at the University.


asked if the clause was really intended to apply to any college or University lecture?


said, the clause was intended to apply to the case of lectures in which there were expressed opinions that were distasteful to parents or guardians. It was clear that the object in view would not be attained by confining the operation of the clause simply to lectures on Divinity, for it was not generally in lectures on Divinity but in lectures on scientific subjects that opinions of an objectionable character were expressed. He was quite willing, however, to accept the alteration of the clause suggested by the noble Earl opposite.

The clause was then agreed to as follows:— That no person shall be required to attend any college or university lecture to which his parent or guardian shall object, and added to the Bill.

THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY moved the insertion of another clause relating to the standing at which fellows should be deemed fit to take part in the government of their colleges. The extreme youth of those who took part in the government of the colleges was felt to be a considerable evil, and it was brought to the attention of the Committee in the course of their investigation. Half the resident teaching members of the University were under 30 years of age, and it was therefore proposed by the present clause that no fellow should take part in the government of his college until he had held his M.A. degree for three years.

Moved to insert the following clause:— No fellow elected after the passing of this Act shall become one of the governing body of his college, unless he have been appointed tutor therein, until after the expiration of three years from the time of his taking the degree of Master of Arts or Bachelor of Civil Law, Medicine, or Music.


opposed the clause on the ground that it was most objectionable both in form and substance, that it was irrelevant and that it did not come within the reference to the Committee. One of the Oxford witnesses spoke of the great difficulty of keeping fellows in residence at that University; and it must be obvious that if this Amendment were carried residence would be still further discouraged, because to allow three years to elapse before a graduate could take part in the government of the body to which he belonged would be likely to lead to great indifference on his part. He altogether objected to a factitious arrangement of this sort. It would be exceedingly undesirable, as driving away some of the best men from residence. On general principle it was most objectionable, without deliberate inquiry, to diminish the number and interfere with the constitution of Governing Bodies in this way, unless proof could be shown that the proposal would be advantageous instead of disadvantageous, as he most firmly believed it would be to those bodies.


admitted that the Committee had not exactly examined into this subject; but a great deal of interesting information bearing upon it had been brought before them. His impression was it would be better that some few years should be allowed to pass after taking the degree of M.A., in order that young men might know their opinions before they took part in the Governing Body.


thought the adoption of this proposal would be apt to engender a feeling that there was some want of generosity in their treatment of the young, and it would be better to admit them at once wholly and freely to all the privileges of their position.


supported the clause.


regarded the Amendment as not only offensive in its character, but also positively mischievous. The abler men were to be kept back practically till the dullards got their fellowships, after the lapse of five years, and that was the pernicious way in which talent was to be handicapped! It was certainly not the way in which the flower of the University could be retained in the service of their respective colleges. Suppose an able young man were told that he must wait four or five years before he could get into the Governing Body of his college, he would probably go to the Bar or to some other occupation where his talent would command a market, and his services would be lost to the college.


saw no necessity for putting Masters of Arts under the disabilities proposed.


suggested the withdrawal of the clause for re-consideration. He thought it would not be wise to press it to a division.


said, he would withdraw the clause.

Motion (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.

The last Clause read, and agreed to; Schedule read, and agreed to.

The Report of the Amendments to be received on Thursday next; and Bill to beprinted as amended (No. 104).