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Whether this information will be open to Dr. Symons, Members of Convocation may decide for themselves from the events of the past year. At all events it is to be hoped that they will hold themselves in readiness to come up, on the receipt of a notice of the day, if the discovery of it prove possible ; or if not, to show in some other marked way their sense of this fresh act of injustice.”
And now it came out, that the committee of Dr. Symons, which met at Wadham, had known several days before this that October 8th was to be the day; for they had written to inform their country supporters of the fact, and, incautiously, had actually sent the same notice to some of whom they thought themselves secure, but who voted on the other side. One at least of these wrote to the newspapers announcing the fact.
The disgrace of this could not well be borne at such a moment; it hurt their conscience to be found out.' All men argued, in the words of a paper which appeared in Oxford, • How did Dr. Symons's party come to the knowledge of the day? It must have been by intuition inducted from former
years, or direct information. The first is hardly possible. For • the second an uniformity of precedents would be necessary. • But there is unhappily no such uniformity; for last year • the nomination took place on the 6th Oct. And it may
be ' just stated by the way, that this fixing of the day so early was
boasted of by a friend of Dr. Wynter as an artifice to avoid the 'opposition that was expected. In 1842 the nomination was on • the 8th, 1841 and 40 on the 9th, 1839 on the 8th, 1838 on the • 9th, 1837 on the 7th. Too much variation here for any in- duction! The last alternative therefore is inevitable.'
The only remaining chance for the Vice-Chancellor was to show that he had not concealed, from either side, the day he intended to name. The Wadham committee, therefore, the chairman of which is the Head of a House, the secretary a highly respected tutor of Wadham College, threw itself into the breach. Its circular announced that
“ It has been the invariable custom, that the notice of the day on which such nominations will be made, shall not be given before the previous afternoon; and the Vice-Chancellor has declined to change the custom this year by any official declaration. But he has concealed from no one his opinion that Tuesday, the 8th of October, will be the day; and there is no doubt that such will be the case. The customary hour is twelve o'clock.”
This statement, it must be observed, directly contradicts that of the Senior Proctor, upon a point on which he could not by possibility be either mistaken, or forgetful, - viz., whether the Vice-Chancellor had concealed from him the day of nomination. Moreover, as it was impossible that the truth of the assertion (that he had never concealed from any one his opinion, that Tuesday 8th would be the day) could be known to any man living, except Dr. Wynter himself, that assertion must have been made upon his authority. To suppose otherwise, would be to accuse the Wadham Committee of publicly making a statement in direct contradiction of the fact stated, on his own knowledge, by the Senior Proctor, and yet wholly gratuitous. No one who knows Mr. Griffiths can think this possible. Yet, while we see no way of avoiding the conclusion that this assertion was made upon the authority of Dr. Wynter, it is impossible to deny that that conclusion exhibited the University in a novel and unpleasing attitude. For, here were two distinct, positive, statements of fact, published to all the world, one by the Senior Proctor, the other by the Vice-Chancellor, relating to a question upon which it was not easy to conceive either mistake or forgetfulness to exist on either side, and yet directly contradictory to each other. This fact seems to have so deeply impressed Dr. Symons's Committee, that they declared to the world their full conviction that the Proctor, in his letter of Sept. 23, (in which, it will be remembered, he stated that, in answer to his request, the ViceChancellor had refused to give any information as to the day of nomination,) had not suppressed anything which the Vice-Chancellor had actually told him. Their notice was as follows:
“COMMITTEE Room, WADHAM COLLEGE,
October 8, 1844. “Whereas we have been informed that the following paragraph in the circular issued from this room on the 26th of September, viz. —
“ " It has been the invariable custom, that the notice of the day, on which such nominations will be made, shall not be given before the previous afternoon; and the Vice-Chancellor has declined to change 'the custom this year by any official declaration. But he has concealed ' from no one his opinion that Tuesday the 8th of October will be the
day; and there is no doubt that such will be the case. The customary • hour is twelve o'clock.' has been supposed to charge the Senior Proctor with suppressing some information which had been given him by the Vice-Chancellor.
“We beg to have it understood that we are not aware of any grounds for casting such an imputation upon him, and that no such imputation was intended.
“EDWARD CARDWELL, Chairman,
John Griffiths, Secretary." And here the matter rested, in a condition satisfactory, as it appears, to all parties concerned; and the same day Dr. Wynter resigned his office, in which he declared his pleasure in finding himself relieved of it, and that he forgave his enemies.
The facts which Dr. Wynter's administration appears to us to have developed, are these; that there has been for some time a systematic attempt going on in Oxford to transfer the administration of the University from its legal holders, the two Houses, to the Board of Heads, and the Vice-Chancellor; that, in this attempt especially, two powers have been exercised by Dr. Wynter, which were never before claimed by any man; viz. that of condemning those who are obnoxious without a hearing, and that of passing decrees in the name of the whole University, while refusing their votes. Of this last usurpation, we may say, in passing, a second instance was threatened on the very last day of Dr. Wynter's rule. It was confidently denied that the University had the power of disapproving a Vice-Chancellor, a right never before questioned, and acknowledged, as it was observed in the Oxford Calendar, published every year, by authority.
We have now concluded our annals, much to our own satisfaction as well as that of our readers. It is no pleasing task to reckon up acts of injustice-injustice committed with a trembling hand-concealed to the last possible momentat last detected rather than avowed. It is no pleasure to tell of Englishmen condemned without trial, punished while they are still kept upon honour, under an obligation of secrecy as to the communications which passed between them and their judge. To exhibit authorities usurping power which was never given to them, and yet wholly incompetent to use that which they do possess, the voice of authority, and at the same moment refusing to the members of a supreme assembly the right of voting on their own affairs; one day disallowing those who earnestly request the permission, to fulfil their legal obligations, and then the next day compelling all to fulfil the same obligations; permitting the voice of authority to be drowned by the uproar of pupils, and at the same moment declining to receive the votes of a supreme assembly when met in lawful gathering, for the discharge of its own duty. Neither is it any gratification to tell of numerous acts of unauthorized, undignified, unsustained interference; of the Vice-Chancellor forbidding Mr. Macmullen to publish the correspondence which stands at the head of this article, yet not ensuring obedience to his own command; forbidding the publication of the legal opinion as to Mr. Everett's pretended degree, yet quietly sitting down in the unenviable situation in which its publication left him. Equally painful is it to see ancient authority made ridiculous; to see my bedel' pompously bearing to London threatenings against the judges and clergy of England, and the counsellors of Queen Victoria, on the part of one, who, because he had refused to hear the humble and holy man whom he had unjustly condemned, seemed to imagine himself above censure and beyond blame, forgetting that, after all, there are strong things, even here upon earth-justice, and law, and right, the shadows of the Almighty among men-shame and punishment dogging the guilty, and that God Himself is above all. But chiefly, to find those who sit in the seats of our worthies, and are appointed guardians of our theology, condemning doctrines which they dare not give us the opportunity of defending, and tampering with heresies against which the very object of their office was the maintenance of perpetual war. *
Few considerations are more awful than that of the heavy responsibility which men often bring upon themselves and of which they seem the while all unconscious. The Church of England is just now in a state more critical than she has known for two hundred years. Many who promised much faithful service seem shaken and unsettled; some have left us; who can say that others may not go after them? Many more, there is every reason to fear, will be discouraged by these instances of instability, from turning their thoughts to high and holy things at all. It may be that carelessness or scepticism may be really the danger that is imminently impending upon Oxford; we may even see it in a few months. Can any thoughtful observer think these things unlikely? Now in this state of things God had given us a preacher with soul of fire-whose very daily life is a sermon which the most careless could not put from themwhose voice was likely, above all other human means, to bring home to the hearts of men the solemn truth, that religion is indeed a rule of practice and of life, or it is nothing; that time is short, and judgment is near; and withal, one who is well known to be fixed and firm himself, and, above all things, to labour in fixing others in dutiful adherence to the English Church. This voice is now silenced: and shall we say by whom?
* Nor is it in Oxford alone, nor by Oxford men, that the general administrations of the Heads of Houses are put together as parts of one whole. We can mention one instance amongst thousands. A very exemplary clergyman, a Cambridge incumbent, holds a parish on the eastern coast, which has been miserably demoralized by smuggling. To his great surprise, a young and most estimable Oxonian, a Fellow of a College, who was spending the vacation in his neighbourhood, applied to him to direct him to some smuggler. The vicar, who knew liis parish well enough, did not, probably, want power, but he certainly had no will. Upon this, the Oxonian told him, that before he left Oxford, the head of his college sent for him, and said,
Sir, I believe you are going into the neighbourhood of .?' 'Yes, sir. Well, * then, you can do a commission for me. I hear that the smugglers there import . particularly good brandy, and I want you to buy a keg for me. It was really lucky that the clergyman, whom we have introduced to our readers, was a Cambridge
He, therefore, has nothing to fear; had he been of Oxford, there is great reason to think that his orthodoxy would have been found in fault, for be represenied so strongly to the young man the sin of encouraging smuggling, that he returned without the keg. Whether the dignitary was driven to the hard necessity of drinking lawfully imported brandy, or whether he found a less scrupulous agent, we do not know; but we can assure our readers, that our Cambridge friend, whenever be hears of any valiant deed of that zealous head, against the revivers of obso. lete error, seems to detect in it a certain sınack of smuggled brandy. Highly illogical, no doubt; for the authority would tell him that whether it be right or wrong to deal with smugglers, that is a question which, in the favourite phrase of the day, “has nothing to do with theology;' but illogical as it may be, the effect upon our friend's mind was such as we have described.
There are men who, owing to circumstances, produce momentous effects, without possessing any very unusual qualities, either good or ill. May God defend His Church among us, and the venerable institutions which have grown up in her shade; and of these, not the least, our Ancient University. May He shield her from all dangers. But, assuredly, if she is to fall,if she is to lose her privileges, and be made the slave of some parliamentary commission,- if her independence, her powers of self-government, are to be taken from her, and her time-honoured name disgraced, we may venture to predict how all this will be accomplished. It will not begin through violence from without, but in evil government within; in an administration oppressive while it is feeble; in a rule which forces the members of the University into resistance, while it invites contempt and aggression from the world around ; in one word, in Vice-Chancellors like Dr. Wynter.
But in saying this, we do not forget that there is One above Who can and does bring good out of evil-Whose purposes must stand, and are never nearer to their accomplishment than when they seem baffled: to Him we commend His Church and His servants. For ourselves, one consideration has been continually impressed upon us in the course of ur narrative. It is this :Few, we suppose, have failed to wonder in their earlier years why it is, that in the Psalms, that pure well of devotion for all ages, we find so frequently recurring the exhortation, ‘Fret_not thy'self:'. Be not grieved at the ungodly ;' and the like. It seemed to us hardly practical; so many other temptations were rather to be guarded against. But as life goes by, and the real state of this world opens to us, how sweetly do these texts fall upon the ear! Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good: * Fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil. We are, then, but in the circumstances to which we have been taught to look forward, when we see wrong prevail. Let us wait awhile, each in his daily duties. Let us not be moved to wrath ; though we find Englishmen content to abandon all that has made the name of England really glorious, so that an obnoxious divine may but be crushed. These sayings would not have been so often repeated, unless it had been appointed for us, in every age, to feel, in one form or other, the peculiar temptations against which they warn us; to be moved to indignation by finding those of whom the world is not worthy, rejected by the world ; those who condemn the world, condemned in their turn. Be it ours to be preparing, each one himself, for the day when these things shall be set right.