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BEFORE entering upon any account of the proceedings of the meeting of the Governing Bodies of the Colleges on the 26th of October last, we must review the state of affairs which rendered such a demonstration necessary.

The Act of Parliament by which the Commissioners were appointed gave the Colleges power to frame Statutes up to January 1st, 1858, and enacted that if by that day these powers "shall not be exercised by any College, or not to such extent as the Commissioners may deem expedient; and no Statute for effecting the objects of such powers, or no Statute which the Commissioners may deem sufficient for that purpose, shall be submitted by the Governing Body of such College, or the major part thereof, to the Commissioners, and approved of by them," then it should be lawful for the Commissioners to frame such Statutes as should appear to them to be expedient to effect certain objects mentioned. It was further enacted that these Statutes should take effect, unless objected to by twothirds of the Governing Body of such College. Many Colleges framed Statutes before the appointed time, and sent them to the Commissioners for approval. Meanwhile in June, 1857, the Commissioners sent to all the Colleges a paper of Provisions which they conceived to be generally applicable to all Colleges.

These Provisions were not in accordance with the Recommendations of the Royal Commissioners, which were based on a great mass of evidence, and embodied in their Report, which was presented to Parliament in the year 1852. Objections to these propositions were transmitted to the Commissioners by several of the Colleges; but in the great majority of instances, if not in all, no notice beyond a mere acknowledgment was taken either of these or of the new Statutes which had in many cases been transmitted by the Colleges, until the end of December, 1857. At this time a circular was sent round to the Colleges to the effect that the Commissioners did not approve of the Statutes submitted to them. After the 1st of January, 1858, the Commissioners began to exercise the powers

granted to them in the clause to which we have referred, and sent, in the course of Easter Term last, Drafts of Statutes to Trinity College and St John's College which embodied the provisions which had met with so little favour. Inasmuch as some of the principal features of the scheme proposed by the Commissioners shewed that it was their intention to apply the same principles to the Colleges generally; the several Governing Bodies found themselves driven to adopt some means of strengthening each other by a common expression of opinion.

A requisition for a Meeting to consider those points in these Statutes, which seemed to be intended for general application, was drawn up in July last, and presented to the ViceChancellor. Such a Meeting was in consequence called on the 26th of October in the Arts' School, and was very numerously attended both by resident and non-resident Fellows.

The chair was taken by the Master of St Catharine's, not, as he stated, in his capacity of Vice-Chancellor, but as the Head of one of the Governing Bodies; it was owing to the admirable judgment of the Chairman, and his readiness in resolving the points referred to him, that the general result of this Meeting was so satisfactory.

The first Resolution was moved by the Master of Trinity College, and seconded by Professor Adams of Pembroke College. It was to this effect:

"That the system of electing to vacant Fellowships (with occasional exceptions from among the members of each College) having confessedly worked in a satisfactory manner, it is inexpedient that the proposition of the Cambridge University Commissioners for opening the Fellowships in every College to competition to all graduates in the University should be adopted."

The following Amendment was moved by Mr Phear of Clare College, and seconded by Mr Liveing of St John's College:

"That this meeting disapproves of the proposed statutes by which each College is required to institute a special Examination for Fellowships, and to elect mainly according to the result of such Examination, but desires to see all statutable restrictions on election for Fellowships removed, and the practice of opening Fellowships to all Colleges further extended.""

This point of disposing of the Fellowships by special College Examinations, was among the provisions which the Commissioners had proposed for general adoption, and it formed the main feature of their scheme on this head. As those who put forward the amendment joined in condemning this proposal, and the supporters of the resolution did not appear to wish any College to be restricted to its own body in

the choice of Fellows, there was no difference between the parties on the gist of the matter. And so, after the mover and seconder of the Resolution had touched briefly on the arguments on their side implying that they supposed them to be familiar to all present, and the Amendment had been proposed, the field of discussion was reduced to very narrow limits. Mr Phear offered to withdraw his amendment, if the preamble to the Resolution, referring to the present system and which it was contended upheld the restriction of the Trinity Fellowships to the Scholars were also withdrawn. The mover of the Resolution having declined to do so, the Amendment and Resolution were put, and the latter was carried by a very large majority.

The next Resolution which was moved by the Master of St John's College, and seconded by Professor Sedgwick, was

"That it is inexpedient that the proposition of the Cambridge University Commissioners, providing that every Fellow shall vacate his Fellowship at the end of ten years after attaining the full standing of M.A., except in certain specific cases, should be adopted."

Mr Davies of Trinity College said, that he had intended to move an Amendment in these terms:

"That this meeting, while disapproving of some points in the statutes proposed by the Commissioners concerning the tenure of Fellowships, is not prepared to oppose every scheme which involves the principle of terminable Fellowships."

But that he forbore to do so on the understanding that the Resolution only condemned the particular scheme of the Commissioners.

The Amendment was however afterwards moved by Mr Roby of St John's College, and seconded by Mr Besant of St John's College, and withdrawn by consent on the understanding expressed by Mr Davies.

Nearly four hours were occupied in the discussion of these Resolutions, which were those which excited the most general interest, and after they were passed a large number of persons withdrew, and the attendance grew gradually thinner as the business advanced. A motion of adjournment was made at this period, but was not carried.

Mr Todhunter of St John's College moved the following Resolution, which was seconded by the Master of Jesus College:

"That any tax upon the distributable income of the Colleges for University purposes as proposed by the University Commissioners would be highly objectionable."

In the discussion which ensued, the Masters of Trinity and St John's Colleges and of Trinity Hall, Mr Martin of

Trinity College, Mr Liveing, Mr Roby, and Mr Besant of St John's College, and many others, expressed themselves in favour of contributions being made by the Colleges for University purposes, although in many cases objections were made to the plan proposed (viz. that each College should contribute 5 per cent. of its divisible revenues), more particularly on the point of there being no provision for giving those who contributed the funds any control over the application of them. Mr Campion of Queens' College objected to the principle of the scheme, and maintained the practicability of raising the funds required in another way. It was suggested in the course of the discussion, that as the matter bore in a different manner upon different Colleges, it should be left to the separate bodies to deal with, and that the meeting should abstain from expressing any opinion on the point; indeed there seemed at one moment to be a feeling in favour of the withdrawal of the Resolution; it was however put and carried.

It was then moved by Mr T. T. Perowne of Corpus Christi College, and seconded by Mr G. Williams of King's College,

"That this meeting, having regard to certain proposals of the Commissioners affecting the religious character of the Colleges, earnestly deprecates any measures which would tend to impair the existing connexion between the Colleges and the Church of England."

It was pointed out that the provision in the draft statutes, by which any undergraduate stating himself not to be a member of the Church of England would obtain a statutablę exemption from attending the College Chapel, was that especially referred to. It was felt by many that the case of dissenters might safely be left, with other matters of discipline, to the College authorities, who would not be likely to deal unreasonably with dissenters whom they had admitted, and that practical evils would result from the presence of such a clause. The Resolution was carried unanimously.

It was then resolved to request the Vice-Chancellor to transmit copies of the Resolutions to the Commissioners; and in conclusion, a vote of thanks to the Chairman for the admirable manner in which he had presided over the meeting was carried with the most warm and general applause.

In this brief account of this important meeting we have not attempted to give any idea of the speeches. The reports of them that have been published are so meagre and imperfect that they convey a very incorrect impression of what took place.

The proposals of the Commissioners with respect to the

mode of electing to Fellowships, and the limitation of the term of tenure, had been so fully discussed both in print and by the several bodies, that the speakers took it for granted that all present were in possession of the principal arguments on both sides.

The most striking feature of the discussion was the general moderation observed in speaking of the proceedings of the Commissioners. It was generally felt that the occasion was a serious one, that it was intended to be productive of practical results, and that it was the duty of all rather to assuage than increase the irritation, which had been caused, partly, perhaps, by the tone of some communications, but more from the want of conversance with the present state of the University, which the Commissioners are thought to have shewn.

A most satisfactory result of this meeting was the discovery which all parties made, that they were much nearer together than they had fancied, indeed when the little misunderstandings of what one and the other meant had been eleared away, it was found that a broad space was laid open on which all could stand alike. This might indeed have been hoped and expected when all parties had in view the same object, the increasing of the efficiency of the University in the country, and the extension of its connexion. All interests existing in 1856 are protected by the Act of Parliament, and the Commissioners propose to widen the range of protection, so that no individual interests are involved, and no one can possibly impute selfish motives to one party or the other.

The general results to which the proceedings at this meeting pointed were, the removal of all restrictions on the election of Fellows, leaving each College at liberty to use its discretion as to the mode of selection, and the leaving of a considerable variety in the mode of tenure of the fellowships.

This difficult question of tenure is one on which much thought has been expended here; and the plan of uniform terminability proposed by the Commissioners is not even an approximate solution. Besides its other defects, it would, as the Master of St John's observed, put us at a great disadvantage in comparison with Oxford in point of attraction to the abler men, because there the old tenure has been maintained.

In the death of the late Dean of Ely, whom all join in lamenting, the Commissioners have lost one of the very few of their number who had ever had any practical knowledge of College work. It appears not as yet to have been found possible to supply his place by one who should possess this qualification.

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