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ART. VI.-1. The Holy Eucharist a Comfort to the Penitent.

A Sermon Preached before the University. By E. B. Pussy, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Canon of Christ Church, and

late Fellow of Oriel College. Oxford. 1843. 2. Copies of the Correspondence in the Case of the Regius Professor

of Divinity, and Mr. Macmullen. Oxford: Parker. London:

Burns. 1844. 3. Tuo Exercises for the Degree of B.D. read in the Divinity School,

Oxford, April 18, and 19, 1844. By R. G. MACMULLEN, M.A., Fellow of Corpus Christi College. Oxford : Parker. London:

Burns. 1842. We shall make no apology for bringing before our readers as accurate a statement as we can of the late course of events in the University of Oxford. No one is more sensible than we that the University is not the Church; yet all the reasonings in the world will never convince any man of plain common sense, that the Church is not deeply interested in all that happens there, and specially in everything which has any bearing upon theology; and if there be any moment in which it is desirable to call general attention to the subject, it is the present. Dr. Wynter no longer holds ofice; so we can unreservedly criticise his conduct, without any suspicion of disrespect for the situation which he lately held, and while the facts are yet recent in the memory of men; as the ancient Egyptians found nothing inconsistent with their loyalty towards their living kings, in the inquest which they were wont to hold upon their memory and acts as soon as they were dead.

We are writing, as we have said, for readers of every class, who are interested in the welfare of the English Church, and must therefore be excused, if, before recording the official conduct of the late Vice-Chancellor, we enter into some detail of the nature and powers of the office he was called to fill, and the state of things at Oxford when he entered upon it; subjects familiar, indeed, to every Oxford man, but some explanation of which is necessary to enable others to appreciate the late events.

The University of Oxford is probably the most ancient corporation in England, and, with its sister university, has powers of self-government, both legislative and executive, larger than any other. The supreme authority of this corporation is the Venerable House of Convocation,'* an assembly in which every one who has taken the degree of Master of Arts, and continues to be a member of the University, enjoys an equal right of speaking and voting. This, however, is no democracy, but (like the great

There is another body called the House of Congregation, the righı of sitting in which is limited to certain members of Convocation, chiefly the youngest, with the addition of certain official personages; but as the business of this house is chiefly formal, we need not at present enlarge upon it.

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council of Venice, of which every noble was a member) a strict aristocracy; for, before the degree of M.A. can be attained, seven years at least of strict residence within the University is statutably required; during the whole of which the pupil, whether as Undergraduate or Bachelor, is subject to the most rigid discipline and control. When he at length enters the House of Convocation, he is considered qualified to be a teacher of others, and admitted to the full privileges of the University. By this body every statute must be made, modified, or repealed; every degree conferred, every election determined. By its voice is appointed the Chancellor (the head of the University), the Proctors (the chief authorities in matters of discipline), the Professors, and almost every subordinate officer. As a check, probably, to hasty acts on the part of a body which passes decrees by a single vote, without the delays secured in parliament, by first, second, and third reading, and committee, it is provided that the Chancellor alone, and the two Proctors together, have power to put a negative upon any business. This, however, it is important to observe, is merely a negative power; it must not be confounded with the authority possessed, for example, by the Sovereign in Parliament, or even by the President of the United States: it resembles, in fact, the

intercession' of a Roman tribune; for although these officers have the power of imposing a veto, their active consent is not necessary to the passing of any measure. That which has passed Convocation is law, without any consent of theirs; although, until it passed, they had power to arrest its progress. Again, it cannot for a moment be imagined, that this right acknowledges any sovereignty of the Chancellor over the University; for the same power is, as we have seen, possessed by the Proctors jointly, and none ever dreamed of them as sovereign; as, indeed, for many other reasons, so because they must by statute be junior members of convocation, ten years' standing being a disqualification for the office.

Such is the ancient constitution of the University, and nearly such it still is in theory. Its practical condition is very different. The Chancellor, for example, was some resident member of the University, and elected for a year. The office then became, in practice, triennial. Becoming sufficiently dignified to be an object of ambition, it became perpetual, and at last fell into the hands of great men resident in other places. It was formerly usually held by spiritual, of late years more frequently by temporal peers; but, in the hands of either, it is evident the executive power vested in the Chancellor could be personally exercised only in a few more important occasions; and hence arose the Vice-Chancellor, who is merely the representative of the Chancellor, invested (during his absence) with most, but not all, of his

functions; appointed by him annually, but not admitted to office until the appointment has been confirmed by the same · House of Convocation by which the Chancellor himself is originally elected.

But a greater change than this was the rise, within the University, of the College system, which has grown by slow degrees, until the collective colleges have become coextensive with the University itself; and the great body, under the shadow of which colleges have been nurtured, is practically regarded by most persons as merely a collection of colleges, a thread upon which those pearls are strung together: in truth, as we shall see, it rather resembles the shell in which they have been slowly formed and matured. The Colleges and Halls arose naturally when the number of students in the University became so great as to require discipline more individual and particular than the University functionaries were able to exercise over so many. They grew up at Oxford, as the tutors' houses have at Eton, from the necessity of the case. A hall was but a house where a certain number of students dwelt together, under the superintendence of one senior member: a college was a similar house, endowed with land for the support of the head, and also of the students, both during their pupilary state, and when they became members of convocation. Thus arose a number of smaller corporations within the University (like the Companies of London); but it was by no means obligatory on any of its members to belong to any smaller society; and the members of these colleges (whether graduates or under-graduates) were, in the eye of the University, merely so many of her members, no way distinguished from others of like order, who belonged to no college at all. This was the state of transition. The course of events has been continually to augment the power of the colleges. First, they admitted students beyond the number to whom they afforded endowment. At last a statute (which is still in force required every member of the University to be resident in some college or hall, within a week after his admission. Saving for this statute, a man might even now, as formerly, continue a member of the University alone. Another change (made in the reign of Charles I., in order to prevent jealousies and contention between the members of different colleges) provided that the election of Proctors (hitherto vested in convocation at large) should henceforth be exercised only by those resident members of convocation who belong to a single college, each enjoying the right in turn. But a change far more important in its practical results--although these certainly were never intended-was made at the same period. A statute was passed, which enacts, that for the better preservation of peace and order, the Vice-Chan

cellor, the two Proctors, and the Heads of the respective colleges and halls, shall meet every Monday, and there deliberate on the maintenance of the privileges and liberties of the University (as need may occur), and discuss, investigate, and consult on the observation of university statutes and customs; and they shall have power to deliberate on any subject connected with the discipline, studies, credit, and well-being of the body, as they shall judge to be needful, in order that, after their deliberations, the matter may be promulgated in congregation; and then the Venerable House of convocation may make its statute and decree thereupon, with mature counsel. Such a committee would, of course, be found practically useful. Accordingly, another statute, tit. x. s. 2, orders that when need arises for passing or altering any statute, it shall be referred to this Board of Heads; that when they, after consultation, have agreed on the wording, it shall be proposed in congregation in those words; and that afterwards, when it shall be brought before convocation, it shall first be read in the terms agreed on by the Heads; and that at the conclusion, after the Vice-Chancellor, Proctors, and majority of Graduates, shall have come to an agreement among themselves on the wording of the statute, it shall be read according to that wording, and then put to the vote.

The meaning of this statute seems plain enough : proposals were often made which required to be put into shape; as is done by a committee, (select or otherwise, as is found convenient,) in parliament; it was provided, therefore, that when any statute was proposed by any member, it should, before being put to the vote, be referred to the hebdomadal Board of Heads, as a committee, by whose care it might be properly worded; but (to preserve the rights of convocation from whom the power of the Head is only delegated) after the statute drawn up by them has been read, it is to be discussed, its wording amended, according to the judgment of the majority, and then the whole put to the vote.

This was a very seemly and business-like arrangement, but the Heads, like many other small committees, were not indisposed (having got their finger into the work of legislation to take the whole affair into their own hands. Accordingly, they proceeded to interpret this statute as follows, viz. that no member of convocation may make any proposal whatever, that right being reserved (by the statute above quoted) to the Board of Heads. Next, that no member may propose any amendment, either verbal or material, to the prepared statute as drawn up by them; accordingly, the custom for many years has been that the Heads prepare their statute; convocation is called together, and it is read; then immediately read a second time, of course in the same words; then discussed, and lastly put to the vote, yea, or nay. This being all the power allowed to the legislature of the University, the Venerable House of Convocation, by its own committee, the Board of Heads.

And now, it may be naturally asked, how came convocation to allow an interpretation so monstrous of this important statute? The answer commonly given, and we believe the truth, is as follows. The Vice-Chancellor, who is always the head of some college, possesses the power of dissolving the venerable house, and this power was used whenever any member of convocation proposed any measure or any amendment; so that the University found they must resign the exercise of their undoubted right, or suffer all business to be suspended. A grosser usurpation than this cannot very easily be conceived, and to our feelings it is the more repulsive, because eifected, not by lawless force, but by the astute employment for the oppression of the University, of a power granted in good faith, for its benefit.

In saying this we are censuring no persons now living, for the usurpation took place long ago,—whether it will be suffered to continue much longer remains to be seen,-a well-known and respected member of convocation (Mr. Sewell, of Exeter College) has solemnly pledged himself, (as many of our readers may be aware,) in a protest delivered to the Vice-Chancellor on the 4th of June, 1842, “to institute such regular proceedings in the way of appeal as may obtain some authoritative decision of the right of convocation to be consulted, like other supreme legislative bodies, upon the general principles of the measures laid before them, prior to, and independent of, questions of detail;' and also to appeal on the further question, of the right of convocation to dissent from the terms of the proposed statute between the first and second readings of it.' Mr. Sewell

, then, has pledged himself in the most solemn manner to vindicate, by legal proceedings, the rights of convocation; first, to decide what questions shall be referred to the Board, and, second, to amend the wording of statutes drawn up by them. We have not yet seen any public report of his proceedings;- but the course of law in England is slow and sure;-pæna pede claudo' may be close upon the academical usurpation.

Meanwhile, the practical government of the University, by whatever means, has unquestionably in a great measure passed out of the hands of convocation, in which it is vested by statute, and into those of the Hebdomadal Board ;- a mere committee of a few members of convocation, (for whatever power they may have in their own colleges, they are nothing more in the eyes of the University,) appointed for certain definite, and those subordinate, functions. It is natural, then, at least, to inquire

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