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Charter. From this subject we refrain. The present delicate position of affairs, and the hope we entertain that those who swayed the then counsels of the senate have either declined in influence, or found occasion to renew their own policy, determine us to pass it by. It is sufficient to mark the occasion as presenting a new phase of the movement in the adhesion of the Colleges. Airedale, Homerton, Highbury, Manchester (New), Spring Hill, Stepney, and University Colleges joined the graduates' committee in remonstrating agaiust the above regulations. With the approbation of everybody out of the University they were ultimately withdrawn.
The graduates for the time had lost their charter; but they had gained more power, probably, than its concession at that time would have given them. They had beaten the senate in a pitched battle, and, as it has since appeared, upon the ground of their special choice. They appear, however, to have been averse to steps which might bear the character of an agitation, or to treat the question otherwise than as one in which the senate and themselves were alone interested. Indeed, notices were placed upon the minutes of the senate which appeared to indicate a desire to do something. One of these stated the 'collective opinion' of the graduates as a thing to be ascertained and recognised: another proposed to create a number of junior fellowships for the benefit of the more distinguished. Neither went further than the mere notice, and the second was the small product of a year's gestation. Before that time the graduates, then numbering somewhat over 500, had held their third annual meeting, and three-fourths of their accessible number had signed a declaration, praying admission into the corporate body of the University with such share in its government as might be deemed proper. This declaration placed in the fore-front their claim to equality in all respects with the ancient universities, expressed their gratitude to the senate for their services, but insisted on their own superior interest in the well being of the University. The senate now replied by a resolution 'that the question raised by the declaration is not one which the senate can with propriety discuss. The members of the Senate have under the present charter been selected by the crown. They act under the superintendence of the Secretary of State. It is, in their opinion, not for them, but for the authority which appointed them, to determine whether the fundamental constitution does or does uot require alteration.'—'Minutes,' May 21, 1851.
We have heard tins resolution spoken of in terms which would lead to the belief that its framers looked upon it as a master-piece of tactics—as if it had drowned the whole body of graduates in the slough of the Home Office. Its inconsistency with the previous proceedings of the senate is so obvious that it is but just to notice that it was not adopted by precisely the same individuals. Lords Monteagle and Overstone, Sir James Graham, Mr. Grote, Mr. Hallam, and Mr. Corncwall Lewis, had recently been appointed to fill some of the existing vacancies. Nor have we any doubt that the resolution represents the sincere opinion of some of the original members of the senate. But we are not the less satified that it assumes an untenable position, and one, moreover, which is fatal to the present constitution of the University. Were the senate a mere temporary royal commission instead of a permanent chartered body, it would still be within the ordinary exercise of its duty to submit means by which its efficiency might be increased. On more than one occasion, to take a familiar instance, the commissioners of the Exhibition asked for, and obtained new powers—powers, too, for objects not contemplated at the time of their appointment. The resolution has sunk the senate to the level of any other of the Somerset House boards, and has made it no more a university, except in name, than the 'Stamps and Taxes' round the corner. It is wonderful that the framers of it did not foresee that occasions would certainly arise when either they must discuss the fundamental constitution for themselves, or it would be discussed for them, and the most important part of the University work would be done not by its own members, but by those whose very existence they had persisted in ignoring. It has been the consequence of this resolution that the graduates' committee have originated proceedings in the country, and conducted negotiations in the House of Commons, in which the senate has been either not consulted, or only subordinately engaged. Their own moderation and good sense has induced them to do all in their power to uphold the position of the senate so far as was consistent with the exigencies of their own struggle; but the fact could not be concealed that when the affiliated colleges needed advice and assistance in resisting injurious legislation, they have sought it, in every instance, not from the Senate, but from the Graduates' Committee.
But the observation to which this minute is open has led us to anticipate. As the graduates were sent by it to the Home Office, to the Home Office they betook themselves. A fourth long vacation appeared, and the delay which its presence occasioned was further prolonged by the serious illness of Sir George Grey. He recovered, however, soon enough, and he remained in office long enough, to throw back upon the senate, by requesting their opinion, the responsibilty which they had sought to cast upon him. The same minutes which contain his letter (February 18th, 1852) show also that the senate had been in no hurry to consider it until it was followed by the first few 'drops of the thunder shower' which was so soon to burst upon them. The Council of New College, the Committee of Stepney, the Trustees of Cheshunt, and the Visitors, Principal and Professors of Manchester New College, in language of varied conciseness, but of unmistakable construction, declared their desire that the University should now be made conformable to 'its original design.' Then came the resolution of the University College Proprietary, whose hearty meeting brought back old times; and a few days before had brought a letter from the graduates' committee, containing no sort of allusion to the internal question, but affording tolerably clear evidence of what they were about, in the shape of a communication with Lord John Russell (then in office) respecting the franchise. But since then the ministry had resigned; and possibly Mr. Secretary Walpole might not wish to be troubled with the matter. At their next meeting, however, the senate were told that Mr. Walpole did desire to have their opinion; and that the trustees of Manchester College and the committee and professors of the Lancashire Independent College had formed a very clear opinion of their own, which they then took leave to communicate. The memorial of Lancashire College is certainly one of the best, and the letter accompanying it contained the information (possibly by that time needless) that a copy had been sent to the graduates' committee. Thereupon it was moved, in a somewhat full meeting,—' That the Senate is of opinion, that a change in the constitution of the University is advisable;' the further consideration of it was adjourned to that day fortnight.'—' Minutes,' March 17, 1852.
The senate had found, however, by this time, that more than the colleges were in action. Two days before, the House of Commons had ordered, on Mr. Hume's motion, copies of all communications between the Home Office, the senate, the colleges, and the graduates' committee, respecting the organization of the University. Lord John Russell had received a brief statement of the case of the graduates, and had fixed the next day for nn interview upon the subject. Even in the council of University College, where it was whispered that the senate did hope for support in the overpowering influence of their common membership, the graduates had raised the question, and their opponents had been fain, as their best policy, to refer it to a committee.
Under these circumstances, leading men on both sides
opened unofficial communications on the same day with each other, the result of which was an understanding, on the one side, that the graduates should send a deputation to the senate to explain their views; and on the other, that the senate would be prepared to receive favourably a scheme which, it was intimated, the deputation would probably submit. This was the important crisis of this question. It is needless to go fully into later details. The deputation was received; submitted their plan; and a select committee of the senate is now considering whether the change so suggested, 'either in whole or in part, or any other modification of the constitution, can be recommended as useful, and not endangering the fundamental principle on which the University of London is established.' This committee consists of the Chancellor (Lord Burlington), the Vice-chancellor (Mr. Lefcvre), Lord Monteagle, Sir James Graham, Dr. Arnott, Mr. Grote, Mr. Cornewall Lewis, and Mr. Seuior. Before it was finally appointed, seventeen colleges, and almost immediately after, twenty out of twenty-nine colleges had declared in the graduates' favour.
Of the adherent colleges none that we have mentioned are of the Roman-Catholic faith. The fact, however, is, that five— including, with the exception of Stonyhurst, all the principal schools of that denomination in this country—gave in their full concurrence to the operations of the committee. For reasons partly founded upon the state of public feeling, they declined public action, until the Charitable Trusts and Militia Bills com pelled them to petition the legislature in self-defence.
Not less decided has been the success of the movement for the Parliamentary Franchise. As we have stated, Lord John Russell was applied to, but too late for the introduction of the claim in his new Reform Bill, such as it was. Both in and out of office, however, he stated to the committee his approval of their claim. The interval between his resignation, and the proposal by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to fill up the few vacant seats, was occupied by the collection of materials for the pamphlet mentioned at the head of this article. Lord Derby also received a deputation from the committee, and emphatically assured them that the government were fully disposed to recognise claims such as they submitted, and that there was no claim of the kind which, in the opinion of the government, could at all compete with that of the University of London. He added that there were difficulties in the way of the present concession of the claim, which had been under consideration: the chief being that the graduates were not as yet admitted into the corporate body of the University. On the same day we had the gratification of hearing from Mr Disraeli in the House of Commons the same concession, still more elaborately, though not more distinctly, made. We need not refer to the notice given on the same evening by Mr. Lennard, M.P., for Maldon, (which was on his own responsibility,) nor to the petitions which have already begun to be laid upon the table of the House of Commons. Next session this part of the struggle will no doubt commence in earnest: and we call upon all our friends to aid it. They will find facts enough in the pamphlet we have referred to, and stated too concisely for us to attempt to analyze them here. Almost all the 'Arts' colleges furnished the committee with returns of their fixed property, and of the amount and sources of their income, of their tutorial arrangements, number of students, value of scholarships, and general educational provisions. These returns, imperfect as they confessedly are, confirm us in the opinion some time since expressed, that the wealth of London exceeds that of Oxford or Cambridge. The aggregate number, too, of our students is about six times as large; their term of study is usually longer; their examinations more severe. This concise statement will perhaps surprise our readers. For the proof we must refer them to the pamphlet.
The Charitable Trust Bill and the Militia Bill both violated the fundamental principle so long contended for, in expressly exempting the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and those only. In these cases the committee felt that they could rely upon the old government pledge, their successful resistance to the Medical Registration Bill, and two acts of parliament,* in one of which the rights of the graduates, and in the other, of the colleges, had been expressly recognised. They accordingly communicated with the Colleges, and requested Mr. Thorneley, M.P., for Wolverhampton to be their adviser and representative in the House of Commons. To that gentleman's excellent counsel much of their success is due. The Charitable Trust Bill was withdrawn by the government before the question formally arose; but in the Militia Bill the necessary clause has been inserted with the declared assent of the Home Secretary, and of the members for Oxford andCambridge. The promptitude with which these occasions were seized, and the vigour of their following up, have had these important effects—the claims of the graduates are favourably known to the House of Commons—a close union has been effected (the value of which will soon appear) between the graduates and
* 1 Vict. c. 56, Attomies and Solicitors' Act: 3 and 4 Vict. c. 77, Grammar Schools Act.