( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Solicitor General, Mr. William Edward Forster.)
Order for Third Reading read.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
said, that as his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), who had given Notice that he would move the rejection of the Bill, was not in his place he felt it to be his duty to protest against its passing. He did so, however, not on any party grounds, and as he had not had the advantage of having received an University education he was entirely free from prejudice on the subject. He, moreover, yielded to no man in his desire to promote religious liberty; but he was of opinion that we should, have in this country some well-defined religious belief. He was anxious that Nonconformists should enjoy all the benefits of collegiate instruction; but he was opposed to the proposed interference with the Governing Bodies. He had a great respect for Nonconformists —his ancestors were Nonconformists; but they could not go along with them when they ceased to be a religious and became a political body. As matters stood he felt convinced we were departing from our anchor, and it was on that ground he objected to the Bill. A question of such vital importance should not be suffered to go down to its grave without some expression of mournful regret. If, he might add, the speeches of the Prime Minister were searched it would be found that they contained passages more antagonistic to the principles of the Bill, stronger and more emphatic than any language which he could use. But, notwithstanding that, the right hon. Gentleman had no difficulty in coming down to the House and declaring that he had altered his mind. Now, he would ask hon. Members opposite whether they would employ an agent to manage their affairs who changed his opinion from day to day? Those hon. Gentlemen were, by their plausibility of manner, able to operate on the minds of the ignorant; but he would warn them that they had not the backbone of the country in favour of their views; and although he and those who objected to the Bill would, no doubt, be out-voted, it would, at all events, be a satisfaction to them hereafter to recollect that they had raised their voices against a proposal which they believed to be wrong. He believed that the tendency of the Bill would be to render the teaching in the Colleges purely secular. Should his prognostications as to the results of the measure not be verified, no man would rejoice more than himself. Entertaining those opinions, he begged to move that the Bill be read a third time upon this day three months.
seconded the Amendment.
Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—( Mr. Greene.)
said, he did not yield to the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down in his dislike of the Bill, but having taken a Division last night upon the extreme portions of the Bill, he did not think of challenging a Division again to-day on the third reading. The House had thought proper, by a large majority, to affirm the principle of the Bill. Still, if his hon. Friend pressed the Amendment to a Division, there could be no doubt as to his vote. He did not believe that during the time of most of those present very great changes would be seen in the Universities. The period must be comparatively distant at which such changes would take effect. But one immediate effect of the Bill would be that there would be a greater amount of controversial teaching at the Universities than there used to be. The Church of England then would, stand more upon the defensive than she had hitherto stood, and would be obliged to defend herself by controversial teaching. In some of the smaller Colleges, too, the evil apprehended might come more rapidly than they expected, and the necessity of almost a secular system would be upheld. No doubt the Bill assumed to guard the religious teaching of the Universities, but it was like the words in a Preamble; there was no effectual provision for this religious teaching. He was not going to discuss the Bill, but he felt strongly that there had been no impediment on the part of the Universities to the full teaching of Nonconformists there. Cambridge had long admitted them to every privilege except those which for a long time not even the Dissenters themselves asked for. Lord Brougham had been quoted to show that Nonconformists never had any right to ask for the things which were now being granted to them. At all events, they never did ask; and if reference were made to the early debates on this subject it would be seen how moderate were the demands and the expectations of Reformers then. They had now gone the whole length, the Universities were thrown open, and if this Bill passed he asked University reformers to "give us pause," and allow the Universities and Colleges to turn to that business which properly belonged to them—namely, the carrying out in an efficient manner the higher education of the country. Something, at least, would be gained if that end were attained, for the Universities and Colleges had for many years been disturbed by this agitation, and it was now greatly to be desired that they should be at rest.
said, he hoped the third reading would be assented to without going to a Division. The objections of hon. Gentlemen opposite to the measure were, he admitted, natural; but they had no just right to complain of the enlarged scope of the present Bill, which was the result of the systematic resistance they had offered, year after year, to the moderate Bills that had teen introduced. They might ask what they could now have worse than this Bill. He would tell them. This Bill proposed to throw open the existing general endowments of the Universities to Nonconformists as well as Churchmen; but it did not interfere in any way with the liberty of future founders and benefactors, nor did it disturb or meddle at all with the special endowments for the promotion of religious learning in the Universities. Next year, however, if this Bill did not pass, the measure which would be brought forward on this subject would probably meddle with those endowments. The present Bill also professed, on the face of it, to maintain safeguards for the existing religious instruction and worship in the Colleges and Halls, and a Bill introduced next year might be shorn of such provisions. Might he, then, recommend to hon. Gentlemen opposite to take their stand on the broad and emphatic declaration of the First Minister of the Crown that he would be no party to interference with religious liberty—to be content with the inducements which were left to the Colleges and Universities to devote themselves to religious learning—and, according to the advice of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer), to take elsewhere such steps as they might think necessary to render more effective the safeguards contained not only in the Preamble but in the enactments of the Bill. He trusted that hon. Members opposite would spare the Universities the continued agitation deprecated by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), and would content themselves with a protest, instead of dividing against the Bill.
said, he begged to thank the hon. Member; those on that (the Opposition) side were always anxious for good advice. He (Mr. Floyer) could not prognosticate who would be at the head of the Government next year; but, assuming that the present Government were sure to be in Office, he thought the hon. Member (Mr. Parker) was paying them a poor compliment by supposing that next year they might lend themselves to a Bill abolishing the worship of God in the Colleges, and doing away with that religious instruction which it had been the blessed occupation of the Colleges to furnish. This he thought he might say, that the First Minister of the Crown would not consent to do away with the worship of God in the Colleges next year. They had cause to complain of the course which had been pursued by the Government. The Bill presented a very different aspect from that which it presented when it came out of Committee. Amendments were often proposed on the Report; but they chiefly referred to the shape and form of Amendments which had been before discussed, and to a great extent agreed upon; but this could not be said of the Amendments carried on the Report of this Bill. These Amendments, in fact, altered very greatly the scope and character of the Bill, and they therefore had a right to oppose it at its last stage. He thought the House should especially guard against the admission of new principles and new enactments at that stage in such a Bill as that which they were now discussing. The Bill dealt with the relative position of the Church of England, and the great Nonconformist Bodies of the country. The questions which had occupied so much attention in past years could not have been dealt with except in a spirit of mutual kindness and forbearance. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government would be the first to acknowledge that he was met on the Bill which he passed for the abolition of church rates in a spirit in every way conciliatory on that side of the House. But if they were to have alterations extending almost to the principle of the Bill, after the Committee on the Bill, and upon the Report, then there was an end to the spirit of compromise and mutual forbearance, without which questions of this kind could not be settled to the satisfaction of the country. In the conduct of this Bill there had been a wide departure from the course suggested by the spirit of compromise upon matters of detail, and therefore the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was fully justified in the course he had taken. Why was not the principle adopted in the Endowed Schools Act carried out in this Bill with regard to the Colleges? If it had been, there would not have been at the last moment a departure from the spirit of com- promise and mutual forbearance. He joined in the protest of the hon. Member for Bury (Mr. Greene), that they had been unfairly dealt with, and he would, therefore, gladly support him in objecting to the third reading of the Bill.
said, he could not see any compromise in the Bill, and did not regard it as a satisfactory settlement of the question. Nothing could more tend to prevent a satisfactory settlement than such words as had fallen from the hon. Member for Perthshire (Mr. Parker). If there were safeguards in the Bill for religious instruction, he looked upon them as merely nominal, and, after the Amendment by which the operation of the Bill had been extended to the Headships of Colleges, as little more than mere illusory nonsense. If the heads of Colleges might be Nonconformists or Freethinkers, such appointments to tutorships might be made as to preclude most of the students of a College, the great majority of whom would, probably, always be members of the Church of England, from receiving any definite religious instruction, however much they might desire it. This Bill did not deal with the most pressing evil at Oxford, the result of the Act of 1854, which was, that tutors were appointed at too early an age, and devoted only the earlier years of life to College instruction. It was very desirable that Parliament should not be continually interfering with the Universities; but still means might be devised to appropriate more of the revenues to those actually engaged in teaching, and thus to tempt able men to spend their whole lives in the work. The Bill would not only damage the influence of the Church of England in the Universities and Colleges, but it would be a fatal blow to that system of giving definite instruction in Christianity to all students which surely ought to be insisted upon in the wealthiest foundations connected with education in this country.
said, as regarded the remark of the hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) that the safeguards in the Bill had become illusory nonsense through the Amendments carried on the preceding day, the hon. Baronet must take his full share of the responsibility for these Amendments. [Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH said he did not apply the expression to the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member.] He thought the hon. Baronet had said that the safeguards were become "illusory nonsense" in consequence of the Amendments of yesterday. He thanked the hon. Baronet for the conspicuous and valuable part which he took in carrying the Amendments proposed on the Liberal side of the House, and with which he had some connection. He and those acting with him obtained more than they expected, or even hoped for; and, having obtained it, they were bound to acknowledge the great help they obtained from the hon. Baronet in the success they achieved. The remarks of the hon. Member for Perthshire (Mr. Parker) had been misapprehended, for he believed the hon. Member did not intend to use anything like the language of menace with respect to the future action of Gentlemen on the Liberal side of the House; and if the hon. Member had held such language, he for one would have dissented from it. The question had been discussed on its merits, and the House had come to a decision by which it was prepared to abide. The other House had its own responsibilities, and Members on his side of the House held no language with reference to the future. At the proper time they would decide what course they ought to adopt—or, as the French said—Alors comme alors—and he must protest against the hon. Baronet treating the speech of the hon. Member for Perthshire as an intimation of something to be done if this Bill were rejected in "another place."
said, the speech of the hon. Member for Perthshire (Mr. Parker) consisted of two parts—menace, founded on reference to the past, and consolation, with respect to the future. What else was the meaning of his references to the past, if it were not that the rejection of this measure would be followed by something worse? He offered, however, very poor consolation in the assurances of the First Minister of the Crown, for though you might place implicit reliance upon his declaration with respect to the present, they afforded no security for his views a year or two hence. What the hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) meant by the expression he used was that, as the Bill I stood, without any enactment which gave security for the future, the words inserted yesterday in the Preamble and the new clause were merely "illusory nonsense;" and they were inserted at the instance of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer), who admitted that the Bill left this House with grave defects, which he hoped would be remedied in "another place," and who referred to a memorial from staunch supporters of the Prime Minister at Oxford University, who regarded the Bill as affording no security for the continuance of religious teaching. This was what the hon. Baronet meant. For one, he was glad that the Bill would be discussed in "another place;" and he trusted the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Vernon Harcourt) would give due consideration to the Amendments made there. If it was to become law, it ought to give greater security for the continuance of religious teaching than it gave at present; and, therefore, he was compelled to say "No" to the Motion for the third reading.
said, he must complain of the inconsistency between the declared opinions of the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister of the Crown and the Government proposals, which would open up the chairs in the Universities to Roman Catholics.
Sir, I regret that I arrived in the House a few minutes too late to move the rejection of this Bill as I had given Notice; but I sincerely rejoice that the Motion has been proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Greene); because, as that hon. Member has stated to the House, he has no connection with either of the Universities, and cannot, therefore, be suspected of academical bias or prejudice; he represents the common feeling, which prevails among the great body of the laity of the Church of England on this subject. By this I do not mean that there is not a considerable minority of members of the Church who have been drawn into the meshes of a wanton Liberalism; but I affirm that the great body of the laity of the Church of England must and do regard this Bill as intended to take away from them rights which are equivalent to property, and to dissever from their religion the education given at the Universities, which they have always known to be identified with their denomination, if you like so to term it. This Bill takes away educational securities from them. I fully believed hon. Gentlemen opposite when they expressed their willingness to come to some arrangement; but now, seeing that there is a determination on the part of a minority amongst them to admit no compromise, I am quite resolved that they shall gain nothing but what they absolutely take. We will concede, as far as I am concerned, no more. If you will come to no understanding such as that on which we have hitherto acted; if now, in the face of the country you declare that you will wrest from us that which we believe to belong to us of right, as the laity of the Church of England, you shall take it. Some hon. Members think that this House so fully represents the country, that the country has no opinion but that which is expressed in this House. I believe that hon. Members have a good deal to learn upon that subject: since we, the minority in this House, are treated in this way, that terms are offered to us one Session and withdrawn the next, and we are told, that if we do not accept these worse terms, still worse terms shall hereafter be exacted from us, I am determined to do all I can to send this Bill to the country. Hon. Gentlemen deceive themselves. I know that, for the sake of party considerations, a great number of Members on that (the Government) side of the House have voted for the Bill against their convictions. ["Name!"] The speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer), made only last night, proves the fact. The hon. and learned Gentleman expressed a hope not on his own part only, but on the part of five Heads of Houses in the University of Oxford, and of 16 resident Masters, all of whom are Liberals, that the excesses of this House may be corrected by the House of Lords. And let me call the attention of the House to this fact. This remonstrance on the part of the Liberal members of the University of Oxford, therein resident, was made before the final alterations were effected in this Bill. The future character of the Heads of Houses had not been dealt with by the Bill at the time when that remonstrance was written; and now, in order to convince us, members of the Church of England, how completely it is the determination of those who lead the majority on the Government side of the House effectually to dissever the education of the Universities from the teaching of the Church of England, henceforth each Head of a House, with all his power and control in domestic arrangements and discipline, which constitute so large a part of education, is not to be, as heretofore, of necessity a member of the Church of England. You have done this since the remonstrance from the Liberal residents in the University of Oxford was written; and I cannot doubt that, if their feelings were so strong, that they committed I the expression of them to the hon. and learned Member for Richmond before this change as to the Heads of Houses was made, many more by this time feel with them in opposition to this Bill, as it now stands before the House. I believe that this Bill is the product of the minority in each of the Universities. I have had papers sent to me which show distinctly that this is the fact; and I am equally certain, that in this House a real approbation of the Bill is confined to a section which does not number more than 100 Members, not a sixth of the whole House. ["Oh, oh!"] This is my conviction; and I have been no inattentive observer of the progress of the Bill. To illustrate the truth of what I have said, I will read a paper which has been sent to me from Cambridge. It is signed by the leading members of that University, and is to this effect—that on the 13th of May notice was given that, at the meeting of the Council to be held on the 16th, the following Petition to the two Houses of Parliament would be proposed:—
Let the House remark that these were the terms of the proposed Petition to Parliament before the alterations were made upon the report of the Bill, and gave the measure a still more destructive character. The Paper then proceeds—"The humble Petition of the Chancellor, masters, and scholars of the University of Cambridge, showeth, that a Bill entitled 'A Bill to alter the law respecting religious tests in the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham, and in the Halls and Colleges of those Universities respectively,' is now before your honourable I House. That the said Bill, while removing divers restrictions, tests, and disabilities, fails to provide proper and adequate safeguards for the maintenance of religious instruction, worship, and discipline in the said Universities, Colleges, and Halls. Tour Petitioners, therefore, humbly pray that the said Bill in its present form may not pass into a law."
that is to say, 69 in all, as against 94 residents. The Council met on the 16th May, and decided by a majority of 1, that the University should not be permitted to petition—"That at a meeting held by certain residents in the afternoon of Friday, May 13, it was resolved to send to the Vice Chancellor a memorial signed by 'resident Members of the Senate,' requesting him to lay before the Senate, for its consideration, a Petition against the said Bill. In less than two days, and with little personal canvass, the memorial received the following 94 signatures," including those of the leading men at the University; "with one exception, indeed, all the Heads of Houses who are members of the Council signed this memorial." There are also the names of the most scientific men at Cambridge—men whose names are known throughout Europe and on whose reputation that of the University mainly rests. The gentleman who collects local news for the newspapers, and who is generally understood to be Dr. Liveing, described the movement (Times, May 16), as a "stir" in the University, intended to "coerce the Council," and expressed his hope that the Council would not listen to such clamour. "The party who favoured the Bill actively employed themselves in getting up a counter demonstration. Their memorial, it is said, was signed by one Head of a House and by four or five Professors, whose 'advanced' opinions are well known. As the promoters solicited the signatures of all residents, whether Members of the Senate or not, they contrived to swell the number of names to 69"—
Thus, I have shown the House that the University of Cambridge, owing to its organization, was deprived of the right of addressing this House upon a most important subject. This was not a question between one Petition and another, but the great body of the Masters of Arts were debarred from expressing any opinion whatever. Now, Sir, this is the kind of intrigue for which I apprehended that scope would be afforded by the Act for the regulation of the University of Oxford while it was passing through this House in the year 1854. I then foresaw a danger of this kind, that the great body of the Masters of Arts throughout the Kingdom might, by intrigue, be deprived of their rightful voice in matters connected with the Universities. I will not trouble the House with reading what I then said, but content myself with referring to Hansard's Debates, vol. cxxxii. p. 1150—Oxford University Bill in Committee, May 1st, 1854. On that occasion I spoke against the clause, which gave the opportunity of committing this kind of abuse to a small minority among the resident Masters of Arts in the University of Oxford, and the majority against us on this subject was only 13 in a full House. It seems that the organization of the University of Cambridge is even more dangerously exposed by its composition to this kind of abuse than that of Oxford, and of this you cannot have a better illustration than the fact that the majority—this small body of some 15 persons assembled in the Council—silenced the Masters of Arts on the occasion to which I have referred. I know that hon. Members may consider that these representations come too late, and they may have come too late for them, but not too late for the country. Sir, the Bill, as it now stands, is a measure of a very peculiar character. It does this. It proceeds upon the principle, that no lay member of the Church of England ought to be considered entitled to claim, in virtue of his membership, any preference in our Universities, whilst it reserves to the clerical members of the Church, who are connected with the function of teaching and government in the Universities, their privileges. Now, that is the principle of the Church of Rome, in which the clergy only are considered as being members, and as having any rights, as though they were everything, whilst the laity were nothing. Throughout this Bill, professing to be Liberal, is, in character and principle, a measure to have drawn which would do credit to any Jesuit. ["Oh!"] Hon. Members say "Oh;" but that exclamation only shows, either that the observation is disagreeable to them, or that they do not understand it. For what are the usual characteristics of the action of the Jesuits in this country? The Jesuits pretend to be vastly liberal with respect to the organization of everybody but their own; and especially liberal when any subject is mooted, touching the rights and privileges of the Church of England. The Jesuit is vastly liberal in everything except that which may impede or tend to impede the course of the despotism of which he is the agent. It is almost ludicrous to see hon. Members, who think themselves great Liberals and sincere advocates of freedom, led by the agents of despotism to destroy that very organization, upon which the maintenance of their own freedom chiefly depends. It seems to me a picture of the geese led by the foxes. Then, hon. Members, when this is put plainly before them, stare as if they had never before heard of this characteristic of these agents of the Papacy. This is another proof of the extreme ignorance of history which was manifest in the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Calne (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice) the other night. The noble Lord then spoke of the last century and a-half as a period of positive darkness in the Universities of this country. ["Oh! oh!"] Yes; and he spoke of that which has been truly called the Augustean age of English literature as a period of darkness."Thus," proceeds the paper which I quote, "by a majority of 1 the University was prevented from expressing its opinion on a subject that affects its most vital interests. It was by a little majority of 1 that University action was paralyzed last year in the matter of The Irish Church Disestablishment Petition. It may seem strange, that as the Council is virtually elected by the resident Members of the Senate, a majority of the Council should hold opinions so distasteful to their constituents. The fact is, the resident Members of the Senate are, for the most part, men of middle or advanced life, scattered throughout the University, and difficult to move. There is a small but well-drilled body of men, principally members of one College, who are rapidly brought together, and who, by watching opportunities, often unduly influence elections. It was by a surprise of this kind that most of the Council were elected last October twelvemonth. Little interest was felt in the matter by the Conservatives. They looked on the members of the Council as mere assessors to the Vice Chancellor—men whose business it was to aid him in preparing graces for the Senate, and in the ordinary drudgery of University business. Nobody ever dreamt that they would dare to prevent the Senate from expressing its opinion upon such a subject as the present one. It is true that each member of the old Caput, which the modern Council represents, had the right to Veto, but hardly once in half a century was this right exercised, an then excited the indignation of the University. The Liberals, when they first agitated for reform, denounced this power of Veto as a scandalous abuse, and justly. The same men, now they have a majority, exercise the power without a scruple."
I did not say what the hon. Gentleman attributes to me. I spoke of the University as a teaching body, and I stand by what I said.
The noble Lord has correctly described what he said. He said that the Universities during the last century, being the chief teachers of the higher classes, were in such a state of darkness as was perfectly lamentable. So far as the state of literature at that time is concerned, Lord Macaulay and Mr. Carlyle certainly differ from the noble Lord; but in the estimation of so bright a light of modern Liberalism as is the noble Lord, that circumstance is, no doubt, of small account. What cares he whether the works of Johnson, Addison, and others are not inferior to those of this most enlightened age? [Lord EDMOND FITZMAURICE again rose.] I suppose the noble Lord would refer to what he said respecting the state of religion in the Universities at that time. He said that the religion of the Universities then consisted in copious libations of wine—others probably differ from the noble Lord in that opinion of the religious teaching of the Universities at that time. It was Protestant Church of England teaching—a religion too simple, too distinct, too trenchant, and too true for the taste of the noble Lord. But it is to this kind of religion the great body of the English people are attached. They love the Protestant teaching of the Church of England. The noble Lord the Member for Calne, in the description which he has given of himself in The Parliamentary Companion, says that he "is in favour of the abolition of religious tests at the Universities and of a modified system of compulsory education." The noble Lord appears to me in this description of himself to afford a fair illustration of a "Liberal by profession and a tyrant at heart." Other members of the Universities will grieve when they see hon. Members of the date and style of the noble Lord coming to this House and condemning the institutions in which they and the noble Lord have been educated. We have all heard something of birds which "foul their own nests." I must say that that speech of the noble Lord, which seems to have met with special favour among extreme Liberals on the other side of the House, savoured little of toleration. And, Sir, I remember that, in another debate on education, the hon. Member for Stroud recently declared, that, to him as an extreme Liberal, toleration and intolerance were alike indifferent, so devoted was he to equality, as though for all evils equality is to be considered the only remedy. If so, the hon. Member suggested to the people of England a principle which, if adopted, would establish a dead level, above which the hon. Member would find it difficult to rise. Let the House consider for a moment what is contained in the Schedule to this Bill. The Solicitor General yesterday introduced words at the end of the 5th clause, which now stands thus—
the principle of the Act being to abolish the Church of England character of all three Universities. And what are the Acts which it is necessary partially, at all events, to repeal in order to effect that object? They are set out in the Schedule, and the first of them is—"An Act for the Uniformity of Public Prayers and Administration of Sacraments and other Kites and Ceremonies, and for Establishing the Form of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons in the Church of England." Now, I know that some hon. Members, perhaps the hon. Member for Sheffield, will say, that if the State establishes a certain form of worship and prescribes certain articles of belief, this is an abuse and a violation of freedom. But the same may be said of any definite law. Sir, the difference between freedom and despotism is this—that freedom is secured, when a nation is governed by established laws passed by the representatives of the people, whilst despotism consists in enforced obedience to the uncontrolled will or caprice of some body or person. I say, therefore, that the Act, which has established uniformity of worship, contains the only and the best securities which the laity of the Church of England possess that they shall not have thrust upon them—at the despotic and, it may be, the capricious will of the clergy—novel and alien forms of worship. I consider this Act of Uniformity one of the laws which secures the freedom of the members of the Church of England. The next Act mentioned in the Schedule is—"An Act for the further security of his Majesty's person and Government, and the succession of the Crown in the heirs of the late Princess Sophia, being Protestants, and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and secret abettors." In accordance with, the de- scription which I have given of the general tenour of this Bill, it herein again tends to sweep away the enactment, which excluded the descendants of James H. from the Crown, and why was this statute enacted? It was in vindication of English freedom against the Popish tyranny of a Sovereign, remarkable for nothing more than for his determination to tamper with the Universities. My education may have been very deficient as to the means found efficacious for the encouragement of freedom; but I certainly thought that the people of this country had deemed it necessary to get rid of this dynasty, because of its despotic invasions of the laws and liberty of the nation. The next Act contained in the Schedule is—"An Act to relieve, upon conditions and under restrictions, persons therein described from certain penalties and disabilities to which Papists or persons professing the Popish religion are by law subject." This law again contains securities, and thus, again, you are beating down safeguards and granting privileges to the Ultramontane Roman Catholics, who desire to establish their authority in the Universities. Was I not right, then, when I said that this Bill might have been drawn by a Jesuit? And, lastly, we are called upon to repeal certain provisions in the Act 19 & 20 Vict., c. 88, which makes "further provisions for the good government and extension of the University of Cambridge, of the Colleges therein, and of the College of Henry the Sixth at Eton." This is a recent statute. Why, Sir, every one of the changes you are making sweeps away securities not only for the teaching of the Church of England, but for the freedom of the laity. In your pretended love of freedom you are destroying the safeguards which all experience proves to be necessary to its preservation. Sir, this question of University education affects the entire body of the people, and it affects them in this way—these changes must tend to alter the character of those who must possess property and influence, and change it for the worse. It will change the character of the clergy by associating them with less tolerant denominations, and especially that denomination to which I have had occasion so often to refer. Therefore, I oppose the Bill. I believe that the Legislature has gone as far as safety will justify in opening the educa- tion given at the Universities to the Nonconformists of this country, judging by the associations which those who should be their representatives in this House maintain for party purposes. It is not safe to commit the government of the Universities and Colleges to a body of persons, who will not, as heretofore, be bound by the principle of toleration which is the great characteristic of the Church of England."After the passing of this Act, the Acts specified in the Schedule to this Act are hereby repealed to the extent in the third column of the said Schedule mentioned, and any provision in any Act of Parliament or in any statute or ordinance of the said Universities or Colleges, so far as it is inconsistent with this Act, shall be repealed;"
Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
The House divided:—Ayes 247; Noes 113: Majority 134.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Bill read the third time, and passed.