HL Deb 09 March 1876 vol 227 cc1661-703

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.

Moved "That the Bill be now read 2a—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)


rose to move, an Amendment— That this House regrets that any legislation should be undertaken in reference to either University, except after a more extended and comprehensive inquiry than fell within the scope of the recent Royal Commission. The noble Lord said, he regretted to find himself on this occasion in antagonism in that House to those with whom he usually acted in concert, and especially to the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for India. He was aware also that in the period of a quarter of a century which had elapsed since the last great Reform Act was passed for the University many points had come to light in which what was at that time effected seemed to require to be corrected or supplemented. If there were nothing behind the express provisions of the Bill it might have been unnecessary to offer at this stage any opposition to its progress; but he presumed that the lines on which it was intended to act were to be sought for the speech delivered by the noble Marquess on introducing the Bill. He (Lord Colchester) had listened attentively to the statement of the noble Marquess, and, reluctant as he was to object to the principles set out in that speech he could not help dissenting from what was there laid down. The reason assigned in that speech for legislating at all seemed to be the hostile and one sided view which the public might perhaps derive from the Report of the Royal Commission issued by the late Administration. No other view could have been afforded by a document which—by no fault of the Commissioners, but by the nature of the case—was essentially mischievous and misleading. Their Lordships had before them what was done in 1854, when great changes were made. But those changes were carried out after the Report of a Commission which had taken evidence upon every point upon which legislation was proposed; and the Report formed a most interesting record of what was the state of the University of Oxford at that time. But he complained that they were now called upon to legislate on a Report which gave no sufficient information on which to found this Bill. As it seemed to him it was upon scanty, and insufficient grounds their Lordships were called upon to facilitate changes which appeared to him as sweeping and as radical as could have been suggested from any quarter of the political horizon. In 1854 the legislation was founded on an elaborate mass of evidence, containing the opinions, on all points of importance, of the ablest men of the Universities, annexed to a Report containing recommendations founded on that evidence by a Commission authorized to inquire into the studies and discipline as well as the revenues of the University: the course now taken was very dissimilar. The proposal of the noble Marquess with reference to what he had called the "idle Fellowships" would of itself be sufficient to mate Mm say "Not Content" to the Motion for the second reading. The noble Marquess defined an "idle Fellowship" as one which brought no work into the University. The term might be almost equally applied to fellowships of all kinds, for the Fellows who, as College tutors or private tutors, were doing work for which they were paid from other sources than their Fellowships. One man held a Fellowship, and in addition earned money in Oxford by teaching. Another held a Fellowship, and in addition earned money, if he pleased, in London or elsewhere. He (Lord Colchester) looked upon these "idle Fellowships" as necessary to promote the ends for which the University existed. What he would urge in favour of the nonresident Fellows was their usefulness to the University. It was conceded that the University was not to be the training place of one profession; the object for which the University of Oxford was established was to give a liberal education, which would lay a good foundation of knowledge for men whatever walk in life they might adopt. Let it not, then, be said to those who intended to seek their fortunes or exercise their powers in the world at large that the rewards of academic success and industry were not for them. We ought not, by refusing to all except embryo Tutors and Professors substantial academic rewards, make persons regard academic honours as a luxury hardly to be afforded by those who had a career to prepare for outside the University itself. By doing so they certainly would not be acting on the views laid down by the Royal Commission under the Act of 1854. That Commission, in dealing with the College of All Souls, determined to connect it with the School of Law and Modern History. They required that all its future Fellows should be "first-class" men, who should be selected after a further examination in those subjects, and he believed many persons had been induced to study those subjects and to attain first classes in order to qualify for All Souls. He would suggest that allotting prizes of that kind to other new studies which it was desirable to encourage would be more effective even than the University endowments which it was proposed to found by taking away College revenue. But, besides this, by abolishing non-resident Fellowships they would snap a link between the Collegiate system and the life of the nation. They would be declaring that there should be no longer in the public service, at the Bar, in the parsonage, men who, being still members of Colleges as Fellows, frequently revisiting them and awaking again their old academic sympathies, should carry abroad the spirit of the Universities and a knowledge of University matters into all parts of England and all the spheres of English life; and, at the same time, bring something of the ideas and experience of the outer world into College administration, and secure College government from the narrowing influence which the constant groove of daily academic occupation, like the routine of any other office or employment, might tend to impress upon those institutions. He had not touched on the further argument urged by the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury on a former occasion, founded on the great benefit to persons destined, perhaps, to high eminence in later life, of the assistance afforded to them from non-resident Fellowships; and he was sure their Lordships would recognize the force of that consideration, and would hesitate to declare that similar aid should never be afforded in future. If, however, their Lordships should unhappily be of that opinion, the question arose—what was the best thing to be done with the revenues to be derived from their suppression? He should deprecate such a change as that proposed by the noble Marquess without further inquiry. Unlimited power was proposed to be given to the Commissioners to deal with the whole of the College revenues. This, therefore, was the most extensive scheme of College disendowment that could possibly be submitted to Parliament; yet nothing was fixed as to the disposal of the alienated revenues. The utility of creating for the first time, or augmenting by additional endowments, a number of Professorships was another point to which careful inquiry should be directed. It would also be desirable to consider in whom the patronage of those lucrative appointments was to be vested. He should hesitate before entrusting to the Executive of the day so large a power over academic appointments. To give them to the University would be to give them to Convocation, and, bearing in mind the elements of which Convocation was composed, he did not think that arrangement would be satisfactory. The difficulty might be met perhaps by leaving the patronage entirely with the Colleges; but were they prepared, simply on information obtained 22 years ago, to say that this was the best method of developing the studies in connection with the Fellowships, many of which were comparatively new? On that point there had been great difference of opinion and further inquiry would throw valuable light upon it. Changes might be necessary, but they should be made in such a manner as was likely to be of lasting benefit. Would it not, therefore, be well to ascertain what had been done and thought in the University since the last inquiry before they attacked these Colleges, which were national institutions in the sense of forming an important part of the life of the nation? Again, there were questions not in this Bill which it was useless to put out of sight, because they would spring up like armed men around the path of any one who dealt with University legislation. There were plenty of persons who would raise the difficult and delicate question of clerical Fellowships. He was anxious that these Fellowships should not be extinguished, but he felt that it might be necessary to remove the apparent justification for the charge that they bribed persons otherwise indisposed to enter Holy Orders. He would be glad if they could be limited to persons either in Holy Orders or bonâ fide pledged to take Holy Orders independent of their being elected. He was not one of those who wished to do away with the functions of Convocation, but it might be worth while to consider whether a scheme could not be devised by which it could exercise them, not as a primary body, but through a representative body, chosen by all who now composed Convocation, whether grouped by Colleges or otherwise, and exercising a constant, and not merely a spasmodic influence. Now that the Colleges were no longer Church of England institutions it would be well to consider also whether there was any object in retaining the large amount of ecclesiastical patronage which they held in former days, when a College living was the natural termination of a Fellowship. There were many other points with which a full and careful investigation might deal with advantage. There was no need for great haste, because Oxford and its Colleges were doing well, even if they might do better. Let nothing, then, be done in haste—nothing on imperfect information—nothing in any appearance of panic; but let Parliament act with such carefulness and consideration towards them that, even if transformed and transmuted, they might retain that claim on the respect and gratitude of those who reaped the fruits of this legislation, which generations and centuries of usefulness and renown had given them—on the respect and gratitude of Englishmen at the present day.

Amendment moved, to leave out from ("That") to the end of the Motion; and to insert ("this House regrets that any legislation should be undertaken in reference to either University, except after a more extended and comprehensive inquiry than fell within the scope of the recent Royal Commission.")—(The Lord Colchester.)


My Lords, I wish to say a few words in reference to the remarks which I thought it right to make when the noble Marquess laid this Bill on the Table, and which may have been misunderstood as if I thought it wrong that this Bill should proceed to a second reading. At that time the Bill was not in our hands. We have now had an opportunity of reading it, and I am anxious to express my desire that this Bill should pass your Lordships' House. I venture to differ from the noble Lord who has moved the Amendment. I do so on two points; the first is his conclusion, and the second is his premisses. First, I think it desirable that this Bill should pass; secondly, thinking so, I do not think it desirable that it should be preceded by a new Commission of Inquiry into the condition of the University of Oxford. My Lords, the knowledge of the state of the University of Oxford possessed by the public at the present time is, I think, tolerably exhaustive. We have had two Commissions—one a Royal Commission and the other a Parliamentary Commission—inquiring into the studies and the mode in which the government of the University is conducted; we have had another Commission inquiring into the revenues of the University. So that I think we may be said to be now tolerably well provided with information on the subject respecting which we are called to legislate. I know the evils to which changes in great acadedemical institutions give rise. One of them is this—It being the primary object of an University to educate, and education being best carried on when you understand what you are to teach and how you are to teach it, there has now been for a great many years a good deal of unsettlement—if I may use the word—in this great University. But, despite all the difficulties arising from this unsettlement, the University has gone on and prospered. It is a remarkable fact that whereas in the year 1850 there were only 1,400 members on the books of the University of Oxford receiving instruction, there are now 2,400 and upwards. There were in 1850 no unattached students—students who were not members of a College; there were, by a late Return, at least 187 unattached students—that is, persons receiving the benefit of University education on the cheapest possible terms. And while the number of students has increased, the number of studies has also been greatly augmented, and the number of persons engaged in conducting those studies and acquiring distinction in so doing has also been considerably enlarged. Your Lordships will see, therefore, that the University is now doing very well, and the noble Lord who has just addressed you seemed to use that as argument that you should let the University alone.


I said there was no necessity for haste, and that, therefore, it was desirable to have full information before proceeding to alter.


My opinion, on the contrary, is that it is desirable that we should come to the end of changes in the University as soon as possible. Though the University has done well at times, when changes have been in anticipation, I believe she will do better when we come to an end of those changes. I quite concur in much that is said in a Memorial a copy of which was placed in my hands this morning, and which I believe was presented to the noble Marquess by the Heads and Fellows of the College of which I once had the honour to be a Fellow. It begins by saying— "We thank your Lordship for the introduction of the University of Oxford Bill."—they think great good will result from it; but they proceed, I am bound to say, in four pages which follow this preamble, to criticize the Bill in many of its details. I am sure the noble Marquess will not object if, for a few minutes, I follow the example of the Master and Fellows of the College to which I belong. I am convinced that in some respects this Bill is approved by the University generally; and I think there is only one thing which prevents its being approved entirely—doubtfulness as to the means by which it is to be carried into effect. A Commission having reported on the revenues of the University, and the public also being of opinion that those revenues might be better applied than they are at present, Her Majesty' Ministers have done wisely in losing no time. That, I think, is the opinion of the best friends of the University, and I further think they are of opinion that the best mode of proceeding to legislation is by the appointment of a Commission which will carry the desired changes into effect. But who are to be the Commissioners? On many occasions we are called upon to prefer measures to men, but on this occasion we are called upon to prefer men to measures—because the whole Bill depends on men. We are called on to give our whole confidence to those men; but all the time we are not told who those men are. We may rely with the greatest confidence on the noble Marquess, and those who are going to name this Commission; but, taking it for granted that the Commissioners will be the best men who can be procured for this very important task, and passing over for a moment the desirableness of our being informed who those Commissioners are to be, I will venture to point out one or two matters which, I think, the noble Marquess will agree with me will be fair subject for consideration by them. Those Commissionsioners, when appointed, are to have very extensive powers indeed. They will have powers to form new statutes, both for the Colleges and the University. And they are to be subject to very little control. We are told that they are to give effect, as far as they can, to the intention of the Founders of the various Colleges; but at the end of the clause which gives that direction, there is a provision that the intentions of Founders are not to interfere with any statute which at present exists, and which sets the intentions of a Founder aside. We know only very little, perhaps, now of the exact intentions of those Founders. We do know that many of them were desirous to benefit their own souls by having masses celebrated in their own Colleges, and we know that the celebration of a mass in the College chapel is one of those things now, I suppose, prohibited by statute; but when that is known, we know very little more as to their intentions than that they had a general desire to promote education. Therefore this restriction as to following the intentions of the Founders can scarcely be considered as any restriction at all on the liberty given to the Commissioners. There is this further—an appeal is to be given to Her Majesty in Council in respect of any statute which may be framed. Perhaps I may be allowed to make this criticism—that the appeal is to be against the "validity" of any of those statutes. Well, my Lords, large as are the powers of the Commissioners, I do not very well see how they can maintain statutes if they are invalid, and therefore I cannot help thinking that the phrase "validity" got into the clause by some accident, and that the right of appeal is really meant to be in respect of the propriety or wisdom or suitableness of any statute that may be passed. But again, I am a little staggered because, while in the former University Bill it was provided that Her Majesty in Council might refer the statute to five Councillors, of whom two were to be Members of the Judicial Committee, in this Bill it is provided that there is to be a direct reference to the Judicial Committee, and to that Committee only; and this would seem to imply that the question to be brought before Her Majesty in Council is not as to the general wisdom or desirableness of the statute, but as to its validity in law. Again, the Commission, no doubt, will consist of the wisest persons to be found—but they are not to last for ever. But a means of revising and improving the statutes of the University which is to last for generations is also provided by the Bill, and on this point also I wish to make one or two further observations. Before doing so, I may mention that the Memorial to which I have referred states that it would be desirable if the Commissioners, before proceeding to their duties, were instructed to hear all parties who might have anything to say in the matters which were to engage their attention. That, I take it, is a good suggestion. The memorialists are also anxious that something should be done to shorten the duration of the Commission. They think that seven years of an existence is too long, and it would be an improvement, no doubt, if its existence were not so unduly protracted. But whether it is to be seven years, or three, or two, after the Commission comes the arrangement by which for all time the University is to have power to revise and amend its statutes. Now, if there was anything which the Founders intended, it was that the Visitor was to be the perpetual representative of the Founder himself; but this Bill displaces the Visitor by implication as effectually as if it did so by name. I find that, instead of the Visitor, the power of visitation is to be vested in what is called by the somewhat indefinite name of the University. Now, I do not think that the intention of Founders was to submit their Colleges, and especially the funds of their Colleges, to the University which may be anxious to appropriate them. The word "University" is somewhat vague, and, with the noble Lord who moved the Amendment (Lord Colchester), I cannot suppose that it is the intention of the noble Marquess to vest the powers to which I have been referring in the body called "Convocation." With all respect to the Convocation of the University, I do not think it is much more popular in the country than the other body which bears the same name. Suppose there was a statute which excited any amount of religious heat—it would be very undesirable to summon the clergy from all parts of the country to decide on such a statute by a plébiscite; neither do I think that a plébiscite of London lawyers and country gentlemen would better meet the exigencies of the case. In the Convocation of the University it is now generally understood that not only can all the members be summoned, but votes can be given by proxy. It appears to be impossible to intend that statutes under this Bill shall be framed in this manner. Again, I wish to call your Lordships' attention to some of the subjects with which the Commissioners in the first instance, and the University afterwards, will have to deal. The Commissioners are to alter the statutes—and it will be necessary for them to do so with great care. I find that by the clause as to the alteration of statutes, the Commissioners, in making a statute for the University or a College, shall have regard to "the interests of religion, learning, and research." A marked separation seems to have been made in that clause between learning and research. If research is meant that is not based on learning, I confess I am at a loss to understand the value of such research. Moreover, education is an important part of the work of a University, and I cannot help thinking that the omission of the word "education" is an oversight. Again, I do not find any provision in the Bill to make the University more accessible to the general community. When we remember the large revenues of the University and the number of persons who are debarred by present arrangements from availing themselves of the benefits of University education, it would be natural to make it one of the primary objects of the Commission to inquire whether the expenses of the University could not be so diminished by the help of those endowments that a greater number of persons should be able to enter the University. I am the representative, more or less, of some 20,000 clergymen who have the greatest difficulty in obtaining a University education for their sons. It is true that scholarships can be obtained by competitive examination; but all the sons of the clergy who are entitled to a University education are not qualified to obtain those prizes by competitive examination, and I think a more natural use of the College revenues could not be found than that of enabling University education to be given at a cheaper rate to all those who desire to avail themselves of it. Any of your Lordships who have read Dr. Arnold's life will remember how he expresses his respect for a pupil who, having no brilliant abilities, laboured hard to make the best use of those which God had given him. There are at present a vast number of young men throughout the country who have no chance whatever of obtaining by competitive examination the distinctions of scholarships in our various Colleges, but who still are desirous of the benefits of University education, and who, if they could obtain it, would be most useful servants of Her Majesty. I therefore do trust that in the arrangements these Commissioners may make, they will not overlook the possibility of applying the funds of the University to making University education cheaper for those who are not at present able to afford it. That would be very much better than the erection of any number of spacious and beautiful museums. I rather gather from the speech of the noble Marquess that he is by no means insensible to this very important point. The friends of Physical Science think they will be able greatly to improve the character of the University by pulling down one building and erecting another; and I cannot help thinking the surplus which the noble Duke (the Duke of Cleveland) and the other Commissioners have reported to us may very speedily disappear if, under the guidance of the master spirits of Physical Science, we are placed in the hands of some admirable architect qualified to make a complete end of the whole fund. Again, I think it is desirable to extend the range of subjects in which you give prizes; but still I desire that the Commissioners' attention should be directed especially to subjects which have been tried for a very long time, and found to be of great importance. By all means, if you will, let us have Chairs of Biology, and Sociology, and Anthropology, when it is certain that these are sciences. No doubt it is very desirable that in a great University you should not have to go across to Germany in order to obtain information on any branch of science, or on any language, or on any other matter; but still I do trust that the Commissioners will have their attention directed to this point—that their chief business ought to be first to make as perfect as possible the machinery of those great and tried sciences which the experience of ages has proved to be admirably suited for training the minds of the young. Moreover, I trust that nothing will be done to destroy the Collegiate character of the education given at Oxford and its tutorial system. I do not think I need say a word about "idle" Fellows or Fellowships. I believe the noble Marquess has out-of-doors raised a storm by what he said on the subject of "idle Fellowships." I am some what surprised at that, for I do not think the noble Marquess, with his own experience of Fellowships, or the other noble Lords present who have done honour to the Fellowships which they have held, could mean more on this matter than that some check should be put on the holding of Fellowships for too long a time. The noble Lord who has just sat down (Lord Colchester) made an observation of great importance with reference to the connection which the Universities have with persons in the outer world who hold Fellowships. I need not go back to remind your Lordships of Lord Stowell and Lord Eldon, Fellows of University College. The Universities, no doubt, to this day derive advantage from men who, like the noble Marquess the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and several noble Lords whom I see opposite, have become distinguished in life while connected with the University by the Fellowships which they held. My Lords, I shall therefore say no more upon the subject of these Fellowships, further than to remark again that our object should be to limit the time during which they may be held, and not to put an end to them altogether. I ought to apologize to your Lordships for having trespassed at such length upon your Lordships' attention, but my excuse for having done so must be that I do feel this matter to be one of the utmost importance to the Church in which I hold office—because it would be indeed an evil if the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were to cease to be the habitual places of education for the clergy of this land. We are entering, no doubt, upon a difficult and dangerous time. No man can look at what is occurring in Europe, in America, and even in Asia, without feeling that we are entering on a time of insecurity, in which we shall have to contend, on the one hand, with a materialistic Atheism, and on the other with a sentimental Deism, and yet not seek to meet these antagonists by mere unreasoning appeals to authority. It will in the future, I trust, be the task of our Universities to combat those influences by maintaining the reasonable, wise, and loving Christianity which, thank God, is at present deeply rooted in the hearts and the affections of the people of this country; and I am sure that the nation in the times be fore us will be very greatly altered if it ceases to be influenced by the tone which exists in its great Universities. Your Lordships, therefore, cannot be engaged in a more noble and important task than in placing our Universities in such a position as may enable them to do their work well in the age in which we live.


said, he had the pleasure of concurring in nearly all the observations which had fallen from the most rev. Primate in his able and eloquent speech. He especially agreed in the remark that there should be no undue interference with the influence and independent action of the Universities; because he believed that the services which those institutions had rendered, and were capable of rendering, ought to secure to them the most respectful and careful consideration. He agreed with the most rev. Primate in earnestly hoping that the continued interference by Parliament in the affairs of the Universities and Colleges would not be necessary in the future; and he trusted that the present measure would be the final occasion on which Parliament would be called upon to interfere with them. He hoped, therefore, that both Houses of Parliament would contrive so to shape this Bill as to make further interference by Parliament with the Universities unnecessary. At the same time, he could not assent to the proposition that all the reforms which had so largely conduced to the recent marked progress of our Universities had sprung from within those Bodies, and that they had been originated, not in consequence, but in spite of the interference of Parliament. In his view those reforms had been the direct consequence of the interference of Parliament. In reference to the particular case referred to by the most rev. Primate, he did not think that any conclusion in favour of matters being left altogether to the internal action of the Universities was to be drawn from their action, as opposed to that of Parliament, with regard to the unattached students. The noble Marquess's historical statement on that point required some little correction—because it was not a question on which the University had always been right, and Parliament and the public always wrong. The first authority which proposed that successful mode of developing the advantages of the University system was the first University Commission. The Liberal Party did not allow the subject to rest; because some years after that Mr. Ewart brought in a Bill in which that proposal was laid before Parliament, when the subject was referred to a Committee of which he had the honour of being a Member. The Liberal: Members of that Committee, by the examination of witnesses, did their best to secure the success of that reform; while at that time the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) and his friends showed by the course they adopted that they looked upon the proposal with dislike and alarm. That, at all events, was not a case in which Parliament was in the wrong and the University in the right, as the noble Marquess had seemed to imply. He desired to disclaim any feeling of hostility to the Bill; on the contrary, he thanked the noble Marquess and the Government for having brought it forward. In doing that, he wished also to follow the example of the most rev. Primate by asking their Lordships not to forget the debt of gratitude which they owed to those who had taken the first step in that great movement of University reform of which this Bill was the result. He thought that the thanks of all were due to the noble Lord (Earl Russell), who, when known as Lord John Russell, was the first to propose the appointment of the University Commission, which had thrown so much light upon this complicated and difficult subject. Prom the Report of that Commission resulted the important and valuable legislation of 1854 which was largely due to the efforts of Mr. Gladstone. When he listened to the speech of the noble Marquess he was reminded of a speech, a maiden speech, which he had the pleasure of listening to some 22 years ago on the second reading of the University Bill, which certainly contained some things not very pleasant to the promoters of the Bill. However, the fact of his having brought in the present measure was a proof that he had learnt a good deal since that time. He (Lord Carlingford) did not complain of any want of reforming spirit in the measure which was before their Lordships. The noble Marquess in charge of the Bill had displayed a considerable faculty for disestablishment and disendowment. He had shown himself to be possessed of that spirit of destruction which combined with constructive power was absolutely essential to any large measure of reform. The only question for discussion was whether the noble Marquess was taking the right direction in his work," first of destruction, and secondly of construction. He would refer to two points which he thought were not covered by the Bill. Among the questions omitted he was sorry to find that of the constitution and government of the University, and he was rather surprised at the way in which the noble Marquess passed those matters over. The noble Marquess pointed out the great reforms effected by the former Act, and seemed to assume that the present constitution of the University was so perfect that nothing further was required to be done concerning it in the way of alteration or reform. He (Lord Carlingford) could not agree with the noble Marquess in this view; on the contrary, a great number of persons both inside and outside the University held that the University at present was not truly and completely under academical government. The legislative power of the University was vested in the Hebdomadal Council, the Congregation, and the Convocation. The original intention of the Commissioners of 1852 and of the Bill of 1854 was that only those who were actually connected with teaching and learning at Oxford should take part in Congregation. But beyond these there were members of Congregation qualified merely by residence within a certain distance of Oxford. The result was that these non-academical members could, in cases of special excitement, or when party or theological purposes were to be served, be called in aid for the purpose of swamping the votes recorded by the resident members who were directly interested in the work of the University. The Convocation was, no doubt, a body which acted but seldom; but it could act with disastrous effect upon the University. It consisted of some 4,000 persons, spread over all England, any number of whom might, at any time, be brought up to overbear the votes of the resident and acting members. He would not go the length of saying that Congregation should be literally confined to actual academical residents; but he thought it should be limited by a franchise implying some real connection with the University either as teachers or students; and, further, it was a question whether the legislative powers of Convocation should not be transferred to a Congregation so formed. The other points omitted from the Bill were less important; but still they deserved consideration. The present system, under which any control that existed over the management of the estates and revenues of the College was vested in the Inclosure Commissioners and the Visitors, was felt to be extremely unsatisfactory, not to say shadowy, and he should like to hear from the Government that reform was contemplated in this direction. Further, it struck him as being a singular exception to the wide powers of the Commissioners, that they were forbidden to deal with the condition now insisted upon in the majority of the Colleges—that the headships were only to be filled by gentlemen in Holy Orders. Oxford opinion required that in the choice of headships they should be released from that condition. At Balliol and University Colleges it had been removed, and he should have liked to see the same thing done in all the Colleges. It was desired, further, that opportunity should be given to combine the smaller Colleges in order to economize power and to increase the teaching force, and he had hoped that this point also would have been dealt with in the Bill of the noble Marquess. The speech in which the Bill was introduced did not make clear the result which was likely to arise from the action of the Commissioners to be appointed: the noble Marquess was, however, clear in the expression of his wish to strengthen the Professoriat, and in this respect the majority of those who wished well to the University would agree with him. But he (Lord Carling-ford) could not go so far as the noble Marquess in the opinions expressed as to the question of what the noble Marquess described as "idle," but what he would call prize Fellowships. The subject had occupied, indeed, a disproportionate part of the noble Marquess's speech; in one part of which he seemed to go almost the whole way to the extinction of these Fellowships. The opinion of those with whom he had communicated, and with whom he agreed, was not that of the noble Marquess. They admitted that too large an amount of the funds of the Colleges was expended in this way, and they willingly admitted that no prize Fellowship should be held for life, or beyond a very limited term of years; but beyond this they thought that the possession of these prize Fellowships for a term of years was of the highest value to the University, and had afforded the greatest assistance to many of its most distinguished sons. In the early part of a man's professional career those prize Fellowships were most valuable, and they were not to be condemned because the studies of the holders of them were necessarily carried on outside the University. He believed that the University was rich enough at present—and it would soon be much richer—to endow the Professorships, and still leave a good supply of prize Fellowships to the Colleges. Provision for original research was one of the objects set forth in the Bill. Now, he (Lord Carlingford) was very much disposed to agree with those who thought that a well-endowed and varied Professariat was a sufficient and safe endowment of research. Such a Professariat, combined with the tutorial system of the Colleges, would always leave sufficient leisure for the prosecution of research, and the election to a Professorship had this immense advantage over the election to an office of mere study, that it was a matter of public concern—a case in which there were fixed and public duties to be performed, and where those abuses were not likely to exist which might creep in under a system of patronage for research merely. He did not forget the Rabagas simile of the noble Marquess, in his speech bringing in the Bill, which was far from encouraging to his mind. If research was to be bribed into discretion by comfortable endowments, he hoped that science would wrap herself in her own virtue, and stick to honest poverty sine dote. With respect to the Commissioners who were to carry out the provisions of the Bill, he could have wished that their names had been placed before their Lordships before they were asked to read the Bill a second time. Their powers, as defined in the Bill, were both larger and more vague than were those given to the Commissioners by the Bill of 1854. That Bill differed very considerably from the present. It swept away all sorts of obstructions, and without this having been done the Universities could never have made the progress they had; but the work then done consisted mainly in the removal of abuses. The proposed Com-mission was of a more constructive character; and that was a reason not only-why the names of the Commissioners should be disclosed as soon as possible, but also why there should be some statutory indication of the course of reform which Parliament desired they should take. There was another distinction between the two cases—that the Bill of 1854 and the Executive Commission under it were preceded by a most admirable and exhaustive inquiry. He should be sorry to suggest any kind of inquiry which would obstruct the Bill or lead to delay, but he could not help considering what would be the course of things in the University and Colleges if the Commissioners set to work under the powers of the Bill as they then stood. It evidently would be most unsatisfactory if one College was to frame and send to the Commissioners its scheme of reform, and its plan of contribution to University purposes, without knowing what the other Colleges were about, or whether the University concurred with the Commissioners as to what, in their opinion, the requirements of the Colleges were. That would be a futile and haphazard method of making statutes carried on by the Colleges piecemeal. He should like the noble Marquess to consider whether the Commissioners might not be required to frame a general scheme of University reform before making special statutes—whether, at all events, they might not be directed to ascertain what were the requirements of the University, and for that purpose to take such evidence as they might think necessary. That would be a very different thing from a general and vague inquiry, and the evidence would be given under a strong sense of responsibility. Such an inquiry, instead of causing delay, might, on the contrary, expedite the operation of the Bill. He (Lord Carlingford) desired to direct attention to two points, which had excited some doubt and even alarm. One was as to the mode of sanctioning or vetoing the statutes. Congregation and Convocation were large and fluctuating bodies, and he protested against the idea of committing College statutes, framed by a majority of two-thirds of those who were directly interested in the matter and who knew best what was required, to the tender mercies of bodies whose composition in any particular case no human being could foresee. They might be small and tranquil; but, on the other hand, they might be numerous and excited; and there was evidently a great objection to such a mode of sanctioning or vetoing the statutes. The other point to which he wished to advert related to the provisions and policy of the Universities Tests Act of 1871. He would assume that there was no intention of meddling with that policy or of taking any backward step under the provisions of this Bill; but those who had examined it believed that, as it stood, such a reversal of policy might directly or indirectly occur, and they naturally did not wish to leave a matter of such importance to the discretion of any body of Commissioners. It was believed that such reversal of policy might be effected by the combined action of the 16th and 42nd clauses of the Bill. Under the 16th, the Commissioners might attach any conditions they pleased to the taking of certain offices; and under the 42nd they might except the 3rd clause of the Tests Act of 1871 from the operation of the Bill, and thus reverse the policy of that Act. It was also feared that other provisions of the Bill indirectly affected the Act of 1871. This might be done in various ways. It was possible, for example, that the Commissioners might attach a Clerical Fellowship to some Professorship, sub-Professorship, Lectureship, or Readership, thereby maintaining its clerical character, and obviously reversing the provisions of the Tests Act. He only mentioned this last objection by way of inquiry, but it was a matter upon which no discretion ought to be left to the Commissioners. To prevent any doubt on this point it might be necessary that the policy of the Tests Act should be maintained and preserved by the express words of the present statute. He would not on the present occasion go into the question of clerical Fellowships. The whole system of clerical Fellowships was condemned and denounced by the first Commission, and was still condemned and denounced by a large body of persons both in and out of the University, who objected to its continuance as false in principle, and unfitted to a national University. Those who held this opinion maintained that their abolition was so necessary in the interests both of religion and learning that no University reform could be re garded as final until it dealt with this question. Those who thought the abolition of clerical Fellowships an essential part of Oxford University reform could not be expected to lay down their arms unless the subject was dealt with by the Bill, and if it were not, they would only wait for a favourable opportunity of dealing with it. He had offered these remarks in no hostile spirit, and trusted that good would result from the passing of the measure. He esteemed it an honour to belong to one of the greatest Colleges of the University, and he wished to see the University of Oxford ever more honoured and influential. It was because he wished to see the University pursue her career of honour and usefulness without further Parliamentary interference, that he desired to see this a final and complete measure.


said, Her Majesty's Government had nothing to complain of in the tone of comment which had been adopted with regard to this Bill. Those comments had indeed been singularly fair and temperate, and only did justice to the Government for the intentions which had actuated them throughout in legislating for the University of Oxford. Therefore, he regretted that his noble Friend (Lord Colchester) should so much disagree from the substantial principle of the Bill, and should deem the speech with which the noble Marquess introduced it so much more objectionable than the Bill itself, as to have deemed it his duty to move this Amendment. The settlement of this question had now advanced by several distinct stages. Their Lordships were agreed that some alteration should be made and that it was desirable to legislate at once, that further delays would be prejudicial to the best interests of the University, and that a further inquiry such as had been suggested could lead to no advantageous result. Lastly, it must be taken that there was a general agreement, so far as this Bill was concerned, that there was no intention of interfering, either directly or indirectly, with the Tests Act of 1871. There was no desire whatever on the part of the Government to evade the provisions of that Act. The real question raised that evening resolved itself first of all into the character and operation of the Commission to be entrusted with carrying out the provisions of the Bill. No one had taken objection to the issuing of the Commission itself, and all agreed that it was the best mode of ascertaining the necessary facts and administering the questions arising out of the Bill. The doubt that did arise on the part of some was whether the powers given to the Commissioners were not somewhat too large and might not be open to abuse. The answer to that objection must be found in the character of the Commissioners; secondly, what would be the rules laid down in the Bill; and thirdly, it must be remembered that there would always be an appeal to Parliament. It had also been suggested that the term of seven years during which the Commissioners were appointed was too large. That was, however, the term during which a former Commission was appointed, and the Government had come to the conclusion that seven years was not an unreasonable period to allot for the working of the Commission. That was the period to which the former Commission was limited. With regard to non-resident Fellowships, a hope had been expressed by his noble Friend that the Government did not contemplate their absolute extinction. He did not gather that this was the intention of the Bill, he rather thought it referred to the number of these Fellowships and the term during which they were to be held. There were certain reasons why prize Fellowships were desirable; but on the other hand there were certain objects in the University system which ought to take precedence; and until the University had acquired the whole of its necessary educational machinery it was not at liberty to spend the revenues of the Colleges and the University upon such distant objects as prize Fellowships. The Colleges had the first claim to their own revenues; the University had the second claim for educational purposes; and not until the just claims of the Colleges and the University had been exhausted should the surplus be devoted to the endowment of prize Fellowships. There was nothing in the Bill to prevent the Commissioners from acting in this spirit. His noble Friend (Lord Colchester) had spoken of this Bill as a great disendowment of the Colleges; but the fact was that the Bill provided every safeguard for securing all that was right and reasonable in the educational work of these Colleges. The foundations of the last 100 years were absolutely excluded from the operation of the Bill; other interests were most carefully and religiously provided for; and the greatest security was afforded to the Colleges by allowing each to have three representatives on the Commission. Under the circumstances, it seemed to him difficult to say that there was any ground for the assertion that the Colleges were exposed to confiscation. It had been said by one noble Lord that there was to be disendowment of the Colleges for the benefit of the University, and by another that sufficient was not being done for the University; and it was probable that between these two extreme views the Government had adopted a safe and moderate middle course. It must never be forgotten that originally at Oxford the University was the chief and the central figure; but changes had occurred, and, while other Universities—such as that of Paris—retained their University character, at Oxford the supremacy had passed into the hands of the Colleges. He was far from saying that the Colleges had made other than good use of that power; but, at the same time, the character of the University was pro tanto impaired; and in restoring a little of the power which originally belonged to the University, we were but reverting to an old idea, but a sound one in theory and in practice. He believed that all their Lordships had been, more or less, brought up under the Collegiate system, and he for one should grieve if anything in the Bill would seriously impair it, for he looked back upon his College course with the deepest satisfaction, and he knew that many regarded it as in some respects the happiest period of life. The influence of College life generally threw over a man a strong and a powerful spell, which he recognized for the remainder of life, and he should grieve if anything in the Bill was calculated to do away with that which he thought was a wholesome and right influence. But something was due to the University. It had large functions; it was invested with particular duties and powers which a College could not discharge; and it was only right to strengthen in these respects the hands of the University. Since 1854 there had been a very advantageous extension of the life of the University. Institutions, both literary and scientific, had been created, and had begun a work which it was desired to complete by this measure. He found it rather difficult to grasp the meaning of the most rev. Primate, when he expressed a hope that nothing in the Bill would preclude surplus revenues being devoted to the education of the poorer students; but, so far as his words were intended to shadow forth a cheaper system of education and the extension of facilities to the poorer students the views of the most rev. Primate had been anticipated by the speech of the noble Marquess in introducing the Bill. He agreed with the most rev. Primate that it would be undesirable that a large sum of money should be wasted on mere architectural ornamentation. But there were certain branches of scientific teaching which it was almost impossible to carry on unless suitable buildings were provided. He was one of the trustees to whom was entrusted the spending of a sum of money under the will of Lord Clarendon, and it was originally proposed to expend it upon a ragged school at Oxford; but they found it possible to apply it to the building of a laboratory for the teaching of physical science, and he believed that was a proper employment of the money, while he was satisfied that the laboratory had been of the greatest use in the work of teaching science. Therefore, while he agreed with the general principle laid down by the most rev. Primate, he was bound to say that the construction of suitable buildings was essential to scientific teaching. He would not go so far as to say that the constitution of the Convocation was perfect; but many objections urged against it were hardly fair or reasonable; and he demurred to the statement that it did not represent the teaching element. It represented more; it represented the whole University, which had been for years, and would be, he trusted, more and more a centre of intellectual life spreading to every part of the country. Allusion had been made to the Act of 1854; but since that Act, great changes had occurred, and, recollecting the debates on that measure, he hoped that by the present Bill they were taking a new point of departure—a combination of the old with new lines. The most rev. Primate took exception to the association of research with religion and learning. No doubt originally, religion was the one object of the University; then, after a struggle, learning was added; now a third ally had been associated, and the triple object of the University, which must be laid down in any measure of University reform, was the combination of religion, learning, and research. A majority of the House would rejoice to know that religion was kept steadily in view as an object in the University system. It had been feared that the changes of late years would destroy the religious character of the teaching of the University—he did not believe they had done so, or even greatly impaired them. The Tests Act certainly had not done so; it had simply removed certain restrictions and done away with every reasonable ground of grievance. As regarded its religious teaching, no doubt a great change had passed over the University. A dull and colourless uniformity had been succeeded by a conflict of opinion and a mental strife, in which graduates and undergraduates participated. No doubt it was an undesirable thing that young men's minds should not be exposed to such severe conflicts as were sometimes engendered; but by one of those systems of accommodation of which philosophers spoke, men's minds, even when young, were hardened and fortified by such conflicts, and though the weaker might succumb, others rose to much higher qualities. Out of the evil there arose often very great good. As regarded learning and research he would say one word. He understood learning rather to mean that whole system of old learning which had been the pursuit of the Universities for now so many generations, and had turned out so many men distinguished in Church and State, and done such credit to this country. That system of learning would not in any way be disparaged or broken down by the results of this Bill. If such a danger existed, he had faith in the Commissioners that they would bear all these conflicting principles and questions in mind, and that they would be able, with a steady and impartial hand, to hold an equal balance between the old learning, which had done so much, and the newer scientific teaching, which was still undeveloped. He sincerely hoped that this measure would lead to satisfactory results not only in the actual education of the Universities, but in the influence which they exerted upon the nation.


My Lords, every Member of the Royal Commission over which I had the honour to preside was perfectly aware that our inquiries into the revenues, and their application to the Universities and Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, were intended to pave the way for legislation. I approve, therefore, for my part, of the main principles of the measure introduced by the Government. I concur in much that has fallen from the most rev. Primate. I agree that the tutorial system ought to be maintained, and that the Professorial system can only be combined in a modified form. An inquiry should, therefore, be immediately made by the Commissioners to ascertain what are the wants of the University; what Professorships are required, and what has been the results of those recently established. I entertain doubts how far the funds disposable from their presumed superfluity are adequate for eleemosynary grants for the benefit of poor students in accordance with the suggestions of the most rev. Primate. You are about to make indefinite demands on the revenues of the Colleges, and these are not so abundant that they can supply every source of expenditure. Care ought to be taken in the exercise of the borrowing powers of the Colleges. Unless these matters are brought directly under public notice, mistakes and mismanagement may occur which may occasion serious embarrassment. Although prize Fellowships must be reduced in number, I should regret extremely their abolition; but I understand from the noble Marquess that there is no such intention. The Commission of 1854 entertained the idea of reducing the number of Fellowships, but they were, I believe, deterred by the threatened opposition of Lord Macaulay, as it is understood, from making this proposal. Great changes have taken place in. Oxford since I was a member of it, now many years ago. It is impossible not to recognize the necessity of acting in accordance with the sentiments and the progress of the day. Encouragement ought to be given by pecuniary assistance to subjects, not popular, but required by the high character of Oxford. But great caution must be exercised lest large sum should be uselessly squandered. The Government must expect pressure on the subject of the exclusion from the consideration of the Commissioners of the Headships. The clerical headship of Christ Church is undoubtedly peculiar and is now entirely paid from ecclesiastical funds. Oriel and Worcester are so in part, but present no insuperable difficulty to lay headships. The opinion of Oxford is undoubtedly favourable to no exclusion of lay heads, if preferred by merit to clerical ones. I should be very sorry if the high character of Oxford were changed. I do not believe in finality in University reform; but when we deal with the question we should so act as to meet, as far as possible, important objections. Although the increase, as remarked by the most rev. Primate, of students unattached to any College is large, yet it falls short of the increase anticipated by the Commissioners in 1854. I have little doubt, however, that the influence of the Universities through the examinations carried on by them in every part of the country will extend widely, and attract greater numbers of students, not attached to Colleges, to participate in the advantages of their high character.


said, he had hoped that the noble Lords opposite who had spoken that evening upon this measure would have given the House some assurance that they intended to meet in Committee the objections that had been raised to the Bill, but the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon) had neither replied to the objections nor given that assurance:—still he was not without hope that the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) in closing the debate would give such assurance that he would take that course. Although he (the Earl of Morley) did not support the Amendment which had been moved, he felt that the Bill was open to very grave and serious objections. Without wishing to criticize the measure in a hostile spirit, he must express his strong objection to a Bill that was to confer blank powers upon a blank Commission. He had three objections to the Bill. He objected to the Bill—first, because it expressed no policy that was to guide the Commissioners in their course of action; secondly, because there were omissions of a great and important character; thirdly, because some of its clauses were retrograde. These objections would have to be met and remedied if the Bill was in any sense whatever to be considered a final measure. The Bill, as it at present stood, instead of being one that would aid the cause of progress and reform, would fail to satisfy those who were most desirous of advancing University education. The real principle of the Bill was to take away from the Colleges and give to the University. Of this principle up to a certain point he heartily approved. The House was asked to confer unlimited powers upon Commissioners whose names were not yet known. The Bill was also objectionable because it proposed to confer those unlimited powers upon these unknown Commissioners for a period of seven years—a term unexampled in its duration. Thus, if the Bill were passed, the University would be subjected to a process of vivisection at the hands of unknown operators for that lengthened period. There were no provisions in the measure which would have the effect of securing uniformity of action in carrying out the objects of the Bill. He further objected to the statutes for the regulation of the internal concerns of the Colleges being obliged to receive the sanction of the University before they could come into force; and the effect of allowing the Colleges to appoint certain of the Commissioners might be to stop the progress of University reform altogether, inasmuch as the Colleges which most required reforming would send representatives who were not reformers. While he did not think the inquiry suggested by the noble Lord (Lord Colchester) was necessary, he would ask whether it would not be possible for the Commission, before it commenced to legislate definitely for the University, to be furnished with a precise scheme under which its members could decide what was necessary to be done and how it could be best effected. If this was possible, he would suggest further that the scheme, before being finally decided upon, should be submitted to the University authorities. With regard to the Professoriat, he quite agreed with what had been said as to the importance of increasing the number and augmenting the pay of that body. There had been of late years a vast extension of an inter-collegiate lecture system—a system originated by many of the most important Colleges at Oxford, which had immensely improved the teaching, and had almost entirely deprived the private tutors, or "coaches," as they were usually called, of their occupation. He should be sorry to see this beneficial system impaired, but there could be no doubt that the Professors were too few and their salaries too low. While he was somewhat sceptical as to the expediency of endowing research as research, he would support any proposal to make special grants during limited periods for promoting the study of special subjects. Then the question of the patronage was one of the greatest difficulty. The Bill would increase the number of Professorships and other appointments; but there was no hint in the Bill of any scheme by which the appointments were to be made. He need not remind their Lordships of what the result of some of the elections of Professors by Convocation had been of late years—but it was plain that Convocation was not the proper body to elect the Professors. Further, he regretted that no Amendment was suggested in the constitution of the University. The Commission of 1852 recommended that the Congregation should consist only of the members of the University who were engaged in academical work; but this was not acted upon, and, as a result, it not unfrequently happened that, owing to the increased number of churches in Oxford, and the additional number of incumbents and curates attached, there were sufficient non-academical members of the University resident within a mile and a-half of Carfax, but entirely unconnected with the teaching of the University, to defeat the wishes of those members of the Congregation who were vitally interested in the matters which had to be decided. He hoped that before the debate closed some explanation would be afforded as to the views of the Government concerning the removal or otherwise of the disability which, except in the cases of Balliol and Merton Universities, precluded any except ecclesiastical persons from holding the headships of Colleges. The Commission of 1852 recommended that every Master of Arts should be eligible for a headship; at present every Head of a House was an ecclesiastic, and the highest rewards of learning were not open to those who were most qualified to receive. He believed that public opinion in Oxford was strongly in favour of an alteration in this matter, He thought the question of prize Fellowships should be dealt with very carefully, because it was necessary, now that the unattached student system had been established, and that the middle-class schools were sending up men of less pecuniary means than formerly found their way to the University, for inducements to be afforded to the best among such students, in the first place to enter, and afterwards to remain in, the University. He agreed that they should be limited as to amount and also as to time. He also considered it very important that the system of prize Fellowships should be uniform throughout the University, otherwise they would have one College bidding against another, and an unhealthy competition created. One other matter in reference to these Fellowships he desired to point out. There were over 360 Fellowships at Oxford, clerical and lay; but what guarantee had they that under the Bill the Commissioners would not deprive the Colleges of the resident Fellows, who constituted practically the lay element, and leave them entirely in the hands of the clerical element, or, at any rate, seriously diminish the proportion which the lay Fellows bore to their clerical colleagues on the governing bodies of the Colleges? That was a real danger, and he hoped that means would be taken to guard against it. On the question of tests, he understood the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) to say that there was no intention to interfere with the policy of the existing Act, and that, on the contrary, the Tests Act would be kept alive in its integrity. That fact ought, he thought, to be made plain on the face of the Bill. He desired also to see a provision introduced into the measure enabling College funds to be applied to the superannuation of teachers. He assured the noble Marquess that he had criticized the Bill in no hostile spirit. He was sincerely desirous that it should pass, but in a more satisfactory form than it now presented; and he trusted that the University, reinforced by the proposed aids, would take up the proud position she so long held, and would, he hoped, long continue to hold, as the head and centre of all science and learning in all its branches.


observed, that the Bill placed the University of Cambridge in a very invidious position. For his part, he could not see, primâ facie, why the Bill ought not to apply equally to both Universities:—but perhaps it took its present peculiar form from the accidental circumstance that the noble Marquess who introduced it was at once a distinguished Member of Her Majesty's Government and Chancellor of the University of Oxford. If it were intended to deal differently hereafter with the University of Cambridge, then he thought the difference ought to have been stated. On the other hand, if the intention was that a Bill like the present should be applied to Cambridge, those who were interested in that University would labour under the disadvantage of being heard when virtually the question had been settled. That was a practical difficulty which would not exist if the Bill had been permissive only, and was not of the absolute and dictatorial character which it had assumed. A permissive Bill, under which the Colleges, in consultation with the University would be enabled to reform their statutes, would, he thought, have answered every purpose. The extensive powers which the Bill would confer could not but give rise to extensive hopes and expectations, which certainly would not be fulfilled and which, if they were, would be very distasteful to the noble Marquess and Her Majesty's Government. He considered it extremely doubtful whether the results expected from the proposed dealing with the Professoriat would be realized. He doubted whether by increasing the number of Professors to any great extent the interests of learning and science would be advanced. While the Professorial system had been growing up in one direction, the Bill proposed to extend it in another. He believed that if instead of the present Bill some arrangement were made by which the superfluous funds of the Colleges could be diverted to the general purposes of the University, it would meet with the general consent of both Universities. Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he was a member, had taken a great step in diverting from its prize Fellowships a considerable sum for the purpose of endowing lectureships in Philosophy, Archaeology, and Physiology, with salaries of £600 each. Hitherto, the tendency in that direction had come from the richer Colleges, and by the extension of this system the sum required for these purposes might be gained. The richest Colleges were the best and most useful, and the poorest Colleges would be left very much in their present condition. There was an old proverb about giving a dog a bad name, and it was hardly fair to stigmatize the non-resident Fellowships as "idle Fellowships." He could not agree with some of his noble Friends that the objects proposed to be attained by the Bill were left so entirely vague as had been represented. He believed, on the contrary, that the direction in which the changes were to run were perfectly indicated in the words of the Bill; nor were their Lordships justified in requiring that in such a measure as the present the Government ought to incorporate any change in the constitution of the University. He did not see how with any convenience that subject could form any part of the present measure. He should like to hear from the noble Marquess some indication of how the members of the University of Cambridge were to co-operate or take part in the discussion of this Bill, because as it was exclusively adapted to one University it placed the members of the other University in a position of considerable difficulty and embarrassment—Cambridge men who discussed the Bill could not be quite sure whether they were intruding upon their Lordships or not.


said, that the speech of the noble Marquess in introducing the Bill might be regarded as an indication of what he would do if he were a Commissioner. It was, however, within the bounds of possibility that they might see the noble Marquess in the position which he had before taken up—namely, of asking their Lordships not to confirm some statute made by the Commissioners. They were made practically supreme over the Colleges, and might deal as they saw fit with the funds, subject to an appeal to Parliament. The Colleges would be placed under this Commission in quite a different position from that they were in under that of 1852. Under the Act of 1854 power was reserved to the Colleges of which they were now deprived. He quite granted that it was necessary to give large powers to the Commissioners, not less than that a Commission should be appointed, for he could not but remember that all Colleges were not alike. Still, many of the most valuable reforms that had been made of late years had proceeded from the Colleges themselves, not from the University; and it was equally desirable to defend and protect the interests of those Colleges which had exerted themselves in the interests of learning and education, as that the Commissioners should have power to deal with those Colleges which had not shown equal zeal. With regard to what were called "idle Fellowships," he was at Oxford when close Fellowships were in the course of being thrown open, and he could bear testimony to the great incentive thereby offered to those studying at the University, and how many had expressed their wish that they had come to the University some years later, as they would then have participated in the advantages of being able to compete for Fellowships. With due limitations as to the term during which they might be held, and abolishing the absurd condition of celibacy, it was essential that a certain number of open non-residential Fellowships should be retained. He was glad to hear the assurance of the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon) that the Government did not design any retrograde steps—and he was sure that declaration would be received with great satisfaction at Oxford. He heard with pleasure the categorical statement that there was no intention to re-impose religious tests—because there were two or three clauses under which the Commissioners might have attached clerical conditions to any office they created or changed. He should like to hear in what condition the Colleges would be placed between now and 1883, with reference to the making of statutes which referred to matters other than financial. He wished also to ask whether, as soon as the Commissioners had ceased to exist in their capacity of Commissioners, the Colleges would revert to their original power with respect to the alteration and amendment of statutes—except with reference to those statutes made by the Commissioners.


Hear, hear.


If he rightly understood that answer, it was just the answer he wished to receive. The Bill was essentially one for Committee, and he hoped plenty of time would be given for the consideration of it. It pro posed to confer very large powers upon unknown Commissioners, who would have to deal with funds drawn from all the Colleges, and it was desirable there should be some preliminary inquiry before those revenues were placed unconditionally in their hands. He could not concur in the unqualified eulogium which had been passed upon the Governing Body of the University, which had conferred less on the University than the Colleges, one of which had unattached students a year before Convocation recognized them. The Bill could only be regarded as a partial reform, for since 1871 more than one College had expressed opinions adverse to clerical headships and had declared that the University ought to be free and open to all.


said, he listened with attention to the most rev. Primate when he stated he had received a Memorial from his College in favour of the Bill; but when he saw the four pages of objections contained in the Memorial, he could not help thinking that if the Bill was altered in accordance with those objections very little of the original measure would be left. He did not think there was any precedent for investing Commissioners with such large and undefined powers. The Bill of 1854, although it was destructive while this was constructive, was more precise and definite in its instructions, and the Preamble of the Endowed Schools Act stated the objects which the Commissioners were to set before themselves. The Bill empowered the Commissioners not only to deal with the surplus funds of the Colleges, but also to make radical changes in their constitution and to take large endowments from them and vest them in the University. He (the Earl of Airlie) admitted that Fellowships of £200 or £250 a-year were rewards too large for merely passing an examination, and that the numbers of students at some of the Colleges did not correspond with their funds; but the Bill must be read in the light of the speech with which the noble Marquess introduced it. He proposed to take £55,000 a-year from the Colleges and devote it to the University. For building purposes he required £200,000; and, as £12,000 or £14,000 a-year would give him that capital sum, he proposed to expend the surplus in augmenting the salaries of Professors and founding new Professor ships and endowments for research. He had the advantage within the last few days of conversing with some very eminent men connected with the University of Oxford as to the proposal for the abolition of the "idle Fellowships," and he was informed by the highest authorities on the subject that the opinion of the University was opposed to anything of the sort. The students who had gained their Fellowships as the reward of their industry were a most valuable element in the Governing Body of the University, and, if these Fellowships were suppressed, scholarship and learning would in all probability decay. Besides, if these Fellowships were swept away, and if the Fellowships of Cambridge were not dealt with, schoolmasters would advise all clever young men to go to Cambridge, and the source from which we derived our best tutors would be dried up. He quite concurred in what had been said by the most rev. Primate as to the caution which should be exercised in expending so large a sum of money in founding new Professorships. He thought it would be better to leave the matter to the internal action of the University itself, and to appoint assistant Professors when needed rather than create new Professorships which it would be difficult to fill with competent men. They could have special grants for a limited time for particular purposes. They must be careful, while abolishing sinecure Fellowships, not to substitute for them sinecure Professorships. He wanted to know whether there was any provision in the Bill to change the present mode of appointing Professors? He did not think anyone would defend their appointment by Convocation. The Bill did not touch the constitution of the University; but the 16th clause empowered the Commissioners to deal as they pleased with Fellowships, and the Fellows were the governing body of the Colleges; therefore, they had the power to make what changes they liked in the constitution of the Colleges. The Bill gave them power to make statutes for the Colleges, and those statutes could not be altered without the consent of the University. The noble Marquess the other night took credit to the University for the reforms it had initiated. The University, he said, had initiated the new system of unattached students; but that was altogether erroneous, and did not do justice to the Colleges themselves. The initiative with respect to unattached students was taken by Balliol and other Colleges—in fact, when the proposal was made the University refused to sanction it. It was said by those conversant with the matter that the Colleges were more willing to make necessary changes than the University, as might be expected from the constitution of the two. As to the Convocation, either the Colleges ought to retain the right to manage their own affairs, or if the University were allowed to interfere in the affairs of the Colleges, there ought to be a substantial reform in the constitution of the University. With respect to the headships of Colleges, why should they be excepted from any changes? Under the Act of 1854 the Commissioners were allowed to deal with the headships; and if it was expedient to do so then, it was the more necessary that they should now, when the Colleges were being deprived of a large part of their funds, so as to throw open all the prizes to the best men. If lay Fellowships were suppressed, the proportion between lay and clerical in the Governing Body would be disturbed. Taking the provisions of the Bill separately, he thought that if the emoluments of the Professorships were increased. Convocation should not be allowed to appoint; secondly, that it was not expedient to sweep away all idle Fellowships, though it might be desirable to limit their duration to seven, years, and probably to reduce their amount; thirdly, that the University should not be allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of Colleges unless the constitution of the University itself was reformed; and, fourthly, that the Commissioners should have power, as under the Act of 1854, to deal with headships. He understood that the University had appointed a Committee to consider this Bill, and it would be a great assistance to their Lordships, before they went into Committee on the Bill, to know what were the recommendations of that Committee; and therefore he thought that some time should be allowed before they went into Committee, so that their Lordships might have time to ascertain the views of the parties interested, and to send down to the other House a carefully considered measure.


My Lords, the noble Lord who ex pressed himself as much interested in the University of Cambridge said, he regretted that the Bill dealt only with the University of Oxford, and that the Bill with regard to the University of Cambridge might come on rather late in the Session. I think that if the second reading of the Bill with reference to Cambridge University should come on in August there will then be as many Members in the House as there are present this evening. Under these circumstances I hope that I shall be pardoned if I am brief in dealing with the subject that has been brought before the House, and do not attempt to keep in bonds the "fugitive slaves" here. There is a great desire to get away, and therefore I will not dwell much on the subject. I have no occasion to do so, because I am sure I could have no reason to complain of the most rev. Primate, who spoke with high authority and his peculiar experience; and I think that every noble Lord who has spoken on the Bill—those included who are most opposed to us in polities—dealt with it in a candid and friendly spirit. I do not deny that many of the suggestions that have been made are worthy of consideration; but most of them are most suited to be dealt with in Committee, and it is hardly necessary to discuss them now. I entirely agree with the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Cleveland) that it would be very undesirable that the Commissioners should lend their authority to any extensive scheme of borrowing by the University or Colleges for the purposes of the Bill. There was one remark of the most rev. Primate which I do not quite understand, or with which I do not concur—the illustration he gave of the difficulties thrown in the way of poorer students of obtaining an University Education. But that remark is certainly not correct, as far as concerns this Bill; for to those who are not strictly poor the Bill as it stands contains ample means of giving them the benefits of the University. I think the most rev. Primate will see that the 17th and 18th clauses empower the Commissioners to extend scholarships to either attached or unattached students as they may think good. Passing from mere detail, I think the general complaints in this debate have been in reference to the vagueness of the Commission and the power of the Commissioners to be appointed. Of that difficulty I am well aware; but I think it will be found that it is no special reproach to this Bill, but is equally a reproach to all Bills setting up a machinery of this kind which Parliament has recently passed. The Act of 1854 gave the Commissioners almost unlimited power. The Endowed Schools Commission is another case in point. Parliament in granting Commissions of this kind has found it necessary in these days to give them large jurisdiction. In this case there was more reason for doing so than in any other, because the Bill gives the Commissioners, I believe, no greater powers than are already possessed by the Colleges themselves. The only difference between the machinery of this Bill and the existing state of things is this—that some kind of security is given by the Bill that those powers should be exercised on a common plan; but as matters stand now they are exercised by different bodies without any concert between them. It is therefore not correct to talk of the extraordinary powers of the Body to be appointed. No doubt, those powers will be very great, and it may be well to introduce some provisions in that respect; but any such words must be carefully guarded. I think we shall find that what the Bill does is large enough to effect the object we have in view, and it is no use to attempt to cover a larger field than the legislation is intended to deal with. I do not entertain the illusory hope that the Bill will be a final effort in the direction of University reform, because we know well enough that as long as there is money to be applied, machinery to be used, and privileges to be obtained, there will always be people to agitate for a share in those advantages. The idea, therefore, of any Bill which would settle the question is a delusion. We have now simply brought in a Bill to enable the Commissioners to deal with the University and Colleges within a distinctly defined area—within that area they will have abundant power, but the area itself will be small. There is only one other subject to which I think it is necessary that I should allude before I sit down, and that is one which has aroused much interest both here and outside. I mean the religious question. It has been insinuated several times, both out-of-doors and here, that we are desirous of taking advantage of the change of Government to retrace the steps which Parliament has deliberately taken on the subject of religious tests in recent years. I wish to remove all grounds for fear of that kind. However much we may at the time have contested the wisdom of the policy which Parliament thought fit to pursue, we do not think, and we never have thought, that it would be consistent with the continuity of Government that we should take advantage of a change of political fortune to reverse decisions which Parliament deliberately arrived at in former years. That is the principle which we have adhered to in other matters, and it is one which we intend to adhere to in reference to ecclesiastical and University subjects. Our desire, in bringing forward this Bill, is that as regards ecclesiastical matters the precise status quo should be preserved. We do not intend to carry forward any further the process of separating the Universities from the Church; but we do not desire to retrace any step that has already been taken. We desire that matters in that respect shall, after this Bill has passed, remain precisely as they were before; and therefore, if there is in this Bill any clause which can legitimately and reasonably give rise to apprehensions that the policy of the University Tests Act is to be reversed we shall be glad to review it in Committee. The particular clause which has been referred to was put in for this reason—a fear was entertained, rightly or wrongly, that if the clerical Fellow-ships or endowments were touched by the Commissioners it would make them new clerical Fellowships, and then they would be swept away by the Tests Act. We should be very sorry if the proportion of clerical Fellowships should be diminished; but we do not uphold them any more than the other Fellowships free from the conditions that the others are to be subject to. Without attempting to use any language that will fetter the Commissioners in their action, or attempting to express the precise form or result of their action, I entertain a hope that the clerical Fellowships will be maintained and that the policy of the Tests Act, not only as expressed by its 1st, 2nd, and 3rd clauses, but as expressed in its 5th clause—which enacts that education in the tenets of the Church shall be given to all members of that Church in the University—will be followed strictly. In all these matters I trust we may escape what may be called the clericophobia which affects the most amiable and most capable minds, and which distorts all their judgment. Congregation has been objected to simply because it contains a number of curates who reside in the University of Oxford; and there is a desire also to dissociate headships from clerical matters. On the other hand, when men are defending "idle Fellowships" they declare the importance of the connection between the outside world and the Governing Body of the University; and when they are dealing with Congregation they dilate upon the absurdity of allowing the outside world to have anything to do with it. I am afraid that the only solution of this contradiction is, that in the one instance the connection is clerical and in the other it is not; or, if you prefer it, that the connection in the one case is Conservative and in the other is Liberal. For my own part, there seems to me to be an obvious reason why the connection between the government of the University and of the outside world is more reasonable and does less injury than these "idle Fellowships," and that is, that the outside vote in Congregation is only a small fraction of the whole vote, whereas in the government of Colleges it is much larger. But we do not wish to alter the government of the Colleges or of the University. We certainly do not propose to increase any restrictions or to impose any which do not now exist; but we earnestly hope to carry out the policy so eloquently sketched by the most rev. Primate, and to continue that connection between the University and the Church which has given so much piety to the University and so much learning to the Church.


said, he failed to comprehend why if the two Universities were to be dealt with in the same manner, they had not been dealt with in the same Bill; and if they were to be dealt with differently, he thought the full scheme should be laid before the House before it was called upon to determine how either of the Universities was to be treated. The debate had been a very remarkable one, and had been most creditable to the University, inasmuch as the burden of the discussion had been borne by those who had been its first-class men; but, nevertheless, very little information on the subject had been given to the House. He did not complain of the reticence of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury), for it would have been impossible for him to have accepted en bloc all the suggestions which had been made—though he gathered that they were to receive the fair consideration of Her Majesty's Government. Several suggestions had been made, but the wind had been so completely taken out of his sails by the noble Lords who had preceded him that he should not refer to them at any length. There were one or two points, however, which he wished to bring to the attention of the noble Marquess before the Bill was read the second time. In the first place, he did not think that the delegates of the Colleges were the best persons to carry out reforms of particular Colleges. Delegates from three of the Colleges in the University might take different views of the matters brought before them; and he was by no means clear, from the proposals contained in the Bill, how the delegates were to be appointed. If the delegates were to vote as they pleased, he doubted, in the first place, whether many men would care for the appointments; and, in the second place, whether the Colleges themselves would care to delegate such plenary powers. He had been pleased to hear the noble Marquess say, with regard to the manner in which Her Majesty's Government proposed to deal with the religious aspect of the question, that it was not intended in any way to go back, nor to take any steps which could have the effect of further separating the University from the Church. After making this statement the noble Marquess used some remarks about the anti-clerical feeling which existed on the Opposition side of the House. He did not think there was any ground for imputing such a feeling to them—and, indeed, the imputation was neither made in good taste nor warranted by facts. The noble Marquess alluded to certain prejudices which would wear out in time; but if he (Earl Granville) was not mistaken, the only prejudices to which objection could be taken existed in the minds of a party in the State other than that to which he (Earl Granville) belonged. The noble Marquess had chosen to treat the objections raised against the constitution of the Congregation of the University as having been directed against certain resident curates in the City of Oxford who, having left the University, acted as members of Congregation, in opposition to the views of those members of the University who were actually engaged in the work of teaching. This interpretation he denied. The objection which had been raised to the present constitution of the Congregation of the University was not directed against any body of curates, whether resident in Oxford or elsewhere, but was aimed at the constitution of a Governing Body which admitted of persons neither resident nor engaged in the work of the University holding in their hands the power to thwart the views or those most interested in the matter. He understood it to be the intention of the Government to maintain the clerical restrictions in reference to the Heads of Colleges. He believed this decision to be a most unwise one. He had heard it stated that the parents of England would not like to trust their sons to the care of Heads of Colleges who were not clerics; but he attached no weight to the statement. He believed that a great many parents would prefer to entrust their sons to a College of which the noble Marquess opposite was the Head, rather than one under the headship of a clergyman who, however amiable and excellent, did not possess the qualities fitted for the headship. Take the case of a College where there was a layman eminently fitted to become its Head, while among the clerical members there was no one equally well fitted for the position—would it be said that they were advancing the cause of the Church or of education by preventing the superior man being chosen? He said this with the more confidence because he believed a little dash of despotism was an advantage rather than otherwise in the Head of a College. What he wanted was that the best men, whether clerical or lay, should be selected; and he agreed that this was the more likely to be done, even with the clerical restriction, by means of a system which would preclude the almost absolute certainty of the Head of a College being chosen from among the Fellows of his College, without any special reference to his fitness for the position. It had been said that there was a great objection to dragging the Universities so constantly into Parliamentary discussions, and it was because he believed this that he hoped the noble Marquess, as Chancellor of the University, would consider the various suggestions that had been made, in order, if possible, to settle the question at once, and, as finality was out of the question, for the present at any rate, in such a manner as that it would not be necessary to bring the matter within the limits of Parliamentary and, perhaps, acrimonious discussion for many years. The criticisms from that side of the House had not been made in a hostile spirit, and the noble Marquess might count on the co-operation of his various critics in any attempt to make the Bill as perfect as was possible under the circumstances.

On Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Motion? Resolved in the Affirmative.

Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday the 30th instant.

House adjourned at half past Ten o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.