Imatges de pÓgina

do, or forbear from doing, anything the doing or the not doing of which would tend to any such concealment, resistance, or non-concurrence.' It left untouched those idle and profane oaths by which members on a college foundation bound themselves in general terms to obey the Statutes of their college. He was quite aware that in a subsequent clause the fellows had the power of dealing with such oaths as they deemed fit. He thought the Commissioners who originally reported on the state of the University assigned a very sufficient reason for not leaving that power in the hands of the college authorities

"It is not probable that the consent of several of the most important colleges could be obtained to any change in the Statutes. Some would think themselves precluded from aiding in bringing about changes which they would gladly see effected, because they had sworn not to alter or accept alterations. Considering that such persons live in habitual disregard of most of the Statutes which they have sworn to obey, it might be thought that they would gladly seek a remedy for the evil. But such inconsistencies are beyond the reach of arguments. It is probable, however, that many who would not promote a reform actively would willingly conform to the law, as they conform to the law which has set aside the religious purposes for which their college was founded; and we believe that the great majority,

however averse to the interposition of the Legislature, would honestly obey its enactments."

That disposed of the argument that it should be left optional to the college authorities to dispose of those oaths if they pleased. There were two things that were plain-first, the solemn sanction of an oath should not be invoked to bind the juror to idle customs; and secondly, oaths were still more objectionable which bound the juror to absolutely illegal practices. He would show that these oaths were open to both those objections. What was the character of the ordinances which the fellows of colleges swore to observe? The Statutes of the college to which he belonged bound the scholars to have a reader at meals, to observe silence, and to attend to what was read. The provost and fellows of Queen's College were to sit together all at one table, to be convened by sound of trumpet by the porter, who was to be their barber, and to wash the fellows' heads. At New College all the fellows were to have a uniform, which they were not at liberty to pawn or to sell for five years. At All Souls the porter: was to shave the wardens and the fellows. At New College the fellows and wardens

swore that they would wear a gown closed in front from top to bottom; but when they were going beyond the limits of the University, they were allowed to have such an opening at the posterior and anterior of the gown as might be convenient for riding. At Brasenose attendance at daily devotions was to be enforced by whipping. The heads of Corpus Christi swore that they would forbid any person belonging to the college, servants excepted, to enter the house of any layman or laywoman in the University or its suburbs. At Jesus College all the fellows were to be present at daily prayers, under penalty of fines and whipping. There could be but one opinion as to the odious profanity of swearing, under a solemn sanction, such oaths as these. But that was not all, for oaths were also taken to perform acts which were absolutely illegal. At Queen's College an oath was taken that mass should be performed for the souls of King Edward and Queen Philippa. At New College they swore to hear mass every day, in the course of which they were to repeat the angelic salutation fifty times.

All Souls was not founded entirely for the general purposes of study, but there the fellows bound themselves to pray for the soul of Henry V., of glorious memory; also of Thomas, Duke of Clarence, and other Lords, lieges of the realm of England. The only excuse for the maintenance of those forms was, it was said, that the general purport of the oaths was to observe the Statutes, and it was perfectly competent for the college authorities to reduce them,-in plain English common sense, to expunge their illegalities, and yet continue the oath. But any one who was acquainted with the awfully minute and stringent forms with which the oaths were taken year by year and month by month on the admission of candidates to Oxford, must admit it was high time to abrogate them. He would trouble the House with an instance or two, and he must confess he did so with delicacy on account of the solemn form of the words. At New College, William of Wykeham bound the fellows to observe all the Statutes and things contained therein according to the plain letter and grammatical sense. He merely mentioned that on account of its particularity. At Lincoln College the words were—

"I swear by the Holy Gospel of God, in the presence of the vicar, &c., as far as I can I will inviolably observe the Statutes of the college as

far as they concern me so long as I am a fellow | to allow this clause, which he thoroughly of the college."

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approved as far as it went, to pass, and then to introduce his own separate clause. If that clause was carried, the proper course for the Government to pursue would be to drop this clause altogether. That would be a simple course to pursue; by adopting it the hon. Member would be entirely unprejudiced, and would not be in the anomalous position of voting against a clause which he approved. It was true he might now succeed by combining with others to defeat this clause, but it might so happen that by a different combination his own clause might be rejected, and thus the present extreme and objectionable oaths would be left entirely untouched. With this view, if he would withdraw his Amendment, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had no objection to give a distinct pledge that if the House expressed a general opinion in favour of the clause intended to be proposed by the hon. Member they would drop their clause.

It could not be denied that the observances they swore to in such an awful and even horrifying form were most ridiculous, and he quoted the opinion of Dr. Peacock and Dr. Tyler, who stated that there was not one of these oaths that could not be dispensed with. The Commission of Inquiry into Dublin University, consisting of the Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Ross, the Bishop of Cork, and Lord Chancellor Brady, unanimously recommended that these promissory oaths should be abolished or greatly reduced in number; the Commissioners of Cambridge University came to the same conclusion; and on that point he had double testimony, for those Com- MR. BLACKETT said, it was a matter missioners adopted the recommendation of of regret the Chancellor of the Exchequer the Syndicate of the University. Even had not saved the House the trouble of the Durham University, which was found-hearing his (Mr. Blackett's) statement on ed on strict Church of England principles, the Amendment; but as he did not wish and on the model of the University of Ox- to weary them by a repetition of the same ford, shrank from the perpetration of such objection in introducing a separate clause, oaths, only requiring a general declaration he should, unless the House expressed a of obedience to the authority of the col- very decided opinion in favour of a different lege. He could also quote the high au- course, persist in the Amendment. thority of the opinions pronounced last. evening by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. He thought, therefore, it was his duty, without objecting to the limitations proposed in this clause, to move its entire omission, with a view of substituting another to provide for the entire abrogation of the oaths in question.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER submitted that the course pursued by the hon. Gentleman was inconvenient, and not adapted to promote the unprejudiced discussion of the important question he had raised. He would not go the length of saying it would be wise and prudent to prohibit the administration of all promissory oaths in the University of Oxford, and he thought not only himself and the noble Lord the Member for the City, but a large proportion of the House, could not very consistently go the length proposed by the hon. Gentleman, of prohibiting the administration of all promissory oaths whatever in the University. What he suggested was, Mr. Blackett

LORD JOHN RUSSELL did not think any time would be lost in hearing the Motion for the introduction of a separate clause on the subject; but, if it were introduced now, it would lead to considerable discussion, and many Members might wish to state their reasons for or against it. He doubted whether the present would be a convenient time for raising such a dis


MR. ROUNDELL PALMER begged to say one or two words in vindication of the gentlemen who had for many years taken these oaths as they had been administered in the colleges of the University. They had taken them upon a more sound and due construction of their meaning and legal purport than that which was implied, or seemed to be implied, in the speech of the hon. Gentleman. The person taking the oath uses these words "inasmuch as in me lies," and does not undertake to observe the Statutes further than it is possible for him physically and morally to do so. Though it was undoubtedly desirable that oaths should not be taken which compre

hended a body of obsolete matter, and contained matters that might be illegal as well as matters that were legal and possible, he did not think a true view of them had been taken by the hon. Gentleman. A thing might become illegal by the intervention of the Legislature, and the law of the land being against the observance of the Statutes, it would be morally impossible to observe them. It seemed to him that, although the form of oath might well deserve to be considered if taken at all, yet that no man swore that he would attend mass or wear a certain description of clothes, or do any of those things in detail, but that he would observe the Statutes according to the strict and grammatical truth, as far as in him lies, that is, as far as the Statutes can be observable by him he will observe

the first writs," had taken no steps for couvening the Assembly up to the time of his leaving the Colony in January, 1854, although the Provincial Councils were in full action? 2. Whether the last revenue appropriation ordinance passed by the former Legislative Council did not expire on the 30th day of September, 1853? whether the Governor did not subsequently to that date appropriate revenue by his own sole act? and, if so, whether such appropriation was not illegal? 3. Whether Governor Sir George Grey did not continue to dis pose of land under new regulations after and notwithstanding a decision by the Supreme Court at Wellington that such regulations were illegal, and after an injunction by the said Court to restrain such disposal of land? 4. If all or either of these allegations were correct, whether it is the opinion of Her Majesty's Government that the course so taken by Sir George Grey admitted of satisfactory explanation, and met with their approval? 5. Whether Her Majesty's Government have received any information, or have issued any instructions, with respect to the Legislative Assembly of New Zealand being convened by the acting Governor ? 6. Whether Colonel Winyard, the Commander of Her Majesty's forces in New Zealand, and now acting Governor of the Colony, offered himself as a candidate and was elected as SuMINUTES.] PUBLIC BILLS.-1° Public Revenue perintendent of the Settlement of Auckand Consolidated Fund Charges; New Forest. land? and whether Her Majesty's Govern20 Exchequer Bonds (£6,000,000): Customs ment approve or have expressed disapproDuties (Sugar); Stamp Duties; Dublin Car-bation of such a combination of offices? riage; Ecclesiastical Courts; Courts of Common Law (Ireland); Public Statues. 3o and passed-Consolidated Fund (£8,000,000).


MR. BLACKETT, in deference to what appeared to be the wish of the House, withdrew his Amendment.

Clause 25, as amended, agreed to.
House resumed. Committee report pro-


The House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock till Monday next.


Monday, May 29, 1854.

MR. FREDERICK PEEL said, that as these questions were of unusual length, and as he could not answer them merely NEW ZEALAND QUESTIONS. in the affirmative or negative, he must ask SIR JOHN PAKINGTON said, the the indulgence of the House for making a questions of which he had given notice statement of some length in vindication of were of greater length than was usual, the character of an official who was held but he had wished by putting them to save in very high estimation by the Government the House the trouble of a discussion on as a most valuable public servant, aud the matter to which they referred by his whose conduct was attacked in the quesmaking a Motion respecting it. His questions that had been put. The first questions were:-1. Whether it was true that tion implied that Governor Sir George Grey the Governor of New Zealand, having pro- had endeavoured to defeat the intentions claimed the new constitution of that Colony of the Legislature of this country in passon the 17th day of January, 1853, post-ing the Constitution Act for New Zealand, poned till the latest possible day allowed by the Constitution Act-namely, till the 17th day of July, 1853-the issuing of writs for the election of Members of the Legislative Assembly; and, notwithstanding the direction of the Act that the Assembly should be convened "as soon as conveniently may be after the return of VOL. CXXXIII. [THIRD SERIES.]

that he had deprived the colonists there from receiving the full benefit of the constitution which Parliament intended to give them, that he had also endeavoured to defeat the intentions of Parliament with regard to the General Assembly, and that he had done this in two ways-first, by postponing till the latest possible day the

2 M

seven days of his quitting the island of New Zealand that he received the return of the writs which had been sent to the province of Otago, that province being 800 miles from the seat of government, with which its communication by sea was not frequent. Thus it was not possible for him to have issued a proclamation convening the General Assembly until seven days from the time of his quitting the government of the island; and he had given an explanation of his omission to take that course, which appeared to him perfectly satisfactory. He had said he considered that the responsibility of the step of summoning the General Assembly ought to rest with the officer who was about, in a few days, to assume the government, but that he had advised that officer in private to do what he himself

issuing of writs for the election of Members Sir G. Grey. He had been informed by of the Lower House of General Assembly, Sir G. Grey that it was not until within and next, by omitting, when those Members had been elected, to issue any proclamation fixing the time when the General Assembly should meet. The right hon. Gentlenian must have supposed, if he believed that these assertions were correct, that as soon as the constitution had been proclaimed, nothing remained for Sir George Grey to do except to issue the writs for the election of Members; whereas, in truth, there had never, perhaps, been an instance in which Parliament had intrusted to a single individual such responsible and varied duties in constituting a new form of government as were intrusted to Sir George Grey by this Constitution Act: because Parliament had left to Sir George Grey not only the defining of the boundaries of the new provinces, not only the determination of what should be the electoral districts, but also of what num-had intended to do if he had remainedber of Members both Houses of the General Assembly and each of the Provincial Councils should consist; and he was likewise called upon to state the nature of the registration of voters, to make arrangements for the revision of the lists of voters, for the situation of polling-places, for the appointment of returning officers, and for several other details. Sir George Grey had discharged all these duties with as great an expedition as was consistent with their being performed in that honest and painstaking manner in which it was his wont to do everything that was intrusted to him, and in the course of about two months he had settled all these matters of detail. It then remained that the list of electors should be framed, and the claims of electors had to be received; and, notwithstanding every exertion on the part of Sir G. Grey, it was not until the middle of June, 1853, that the electoral roll was complete. As soon as it was closed, Sir G. Grey issued writs for the election of Members to the General Assembly. The second part of the question was, whether Sir G. Grey, after the members had been elected, did not omit to convene the General Assembly; and the right hon. Gentleınan had referred to the language of the Act of Parliament, which directed that the Assembly should be convened "as soon as conveniently might be after the return of the first writs.' He was glad that the right hon. Gentleman had done so, because it was upon those words that he should rest the defence of Mr. F. Peel

namely, to convene the Assembly without delay; and we knew, not indeed from official sources, but from statements in the newspapers, that Colonel Winyard, the moment he assumed the acting governorship of the island, issued a proclamation convening the General Assembly at the earliest possible period. The second question of the right hon. Gentleman was, whether Sir G. Grey had taken upon himself, by his sole authority, to appropriate a portion of the general revenue? Sir G. Grey had not appropriated a single penny of the public money. The general revenue had been appropriated in three ways-first, to the payment of the civil list charged upon it by Act of Parliament; secondly, to the payment of certain permanent charges which had been imposed by ordinances of the late General Legislature; and thirdly, it was appropriated by the elective Provincial Councils. Sir G. Grey found that the first two charges absorbed about one-third of the general revenue, and he directed the treasurers of each of the provinces to pay the remaining two-thirds into the treasuries of the different provinces, to be appropriated according to the direction of the Provincial Councils. It appeared to him that Sir G. Grey, in taking this course, had acted with perfect propriety; but if he had done anything illegal, it was not his own fault, as it arose from an oversight of the right hon. Gentleman, for the Act of 1852 only gave power to the General Assembly to appropriate revenues raised by their own

acts, whereas the general revenue now ac- the matter should be fairly brought before cruing in New Zealand was raised under the Court, and that the Attorney General the old ordinances of the late General Le- should be made a party to the cause, and gislature. Sir G. Grey had acted accord- the Judge permitted the plaintiff to amend ing to the manifest intentions of the Act his bill; but he was informed by Mr. in directing that the surplus of the reve- Sewell and by Mr. Wakefield, who supnue, not otherwise appropriated, should be ported the plaintiff, that they preferred placed at the disposal of the Provincial not to proceed with the bill. He could Legislatures. The third question related not say whether the injunction was or was to the disposal of land by Sir G. Grey at not issued; or whether, while it was in reduced rates, notwithstanding an injunc- force, any sales of land had taken place in tion of the Supreme Court. Sir G. Grey the district immediately adjoining the town had reduced the prices of land, which had of Wellington. With regard to the fourth been sold at different prices in different question, he could state that the course parts of New Zealand, to a uniform rate of which had been pursued by Sir G. Grey, 10s. per acre, and he had used this discre- which was very different from what the tion in pursuance of powers which had right hon. Gentleman supposed it to have been given him by the right hon. Gentle-been, had not been disapproved by the man himself, and the exercise of which Government, but, on the contrary, the had been enjoined on him by the right Government had frequently had occasion. hon. Gentleman. The House was aware to express approval of his conduct. When that the settlement of all questions connected with land had been transferred from the Crown to the General Assembly; but the Act also directed that, until the General Assembly should meet, the Crown should have all the powers that the General Assembly was to have. In a despatch, written by the right hon. Gentleman, relating to the land at Canterbury, he found a paragraph which appeared to him to give Sir G. Grey full powers in this respect. The right hon. Gentleman said that until the General Assembly otherwise provided, it would be lawful for Her Majesty to regulate the disposal of this and the other land in the province under the powers reserved to Her by the Constitution Act, which powers, by the same Act, she had delegated to the Go vernor. Sir G. Grey was therefore perfectly justified in point of law in reducing the price of land, and the legality of this regulation had not, with one exception, been contested in any one of the provinces of New Zealand. It was true that in the district of Wellington steps had been taken to call in question the legality of the proclamation; and although he had not ascertained precisely what proceed. ings had been taken, he found that the Judge of the Supreme Court had expressed his readiness to grant an injunction. An injunction had been granted by a Judge of the Supreme Court at Wellington putting a stop to the sale of the lands, not within the province, but within the district immediately adjoining Wellington, the property of the late New Zealand Company. Sir G. Grey was anxious that

he remembered that Sir G. Grey had been in New Zealand for eight years, that his administration had been signalised by great success, that his policy towards the native inhabitants had created in their minds a feeling of attachment to the British Government, and that his policy towards the European inhabitants had resulted in obtaining for them the advantages of self-government, he thought that he was entitled to our gratitude. With regard to the sixth question, he admitted that, as a general rule, it was not desirable that the principal officer in a colony commanding Her Majesty's troops should fill a subordinate civil appointment, more especially when that appointment was an elective one. But the case of the Superintendent of the Province of Auckland was an exceptional case, and the Government had approved, under the circumstances, Colonel Winyard's assuming that office. He ought to state that Colonel Winyard had administered the government of this province for a period of more than two years; that he thoroughly understood the natives, who were numerous in it; and that he was well known by them. Sir G. Grey did, therefore, consider it as an advantage that for two or three years at least he should administer the government of the province; and this was also the opinion of its inhabitants, as at their request he had offered himself for the office, and had been returned after a contested election.




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