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rules, by which founders, with consent of the University, had determined the duties of the chairs by them endowed; and these rules, as thus modified and confirmed, constitute a great proportion of the statutes by which the system of public lectures is regulated. (T. x. S. ii. § 5.) Under both heads, a general power is indeed left to the chancellor, of allowing the Hebdomadal Meeting to propose a dispensation; but this only from some necessary and very urgent cause,' and 'in cases which are not ' repugnant to academical discipline.' We do not happen to know, and cannot at the moment obtain, the information, whether there now is, or is not, a form of dispensation passed in convocation for the non-delivery of their lectures by the public readers, and for the non-attendance on their lectures by the students. Nor is the fact of the smallest consequence to the question. For either the statutes are violated without a dispensation, or a dispensation is obtained in violation of the statutes.
But as there is nothing in the terms of these statutes, however casuistically interpreted, to afford a colour for the monstrous supposition, that it was the intention of the legislature to leave to either house the power of arbitrarily suspending the whole mechanism of education established by law, that is, of dispensing with the University itself, whereas their whole tenor is only significant as proving the reverse; let us now look at the Epinomis, or explanation of the oath taken by all, to observe 'the statutes of the University, as to what extent it is to be held binding,' in which the intention of the legislature, in relation to the matter at issue, is unequivocally declared. This important article, intended to guard against all sophistical misconstruction of the nature and extent of the obligation incurred by this oath, though it has completely failed in preventing its violation, renders all palliation at least impossible.
It is here declared, that all are forsworn who wrest the terms of the statutes to a sense different from that intended by the legislature, or take the oath under any mental reservation. Consequently, those are perjured, 1. who aver they have performed, or do believe what they have not performed, or do not believe; 2. they who, violating a statute, do not submit to the penalty attached to that violation; 3. they who proceed in their degrees without a dispensation for the non-performance of dispensable conditions, but much more they who thus proceed without actually performing those prerequisites which are indispensable. As to other delicts,' (we translate literally,) if there be no contempt, no gross and obstinate negligence of the statutes ' and their penalties; and if the delinquents have submitted to the penalties sanctioned by the statutes, they are not to be
held guilty of violating the religious obligation of their oath. Finally, as the reverence due to their character exempts the MAGISTRATES of the University from the common penalties of other transgressors, so on them there is incumbent a stronger con• scientious obligation; inasmuch as they are bound not only to 'the faithful discharge of their own duties, but likewise dili'gently to take care that all others in like manner perform theirs. Not, however, that it is intended that every failure in their duties should at once involve them in the crime of perjury. • But since the keeping and guardianship of the statutes is intrusted to their fidelity, if (may it never happen!) through their negligence or sloth, they suffer any statutes whatever to fall into desuetude, and silently, as it were, to be abrogated, in that event WE DECREE 'THEM GUILTY OF BROKEN FAITH AND OF PERJURY.' What would these legislators have said, could they have foreseen that these Reverend Magistrates of the University' should silently abrogate' every fundamental statute in the code of which they were the appointed guardians?
It must, as we observed, have been powerful motives which could induce the heads of houses, originally to incur, or subsequently to tolerate, such opprobrium for themselves and the University; nor can any conceivable motive be assigned for either, except that these representatives of the collegial interest were fully aware that the intrusive system was not one for which a sanction could be hoped from the academical and civil legislatures, while, at the same time, it was too advantageous for themselves not to be quietly perpetuated, even at such a price.
We do not see how the heads could throw off the charge of broken faith and perjury,' incurred by their silent abrogation' of the University statutes, even allowing them the plea which some moralists have advanced in extenuation of the perjury committed by the non-observance of certain College statutes.* For, in the first place, this plea supposes that the observance of the violated statute is manifestly inconsistent with the end of the institution, towards which it only constituted a mean. Here, however, it cannot be alleged that the statutory, or professorial system, is manifestly inconsistent with the ends of a University; seeing that all Universities, except the English, employ that instrument exclusively, and as the best; and that
PALEY, Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, b. ii. c. 21. His arguments would justify a repeal of such statutes by public authority, never their violation by private and interested parties, after swearing to their observance.
Oxford, under her new tutorial dispensation, has never manifestly been the exemplar of academical institutions.
In the second place, even admitting the professorial system to be notoriously inconvenient, still the plea supposes that the inconvenience has arisen from a change of circumstances unknown to the lawgiver, and subsequent to the enactment. But in the present case, the only change (from the maturer age of the student) has been to enhance the importance of the professorial method, and to diminish the expediency of the tutorial.
But in the third place, such a plea is, in the present instance, incompetent altogether. This is not the case of a private foundation, where the lawgiver is defunct. Here the institution is public -the lawgiver perpetual; and he might at every moment have been interrogated concerning the repeal or observance of his statutes. That lawgiver is the House of Convocation. The heads in the Hebdomadal Meeting are constituted the special guardians of the academical statutes and their observance; and, as we formerly explained, except through them, no measure can be proposed in Convocation for instituting new laws, or for rendering old laws available. They have a ministerial, but no legislative function. Now the statutory system of public teaching fell into desuetude either in opposition to their wishes and endeavours, or with their concurrence. The former alternative is impossible. Supposing even the means of enforcing the observance of the statutes to have been found incompetent, it was their duty both to the university and to themselves, to have applied to the legislative body for power sufficient to enable them to discharge their trust, or to be relieved of its responsibility. By law, they are declared morally and religiously responsible for the due observance of the statutes. No body of men would, without inducement, sit down under the brand of ⚫ violated faith and perjury.' Now this inducement must have been either a public, or a private advantage. The former it could not have been. There is no imaginable reason, if the professorial system were found absolutely or comparatively useless, why its abolition or degradation should not have been openly moved in convocation; and why, if the tutorial system were calculated to accomplish all the ends of academical instruction, it should either at first have crept to its ascendency through perjury and treason, or, after approving its sufficiency, have still only enjoyed its monopoly by precarious toleration, and never demanded its ratification on the ground of public utility. If the new system were superior to the old, why hesitate to proclaim that the academical instruments were changed? If Oxford were now singular in perfection, why delusively pretend that her
methods were still those of universities in general? It was only necessary that the heads either brought themselves, or allowed to be brought by others, a measure into Convocation to repeal the obsolete and rude, and to legitimate the actual and improved.
But as the heads never consented that this anomalous state of gratuitous perjury and idle imposition should cease, we are driven to the other alternative of supposing, that in the transition from the statutory to the illegal, the change was originally determined, and subsequently maintained, not because the surreptitious system was conducive to the public ends of the University, but because it was expedient for the interest of those private corporations, by whom this venerable establishment has been so long administered. The collegial bodies and their heads were not ignorant of its imperfections, and too prudent to hazard their discussion. They were not to be informed that their policy was to enjoy what they had obtained, in thankfulness and silence; not to risk the loss of the possession by an attempt to found it upon right. They could not but be conscious, that should they even succeed in obtaining-what was hardly to be expected-a ratification of their usurpations from an académical legislature, educated under their auspices, and strongly biassed by their influence, they need never expect that the state would tolerate, that those exclusive privileges conceded to her graduates, when Oxford was a university in which all the faculties were fully and competently taught, should be continued to her graduates, when Oxford no longer afforded the public instruction necessary for a degree in any faculty at all. The very agitation of the subject would have been the signal for a Visitation.
The strictures which a conviction of their truth, and our interest in the honour and utility of this venerable school, have constrained us to make on the conduct of the Hebdomadal Meeting, we mainly apply to the heads of houses of a former generation, and even to them solely in their corporate capacity. Of the late and present members of this body, we are happy to acknowledge, that, during the last twenty-five years, so great an improvement has been effected through their influence, that in some essential points Oxford may, not unworthily, be proposed as a pattern to most other universities. But this improvement, though important, is partial, and can only receive its adequate developement by a return to the statutory combination of the professorial and tutorial systems. That this combination is implied in the constitution of a perfect university, is even acknowledged by the most intelligent individuals of the collegial inte
rest-by the ablest champions of the tutorial discipline:* such an opinion cannot, however, be expected to induce a majority of the collegial bodies voluntarily to surrender the monopoly they have so long enjoyed, and to descend to a subordinate situation, after having occupied a principal. All experience proves, that universities, like other corporations, can only be reformed from without. Voilà,' says Crevier, speaking of the last attempt at a reform of the University of Paris by itself- voilà à quoi aboutirent tant de projets, tant de délibérations: et cette nouvelle tentative, aussi infructueuse que les précédentes, rend de plus en plus visible la maxime claire en soi, que les campagnies ne se réforment point elles-mêmes, et qu'une entreprise de réforme 'où n'intervient point une autorité supérieure, est une entreprise 'manquée.' A Committee of Visitation has lately terminated its labours on the Scottish Universities: we should anticipate a more important result from a similar, and far more necessary, enquiry into the corruptions of those of England.
ART. VII.-Observations on the Paper Duties. London: 1831.
K NOWING the vast expenditure that the country has to sustain, and knowing also that no sort of retrenchment which it is possible to adopt, how desirable soever on other grounds, can make any material deduction from that expenditure, so long as national independence, security, and good faith are maintained, we have at no time joined with those who clamour for a reduction of taxation. We have not really suffered so much from the magnitude of the sums required for the public exigencies, as from the mode in which portions of these sums have frequently been raised, and from the burdens imposed for the protection of some particular interest-that is, to bolster up and support a part of the public at the expense of the rest. It is the inequality and oppressiveness by which many parts of our system of taxation are characterised, that render it productive of so much mischief. Were it freed from these defects-were it made to bear equally on all classes, according to their ability, and applied only to advance really national objects, we feel assured it would not be found too great for our resources, nor would it even materially retard our progress. It would, however, be unfair not to acknowledge that a good deal has been
Reply to the Calumnies, &c. p. 146.